The Wawa Goose was erected to commemorate the completion of the last link of the Trans-Canada Highway. A Wawa Goose Statue has stood at the intersection of Highways 17 and 101 since September 1960. At first this concept was laughed at by local residents, however, Al Turcott, Gerry Spreng and Mel Phillips perservered.
The original Wawa Goose was constructed of chicken wire and hand-mixed plaster by Mr. Koci. The statue was 27 feet high, 23 feet long and weighed 150,000 pounds. Within a year, it was obvious that the Goose would have to be replaced. The harsh winter weather was wreaking havoc on the plaster. Over the first year, the value of the Wawa Goose statue had been realized and the Township of Michicoten took on project of replacing our town’s new icon. For $5,200, Mr. Dick Vanderclift of Sault Ste. Marie was hired to create the current Wawa Goose.
An immigrant from Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1923, Dick Vanderclift worked for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie for 2 years then started his own ornamental wrought iron and mobile welding business. In 1963, Mr. Vanderklift constructed the Wawa Goose out of rolled cold steel donated by Algoma Steel. This steel was manufactured from the raw hematite ore mined at the George W. MacLeod Mine in Wawa.
The Wawa Goose weighs 4,400 pounds, stands 28 feet high, is 22 feet long and has a wingspan of 19 feet. Mr. Vanderklift also built a smaller replica which sits in the Council Chambers at the Michipicoten Township Municipal Office.
Although beautiful, the current Wawa Goose is in dire need of replacing. You can visit www.thewawagoose.com for more information about the fundraising efforts that are underway.