Russel Brothers Limited
Russel Brothers Ltd.
BUILDERS OF STEEL BOATS & ENGINES
FORT FRANCES, 1907-1937       OWEN SOUND, 1937-1993

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Russel boats were important. They were the first company in North America to electrically arc-weld all steel hulls.
A Russel design was adopted by the British (and Canadian) Navy as its main class of small harbour tug (the "Ville" class). Their logging boats were designed robustly for prolonged heavy use in remote areas, and pretty much defined this genre (the winch boats and warping tugs). This well deserved reputation for quality and value carried over into their larger tugboats and later Coast Guard ships. Russel innovative expertise was recognized when Niagara Falls needed two Maids of the Mist in 1955, and Toronto needed a fireboat in 1964, both of which are still in use today! The company exported boats into Canada's north, and internationally to Vietnam and Africa. They became masters of shipping boats in sections on rail cars and re-assembling them at the final destination. Though by no means the only activity of this eclectic and vibrant company, the boats are the focus of this unofficial archive. 2007 marked the 100th Anniversary of the company's start in Fort Frances, Ont. in 1907, and the 70th Anniversary of their move to Owen Sound, Ont. in 1937. On July 28 & 29 of 2007, as part of Owen Sound's 150th Homecoming celebration, we held the Owen Sound - Russel Brothers Tugboat Festival.

 
Interesting Features in the Archive

 

 

 

The Owen Sound Dollar Bill Photo Mosaic is located off main street (2nd Ave. East) between 8th and 9th streets, on the wall of Shopper's Discount Clothing Co., across from its main sponsor, Scotiabank.
The two logging boats featured on the reverse of the dollar bill were made in Owen Sound by Russel Brothers. The larger Missinaibi is now in the Museum of Civilization in Hull, QC, while the smaller Ancaster is displayed outside the
Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum at 1165 1st Ave West. Click here for more on the Dollar Bill.

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