Chippewa Park has been a favorite with city residents and visitors since it opened in 1921.  Located on along the beautiful coast of Lake Superior, Chippewa holds  an amazing view of the Sleeping Giant, this is your destination for family fun, scenic beauty and relaxation.  With so much to see and do Chippewa is your perfect summer getaway.

Camera Image

  Live Web cam from Chippewa Park
Please Note: You must install Axis software in order to view the images, please click on the link below (may not work in all browsers):

 

 

 

 

Chippewa Park’s C.W. Parker Carousel

When people think about Chippewa Park, one of the first images that comes to mind is the Merry-Go-Round.  What most people are not aware of is that there has been a carousel at the park since 1927 and that the carousel we see today is actually the second carousel to delight our children.

In 1926, The Fort William Utilities Commission purchased a carousel to be operated by the Fort William Board of Parks Management.This newest addition to the park was erected at the foot of the beach path near the Tourist Store. It became a favourite diversion for many people and was a bargain at 3 rides for a nickel for children and 5 ¢ a ride for adults. After its opening in 1927, it had little rest except for the frequent times it broke down. According to Frank Banning, a long-time staff member at Chippewa Park, it was a unique model, in which the curved wooden floor, not the horses, moved up and down. He also noted that the whirring of the cable mechanism beneath the board was almost as loud as the musical accompaniment

The merry-go-round had been subject to many violent lake squalls and overuse since its implementation. It was deemed beyond repair in the early 1930’s and the Board searched for a replacement. They received and accepted an offer from Fort Erie’s Mrs. Maude King of “King’s Royal Canadian Shows”.

She sold them a 19-year-old C.W. Parker merry-go-round with an Eli engine and Wurlitzer organ on May 23, 1934, for $1,750.00 to be paid in 3 yearly instalments (a $32,000 value in 2017).  The Board renovated and painted their new merry-go-round in May 1935, and it was soon ready for the crowds of keen youngsters and adults.

Even the merry-go-round was affected by World War II. When Arthur Widnall, Secretary Manager of the Fort William Board of Parks Management attempted to procure a new top to replace the old one in 1944, he was informed that their request for a new top had been placed in the luxury category and would have to wait. He was persistent in his demands as the newly painted merry-go-round looked absurd without a canvas covering. He replied to the authorities that “….the health of our people must be considered and we as Recreational and Park Directors are called upon to provide recreation and entertainment for the children of our men in the forces, the children of the women working in the war plants and for the many war plant picnics we have to take care of and for that reason we hardly feel we should be placed in the luxury category.”

A canopy for the merry-go-round was shipped to Fort William the next day but within 5 years it had rotted and they were forced to order a new one.

In 1967-8, as part of the development of a new amusement ride area, the carousel was relocated to its current location next to the main parking lot. In 1991, the City of Thunder Bay designated the carousel a heritage property under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act. The plaque states “Constructed between 1918 and 1920 by the ‘Amusement King’ C.W. Parker of Leavenworth, Kansas, this carousel is a splendid example of three-dimensional folk art featuring 28 hand carved horses ornamented with corn cobs, dogs’ heads and fish. Our is only one of three of some 800 carousels produced by Parker that remain today.”

Over the years, with minimal resources, the staff at Chippewa Park have been able to keep the carousel in operation. The original Eli engine was replaced with a more efficient and much quieter electric motor. Unfortunately, other key aspects of the carousel have failed and have not been repaired or replaced., the electrical lighting system failed and was not restored. So too did the wonderful WurliTzer paper roll organ which used to belt out war time tunes and other favourites of the 1940’s to the delight of all.

Speaking of the WurliTzer organ we have recently learned from the Durward Center in Baltimore, that” “This organ was built by the Artizan Factories of North Tonawanda, NY.  They were in business from 1922-1929.  It is a Style "A".  Their production numbers were small compared to WurliTzer.  Many Artizan organs were later converted by WurliTzer to their own playing system and roll scale.  Such is the case with the Chippewa organ.  It now uses a WurliTzer style 125 music roll. “

After 102 years of thrilling young and old alike the Carousel is in desperate need of rehabilitation.

“Our horses have travelled millions of miles over the past 102 years and as a result are tired” said Lorraine Lortie-Krawczuk, the President of The Friends of Chippewa Park, “and that is why we are embarking on a major project to restore this wonderful children’s asset so that it will be here for another century.”

As part of their goal of restoring the Chippewa Merry-Go-Round, The Friends of Chippewa Park are excited to present An Evening with Lisa Parr, Carousel Restoration Expert at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery on Tuesday, November 7 at 7:00 PM.

“Lisa Parr has a history of restoring C.W. Parker Carousels and we have contracted with her to guide us and local artisans in returning all aspects of our Carousel to its original factory condition” said Lortie-Krawczuk. “It is essential that we get this right and we are relying on one of the internationally recognized experts to ensure that the restoration only enhances the historical value of the carousel.”

Parr will outline the history of the Parker Carousels and then go below the paint to describe how carousel horses are constructed and the manner in which they must be restored. She has a wealth of knowledge on the development of North American Carousels and will be at the Art Gallery to share with all those interested in our cultural heritage including woodworkers, painters, other artists.

As part of the evening, The Friends of Chippewa Park will speak to the local history of the carousel and provide an indication of some of the plans for the restoration of the historically registered carousel.

 

This evening is supported by the City of Thunder Bay’s Parks and Open Spaces Section and by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

There is no charge for those attending the evening.

Submitted by Iain Angus with files from Jacquie Cleveland, Parks and Recreation Department Researcher (1982) and Thunder Bay City Archives.

 

Chippewa Beaches Permanently Open

 

June 30, 2017

The health unit has adopted a new approach to advising swimmers as to the conditions of area beaches. Instead of doing once a week testing where results can change within hours the health unit has opted to permanently post a rating based on five years of data. Like before swimmers must use their own judgement on whether to enter the water or not.

 

 

If you want to support the work of The Friends of Chippewa Park please click the icon immediately below to make your donation. You will receive a charitable receipt for your contribution.

 

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

 

 

 

 

Check out some pictures !

http://www.cbc.ca/thunderbay/photogalleries/cbcthunderbay/#p-pgallery 

If you have any pictures of Chippewa Park that you would like to share, please bring them out to the park and we will scan them into our computer and add them to our growing data base on the history of the park.  We want your stories too!

The Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History
Check out the link below!

images.ourontario.ca/gateway/details.asp

http://images.ourontario.ca/gateway/details.asp?ID=56631

  Chippewa Park has been a favorite with city residents and visitors since it opened in 1921.  Located on along the beautiful coast of Lake Superior, Chippewa holds  an amazing view of the Sleeping Giant, this is your destination for family fun, scenic beauty and relaxation.  With so much to see and do Chippewa is your perfect summer getaway.  
 

 

Click on the links on the side to see all that Chippewa has to offer, or telephone the Chippewa Hotline at 807-625-CHIP or call Toll Free at 888-711-5094.  Above is a live action look at the water at Chippewa Park and Pictures and Details of events here at Chippewa Park!

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