Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fort Frances

I went to high school in Fort Frances, Ontario. I grew up on a farm ten miles to the west. There is a toll bridge there that crosses the Rainy River. This river is part of the international boundary between Canada and United States.

Fort Frances is closer to Winnipeg, Manitoba – than it is to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Our family went to Winnipeg for specialist medical care and back to school shopping. The fact that the city was in a different province seemed to add to any feelings of isolation. Fort Frances is a paper mill town. The mill runs twenty-four hours a day and is situated in both countries. The U.S. town is International Falls, Minnesota. The waterfall was one of the reasons that the mill is located here. It is a natural energy source.

The population of Fort Frances remains small to this day. When I was in high school a causeway was built on the east side of the town that traversed across islands and small bodies of water in order to allow road access to Atikokan and Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay was five or 6 hours east by car on this highway. Winnipeg was four hours west by car.

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