Big delivery

Charlie Brown, president of the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society, stands on the deck of the Dryden III that was delivered to the museum Society on Friday.

The Dryden III tug boat has arrived at the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society site Friday morning and Charlie Brown, the museum society president says they are happy to have her and she will need a lot of work.

He says because of COVID-19, it’s a “staycation” this year for many so if they’d like to come down and help out, they will be welcomed.

“We can give you a paint brush and we have both left and right handed paint brushes,” he laughed.

The tug that comes from the city of Dryden is a steel craft tug, built in 1947 by the Russel Brothers Limited in Owen Sound, Ont. She is 11.5-metres in length with a three metre beam and was used to pull log booms around.

Since the museum society is not exclusive to Thunder Bay and includes the region, Brown says it is fitting that the tug, which was the same kind used in the Thunder Bay harbour, will rest at this museum.

“It was generously donated by Sandy Smith at Garden Lake Timber,” said Brown.

“It sat up there on his property for a number of years and he contacted us and asked, ‘Do you think you guys can use this?’ I said ‘Absolutely.’ We had Tower Light Ltd. (tower) come in today, another great crew who brought in the crane and big transport truck.

“They went up to Garden Lake Timber, brought it down for us, positioned it on our property for us and we are going to clean her up — she’s in a little rough shape as you can see. She needs a paint job and some new windows and we are going to use her as a static display as part of out overall (installation).”

Brown says they are developing the area and are hoping to pour some concrete pads this summer.

“Then we will be bringing in the Brill trolleys . . . hopefully later in the year,” he added.

Discussions are ongoing with the city to have the James Whalen tugboat and the VIA train brought to the museum site where all historical transportation can be housed on one common site.

“We have a number of things on the go and we are waiting on the city to allow us to do certain things,” he said, adding that the city has been supportive in the past and the cash-strapped museum has asked for rent relief after losing revenue to inaccessibility due to road construction last year and COVID-19 restrictions this year.

Other plans include taking the fence line down to the water with a walking path.

Meanwhile, the tug boat will need work and Brown says they are relying on volunteer and museum society members to help out.

For more information or to volunteer, people can email, go online at or call 355-5277 or 623-6550. The museum society also has a Facebook page.

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