Monday 25 December 2023

Thank You Readers 2023

 As of Christmas Day 2023 we have reached 293,469 Pageviews

That's about 60,000 Pageviews for the year added..

Thursday 9 November 2023



Clara Patton (Randall)

Born -----------------------1925


Father: Roy Randall,

Mother: Melvin Theresa

Sister: Dorothy Randall (Salo)

Date: February 7th 2006


What brought your father to Nipigon?

My father was a black smith and had to find work. We came in 1939; I don’t know if he came in 1939 as he was already here when my mother sister and I came.  He may have been here in 1938 I don’t know.


You came here from?

Okay where were we living oh Mafeking Manitoba. Oh and we lived in Barrows too, we lived in Barrows before that maybe that’s where we moved from, probably that’s where we moved from.


Who came with you?

Mother and Dorothy.


What was your Mother’s name?

Melvina Theresa


How old were you when you came to Nipigon?

Well I was born in 1925 that would make me 14, Dorothy was born in 1934 that would make Dorothy five.


Where did you live?

First we lived down by the CN tracks, over there under the bridge in a shack. I don’t know how long we were there I don’t remember being there in the winter so I think we moved before winter.


Did your Dad work for someone?

Well he came here to look for work he was a blacksmith he’d have to work in the bush he worked for Don Clark that I can remember.


You know that house where a Borsk girl lives (Marcia) that is where Don Clark lived.


 Then I don’t know who he (Dad) worked for after but he worked on the boats down there at the dock. Dad always wore an engineer cap. Mac McCullough would be an operator and Carl Ringham would be a machine operator. We are looking at an old picture of a boat and a few men, one that is Clara’s Dad.


Did you go to school?

I went to school in Mafeking but didn’t go to school when I came to Nipigon. I stayed home and worked, did the work in the house.


 Mother did leather work and she made jackets. She had to use sinue and square needles they were triangular had three sides she did bead work too. She was a very talented seamstress.


Was you Mom Native?

Yes she was, she was my adoptive mother and so was my natural mother native. She was dark so she had to have some native in her she came from Treherne Manitoba. Her last name was Bruce.


I worked at Zeckner’s and I was a cookie out at a camp in the Black Sturgeon some place for one winter then came back to Nipigon.


How did you meet your husband?

Oh he came back from the army. I guess I used to go down and visit Mrs. Patton before that. They lived down there in the area where Smutylo’s(101Railway) live. There used to be quite a few houses in that area. There was Gordon’s she used to be a nurse. His name was Stan Gordon I can remember his name but I can’t remember her name.


 I can remember Clyde and I were married already. Clyde’s Dad his name was John and his Mom;s name was Emma. Mrs. Patton and her sister came to Canada, they I guess the family couldn’t look after them in England so in those days I guess they were shipped to other places, kids were. Her last name I think was Stern. The sister I think her name was Ann; Clydes sister was named after her.


 Clyde’s sister Ann lived in Cameron Falls her husband worked for the hydro then he was transferred to Oakville and he committed suicide. We used to go visit them in Cameroon Falls they had a house there everybody rented, Ontario Hydro built houses out there.


Tell us about work Clara?

I started at Bell in 52 I remember because I got married in 52. Dorothy Dumas was the chief operator it was Bell telephone at the time and I don’t know what it was before. Yaw I know Vera Atkinson we worked together. Dorothy Dumas used to live in the house across from Silvia Lamay the big house like the story and one half, I don’t who lives there now.  I guess when they finished with operators at Bell that is when they went to automatic.

          Once we were done at Bell I went to work at Zechner’s.


 I think I was hired in 1975 at the plywood mill I can’t remember; I had my accident in 1979. I went back after my accident I had a hook still have it in the drawer I don’t use it any more though I don’t need it.


You retired in?



What was it like down town?

Of coarse all the bars were booming there was the Nipigon Inn, International, the Ovillio and The Normandie. That’s where we went a lot when Clyde was living the Normandie. Clyde and I and the Rasks, we chummed around quite a bit. Pete Prete owned the Normandie at the time.




What Year did Clyde die?

I don’t remember I know he was in that bedroom in there and he was not feeling good. I guess he lay down and I heard a noise or something and I called the doctor because he would not answer me.  I forget who the doctor was a tall skinny guy probably Workington, he lived some place up there (points up towards McKirdy. Probably it was Dr. Workinton because Dr. Harvey was here at the time. Then they took him to the hospital and I drove there and they looked at him and he had a ruptured artery going into the stomach or something. They could not fix him. They took him up town and I drove behind and by six in the morning he was gone. I drove up by myself then Archie and Dorothy came up because I called them.

They came and then Dorothy drove my car and Archie drove whatever they had. I think it was 1975 when he died.


