Canada has a long and glorious maritime tradition which is well represented by the Beaver, the Neptune, the Quadra and the William D. Lawrence. These sea-going ships contributed to our safety, prosperity and independence. They are typical of an era in which the square rigged sailing ship had reached its zenith and steamships were achieving a record of reliable and efficient service. Named after her builder, designer and owner, the William D. Lawrence was the largest wooden ship constructed in Nova Scotia during the age of sail and the largest Canadian built square rigger. Constructed at Maitland between 1872 and 1874, the "Great Ship" was a colossus, 262 feet long with 8,000 square yards of sail. William Lawrence had conceived that one big vessel with one crew would do the work of two small vessels and two crews but he was vexed by doubters who felt that everything about the ship was wrong and that even if she could be launched, she would never be seaworthy. However, in October 1874, the "notorious and much abused ship" left the ways before a crowd of 4,000. The William D. Lawrence proved a commercial success in eight years in the Atlantic and Eastern trades but was sold to Norwegian interests in 1883. She sank at Dakar while being used as a coal barge. Tom Bjarnason of Toronto designed the ship stamps.