Sinking of James Whalen Tug Hard on the Family of Captain McCabe

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THUNDER BAY – It has been a tough winter in Thunder Bay. The city watched the iconic Finlandia Hall and Hoito Restaurant burn. On May 1st the historic James Whalen sank in the Kaministiqua River in the Fort William Downtown.

“It’s a sad day in Thunder Bay as we mourn the loss of another historic icon in the city,” says Margot McCabe.

Margot McCabe and her family are particularly disturbed by the sinking of the James Whalen as her grandfather, Captain N.V. (Nicholas Vincent) McCabe, captained that boat for many years along with the Strathbogie and Strathmore vessels.

N.V. McCabe, age 25, moved to Port Arthur in 1913 to work on the boats and later received his papers as a Master of a Steam Tug Boat in August 1927. He was passionate about working on the Great Lakes where he served for 50 years. The family’s archives include log books from the James Whalen, his Captain’s papers as well as historic photos.

To celebrate Captain McCabe’s 90th birthday on Feb. 9, 1978, the family had a replica cake made of the James Whalen with icebergs and all!

“I recall how deeply touched my grandfather was that day when the cake was presented to him on a 3’x4’ platform. Sadly, he passed away less than a month after this auspicious occasion.” noted granddaughter, Margot McCabe.