great lakes engineering works


June 7th marks the anniversary of the launch of the EDMUND FITZGERALD, which happened in one of the Great Lakes Engineering Company’s slips in River Rouge in 1958.  

We have two rare films of this moment in our collection.  In addition to the official film featured above, we also have a color 16mm amateur film of the launch.  Both clips were recently digitized as part of our Detroit Video History Archive project.


 Daniel McAllister / Silo No. 5

© Sharon Boswall

Two of our most photographed sites /sights in the Vieux-Port.

The DANIEL MCALLISTER, located at Gate No. 1 at the Old Port at the foot of McGill Street, is the largest preserved tug in Canada and the second-oldest preserved oceangoing tug in the world. Over the years, the DANIEL MCALLISTER has undergone several transformations, changing workplaces and names several times. Originally launched as Helena in 1907, she began service on the Atlantic coast. In the 1940s, while working on the Great Lakes, her steam engine was replaced with a more powerful diesel engine. After a major refit in 1956, she was renamed Helen M.B. Later, in the 1960s in Montréal, McAllister Towing Limited named her DANIEL MCALLISTER, after a member of this important family of ship owners. She was finally retired from service in the 1980s.When the Ocean Group purchased Montréal’s McAllister Towing Limited in 1997, the DANIEL MCALLISTER was acquired by the Musée maritime du Québec which partnered with the Old Port of Montréal Corporation to ensure the ship’s preservation. The Old Port of Montréal Corporation acquired the ship in 2008. The tug thereafter underwent a three month restoration process carried out by Interlag under the supervision of naval architect Raymond Daoust. Its exterior and life boat were repainted in their original colours; its hull was repaired; its woodwork, identification plates, portholes, and navigation and search lights were also restored.

SILO NO. 5, and the grain conveyors that connect to it, remain iconic symbols of Montreal’s industrial past and are the last vestiges of Montreal’s “20th-century harbour panorama,” according to the organization Héritage Montréal.  Both revered and maligned, the abandoned grain silo — parts of which date to the early 1900s — dominates the western sector of the port known as Pointe-du-Moulin.  A proposed plan to redevelop waterfront areas of Montreal’s Old Port would breathe new life into the rusting steel and concrete hulk.  A redevelopment plan designed by architects Daoust Lestage and unveiled a couple of weeks ago, would see the old silo crowned with an enclosed glass viewing deck where visitors could take in panoramic views of Montreal’s skyline, the St. Lawrence River and the Montérégie region to the south.