More than 70 people from across the region attended the Ministry of Natural Resources retirees’ dinner at the Legion here last week.
“There was a lot of reminiscing,” said MNR employee Bob MacDonald. “A lot of people got together who hadn’t talked in a number of years.
“We handed out a questionnaire and people are very interested in carrying on with more dinners in the future,” he added.
MNR employees stationed in Fort Frances led colourful and adventurous lives, MacDonald noted, adding the 1950s and ’60s saw the development of Quetico Provincial Park.
Art Colfer, who received one of the first helicopter licences in Canada, was a special pilot with the MNR for years. He spent 60 years as a pilot, and there were six others in the room with 35 years of experience each.
“There was over 900 years of experience in the room,” marvelled NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton, who served a stint as minister of natural resources in the former Bob Rae government.
“We had probably representation from all the different parts of the ministry—fire, fisheries, parks, and timber,” said MacDonald. “And people were starting to tell stories about some of their experiences from the early days.
“Rod Salchert, the auctioneer, even showed up his in 1960s uniform!”
The group hopes to see more current and former MNR employees turn out for next year’s dinner.