Claira lives at 126 Seventh Street Nipigon with her dog Ashleigh. Claira also owns a camp at Stewart Lake where she spends most of the summer.


Claira has two nephews and one niece through her sister Dorothy (gone) and bother in law Archie Salo. They are Ron and Jim Salo and Lori (Salo) Davies. Claira also has relatives in Manitoba through her biological mother.




Tuesday 7 November 2023





“Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest:  this shall be the portion of their cup.”…Psalm 11

Father of the east, give me strength.  …Flossie


To most people Flossie is a queer.  Some of them even fell sorry for him.  What they think about him doesn’t bother him at all, in fact he couldn’t care less.  Chances are he doesn’t even bother to think about it.  But this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think, because he does.

As Flossie crunched along the gravel roadside he couldn’t help wondering why the town clerk had been over to talk to him today.  The fellow usually ignored him, but today he had stopped to ask questions.  Now, Flossie didn’t mind answering questions, but he often wondered why people asked them.  This fellow, Tort was his name, wanted to know how many relatives he had and if Flossie had any dependents, it’s a darn good thing he didn’t have any either, Flossie thought, because they would be starving right along with him.   Right then a pickup truck pulled over just in front of him and the man poked his head out the passenger side window.  “You want a ride the rest of the way?”

The two men sat in the truck as it picked up speed, neither one of them willing to start the conversation.  Flossie looked out his window at the grey leafless,  poplars and birches.  Only the Evergreens didn’t seem barren, only they could hold enough moisture in their trunks to outlast this cold, dry winter.  There was enough precipitation, no doubt about that, but it was all frozen. Suddenly the driver broke into his thoughts,  “You’ll want off at the crossroads eh?”

Flossie answered, “Yes if the wind doesn’t blow us off the bridge.”

“Or we may get hit by a flock of geese,”   the driver chuckled

This wasn’t as funny as it seemed, because at this time of year, with everything flying south the wat it does, and with them flying down the valley of the river,  they’d have to climb pretty quick and pretty high to get over the bridge.  One Indian fellow got fined just last week for hunting on a government bridge.

As they drove along Flossie began to talk to his companion.  “Guess we’ll be getting a lot of frost this winter.”

“Yes,” answered the man, “ The Indians say there’s gonna be a lot of snow too on account of the geese took flight so early.”

“Guess the cold gets you pretty hard down there by the river,” he added.

“Your health is your wealth, “ Flossie responded. “If you’re healthy you don’t need wealth.”  “Your sins are the cause of your bad health.  Look at me, I’m sixty-three, and I get up at 4:30 every morning to chop my wood, then I have to walk into town.”

The way Flossie rambled in, it was not hard to see why people wondered.

Flossie was about to tell him how he was a member of the Round Church and how the devil couldn’t back him into a corner, but the fellow was slowing down for his road so he didn’t have time.

His gravel toad petered out and the old logging trail was clothed in deepening shadow as the old man shuffled off into the dusk. In the distance he could hear his river as it boiled and eddied on its way to the great fresh-water sea.  Directly across from the town, his settlement clustered on a slanting deposit of river silt. Slowly his buildings settled as the back on which they  were perched slid towards the river.  The old man turned off the road and down his trail.  His cabin had been built far back from the river by the first of its many occupants.  In the Spring, when the river was in flood, the rotting west wall  was in danger of being washed at high tide.  As he unlatched the plank door he became aware of the sweet raw odor of blackberries and honey that spoke  of bear.  He had likely frightened it away when he came down the path.

After eating a plate of noodles and drinking a cup of coffee he went out to cut the wood for his night- fire.  As he lifted his axe from the splitting block, he thought, aloud. “This old axe has done many a job for me.  Thank you axe, for you saved my life from cold and taught me to laugh when your head flew off and put a hole in my outhouse  roof – but what a job it was to fish it out of there.”

The old man chose a straight-grained  block as his first victim.  They are much easier to split  than the ones that are knot-twisted.  The twisted, branching birch grew around close, but he had to go a long way to find a straight, fat swamp- birch.

As he chopped, he thought.

Those kids were a lot of trouble to him whether they meant to or not.  He would never be able to forget the time last winter when one of them put some soap flakes in his salt.  Kids are usually that way when  they’re young;  but it had been pretty hard on  him for a couple of weeks until he found out what was wrong.  He had to ask Joe at the garage to leave the toilet door unlocked, and even then he didn’t make it in time a lot.  Wore out four good pairs of drawers that winter.  But, he was happy  to have the kids come in when they got cold skiing.  Some of them must have been in a fix like he had been, because they had drunk his coffee.

