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This article first appeared in the September 10, 2014 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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Cantley Tugboat Celebration all about historic scenery

By Anastasia Philopoulos

History buffs will tell you that at the bottom of Cantley's charming Parc-Mary-Anne-Phillips is a stretch of the Gatineau River that once served as a bay for tugboats; call it a tugboat hot spot, if you will.

Cantley Tugboat Celebration
Before: The shot above shows a snapshot of Cantley's derelict tugboat taken in Nov. 2012..

"It's a very unique place," said Margaret Phillips, a volunteer with the historical association Cantley 1889. "It's one of the few places along the whole river where you can see the river and the Chelsea Dam."

It's also the place where Cantley 1889 will throw a bash to mark the culmination of work done over the years to restore Cantley's derelict tugboat.

According to Phillips, in 1992, when the Gatineau Boom Company folded, it sold off its tugboats and many municipalities along the river purchased one "as a symbol of the river days," Phillips said.

In 1996, Cantley purchased its own tugboat, but for years it sat untouched on the river. In 2010, Cantley 1889 decided to do something about the riverfront eyesore. The organization nabbed some funding from the CLD des Collines de l'Outaouais, and slowly started fixing the historic vessel, hiring professionals to attend to its gaping issues and giving it a fresh coat of paint.

Cantley Tugboat Celebration
After: The restored tugboat that will be unveiled on Sept. 14. Photo courtesy Margaret Phillips.

On Sept. 14, Cantley 1889 will unveil the restored tugboat and a series of historic plaques that mark the municipality's logging years. The event will have lots of family friendly activities, with local arts and crafts on display, homemade cakes, and musical performances by The Barrhaven Fiddleheads as well as Wakefield's own Nathan Curry, Linda Miller, and Brian Higgins. Phillips encourages folks to bring a picnic and says the association has invited some of the old time rivermen who worked on Cantley's dock and tugboat to witness the unveiling.

"We really want people to learn about the history of the river and the tugboat. Unlike Chelsea and Wakefield, Cantley doesn't have a core, so we thought it would be a great way to bring the community together."

Cantley's Tugboat Celebration will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14 at Parc-Mary-Anne-Phillips (in case of rain, the event will move to La Grange de la Gatineau, 80 Chemin Summer). Entry is free and the ribbon cutting ceremony kicks off at 2 p.m. For more information, visit cantley1889.ca.