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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the former publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Still carrying the torch

In Grade 8, our classroom teacher, Claude Stewart, challenged the class to learn great pieces of poetry.

By the end of the year, our class could recite from memory more than 30 different pieces.

I can’t remember them all but the piece by John McCrae still rings true in my mind. One only can marvel that this hastily-scribbled poem, written during the Second Battle of Ypres, would mark most cenotaph ceremonies across Canada nearly a century later.

The poem was written about a day after his friend, Alexis Helmer, was killed by a German bomb.

We must roar

The plane was quiet on the trip home from Toronto.

The reality was setting in. The adrenalin that coursed through the veins of the district delegates for a day-and-a-half had dissolved.

The delegation had made its case to transfer the Crossroute Forest away from Resolute.

The two opposition parties, meanwhile, had pummelled the Liberal government during Question Period yesterday morning over the loss of $100 million in investment in the Fort Frances mill that would have created 200 direct mill jobs and another 800 ancillary ones across Rainy River District.

At what cost our freedom?

How much freedom should we relinquish following the two attacks on soldiers in Montreal and Ottawa last week.

The House of Commons always has been known as the place where the people could be heard and the people of Canada could watch their elected officials participate in shaping the country.

The fact that a person could have burst into Centre Block with a rifle is troubling.

Skills learned growing up here

An old friend explained to me that growing up in Fort Frances was the most fortunate thing that happened to him in his education.

I hadn’t given much thought to growing up in a rural area of Ontario before. But in his telling of the things we learn in our area of Ontario, it became clear.

We live in a community, but many of our friends and relatives live just outside of Fort Frances and raise livestock and chickens, and grow hay and barley.

We learned that the Gerber family raised chickens and we could find their eggs on the shelves of grocery stores.

Love ‘big sky’ drive

I have been travelling the last six days—firstly across North Dakota and Montana along Highway 2 to Shelby, and then back east on the Trans-Canada.

On both routes, you travel at 118 km/h so you do make good time.

The travel distance to Calgary is very similar. The highways are very straight and the driving is easy.

Highway 2 runs about 60 km south of the U.S./Canada border.

Thankful we can make own choices

The leaves are falling from the trees around my home. Already one maple is bare and half the golden leaves from the birch trees now sit upon the grass.

Water has been drained from my system at the lake and a fond farewell was said to the cabin as I left by boat on Saturday.

Fall has come early here. A week ago flying out of Toronto on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I looked down over the land from Pearson Airport to the Bruce Peninsula, where the patch network of red forests below was two weeks early.

Time to dream big

I have written about doom and gloom and the issues facing councils across the district. To be sure, some of the financial issues facing councils this year are not pretty.

This week, though, I would like to talk about what challenges municipal governments will face should both the mill here be restarted and the gold mine north of Barwick go forward.

What would the economy be like if both projects move forward? What would it be like that rental vacancy was less than one percent? What would it be like if there were not enough classrooms in the district?

Rainy is a well-kept secret

Last weekend was my annual fishing weekend with my brother-in-law, Tom Foster, and his son, Ben, here on Rainy Lake.

My son, Brendan, who came in from Calgary, joined them.

Tom and Ben live in Waterloo while Tom has a cottage on Healey Lake (near Parry Sound), which has more than 30 miles of shoreline.

This traditional weekend has been on going for almost 10 years, with firstly my two brothers-in-law arriving to fish and later Tom bringing his two sons.

Something about wood smoke

There is something about the smell of wood smoke in the fall.

We arrived at the cabin Friday night and the temperature inside read barely 10 C. It was chilly and called immediately for a fire.

Stored in an old trunk was the kindling created by my brother-in-law this past summer. It didn’t take long for the fire to catch in the Woodsman stove, which only is lit just after ice-out in early spring or into the fall to heat the cabin.

Skills needed to tackle issues

We are going to have a municipal election here in Fort Frances.

As of early Monday morning, there were two candidates for mayor and 13 for the six seats on town council. The election will be interesting to say the least.

Mail-in ballots will be distributed early in October and the ballots will be tabulated on October 27.

The newspaper will be putting together a biography about every candidate for publication with the distribution of ballots.