This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
The typo that became a sport.
The end of World War Two dealt Armand Bombardier’s snowmobile company a double whammy. The first was obvious and expected: contracts to supply Allied governments with specialized military vehicles halted abruptly. The second wasn’t anticipated; governments in Quebec – both provincial and municipal – began clearing snow from roads in wintertime. Ploughed streets and highways throughout the province meant professionals who had once relied on snowmobiles to go from place to place could now use their automobiles year-round. With two dependable markets gone in virtually a flash, Armand set about to create a new one. Starting in the 1950s, his company built smaller snowmobiles meant for one or two and for one purpose - fun. He wanted to call his new recreational vehicles a Ski-Dog. A typo caused the name to appear as Ski-Doo. Armand preferred the mistake. So did fun-loving people throughout the province and across the country. By the mid-1960s, some 8,500 Ski-Doos were being sold each year. Build it and they will ride.