Giant muskie to be restored in Kenora

by Editorial Staff | March 11, 2022
Officials gather at Husky the Muskie during a March 11 funding announcement.
Officials gather at Husky the Muskie during a March 11 funding announcement. (Photo by Tom Thomson)

A giant muskie sculpture that has long symbolized Kenora will be restored as part of a $493,077 provincial investment in revitalizing the city’s harbourfront.

The city will repair and repaint Husky the Muskie with Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation funding, the Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry (NDMNRF) ministry announced on Friday, March 11.

The 12-metre (40-foot), 55-year-old landmark created by Jules Horvath and Bob Selway rises above the Lakeview Drive waterfront opposite McLeod Park.

Accessibility improvements, lighting and washroom upgrades, tugboat refurbishments, and construction of a playground, picnic area, fishing pier, and amphitheatre planned for the park will attract tourists and boost economic growth, the ministry stated.

“Kenora has come a long way from its pulp and paper mill beginnings,” NDMNRF Minister Greg Rickford stated. “Together, we have transformed Kenora into a tourist and lifestyle destination of choice. Today’s provincial funding will further complement and grow what this community has achieved.”

Kenora is grateful for the provincial support, Mayor Daniel Reynard stated, pointing out it “will ensure that a sculpture of national recognition continues to be an iconic attraction for local residents and seasonal visitors.”

Husky a local legend

OOD contributor and BASS Elite angler Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, of Keewatin, just west of Kenora, is grateful for the pending makeover. He said he is proud Kenora and Lake of the Woods are represented by a “really cool” muskie sculpture.

“It’s been there as long as I’ve been around, and I think it’s a good representation of our beautiful lake,” he said. “The whole park and surrounding area are a great place for visitors to stop on their way through town.”

Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Cultural Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod called Husky a local legend. “Originally built to celebrate Canada’s centennial, the now famous roadside attraction is just one reason to visit this beautiful northern Ontario city. Today’s announcement boosts regional employment, attracts more visitors and reignites Kenora’s sense of community and pride of place, while ensuring Husky the Muskie remains a beloved mascot, tourist attraction, and an ambassador for preventing water pollution.”

The NOHFC, which was re-launched in 2021, funds projects that stimulate growth, job creation, and skills development. Since June 2018, more than $473 million has been invested in 4,244 northern Ontario projects, leveraging more than $1.5 billion in investment and creating or sustaining more than 6,600 jobs, officials stated.

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