Red Lake's Norseman taken down from monument, restoration work to begin

Red Lake's famous CF-DRD Norseman float plane monument is getting some much-needed repairs thanks to a successful fundraising campaign.

Plane was damaged in hailstorm last year

A restored CF-DRD Norseman float plane is removed from its monument in Red Lake last week. The plane will undergo repairs after it was damaged in a hail storm last year. (Patrick Boucha/Submitted)

Red Lake's famous CF-DRD Norseman float plane monument is getting some much-needed repairs thanks to a successful fundraising campaign.

The fabric-covered, life-sized Norseman plane that's sat atop a monument in Red Lake's Norseman Park for the last 25 years was heavily damaged last year in a hailstorm.

But the community banded together, launching a fundraising campaign to pay for repairs. The project entered a new phase last week, when the plane was removed by a crane from its monument overlooking Howey Bay.

"This is the first step in the refurbishment process" said Duane Riddell, chairman of the HWY 105 Tourism and Marketing
Board, in a media release issued June 7.

"We have been raising money for several months in order to repair the monument."

Riddell told CBC it will cost about $150,000 to repair the Norseman. The bulk is being covered by insurance, with Red Lake residents raising about $35,000 so far to cover the remaining costs. About $15,000 still needs to be raised, Riddell said.

The repair process will take about a year, according to the board. Riddell said some of the work will be done in Red Lake and Ignace.

"Aviation enthusiasts, former residents, and current residents of the community have come together to help fundraise
the money required to complete the process," said fundraising manager Kim Riddell in the media release.

"This makes me very proud to be a Red Laker and a part of the project."

The Norseman commemorates the role float planes — particularly the Norseman planes themselves — played in opening the Red Lake region during the gold rush.

The Red Lake Norseman was built from the frame of a Norseman aircraft that once flew in the area.