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. In 1834, the Hudson's Bay Company decided a steamboat would improve the Pacific coast trade. The Blackwell shipyard on the Thames built the vessel, a wooden paddle steamer approximately 101 feet long, 33 feet wide (including the paddle boxes) and of 109 tons burden. Christened the Beaver, the vessel travelled to the Pacific by sail because she couldn't carry enough coal to go by steam. The Beaver, the first steamship in the North Pacific, proved useful in the fur trade. She overcame American competition on the coast, thus helping to preserve the area for Canada. Those who operated the Beaver used her not only to trade furs but to carry passengers and freight, to transport cattle, to tow log booms and barges and to conduct surveys. Still hard at work, she ran aground in 1888 near Vancouver, was abandoned and eventually broke up four years later. Tom Bjarnason of Toronto designed the ship stamps.