Wawa, Ontario – Ontario Visitor Points of Interest – The Wawa Goose
The Goose’s Point of view
The TransCanada Highway Circle Route that crosses north of Lake Superior passes within one mile of Wawa, Ontario. On September 17, 1960, dignitaries, townsfolk and visitors from far and wide stood on the side of the hill at the intersection of Hwys 17 and 101 to watch the ribbon cutting ceremony. Although the weather didn’t cooperate (drizzle), most of the people who were gathered there for the ceremonies were likely more interested in seeing “The Wawa Goose” than seeing all of the dignitaries with their scissors.
Anyone travelling past Wawa on the Transcanada Highway will haveÂ undoubtedly noticed the huge statue of a Canada Goose that is strategically located on a hillside in front of the Tourist Information Centre. Al Turcott, Jerry Spreng and Mel Phillips were instrumental in having the first monumental goose erected at this location with the purpose of quietly alerting travelers to the possibilities just a short distance away in Wawa, Ontario. The first goose, pictured above, was constructed of steel covered in hand mixed plaster. Designed by Mr. Koci of Alberta, the original goose was 27 feet in height and weighed about 150,000 pounds. Mr. Koci’s other sculptures of note were the collection of dinosaurs at Dinosaur Park in Calgary, Alberta.
For those who might have an interest in such details, the dignitaries present for the ribbon cutting included Ontario’s Premier Frost, Transport Minister Hees, The Hon. Fred Cass, the Hon. Bryan Cathcart, Harry Lyons and a number of other M.P.s from Ottawa.
Despite its size and weight, the original goose did not weather too well and three years later, in 1963, the original goose was moved to a new location by Fort Friendship on the Michipicoten River, and its spot taken by the current goose.
Weighing in at a relatively meager 4,400 pounds, the current goose, installed in 1963, is 28 feet in height, has a 19 foot wing span and measures 22 feet from beak to tail. It is constructed of steel made from local Helen Mine iron ore and was sculpted in Sault Ste. Marie by Mr. Dick Vandercliff before being transported to Wawa by barge.
The present goose is beginning to show its age and the community is presently in fund-raising mode to raise enough funds to erect a new one. More info on that campaign is here: Wawa Goose Monument Fundraising Campaign.