The construction of a new road, particularly up here in the north country where there are not many roads, is an event of momentous concern to the people of any community.
Certainly this is no less true of the completion of Highway 11. It will at long last unite the District Of Rainy River into a single unit. It will connect the Town of Rainy River to the Ontario capital of Toronto with a good highway bearing a single number - No. 11.
The construction of a paper mill in Fort Frances was in its day a monsterous occasion. It converted, at the outset, and over a period of years, a village of a few houses, trading posts, a few stores, some boarding houses which paraded under the name of hotels and mud streets where horse-drawn drays bogged down, into a very nice, clean town of nearly 10,000, with paved streets, a memorial arena and other recreational facilities, library, etc., etc.
Not only did the paper mill arrive on the scene almost 60 years ago but it is still here today, and bigger than it ever was in size of plant and equipment, in personnel and in production and sales, thanks to the steady and enduring program of plant modernization, of improvement in technology through expanded research, of consideration for the welfare of its employees and of aggressive marketing of its products, followed by the former parent company, Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company.
In January of this year the parent company merged with one of the larger North American processors and distributors of forest products, the Boise Cascade Corporation, an event which offers even greater opportunities for growth and development.
The former Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company common shares became preferred shares of Boise Cascade Corporation and both the preferred and Boise common stock were listed on the New York and San Francisco Stock Exchanges on Wednesday June 2, 1965. R.V. Hansberger, a president of Boise Cascade, purchased the first 100 shares at a listing ceremony with Keith Funston, president of the New York Stock Exchange, which marked the start of trading. The ticker symbol is BCC.
The combination of the assets of these companies should substantially improve the position of their operations in a highly competitive market and should result in the expansion of sales for the products of the Fort Frances and Kenora mills as well as for those of the entire company.
The basis of the ecomony of Northwestern Ontario is forest products, and more particularly their conversion to paper. This is no less true in the District of Rainy River which is transversed end to end - east to west - by the section of Highway No. 11 being officially opened this month. Without the paper manufacturing operations in Fort Frances, and the harvesting and transportation of wood from all sections of the district, there would quite probably be no Fort Frances or a need for the fine roads this district now boasts.
The paper company's mills are dependent upon the harvesting of a continuous crop of puplwood. Through the application of sound forestry principles and orderly methods it strives to insure a perpetual supply of wood to meet its responsibilities to its employees, customers and shareholders and to the communities in which it operates, and in doing this the company co-operates closely with government agencies and forest associations in developing sound forest management practices on the Crown lands under the license from the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests.
In Canada, family-type logging camps and bunkhouse camps are operated on the lands so held. This source of raw material for the Fort Frances mill is supplemented annually by purchases of pulpwood from about 650 residents of the Rainy River District. The sale of timber products made up 36% of the agricultural income in this district in the year 1964.
In order that district suppliers may share in the benefits to be derived from the application of sound forestry methods to their own lands, the company has established a Timber Management Advisory Service. To date, 74 management plans have been prepared for district residents, and there is a back log of applications on hand. These 74 plans recommend management practices covering 17,500 acres of farms and woodlots, of which 10,200 acres are wooded. Recognition of the benefits to be derived from proper forest management is demonstrated by 28 residents who have had lands certified as Tree Farms by the Ontario Forestry Association.
Poplar, you doubtless know, is considered a weed tree in many parts of our country. However, here many thousands of cord poplar are utilized at both Fort Frances and International Falls. Probably no mill in Ontario utilizes a higher percentage of poplar than does the mill at Fort Frances. This is made possible by the integration of paper manufacturing at Fort Frances with the production of "Insulite" building products fabricated basically from wood fibre at the sister mill in International Falls, Minnesota, just across the international Rainy River.
Company management over the years has demonstrated support for the development of a nice, attractive town with all possible amenities for a good life as a place for the homes of its employees. To this end, besides providing the town's and district's basic payroll, the company has assisited in many ways.
A FEW STATISTICS
(Fort Frances and Kenora combined - 1964)
Payroll $11,000,000 plus
Local Pulpwood Purchases (Ontario) $3,600,000
Payments to Logging Contractors $1,400,000
Freight Payments $5,600,000