Ontario's Historical Plaques
Learn a little Ontario history as told through its plaques
Rosvall and Voutilainen
Photo by contributor Thomas William Kirkbride - Posted March, 2006
The District of Thunder Bay
The City of Thunder Bay
In front of the logging museum in Centennial Park
off Arundel Street in the far eastern part of the city
On November 18, 1929, Finnish-Canadians Viljo Rosvall and Janne Voutilainen left the Port Arthur area for Onion Lake, 20 kilometres upstream from here to recruit bushworkers for a strike. Their bodies were found at Onion Lake the following spring. Local unionists and many Finnish-Canadians suspected foul play, but coroner's juries ruled the deaths accidental drownings. The two men's funeral on April 28, 1930, is remembered as the largest ever held in Port Arthur. As thousands of mourners marched to Riverside Cemetery, an eclipse of the sun darkened the sky. The mystery surrounding the deaths of Rosvall and Voutilainen endures, sustaining them in public memory as martyrs to the cause of organized labour.
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