05 May Times in Longlac

View of the Nipigon River bridge construction in 1937, looking west. The steel work has already begun, which would date the photo to the early summer of the year. Note the Canadian National Railways line under the steel work, running south and north. Photo Thunder Bay Historical Society.

05 Reports in the Port Arthur News-Chronicle in 1937

Refer to introductory remarks in post 01 January Times in Longlac.

Tue May 4Rev. and Mrs. W. Bradbury of Hornepayne spent Monday in Long Lac with friends. / George Reesor, chief fire ranger, spent Saturday in Port Arthur on business. / Mr. and Mrs. Bud Jarvis and family arrived in Long Lac last week to spend the Summer. / Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Burroughs, who spent the last six months in Montreal, arrived in Long Lac on Thursday. / Miss Marjorie Trimble spent Sunday in Nakina with friends. / Paul Haystone of Nakina spent Sunday in Long Lac. / Donat Charboneau has returned from a holiday in Montreal.

Wed May 5 – BRIDGE AT NIPIGON Good progress is being made with the preliminary work on construction of the Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the Nipigon River, according to a statement by Erle Smith, engineer for the department . . . 1

Fri May 7CANOE CAPSIZES J.G. Burnie narrowly escaped drowning this week when his sixteen-foot canoe capsized in the swift current of Suicide River near here. Mr. Burnie was en route to the N.A. Timmins Corp. property when his canoe was caught in mid-stream by a swift eddy and overturned. / Holding to the rope of the canoe, the man used his paddle, still clutched tightly in one hand, to assist himself to safety. He was none the worse for his experience.

Fri May 7extract – MOTORCADE TO CELEBRATE HOLIDAY

“A motorcade2 from Nipigon will visit Port Arthur on Coronation Day3, Wednesday, May 12 . . . “ On the past Wednesday, elections were held for the Nipigon Chamber of Commerce preceded by a dinner for special guests at the Nipigon Inn. The new President was E.C. Everett.

“A celebration will be held on the day the Nipigon River bridge of the Trans-Canada Highway is officially opened, and invitations will be sent to Port Arthur, Fort William and Schreiber organizations and civic leaders.”

On May 12, 1937, the British royal family pose on the balcony of Buckingham palace on Coronation Day. From left to right, Queen Elizabeth (with crown), Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), and His Majesty King George VI.

Sat May 8NEW AIR SERVICE – . . . Alderman [Al] Cheesman said he hoped to commence his plane schedule from Port Arthur to Long Lac some time in June. The base for the new air line would be in Port Arthur and his planes would connect at Long Lac with those of Skyline Limited for Toronto and Winnipeg, he said . . .

Tue May 11WELL KNOWN PORTER DIES Joseph Cassey, for the past ten years or so Canadian National Railways sleeping car porter running between Port Arthur and Long Lac, died this afternoon in hospital here of plurapneunomia. / Mr. Cassey was one of the most popular of sleeping car officials, a general favorite with the travelling public. His wife and three children at the family home, 312 Arthur Street, survive . . .

Tue May 11LONG LAKE WATERS RISING The earliest breakup in many years was experienced in Long Lac this year, when no signs of ice appeared on the lake on Sunday May 10. Last year the lake opened on May 18. The water has risen over its high water mark of last year and can be seen all around the Lakeview Hotel, and Long Lac Hotel. The water is doing much damage to docks , and many of the docks are floating away. / The department of lands and forests survey party, which was surveying around Long Lac the past six months, has completed work. / They surveyed much territory in the Kenogami River and around Long Lac. The survey party at Jackfish has also completed the necessary work. / The Forestry rangers have begun their duties here. The men were put on earlier than last year. The rangers now on the payroll are George Reesor, chief ranger; A. Killick, deputy chief ranger; Ernest Ward, deputy chief ranger; Gilbert Grasser, Bud Jarvis, car driver4. / The school children of the Long Lac Public School celebrated Arbor Day by working around the school yard. Instead of planting trees as Arbor Day calls for, the children cleaned up their school yard. A large bonfire was made after all the debris was put into one pile. Miss Marjorie Trimble, teacher, gave the children a marshmallow roast after the work was done.

George Reesor, Chief Ranger, poses on the speeder circa 1935. Note the heavy raincoat as protection against weather. The sign reads “FORESTRY BRANCH ONTARIO”. The background suggests a forest fire had recently swept up to (and possibly over) the railway. Photo Greenstone History.

Tue May 11MINERS CEASED WORK The N.A. Timmins Corporation, which is located eight miles up the Suicide River, east of Long Lac, has ceased operations in the shaft in which they were working. The shaft employees were laid off, although it is understood operations are to be resumed on a new location.

