Northern Lights

Volume 17

Number 1 » March 1958
W.R. Southworth

LOOKS like this may go down in local history as the year of the big snow. By mid January we had twenty-eight inches on the level in the bush. While heavy snowfall is generally beneficial for hydro electric power production, it hampers other winter operations in the north such as trapping, fishing, logging and winter freighting. We were hoping for a fairly light snowfall this season so we could expect good ice for our big winter freight haul. The company plans to freight in all the cement, lumber and other construction supplies for our new generator installation work to be done this summer. By mid-January there was enough ice for trucks to start hauling light loads of lumber.

A few days before Christmas the school children treated the community to a fine concert in the theatre. This fine entertainment was directed by our teachers, Miss Lillian Hunter and Miss Audrey Delong. R.C.M.P. Constable Jim Hill should be proud of the performance of his junior tumbling class on this occasion. Let's have more of these fine programs. Our Christmas Eve Santa Claus party was a happy event for young and old. Santa seemed to be in rare form.

28th Annual New Year's Banquet.

For twenty-eight consecutive years we have held a banquet on New Year's Eve. Each year it seems to get little better although the number attending has held fairly steady at approximately two hundred for some years. For this occasion we have quite a number of visitors from Flin Flon as well as all the young people home for the Christmas school holidays. We were pleased to have as our parent company guests from Flin Flon: Mr. and Mrs. Gunnar Hammerstad and Joan and Mr. and Mrs. Bill McFadden, Terry, Dale and Maureen. The toastmaster's duties were ably handled by Ernie Westbury. Among those who spoke briefly, were Lowell Christensen, Kjell Hvidsten, Marg. Foden, Jim Hill, Bill Southworth, Glen Grigg, Harry Olson, Harry Whitely, Rees Davis, Bill McFadden and Gunnar Hammerstad. We danced the Old Year out and the New Year in to mellow music by Jack Barkwell, Sid Foden and Ed Tickles.

All ready for Christmas at the Roy Bunn home.

Our two sheets of curling ice are kept busy from late November until the end of March. We had six men's and four ladies' rinks this season.

We offer congratulations to Gordon and Helen Dash on the arrival January 16th of their new daughter Sandra May.

Towards the end of January Miss Myrtle Pierce, matron of Sandy Bay hospital, left to resume her duties in Prince Albert. The new matron, Miss Joy Habens, arrived in Canada from England last April. We hope she won't find this first winter in the north too rough.

C.R.P. Superintendent R.W. Davis and H.B.M.S.
General Supt. Sandy Morrice.
Judy Russell and Diana Grayson.
Angus Ballantyne and Dave Merasty -- truck drivers.
Lunch time for quintet from Sandy Bay.
Junior Jive session.

Number 2 » June 1958
Flin Flon curlers won the 7th Generator Trophy.

Island Falls
Bill Southworth

GO North, young man. Go North." We have always believed that to be good advice. The Frank Brazier family and the Chuck Hill family realized the Churchill River country was the coming part of the northland, so they moved up with us last spring. Just before breakup the Andy Goodwin family moved back to Flin Flon. Andy worked here for eight years in the store and was one of our ardent sports fans. In years gone by he was a topnotch badminton player, but in recent years he had confined his sporting activities to curling and bowling. Best of luck in your new work, Andy.

We expect to have the following students and electrical apprentices to help us out for the summer: Vince Rowe, Monty Bloomfield, Bud Rheaume, Doug Sorenson, Rudy Faktor, and Herbert Barber.

Miss Holly Kent, of Virden, Man., is coming to take over the duties of recreational director the first of June. Just before going to press we heard that the Garnet Cluff home had been blessed with the arrival of a fine big son — no name yet, as they were expecting a daughter.

Our Company expects to deliver power to the village of Sandy Bay this summer. The power line right-of-way has been cleared and the poles are ready for erection. A crew of electricians came in last spring and wired the dwellings of our sister settlement, so it won't be long before the switch closing ceremony takes place.

The Community garage and boat shop were busy spots, as usual, this spring. Ron Simpson has a fine-looking houseboat well on the way. Garnet Cluff has an 18-ft. cabin cruiser practically ready for the water, and Gordon Dash has a 15-ft. runabout ready for the launching ceremony.

