Rickward’s Fourth Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show
In a land with as much snow as Canada, and Central Ontario in particular, it’s no wonder snowmobiles have become a staple of the winter landscape. Snowmobiles rugged enough for life in Central Ontario started to be available to the public in the mid-1900’s when other forms of transportation were ill-suited to the geography and winter conditions in the Almaguin Highlands.
Life in more northern, remote parts of Canada changed greatly with the arrival of stable and reliable snowmobile technology. Snowmobiles replaced dog sled teams in many instances because people believed they required less care, were cheaper to maintain, and were faster than dog sledding. Today, when in many places dog sledding has become a sport, rather than a common form of winter transportation, snowmobiles and snowmobile trail groomers play a significant role in the creation and maintenance of dog sled trails and race courses. The two are forever linked.
Starting in the 1960’s, snowmobiles were certainly popular in the Kearney area. Without the incredible provincial trail system that exists today, residents couldn’t travel hundreds of miles, they had to make their own trails, and travel would have been slower and more local … a family outing or perhaps some ice fishing. Local resident and school bus driver, Charlie Gilchrist was known to bring the kids from the Clam Lake area of Bethune Township to school in town on days when the roads were impassable on a sleigh behind his Ski-Doo. Children today might not be so excited about missing out on a snow day, but it was a real treat then. Snowmobiles would and still are used locally by trappers and those prospecting for forestry or mining operations, alongside recreational pursuits.
Harvey and Verna Rickward first opened their doors to what is now known as Rickward’s Small Motors in 1966, and three generations of Rickward’s have been supplying the Kearney area with all of their snowmobiling needs ever since. To celebrate some local heritage, and the glory days of a few generations, Rickward’s will be hosting their fourth annual Vintage Snowmobile Show and Open House at 1914 Hwy 518E, Kearney, between 11AM and 2PM, Saturday February 7th. This will be followed by a Vintage Snowmobile Parade from the shop, across Hassard Lake to McManus Beach and in towards downtown Kearney.
For details or to register, contact Rickward’s at [email protected] or by calling (705) 636-5956.
The parade route is shown in the following map.