In the Loop

Breaking news: Canada makes a bid to buy Ely

Posted at 12:20 PM on March 28, 2008 by Jeff Horwich (12 Comments)

I guess being so far from the action can leave you feeling a little...detached. Dejected.

Apparently the residents of little Ely, Minnesota have decided they've had enough of life on the fringes of Minnesota, and are threatening to up and move to Canada (about 25 miles away).

In The Loop sources have supplied an early copy of the town's pending news release:

ELY, MINN. -- April 1, 2008 -- Today it was announced that Canada has made an unprecedented offer, as a boost to tourism, to purchase the famous Boundary Waters town of Ely, Minn., and relocate it north of the U.S./Canadian border.

In a prepared statement, the Premier of Ontario pledged Ely will retain its worldwide reputation as the entryway to the Boundary Waters, though now from the other side, as well as its legendary lakes, resorts, restaurants, gift shops and museums, including the world-famous International Wolf Center.

Reportedly, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has entered into negotiations with the Minnesota DNR and the Governor's office to arrive at a satisfactory price. Sources close to the deal say that Ely will become Ely, Ontario as early as 2009.

Well...not exactly.

This text will be replaced by the flash music player.
It's part of a pretty clever ad campaign whipped up for April Fools week, including some fake news spots that might make me do a double-take if I heard them on commercial radio:

Other spots simulate a bidding war for Ely, among Nebraska, Uzbekistan, and a tycoon who wants to move the town to his private island.

The message, of course: Get up to Ely while you still can!

Somehow I don't think the press will actually bite on the story (God help any poor little newsroom that sincerely relays this release without checking it out!) but it's a good attention-getter.


Comments (12)

Nice. I actually rather anticipate whatever grassroots-style misinformed backlash will follow; should be interesting to see all reactions as the ad campaign rolls out. Though I have to admit, when I read the headline, I did feel my temp rising for a moment.

Posted by Andy | March 29, 2008 6:29 AM


Word of this proposal by Ontario has reached Tucson, Arizona. Maybe the snowbirds from Ely want to use Canadian money now...the loonie is so much stronger than the US buck.

Posted by Paul Nelson | March 29, 2008 5:01 PM


april fool!

Posted by john wickham | April 1, 2008 1:52 AM


Why would you think Ely would be unhappy with Minnesota? Being he gateway to the Boundary Waters is a wonderful distinction. No wonder Ontario, Nebraska, and Uzbekistan want to buy it from Minnesota. Better get up to Ely while it is still in the same time zone as the win Cities!!

Posted by Ben Dover | April 1, 2008 3:26 AM


Message to the folks at Ely Tourism - this is full of win!

Love the lawn signs.

Posted by Amanda Hugginkiss | April 1, 2008 7:04 AM


Wow -- Ben and Amanda, great to hear from you again!

Posted by Jeff Horwich | April 1, 2008 10:06 AM


Those of us from Ely like it.
Why not every thinks we are from Canada any way
If you can not laugh at it then I feel sorry for you.

Posted by Anonymous | April 1, 2008 1:35 PM


What the big deal? Nobody can tell where Canada begins up there anyway. I thought Ely was in Canada.

Posted by Rod Lievano | April 1, 2008 6:40 PM


As a small land & cabin owner in Ely, I thought it might be fun to own land in Canada! Can I then get a piece of the Canadian medical plans - the biggest benefit would be non-imported Moose Head Beer!!!

Posted by Roger D. Schmid | April 1, 2008 11:40 PM


April Fools, NG!

Posted by p0psZ | April 2, 2008 8:48 AM


Having grown up in Ely when it was a booming resort and mining town, I loved the fact that it could cecede to Canada. Then it would not have so many restrictions on the lakes. Kudos to whomever thought up the great ad campaign.

Posted by Jean | April 2, 2008 1:32 PM


In 1996, the Geodesic team from Canada was checking the boundary markers which they do periodically. They stopped in my resort out the Echo Trail and asked if they could store their outboard motor for the winter. I said ok if they would move the border to put my place in Canada. They wouldn't agree then, but I am glad they now have seen the benefit of my proposal.
I'll start practicing Oh Canada tomorrow.....

Posted by Eric | April 3, 2008 7:17 PM


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