The Tugboat M. V. Beauchene

written by Charles (Bud) Shaver

The M.V.Beauchene was purchased by the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company (I.O.C) to work the lower end of Lake Temiskaming and the Upper Ottawa River and was one of over fifty tug boats that operating between 1882-1965. This diesel-powered vessel plied the waters of Lake Temiskaming for decades towing log booms to the various lumber mills. Each spring, it was employed in “the sweep” collecting errant logs. These are logs that have become adrift from the log booms and washed up on shore. These straying logs were collected into booms and were taken to the lumber mills. Prior to its last run, the Beauchene was used between Temiscaming, Quebec and Mattawa, Ontario. In 1991 the old tug was hauled up onto the shore above the Otto-Holden Dam near LaCave.

The Haileybury Heritage Museum purchased the M.V.Beauchene June 18, 1996. The tug boat was damaged and in need of a complete restoration. Our museum boat crew consisted of Bud Shaver, Chris Oslund, Jack Cobb, Rheaume Lacroix and Allan Bellaire. Special mention needs be made of the folks at the Ontario Hydro Otto Holden Plant who gave us a lot of assistance in getting the tug into the river. Without their help, the tugboat would still be rusting on that bank. We got in contact with I.O.C employees, Cecil Sullivan and Vince King who helped us greatly with information and getting the tug off the bank.

On June 22, 1996 the M.V.Beauchene, under its own power of approximately 7 miles per hour, began its first leg of the journey to Haileybury. During the trip up, the tug plowed along until we had reached the Temiskaming Dam at Temiskaming, Quebec. To get over the Temiskaming Dam was a huge obstacle. Somehow we had to get the tug over or around the dam before proceeding.

At Temiskaming, Que., we contacted Canada Public Works and they recommended the use of a crane to get the tug boat around the dam. A crane was obtained from G & P Rentals lifting the tug boat right over the Temiskaming Dam. It took a lot of people to make sure that the lift would be successful.

Once lifted over the dam, we were on the final leg of our journey to Haileybury. It took us two days with a stop-over at Opemican Depot. Opemican Depot had been used as a repair and supply depot for the tugs during its hayday. Our river trip finally ended when we entered the Haileybury Marina. From here on, the tug boat will be moved to its new home at the Haileybury Heritage Museum.

Many, many thanks to those who worked on the M.V.BEAUCHENE restoration project. Morissette’s Section 225 Crew : Sue Lefebvre, Gary Peddie, Jason Paquette, Ernie Ouimet, Robert & Marini, Monique Skinner, Luc St. Amant, Derek Adema, Edward Hartzke, as well as, Jack Cobb, Dave McLaren, Allan Bellaire, Chris Oslund, Rheaume Lacroix, Bud Shaver, Walter Oslund, Harold Sadler, Paul Olson, Jack Cooper and Jack Perry.