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A Brief History of the Longest Continuously Running Event on the North Shore of Lake Superior
 
 
It was around 1964 when Tom Chesney, then President of the Nipigon Legion met with Harold Lumsden and Jim McCullough and first discussed the idea of having a Nipigon Fishing Festival.  Their plan was to develop an event that would not compete with other local fishing derbies, and their vision was to develop something that was more than just a fishing derby.  They added the word festival.  And the Labour Day weekend would be the perfect weekend to hold the event.

At a General Meeting of the Legion a canoe race, flour bag lift, community dance, ball tournament, and booths were added, and the and the first “Legion Fall Fishing Festival was in place in 1965.  Three days of fun and excitement were planned, and the budget for the inaugural event was set at $700.00.  The first committee members included Ed Leskinen, Gene Linard, Stan Gordon, Lorne Oliver, Ike Mutch, Roe Skillen and Harold Lumsden.  Over the years John Ahl, and many more Legion members have helped keep the festival going.  Others such as Glena Clearwater, John Harding and Matt Saari also contributed to the longevity of the festival.  For years the festival was run by the Legion based on their motto “Service to the Community”.  It is ironic how some things do not change.

The Legion ran the event with their members until approximately 1997.  At that time members of other local service and recreation clubs such as the Nipigon Curling Club, the Nipigon Elks, the Nipigon Bay Snowmobile Club and the Nipigon Hospital started filling in gaps that Legion members could no longer fill.  For the past number of years the event has been run by the Nipigon Curling Club, the Nipigon Elks and the Nipigon Hospital.  Several Legion members still lend a hand where they can.  The event is still a family oriented event that is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

 
Some memorable events over the past 40 plus years include:
 
In 1965, 13 year old Manfred Brown (son of Chalet Lodge owners) won the $1,000 draw prize.
 
In 1980, Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope travelled through Nipigon during the festival
 
 
 
 
 
In 1986 the Ontario Science Centre’s travelling exhibition “Sideshows” came to the festival.  It featured a bicycle generator, a hologram, silent film loops of a human birth and more unique displays.
 
Walkathons to Cameron Falls and back.  Past winners include Hilja Hannula, David Button, Anna Hilden, Elaine Locker, Brian Heppler, Dale Kivilahti, Bill Person and Kathy Kangas
 
Other past events include attendance by Miss Canada, skydiving exhibits, fireworks, log-rolling contests, nail driving contests, Sunday evening entertainment, a Miss Nipigon Legion Pageant, a dunk tank and a children’s minnow catch.