01 January Times in Longlac

View looking west at Longlac station in 1953. The water tower is located on the Nakina Cut-off, the railway line going to Nakina. To the immediate right is the Long Lac Hotel, accessed by an elevated walkway with handrails bridging the swampy land. Behind it is a general store. Photo H. Fisher.

01– Reports in the Port Arthur News-Chronicle in 1937

Longlac, Ontario, at this time was a collection of buildings on the northeast shore of Long Lake and included the Canadian National Railways (CNR) station with a line of buildings opposite on the Nakina Cut-off. The CNR was the easiest way to reach and to leave Longlac The TransCanada Highway was still a long way from being constructed.

In December 1936, the Ontario government announced the signing of an agreement to allow a new organization, Pulpwood Supply Co. Ltd., to cut pulpwood in the Long Lake watershed. Hydro would build a dam at the north end and construct canals at the south end to divert the waters of the Kenogami River southward to Lake Superior The wood would be driven on the lake and through the canals for export to pulp mills in the United States.

Editor’s Comments: Most of the Port Arthur News-Chronicle articles were social notes, describing the comings and goings of residents and visitors. Personal names are highlighted in boldface, courtesy of the editor. A heading in boldface and CAPS is an insertion by the editor. An extract is a summary of the article with exact wording in quotes.

Sat 2 JanRobert Landrie returned from Gladwick Monday after visiting his mother. / T. Philips and Mr. MacGregor of Toronto returned to Long Lac1 Tuesday after spending Christmas week with relatives. / Misses Doris and June Grasser of Nakina are spending a few days in Long Lac with Mr. and Mrs. C.R. Smith. / Verdun Gauthier returned from Nakina Monday after spending the week-end with his brother Jeff. / Leo DeBlois returned from Port Arthur Monday. / Victor Maun of Long Lac left Monday for Geraldton on business. / Mr. Strathearn of Toronto returned to Long Lac to resume his work on the forestry survey party2 on Tuesday.

Tue 5 JanMr. and Mrs. C.R. Smith and son Kenneth left on Thursday for Nakina to spend the week-end with Mr. and Mrs. A. Gascon. / Misses Doris and June Grasser returned to Nakina on Thursday after spending the past week with Mrs. C.R. Smith. / Misses Theresa Caouette and Eileen Gervis left on Thursday for Geraldton to spend a day with Buster Caouette. / Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Tough and daughter Sheila left on Friday for Nakina to spend the week-end with Mr. and Mrs. A. Swanton. / Jeff Gauthier of Nakina spent New Year’s in Long Lac with his parents. / C.R. Smith returned from Nakina after spending a few days with friends. / Reginald Moran of Port Arthur arrived in Long Lac on Thursday after spending the past two weeks with his parents. / Mr. Murphy of Toronto returned to Long Lac after spending a few weeks with his relatives. / Mrs. J. Boisseneau and daughter Velma spent Thursday in Geraldton with friends. / K.  Caouette of Long Lac spent Thursday in Geraldton with his son, Buster. / H. Howell of Bankfield Gold Mine spent Sunday in Long Lac with friends. / Arthur Russell and Roy Howell of Geraldton spent Sunday in Long Lac with friends. / Miss Marjorie Trimble returned from Mount Forest on Sunday after spending the Christmas week with her parents. / Miss Irene Hebert of Geraldton spent Saturday in Long Lac with her parents. / Miss Maimi Weitto of Geraldton spent the week-end in Long Lac with friends. / Bill Lowery returned to Long Lac after spending a few weeks in Fort Frances. / Bill Lloyd returned to Nakina on Sunday after spending a few days with friends. / Victor Strathan of Hornepayne spent the week-end in Long Lac as a swing operator3.

