The giant goose marks the start of your adventure
The Municipality of Wawa is a Northern Ontario community of about 3,000 residents. It occupies a total land area of 420 square kilometers, including the communities of Wawa, Michipicoten River Village (Mission) and Michipicoten Harbour. It is located at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 17) and Highway 101. It stretches from the shores of Wawa Lake to the shores of Lake Superior with the Magpie and Michipicoten Rivers flowing through the community. Wawa is at the geographical centre of Ontario and it is accessible by water, air, land and rail.
Wawa is located 225 kilometers north of Sault Ste. Marie along one of the top-ten drives in Canada that follows the breath-taking Lake Superior shoreline. Providing services to several communities in Northeastern Ontario, the Wawa Region covers 90,000 km2 (35,000 square miles) and encompasses 6,500 people living in: Chapleau, White River, Dubreuilville, and six First Nation communities including our close neighbor Michipicoten First Nation.
Wawa’s major business sectors include: Gold Mining, Four-Season Tourism, Forestry, Retail and Personal Services. The community boosts a fully-serviced hospital, state-of-the-art communication infrastructure consisting of digital switching and fibre optics, land and buildings available for immediate development at a lower cost than many other towns, competitive wages, and a skilled and efficient workforce and access to many unique government funding programs available only to businesses that locate in Northern Ontario. Wawa also offers a unique competitive advantage to industries that can benefit from low-cost transportation by providing both rail and shipping services through Michipicoten Harbour on Lake Superior.
YES! It’s the largest of its kind in Canada and one of the most photographed landmarks in North America. Why is this huge monument of a Canada Goose standing poised over the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 101? Well, way back in 1960, the last link of the Trans-Canada Highway was finally completed linking Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie and Western Canada. The folks in Wawa fought long and hard to see the road completed and although they were glad to see it reach their front doors, local businessmen were a bit disappointed that the highway actually by-passed the downtown core of the community.
So one of Wawa’s local entrepreneurs of the day, Mr. Al Turcott, a very creative and ingenious man, felt that Wawa needed something that would stop highway travelers and invite them to come into town. You can imagine the reaction of some of the townsfolk to his idea of a huge statue of a Canada Goose made of plaster. Well, the fact is that this has become Wawa’s “Claim to Fame” and our famous goose has welcomed millions of visitors.
The original plaster sculpture did not stand up to local weather and in 1963, a new monument was constructed with steel which was more representative of Wawa and its large iron ore mine. With Wawa meaning “Wild Goose or Land of the Big Goose” in Ojibway, it makes perfect sense to have a goose welcoming visitors at the entrance of town.
So make sure you stop and take a “gander” at our famous goose during your visit. You can’t miss it at the junction of Highway 17 and 101, right next door to our beautiful Tourist Information Centre with the red roof!