UPDATE: There will be an unveiling of the new and improved Big Joe Muffraw statue during Mattawa Voyageur Days 2017.
For details see: http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/a-true-canadian-artist-pays-tribute-to-folk-hero-big-joe-mufferaw-with-wood-statue-1.3486183#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=S16RLvZ
History is never far from you in Mattawa Voyageur Country!
Just about every North American explorer of note at one time or another paddled up the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers, en route to the hinterland of this great continent. They rubbed shoulders with missionaries, First Nations and colorful, local characters who became legends in their own right.
Twenty-two, larger than life, wooden statues commemorating some of these famous historical figures, grace the streets and environs of Mattawa and the Highway 17 corridor to North Bay. Walk over the two bridges over the Mattawa River at the end of Mattawa's main street and stand in the shadow of the giant 17 ' statue of legendary Big Joe Muffraw on scenic Explorers' Point. Go on a treasure hunt and find the two Pioneers on Tenth Street. Seek out the eleven, 9 foot tall statues set among the quaint shops and restaurants on Monestime Way, Mattawa's main street. Pick up a map from Mattawa Travel Information Centre, located behind 'The Voyageur' (9) and do a walking tour of the statues in Mattawa. Don't forget to watch out for the remaining statues located along Highway 17.
Samuel de Champlain, a famous 17th century French explorer, is the last statue as you leave Mattawa on Highway 17 eastbound. The Railroad Worker, which is at the junction of Highway 17 with Highway 531 to Bonfield, is the last statue westbound.
Adjacent plaques name the statues and summarize their historical exploits and connection to Mattawa Voyageur Country.
Peter Cianfriani was initially appointed to carve the statues, but became ill after starting work on Big Joe Muffraw. Well-known carver, Garry Johnston, took over the task, ably assisted by Clermont Duval, who played a major role in designing the statues and both modelling and carving the heads.
There are 23 statues in all. One statue was removed from its original position and is currently in storage.
Financial support for the statues came from FedNor, The Town of Mattawa, the Trillium Foundation, The Mattawa Forestry Committee, Tembec, the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses with statues outside their premises.
- 1. Big Joe Muffraw
- 2. Pioneer Josephine
- 3. Pioneer Joseph
- 4. First Nations.
- 5. Jean de Brebeuf.
- 6. Grey Owl.
- 7. Gordon duFoe.
- 8. Stone Axe
- 9. The Voyageur.
- 10.Etienne Brule.
- 11. Medart-Chouard des Groseilliers.
- 12. Pierre-Esprit Radisson.
- 13. Louis Bastien
- 14. Anahareo
- 15. Alexander Mackenzie