On the afternoon of Feb. 5, 40 or so people came out to the Golden Vista Common Room to wish a happy 99thbirthday to a man most of Snow Lake is familiar with. Decked out in a party hat and surrounded by family and friends, Ben Foord welcomed each with a handshake, a wink of the eye and his ever-present smile. There was coffee, punch, cake, and baking a plenty, and an entertaining version of “Happy Birthday” belted out on his great-grandson’s wee guitar. Many stayed for the full two hours of the celebration and Mr. Foord appeared honoured that folks were making a fuss over his longevity. An announcement of the celebration on an online community bulletin board received numerous well wishes and just as many thank yous for Ben’s selfless volunteerism over the years.
Ben Foord has lived in Snow Lake for 57 years, bringing his family over from Flin Flon in 1962 to settle here as one of HBM&S’s blacksmiths/industrial mechanics. Over the years, he taught many young Snow Lakers the finer points of hunter safety and was a fixture in the curling rink during bonspiels, originally looking after the ice, and later marking team names above each sheet in play. He was an avid hunter and angler, and is widely noted for taking his last moose at the age of 91 and winning the 1989 Flin Flon Trout Festival fishing derby with a Master Angler trout.
Mr. Foord is also one of Snow Lake’s last surviving Second World War vets. He flew Ansons for the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada for a year before shipping off for England to train on the Wellington Bomber. One amazing story he told me back in 2011 was about his extremely low heart rate. It is between 40 to 46 beats per minute (BPM). The average resting heart rate for an adult is between 60 – 100 BPM. A well-conditioned athlete’s resting heart rate is between 40 – 60 BPM. The irregularity was first noticed after Ben rode his bike nin-and-a-half hours from Stockton, Manitoba to Winnipeg (120 miles of gravel road) for his Canadian Forces medical. When taking his pulse, it took three people multiple attempts before they found one. When he told them how far he’d come on his bike, they immediately passed him on the medical and shipped him off to Toronto for training. He was unaware of what the anomaly was until a local nurse, B.J. Cooper, explained it to him years later.
In other news, at their Jan. 8 meeting, Snow Lake’s town council accepted the resignation of Coun. Andrew Smith, effective Jan. 7. At their Jan. 22 meeting they instructed the senior election official Rowena Herana to hold a byelection on Tuesday, April 16. Also at the Jan. 8 meeting, the town resolved to undertake a water distribution system study. They have hired AECOM to carry out the $25,000 study to determine the fire flow and pressure capabilities of the system, as well as develop alternatives to promote the turnover of water in the distribution system and recommend pipe size increases and the elimination of dead ends to improve fire flows. The information will also allow the town to plan for future infrastructure replacement and upgrades.
At the council’s Jan. 22,meeting, members began proceedings to transfer ownership of the “facility” located at Bartlett Landing, from Small Craft Harbours Branch of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to the Town of Snow Lake. As well, council members appear to be in agreement on recontracting out the garbage and recycling for the community. They passed a resolution during the meeting, asking for a request for quotes.
Finally, the town appears to be on the cusp of filling their long-open position of CAO. Correspondence from the town indicates that there will be someone in the office during the second week of February.
In further news … Jill Arpin, the manager of the Snow Lake Curling Club “Broom Closet” advised through the curling club Facebook page that the 65th-annual Ladies Bonspiel was an amazing affair. Winners on the weekend were Snow Lake’s Wiwcharuk rink, who took the first event. Team Campbell from The Pas garnered the second event and the third event was won by Team Moodie out of Cranberry Portage/Grand Rapids.