Highway signs mark Alberton

FORT FRANCES—The Township of Alberton no longer is just an unidentified piece of land on the outskirts of Fort Frances.
The municipality now is properly marked at either end with a blue highway sign, just like most other communities in Rainy River District.
“I’ve been pushing for that for about five years now,” said Coun. Mike Ford, who is serving his second term on Alberton council.
“When I first started, that was one of my biggest things—if we’re a township, how come we don’t have a blue sign?”
Ford noted it was persistence that finally put the signs in place.
“Just phoning the [Ontario Ministry of Transportation], our clerk keeping on the MTO, asking for a blue sign pretty much every year,” he remarked.
Earlier this spring, Alberton council was made aware they were, in fact, getting their highway signs. But they hadn’t been told a date as to when they would be installed.
“I was just driving and it was nice to see them,” Coun. Ford remarked, adding up until now no one knew were Alberton was.
“They knew where Crozier was, but they didn’t know where Alberton was,” he said. “And I wanted it to have a separate identity from Fort Frances.
“That’s the biggest thing I’m trying to do is give the small community it’s own identity because a lot of times we’re just seen as the rural part of Fort Frances,” he stressed.
“We don’t have our own post office, so all our mailing and addresses are Fort Frances. Our telephone exchange—it’s all Fort Frances.”
Coun. Ford also noted the sign is placed a little further west than where the township actually begins at Oakwood Road.
“But I’ll take what I can get,” he chuckled, citing businesses such as Taylor International Trucking, Crozier Warehouse, and Leon DeGagne Ltd. actually are in Alberton although many people don’t realize it.
“The signs don’t cost the municipality anything, so I saw no reason for us not to have one,” Coun. Ford continued. “I was excited to see they were finally put up.”
He said Alberton council even had looked at constructing their own township marker sign.
“It’s just budget constraints, so we’ve put that off for the past couple of years,” he noted. “But now it’s finally nice to have the one MTO provides.”
Coun. Ford also said council still might look at placing its own signs at Alberton’s boundaries in the future just to have “something else to identify us.”
“If Finland can have a highway sign, then why not Alberton? Everyone else had them except for us,” stressed Coun. Ford, indicating that although he was the first person to bring up the idea of the township sign, he attributed most of the work to clerk Dawn Hayes.
“She wrote the letters and a little bit of persistence on her part paid off, too,” he conceded, adding it’s also nice to see the sign includes the population of the municipality.
“People don’t realize how big we are,” Coun. Ford said of the 1,000 residents in Alberton. “We’re only 200 people less than Emo.”
In the meantime, he is going to continue striving to make Alberton separate from Fort Frances.
“I want residents to be able to go through Customs and when the Customs officer asks them where they’re from, they can say ‘Alberton’ without the Customs officer getting a funny look on his face,” he chuckled.
(Fort Frances Times)