Thu 7 JanMisses Theresa Caouette and Eileen Gervis left on Tuesday for Parry Sound to resume their school studies. / S.A. Taylor and daughters, Edith and Ethel, spent Tuesday in Geraldton. / Miss Ottie Wright, teacher of the Martin Falls4 school, returned from Fort William on Wednesday. / Mrs. C.R. Smith and son Kenneth arrived in Long Lac on Tuesday from Nakina. / SCHOOL BOARD MEETING A school meeting of the ratepayers of school section number one was held in the Public school on January 5. New trustees and chairman were appointed. Those succeeding J.D. Gervis and A. Caouette were J.W. Heald, chairman, Alex Gould, trustee, and T.J. Gaffney re-elected. U. Allen was again appointed secretary-treasurer.

Wed 13 JanVerdun Gauthier, who spent the last two weeks in Long Lac with relatives, left on Monday for Sudbury to resume his school duties. / Bill Tough of Long Lac left on Sunday for Geraldton. / Mr. and Mrs. W. Allan and son Walter left on Saturday for Geraldton to visit their daughter Anne. / Stan Ryan and Gerard Slattery spent Friday in Geraldton. / Mr. and Mrs. C. Johnson and son Alfred spent the week-end in Geraldton with friends. / Mrs. Irma Alto returned from Hornepayne on Saturday. / Mrs. Niami and son Leo of Nakina spent Saturday in Long Lac with friends. / Mr. and Mrs. Kusti Tuominen spent Saturday in Geraldton. / Rev. W. Bradbury of Hornepayne spent Monday in Long Lac, holding church service in the Public School. / A. Gemmell and son Jack of Toronto arrived in Long Lac on Thursday. / Mr. Jamieson of Hornepayne spent the week-end in Long Lac as a swing operator.

Tue Jan 19 – MINE WORKER INJURED Sam Oliquam, employee at the Timmins Corporation5, while at work was using a pick and the sharp end of it struck him under the eye. He was taken to the hospital in Geraldton, Saturday. The eye was seriously injured. / Miss Betty McMahon, of Long Lac, left Friday for Fort William to spend  the week-end with her parents. / Rev. Canon Sanderson, of Kenora, spent Tuesday in Long Lac with Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, while en route to Pagwa. / S.A. Taylor spent Friday in Keemle on business. / Lou Roberts of Port Arthur,   spent Tuesday in Long Lac on business. / Constable Lyle Nix of Geraldton, was a visitor in Long Lac. / Miss Anne  Allan, Audrey Oby, of Little Long Lac, spent Sunday in Long Lac. / Miss Irene Hebert of Geraldton, spent Sunday in Long Lac with her parents. / Mr. and Mrs. A. Caouette spent Saturday in Geraldton with their son, Marcel. / Misses Mildred Taylor, Cecile Gauthier, Jean Gauthier, Ollie Wright were spectators at the Nakina-Long Lac hockey game in Nakina. / Oscar Nordruid of Long Lac, spent the week-end in Port Arthur. / Mr. Bruce, engineer of the Department of Lands and Forests, returned to Toronto, Saturday. / Harry Towedo and Maurice Finlayson spent Saturday in Geraldton. / NAKINA DEFEATED LONG LAC The Nakina Maple Leafs defeated Long Lac by a score of 8-5 in an exhibition hockey game Sunday. The first period was a close checking affair. The first goal was scored by Big Long Lac in a scramble in front of the Maple Leafs net, with Bert Moran putting the rubber past Joe Downie. A few minutes later Jeff Aubrey put Nakina on even terms.   The second period was fast and wide open hockey was played. The Maple Leafs slapped four goals past veteran Bill Laponen. In the final period Big Long Lac put on the power and scored four goals to make the final count 8-5.

Mon Jan 25Miss Betty McMahon of Fort William returned to Long Lac after spending the week-end with her parents. / Bert Moran of Long Lac spent Tuesday in Geraldton with friends. / Lou Roberts of Port Arthur spent Wednesday in Long Lac on business. / Ross Barnum of Tashota spent Tuesday in Long Lac while en route to Beardmore. / Mike Kollereski of Nakina spent Tuesday in Long Lac on business. / R. Gauthier, of Long Lac, spent Monday in Geraldton on business. / George Reesor returned from Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday after spending the past two months there. / Jack Silver, of Fort William, spent Monday in Long Lac on business.

