Wendell Beckwith, an inventor, master wood worker, and free thinking scientist, ended up alone on the tip of Best Island, north of Armstrong, on the remote Whitewater Lake in 1961. There he would stay until his death in 1980 at the age of 65. Today, Wendell’s cabins still attract visitors from all over the world, and his story has become a piece of Northwestern Ontario folklore.
Filmmaker Jim Hyder, who knew Beckwith, has partnered with the Museum to make film of Wendell’s life. The film will ask, who was Wendell Beckwith? It will explore his skills, his relationships, his legacy and, particularly, his science, for it was his need to uncover the natural laws that govern the universe that brought him to Northwestern Ontario.
The Thunder Bay Museum’s archives holds the records that Mr. Beckwith created at this time. These records recount his remarkable scientific theories about the relationship between time and space. They also speak of his encounters with Indigenous peoples of the area, his inventions, and his relationships with the many people who visited him each summer. His story has become a part of Northwestern Ontario folklore.
The Museum is involved with the project in several ways. Through our staff and volunteers, we are helping to raise funds and give guidance. Our collection of artifacts, photographs, and papers relating to Beckwith have been made available to the project. We are also assisting with bookkeeping, promotion and advertising, and we will help to distribute the film when it’s finished. Most of this will be done as an “in kind” contribution to the project.
For more information on Wendell Beckwith, the film, and how to donate to the project, see the video and articles below:
How to Donate:
Donations towards the project can be made through the Thunder Bay Museum by visiting us, calling (807) 623-0801, or through Canada Helps.
Donations can also be made through the project’s GoFundMe campaign.
Please indicate that your donation is meant for this project with the message “Beckwith Film Project”.
with generous funding assistance from: