While making the journey from Halifax to his new home in Hamilton, we had the pleasure of welcoming Theodore TOO the Tugboat into Kingston. It was an exciting time for all and a chance for many of us to live out one of our childhood dreams. Theodore is beloved by many, his popularity spanning generations. We met countless children and pets named after this adored tugboat to prove it!
There was lots of fun had but it wasn’t just playtime for Theodore as this tugboat was also hard at work. He had a very busy couple days while visiting us, participating in a flotilla on Tuesday morning and greeting over 2000 visitors over the course of two days! For anyone who caught the flotilla along the shore and close to the Museum, you will have spotted any number of vessels; including 1,000 Islands Cruises’ Island Belle and Island Queen, Canadian Coast Guard, Kingston Yacht Club, Doornekamp Construction and private vessels. They were met on the water off the Museum by Lisa Cadue and Randy Cadue paddling the Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe built by Chuck Commanda at Doug Fluhrer Park last autumn. Thank you to Captain Stephen Steels for commanding the fleet!
Theodore also met with his partners from Swim Drink Fish and was outfitted with a temperature sensor. This sensor will allow him to measure the water surface temperature and send the information back to Swim Drink Fish to use in their “Swim Guide” (link), which reports the quality of water for swimming.
Theodore has also been collecting Watermarks on his voyage to Hamilton. These Watermarks (link) are personal stories from those reflecting on their local waterways and their connections to water. Theodore hopes to collect 100,000 Watermarks, which will aid researchers in identifying waters where people swim, drink or fish so it can be properly protected into the future.
As he begins his next chapter as a Great Lakes Tug, Theodore is a steward for everything water – marine careers, conservation and environmentalism, recreation, histories and so much more. He carries with him the message of water conservation, sustainability and strategies for restoration in the Great Lakes. Theodore TOO stresses the importance of access to clean freshwater, and the necessity of clean drinking water for all. Additionally, he wants to amplify Indigenous dialogue, particularly regarding the importance of the Great Lakes that Indigenous peoples have been inextricably linked to.
The Marine Museum is striving to develop a meaningful relationship with the Indigenous community that have lived on Katarokwi territory since time immemorial and those living here today. We are very grateful to the community members, most notably Jennifer Kehoe, who came to the event on Tuesday to speak of the importance of the waterways. Her son, Maddexx, also performed a grass dance at the event to help welcome Theodore and mark a new beginning for the Museum’s 55 Ontario St location. This was our first event in five years at 55 Ontario St., since we vacated the property in 2016 and the first time the east pier welcomed the public in 15 years! The event therefore marked a re-birth for the space and the beginning of new relationships within the community. We look forward to strengthening these relationships and we continue on our learning journey.
Theodore TOO’s stop in Kingston was a momentous time for the Marine Museum as we too are beginning a new chapter in our story. We are hard at work preparing to once again welcome you through those doors, and we hope that this event is the beginning of many meaningful partnerships within our community. We strive to open our doors and tell the many stories of our community who have lived and worked in and around Katarokwi. We cannot wait for that time to come and we want to thank Theodore TOO the Tugboat for coming to the Marine Museum and bringing our community together.Toot next time!
Collections Intern, Summer 2021