Thursday, 30 January 2014




They're gone but not forgotten
By the ones who live to tell
Of sacrifice and service done
A helping hand to everyone
When sickness called for willing hands
When babes were born and hearts were torn
A nurse was there at night or day
To give relief oft times no pay
Granny Thompson was one in the early days
Who was called on to serve in so many ways

Sunday, 26 January 2014



by Robert Owen Foster
Copyright 1917  Mrs. Robert O. Foster, Minneapolis, MN 

Nepigon River

Grand, majestic river, sweeping
From the north in beauty's keeping,
Listen to my simple song
It will tell the love I bear thee;
Tell the lesson thou hast taught me,
Tell thy courage, wondrous strong.

When you fall your voice is tragic,
Deep and thunderous, and its magic
Awes, inspires, puts fear to rout:
But at this you do not worry,
Pick yourself up in a hurry
And again you laugh and shout.

Fill thy pathway with pretensions
Of great strife and dark dismay;
You laugh loud as your the gainer
Only show your dimples plainer
As you hurry on the way.

Now and then thy spirit slumbers;
Lo, thy charms in countless numbers
Weave their soothing spell o'er life;
Sweet contentment comes a stealing
O'er thy face so fair, revealing
Perfect peace so pure of strife.

There is something in thy dashing,
Dancing waters, ever splashing,
That suggests eternal spring.
They keep shouting, bounding, leaping,
While time, centuries, is reaping:
Still the same glad song they sing.

Grand old river how I love thee!
How I love thy joyous medley
Bursting forth in happy song!
It brings peace in generous measure:
Brings back boyhood's spring of pleasure,
When the days were young and long.

Thy glad anthem will be ringing
In man's heart forever: bringing
Aspirations pure and high:
Ages hence as he will wander
On thy banks, he'll muse and ponder
O'er thy grandeur same as I.

Possibly written in 1901
No information on the author Robert Owen Foster has been found at this time. (2014)
The book River Nepigon and Other Poems is available from various places according to on-line search results.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


PAUL NYMAN Interview  2006

Actually when you're going toward Nipigon, on the right hand side of the road, the first house you get to on the right side towards Suicide Hill was the house that Sharon and I had built.  Then the next house was one that my brother, Ted, built and then where Duke's is the house that Mr. and Mrs. Nyman built.  So the whole family lived in a row out there and the one that burnt was the one where Duke's is and that was in January 1954 that it burnt and it was forty below.  So then we had to move back into the old house which was across the street where Art Lemieux is now.  That's where the original house was but he tore that one down and built a new one.

 My Dad owned a lot of property out there and he had bought 160 acres for one hundred dollars in 1942 and there was nothing on that land because  all of the trees and that had burnt when the big fire went through there in the late 30's, maybe 1939 or so. When my Dad bought that house on the property he got sixteen acres from Otto Maki and it was a log square timber house which was a small place but all the trees were gone. All that was left were the big stumps but it must have been a beautiful forest in there at one time.  But everything burnt except the house and even the root house burnt and the house was still standing because it was winter time.  My Dad just added onto that little house and we just kept building and adding on to it and finally it was just a great big place.

 We cut all the cedar in the back of the house and we used to bring one tree at a time.  Leo Lespi used to cut lumber for my Dad and we would bring cedar logs in to him and his saw couldn't cut through them because they were so big around!  So he tried to get a bigger saw and what they had to do was put the saw through and then turn the log and line it up again so they could saw it again. We had boards that were 18 inches wide and they were huge and we used to put one log on a sleigh for the horse to carry in once we got a trail made.  We hauled them from way in behind there and there were roads all over in behind there and up by Trout Creek.  You could go all the way to the tower and way in behind there.  Newaygo was based out of Thunder Bay but they had their cutting rights here and they hauled the logs in for the mills and wherever else they sold them.

There was lots of birch and it was all used as firewood for us and my Dad would go not even a mile and we cut dry birch and hauled it home by horses and sleigh and cut it all up with a buck saw.

We had one horse and our neighbours had two horses and we always worked together and went back and forth.  Everyone went from one place to another and old man Rajala owned property down by the Weigh Scales and had that farm there and he had cows and the old lady used to make hand churned butter and we would get our butter there.  We got our milk and beef from Ruoho's and we would have our own pork.  We didn't have any way to keep the meat so we would split it and we did a lot of trading and bartering.  That's all it was and I don't remember seeing any money.



