The Story of the Alexander Henry

The Alexander Henry, a former Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker, was constructed by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. at their yard in Port Arthur, ON (now Thunder Bay). She entered service in July 1959 under the Department of Transport’s Marine Service as CGS Alexander Henry, utilizing the prefix ‘Canadian Government Ship.

She served her entire career on the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1985 until her retirement from service. The Henry also acted as a buoy tender, lighthouse supplier, and even played a role in search and rescue missions. In 1986, the vessel was gifted to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, ON for preservation as a museum ship.

Henry's Background

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 TMTB learned of the situation and set out to obtain the Alexander Henry and bring her home to Thunder Bay. The TMTB contacted the Kingston museum and came to an agreement whereby the Alexander Henry was sold to the TMTB for a nominal amount. The TMTB then had to arrange for and fund the towing from Picton where the ship was temporarily tied up, to Thunder Bay.

Journey Home

The vessel was officially acquired by the TMTB 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 TMTB, 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.

Future Work

The ultimate objective of the TMTB is to have all these artifacts and more along with associated historic documents on display and accessible within or next to a dedicated building.

Other potential artifacts in the immediate area include:

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