William Lyon Mackenzie (fireboat)

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WLMK Fireboat.JPG
Flag of Canada.svgToronto, Ontario
Name: William Lyon Mackenzie
Namesake: William Lyon Mackenzie
Owner: City of Toronto
Operator: Toronto Fire Services (previous Toronto Fire Department 1964-1997)
Ordered: 1963
Awarded: 1963
Builder: Russel Brothers Limited, Owen Sound, Ontario
Cost: CAD$605,000
Yard number: 1216
Laid down: 1963
Launched: November 7, 1963
Sponsored by: Canadian Maritime Commission
Christened: 1963
Completed: 1963
Acquired: December 1963
Commissioned: 1964
Maiden voyage: December 1964
In service: 1964-present
Out of service: 2004 (refit)
Reinstated: 2004
Homeport: Toronto
Nickname(s): Mac
Status: Active
Notes: Named after William Lyon Mackenzie
General characteristics
Type: Fireboat-Icebreaker
Tonnage: 102 gt
Displacement: 200 tonnes
Length: 24.7m (81 feet)
Beam: 6m (20 feet)
Draft: 2.5m (7 feet)
Depth: 3m
Ice class: 1C
Propulsion: 2 x 3412 Caterpillar Diesel
Speed: 12 knots (13.8 mph; 22.2 km/h) - max 22km/hr
Complement: 3, (can use boost crew of 4)
Crew: 22

William Lyon Mackenzie, built by Russel Brothers,[1] named for Toronto's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, is a fireboat for the Toronto Fire Services. It was built in 1964 with a modified Tugboat hull to provide marine fire fighting as well as icebreaking capabilities. In 2004 the fireboat was refurbished and it is expected to be in service until 2037.

Initial design[edit]

As designed, the vessel was to be equipped with radar, echo sounder, radio, and daytime accommodation for the off-duty shift.[2]


The fire boat is equipped with:

  • aerial tower - 54' Amador/Trump Limited Giraffe (refubrished 2004)
  • hiab 5 ton crane
  • 2 Diesel driven water pumps
  • 5 water nozzles

The boat is mainly docked at 339 Queen's Quay West next to Fire Station #334. It is the main fireboat for the City of Toronto's Fire Services as well as an icebreaker for the City of Toronto. Built in Owen Sound, Ontario by Russel Brothers Limited. The William Lyon Mackenzie operates 12 months a year, providing emergency services within Toronto Harbour and the adjacent waters of Lake Ontario. The T.F.S recently purchased the William Thorton, a Mid-shore patrol built in 1982 for CCG and acquired by TFS in 2015. The William Thornton will be staffed by the crew of the Wm. Lyon Mackenzie as a backup/additional boat.


The WLM in action.

In 2004, the vessel completed a $1+ million refurbishment that will extend the in-service life of the vessel by approximately 30 years. The main propulsion diesels engines were replaced and the "Aerial" platform was refurbished.[3]

William Lyon Mackenzie is one of a few fireboats to ply the Great Lakes, Edward M. Cotter is operated by Buffalo Fire Department and operates in Lake Erie.

Operational history[edit]

The William Lyon Mackenzie was called upon to give the newly commissioned tugboat Iron Guppy a ceremonial shower when she joined PortsToronto's fleet, on July 23, 2016.[4]


  1. ^ Steve Briggs. (2018). "Russel Brothers Boats Archive". [Steve Briggs]. 
  2. ^ Arthur Brydon (1961-10-02). "$`150,000 Toronto Tug Launched at Erieau Honors THC Veteran". Blobe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-02. Still in the works for the harbor is a fire boat to be paid for by the city. It is in the process of being built. The new craft is 65 feet long with an 18-foot beam and is equipped with radar, echo sounder and radio. Daytime accommodation is provided for the crew which will work in two shifts. 
  3. ^ "Toronto Fire Service Annual Report 2004" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  4. ^ Mike Filey (2016-07-23). "Meet the 'Iron Guppy': The past and future of Toronto's waterfront tugs and fireboats". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2017-03-29. Ports Toronto's new tug "Iron Guppy" (or perhaps pronounced a more sophisticated "Eeron Goopay") is the most recent in a succession work boats that over the years did yeoman service in and around our harbour. 

External links[edit]