Rope from the McAllister


In 1907, the tugboat Helena McAllister left its shipyard in Collingwood, north of Toronto. The powerful vessel was used to guide, tow and push ships docking or leaving port. It was painted with unmistakable black, red and yellow colors and was an indispensable part of port activities, acting as a keeper of the seas.

In 1956, the boat was refitted and renamed the Helen M.B. In Montreal during the 1960s, McAllister Towing Limited decided to change the name once again to feature the surname of the company’s founder, Captain James McAllister, who started the first and largest towing company in North America in 1864. And so the ship was renamed the Daniel McAllister. The McAllister tug ceased operations in 1980 and was acquired by the Musée maritime du Québec in 1997.

In 2008, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation became the vessel’s owner. The Daniel McAllister is the largest preserved tug in Canada and the second-oldest preserved ocean-going tug in the world. Our longshoremen Médée and Stevie were tasked with securing the tug to the Quai des Éclusiers. When it comes to knowledge of knots, longshoremen can give sailors a run for their money! While one of the men pulled the boat closer, the other grabbed the rope and tied a bowline. This type of knot never comes undone when the rope is under high tension or dried out but it easily comes undone when pulling on the rope’s end!


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