One of the champs with the unique trophy.

All our winter sports had a good season. Curling was popular as usual. We had six men's and four ladies' rinks. The men topped off the season with a curling wind-up in the form of a smoker. Supt. Rees Davis presented the trophies and prizes. The ladies' curling party was held April 26th in the Community hall. This year the ladies served themselves a turkey dinner — sounds like a fine custom!

The Flin Flon Community Club sent up a strong delegation to play for the Seventh Generator Curling Trophy. The boys were photographed with the trophy they won, just before leaving for home. Slim Holdoway couldn't be found at the time, so we caught him later.

Our Girl Guides put on a very enjoyable skating party for the Sandy Bay Indian girls on January 18th. Sixteen girls came over. For some it was the first time on skates. After two hours of skating, a hot lunch was served amidst much giggling and laughter.

We are pleased to have quite a number of new people with us for the summer in connection with this work. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Power and three children moved here in March. Ray is resident engineer for the Montreal Engineering Co. Mr. and Mrs. Jean Paradis and baby arrived in April. Jean is assistant to Mr. Power. Ben Grimmelt is general foreman, and Herb Thompson is in charge of the carpenter crew. Most of the construction men are from Flin Flon and Sandy Bay.

Constable Jim Hill, who had been in charge of R.C.M.P. here for the past year, was transferred to Prince Albert in March. His duties here were taken over by Constable Gerry Baker, who came to us from Prince Albert.

The Inter-Town Badminton championships were held in the new Community hall in Flin Flon in March, with representatives from Snow Lake, Island Falls, Cranberry Portage and Flin Flon. We are pleased to offer congratulations to Jack McInnes for bringing home the men's singles trophy and to Maxine Woods and Jack McInnes for winning the mixed doubles event.

Field Officer Oliver of the
Dept. of Natural Resources.

Ann Errington and Const. Jim Hill, R.C.M.P.

Sandy Bay school teachers Misses. Miskolzi, Kermshied and Zimmer.


Gordon Dash, Otto Christensen and Ernie Westbury.


Girl Guides skating party.

Number 3 » September 1958
Rees W. Davis
W. Southworth

MR. REES W. DAVIS retired as Superintendent of the Churchill River Power Company Limited plant at Island Falls on August 1st after serving in that position for twenty-eight years.

Mr. Davis was born in Springville, Utah, on July 5th, 1893, took his early schooling in Willow Creek, Idaho, and Brigham City, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah June 10th, 1919, with a degree in electrical engineering. He worked at various places in the United States before coming to Canada to join the Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company Limited in Winnipeg in 1929. In the spring of the following year Mr. Davis came to Island Falls and was in charge when the first generator started delivering power to Flin Flon in June, 1930.

As the saying goes, a lot of water has gone over the dam since then. Mr. Davis has seen the plant grow from the initial three generators to six with a seventh under construction. He has seen the campsite grow from a collection of small log cabins to one of the most modern camps in Canada and one of the beauty spots of the north.

Mr. Davis' professional achievements are well known in hydro-electric circles. The development here was a pioneering venture in this field in 1930. There were few plants this far north and many problems peculiar to northern operations had to be solved as they arose. In 1935 Mr. Davis had the honor of presenting a lengthy paper on the Island Falls development at the annual meeting of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, held in Winnipeg.

Rees W. Davis

Those of us who have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Davis for many years will remember him not only as a first class engineer. We will remember him for the warm-hearted friend that he is. If asked to name "R.W.'s" most outstanding characteristic we would unhesitatingly say his interest in the welfare of his fellow men. With that in mind you'll readily see how he came to have such a wide range of interests. Let's put it this way; everything interests him.

Soon after he got things squared away at the plant, Mr. Davis was instrumental in getting what we call the "Big Hall" built. This is the hub of camp activities. One of his early achievements was the organization of our Community Club. He has always been a strong supporter of club activities and could always be relied upon to do his share of the chores. In the early days he promoted basketball and donated a couple of trophies for competition. After a few years, when we seemed to have trouble to keep up with this game he promoted curling and for many years he was an ardent curler, well known at the Flin Flon annual 'spiel.

