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Significant Wawa gravesite threatened by shoreline erosion (photo)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013   by: SooToday.com Staff

"I am writing about a sad story regarding the gravesite of Alphonse Turcotte near Wawa," loyal reader Roy Thompson advises SooToday.com by e-mail.

"The attached photo shows how heavy erosion near the river bank has almost washed his grave into the Michipicoten River. The grave used to be 15 to 20 metres away from the river bank. The site is outside of Wawa's limits and a few kilometres north of Lake Superior provincial park."

Mr. Turcotte and his wife Agnes are well-known figures in Wawa's history, Roy says.

An interesting article in The Algoma News Review tells the story of the Turcottes in North Algoma.

According to the piece, Al came to Wawa in 1939 expecting a short stay while he helped to build the Helen Mine crushing plant.

He fell in love with the area and soon sent for his wife and two sons.

The Turcottes operated Turcotte’s Dry Goods and Clothing Store on Broadway Avenue for some time.

The couple actively promoted the town and supported the creation of important community services.

Al played a significant role in ensuring the Trans-Canada Highway went through Wawa.  

He and other businessmen helped to create the First Wawa Goose - unveiled on September 17, 1960 - on the Lake Superior Route.

In 1969 the Turcottes proudly opened a popular local tourist attraction.

Fort Friendship, an imitation structure, was built on the banks of the Michipicoten River.

In 1974 Al Turcotte died suddenly from a heart attack and was buried next to his fort.

"I no longer live in Wawa, but became aware of the state of his grave through a friend's post on Facebook," Roy reports in his e-mail.

"Ken Martin from Wawa (705-856-7085) is apparently working on getting government involvement in this matter, but the process is very slow. It is extremely sad to see the grave of an important resident of Wawa being washed away. It won't be long and the grave will be gone. I hope that this story is worthy of public attention, which may help the bureaucracy move faster."

Comments
3
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Beej 7/2/2013 1:18:04 PM Report

If they want to save this historical grave site they are going to have to get some volunteers and relocate it themselves in a timely fashion.
I for one would volunteer if necessary and make the trip to Wawa to help out.
Ken Martin is like the boy who called WOLF, no one will listen to him, besides by the time the government ever got around to doing anything about it the site would be long gone down the river.
Pa* 7/2/2013 6:05:56 PM Report

If you notice, no-one from the Turcotte family is involved in this. That is because they told everyone to let nature take it's course. It costs big money to relocate a grave. If you want it done, pay for it out of your own pocket.
Ursus 7/4/2013 1:25:02 PM Report

Whether you are for or against doing anything about this matter, people can contact the MPP for Algoma/Manitoulin Michael Mantha. Here is his email & phone #:

mmantha-qp@ndp.on.ca
705-461-9710

Calling a private citizen about this is not likely to resolve anything, but will likely cause friction.
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