Warroad: a very friendly place

Cal Marvin of Warroad, Mn., only 100 miles west of us on the border, was prominent in our hockey history besides offering jobs to Canadians in his window factory.
His Canadian workers are said to enjoy dual citizenship to make their presence legal. They go to Cal from as far east as Rainy River and its neighbouring Baudette, part of the border hockey scene today.
So, a very young Baudette family was here for a weekend tourney and the father was wishing for a second rink like ours.
Tournament time is friendship time. They pour in and enjoy our cafes Sundays. I don’t know whether Cal Marvin’s friends from Warroad also were here, but I can well remember how Fort Frances patronized both Cal’s rink and restaurants years ago before he decided to go after the Allan Cup with his own teams.
In fact, his friend who owned the Patch cafe was Cal’s co-sponsor in the days when Chicago Blackhawk players Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull would visit Marvin. He had three Christian brothers among his players.
Mikita and the Christians, in fact, established Warroad’s hockey stick factory and our old Allan Cuppers knew Cal well for having both played against and for his Warroad Lakers.
He would offer our players $25 a game to help play against the Manitoba teams, especially Winnipeg. Our Canadians’ influence was so important that Cal won the Allan Cup himself in later years when its prestige had faded.
But Cal never forgot us down there and one day slapped me on the back because he remembered “that Canadian newspaper guy” and, although a millionaire now, he never forgot us!
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For memory’s sake, I drove Saturday down around Pither’s Point Park and past the spot where our old dance hall—the pavilion—stood for so many years in our youth.
While I remembered Bobby Gadd telling how he bought and sold that big old green building about 1955.
He told me that probably more than half the town never saw the pavilion before it disappeared, and they wondered what I wrote about in this column two weeks ago.
Well, Bob knew the pavilion well from having pulled it all apart and peddled the parts around town and district, including its long girders that nobody knows came from what sawmill.
Shevlin Clark, our Scott Street mill, never handled such big logs, it’s believed, but maybe they came from a historic old Rocky Inlet mill named Lockhart’s.
Bobby brings a well-remembered storekeeper, George Ross, into his pavilion story, as well as our famed old policeman, Sid Wall, and the John Reid Lumber Company, related no doubt to our recent politicians.
Those big trusses were doubled two-by-eights and the late Lew Mose of Emo could have bought them for his shed or barn.
The dance floor, a tripled layer of lumber surfaced in hardwood, was sold to the Haver brothers, and some boards went into walls for a skating rink in Crozier. Pete Merko also took lumber.
Bobby has not seen any photos of the pavilion. He believes the flooding of 1950 had much to do with its demise. Participating in the demolition were pilot Rusty Myers and the La Vallee blacksmith Roy Caul.
The walls were taken down in 20 sections. Some went into garages being built and also into Ed Supinski’s house.
See if we can find a pavilion picture for Bob. It must have represented a lot of work! Then think about this. Why not bring back the good times by rebuilding that very popular old dance hall as our centennial project!
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I don’t see the Anderson boys, Blair and Doug, around much lately, but I think of that family every time I drive up and down their ravine close to town on River Road—only a mile from my home.
That steep ravine always contains a vehicle whenever I came along! It’s like a warning, although only once or twice have I seen a car hung up there and I do remember a time one went over but no one was hurt.
And that’s a miracle!
• • •
Alex Gawryluk is among our Meals on Wheels deliverers doing up to a dozen deliveries some days. He estimates there may be up to 30 others at the same duty, taking meals from Rainycrest.
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Friends of popular Rose Bell, now 87, are distressed to know she has not been well recently, Mrs. George Emes reports.
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A broken water pipe by Sparky’s store caused a small lake last Thursday night, and neighbours are grateful to have been notified by an unidentified lady.
The police were soon told, and Public Works people got right on it.
• • •
I eat out a lot and should patronize the Circle D diner at Emo much more, both for great taste and economy.
At Emo, we saw progress on the new Loney’s store and visited with old friends, although Elmer Norlund of Emo spends most of his afternoons conversing at the Sister Kennedy Centre here in Fort Frances.
• • •
Imperial Oil is closing shop soon at Fort Frances, according to its office lady here.
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Someday, I hope to visit my father’s country, Italy, and Larry Syrovy of Rainy Lake Hotel may go along as my guide. He grew up in Czechoslovakia.

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