Le Champagne - Canadian List of Shipping 1970: Steel tug Le Champagne [C.313108] registered at Ottawa. Built at Owen Sound in l960. 36'; 11 g.t. Transport Canada List 2002: Built by Russel-Hipwell Engines Co., Owen Sound, ON. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Daniel St. Denis, Mercier, QC
n.b. - Le Champagne was incorrectly entered as E. Champagne (typo) in the original vessel listing that started this web site. I have changed all references to E. Champagne to Le Champagne. - SB
John Pomeroy of Chelsea, QC, notes (July 25th, 2007): I believe this to be the Champagne. I have been a Russell Tug fan since I was a kid. I was really disappointed when the log drive ended on the Gatineau. I knew the crews of the Skimmer, the Cliff M, and the Siskin very well. I think she has a name welded on her bow (port and starboard) but they have been covered with plywood. She was bought at the end of the log drive by a guy who tried to make a go of using her for river tours. She was unofficially renamed “Le Champagne”. She was painted a nasty color of purple and gold but her green and white CIP colors are coming out under the peeling paint. The tour idea lasted about a year. She is currently sitting a bit north of the Chelsea Dam on the Cantley side of the river. Her ID plate has been removed and her wheel was cut off and taken. The winch and transmission controls are bent but the engine, winch, and fuel tank appear to be reasonably sound. She is generally looking pretty sad...recoverable, but sad.
The second close by boat is a fuel barge used by CIP that must have originally been a flat bottom warping tug. Her engine(s?) and steering gear are long gone and all she has are three fuel tanks (one really big one) and a fuel pump. No name or ID plate to be found. She was also bought at the end of the log drive and has been high and (sort of) dry ever since. She is sitting about 1 km. further north of the Champagne.
• typical of the 20 tugboats working the log drive on the Gatineau River in the 1900s
• built in 1960 at Russel Brothers Ltd of Owen Sound, Ontario
• 6-cylinder, 90-horse power diesel engine
• her winch, with close to 2 km of steel cable, could pull 4,000 cords of “boomed” logs
• pushed logs with the rake on her bow; rudder and propeller protected by a steel “basket”
• operated by a captain and deckhand from May until October
1991: The end of the river drive on the Gatineau River. After 1991, local tugboats found new homes as reminders of our logging era.
1996: Municipality of Cantley purchased “Le Champagne” from The Gatineau Boom Company. It is the same tugboat symbolized in Cantley’s logo.
2012: Pollutants were pumped out and “Le Champagne” was cleaned. On November 27, two six-tonne bulldozers towed it from the Parc Mary-Anne-Phillips beach up to its current location.
2013 -2014: Volunteers repaired, restored and painted the tugboat to its original colours. They landscaped its final home overlooking its workplace, the Gatineau River.