Atlantic Poplar was built as Amherstburg in 1965 by the Erieau Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co Ltd in Erieau, ON for McQueen Marine Ltd of Amherstburg, ON. That company was involved in towing and salvage work on the Lakes and had a sideline of winter icebreaking. Owners of several famous tugs, including the Atomic, the new tug was the epitome of tug design of the time, with a double chine hull, twin screws and icebreaking bow. It was powered by two Davey Paxman V-8s totaling 2920 bhp.
1. Irving Poplar in Halifax with a fuel barge in 1979.
When McQueen scaled back operations in the 1970s. J.D.Irving Ltd bought the tug in 1975 and gave it the new name of Irving Poplar.
It was put to work towing fuel barges, doing harbour docking and general towing around Atlantic Canada, including being based in Belledune, NB and Point Tupper, NS.
In 1996, as part of a fleet wide renaming policy, the tug became Atlantic Poplar, as part of Atlantic Towing Ltd.
2. Ready to come off the slip at Shelburne in 2004, the tug shows off its icecrunching bow.
3. Atlantic Poplar threads its way through sail boats in Halifax Harbour, towing a barge.
4. Over the past winter it was perched on the end of the IEL dock in Dartmouth.
The tug received a major refit in Shelburne in 2004, but by 2009 it was retired from active service.
Plans to restore/re-engine the tug may be in the works, but there has been no sign of any activity aboard since the tug laid up in Halifax. Although somewhat antiquated by today's standards, it would still be a useful vessel if work could be found for it.
It left Halifax Sunday April 15 in tow of the Atlantic Beech, destination Saint John, NB. There it will join two other long idled members of the Atlantic Towing fleet: Atlantic Birch and Atlantic Maple.