Centennial coins well-received so far

While the local Chamber of Commerce only officially launch-ed its $3 centennial coin Tuesday afternoon at the Fort Frances Museum, the keepsake that’s also legal tender already has been a hit in the month since its release.
“We had lots of individuals asking for coins even before they came out, ‘hounding’ the tellers,” laughed Marla Thomson, past president of the Chamber of Commerce and branch manager at the local Northern Lights Credit Union, at Tuesday’s launch.
“The businesses that said that they would participate have been using them. They keep coming in for rolls,” she added.
The brief ceremony drew about 25 people, including several town councillors.
“I think it’s a great idea,” remarked Connie Cuthbertson, local artist and owner of Northwood’s Gallery & Gifts on Scott Street. “I’ve been watching the different promotions they’ve been doing for the [town’s] centennial and when the postcards came out, they were great.
“But this is a novel idea, and it’s useful for a whole year,” she added, noting her store has sold some gift sets and often has customers asking for the coins when getting change.
“I think people are proud of Fort Frances. I know some people have been buying them and sending them away to friends and family who used to live here,” Cuthbertson said.
“I think it’s a great idea,” echoed Gary Rogozinski, Abitibi-Consolidated’s appointee to the Chamber board and chair of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship committee.
While Rogozinski and Tannis Drysdale, president of the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce, decline to fully take credit for it, it was they who brought the idea of the $3 coin to the Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors in the spring as a perfect way to commemorate the town’s centennial in 2003.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon applauded the Chamber for launching the commemorative coin, calling it “something to cherish in times to come.”
Museum curator Pam Hawley, who also heads up the centennial planning committee, noted the coin wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without the likes of the Chamber, FFCBC, local businesses and banks, NorFab, the Rainy River Future Development Corp., and the Town of Fort Frances.
The coins, which will be in circulation until the end of next year and are legal tender within Fort Frances, are available for purchase individually or in rolls of 25.
Gift sets also are available, which include silver-plated, gold-plated, and bi-metal $3 coins in a decorative case with a picture of Fort Frances back in 1903 as well as an up-to-date one.
Chamber co-ordinator Dawn Booth said 100 of the 250 gifts sets already have been sold from the Chamber office on Scott Street.