Scollie was ‘pioneer’ in ski industry

·2 min read

Thunder Bay, Ont. — Businessman, former Thunder Bay city councillor and athlete Bill Scollie, who was one of the city’s ambassadors whose vision was fixated on the area’s progressive improvement, better access to health care, development of the waterfront and the sustainability of the city’s Tbaytel company, has died at age 81.

Beginning in 1997, he served three terms with the Thunder Bay city council and was the board chairman for Tbaytel. He saw the development of the waterfront as a crucial link to business and tourism growth.

It was Scollie who pushed the button triggering the demolition of the former Pool Six elevator making way for the waterfront progress.

Scollie loved to tell stories of his youth when he worked for the family’s Scollies Dairy business. He took pride in delivering ice cream across the city while driving the old original delivery trucks and “racing down Red River Road.

In a conversation with The Chronicle-Journal last September, Scollie described his beginnings as a young entrepreneur that stemmed from his love of skiing.

After graduating from Fort William Collegiate Institute, Scollie took a job at Imperial Menswear where he met his co-worker, Andy Coffey. It was 1963 and Scollie and Coffey opened their first boutique at Mount McKay Ski area calling it the Imperial Pro Shop. Within a year, the business grew to Imperial Menswear, which also sold ski equipment, and relocated to 313 Victoria Avenue.

“The lineup to get down to the ski shop was bigger than the lineup for menswear,” said Scollie, in the interview last year. “The obvious became obvious.”

Scollie eventually teamed with business friend Bill Shane, bought the ski shop portion from the owner in 1973 and relocated to their current spot at 126 Brodie St. North. He operated the Ski Haus shop through the winter months and introduced Bill Scollies Ice Cream that he ran through the summer months for 15 years in the early 2000s. Scollie retired in 2019.

His son Steven has been operating the Ski Haus and celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. Steven called Bill a “pioneer in the ski industry” for his foresight in the sport that was rapidly growing in popularity.

A memorial service for Bill Scollie will be held at a later date.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal