Dryden, Ontario, Canada is where the rugged beauty of Ontario meets the bright lights of city life. It is a vibrant urban community surrounded by the unsurpassed beauty of the boreal forest, freshwater lakes and spectacular vistas. It is also home to a unique water's-edge hangar equipped with a hydraulic door by Schweiss Doors of Fairfax, MN.
Dryden was founded in 1895 as an agricultural community by John Dryden, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture. Pulp and Paper came to the town in 1910 and remains important to the region. Situated midway between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay on Wabigoon Lake, Dryden is the second-largest city in the Kenora District of Northwestern Ontario and the smallest community in the entire province to be designated as a city. With a population of 8,195, it is secluded yet readily accessible by both car and plane.
Dryden Regional Airport is the primary landing spot for large aircraft, but the skies around Dryden are buzzing with smaller aircraft, many of which have floats to land on the hundreds of area lakes used for fishing, hunting, recreation and tourist trade.
Originally from Newman, Illinois, where he still has a farm, Steve Riggins and his wife, Ellen, set their sights north to Dryden. With a love of fishing and hunting, his Cessna 185 floatplane and boat are at the ready, and now he has a new hangar with a Schweiss hydraulic door on it so he can wheel his floatplane and boat right in from the lake in no time at all.
“We’re now permanent residents in Canada; we immigrated from Illinois, but I still have the farming operation in Illinois and go back there for planting and harvesting seasons. We bought a cottage in 2003 and moved up here in 2007. My wife and I are both outdoors people and have fished in Canada for years,” said Riggins. “Canada just seemed like a good choice for us to go where he have unlimited fishing and hunting opportunities. There’s almost as much water as there is land and there are moose up here, something we didn’t have in Illinois.
“I originally hangared my plane at the Dryden airport. We are now at Inorwic Lake, a fair lake for fishing. It's our base of operations where I can spread out to wherever I choose. I’ve had other planes, a 182 and a Super Cub, but now I only have the 185,” said Riggins.
Riggins said he configured his 40' x 50' hangar to meet the specs for a 48'-wide x 15.5-high Schweiss hydraulic door. It was not something he was familiar with, but he'd seen his share of bifold doors, both on his farm at the airport.
“I never had a hydraulic door before; I wanted to try one," he said. "Headroom was the main factor in my choosing a hydraulic door. I had a hangar in Dryden with bifolds on each end that came with the building. I have another brand door down on the farm,” he said. “Schweiss is one of the main door companies and I was familiar with them. I helped an area contractor install the door.”
Despite Schweiss' reputation, Riggins originally tried buying a hydraulic door from a Schweiss competitor. The door cost less and he paid for it upfront. The company, however, folded before the door was delivered, leaving Riggins with nothing but a bankruptcy notice to show for his money.
Gaining access to the building by boat or plane is easy, thanks to the door's remote control operation. “The remote opener is real handy," Riggins said. "If I ordered another door it would have that. I’ve got a remote on the plane and boat rail systems too. It’s pretty slick."
Riggins said the door arrived on time and in good condition. There were no issues with it and he said working hand-in-hand with the people at Schweiss Doors was a good experience.
To see more on this project on the Schweiss Doors website, click here.