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Bring the Tug Peninsula home to Marathon

Peninsula home to Marathon    Lake Superior News
#LSN_Outdoors    #LSN_Tourism   Marathon & District Historical Society

The Marathon & District Historical Society proposes to bring the tug home as a symbol of the town, and as a tourist attraction, much like Wawa's goose and Dryden's moose. The D.C. Everest was scrapped before we could obtain memorabilia from her, but we can rescue the Peninsula from the same fate, and preserve a piece of Marathon’s and Canada’s history. Our plan is to sail the tug to Marathon, bring her ashore, and transfer her to the bottom of Stevens Avenue, adjacent to the Everest Hotel site, where she would be in prominent view, overlooking the harbour from which she sailed from 1946 to 1968.

In 1944 Marathon Paper Mills of Wisconsin, under the leadership of D.C. Everest, undertook the building of a Sulphate Kraft Pulp Mill at Peninsula, Ontario. At the time the CPR water stop had 30 some inhabitants. Marathon Paper Mills began expanding the community of Peninsula into what is now known as Marathon, out of the Canadian wilderness.

 

The HMCS Norton was the first deep sea tug to be built for the Canadian Navy and was originally designed to travel in Atlantic Convoys to pick up torpedoed or broken down ships. She was built by the Montreal Dry Dock Company in 1943, the original value was $514,794.56, or $7,142,981.62 in 2017.The HMCS Norton was launched by Mrs. B.S. (Gwendolyn) Hastings on November 29, 1943. The Norton was originally based at Halifax. Early in the spring of 1945 she was in Sydney, C.B. She was chartered by the War Assets Corporation to the Foundation Maritime Company in December 1945 as W.A.C.1 and used for deep sea towing until Mar 22, 1946 when Marathon Paper Mills of Canada Ltd, Port Arthur, Ontario purchased and renamed W.A.C.1 to the “Peninsula”.   

          Sailed to Port Arthur Ontario in the spring of 1946 under the command of Captain George Matheson, she arrived at the dry-dock as W.A.C.1 for a refit and registering as the “Peninsula”. Also completed were the completed remodeling of the crew accommodations, carried out at Fort William, and inspection for load line. At this time, the most powerful tug at the Lakehead, powered by a 9-cylinder Dominion Sultzer engine of 1000 h.p. The official registration number is #175492.

          The Peninsula was used to tow large rafts of 8-foot pulpwood approximately 8,000 cords in size, from the booming grounds at the mouth of the Pic river to Marathon, Port Munro, and the Slate Islands for storage until there was room in Jellicoe Cove, adjacent to the woodyard for dewatering. Occasionally she was used to tow rafts from Port Arthur to Marathon a trip lasting 12 to 14 days. On rarer occasions rafts of 25,000 cords of pulpwood would have to be towed.

In the fall of 1968 she was sold to Northern Engineering for harbour duties in the Lakehead, and was later acquired by Paul Lecuyer of Gravel and Lake Services, where she remained active until 2015,

The Marathon & District Historical Society proposes to bring the tug home as a symbol of the town, and as a tourist attraction, much like Wawa's goose and Dryden's moose. The D.C. Everest was scrapped before we could obtain memorabilia from her, but we can rescue the Peninsula from the same fate, and preserve a piece of Marathon’s and Canada’s history. Our plan is to sail the tug to Marathon, bring her ashore, and transfer her to the bottom of Stevens Avenue, adjacent to the Everest Hotel site, where she would be in prominent view, overlooking the harbour from which she sailed from 1946 to 1968.

This would be an interactive display where you could be on board and have a personalized tour with a knowledgeable guide.

As a former resident of Marathon, Naval Historian, or just and interested party, we are inviting you to participate in our fundraising efforts. Sponsors will suitably be recognized. We are a charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible.

We are very excited about this initiative. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for giving our project your consideration. Donations can be made to: Marathon & District Historical Society, P.O. Box 728, Marathon On., P0T 2E0, or online at the following address:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/marathon-district-historical-society/