Tue May 18WATERS SURGE OVER VILLAGE – By Canadian Press

With Communication and power lines cut off, this Northern Ontario mining centre, 175 miles northeast of Port Arthur, was flooded today as the waters of Long Lake surged through the town. / The lake overflowed its banks following heavy rains during the week-end and yesterday. Local residents said the only flood in the town’s history “threatens to float it away”. / Canoes are the only form of transportation in the town and district. The electrical plant which supplies electricity for the town was flood late yesterday and there was no power available during the night. The one hotel ceased operation when water swirled more than a foot deep through the beverage room and lobby. / The rising waters of the lake also threatened prospectors’ shacks located along the banks. The Canadian National Railways track was covered with from eight inches to a foot of water. Officials expressed fear of washouts and precautions were being taken to avoid accidents.

News-Chronicle Special

Water to the depth of twelve inches covered the entire ground floor of the Long Lac Hotel here today. Thirsty patrons of the hotel beverage room found themselves forced to navigate their way to tables on planks placed on blocks of wood. The rotunda of the hotel in particular appeared more like a swimming pool than anything else. / Canoes were being used throughout the lower part of the town as a means of communication and transportation. One mile of the railway tracks outside the town appeared to be in danger of being washed out if flood waters continued to rise.

View of the Longlac CNR station and the “lower village”, looking east, taken before the highway was constructed. This was the area threatened by flood waters in May 1937. The so-called “upper village”, spread along the distant shore, was never in danger. The Forest Branch headquarters were further south, out of frame. Note the elevated walkways to the buildings. View of the Nakina Cut-off (tracks to Nakina) with the railway bridge over the Kenogami River in the distance. Photo Greenstone History.

Wed May 19N. Cockburn of the West Side Long Lac Gold Mines, arrived in Long Lac from Toronto on Friday to make plans for work on the West Side Gold Mines5. / Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Gervis returned from the Lakehead, where they were recently married. Accompanying them home were Mr. and Mrs. C.R. Smith, Norma Alto. The bride was formerly Miss Irma Alto, nurse, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Alto. / A meeting of the girls softball team was held at the home of Mr. C.R. Smith. The meeting was called for the purpose of forming a girls’ softball team to compete with the mines teams. Bud Jarvis, member of the Syracuse Stars hockey team, was elected coach of the softball team.

Wed May 19FLOOD WATERS REACH 8 FEET

Flood waters in this Northern Ontario mining town reached a height of eight feet early this morning, with no immediate let-up in sight, and residents watched the rising waters apprehensively as prospects for a wholesale evacuation of the town loomed large. / Residents declared that another heavy rainfall such as was experienced last week-end would mean that the town would have to be deserted until the waters receded. At present the entire lower portion of the town is inundated, the railway station alone remaining untouched by water.  / Ontario Forestry Branch officials, stationed on a point of land at some distance from the village, expressed the fear that another rain would bring the water up over the height of land and flood their buildings.

Wed May 19START ON STEEL SOON Engineers and other officials of the Canadian Bridge Co. are expected to arrive at Nipigon within the next ten days to begin steel work on the Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the Nipigon River , it was announced this morning by Earl Smith, district engineer, Ontario Department of Highways. / “They are pouring the last pier on the west side of the river now,” he said, “and as soon as that is done steel work will be begun. At the same time pouring of piers on the east side will get under way.”

Wed May 19 – extract – ACCUSATIONS HURLED ABOUT LONG LAC TIMBER GIVEAWAY

The Port Arthur Riding Conservative Association elected George Wardrope as President last night. In attendance was the Hon. Earl Rowe, leader of the Ontario Conservative Party.

“No government in the history of the country had so shattered the confidence of the people in so short a time as had the Hebburn [Liberal] government in Ontario, Hon. Mr. Rowe said at the outset of his address . . . “ He went on to accuse the Premier of mishandling the School Assessment Act, Hydro contracts, and control of liquor sales, among other things.

“Hon. Mr. Rowe charged Premier Hepburn with exploiting the forest resources of the Long Lac district, where he declared the biggest ‘steal’ ever put over on a people was carried out. In giving to American interests millions of cords of wood at sixty cents per cord cheaper than for which a Canadian could get it, the Premier had virtually paid a bonus to the Americans to take Ontario’s wood. Yet every leader and government of the past had taken steps by means of embargoes to stop the exploitation of Canadian resources for the benefit of American mills and American workmen.”