There was Everettville up by the Petro that was owned by E. C. Everett and he bought all of the old buildings from Pine Portage and he made his little town. He was an entrepreneur and he had houses which he rented up there and he could turn a buck out of anything which I am sure was all honest money. You never could go into E. C. ' s store and just look around, you seemed to come out with at least a pair of shoelaces or something like that.

I can remember eating up at Pine Portage because we used to eat before we opened the bank out there and they had been blasting and a rock came through the ceiling of the dining hall.

Petro = Petro Canada gas station corner of highway 11/17 and Cameron Falls  Road that extends to Pine Portage/ lake Nipigon access.

up there = elevation is higher than downtown Nipigon

E. C. 's store would have been on Front Street Nipigon

Pine Portage = dam site construction community

Everettville - no longer in existence.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Some wintertime dreaming of 72 years ago.

Reprint from a Daily Times-Journal Editorial, Saturday January 19,1957


Douglas Oliver, the Travel editor of the Toronto Telegram, was a speaker here (Port Arthur) 15 years ago. ( 1957 minus 15 equals  1942)  He had something interesting to say. He told his audience that the day would come when that inland sea known to the maps as Lake Nipigon would be regarded as Ontario's greatest single travel empire.

Reminiscing the other day, Mr. Oliver recalled that he had predicted an adequate highway encircling its 3,000 square miles of water, and pleasure cruisers plying them daily and at weekends.

"Well, " writes Mr. Oliver, "We got a laugh for our pains.  And little wonder, because there was no time for dreamers in those pioneer promotion days.  And, so, there are no steamers on Nipigon as yet. And if you compare your latest Ontario map with that of 1941 vintage you'll find that, save for a short stretch of road connecting Nipigon townsite with Cameron Falls, the highway servicing situation thereabouts remains unaltered."

'However, we still think we are right.  We still believe that Lake Nipigon is the prize tourist package it always was.  Just crying for some competent authority with vision, know-how, and above all courage, to unwrap it for public inspection and approval."

" Hon. Bryan Cathcart, minister of travel and publicity, could do many less important things than give this idea the immediate consideration to which we believe it to be entitled."

"For, whether Ontarioans like the thought or not, the impression is now fairly general that this predominant province's tourist trade may soon have to find new and specific appeal on which to base its future publicity campaigns."

"Lake Nipigon (the core of the provincial forest of similar name) could well prove to be the answer to this situation.  However, from the purely vocational standpoint few people appear to know much about it."

"The transcontinental line of the Canadian National Railway taps its most northerly extremity at Willet Station.  Highway 11 coursing north from Nipigon town, touches it briefly at Orient Bay, before angling easterly to Beardmore, Longlac and Hearst."

"Meanwhile, the maps still carry it, in all its great sweep of travel kingdom potential.  And some day, perchance, some government may suddenly sense its importance travelwise, and do something about it.  Knowing Mr. Cathcart as we do, we have a hunch he'll tell us that the idea will be looked into.  But, "looking into" a situation is not quite the same as "looking after" it."

"Therefore we propose that representatives of Queen's Park departments of travel and publicity, lands and forests, highways, and planning and development jointly focus their exploratory lamps on the Nipigon."

"Cost money?" Of course such a Nipigon tourist development would cost money. And oodles of it! It couldn't be brought into full fruition at once.  It would, admittedly, have to be an orderly process. Possibly a five-year plan at the speediest.

'Wonder that the lakehead people of today would think of this dream." Wonder if it would win the immediate second-reading, or "in principle" support of the Legislature.  At least most of these travel conscious representatives know what can be done when they put their minds to it."

"For, as we hear it, but for their stubborn insistence, the present highway to Atikokan and the fabulous Steep Rock enterprise might never have been constructed. And what a tourist draw this road already is destined to become."

It can be observed that Mr. Oliver's picture of the future of the Nipigon must be fairly accurate.  As a direct highway is opened from International Falls and Fort Frances, with improvements to be made to the entrance at pigeon River, and especially with the completion of the Trans-Canada from Fort William to Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Nipigon is due to become a major Tourist attraction in Canada."

Thursday, 2 January 2014


ECE 56-4
Mikkola's Pharmacy 1976

From 2006 Interview with Paul Foulds:

"I bought the Drug Store in 1988 which I sold four years ago so I had it basically for 15 years.  There was a computer at the time we first started there but it was very basic.  When I first started apprenticing we had electric typewriters and we still had the old manual typewriters even to type up certain labels on the side or if the electricity went out we could still sell prescriptions.  It was a good thing I took my grade nine typing, too. 

