Russel Brothers Limited   OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO   Steelcraft Boat Builders

Canadian List of Shipping 1956: Octagon [C.190237] registered at Vancouver; built at Owen Sound in 1946. 38'1 x 10'5 x 4'4; 15 g.t.; 10 n.t.; 165 hp. Owned by Arrow Lakes Transportation Co. Ltd., Beaton, B.C. Canadian List of Ships 1970: Steel cargo vessel Octagon [C.190237] registered at Vancouver. Built at Owen Sound in 1946. 38'; 15 g.t. Canadian List of Ships 1997: Owned by Lawrence Miller, Sechelt, B. C. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Lawrence Miller, Sechelt, B. C.

Art Carson of Valemount, BC notes: These photos are 2000 dpi scans of battered, overexposed 35mm Kodachrome slides. The Octagon and its sister vessel the Pentagon were owned by Arrow Lakes Transportation Company when I took the photos in August 1969. The Hugh Keenleyside Dam had just been built on the Columbia River in BC, raising the level of the Arrow lakes and flooding the road that headed south from Revelstoke, BC. For a short time before a new highway was completed above the flood line, an old Columbia River reaction ferrry was used to get vehicles past the flooded section of road. A reaction ferry is designed to be moved by river current and has no motor, so the tug Octagon was lashed to the side of the ferry and provided the propulsion.

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One photo shows the makeshift ferry at the shore ready to unload & load vehicles. The unfinished highway is in the background. Another photo, taken from the ferry while under way, shows a deckhand standing in the Octagon's starboard doorway.

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Third photo: Bruce Tillen of Arrow Lakes Transportation invited me into the wheelhouse where I photographed him at the helm of the Octagon.

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The Octagon accomplished another unusual task when, in 1956, she was teamed up with the other Arrow Lakes Transportation Company vessel, the Pentagon, to tow the derelict Canadian Pacific sternwheeler Minto to Galena Bay on the Arrow Lakes where a private citizen had purchased the old sternwheeler with the hope of restoring it.

I believe the majority of the work done for Arrow Lakes Transportation by the Octagon and Pentagon over the years consisted of towing log booms - a task which I'm sure would make any Russel boat feel right at home!


For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
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