July 29, 1937

c/o C. M. & S. Co. Ltd.,



Via Goldfields, Sask.

July 29th 1937

Dear Mother:

I wonder how long a letter takes to get to you.  I suppose you have got the first letter I wrote by now but it may be several days yet before I get the reply.  Lately the planes haven’t been very regular from Goldfields or Fort McMurray.

I have taken 36 photographs here already.  The reason is I bought an Argus in Ed. And it takes that many on a roll.  I have sent them down to Edmonton to be printed and enlarged; so it will be quite a time before I can send them on.

There is always at least one plane stationed here.  One day I took a picture when there were four planes altogether in the harbour.  That is pretty good when the C. M. & S. own only six.  I have seen Doug Wilmot twice.  Each time he has come up by plane from Giant only two miles away which seems very extravagant.  He is off on a ten-day exploration trip towards Manitoba.

Dr. Allan of U. of A. and ΦΚΠ was thru here last week on a trip to Grt. Bear Lake and I had quite a chat with him.  Another visitor was the purser on the boat which brought our long-waited-for lumber.  He was a second year law student at the U. of A.

(I hope you can read the writing.  It is raining very hard making it oo dark to write properly although it is only 9:30.)

I was to go to Giant this evening to sign on some new men but was prevented by the rain.  I hope I go by plane when I do go but I expect it will be by outboard.  There are several canoes here with outboard engines and sometimes we go over to dinner in one.  Usually we have paddled most of the way before anyone can get the engine started.

We actually have a small C. W. transmitter here.  It looks so old-fashioned and dirty one wonders how it works.  The call letters are CFO but I forget the wavelength.  We transmit at 8:00 a.m. and 1. p.m. M.S.T. I think but I don’t imagine Dick could possibly pick it up.  The branch accountant (my boss) is the operator.

The bunkhouses are being built very quickly and the windows are being put in the first one already.  The staff house is supposed to be finished by Aug. 15th—or else the chief carpenter loses a bottle of scotch.  At present the new camp looks like a lumber yard as an enormous amount of lumber came in on the boat.  They are making a very expensive storage tank for oil by tunnelling into a solid rock hillside.  They have gone in about 30 feet and are now making the cave at the end which is to be 25’ x 25’ x 25’.  All they have to do is block up the tunnel and fill the cave with oil.  It takes all day to get the holes drilled for the powder and then blast at night.  It acts much like a cannon sending rocks as much as 200 yds out into the lake.

Yesterday I visited the site of the mining operations.  There is not much to see as yet except the test shaft made last year.  This goes down some 50’ but the last twenty feet is full of water and the walls at the bottom are coated with ice.

There is one team of huskies here.  All but one of them are kept chained all summer but in the winter they do a lot of work hauling drums of gas and wood.

(I’ll have to stop for tonight—it is too dark now.)

30th  It has been a rotten day—raining and blowing hard all day and very cold.  It makes walking to meals quite a treacherous undertaking as the rocks get very slippery.

A plane came in last night after I had gone to bed.  It was flown by Bill Jewett who is quite highup in the company.  It was quite dark and fairly rough when he landed.  They say they never expect him unless the weather is bad.  It would be impossible for a plane to leave now although the mail plane flew over today—flying very low.  It lands at the “townsite” (?) some two miles away where there is a sheltered bay.  Unfortunately it is too rough for anyone to fetch the mail.

Breakfast is at an ungodly hour—6:00 to 6:30.  I never get there before 6:25 when everything is cold.  However I am getting used to cold things.  I haven’t washed or shaved with hot water since I left home.  Even the King Edward Hotel had no hot water.  I have been swimming three or four times.  It is very cold but still the best way of getting a bath.  The new staff-house is going to have a shower which is something to look forward to.

The mosquitoes are not as bad as I expected.  They are quite thick back from the shore near the mine shaft but I think our orchard is worse at times.  

Will you send on the Couriers please.  I cannot tell you what the postage is.  When I get some of my winter clothes sent in it will cost about 50¢ a pound.

With love from


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