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Richard (Rich) Gravel joined Heddle Shipyards in October 2022 in the role of Vice President of Government Programs. Prior to this, Rich was a senior naval officer as a Maritime Engineer, having completed a 35-year career in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN); he retired at navy Captain rank in 2014. After his retirement from the navy, Rich started his own consulting business, primarily providing Business Development and bid submission support to Canadian and international clients.…
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On Thursday, July 9th, 2022, Hamilton’s 176th birthday, Heddle Shipyards was honoured to host the recommissioning ceremony of the STV Pathfinder, a legacy sail training vessel operated by Brigs Youth Sail Training. More than 100 people attended the Heddle Shipyards Hamilton Facility to celebrate the re-birth of the STV Pathfinder and her return to the Brigs Youth Sailing fleet. Built-in 1962 by the Toronto Brigantine organization, the STV Pathfinder served as a sail training vessel…
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In November of 2021, Heddle Shipyards was awarded the new build contract for the Simcoe Islander II Cable ferry for the Frontenac township, and we are thrilled to report that construction is well underway at our Hamilton Shipyard. The Simcoe Islander II Cable Ferry new build represents the first large Ontario government vessel built in an Ontario shipyard since 2004 when Heddle Shipyards constructed the Howe Island cable ferry, still in service today. Since 2016,…
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As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine worsens, we are working diligently to support the people who have been impacted by the war. You can now visit the Ukraine Humanitarian Info section on our website which is dedicated to sharing information so that individuals and businesses can help. We are proud to announce that, our Board of Directors has approved an additional donation of CAD $25,000 to the Red Cross which will be matched by the…
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Heddle Shipyards is proud to announce that all three of our Ontario Shipyards are fully booked for the 2022 winter works season.  Despite the new wave of pandemic restrictions and supply chain challenges, Heddle Shipyards continues to forge ahead with another busy winter. We continue to make excellent progress at the Port Weller Dry Docks on the CCGS Amundsen Vessel Life Extension and the dry docking and refit of a seaway max cargo vessel. “This…
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Heddle Shipyards has been awarded the vessel life extension of the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen ushering in a new era of growth and stability for the storied Port Weller Dry Docks.  Once the premier shipbuilding facility in Canada, the St. Catharines Shipyard employed upwards of 2000 people during peak operation.  The CCGS Des Groseilliers, sister ship to the CCGS Amundsen and backbone of the Canadian Coast Guards large icebreaking fleet, was constructed…
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It was a summer of progress and excitement for the Heddle Shipyards and Fabmar Metals team in Thunder Bay. Fabmar officially joined Heddle in August and now the Thunder Bay shipyard has  secured a major project for the Government of Ontario – the dry docking of the MS Chi-Cheemaun.  Last week, Heddle Shipyards was awarded the dry docking and refit contract for the passenger vessel, the MS Chi-Cheemaun.  Operated by the Owen Sound Transportation Company,…
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We are proud to announce that the Port Weller Dry Docks will be full for another busy winter work period with two Seaway max lakers. As summer winds down, vacations come to an end, and kids prepare for the coming school year, winter is the last thing anyone wants to think about.  But at Heddle Shipyards, winter is what we live for.  Every year around the end of December, the St. Lawrence Seaway closes to…
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Anyone who has worked in the ship repair and construction industry in Ontario will tell you our industry is not for the faint of heart.  From minus 40 below zero in the winter to plus 37 degrees centigrade in the summer and everything in between, our people earn their living in harsh environments while performing incredibly difficult tasks.  Whether it’s welding steel in double bottoms in the middle of winter or replacing valves in a…
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After the busiest winter works period at the Port Weller Dry Docks in the past decade, it is important to reflect on how we got here and where we came from.  When the docks are flooded, the gates opened, and the vessels sail away after a winter in the shipyard, it is easy to forget the endless hours of planning, preparation, and investment necessary to execute large-scale projects. Winter 2020/2021 was the busiest at the…
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Now that the 2020/2021 winter works season has drawn to a close, it is important to reflect upon Heddle Shipyards’ achievements over the past year and the people who helped make them possible.  Despite the challenges of operating Canada’s largest Great Lakes shipyard during a global pandemic, this past year has been full of significant milestones for our company and none more so than the redelivery of the three Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) vessels, dry-docked…
