Ontario Supporting Development of New Waterfront Attraction in Fort Frances

Posted on April 03, 2024

FORT FRANCES – The Ontario government is providing $487,500 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to the Town of Fort Frances to create a new waterfront tourist attraction featuring the Hallett and Owandem – two logging tugboats with important cultural and historical significance to the region. This investment will support economic development and the local tourism sector by attracting visitors to the Northwest.

“Through the NOHFC, our government is proud to invest in the preservation of the Hallett and the Owandem – two historic forestry vessels that greatly contributed to the logging industry and the Town of Fort Frances’ economic development in the 1900s,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River. “By working with municipal partners on legacy projects like the ones we are recognizing today, we are ensuring families and visitors have the opportunity to learn about our community’s history while enjoying local tourism attractions.”

The Hallett and Owandem were used extensively for logging along the Rainy River from 1940 to 1976. Making the boats accessible to the public is an economic opportunity for the Town of Fort Frances to create a marketable tourism and heritage asset.

The Town will use NOHFC funding to restore the tugboats, design a dry dock to display both boats, and landscape the waterfront. When completed, the exhibit will highlight the importance and history of logging along the Rainy River. The dry dock will also be used as a rentable event space.

“Thanks to the NOHFC and Minister Rickford's support, the tugboats' restoration and the beautification of their surroundings are now a reality,” said Danielle Marshall, Museum Curator, Fort Frances Museum & Cultural Centre. “NOHFC funds promise a future where these historic gems thrive, offering a chance for people to explore the vessels that were once a fixture on the Rainy River.”

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects—big and small, rural and urban—that stimulate growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $762 million in 6,309 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $2.3 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 9,750 jobs.

Quick Fact

  • The Ontario government launched new and improved NOHFC programs that support more projects in rural northern communities and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply. The programs target existing and emerging markets, provide more work opportunities for Indigenous people and address the skilled labour shortage in the North.

Additional Resources

  • The NOHFC’s Community Enhancement Program builds strong and resilient northern communities through targeted investments in critical infrastructure.

Media Contacts

Curtis Lindsay, Minister’s Office 437-240-7317 curtis.lindsay@ontario.ca

Media Desk, Communications Branch mediadesk.ndm@ontario.ca