Flossie never seemed to have time to get married and raise kids.  It seemed inly right that he shouldn’t pass out of life  without loving children and having them love him in their own  uncertain way.  He knew that he loved them in one way, because  on weekends when none of them came over to visit him, he got desperately lonely.  He could never be sure of them; maybe it was hoping where hope had no right to be.

The swamp-birch were something like sheltered people.  They grew straight=grained and were not  wind-twisted and branch-broken  like the hill-birch;  but the trees on the hill didn’t die or rot nearly so quickly as those down below.   Being sheltered and well nourished wasn’t nearly as important as being able to stand up to,  and to recognize something as being evil.  Sometimes the poorest of  people are the most healthy.  Flossie figured that he was the healthy one.

Flossie had what he thought was  one of the most important jobs in town.  What do people prize more than their children?  His job was their protection; both parents and children  Public school children from down town were his friends.  They were the only ones who had to cross the highway that bisected the town.   He took their small warm hands in his large, rough ones and guided them across safely.  It was then that he wished he had many more hands;  the little hands felt so good in his  he thought ge would burst  and overflow  with happiness.

As he put another block on the stump, he thought of the time they had surprised him and how happy to tears he was  to know that some of them cared that he was alive.  He swung his axe up and brought it down  on the wood, splitting it almost in two halves.  It had been the same day that he got the letter.  The two things balanced out and, in one day, he felt pain of love and the burn of hate for those people who cared only for themselves.

On  that day the principal had stopped to tell him that he wanted to see him at the school at 3:30.  Flossie had wondered why, but quite often people asked  him to come over  to pick up old clothes.  At 3:15 he had gone up  to the school.  The principal had taken him to his private office to wait.  He came back and led him down  the two flights of stairs to the auditorium.  The place  was full of students and he could see his friends in the front rows.  They all clapped when he came in and he couldn’t understand it all .  He was led up to the platform  where six large cardboard boxes were piled.  Flossie was in a daze.  The principal told him that all the children had given something to Flossie, for the long cold winter  was close.  At the sight of all the canned food he broke down.  All he could do was cry.

Flossie put his axe against the wall and gathered up the split wood.  As he lit the night-fire he remembered the letter that had come on that same day.  The town clerk and the reeve had signed it.  It said that they were taking  two cents  each day away from his dollar; in case he should die it would be used to defray expenses, it was a cold letter and it made him mad when he read it.

Forever, people have failed to realize that love is a many splendored thing  -Prometheus

 (I have no idea who the author of this is. B Nov. 7, 2023 ...from our Archives)



Friday 3 November 2023

Nipigon Narrations the list of 62 interviews



1.  Anna Bellin

2. Barry Frankham Brian Davis

3. Bill Harmon

4. Billy Milne

5. Cookie Dampier

6. David Crawford

7. Dianne Maurice and Linda Elliot

8. Eadie Finlayson

9. George Borg and Art Laframboise

10. Gerry Blakely

11. Glena Clearwater

12. Glena Clearwater

13. Gord MacKenzie

14. Gwen Nyman

15. Irene Luce

16. James Foulds

17. Jeannine Moore and Roland Choiselat

18. Jerry Larson and Tim Harper

19. Jim McCullough

20. Anne Kovacs

21. Joanne and Jerry Larson and Linda Harbinson

22. John Ahl and Grant Williams

23. Paakanninon/Seabrook/Jarvela/Huls

24. John Petrick

25. John Pothoff

26. John Zechner Sr.

27. Levina Collins, Vince, Irwin and Shorty Nicol

28. Linda Robinson and Donny Ruoho

29. Louise Pelletier Dupuis

30. Maria Ray

31. Mary O’Donnell

32. Maryanne Oraszewski

33. Norman Sarrasin and Billy Milne

34. Omer Belisle

35. Peter Elliot

36. Phyllis Gauvin and Ethel Martin

37. Ray Dupuis Sr.

38. Ray Dupuis Sr.

39, Ray Huntus

40. Rosemary Ray, Bonnie Broughton Zach Cheetham

41. Ruby and Rosealee Dampier

42. Sharon, Jim, Donnie and Arnold Ruoho

43. Shirley Nelson and Donna Smith

44. Steve Harmatiuk

45. Sumiye Sugawara

46. Susan Cantley

47. Ted and Gwen Nyman

48.Thomas R. Hebert

49. Ulysses Landry

50. Velma Harmatiuk

51. Vern Ray

52. Albert Brennan and Mike Parkinson

53. Clara Dupuis and Roy Mannila

54. Kornelia Zigmont Newbrand

55. Dan and Jim Dampier

56. Joy and Marvin Johnson

57. Judy Wawia

58. Larry Rowley

59. Lorrie and Diane N.

60. Sally Aubut

61. Terry Winfield

62. Urban Luce.





Thursday 26 October 2023

Nipigon Museum Videos and Nipigon Narrations Oct. 2023 Updates


Township of Nipigon YouTube channel: Titles available in playlists: Ear of the Wolf, Destination Nipigon, Nipigon of Many Pasts, Norval Morrisseau and the Group of Seven monument unveiling, Paradise Knows My Name From the Four Seasons of Betty's Bay, and the 2018 virtual tour of the Nipigon Museum. Also Daniela Carlino's films are available as end screen links!

