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Saskatchewan Archives Board, 1905.

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Balgonie | Saskatchewan

Balgonie Birdman

A point of interest on the Moose Jaw to Manitoba Driving Tour available on the Tripvia Tours App for Android & iPhone.

Listen to the tour audio!

Audio Excerpt

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?.... Nope, it’s the Balgonie Birdman! Welcome to the town of Balgonie, home of a Subway Restaurant, 2 gas stations, an outdoor pool, and a large arena!  Well if that doesn’t make you want to stop, I don’t know what will! Thanks a million Google! 

  Balgonie is home of the famous William Wallace Gibson, who adopted the interesting nickname the ‘Balgonie Birdman’! That’s quite the nickname! Why do you think he was called this? Was it,

A) He hand-crafted wooden wings and tried to fly

B) He invented the first Canadian-built airplane.

Or C) He owned the world’s largest bird enclosure, with over 40 different species

So the ‘Balgonie Birdman’ refers to, a) wooden wings, b) built airplane or c) largest bird enclosure?


The answer is…B! William Wallace Gibson built the first Canadian-built airplane! He actually built the aircraft in secret to avoid ridicule from doubtful neighbours… neighbours who he also owed a substantial amount of money to and didn’t know he spent it on building an airplane!


In 1910, he had no reason to hide as he successfully flew the aircraft in Victoria. As a result a movie AND a short animated documentary was made about him called, you guessed it, the Balgonie Birdman. I’ve posted the link in the stop description if you want to check it out! 


Moose Jaw to Manitoba

Driving Tour

This POI is featured on the Moose Jaw to Manitoba Audio Driving Tour, part of the Tripvia Tours mobile app available for Android & Apple.

Multiple topics like history, geography, animals, popular people & things to do!

Tours can be downloaded on WIFI and don't use any mobile date during tour.

Entertaining & Educational

Knowledgeable tour guides point out interesting things as you drive past.

Each POI has a fun multiple choice trivia question that adds to the fun.

Tour experience is the same in either direction.

Make your drive come alive with the Moose Jaw to Manitoba Driving Tour!

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