John Harren, Northern Toboggan Co.
Northern Toboggan Co started in 1995 in Warroad, Minnesota, when fate connected John Harren with his mentor in northern Manitoba, Canada. John had heard of this niche opportunity for years from his uncle who traveled often to remote Canadian communities doing service work. Uncle Raymond spoke often of how all of the sleigh makers were retiring and not passing on their skill set, leaving northern Canada without a supplier of the traditional land vehicle they had relied on for centuries. Over a couple of years, John’s mentor handed down the traditional process and design that was once passed down to him; a process that was rich in techniques that were centuries old. Over the years, John has taken his mentor’s framework and continued to evolve the process at the same time as teaching his sons and other artisans the beauty of crafting traditional sleds, toboggans, and snowshoes.