Apr 12 - Jun 10, 2023 Lake of the woods museum

Something to Talk About: The Story of Kenora’s 1973 Bank Robbery

On May 10, 1973, a man entered Kenora’s CIBC armed with a rifle, a pistol, and a homemade explosive device. He walked into the bank manager’s office and demanded money.

The robber threatened to detonate his explosives — six sticks of dynamite attached to a so-called “dead man’s switch” — if the police did not provide a truck and driver so that he could make his escape.

With a crowd gathering on Main Street, a plainclothes police officer arrived on the scene with a truck, and complied with the robber’s demands.

As the robber exited the bank with his hostage, he was shot by a police sniper, and the dynamite exploded. Cash and debris filled the smoky street, and the robber was no more.

Broken windows and damaged facades flanked the blast site. Eleven people, including the hostage, were sent to hospital with injuries. The identity of the robber remains a mystery to this day.

This exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of Kenora’s CIBC robbery, showcasing the photographs of Clarence Dusang, who worked for the Kenora Miner and News at the time.

Content was gathered from local and national newspapers, as well as from members of our community, who graciously shared their memories.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive account of the robbery, but rather a starting point for conversation. We would like to know where you were, what you experienced, and how you remember the events of May 10, 1973.

You might also be interested in:
50th Anniversary of Kenora’s Bank Robbery: Presentation by Author Joe Ralko 

Did you know?

In 1870 the Wolseley Expedition went through this area on route to the Red River Valley. Major General Garnet Wolseley got impatient and set out to cross the lake in a storm.  He got lost on the Lake of the Woods for two whole days!