TARA BOWIE Local News - Friday, July 27, 2007 @ 08:00
A Port Perry couple and the city of Owen Sound are sharing an anniversary of sorts. Bob and Sandra Parr's home on the waves was built at the Russel Bros. factory 60 years ago, in 1947.
The couple brought the tug, named Mink Isle, back to Owen Sound to participate in Saturday's Tugboat Festival. The festival is part of the city's 150th Homecoming Celebrations, which run from today until Aug. 5.
"We've been here before, but it's a special year for both. It's (the tug's) 60th and Owen Sound's 150th. We're excited, we love a good tug race," Bob Parr said.
The Parr's tug, originally named the "Brompton Duchess," completed its maiden voyage in the Owen Sound harbour before being bought by a Thunder Bay paper company.
The 50-foot boat towed log rafts on Lake Superior until 1972, when it was sold to a Sault Ste. Marie company. In 1983, Bob found the boat on a barge in the Sault. It was in "pretty rough shape," but he had to have it, he said.
"He definitely didn't care what the decorating looked like when he bought the thing," Sandra joked. "I come from a family of commercial fisherman and I needed a boat like this," Bob said. "I looked around for a couple of years and the Russel boats seemed better built than the rest."
Over eight months the engine was rebuilt, the smoke stack replaced and roof raised and the vessel was deemed seaworthy. Eventually a small stove, two refrigerators and new beds were put in the hull. The Parrs chugged into the harbour Wednesday and plan to stay on the boat for the weekend.