Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford announces funding to permanently locate Hallett and Owandem in Fort Frances, April 3, 2024. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Funding received to locate historic tugs

By Randy Thoms Apr 3, 2024 | 5:25 AM

The town of Fort Frances is receiving funding to assist with plans to make permanent two former logging vessels.

The Hallett and Owandem will be situated near each other on the waterfront.

Northern Development Minister, Greg Rickford says a  grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund of $487,500 to restore the tugboats, design a dry dock to display both boats and landscape the waterfront.

Town council approved the sites in February.

Mayor Andrew Hallikas says it is important for the two vessels to be at the waterfront.

“I think we’re paying respect to our heritage because these boats are indicative of the industry on which Fort Frances was built,” says Hallikas.

“The Hallet was towing the great, big booms of logs, and then the Owandum was helping tender those logs.”

Hallikas adds it also pays honour to everybody who worked on the boats and the local logging industry.

The 60-foot, 57-ton Hallett was built by Russell Brothers of Owen Sound.

It was shipped in pieces by rail and reassembled in Fort Frances for use by the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company.

After being decommissioned, it was acquired by the museum and placed on display at Seven Oaks.

It underwent a restoration in 2009 before being relocated to the Sorting Gap Marina.

It was taken out of the water in 2022 due to flooding and placed on blocks in the waterfront parking lot.

The 25-foot, two-ton Owandem was also constructed by the Russell Brothers in Owen Sound.

Boise Cascade would later sell off the vessel to a Fort Frances resident, who later sold it to a Minnesota man who renamed it the Mother Lode.

It was donated in 2017 to the museum, which had it restored and repainted.

It has been in storage pending a final resting spot being determined.

Hallikas says it could still be another year before the vessels are placed for display.

“We’re getting an engineering study done because we want to mount them properly, and we want to make them accessible.”

“We want people to be able to visit them, hopefully, to actually go on the boats.”