Thu Jan 28Urpo Allan of Long Lac left Saturday for Geraldton to spend the week-end on business. / Reginald Moran of the Forestry survey party of Long Lac was taken ill Sunday and left for Port Arthur. / William Tough of Long Lac left Sunday for Port Arthur on a business trip. / William Laponen spent Saturday in Geraldton with friends. / Bert Moran left on Friday for Geraldton for a few days on business. / S.A. Taylor of Long Lac left on Saturday for Ombabika on a business trip. / Ernie Puranen of Hillsport is spending a few days in Long Lac with friends. / A birthday party was held in honor of Miss Norma Alto on Friday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Alto. Many gathered at the home of Mrs. Alto. Those who were present: Mesdames Jeanne Gauthier, Cecile Gauthier, Marjorie Trimble, Ottie Wright, Mildred Taylor, Messrs. C.R. Smith, Bill Thompson, J.D. Gervis, Les Martin, George Taylor, Ernie Puranen. Games and dancing were the features of the evening. Lunch was served at midnight by the hostess. / George Reesor of Long Lac is spending a few days in Geraldton with friends. / Many of the Forestry survey men are laid up with the flu, which has been spreading in town the last week.

ENDNOTES

1 The spelling “Long Lac” appears to be an idiosyncrasy of the Port Arthur News-Chronicle. The Fort William Daily Times-Journal spells it as “Longlac”, as do CNR timetables and other sources. Earlier spellings include “Longuelac”. References to Big Long Lac (as in the January 19 article) are sometimes used to distinguish it from Little Long Lac, the mine and townsite on the south shore of Barton Bay, Kenogamisis Lake, near Geraldton.

 2 The forest survey was conducted by the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. It is not clear if this survey was connected to defining the limits of the timber concession allotted to Pulpwood Supply Co., or to establish the water levels of the reservoir to be created by the diversion of the Kenogami River and Long Lake.  

3 The author solicited explanations from CNR aficionados for the term “swing operator”. Here are some that seems to fit the bill: “The swing shift is a job which fills in positions of other shifts on their days off working different shifts at different stations through the week.” – William Needham. “I was the CN Swing Operator based in Longlac from 1965 to 1971. I worked 3 shifts per week in the old Longlac Station (across from Longlac Hotel) then travelled to Nakina for one shift and then travelled to Armstrong for one shift for a total of 5 shifts weekly, starting Saturday and finishing Wednesday night. The term “Swing Operator” is/was used by Operators working between different offices at different locations. Dependent on locations, operations of track switches, for train movements could have been part of their duties.” –Stu Thomas. “Maybe ‘swing’ was used in the sense of ‘relief’?” –Walt Lankenau. “The “operator” position runs the train order office, the “agent” handles waybills and billing. (The roles may be combined in one person in some places.) The operator does not actually work on the train itself and do switching. The only involvement in switching he might have would be giving the crew a switchlist (and only if he’s also the person performing the “agent” duties). (There might or might not even be switching in this spot.) The “swing” is just an irregular or relief position like Walt suggests, not a full time assignment.” –Chris van der Heide.

4 The Martin Falls Indian Reserve was the original name of Longlac Indian Reserve No. 77 and currently named Ginoogaming First Nation, located at Longlac on the east bank of the Suicide River (aka Making Ground River).

5 Timmins Corporation refers to the N.A. Timmins Corporation mining property. The property was located on the Making Ground River, contiguous to the Martin Falls Indian Reserve, 7 1/2 miles south and east of Longlac. The property was accessed by the river in summer and by a seasonal road in winter. Development of the prospect began in June 1936.

PHOTOS

01a Jan 1937 View looking west at Longlac station in 1953. The water tower is located on the Nakina Cut-off, the railway line going to Nakina. To the immediate right is the Long Lac Hotel, accessed by an elevated walkway with handrails bridging the swampy land. Behind it is a general store. Photo H. Fisher.