Thu May 20FLOOD CONTINUES The 800 inhabitants of this little Northwestern Ontario mining town, faced with the necessity of evacuating their homes should flood waters of Long Lac rise another twelve inches, today looked to row boats and canoes as probable means of escape. / With outside communication, except by railroad, cut off, the electric power plant covered and waters at the highest levels in the town’s history, residents feared overcast skies mean further rain. Heavy week-end rains and snow melting in the bush precipitated the flood. / Little change was noted in the water level today. Water flowed a foot deep through the rotunda of the Long Lac Hotel. Storekeepers piled perishable goods on upper shelves and prepared to save as much as possible should it become necessary to leave their stores. / Reports from outlying districts indicated that a number of prospectors’ homes were isolated and that hundreds of dollars damage had been done to mining claims and workings. / An Indian reservation a mile east of Geraldton [sic] is reported in danger of being flooded.

Sat May 22Mr. and Mrs. J. Alto, Long Lac, announce the marriage of their eldest daughter, Irma, to John D. Gervis, Long Lac. The marriage took place Friday, May 14, in Fort William, Rev. D. McIvor officiating.

Thu May 27Walter Laubengayer and Dr. McGillivray of the Lake Sulphite Pulp Co., were in Long Lac on business today. / Mr. Culbert of Toronto arrived in Long Lac, to make plans for work on his claims in the Suicide area. / A. Kauppi of Port Arthur spent Monday in Long Lac at his camps.

ENDNOTES

1 The first TransCanada Highway (TCH) was built piecemeal across Canada, culminating in the winter of 1943 when the last link was constructed between Geraldton and Hearst. Because of the World War in progress, the accomplishment received little attention. One piece of TCH construction which was duly celebrated was the bridge over the Nipigon River. As a later article indicates, the TCH link ran from Nipigon to Schreiber. A road to the northern mining towns, including Longlac, was not in the works. Utilizing the Nipigon bridge, work commenced in 1938 on the highway to Beardmore and Geraldton.

2 Motorcades became quite popular after the Great War, when motorcars became cheaper and more numerous, and governments saw the advantages of building highways to replace bush roads and farm lanes. “Motorcade”, a blend of “motor” and “cavalcade”, was coined circa 1912 by an automotive magazine. Motorcades usually  involved travel between communities, and often celebrated special occasions such as visits of dignitaries and the openings of new highways and bridges.

3 On January 20, 1936, the British King George V had died, and on December 3, 1936, King Edward VIII had abdicated. On May 12, 1937, King George and Queen Mary were crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, and much of the world rejoiced, especially a Commonwealth country such as Canada.

4 In this era, there were two ways of patrolling for forest fires: by air and by rail.  Float planes to spot fires were moored at the dock of the Forestry Branch base in Longlac. Speeders (sometimes called motor cars) replaced the old-fashioned handcars that used muscle power to propel them.

5 West-Side Long Lac Gold Mines Ltd. was a prospect rather than a mine, staked in 1933. It was located on the west side of Long Lake, at Westside Bay. Exploration commenced in 1934 with trenching and diamond-drilling. No visible gold was reported.

Part of a Provincial Series map, Longlac 42E/ NE, dated circa 1975. Note the cluster of patented mining claims around Westside Bay. In the 1980s, local prospector/explorer Michael Malouf re-staked the area for his company Ferau Resources Inc. On the east side of Long Lake, note the extent of the Indian Reserve. Just south of the boundary line is a cluster of claims and buildings associated with the old Theresa mine.

PHOTOS

05a View of the Nipigon River bridge construction in 1937, looking west. The steel work has already begun, which would date the photo to the early summer of the year. Note the Canadian National Railways line under the steel work, running south and north. Photo Thunder Bay Historical Society.

05b On May 12, 1937, the British royal family pose on the balcony of Buckingham palace on Coronation Day. From left to right, Queen Elizabeth (with crown), Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), and His Majesty King George VI.

05c View of the Longlac CNR station and the “lower village”, looking east, taken before the highway was constructed. This was the area threatened by flood waters in May 1937. The so-called “upper village”, spread along the distant shore, was never in danger. The Forest Branch headquarters were further south, out of frame. Note the elevated walkways to the buildings. View of the Nakina Cut-off (tracks to Nakina) with the railway bridge over the Kenogami River in the distance.

05d George Reesor, Chief Ranger, poses on the speeder circa 1935. Note the heavy raincoat as protection against weather. The sign reads “FORESTRY BRANCH ONTARIO”. The background suggests a forest fire had recently swept up to (and possibly over) the railway. Photo Greenstone History.

05e Part of a Provincial Series map, Longlac 42E/ E, dated circa 1975. Note the cluster of patented mining claims around Westside Bay. In the 1980s, local prospector/explorer Michael Malouf re-staked the area for his company Ferau Resources Inc. On the east side of Long Lake, note the extent of the Indian Reserve. Just south of the boundary line is a cluster of claims and buildings associated with the old Theresa mine.