7. Lumberjacks, Ferry harbour & Markets

The Lumberjack’s Candle Bridge was completed in the autumn of 1989 and became Rovaniemi’s landmark. On the top of the pylon of the cable-stayed bridge there is a gas flame candle situated 47 m above the bridge. The bridge is 323.5 m long and its longest span is 126 m. The name of the bridge reflects local history. In fact, a lumberjack’s candle is a piece (about 1 m long) of dead pine, snag, to be burnt upright.

From 1946 to 1951, when the Ounaskoski Bridge was being rebuilt after the war, there was a trestle bridge almost exactly where the Lumberjack’s Candle is today. After the completion of the Ounaskoski Bridge (today also known as the Old Bridge), the inhabitants no longer needed to use ice roads and ferries. The harbour for the ferries and the riverboats used at the beginning of the 20th century was on the bank in Lainas. During a couple of winters after the war, trains travelled on tracks built on ice.

Some introduced tree species grow in the park on the river bank. These species, which manage to survive even here in the Arctic Circle, are European lime, Siberian fir, Siberian stone pine and Siberian larch. Downy birches grow in abundance on the river banks. The tallest birches are beautiful silver birches from Hämeenlinna, southern Finland. The native coniferous tree species, Scots pine and Norway spruce, characterise the scenery and have been important to the people and the forest industry in Lapland; the lumberjack earned his living from them. During the busiest years, 10,000 men travelled through Rovaniemi to the logging sites and floating areas. Before the construction of the hydroelectric power plants, the lumberjacks pitted their skills in the Log Championships held in the Ounaskoski Rapids in Midsummer.



The sports included in the competition were
paddling while standing on a floating log, obstacle runningand log rolling. Nowadays there are no longer
Log Championships, but reindeer races are
sometimes organised in the city centre in late winter.

The bronze Lumberjack statue by Kalervo Kallio represents the forest worker, i.e. the lumberjack, debarking logs using a spud, which was an important activity well into the 1950’s. The statue — donated by Kemiyhtiö — was erected in 1955. The artist, who was President Kallio’s son, worked abroad a lot, and many celebrities modelled for him. The students of the University of Lapland wash and cap the Lumberjack on May Day Eve. By doing so, they combine the traditions of forest work and Finnish student life.
At Lossinranta or Färinranta (ferry harbour), people’s life was  colourful during the famous market of Rovaniemi. Many travelled over great distances to get there, after all, Rovaniemi was the most important trade centre in Northern Finland. Rovaniemi held a key position in the determination of the price of fur in entire Europe. At the market, it was possible to get to know new cultures, giving effortless rise to hospitality and the service industry. The history of Rovaniemi is long, colourful and international!

    The bronze Lumberjack statue
by Kalervo Kallio