theodore tugboat

Theodore tugboat is chilling in the Toronto harbour right now

Remember Theodore Tugboat? From that old 90s TV show where anthropomorphic sea vessels partake in adventures and (to quote Google) "explore feelings, fairness and friendship" together?

He's here, at the Toronto Harbourfront, all the way from Halifax. But only for a visit. And he's actually only a (really big) replica of the original toy boat used on said toy boat's eponymous show.

"Theodore TOO" is identical to the smiling red tugboat we saw on CBC television between 1993 and 2001, only much larger, at 65 feet in length. The original is actually quite tiny.

Yeah, I was also surprised to learn that the show was filmed on a set using remote-controlled toy boats. Big Harbour was basically a bathtub.

But Theodore TOO is a real, working boat, capable of travelling all the way from his longtime home in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Hamilton, where he will be recognized even by those who've never seen his show as an iconic piece of Canadiana.

The boat left Halifax for Hamilton with a four-person crew on June 10, but has been stopping off in waterfront communities along the way to promote water conservation initiatives on behalf of Swim Drink Fish.

The tugboat's owner, Blair McKeil, announced when the ship left Halifax that Theodore was collaborating with Swim Drink Fish to "play a larger role in promoting several of the organization's initiatives including its Great Lakes Guide."

McKeil affirmed Theodore TOO's "unwavering commitment to promoting Canada's Maritimes" at the time and revealed that plans are also in the works to have the character "actively advocate for employment in Canada's marine and shipbuilding industry in the face of a critical labour shortage."

Accompanied by a flotilla of welcoming vessels, the tugboat arrived at port this afternoon in front of the Toronto Harbourfront Centre.

He'll stay here until Sunday morning and is scheduled to arrive in Hamilton that same day, at which point he will be converted to biodiesel in line with his new gig as a sustainability champion.

Built at Snyder's Shipyard in Dayspring, Nova Scotia, Theodore TOO officially launched in April of 2000. The character is still described as "a proud ambassador to the East Coast," even though he'll now live in the Port of Hamilton.

So, if you do miss your chance to take giant rubber duck-style selfies with Theodore this weekend, you could always drive to The Hammer sometime when he's out and about seeing fans.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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