THUNDER BAY – The Friends of Chippewa Park Carousel Restoration Committee gathered with the public to unveil its capital campaign to save the 103-year-old Chippewa Park carousel, including a website with online donation capabilities and the announcement of the first horse sponsorship. The campaign is the next step to return the designated heritage structure to its original luster, thanks to initial grants from the City of Thunder Bay and Canada 150.
The organization is confident that the unique sponsorship opportunities, like “Adopt a Horse”, will help drive donations and funding to reach its $900,000 goal. “An essential part of the Carousel restoration is the 28 handmade horses, each of which must be stripped of its materials, and reconstructed and painted to heritage standards of restoration,” says Jules Tupker, Capital Campaign Chair. “By adopting a horse, individuals, families, and businesses can fund the complete restoration of one horse of their choosing, with unique benefits from display opportunities leading up to its restoration, to permanent recognition at Chippewa Park. It’s a fun way preserve a piece of history while creating a legacy for your family or your business.”
Local entrepreneur, Kateri Banning, kicked off the campaign as the first “Adopt a Horse” sponsorship, in honour of her late grandfather Frank Banning. “Chippewa Park holds thousands of memories for our family and many others,” says Banning. “My Grandfather, Frank Banning, dedicated his life to helping others and spent his career caring for Chippewa and the families that visited it. He absolutely loved the Park and we can’t think of a better way to honour him than this dedication of the Lead Horse today. Chippewa was his happy place and now he will always have his seat on the carousel.”
Tupker continues, “Ms. Banning’s Lead Horse sponsorship, in honour of her late grandfather, embodies the sentiment of the entire restoration project. This carousel has been passed down from generation to generation like a beloved toy. It’s about family, heritage, and keeping the tradition alive.”
In addition to “adopting” a horse, there are many other ways the public can get involved. Funding is required for chariot restoration, electrical, mechanical, structural, and artistic components, as well as the original WurliTzer Organ. “Our new website is an important part of the capital campaign, as we are able to accept online donations of any amount to help with other elements of the restoration.
A campaign contribution is easy and available for any price point. This campaign is just as accessible to the public as the carousel itself has been since its arrival at Chippewa over 80 years ago,” notes Donna Gilhooly, Co-Chair of the Carousel Restoration project.
Those wishing to donate to the Chippewa Carousel restoration, or to learn more about the campaign and restoration, are encouraged to visit saveourcarousel.ca.