Thursday, February 26, 2009
LIFE OF MY FATHER - 15
RECREATION AT FLIN FLON
Flin Flon, though a substantial town when my father arrived, was very isolated. There was a native community fairly close to the town at Cranberry Portage and a small town at The Pas about 60 miles away. Until 1949, Flin Flon could be reached only by train. It was very cold in the winter and darkness fell early. For a child who had known nothing else, living there would obviously require no adjustment. For an adult, though, it could be difficult.
Still, there were plenty of recreational opportunities, particularly if you enjoyed the outdoors. The Company, as it was called, created a beautiful beach at Phantom Lake, one mile from the town. Many tons of sand were imported, a footpath to connect with the town was put in, and beach facilities were constructed. I remember the change house and cafeteria, a huge roundabout, a picnic area set amongst birch and poplar trees, the beach itself, and a large dock.
The Internet site, www.flinflon.net, revealed that initially the beach was developed by volunteers, and only in 1943 did the Company take over. In addition to the facilities I remember, the Company also put in
"expanses of grass, ... a playground area, ... and a dance hall, all gleaming white with red trim. A quaint bandstand provided a venue where entertainment and concerts were provided. Tennis courts were laid out in two locations. The landscaped grounds at Phantom Lake were accented by formal flower beds and stonework ledges, paths, and a pond."
For winter recreation, there was curling and snowshoeing. In summer, besides the beach at Phantom, you could, play tennis and sail a boat, both enjoyed by my father who purchased a lot at Big Island Lake where he kept his sailboat. As well, there must have been great fishing in the many lakes around the town.
On May 12, 1937, the coronation of King George VI of England was celebrated with a major event in the town: a parade with floats. From the photos, it was obviously much enjoyed by the inhabitants.
The first three photos above are of the 1937 Coronation parade, the third showing the winning French Canadian float which depicted the arrival in Canada of Jacques Cartier. The following photos are of Phantom Lake (courtesy of www.flinflon.net); my father's sail boat; my father sailing with friends; and, finally, the Flin Flon bonspiel of 1936 (a curling competition). If you right click on the photos and then open them in a new window (the top item on the list), they will enlarge, some to a full-page size.