The Lakehead Transportation Museum Society (LTMS) is a non profit, volunteer-based, registered charitable organization dedicated to the collecting, preservation and display of transportation artifacts and history relevant to the transportation history of Thunder Bay and area.
The Lakehead Transportation Museum Society incorporated in 2016 under the Ontario Historical Society, works with other associated member groups to fulfil the objectives of their mandate.
PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
The LTMS is a volunteer organization located within the boundaries of the District of Thunder Bay in the province of Ontario, Canada.
The LTMS was formed with the intention of establishing a transportation museum. This museum will protect, preserve and promote the transportation related history of the District of Thunder Bay and/or pertaining to the Lakehead and the former cities of Port Arthur and Fort William.
The LTMS was formed to advance education by improving the public’s understanding and awareness of transportation history in the region.
The LTMS will operate for the public benefit. The corporation shall be carried on without the purpose or gain for its directors, and any profits or other accretions to the corporation shall be used in furtherance of its purpose and objectives.
Links of Associate organization that make up the LTMS include:
The centre piece of the LTMS is the Alexander Henry, a former Canadian Coast Guard Ice breaker that served on the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1985 when she was retired from service and decommissioned. She also acted as a buoy tender, lighthouse supply vessel and occasionally for search and rescue.
The Alexander Henry was constructed by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. at their yard in Port Arthur, ON (now Thunder Bay) and launched on 18 July 1958. The icebreaker entered service in July 1959 with the Department of Transport’s Marine Service as CGS Alexander Henry using the prefix “Canadian Government Ship”.
In 2016, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was forced to re-locate requiring the disposal of the Alexander Henry. Disposal options being considered at the time were sinking to form a dive site or scrapping. In mid-2016, the LTMS learned of the situation and set out to obtain the Alexander Henry and bring her home to Thunder Bay. The LTMS contacted the Kingston museum and came to an agreement whereby the Alexander Henry was sold to the LTMS for a nominal amount. The LTMS then had to arrange for and fund the towing from Picton where the ship was temporarily tied up, to Thunder Bay. See Videos
The vessel was officially acquired by the LTMS in late summer 2016, and towed from the Kingston, ON area to Thunder Bay in June 2017. In November 2017, a lease agreement between the LTMS, the City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Port Authority was signed allowing for the Alexander Henry to be permanently docked at the former Pool 6 site at the Marina Park.
Volunteers are currently restoring the Alexander Henry to its state when it was decommissioned. When open to the public in 2018, the ship will once again be a museum ship and with guided tours for the public and for schools. These tours would introduce participants to past and present shipping activities on the Great Lakes. In addition, the Alexander Henry will also serve as a venue for both public and private events. Money raised from these activities and from donations will be used in the on-going restoration of the Alexander Henry, other transportation artifacts and future dedicated building for the museum.
Other potential artifacts in the immediate area include:
- A vintage Canadian National Railway caboose that is in the process of being restored by the Thunder Bay Railway Historical Society; and;
- the James Whalen, a tug boat that worked the Thunder Bay harbour, and a Canadian built F9A VIA diesel locomotive and 3 coaches all of which are owned by the city of Thunder Bay and are on display at the Kam River park.
- two restored Brill trolley buses that were manufactured at the Canadian Car and Foundry in Thunder Bay in the early 1950’s and are currently owned by the Buddies of the Brill Buses organization;
The ultimate objective of the LTMS is to have all these artifacts and more along with associated historic documents on display and accessible within or next to a dedicated building.