Sunday 20 November 2016


Hot diggety-dog, look at this big girl coming in from Lake Erie's Long Point Bay to unload her catch at Port Dover on September 20th. She's the 54' fish tug COSLEY BROS and instead of the usual white superstructure or house with a red, black or blue trim like one more often might see painted on  a Great Lakes fish tug, COSLEY BROS is almost completely ORANGE above her waterline. Don't get me wrong because orange works for so many things like pylons, and freefall lifeboats like you see at the back of all salties or tankers, or even the hard-shelled inflatable life-raft canister that's secured just beyond the COSLEY BROS's pilothouse amidships. Orange is a great colour because it stands out perfectly in daylight or in a light beam, in rough dark seas or even calm ones like when the proud fish tug gracefully made her way past Port Dover's harbour piers. Named for owner Frank Cosley's two sons, Pete and Paul, the then Port Dover based COSLEY BROS  was built in 1949 at Stephen G. Powell's shipyard near Royal Canadian Air Force Station Dunnville along the Grand River half way between the town of Dunnville and Port Maitland. No. 6 Service Flying Training School, as it was known during the Second World War British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was one of several air bases located along the Lake Erie shoreline and Southern Ontario which trained pilots advanced techniques to prepare them for wartime action overseas or for duty in RCAF Home Defence squadrons. Before the airfield was sold off in 1964, it had been used as a repair depot for RCAF base Trenton (on Lake Ontario). During Sunday drives to Dunnville or along the Grand River, I still recall seeing Lancaster bombers and other aircraft that had been stored or "mothballed" there near the runway. Now that was really cool!! c):-o

Meanwhile, back to the boat blog, soon after being built, the Cosley brothers took over the business from their dad and the fish tug which was then painted red to the top of the bulwarks and her house was silver. Kind of like an airstream trailer that floated, or NOT!! c):-)

Anyhow, in 1977 the Cosley brothers sold the COSLEY BROS to the Weaver brothers of Port Stanley. While the name was kept, her hull was painted black and her house remained silver. Then for a time she was grey and while being rebuilt in the early 2000's, she was coated with an orange primer. After a while, her owners got to like the new colour scheme which is why the COSLEY BROS remains orange to this day. Hey, here's another benefit of being painted orange, it hides the rust real good!! (Got that: Algoma Central).

Nice snaps above of the COSLEY BROS approaching Port Dover's twin bascule hydraulic lift bridge eh? Well actually the big orange fish tug had already motored passed the up reaching spans that actually opened for the first time in 1971, but because she couldn't turn around in narrow Lynn River channel beyond, her skipper had no choice but to slowly run her astern beneath the bridge to get back to the outer harbour and the fish processing plants.
All that in your face fish tug action sure can make you hungry and boy were we surprised to see that Arbor's  Foot-Long Hot Dog stand was still in town. Back when my better half, Janny was growing up in Ancaster, Ontario, near Hamilton, her parents would drive down to Port Dover and stop into Arbor's, which has been in business for 85 years, for their foot long hot dogs, just like my parents did when we visited Port Dover when I was a kid. How neat is that, eh?
My Arbor's foot-longer was smothered in ketchup, mustard, relish and onions while Janny's was just mustard, jalapenos, and a sprinkling of hot peppers that were red, yellow and of course, ORANGE!! c);-b

Thanks again Shaun Vary for your input and a special thank you to Betty Powell, who's  late night Facebook comments were greatly appreciated. c):-D

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