CHARLES DOBIE : LOCAL HISTORY
KEARNS & VIRGINIATOWN, ONTARIO

Virginiatown Memories

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I was born in Kirkland Lake in 1958 to parents who immigrated to Canada in 1957. My father Felix started work at Kerr Addison that year and our first residence was an apartment above Joe's Lunch restaurant. I can recall my parents talking about all the juke-box noise that came from the floor below. After this we moved to 17 Connell, then 22 Cockeram, at the foot of "Big Shot Hill" as it was known, and finally up to 7 Waite Avenue, where some weekends music could be heard coming from the Lodge. We often wondered what wonderful parties they must be having! In 1968 we made the big move to North Vtown settling in at 5-27th Street.

Mike Molotkin, 2010
Mike Molotkin in 2010.

I recall many fond experiences growing up in this part of the world. My earliest memories are walking to the elementary school from 22 Cockeram. We used to pass by Locke Hardware, Superior Food stores and stop in and get gum or candy . . . 3 for 1 cent! Going up past Manns' BP service station and then on to the school. After school I can remember walking back down the slime pipes that ran from behind the United Church to the mine property. Kids by the name of Pierre Adam, Ivan Klimov, and Garry Croteau and I used consider this a real test of balance because the slime pipes were on wooden stands, and to slip and fall meant landing about 6 feet below in the slime itself.

I recall for many summers taking the bus to McGarry park and taking swimming lessons at the Park. The instructors I recall are Prest and Kirby. Sometimes Mike Clouthier and I used to skip the bus and ride our pedal bikes out there and then stop off at the park store run by Doenigs and buy chips and a can of pop. I can recall some students in my swimming class were Prest, Gutmanis, Willard, Ramsay and Stransky.

I started working at Kerr-Addison in 1974 and on surface worked in the wood framing plan, making wedges and posts, caps and girst. My partner was Mike Spack and our boss was Archie Kirby. The next year I went underground and what an experience that was, working on 4200 level with Mike Paquette as my partner.

Vtown had a lot of good fishing and just poking around the bush as well. Armand Bordin, Lloyd Eastman and Victor Kowbassa used to spend hours washing and polishing our road classic cars and then drive around to Kirkland Lake and back several times.

In 1978 I joined the RCMP and was posted to Pincher Creek Alberta. Then in 1979 transferred to Lethbridge Alberta on the highway patrol unit. In 1980 the opportunity to join Canada Customs came up, and with better pay, more vacation time and paid overtime, I switched over to Customs. I was then posted to Coutts Alberta (on the Montana border) spending the next 4 years there. In 1984 transferred to Emerson Manitoba, which is one hour south of Winnipeg on the North Dakota border. I got married in 1985 to my wonderful wife, Penny, and together we have two great sons, Kyle who is 25 and Kevin who is 21.

I was promoted into management while at Emerson, and spent the next few years running special border patrol oriented units. In 1997 I transferred to Regina to manage my own operation, looking after all of Regina and Moose Jaw operations. In 2003 we moved to Winnipeg where I spent 6 years in Regional operations and managed the ground operations in the City of Winnipeg. I am currently the Manager at the Air Cargo operations Winnipeg airport.


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