The port as we know it today is the result of major development work done in the early 20th century. The years 1896 to 1930 were the Port of Montréal’s golden years, a time when it was the destination of trans-Atlantic ships and trains from all over North America. Millions of tonnes of merchandise travelled through Montréal, and to meet demand, the port modernized its facilities by building structures such as grain elevators, sheds and higher quays.

Relics of this heyday are still visible, like giants from another era. If you listen, they will tell you the fascinating history of the Port of Montréal.

The Tugboat Daniel McAllister

The tugboat Daniel McAllister after the 2009 restoration work.
Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal

A tugboat towing a ship, 1917.
Port de Montréal – Archives / APM-3167

Tugboats are small, powerful boats that guide, tow and push ships entering and leaving the port and assist them in docking. They are indispensable to port operations.

A century and counting

The Daniel McAllister is the largest preserved tug in Canada and the second-oldest oceangoing tug in the world.

The Daniel McAllister’s home port and vocation have changed several times over the years, and she has undergone several transformations. Originally launched as Helena in 1907, she began service on the Atlantic coast. In the 1940s, while working on the Great Lakes, her steam engine was replaced with a more powerful diesel engine. After a major refit in 1956, she was rechristened Helen M.B. Later, in the 1960s in Montréal, McAllister Towing Limited named her Daniel McAllister after a member of this important family of ship owners.

During Expo 67, she guided the large Canadian Pacific ocean liners: The Empress of Canada and The Empress of England. After being retired from her activities in the 1980’s, the Daniel McAllister had her old-world beauty rediscovered thanks to restoration work.   


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