S.C. Heal fonds [graphic materials, textual records, architectural drawings] / Sydney C. Heal

Supplied title note
Title based on the name of the creator of the records.
Fonds number
Physical description
  • 53 cm of textual records
  • 43 photographs : b&w and 1 col. print
  • ca. 50 vessel plans
Administrative history / Biographical sketch

Sydney Castle Heal (1925-2017)—also known as Stephanie Castle, Syd, and S.C.—was born in Hoylake, England. At the age of 16 he left school and joined the Thames and Mersey Marine Insurance Co. One year later, he joined the Royal Navy as a general seaman. After serving through the World War he was demobilized to the Royal Navy Reserve in 1947 with the rank of Lieutenant. After working odd jobs and earning professional qualification as an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute he immigrated to Vancouver, BC in 1952. Once in Vancouver he began working for Parsons, Brown Ltd as a marine manager for multiple marine insurance companies that Parsons, Brown represented as their Canadian Agents. Only a few years later, in 1957 he joined Vancouver Holdings and soon after bought the business when the owner passed away.

It was in 1962 that S.C. Heal performed his first act of marine heritage preservation by buying the steam tug, Master, and saving it from being scrapped. He sold his interest in Vancouver Holdings and for the next decade worked at various marine insurance companies while working many of his own small shipping ventures. Eventually he moved towards the real estate business, specializing in coastal properties for nearly 17 years. This led him to the aquaculture business, where he started along with his son, an oyster farming business. He played a prominent role in the Sunshine Coast Aquaculture Association during these years.

In 1990 he 'retired' only to start his own publishing company, Cordillera Books, the next year. Cordillera, as of 2016, is still in operation and specializes in maritime focused books. The company has published around 60 books, of which 24 were written by S.C. Heal. In addition, he was a contributing writer for multiple marine and fish farming journals and wrote for B.C. Shipping News. S.C. also wrote three books in gender studies and acted as contributing editor in another. He was a leader in the transgender community and served as an advocate for gender conflicted people in human rights cases, government issues, and hospital boards. While writing in this genre he used the pseudonym Stephanie Castle. S.C. Heal passed away on May 8th, 2017.

Works Cited: MacFarlane, John M. (2014) Syd C. Heal – Nautical Historian, Interpreter and Publisher. Nauticapedia.ca 2014. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Heal_SydC.php

Scope & content

This fonds consists of 45 files of vessel plans, prospectuses and catalogues, building specifications, and some business correspondence gathered by S.C. Heal from 1964-1974 as part of a few of his shipping ventures, mostly under the names of Nordic Shipping Ltd. and Continental Ocean Carriers Ltd., between 1964-1974.


The contents were kept in their original order and original file names were maintained. The files are roughly in alphabetical order, as arranged by the creator.