Pioneer Spirit Statue
The artist Ernie Favelle was born and raised in the Temiskaming region, one of Canada’s most significant mining, forestry and agricultural areas. His own experiences, along with stories told by his father and other pioneers, inspired a certain realism in his artwork. In the early ’70s, Ernie discovered the magic of clay and worked full time in his workshop to create unique sculptures. He developed a line of successful limited edition series.
The summer of 1922 was especially dry in the entire Temiskaming area, and residents were unprepared for the unforeseen consequences. On Wednesday, October 4, 1922, around noon, winds whipped up to about 90 miles an hour. By 2:00 p.m., schools had closed and at 3:15 p.m., the judge had to stay court proceedings. The general alarm sounded to warn that a fire was fast approaching. Families were separated – the men assisted with the emergency while the women and children took cover under blankets soaked in the lake – and the distraught sat on boulders on the shoreline. Soon after, the winds turned to the west and the isolated fires joined forces to create a blazing wildfire. By 4 p.m., it was a complete blazing disaster!
The fire devastated 18 townships and a total of 648 square miles, crossing the lake, even, and heading into Quebec. The worst of the devastation was here, however, which is why it was named “The Great Haileybury Fire of 1922.”
Here on this very site, every Wednesday during the summer, the “Art in the Park” event is held to showcase the artistic and cultural contributions of local amateur artists. Also, the “North on Tap” festival spotlights the craft beers of Northern Ontario. You can head over to the Whiskeyjack Microbrewery to enjoy a local beer.