Killarney was founded in 1820 and at that time was known as Shebahonaning (safe canoe passage). Some time later the name was changed to Killarney. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Killarney in 2020, Mike Ranta decided to build the world's largest paddle.
Plans for The Big Dipper started in early 2018 with drawings that followed. The wood was selected and ordered in the fall of 2018. Construction began in earnest in January 2019. The Big Dipper was to be formally unveiled at Killarney's 200th anniversary celebrations in July of 2020, however, the COVID pandemic changed the launch date to 2021. The photo on the right is of Mike Ranta leaning against the handle.
The paddle will be situated beside Canada House, the world's largest log conference centre, located at the Killarney Mountain Lodge. Coordinates for Latitude/Longitude are: 45.9700024, -81.503591
It is meant to celebrate the history of the area. The Great Lakes and Georgian Bay offered the voyageurs access to miles of boating to transport all their products. They paddled their canoes through all kinds of conditions to establish the fur trading economy which was the origin of one of the oldest companies in the world which is still operating; Hudson Bay Company.
Big Dipper Fun Facts:
Width (Blade): 17 '
Shaft: 2' x 2 '
Weight: 22,000 pounds
Construction materials: Eastern White Cedar (native to the area)
Time Capsule: It will contain an 8” wide cylinder that will be approximately 50’ long to contain various artifacts which will be revealed in 2220, two hundred years from now.