Bartlett’s Towing is known for taking the towing business to unusual and unexpected places. The company, located in North Bay Ontario, has along with towing worked to help with traffic control, environmental cleanup and ice and lake recovery. They have also recovered and towed flipped transport trucks, collecting and transporting any spilled oils and liquids. 

Despite the unusual jobs Bartlett Towing takes on, one thing is for sure: things can get much, much stranger. This is exactly what happened to owner Larry Bartlett and his tow team, when Redpath Mining called on the company to lend a hand with moving a wonderfully mysterious ancient cannon, which had been sitting in front of the Redpath Mining office for the last 25 years.

But where in the world did it come from? In the 1700s, a ship was on route from China to England, transporting, along with more than 100,00 pieces of fine Chinese porcelain, the cannon. The ship never made it to England, sinking in the South China Sea and simultaneously destroying more than three million dollars worth of antiques. Hundreds of years later, in the late 1900s, the boat and its contents were finally discovered, and the cannon found its way to Redpath Mining in North Bay, who recently decided to donate it to a local art gallery.

This is where Bartlett Towing comes in, who were asked to transport this fragile piece of history. Of course, its fragility demanded a very particular and careful manner of treatment, and Bartlett towing was exactly what they needed to get the job done.

Sarah Harwood, Bartlett Towing’s Office Administrator was around when the tow went down. “We had to be careful to avoid damage, because it was such a delicate object,” she said. “We removed the cannon from its case, which was extremely old. It was rotting and missing a wheel,” she said. “We protected the cannon with a wrap, and carefully strapped it down before taking it out on the road.”  

It wasn’t easy. “It took about two hours to load the cannon and secure it for delivery,” said Bartlett. He added that it was the most unusual item they have ever had to deliver, in all their thirty years of business. There are bound to be more strange and unusual encounters in store for Bartlett Towing.  What’s next for them, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.