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For decades, the Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines Ontario was a fixture of the Canadian shipbuilding industry and one of the busiest shipyards in the country.  In 1956, the Upper Lakes Shipping Company purchased the shipyard from the Government of Canada beginning a nearly forty-year span of shipbuilding excellence. Ships such as the CCGS Des Groseilliers, the MV Holiday Island ferry and the self-unloader Canadian Progress – the largest cargo vessel on the…
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Dating back to the days of fighting sail, the maritime community has always maintained our deep-seated traditions.  Keel laying ceremonies, vessel christenings, the hoisting of the colours and the rigid system of shipboard life, are all traditions that date back eons and yet still permeate our modern society.   Flags, in particular, have always held a special place in the maritime world and served a variety of functions from transmitting complex messages between ships to…
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Since March, we have all had to adjust our way of life because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Ontario and Canada have begun to reopen gradually, COVID-19 continues to be a severe threat to our society. As our communities and workplaces slowly move into different reopening stages, we must remain committed to protecting ourselves and those around us from the virus. From the beginning of the global pandemic, Heddle Shipyards instituted rigorous policies and procedures…
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Over the last three months, we have all faced challenges dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic. Our personal and professional lives have been turned upside down as we adjust to living and doing business under social distancing guidelines and the possibility of contracting and spreading COVID-19. We were fortunate to be deemed an essential business, but ultimately, the decision to remain open was based solely on one factor – our people. We all have families…
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It is no secret that both the shipping and ship repair industry in Canada face an uphill battle when it comes to attracting skilled men and women to our industry. Shipboard life can mean long stretches away from home, and the harsh Canadian climate can make working at a shipyard in the winter and summer challenging, to say the least. Attracting young professionals to the marine industry is one of the starkest challenges facing both…
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Take a drive down Lakeshore Road towards Lock One on the Welland Canal, and you will be greeted by sight not seen since in many years. This year, Heddle Shipyards secured not one but two dry docking projects for the winter of 2020. We are honoured and excited to be docking the M/V Kaministiqua for RAND Logistics and the Rt.Hon. Paul J. Martin for Canada Steamship Lines. When Heddle Shipyards took over the Port Weller…
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Heddle Shipyards has come a long way in the thirty plus years that we have been in business. Rick Heddle, the company’s founder and namesake has seen Heddle Marine Service Inc. grow from a business where he was the only employee to a company that now owns or operates the largest number of dry docks in Canada. Although Rick has seen many changes over the years, there are some constant and unwavering factors to the…
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As a busy summer draws to a close and the preparations for winter works begin to take place, Heddle Shipyards is looking forward to an active fall with a number of large and exciting project on the horizon.  None more exciting than the conversion of the MV Clearwater for the Beausoleil First Nations community of Christian Island.   The 38 meter vehicle transport vessel was purchased by the Beausoleil group and was slated for conversion at…
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After a banner winter at Heddle Shipyards that saw a record number of vessels float through our yards, there is no slowing down as we get ready for the dry-docking of the CCGS Limnos in June. The CCGS Limnos, based out of Burlington, ON, is no stranger to Heddle Shipyards, as she has been up on our docks before.  “Repeat vessel visits are great for us and for the client as we get to know…
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It was with great pride that on June 4th, Heddle Shipyards delivered its most recent new build project, the Kearl Lake small ice breaking hull.  In partnership with Hike Metals from Wheatly, Ontario, Heddle Shipyards was awarded the hull portion of the new build ice class work boat for use in the oil sands tailings ponds. The hull has been delivered to Hike Metals, where they will complete the fit out and final delivery. The…
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As Heddle Shipyards continues to grow and take on bigger and more complex projects, the building up of our project management department has become an increasing priority.  Last month, Heddle Shipyards took a giant step forward with the Hiring of Alicia Nash as our Director of Project Management. Alicia comes to us from Lloyd’s Register where she worked for 8 years as an engineering systems team lead. She brings with her extensive project management, coordination and…
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Normally with winter works having long finished and most of our commercial partners firing on all cylinders, the action around the shipyards starts to taper off.  Not so this year, as Heddle Shipyards continues to build on one of its busiest seasons with the award of the CCGS Pierre Radisson dry-docking and refit. The Radisson is scheduled to hit the blocks on June 7th and will remain at Port Weller until the early fall. “Summer projects…
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