Fred Goodfellow

Fred Goodfellow: The Visionary Behind The Heritage Park

Fred Goodfellow, born in 1920 and passing away in 1999, was more than just a man; he was a teacher, an inspirer, and a dedicated collector who left an indelible mark on the heritage of Northwestern Ontario. His legacy lives on through The Heritage Park, a testament to his unwavering commitment to preserving the past for future generations.

In 1961, Fred embarked on a journey that would change the face of heritage preservation in the region. He purchased the land where The Oliver Paipoonge Heritage Park (OPHP) now stands, and with his own hands, he dismantled the old Biloski Barn on Oliver Road and meticulously reconstructed it on the site. This labor of love became his Centennial Project …

Russ Wanzuk: The Collector Behind Russ’s Garage

Russ’s Garage is named in honour of Oliver Paipoonge resident and car collector Russ Wanzuk.

He’s donated a collection of vintage automobiles, locally-run race cars, soap box derby cars,  pedal cars and a significant collection of other auto memorabilia.

A new 50′ by 100′ building to house the exhibit was completed spring 2022.

Car lover, fabricator, race car fan. Russell was old school; he believed in a firm handshake and that the best things in life could happen right in your own garage.

He enjoyed the company of friends at car shows, race track, swap meets, cruise nights and the ice cream shop in Kakabeka Falls (summer drives).

Russ taught elementary school for 32 years, mostly grade 7 and 8. Some of his best friends and garage buddies were former students.
Many miles were accumulated walking the aisles looking for treasures at car shows and swap meets (many often starting at 6 a.m. with flashlights in hand!).

Prior to teaching he worked at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, Riverside Cemetery and Northern Mining Ventures in Labrador. His interests were fishing, judo and SCUBA diving.

During his scuba diving days he became keenly interested in local history and racing. He amassed a large collection of automobiles along with memorabilia-much of which is now displayed in Russ’s garage at Oliver Paipoonge Heritage Park.

Russell held a position with NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) and a member of MSRA (Minnesota Street Rod Association) ; CSRA (Canadian Street Rod Association), Lakehead Antique Car Club,
he sat on the Board of Directors for the Oliver Paipoonge Heritage Museum and lastly the NOCC (Northern Ontario Classic Cruisers).

Russell was a member of the retired teachers of Ontario (RTO) and the local Thunder Bay Unit.

Duke Hunt Museum

In 1952 the Duke Hunt Museum was conceived after a meeting of the council of the municipality of Paipoonge. The story I was told was that a pioneer couple had passed away and there was no place to put the items they left behind with no family members to receive them. After some discussion at the council meeting about the dispersal of the contents of the farm two of the council members Herb Gammond and Archie Hanna continued the discussion on the way home and came up with the idea of opening a Museum to house all those special artefacts that tell the story of our beginnings in the area.

H.K. (Duke) Hunt was the son of the first settlers in the area and had collected a large number of artefacts himself an so he was approached by council to set up a municipal Museum.

The first Museum was set up in the basement of the slate river School with many local students supplying help to bring it to completion. It remained there for many years until the School needed the space being used by the Museum and it was then moved to a new building provided by the municipality just behind the municipal office on Hwy 130 located behind what is now Rosslyn clinic building. It began wit just very small building but over the years more extensions were added as the collection grew and finally it was a building 180 feet in length. It remained open until the municipality acquired ownership of the Rosslyn Village School. The Museum needed more room and so it was decided to move the contents of the Duke Hut Museum to the Rosslyn Village School. This was done in 2009 with many volunteers coming forth to pack and move the entire contents of the Museum to the School. The Duke Hunt Museum re-opened in 2010 in its new home and was well received by everyone. During that period the municipality was gifted a wonderful automotive collection which required a building to house and so began the search for a place to house it which would take many years to complete. In 2012 the municipality was presented with an opportunity to obtain Founders’ Museum and Pioneer Village on Highway 61 and after completing the deal it reopened with the staff from the Duke Hunt Museum opening the Founders site and keeping both venues open for 4 years. During that time it was becoming difficult to maintain both places with time and effort, and funding. So a decision was made to build a new building on the Founders site to house the new auto collection and at the same time it was decided o move the Duke Hunt Museum to the Founders site using the historic Slate River Hall as a new site for an all new Duke Hunt Museum keeping the artefacts from that Museum separate from the Founders’ collection

  • Lois Garrity

*The Duke Hunt Museum operated under the name Oliver Paipoonge Museum for a number of years

Buddies of the Brill

After the Second World War the Canadian Car Foundry (CCF) in what was then Fort William was slated to close. To keep the plant running (CCF) partnered with the American Car Foundy – (ACF) Brill Motors of Philadelphia to retool the plant and start producing electric powered Trollys.

In March of 1945 design and construction of the Brill Trolleys began.

The Port Arthur and Fort William transit systems purchased and started service with the Brill Trolleys in late 1947.

In 1970 both cities amalgamated into what is now Thunder Bay and the final run of trolleys in Thunder Bay was late 1972.

The Brill trolleys were manufactured until 1954 and were shipped across Canada into many Canadian cities and are an integral part of the transit history of not just Thunder Bay, but Canada as a whole.

In 2001, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 approached Thunder Bay City Council to purchase two Brill Trolley buses that had been sitting in a scrap yard in Richmond B.C. Their plan was to buy the trolleys and restore them to their original exterior colours, one for the Fort William system and one for Port Arthur.

The Brill trolleys were manufactured here in Thunder Bay after the Second World War at the Canadian Car Foundry in what was then Fort William.

The plan was to purchase the two trolleys, restore them to their original exterior colours one representing the Fort William system and one the Port Arthur system.

The city gave the Union $12,000.00 dollars to purchase and transport the trolleys which was completed in 2001 as the first phase of the project. The second restoration phase was completed in 2007 and both Trolleys were shown as part of Thunder Bay Transit’s 115th Anniversary. The third and final phase for the Trolleys is now underway with the formation of the Buddies of the Brill. The Buddies of the Brill is a non-profit organization dedicated to locating a home for the restored Brill Trolleys as part of a a permanent display for the rich transit history that Thunder Bay offers.
















Heritage Buildings

Slate River Community Hall

Originally constructed as 1904 as a school house. It was constructed out of brick and cost a total of $1925. It was originally located on highway 130. Growth in the area required two new school houses. The hall was purchased by the Slate River Women’s Institute and used as a community hall for social events, meetings and community functions. Shortly after WWII it was moved to a site next to the Slate River School. Three teams of horses and a stump machine were used in the winter months to help with mobility. The brocks were removed and purchased for the Gammond farm home. In 1960 the hall moved again this time directly across from the Slate River School. Cement foundation was used and the hall was enlarged with volunteer labour local residents and organizations. It served as a community hall until 1999 when it closed. In April 2000 it was moved to the Founders’ Museum and Pioneer Village. In 2022 the Duke Hunt Museum was moved from the Rosslyn Village School and now resides in the Slate River Community Hall.

SS#1 Conmee School House

Church of the Messiah

The Church of the Messiah was established in Kakabeka in 1937. In 1987, the Church of the Messiah closed due to the decline in the number of parishioners. The building was later moved to the Founder’s Museum, a pioneer village (Now Oliver Paipoonge Heritage Park).

Biloski Barn