Our innkeepers are mourned

We are saddened again by the passing of a pair of our hardest-working citizens in Bill Bailley and Carl Domanski, whom you might identify merely as a couple of our best-known hotelkeepers.
Reflect on that remark a moment and much, much more can certainly come to mind regarding the way they have earned respect in their chosen community.
As much as you could appreciate their efforts after coming to know them as more than purveyors of good times, for that was their main business—and Canada needs its beer parlours, the fact was our Atlantis lifestyle revolved around them far above the ordinary.
Few others contributed more to our daily pace!
Bill could be called a one-man show. If sometimes other help was not at hand, the boss of the White Pine Inn himself could double as both bartender and waiter and, while at it, keep in touch with his other businesses out of town!
It was said he had refused to sell his popular inn more than once and the best reason I heard was he “didn’t need the money!” But why slave like that when it’s not necessary, everyone wondered, yet work often seemed his whole life.
Now, someone else can step in and we’ll all notice the difference when it comes to welcoming the crowds pouring out of the adjacent recreation haunts—our rinks and bingo palace.
It’s been many years now since old Joe Domanski and the boys, Carl and Eddy, tended bar, but some of the older Rainy Lake Hotel patrons still miss them there.
They took it over between the times of Carl Gray and George Walmsley, and their happy act continued for years. After father Joe died, Carl decided to go into Unemployment Insurance management and Eddy became a Canadian Customs officer here.
After all, they were local products and thus could continue mixing with us.
Lately, I would meet Carl and be told that Eddy’s health was not very good. And you could tell that Carl, the elder, was not feeling the best, either, but it was almost unthinkable that either could crash.
That might be compared to removing a pair of the town’s cornerstones, their friendly presence seemed just that vital.
This family act began by operating the old creamery down at the railroad that became Canada Packers while Joe still had a brother farming in Crozier.
Before moving to the heart of the town at the RL, Joe and the boys operated a hotel in Thunder Bay, but it seemed they needed to be here among friends and helping the home folks constantly.
The RL, after all, was the weekly springboard for all our great service clubs and charitable campaigns. Why, at one time, it even provided the meeting place for planning construction of a leading church. And nothing much happened socially elsewhere, including lots of Saturday night dances.
The Domanski hotel ran for more than beer profits. It trained some of the best chefs anywhere in Canada, and salesmen working elsewhere in this region would drive many miles for a roast beef dinner in the widely-famed RL dining room among white tablecloths and gleaming silverware.
Both good employers, the White Pine and Rainy Lake even kept me paid at different times. As kids, we could throw firewood downstairs at the RL on a Saturday to earn movie money and, one summer somewhat later, I served as porter and washed two new cars for the Pine owners, Al Egan and wife.
From across Scott Street, the Shevlin Clark sawmillers were the main boarders at the Pine. Al was a sawyer by trade. He came before the Crawfords, who preceded Bill Bailley.
Many the public meeting was held in both hotels. Civil defence was uppermost for awhile in the Windsor Room gatherings as the RL became defence headquarters for both border towns in the ’50s. The meetings gave us the sirens.
And the senior hockey Canadians’ committee met faithfully every Wednesday all year around in the White Pine, where the late Morris Crawford was team manager enroute to the Western Canada intermediate title, following the Allan Cup.
So, let’s just say the town was operating two extra community centres for many years.
And, whenever there was need for cash donations, as always, our local hotelkeepers were expected to top the donors’ lists—and usually acted as if it was an honour to do so!
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Local snowmobile club members are saying they will join the Nestor Falls club this snow season if they are not better satisfied with care of the local trails.
Our roughriders will drive to meet the northern clubbers at the south end of their run.
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One of our Miss Fort Frances queens in a Miss Canada pageant was Kathryn Armstrong, daughter of Harold and Marlene Armstrong. After competing as our girls did annually at Toronto, she married an up and coming investment banker, Steve Kaszas (below right), now with a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal.
A regular visitor to Toronto is Bill Clinton, who goes golfing at every opportunity and accompanies Steve regularly. The Kaszas now have to children, a boy, 11, and girl, eight, at Rosedale in Toronto.
Below is the photo reproduced by Kathy’s father on his computer. Steve, on the right, is 6’2” and the former U.S. president appears the same height.

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