Turning the tide

Given the rash of depressing economic news of late, both nationally and on the local front, it’s comforting to see that a major corporation—Boston Pizza International—has faith in the future of Fort Frances.
The opening of its long-awaited restaurant/sports bar here this week is a welcome addition to King’s Highway in the west end of town, not only increasing the competition for the hard-earned dollars of district residents, which is always good news for consumers, but also creating more than 100 jobs at a time when more and more Canadians are finding themselves out of work.
Granted, the majority of the jobs are part-time, and obviously don’t pay as much as ones in the mill or other manufacturing plants, but any chance to generate income (and, in turn, purchasing power) is a good thing for a community, especially one caught up in the downturn in both the forestry and tourist industries.
Just as exciting, however, is the fact that two former residents have returned to Fort Frances to pursue their dream. True, Dale Fortes admitted during Friday night’s grand-opening soiree that he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be coming to town from Winnipeg a dozen years ago to take a position at Canada Safeway, but both he and his wife, Elizabeth Leishman-Fortes, who was raised here, made it clear they’re bullish on our community’s potential and eager to give back.
Their decision is a testament to the entrepreneurial opportunities that do exist here and a shining example to our youth who may believe success only can be achieved by moving away.
Coupled with a growing number who have returned from post-secondary education to pursue careers in teaching, policing, business, banking, forest firefighting, and other fields (yes, even journalism), hopefully we’ve begun to turn the tide of youth “out-migration” that has plagued our district for years and are on track to making our community a place to live, not leave.