Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald
May 30, 1912

FIRST SOD OF THE BIG PAPER MILL WAS TURNED ON VICTORIA DAY

Mayor McKenzie at Invitation of the Power Company, Performs the Important Function. Marks Another Epoch in the History of Fort Frances. Beginning of an Industrial Development Which Will Create a Great City in this Gateway of a New Ontario. Capacity of Mill, 175 Tons. Will Employ Upward of 600 Men.

Friday the 24th was a great day in the history of Fort Frances, as on that day Mayor McKenzie turned the first sod of the paper mill which the Ontario & Minnesota Power Co. are under agreement to build and complete within the next fourteen months. Mr. Backus, the president of the Power Co. was unable to be present, but he delegated his duties to his efficient manager, Mr. R. J. Young, who presented the Mayor with a new shovel for the occasion. Supt. McNaulty of the construction department had a stake driven and a big Union Jack floating from it to mark the spot where the corner stone of of the big 120 paper mill would be constructed, so that no mistake would be made in the exact location. The ceremony which was informal, took place at about 5:30 p.m., in the presence of a large number of citizens and visitors from outside points. The Fort Frances band was also present and played several choice selections which were very much appreciated. As soon as everything was in readiness the manager of the Power Co., to turn the first sod of the first paper mill to be built in Canada, west of the "Soo." We may have been a long time getting ready to build, said Mr. Young, but we are going to construct one of the best paper mills that human ingenuity can build. We also will not only build a mill of 100 tons as promised, but will build a bigger mill as we find the we will now add a large book machine machine making the capacity nearer to 175 tons a day than the 100 tons agreed upon. The work will be rushed as fast as possible and another year will see the empty ground a scene of massive buildings humming with industry.
Mayor McKenzie, on stepping forward with a firm grasp on the spade said he was proud to say that the present occasion marked an epoch in the history of Fort Frances. For years the town of Fort Frances had been fighting the Power Co. for an agreement of arrangement whereby one half the power would be utilized on the Canadian side, and such an agreement had finally been entered into. A peaceable agreement had been made and victory had at least crowned the efforts of Fort Frances citizens who had so stubbornly resisted the exportation of all power to the American side. He was proud to be the official who had assisted in the final peace arrangements and the turning of the first sod to-day was only a fore-runner of many larger and greater industries for Fort Frances. The Mayor then, like a native born son of labor, turned the sod with an adeptness which showed that he was evidently as familiar with the spade as with a case of surgical instruments, the conclusion and everybody present was proud to see the beginning of what is going to be an important factor in the building up of Fort Frances. When the applause had died away the Mayor then called upon Mr. J. A. Osborne, secretary of the Board of Trade, for an address. Mr. Osborne, on coming forward, was greeted with applause.... He said that he was proud to be present on such an occasion. It meant a great deal for Fort Frances and was a great turning point in the history of out town. After years of fighting the town council and board of trade had come to an amicable agreement whereby for all time to come the one half of the the full quantity of power developed must be used in on the Canadian side. The present occasion was also notable for the fact that it meant the coming of a new era and with it the building of a large city. We had great resources and with the coming of capital and the building of such industries as we had before us to-day, the next future city of western Canada would be Fort Frances. Mr. Osborne congratulated the citizens of Fort Frances in Backing up and assisting as far as possible their representatives in carrying on the fight now happily terminated. He trusted all would pull together for a greater, bigger and better Fort Frances. He was pleased for the sake of the settlers that an industry was coming which would furnish a market for their pulpwood, also that the building of a greater Fort Frances would give the farmer a market for their produce. Finally, Mr. Osborne urged all to work together and assist as far as possible in the development of Fort Frances and the district and even their most sanguine expectations. Mr. N. G. Neill, secretary of the Port Arthur Board of Trade was then called on by the Mayor for a speech and on the gentleman responding he was heartily applauded. Mr. Neill said he could not tell the people of Fort Frances how proud he was to be with them on such an occasion as the one where the turning of sod meant the coming of a big industry. He congratulated the people of Fort Frances in such a happy solution and ending their difficulties and said that there was no reason why situated as Fort Frances was that we should not be a great industrial center. He was more than delighted with the future prospects of the town and was not a bit jealous of the growth and future promise of Fort Frances. The city of Port Arthur had a great future before it but "we have to keep boasting" said Mr. Neill. "You will need to do the same." He urged everyone to do all they could to push ahead and there was every prospect that not only the first sod of paper mill would be turned and the mill built but that several more industries would follow. Mr. Neill is a good speaker and his short address was listened to with the greatest interest. This ended the ceremony of turning the first sod which will be followed later by the laying of the corner stone.

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