Column: The machines that moved us, from the Bombardier B7 to the Honda ATC

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

Through anguish and desperation, and the loss of his two-year old child after not reaching a hospital in time, Quebec mechanic and inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier, in 1934, set out to design a vehicle that could travel on snow.

So in 1937, Bombardier made the B7, a seven-person wooden vehicle with tracks on the back and skis up front. Four years later, he designed and built the B12. First buyers were doctors and ambulance drivers going to remote locations. While production stopped in 1951, many are still in use today by commercial fishermen in Manitoba and elsewhere.

Through the years, Bombardier, with their industrial snow groomers and powerful sleds and quads, made their mark in Canadian history.

There was a time when anglers roared up to their fishing spots in a noisy outboard, threw out an anchor and baited up with gas and/or oil on their hands. That is until in 1934, when O.G. Schmidt of Fargo, North Dakota, connected a shaft/propeller to a Ford Model A starter motor. Since then, Schmidt’s company, Minn Kota and others have truly excelled with improvements to the angler’s silent friend, the electric trolling motor.

Read more: Raccoons cause a ruckus on Penticton man’s roof

Read more: DYER: Let’s focus on plastic straws

These motors now come with foot controls and wireless remote. Built-in transducers allow a view of the bottom. There are GPS enabled anchors hold your boat in position despite wind and current.Thank you, Mr. Schmidt.

Long before we had the Big bear, Ranger, Moto-4 or Quadrunner, and even before we had the three-wheel Big Red, there was the Honda all-terrain cycle, 90 or ATC 90 – a bike with stable riding and a bulletproof 7-horsepower engine that fit in the trunk of a car. With three balloon tires, it was unlike anything the outdoor world had seen before. It rolled off the assembly line in 1969, changing the woods forever for trappers and hunters and, once a milk crate was strapped on, it became a workhorse around the farm.

It wasn’t long before machines like the ATC 90 evolved into the modern-day ATV. Today, machines with as high as 800cc do a multitude of jobs besides serving the recreational rider. Fishery officers and game wardens of yesteryear would be amazed at the modern electronics in trucks CO’s drive with today, the GPS units, etc. Times have changed. Hopefully we can change what we do to Mother Earth while looking back on things that were!

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Chinese New Year brings subdued celebrations in Salmon Arm

Local family to mark the start of the New Year but will be missing family in China

Habitat for Humanity helps Sepwepemc families build houses near Chase

Homes intended for current families and generations to come

Shuswap residents urged to ensure their yard isn’t what spreads a wildfire

Watching out for the Douglas-fir bark beetle is recommended when fire-proofing

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Campfires no longer permitted at Kelowna scout camp

City of Kelowna said they rejected Camp Dunlop’s fire permit due to stricter bylaws

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Dirt Road Opera to serenade audience with upcoming Sorrento show

Cod Gone Wild fiddler Susan Aylard hosts January concert at Maples Waterfront Resort

Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia

Brad Pattison’s team arrived in Sydney on Monday

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Salmon Arm history in pictures: Farm fire

Museum asks for help to identify when and where photo was taken

Most Read