Wilbur Mikkola owned the drug store before I bought it and he would have owned it from 1971 until December 1987. When we first signed the deal and took ownership of the Pharmacy my first day of work was "Black Tuesday" when the stock market dropped in October and I thought, "What are we doing!"

As a pharmacist it's unique because not only are you a professional there, you're a business owner and if you don't have someone else come in and fill your space you have to physically be in the building for the amount of hours that the store was open.

The Thompsons were in the same building as Saunders and then when Wilbur bought the Pharmacy off Mr. Thompson there was a fire at that time.

Thompson's Drug Store left of Clover Farm. ECE - 56-1  1968

Wilbur was born and raised in Nipigon so he had a lot of history coming through and working for Thompson as a fourteen year old student to save money so he could go to school. He apprenticed under Morris Thompson and there were other fellows from around here that apprenticed, like the Waghorns that grew up here and also one of the Ruoho boys is a professor at the University of Wisconsin now.

So when Wilbur took over he had a rough first couple years too because after the fire he had moved over by Home Hardware where the MTO had their office. Within a week he had to move his shop over to that building. I remember going in that building when I was a kid and how cramped it was in there but it was the only building at the time that I guess he could find.

I retired in August, 2003 and I actually still worked up until December of last year. I had to keep working until they found somebody to come and take over which was Jonah Dupuis."


From the Curator's personal archives.

A fact sheet from 1964. Written by Larry Morrison.

Jellicoe Agates and Gemstones

People collect rocks for the same reason that they collect anything else.  They get a kick out of it.  There is no other type of collecting quite like it.  The investment is meagre, the raw material is for free and the rewards are abundant.

For the beginner, a few hours spent in a rock shop, a few days spent reading and he is all set to start.

In this heavily glaciated country, there are thousands of glacial deposits.  All contain Agates and Gem Stone material.  There is no rhyme or reason for these occurrences.  The glaciers tumbled the earth and deposited it helter skelter all over the area.

Rock and Gem collectors are warned that the rocks and gemstones, in nature's rock shop, are rough tumbled.  Invariably they are coated with limestone and are invariably mixed with the most unlikely looking material.  This has fooled many collectors.

The most drab looking material may turn out to be a beautiful looking Mocha Agate, or that old lump of limestone may be a Jade-like type of material.  There are thousands of acres of wilderness where there has never been a collector.

The shore line of the lakes are lined with material.  Gravel pits have yielded many a fine sample.  Hundreds of other good samples have vanished forever in the maws of highway crushers.  Someday and that may be soon, someone is going to find a diamond, or an emerald, or a ruby, and why not?

The glaciers brought it all here from some unknown location.  They brought fossils, they brought jade, dozens of kinds of agate, wood and many other kinds of rock that does not occur naturally in this area.  Some day someone will find something of spectacular value, because there has been little or no collecting in this district.


Trans-Canada Highway No. 11,  "Over the Top Route", cuts right through the centre of the favorable picking area.  Well surfaced gravel roads, every few miles, run north and south from the main highway.

(The following is fifty year old information so don't count on it being there in 2014)

The ROCK SHOP and INFORMATION CENTRE at JELLICOE is the focal point of the area.  Here on display are the many types of Agate and Rock found in the district.  Good over night camping facilities, adjacent to the ROCK SHOP are now available, together with groceries and other supplies necessary for the camper.

Beardmore, Geraldton and Long Lac are the larger communities in this district.  Good modern motels and eating places are located in these towns.

Letter to Larry Morrison from Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario November 12, 1964

Dear Mr. Morrison:

Your samples and accompanying letters have been referred to me for reply.

Examination shows the specimens to be cut slices of various types of common agate, a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz.

No. 1 - Yellowish brown ( moss agate)
No. 2 - Greenish black ( clouded agate)
No. 3 - Reddish (Moss Agate)
No. 4 - Buff coloured ( banded)
No. 5 - Buff, greyish ( banded with specks of pyrite )
No. 6 - Bluish-grey (ruin agate )
No. 7 - Green (Plasma )
No. 8 - Greenish, blue (ruin agate)
No. 9 - Greenish (banded)
No. 10 - Greyish (Mocha)
No. 11 - Brown, This sample probably silicified wood.
No. 12 - Buff coloured ( eye agate )
No. 13 - Greenish, pink ( brecciated )

Yours truly,

C.H.R. Gauthier,