Chippewa Park: Mystery + Memory

My rough sketch of The Bullets at Chippewa Park, Thunder Bay Ontario

The above fairground ride is something I remember well from Chippewa Park, although I don’t recall ever seeing it in operation. I think it was dismantled more than twenty years ago. The roller coaster suffered the same fate this past Spring.

I couldn’t find images to refer to for this drawing – and I’ve been looking for years. So this past summer I made a little research trip to Thunder Bay. I found nothing in the museum archives and nothing at the libraries. Finally, at the city archives, I found correspondence dated from the mid 1960s – negotiations between the city and proprietors at Winnipeg Beach Amusement Park, which closed in 1964. Along with a roller coaster and a number of other rides, this swing-style ride was purchased for Chippewa Park and set up in 1967. Still no photographs!

Researching Winnipeg Beach, I found and purchased this postcard:

There it is! And it looks like the tower originally held little bi-planes rather than bullets

Thanks to Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada I found out it was called the Sea-Plane De Luxe. It also mentions elsewhere that Flash Gordon styled rocket ships were offered as updates to the planes, but I don’t think that’s what the bullet-shaped cars were supposed to be. I could only find rockets with tail fins on a similar ride, but I am certain the ride at Chippewa didn’t have fins.

So, those bullets I have drawn completely from memory… I have no recollection of their interiors, but I seem to recall two seats on each. I’m pretty sure there were six cars, and that only the nose and tail of each was painted red and green. I also remember it being surrounded by spruce trees.

Did I get it right? If you’d like to share your memories of Chippewa Park – in particular this ride – please leave a comment below. Any relevant info I can incorporate into the final art would be appreciated!!!

The final artwork will be a companion piece to this other familiar attraction that once graced the beach at Chippewa:

About Ian Phillips Illustration

I am an illustrator and book designer. View all posts by Ian Phillips Illustration

11 responses to “Chippewa Park: Mystery + Memory

  • Adrienne

    Hi Ian, I just posted this on facebook and thought I would leave it here too: I remember that ride being there, and then I recall it being dismantled and put onto the little go-cart lot that used to be on Memorial across from Intercity. (I have vivid memories of watching it out the windows while eating dinner at the Golden Griddle.) I was only about 10 years old, so my memory might be off though but I remember it being mint green metal.

    Also do you sell prints of your art work? I would love to have the rocketslide print. I have such fond memories of it!

  • Wendy Gacsi

    I believe we have old pictures of this somewhere. I will try to find them. We used to stay at Chippewa frequently in the 70’s. My youngest brother was born in 72 and I’m sure we have pic’s of him at age 2 on this ride.

  • Will Scheibler

    emailed you a pic of the rocketslide (downloaded from Facebook – member is ‘Thunder Bay’) plus another pic of me as a kid (1973) with the rocketslide in the background.
    You can find some more pics of Chippewa Park in a Chippewa Park album on ‘Thunder Bay’s page on Facebook. There has probably been some additions of photos if you looked there a while ago.
    The only other pics I have personally @ Chippewa Park is of the boat ride.

  • Will Scheibler

    If you want to send pics of your artwork to Friends of Chippewa Park they have a website:
    I am sure they would love to see your creations.
    They also have a few pics of rides in their photos – a lot of them are of the merry go round.

  • Thunder Bay

    I also have pics on my Facebook site…no bullet yet.

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