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Scouts Canada Jamboree 1997

The Scouts Canada nation-wide Jamboree was held in Thunder Bay in 1997. A major event with thousands of participants, Canada Jamboree 97 made use of a variety of locations across the city and the area. These sites included Boulevard Lake, the Marina, and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This attempt to “Wake the Giant” set a new standard for future Jamborees.

Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremony was an event in itself, featuring a hundred dancers, aerial demonstrations, and a performance by the Bare Naked Ladies, who were all involved in Scouting at some point in their lives. In attendance was Governor General Romeo LeBlanc (Canada’s Chief Scout), and National Chief of The Assembly of First Nations Ovide Mercredi, both of whom welcomed the scouts with speeches. This opening ceremony, as well as the closing ceremony, was closed to the public to keep these ceremonies as meaningful to the scouts as possible.

The next week was filled with unbelievable activities. Hundreds of events took place for the scouts to participate in, such as rock climbing, swimming, building boats, and producing TV programs. One activity that seems to have been particularly memorable was Mud Mania: an obstacle course where you get right down and dirty to beat out your friends in attempt to be the first to finish.

Bridge over Boulevard Lake

 Bridge on Boulevard Lake

The scouts were also given the opportunity to learn about First Nations culture and history. The experience included living out of doors, making their own clothing, and sharing stories around the fire, and encouraged the scouts to relate to a part of Canadian culture they may not have been exposed to before.

Thirteen thousand scouts from around the world didn't show up all by themselves. The City of Thunder Bay's Ad Hoc Advisory Committee worked wonders to make this dream become real. They started planning five years in advance to ensure that the CJ ’97 would be the best Jamboree to date. Everyone involved put in extra effort to make this event stand out. Thunder Bay Transit arranged to let the scouts ride for a one-dollar fare. This was also the first Jamboree to employ paid workers as well as volunteers, as men and women were hired to build the floating bridge crossing Boulevard Lake and the stage used for the opening ceremonies. 

Aerial View of CJ 97

 Aerial View of the Jamboree

Even with the Committee’s outstanding planning, events still took place at the Jamboree of 1997 that no one could have predicted. People made amazing friendships world wide, learned things they never even considered thinking about, and some never wanted to leave. Residents of Thunder Bay who in the beginning didn’t want the Jamboree to be held in their home town found themselves asking when these marvelous young people would find their way back again. This event had an emotional impact on scouts and citizens alike.

The Jamboree went off without a hitch thanks to the premium planning by scouters and city officials, and countless helping citizens. Over 13,000 scouts, parents, volunteers, and leaders made this event into one that is still remembered fondly today, and showed why Scouting is the largest youth moment in the world.


Air Show at Jamboree Opening Ceremonies

 Air Show at Opening Ceremonies

Scouts with the Bare Naked Ladies

 Scouts with The Bare Naked Ladies

A Participant in Mud Mania

 Mud Mania!

Scouts Visiting from Around the World

 Scouts Visiting from Around the World

Scout with Dancer

 First Nations Intertribal Powwow

A Selection of Activities at the Jamboree

 Activities at the Jamboree

Beavers with mural

 Local Beavers with Murals

Here It Comes CJ'97 poster

Here It Comes! Poster for CJ'97

Program Booklet for CJ'97

Program Booklet