Theodore TOO stops in Kingston as part of Great Lakes tour

Theodore TOO berthed at Station Marina in Miramichi, NB. June 17, 2021. (CNW Group/BWTT Holdings Inc.)

Canada’s famous and beloved tugboat, Theodore TOO, announced on Jun. 9, 2021, that he would set sail from Halifax to his new home in the Port of Hamilton and would become an ambassador to the Great Lakes and the marine industry.

The 65-foot life-sized reproduction of Canada’s beloved “Theodore Tugboat” has partnered with Swim Drink Fish and will take on a large role in promoting several of the organization’s initiatives including its Great Lakes Guide, according to the tugboat’s owner, Blair McKeil. 

“We must ensure access to clean water and promote employment in one of our nation’s most vital and skill-intensive sectors,” said McKeil, President and CEO of Breakwater Investments. “We’re incredibly honoured to join Swim Drink Fish and lend support to its work with Indigenous leaders and sustainability thought leaders in their mission-critical work rallying Canadians around a clean water strategy built on the conservation, restoration and protection of our waterways and Great Lakes. Tugboats have a big job on the water and Theodore TOO has an even bigger mandate now. We’re incredibly excited about the role he’ll play in promoting sustainability.”

The partnership will see Theodore TOO connect Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to the water, and invite them to enjoy the outdoors and the Great Lakes. According to a media release, he will play an active and visible role integrating with their existing programs focused on helping all Canadians, including those new to the country and in urban centres, to embrace stewardship programs aimed at responsible water conservation and restoration strategies for our Great Lakes.

“As guardians and stewards of 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, we have an enormous accountability to ensure it is swimmable, drinkable and fishable,” said Mark Mattson, President, Swim Drink Fish. “Building connections with the water is a critical step in engaging us all as their guardians. Theodore loves the water as much as we do. He’s the perfect ambassador for our Great Lakes Guide which is focused on helping Canadians of all ages and backgrounds from urban cities to rural communities to get to the water’s edge. This collaboration is great news as we look to the 50th Anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and efforts to strengthen our environmental stewardship, while exciting young Canadians about opportunities the sector and the blue economy, grounded in sustainable oceans, will usher in.” 

A 4-person crew gave Theodore TOO the push off from Halifax on June 10, 2021. When he arrives in the Port of Hamilton he will be converted to biodiesel signalling his future efforts as a sustainability champion.

On Monday, Jul. 12, 2021, Theodore TOO will make port here in Kingston. Unfortunately, Theodore TOO will not be inviting individuals to board the vessel at various ports of call during his voyage. There will be opportunities for the public to take photos from the water’s edge and in port, COVID-19 protocols permitting. The only other ports where Theodore TOO can be visited in person will be Toronto and Hamilton. All other ports will have a Zoom or Skype event.

While in Kingston, a temperature sensor will be added on board Theodore TOO. It will take surface water temperatures at his subsequent ports of call and will feed real time location and surface temperatures that inform a water quality guide for 8,000 beaches, according to the release. This guide can be found at

As part of his sustainability efforts in collaboration with Swim Drink Fish, Theodore TOO hopes to collect 100,000 watermarks over the next year. Members of the public can take part in the watermark project designed to collect personal stories of people on their local waterways. This crowd-sourced initiative, Theodore TOO Watermarks, allows individuals to help researchers identify waters where people swim, drink, or fish, so that those uses can be protected in the future while building a legacy of connecting Canadians to the water.

The schedule of stops for Theodore TOO are as follows. Exact locations will be provided closer to his arrival in each port:

CornwallJuly 6*
PrescottJuly 8*
BrockvilleJuly 10*
KingstonJuly 12*
OshawaJuly 14*
TorontoJuly 16*
HamiltonJuly 18*
* Ports and dates are subject to change and are pending weather and water levels.

You can also keep track of Theodore TOO’s progress as he makes his way to Kingston by clicking here.

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