Sorting Gap Marina

-A +A

EXPLORE THESE HERITAGE SITES AT THE SORTING GAP MARINA

Sorting Gap Marina 

The marina was once the site of John Reid Sr.'s sawmill, established in 1902. Reid sold his interests to the Shevlin Clarke Company in 1912, following a fire in Rainy River in 1910 that destroyed the original Shevlin Clarke mill along with large stands of timber.

For years the twin milling facilities and their lumber storage yards occupied much of the east end, extending from Frenette Avenue to Shevlin Avenue, and from the river to the north. The mill processed over one billion feet of lumber, employed 1,500 people and paid 12 million in wages. The depression, the decline in the lumber market, and the retreating timber stands contributed to the company 's demise on April 18th, 1942. The plant was removed and reassembled in Pembroke, Ontario.

For years, the river was the site of booms of logs in the area of the marina. The Sorting Gap was used by the river men to sort the logs for entry on the green chain into the mill.

The Lookout Tower

The 33 meter (100 foot) tower was originally a radar and lookout tower located near Atkikokan. In 1972, James Wrench Towse, an Industrial Development Commissioner, had the tower moved and assembled at  Point Park as a tourist attraction. Later, the two bottom levels were enclosed and became the base of the Museum's collection during the summer months when the Museum was located in the Library. In 2009 the tower was moved from Point Park to the Sorting Gap Marina.

The Logging Tug Hallett

The Hallett was the largest and most powerful boat on Rainy Lake. The 60-foot, 57-ton boat was built by the Russell Brothers of Owen Sound. After construction, the boat was transported in pieces by railway flatcar and reassembled here in Fort Frances for the Pulp and Paper Mill's usage. 

The Hallett was later modified to make it more suitable for pulling booms across the Lake. A change from a single to a double rudder was necessary to make the boat stable; an early towing attempt laid the boat on its side. Other renovations occured over the years, including once as a result of fire. Descpite the engines being changed and other minor alterations, the Hallett 's essential function remained unchanged until its retirement.

The Hallett was used extensively in hauling logs until 1974. During an average year, the Hallett made twenty round trips of one hundred miles each. It hauled 70,000 to 90,000 cords of wood a year in average tows of 4-5,000 cords of wood that were a mile in size. Modernization of woodland operations and environmental concerns led to the demise of the lake drive. It became more economical to use a pulp truck, carrying 40 cords per load to bring logs for paper production.

In 1983, the Hallett was placed at Point Park. Restoration of the boat was completed by the Fort Frances Museum, and in 2009 it was moved to its current location at the Sorting Gap Marina.