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October 12, 2007

Mattawa Moose Hunt Revisited



In the October 20, 2000 edition of Community Voices I wrote about an 1890 moose hunting article in Harper's Magazine by Julian Ralph and illustrated by Frederick Remington the famous American artist.  They came to Mattawa and with 3 native Mattawa guides went into the bush north of Mattawa and got their moose.  It is a fascinating piece of history from 117 years ago.  The head guide was Alexandre Antoine whose descendants are actively involved in the Antoine First Nation organization in Mattawa.  Their Matawa'sibi Trading Post is at 375 Main Street, Mattawa.  Antoine Township and Antoine Creek are named after the original Chief Antoine who came to Mattawa in the early 1800s. 

The 19 page article with numerous illustrations was too large to reproduce at the time but is now available just in time for the 2007 moose hunting season.  In the July 27 issue of Community Voices I wrote about the Vintage Postcards website with its excellent material.  The site now has the full moose hunting article with beautifully reproduced illustrations on line at www.vintagepostcards.org/antoine.htm.  Thanks to Vintage Postcards for this beautiful piece of nostalgia. 

Bonfield's First Spike Project 

The first spike in the building of the CPR took place in Bonfield in 1882 and is celebrated in an historical project near the Bonfield Municipal Office.  I wrote about their acquisition of a CPR caboose when it arrived a couple of years ago.  There has been annual First Spike Days to celebrate the project.  In 2002 Bonfield was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame. 

  The First Spike Caboose in Bonfield with volunteers finishing new paint job.  P. Mackey photo

The project suffered a potential derail recently and when I went by the caboose a couple of weeks ago it looked as if it needed some TLC.  A refurbished committee has been established and the caboose has been repainted by volunteers (see photo).  It is a great project and with some funding, additional artifacts, and some hard work the location will become an economic and historical location of note. 

Voyageur Canoe Launched 

Mike Gauthier, Calvin Township's Metis craftsman, launched his 32' birchbark canoe recently on the Mattawa River (see photo).  Mike's craftwork is on display at the Mattawa Museum and he has produced two other canoes.  The new canoe was a five month challenge that worked out beautifully.  Mike has made a video record of the building of the canoe and hopes to teach a course on canoe building in the future.  Mike's son Eric is completing a 6 foot birchbark model to learn the skills and continue the family tradition.  For further information log on to Mike's website at www.metiscanoe.ca.  

  Mike Gauthier Voyageur Canoe Canoeing on the Mattawa River.  Mike Gauthier photo.

Ken Danby Dies in Algonquin Park 

Outstanding Canadian artist Ken Danby died of a heart attack while on an excursion on North Tea Lake out of the South River Park Access.  Ken painted there on several occasions and was featured artist at the South River Arts Festival recently.  Roy MacGregor in the Globe & Mail compared his death with that of Tom Thomson who painted in the same area.  Northern Edge Algonquin in South River has run several Tom Thompson courses in the same area and I had the pleasure of speaking to the participants in one course earlier this summer. 

Ken Danby print on auction at Kennedy Gallery in North Bay in November.  Gallery photo.

Danby's powerful realistic paintings, especially his famous hockey goalie painting are well known.  The WKP Kennedy Public Art Gallery in North Bay is having its Gala 20th Anniversary Art Auction on November 24, 2007 and along with 150 other paintings a Ken Danby print will be in demand. (see photo). For information on the auction see www.kennedygallery.org.  

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