Over the years Mr. Davis has always shown a keen interest in all sporting activities. In the early days he was one of the stars on the "Householders" basketball team; then graduated to refereeing. He promoted our six-hole golf course and still shoots the odd round. Each spring he enjoys the bowling and badminton tournaments. Mr. Davis has taken a keen interest in the Flin Flon Bomber Hockey Club and could invariably find he had some pressing business to attend to in Flin Flon whenever the Bombers had a home game!

Having such an interest in outdoor activities has made Mr. Davis a natural for this land of lakes and rivers. He is usually the first one up the river each spring to his attractive summer camp about five miles above the plant. He was one of the first to discover the trout fishing possibilities of beautiful Flanagan Lake. In the early thirties he began trekking into this beauty spot. Later he built a fine fishing camp that has been the scene of many happy gatherings with friends from far and near.

Mr. Davis is by nature a builder as witness the development at Island Falls over the last quarter century. Here he has created one of the beauty spots of Northern Canada. The homes are all modern. grounds landscaped and cement walks throughout the campsite. Beautiful flower gardens are general throughout the short but delightful summer.

The large community hall houses a multitude of facilities. Here the two schoolrooms are located, the movie theatre and dance hall, as well as bowling alley, two sheets of curling ice and large gymnasium floor where four badminton courts operate simultaneously. Needless to say, this is a great gathering place for "young fry" in rough weather. For fine weather there is a large enclosed children's playground centrally located, with swings, merry-go-rounds, slides, etc. Our attractive six-hole golf course circles the camp. We also have a fine swimming pool with a sandy beach. The company store is centrally located and takes care of most of our requirements along that line.

Mr. Davis' skill as a builder has not been limited to things of concrete, steel, and lumber. His interest in the native people of the north is well known. During his time he has worked with great care and thoughtfulness on behalf of these people and has succeeded in developing their latent abilities to a remarkable degree. Starting from scratch he has apprenticed a number of native youths in various trades, welders, mechanics, truck and tractor drivers, boat operators, etc., with gratifying results. His work in this regard has been recognized by provincial and federal officials on numerous occasions.

When Mr. Davis and his family arrived in the north in the spring of 1930, it was not the going concern it is today. We were in the midst of what is commonly known as the depression of the early thirties. Metal prices were low and money was not plentiful. As never before in its history the north needed leadership. Mr. Davis provided that leadership for our Company at Island Falls. He provided leadership with engineering know-how; he provided leadership with courage and tenacity and he provided leadership with a great knowledge of the strength and weaknesses of his fellow workers. His outstanding achievements at Island Falls must be attributed as much to his organizing genius and knowledge of human nature as to his engineering skill.

We are all very happy to know that the island on which the Company activities at Island Falls are centred will henceforth be officially named "Davis Island" by the National Geographics Board at Ottawa. We feel this exceptional honor has been duly earned and well placed, a fitting tribute to a courageous northern pioneer.

Last August 2 was known as "Rees Davis Day." This day was set aside by our community to honor Mr. Davis on his retirement. A number of relatives, friends and Company officials flew in for the day. The occasion took the form. of a number of sporting events and a cruise up the river. At 6.30 p.m. a delicious buffet supper was served in the community hall at which Mr. Davis was presented with life membership in the Community Club, the Rod and Gun Club and the Missinipi Boat Club. The highlight of the occasion was, however, the presentation of the Community Club's plaque to Mr. Davis by his lifelong friend Mr. M. A. Roche. This metal plaque, 24 in. x 18 in., was inscribed as follows:

"This Island named DAVIS ISLAND by the Natural Geographic Board in honor of Rees W. Davis, August 1958."

This plaque will be mounted in a suitable spot on Davis Island.

Mr. Davis also received a beautiful aerial photograph of Davis Island and a scroll announcing the naming of the island in his honor.

Mr. Davis has been retained by the Company in a consulting capacity and will remain here until next summer to supervise the construction work in connection with the addition of the seventh generator to our plant.

