Atikokan seeking centennial canoe

The mayor of Atikokan wants Thunder Bay to help his town acquire a piece of history — a canoe used to celebrate the Centennial in 1967.

'Canoe capital' wants Thunder Bay's help to bring heritage canoe to Atikokan

The mayor of Atikokan wants Thunder Bay’s help to acquire a piece of history — a canoe used to celebrate the Centennial in 1967.

Ontario's centennial canoe was used 46 years ago in a cross-Canada race involving teams from all provinces. Dennis Brown said four of Ontario's paddlers were from his community and he wants to give the canoe a higher profile.

A canoe used in Canada's 1967 centennial is under wraps in Thunder Bay — something Atikokan wants to see changed. The community would like to put the canoe on display as part of its rich canoeing heritage. (Supplied)

"There's a lot of canoeists around, we have a canoe manufacturer in town, we have a paddle-maker in town," Brown said.

"So it's part of our lifestyle … in Atikokan and we think we have a lot of good information on this."

The canoe is in storage in Thunder Bay, but it's not clear who actually owns it.

Brown said it's rarely used or even displayed anymore.

At a meeting Monday evening, Mayor Brown was to ask Thunder Bay city council for its help in acquiring the famous canoe.

Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown is spearheading efforts to bring the Centennial (1967) canoe to his community. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Thunder Bay Councillor Ken Boshcoff said the issue has come up before with no resolution.

"It's being stored in private hands at this time, so the town of Atikokan, as the canoe capital of Canada, feels they have a reasonable claim," Boshcoff said.

Brown said he hopes the request will be taken seriously — and acted on — when he makes his pitch.

During the meeting he will also be joined by one of the Atikokan paddlers who used the canoe in 1967.

"This is a very important piece of history for the whole province of Ontario," Brown said.

"[We want to] put it on display, permanently, …so that local residents and visitors [can] … see this piece of history."