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Lise Vaugeois MPP Visits Nipigon Historical Museum

 August 19, 2023

Blueberry Blast  Festival

Betty Brill showing Lise Vaugeois the Nipigon River before and after the Dams went in and flooded it out.

This is the World Record Brook Trout Display.  With new addition a full mount real fish morphed into the exact size of the World Record Brook Trout. In 1915 it was split and both sides were mounted on birch bark and displayed across Canada and the US (Sportsman Show) The US side burnt in 1974 and our side burnt in 1990.  The record remains unbroken 108 years straight.

Betty Brill and Gord McKenzie with photo by Art LaFramboise
of the Nipigon River Bridge 
A gift from the Township of Nipigon
for fifty years with the Nipigon Historical Museum

Tuesday 19 September 2023




Friday Aug. 11, 2023

1:30 PM

Nipigon Historical Museum

Greet and sign in  (photo)

We will start your Blue and Yellow Tour at the World Record Brook Trout Display.

As our Federal Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay- Superior North, you represent us to  Canada and the World.

Having a World Record Brook Trout that has retained its World Record status  for 108 continuous years since it was caught in our mighty Nipigon River July 21, 1915, is a unique feature of your Riding.

After the Fur Trade frenzy FISHING the Nipigon became a world enticement.

As you can see from the wall map, the last Hydro dam built at Pine Portage took out every lake, rapid and waterfall including Virgin Falls as its flooding created Forgan Lake 73 years ago.

So, that is why it is so important what Fred Dean and Rob Swainson are doing  to establish a solid history of the Nipigon River that was when it ran wild , untamed and free.

Fred has pixel painted 100 historic black and white  photos to create the Nipigon River in Colour as a lasting tribute for our mighty River that was, but is no more.

As Rob Swainson says it is recognized that  without the Indigenous guides’ knowledge of the River and their amazing paddling and portaging skills likely no fisherman nor photographer would have reached  the upper Nipigon.

(Moving to the round table)

Some years ago a young man named Warren came to the museum with an Ojibway language Hymn book published in Nipigon in 1931. He was very proud of it and left it as a loan for display in the Nipigon Museum.  A short while later he died in a train accident.

In July of this year we received an Ojibway language hymn book , Published in Nipigon 1931,in the mail from Mary Turk in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory.  She was sorting through the shelves of Bishop Hectors small church when she came across this hymn book. She thought it best that it be returned to its source, Nipigon. Thus Nipigon Historical Museum was chosen for its safe keeping and display.



On the wall here and assorted places around the museum you will see the Woodland Art of Isadore Wadow.

(Move to the Rock Images)

Rock Images have been found in about 31 locations in and around Nipigon Bay.  The most famous of them, The Maymayguishy is slowly wearing away.

What they depict may be Spiritual; tell a story; give directions or be just artistic creations.

(Move to Archaeology cases)

Another unique  feature of your Riding is the McCollum Collection which dates back 3500 years.

The uniqueness comes  from the inclusion of lithics and copper in an (assumed) grave site.

The copper dates back to a Culture 3500 years ago.  Two pieces of this copper originated from the Isle Royale copper pits.

In the other case the lithics are from an island in South Lake Nipigon and they date into the Archaic period of 5000 years ago.

The Pottery sherds range over 1200 years of occupation in one area of South Bay, Lake Nipigon.

As you can see there were a few different Cultural names assigned to this pottery.

(Move to Paddle to the Sea case)

Coming forward in time we have the children’s book “Paddle to the Sea” first published in 1941.

82 years later it is still published.. The author Holling Clancy Holling visited Nipigon in 1939 researching his book.

The National Film Board made a movie of this book.  This is a still from that movie . The daughter of  Director Mason donated this to the Nipigon Historical Museum.  Children at a Waterford Michigan school studied the book and carved little “Paddles” which they sent to St. Edward School and that class  threw them in the Nipigon River off the Morning Star.  Another little boy celebrated the 50th anniversary of the book by carving his own “Paddle” and flying to Thunder Bay with his family and driving to Nipigon to throw it in the Nipigon River. He lived in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

NIPIGON can still entice the World.

(End Tour)