Through the years here Mr. Davis has been ably assisted by his charming wife Chlo. The Davis' have four children, Richard, Helen, Dorothy and Bud, all living in the United States. Although we know "R.W." will never stop work we feel that when the time comes for him to leave here, his many interests are bound to ensure that he will always be a busy man with never a dull moment. It is our sincere wish that in his retirement Mr. Davis will continue to find the same happiness he has enjoyed in his work here.

Davis Island

Number 4 » Christmas 1958
Island Falls
W. R. Southworth

MR. OTTO Christensen was appointed superintendent of the Churchill River Power Co. Limited on August 1st. Otto graduated in electrical engineering from Calgary Technical Institute 1929 Class. He joined the C. R. P. Co. Limited in 1931 and has worked up through every phase of the company's operations. During this time he has gained a wide experience in hydro-electric station manage- ment and has a very thorough knowledge of our company's operations.

Another old timer in these parts, Mr. Harry Olson, was appointed assistant superintendent on August 1st. Harry is also a graduate of Calgary Technical Institute 1927 Class.

On August 1st, Mrs. K. Wachowitch, a resident of Island Falls for 27 years retired on pension. She had been in the employ of the Company for 13 years. Mrs. Wachowitch will make her home in Winnipeg where her son and daughter reside. Miss Joyce Moore left the north for the wild west on October 1st. She plans to settle in Calgary. Joyce was stenographer in our office for the past four years. As a sideline she conducted a lively school of dancing for the younger children. Joyce's duties were taken over by Marian Strindlund. Marion grew up in Island Falls but has been working for the Company in Flin Flon for several years. No doubt Mom and Pop will be happy to have her back home.

Miss Sander of Wilkie, Sask. arrived to join our teaching staff in September and Miss Audrey DeLong returned in September for her second year on our school staff.

Construction crew from Sandy Bay.

Construction crew Geo. Hill, Bud Davis, Norm Noteweyes,
Bill Strait and Jim Russell.

Some members of the carpenter crew.

Vince Rowe, Dick Robertson, Stan Bates and Casey Mills.

Miss Elizabeth Dmytriw of Flin Flon joined our commissary staff early in October. Each year in September our working force takes quite a shaking up when all the University students leave us. This year we had Doug Barber, Bruce Christensen, Dick Southworth, Andy Szocs, Ed Hagberg & Dale Russell going back to U of Sask. Vince Rowe & Monty Bloomfield to U of Manitoba, Bud Rheaume to University of Ottawa, Keith Olson, Ed Tickles and Bob Loeffler to Calgary Tech. To replace all these fellows we were able to get Eugene Kitchen and Doug Sorenson away from the construction crew here. These two boys joined our operating staff early in September. Later in September Francis Wallobillig joined our operating crew.

The seventh generator construction work went along smoothly all summer and by the end of October all concrete work was completed. The coffer dam was blown out October 21st. The construction crew mostly Flin Flon men, did a fine job and were a pleasant addition to our community life.

Due to the construction work going on here, we were able to have a four team softball league which provided excellent entertainment two or three evenings each week. The four teams were Construction, Staff house, Camp, and Sandy Bay. In a very close, hard fought play off series our Camp team emerged as the 1958 Softball Champions of Davis Island.

During the summer our recreational director, Miss Holly Kent, carried out a very successful Red Cross water safety program. 16 beginners, 6 junior, 3 intermediate certificates and 5 senior awards were earned. In addition Miss Kent conducted classes for the Royal Life Saving Society awards. Bronze medallion awards were earned by Rodger Hagberg and Bob Bowman while those qualifying for Bronze awards were Barbara Westbury, Jill Broster, Carol Leslie, Ann Southworth, Judith Willey and Judy Russell.

Two new arrivals to introduce at this time, Paula Leona Dubeski, born on August 27th — Paul and Ann Dubeski are the proud parents and on October 22nd the Ray Power home was blessed with the arrival of a fine nine pound son.

Mr. and Mrs. Kjell Hvidsten and children Frank and Sissel arrived back from a three month holiday in Norway the end of August.

And now, one and all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Construction men headed for chow.

Supervision Ben Grimmelt, Ray Power, Rees Davis, Herb Thompson.