Parks Canada and the Government of Canada commemorated the national historic signficance of the tugboats of Canada's West Coast during a ceremony on Sunday, May 27, 2018 on Granville Island. With the SS Master (the only remaining steam-powered tug) serving as a backdrop, representatives from government and industry were on hand to describe the role tugs played -- and continue to play to this day -- in developing British Columbia's economy. Remarks from Melissa Banovich, Historic Sites Manager, Parks Canada Coastal BC Field Unit; Robert G. Allan, Naval Architect and Executive Chairman of the Board of Robert Allan Ltd.; Barry Martens, President of the SS Master Society; and Phill Nelson, President of the Council of Marine Carriers highlighted the many ways tugs provide an integral service to coastal communities, resource industries and ports.
"Like almost no other place on earth, coastal transportation in British Columbia is conducted virtually exclusively by tug and barge," noted the press release issued by the ceremony's presenters. "Since the earliest days of the Province's history, tugs and barges have been the sole means by which the products of our forests, mines and oceans have been moved from the north and mid-coast to the population centres in the south. Other tugs are critical elements in the safe ship-handling operations in every port in B.C. and play a critical role today in the protection of our vital and sensitive coastal waterways." The plaque can be found just outside the north-west corner of the Granville Island Public Market where it will be permanently displayed.