What about a diamond strike?

When three new banks descended on this town within the same week and we could savour our own “gold rush,” everyone here realized we had somehow or other struck it rich! Else, why this financial flurry, or what’s going on here anyway?
By then, of course, everyone was starting to realize we had everything going for us here in Atlantis: great people, fine weather, the best breaks in every way.
All but excessive money—and it seemed this also was something not to be worried about any longer, either!
Yet now, our two old banks are still standing where they always were while only one of the newcomers, the Royal, has remained here since that memorable week.
The Imperial was still standing until being absorbed by the Bank of Commerce, but nothing much was ever heard here again about the third new arrival, the Bank of Nova Scotia.
The last-named simply drifted away after a brave start. A representative carried a folding card table into a recently emptied Safeway store and started accepting accounts and issuing passbooks while wearing a hat and overcoat!
A rougher start rarely occurs in the modern world of banking. This would be about 1960, when the community might have enjoyed a good shaking-up if anyone had bothered explaining the mystery.
The Royal bank brought in a trailer for its beginning and the Imperial got a new brick building that the Royal occupies today. But still we were none the wiser about the underlying reasons.
The answer was soon to become obvious enough!
Mining excitement was developing to the west, around Emo, where there seemed suddenly great concern over a base metals strike. The village was being taken over by prospectors, both on foot and aerially as magnetometers scanned the ground from above for deposits.
A couple of trailers sufficed for their offices at the highway and the late, lamented Emo hotel was doing a roaring trade for a change. Then into that barroom one sunny day there stepped a farmer with a rock sample that started everyone buzzing!
He said his young son had found the stone on the nearby river bank and wondered whether the assembled geologists and mining company officers could tell him whether this was really a diamond!
He had come to the right place for an appraisal yet there was controversy. A diamond it certainly seemed to be—but was this a jewel stone or a commercial diamond such as used on rock drills?
Eventually, it was decided a noted gemologist in New York City should be invited to report back on this annual find—only no such report is known to have been received!
Before our excitement had expired, though, our downtown businessmen were invited into a local meeting to discuss investing in a Steinbach, Man. firm called Stratmat. The same company seemed to be the principal backer of the prospectors at Emo.
The invitation came from a dignified-appearing visitor named Archie Stethem. That name was known here because his father had operated our Wells Hardware store (later KDS) before J.A. Mathieu took it over. There, the family had experienced tragedy in the accidental death of another son in an elevator accident.
Archie had lived here but been away a long time and, since that meeting, I don’t recall hearing about him ever again. It seems our businessmen of the day were not concerned about joining Stratmat.
Now, Archie’s company was promoting base metal developments but there was no mention of diamonds.
It was not long before our new banks had departed or drifted away as if more important business was available. Still, this story deserves consideration—especially since parts of the Emo farm area, just north of the village, are still owned by one or more mining companies.
Moreover, diamond deposits recently have been located around James Bay and the Arctic Circle—always in places making Emo seem warmer and more attractive.
But who knows what we could expect here next as New Atlantis continues to reveal fresh wealth in every way?
• • •
What can be done to lessen the danger for patrons of the Townshend Theatre, where a lady fell going up the aisle, smashing her spectacles and bruising her face while unable to grab the low seats for support?
The aisle is not laid on regular stair steps. It’s flat sections are difficult in darkness for anyone not expecting them.
The low seats also are employed in the new hockey rink, and all this has been mentioned here before. Lest we are looking for lawsuits or possibly funerals, someone must pay better attention because it’s just not fair to attack customers in this way!
I can remember when these problems were not being built into our older facilities.
• • •
I am quite well acquainted with the last district survivor of our Hong Kong veterans, who went through their 17-day war in December, 1941. It ended Christmas Day with the Japanese holding Canadian prisoners of war who, until very recently, received no proper pensions.
But “I’m happy now!” exclaims Jimmy (Jesse) James of Emo, better known as Emo’s former LCBO vendor. The last battle cost him a leg but Jimmy came home with a war bride from Manila.
He was receiving a disability pension but reports being better looked after lately.
Other district veterans of that war include the late Ernie Neil and John Frankiewicz of Fort Frances and Bert Caldwell of Emo, all with the Winnipeg Grenadiers or Royal Rifles of Canada when the Japanese smashed into Hong Kong on the same day as the Pearl Harbour attack, Dec. 7.
The two units collectively were known as the Seaforths.
Jimmy was a prisoner of war for three years and eight months, much of that time spent in a Japanese hospital. The Hong Kong soldiers received much publicity for being denied regular pensions, but the persistence of friends eventually paid off.

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