While fishing at Seven Mile Lake in 1966, Terry Way-White, saw a pole at the bottom of the lake, dragged it out, took it home and put it in his basement to dry out.
In May, 1967, as Canada was celebrating its 100th anniversary as a nation, and after eight months work, Mr. Way-White and his friends who had helped him, raised a colourful totem pole at Chapleau's Centennial Park, on Monk Street.
Larry Carroll, Mr. Way-White's nephew helped him get the log home and into his basement, while his friend and neighbour Jack Whitney, carved two of the figures that appeared on it during the eight months it took to transform it from an 17-foot long old log to a colourful totem pole.
|Part of totem pole in Chapleau Heritage Museum, 2011. Courtesy Doug Greig|
Included on the colourful totem pole were a thunderbird, bear, native spirit, Expo 67 Logo and the Centennial Maple Leaf. Also engraved were the Latin words, "Ad mari usque ad mare" meaning from sea to sea, which were emblematic of Queen Victoria's words apparently used when she chose Ottawa as Canada's capital, and was quoted as saying, "You shall have dominion from sea to sea."
Twenty-five years later, on July 1, Mr. Way-White, now retired from the Canadian Pacific Railway, was at the Centennial Park and the totem pole was cut down as the wood had been deteriorating for several years.
When it was placed in the park in 1967, Mr. Way-White had put a time capsule in the base, however, over the years the glass jar had broken and some of the contents had been destroyed. In a glass jar were stamps, centennial coins, a Chapleau newspaper and a note from Mr. Way-White as reeve. Those salvaged were placed on display in the museum.
"We had one helluva time getting the pole out. We didn't think about that once it was carved with wings and what not it was wider than before."
But they managed and the totem pole stood proudly in Centennial Park for 25 years.
In the same article Marg Byer also noted that Mr. Way-White was on duty with the CPR in 1939 when the Royal Train with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on it arrived in Chapleau about two a.m. He noted that he had to wear a special armband and security was provided by the RCMP and CPR Police.
Since I wrote in a recent column about Chapleau Reeve George Fife paying a visit to the train to meet the Royals, it seems that Chapleau was awake for the early morning train stop.
Elizabeth Austin advised that her father Jim Austin was a member of the Chapleau High School Cadet Corps who were on hand for the visit, while June Marie (Charette) Charlwood wrote that her grandfather Edward Woodard had been an engineer on the Royal Train. June Marie's father, Maurice Charette, was part of the CPR Police security detail for the Royal Train, as was Jim Morris, my father.
My thanks to Dave Way-White, Terry's son for providing information on the building of the totem pole. My email is email@example.com