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May 26, 2006

Some Good Luck Stories

Near Kiosk in Algonquin Park in 1963 there was a plane crash that killed a man and his son. This unhappy ending has a happy ending as the family locates and visits the crash site.  But first a couple of stories about two of my favorite painters, Tom Cummings (1904-1996) and Gordon Dufoe (1892-1975) who were outstanding painters and friends of each other and have displays of their work side by side in the Mattawa Museum. 

Tom’s paintings depending on their size and condition are worth several thousand dollars. I recently got an email from a lady in Lafayette Colorado who bought two Cummings paintings at an estate sale there and found me on my website where I had written about him.  I asked her what she paid for them and she told me she got the two of them for $20.  Not bad! 

A man in Mattawa recently working with the owners of Gordon Dufoe’s old house wanted a piece of panel for a repair job and was directed to the basement.  The board he found had a fine Gordon Dufoe painting on the back.  He was given it in exchange for a replacement piece.  An evaluation put a price of several thousand dollars on the painting.  Not bad!  

Dr. Yvan Girard lighting candles in memory of family killed in crash near Kiosk 43 years ago.-Photo by Dr. Yvan Girard and Michelle.

Kiosk Plane Crash 

In a series of plane crash stories I wrote about, one was near Kiosk on February 17, 1963.  Dr. J.B. Michaud and his son Yves, age 12, died in bad weather between Mink Lake and White Birch Lake 16km S.E. of Kiosk.  In spite of one of the largest air searches in Ontario history the plane, a Cessna 180 (CF.OUA) was not found.  Eight months later on October 24th a pilot who had been involved in the original search saw a reflection on the ground and reported his findings.  The crash site and bodies were found shortly thereafter by a ground team. 

Roger Bergeron, a former Kiosk resident, put me onto the story in 2002 when he showed me a newspaper clipping of the crash.  He also had a copy of a report from Federal Department of Transportation investigators that had been given to him by Harold Staniforth the President of the Staniforth Lumber Company at Kiosk.  Roger was a part of a Kiosk group that visited the site in 1963. 

Moose at plane crash site.-Photo by Dr. Yvan Girard and Michelle.

Other people have tried to find the site since including a man who wanted to take some scouts in recently but it did not work out.  One of Dr. Michaud’s children, Dr. Raymonde Michaud wanted to find the site to get closure on the accident. Her husband, Dr. Yvan Girard retired in Florida made a trip to Kiosk last October with a friend to find the site but in spite of a noble effort was not successful. 

Carmen Cross the manager of the access point at Kiosk gave him my article on the crash and he contacted Roger Bergeron who provided the information he had.  Dr. Girard and their daughter Michelle decided to take another run at it recently.  Rick Bergeron, a cousin of Roger who knows the area well did a search on their behalf and found and marked the site. 

Dr. Girard and Michelle wanted to land a float plane near the site but could not get permission. They wanted to drive their car or a recreational vehicle on the old CNR line to get closer but could not get permission. Two young MNR employees at Kiosk ran them down the old rail bed to a point opposite the crash and they canoed to the trail Rick Bergeron had marked. 

In short order they found the site. The plane’s tail shown in the original Nugget photo had been crushed by a fallen tree and there was considerable undergrowth. The photos show the extent of the destruction and the good condition of the scattered metal parts. Dr. Girard and his daughter lit two candles and meditated for the lost family members. 

Crash site.-Photo by Dr. Yvan Girard and Michelle.

Dr. Girard who has gone moose hunting on occasion has never seen one.  While at the crash site they heard a noise downwind and saw a large moose grazing about 100 metres away.  It stayed for over 30 minutes and they watched it and took pictures. 

They returned to the rail bed and were met by the MNR gentlemen on schedule and returned happily home. The location now has a GPS location and the trail is easy to find. Members of the family anticipate trips there in the near future. Other visitors are welcome as long as the site remains undisturbed.  A happy ending to a tragic family event. 

The original article in November 2002 is #113 on my website indicated below.

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