The Marathon & District Historical Society is FUND-RAISING. It will kick off a project to enhance Marathon as a tourist attraction, and preserve one of our fondest memories at the same time.
You may remember the “Tug Peninsula” towing vast rafts of wood from the mouth of the Pic river into the bay at Marathon. Currently owned by Gravel and Lake Services Limited in Thunder Bay, she is still at work, apparently, the only tug in her class for which this can be said. We are looking into purchasing the Peninsula and moving her to a well-earned retirement, prominently located right here in Marathon. Preliminary negotiations have started at $100,000.00 to buy her back, and the overall cost of purchase, transfer, and permanent relocation is estimated to be $200,000.00.
The Peninsula has quite a history. She was built late in the Second World War for the Canadian Navy, for use as an oceangoing retrieval tug, and was launched on 29 Nov 1943 at the Montreal Dry Dock, Montreal, QC. During the latter part of WWII and shortly thereafter (1944-1946), sailing under the name Norton-W31, our tug Peninsula was the only tug available for salvage work in the Western North Atlantic, retrieving frigates and battle-class trawlers and towing them into safe harbor, largely in Nova Scotia. [Specific details of her military activities are available from The Marathon and District Historical Society.]
In early 1946, having been declared surplus, Norton-W31 was sold to Marathon Paper Mills, and began her new life on Lake Superior. She was renamed the Peninsula, in honour of the town that would be her new home, and her first captain was George Matheson, then the youngest Captain on the Great Lakes. Apparently the last of the Norton Class tugs still in service in Canada, the Peninsula may well be the sole remaining exemplar of those rugged WWII retrieval vessels. And she can again be ours.
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, the former site of Dorm 7, where she would be in prominent view, overlooking the harbour from which she sailed from 1947 to 1968.
As a former resident of Marathon, 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: