Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Alexander Henry stands out in history of Thunder Bay

Feb 25, 2020 07:39AM ● By Editor
Lakehead Transportation Museum Society president, Charlie Brown, said the unique design of the Alexander Henry contributes to the likeness of the ship. Photo: Jeff Walters / CBC

From CBC News - Thunder Bay - February 25, 2020

The iconic Alexander Henry ship began its days in Port Arthur, where it was built at the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company in 1958. For the people of Thunder Bay, the ship has been recognized as an icon of Lake Superior ever since. 

Currently the Alexander Henry is located at the Pool 6 site on the city's harbourfront where it serves as a museum, further cementing its significance in Thunder Bay's history. 

"We are kind of lucky she didn't work too hard for too long," said Lakehead Transportation Museum Society president, Charlie Brown, in an interview with CBC about the ship's past.

Brown said the Alexander Henry served for about 25 years as a Canadian Coast Guard light icebreaker and buoy tender, which is unusual for vessels of this kind. He said the technological advancements in the 1960's quickly aged the Alexander Henry out of commission. 

While the design of the ship may have cut its career short, Brown said the look of the ship is what makes it so special to people in Thunder Bay.

"The design was actually a little bit unique," he said. "They were coming up with different designs for the actual ice breaking...this was part of a new series of the ship itself," he said. 

Brown added that the colouring of the ship and its 'scooped' front makes the ship stand out among other ice breakers, which tend to have a more 'blunt' look to them. 

"She stood out, she was just something that Thunder Bay people appreciated," he said. 

In 1986, the vessel was handed over to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston for preservation before it was sold to The Lakehead Transportation Museum Society in 2017. 

To read the original article and hear an audio version of this reporting, follow this link to the CBC - Thunder Bay website.

Upcoming Events Near You
Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here