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Wawa's Canada Goose may fly over Toronto harbourfront

The town of Wawa has been worried it may have to lose its iconic landmark — but the Ontario Sheet Metal Worker's Union is flying in to try to save the town’s roughly 50-year-old Canada Goose.

Proposed spectacle aims to raise funds to pay for the rusty landmark's repairs

According to a sign in front of the Canada Goose landmark in Wawa, Ont., the metal bird was constructed in 1960, using Algoma Steel products made from iron ore mined by the Algoma Ore Division. (Supplied)
The iconic goose in Wawa will take flight next fall. The Ontario Sheet Metal Workers Union is taking the goose on a final migration south. Jay Perterson of the Sheet Metal Workers and Roofers Union explained the plan plan and why it was hatched. 8:02

The town of Wawa has been worried it may have to lose its iconic landmark — but the Ontario Sheet Metal Worker's Union is flying in to try to save the town’s roughly 50-year-old Canada Goose.

The metal statue has become so corroded that it's dangerous.

But the union has hatched a plan to try and save it.

Jay Peterson with the Sheet Metal Workers union said his members will both fundraise and build a new goose.

He said they've had other experiences with municipal statues, including the stainless steel goose in Midland.

They've also helped to maintain the landmark that has come to symbolize Sudbury.

An up-close look at the rust eating away at Wawa's landmark Canada Goose. (Supplied)
“We've helped repair the Big Nickel, at one point,” Peterson said.

“This type of thing is not unusual for us. We're happy to be doing this as a partnership with Wawa.”

Peterson said plans for a fundraiser include transporting the old goose down to Toronto to find a spot on the Harbourfront.

Steel has "rotted completely"

The chief administrative officer for the Town of Wawa said taxpayers can't afford the $500,000 to fix the landmark.

“The fact is that we're having problems with the tail feathers and one of the wings. The steel has rotted completely right through.”

Peterson noted workers with his union plan to re-inforce the old goose and truck it south.

Once in Toronto, Peterson said they will hoist the goose into the air and then simulate the giant goose landing on a harbourfront beach — a sight he thinks people would pay to see.

“If we lift the Wawa goose up by helicopter, and fly her, what seems to be south, that will attract a lot of attention and get a lot of discussion going about the Wawa goose and all things related, and we think we could make a lot of money.”

But goes won’t permanently stay in the south. Peterson said he is confident their plan will raise the money needed to build a new Goose and have it back in Wawa by the Spring of 2016.

So far, taxpayers have raised about $50,000.

The Canada Goose is a symbol of the northern Ontario community of Wawa, whose name in Ojibway means "wild goose.' The landmark was constructed in 1960. (Supplied)

Facts about The Goose

  • The original idea to build a Goose monument at the junction of the new Trans Canada Highway at the entrance to town was the idea of local entrepreneurs Al Turcott, Mel Philips and Jerry Spreng.
  • Disappointed that the construction of the Trans Canada Highway from Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa would by-pass the downtown area by about a mile, they were convinced that something was needed to attract the attention of travelers on the highway and make them stop at Wawa
  • The first goose was made of plaster and chicken wire. It did not hold up well to the weather and was replaced in 1964. It was financed by Mr. Turcott himself. 
  • The original goose was made by Mr. Koci of Alberta who had worked on the Dinosaur Park in Calgary and was made of chicken wire and plaster
  • The new Goose Monument erected in 1964 and still standing today is 28 feet high, 22 feet from beak to tail and a wingspan of 19 feet. It weights 4,400 pounds and is constructed of rolled steel from Algoma Steel. It was commissioned by the municipality.
  • The purpose of building a Goose Monument at the Junction of the new highway was to lure travellers to stop in Wawa
  • The Wawa Goose Monument quickly became the most popular postcard image sold along the Lake Superior Circle Route
  • 65,000 visitors stop at the Goose Monument each season.
  • The current steel Goose Monument was constructed at a cost of $8,000 

Source: Municipality of Wawa

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