||Nov. 1, 2002
New Novel on Kiosk Opens Old Wounds
|Left: Kiosk residents watching the ten-acre Staniforth mill burn in
July 1973. (Nugget photo) Right: The mill's water tower was the only
thing left standing after the fire.
The 10-acre Staniforth Lumber Company mill complex in the
town of Kiosk where the Amable du Fond River leaves Lake Kioshkokwi, just inside
the northern boundary of Algonquin park, burned to the ground on Friday the
13th, in July 1973. The new Management Plan for Algonquin Park, banning
communities in the park, came out, by coincidence, the same month and prevented
the re-building of the mill and led to the eventual death of the town. The
Management Plan was based on five years of consultation with all concerned,
leading to progressive plans to accommodate the burgeoning use of the park.
There was a real fight by the citizens and the woodworkers union at Kiosk to
save the town, both before and after 1973, but they were ignored. A twenty-five
year review and update of the Master Plan was recently completed and included
improvements in Kiosk for tourists.
Many Kiosk residents felt that they were settled for life,
and resented that they had to move, lose friends and find jobs elsewhere. Many
did get jobs at the new veneer mill nearby at Rutherglen, and at the Booth
Company in Temiscaming managed by the Staniforth brothers. Now, almost thirty
years later, some of the former residents still feel there was an injustice
done, and object to the current trend towards revitalizing Kiosk for tourists
when they were summarily booted out against their will. The Ontario Living
Legacy is currently asking for public input on the boundaries of the new parks
and conservation areas in the area between North Bay and Mattawa. The Bonfield
Municipal Council has some serious concerns about the Living Legacy's impact on
the people currently owning land in the area.
Now, almost thirty years later, author Richard Gould who
lives near Kiosk, has written a novel built around a man who decides to take a
stand like the Algonquin First Nation, and seek justice for past wrongs. Gould
has written the history of Calvin Township north of Kiosk and has published a
well-received novel called Red Fox Road in 1999, built around logging protests
in Temagami. The new novel has a protest theme as well and is full of vivid,
well-developed characters, confrontation, chases, intrigue and murder. I read
the book recently and couldn't put it down.
My son and I have been researching the history of Kiosk for
the past five years and are currently finishing a video. With this background
and familiarity with Kiosk history through interviews, photographs and visits to
the area, I found the book especially of interest. Others who live there or who
use it as an access point to the park will find the locations and flashbacks to
the actual events fascinating. Not knowing the history does not detract I am
sure from a powerful story of one man's struggle, with some help from his
friends, to seek justice.
The book is called Lake of Gulls and is named after Lake
Kioshkokwi, the Algonquin name for the lake. Kioshkokwi, Manitou and North Tea
Lakes are tied together by the Amable du Fond River. The Amable du Fond heads
north to the Mattawa River out of Kioshkokwi, and all of these bodies of water
are very much a part of Gould's story.
The book's main characters Ken Campbell and Pat James grew
up in Kiosk, went to school there, and learned to love the bush. When reunited
in the late 1990s Ken, with the help of Pat, decides to protest the previous
injustice and claim some of the land back. The protest escalates and another
past friend, Suzette Labelle, who is now a TV news reporter and a former teenage
girlfriend of Pat, appears on the scene. Their getting to know each other again
is a pleasant romantic sub-plot among the confrontations and chases. Many
former Kiosk residents living in the area join in the protest.
The politics of the protest are heightened when Francine
Roussel, federal Member of Parliament and Minister of Indian and Northern
Affairs, gets involved and sends her assistant Armand Gingras a former Kiosk
resident, to influence the events. The French and Native connections with Kiosk
are well represented and played out. Much of the book is built around the actual
dialogue of the characters, which makes the people become very real to the
||The town of Kiosk before the fire.
Gould talked at length to many of the former Kiosk
residents, and their suspicions about the fire and their hurt on being moved out
was very evident. This point of view has been worked into the story. The
400-page book, designed and published by Richard-he even did the cover-was
printed by the University of Toronto Press and is available now. Richard will do
a book signing at Coles in Northgate on Saturday November 23rd, and at Gullivers
on Main Street in North Bay on Nov.30th, 1-3pm. It is available through Richard's website www.canadianpublishing.com
or by contacting him at 415 Bronson Lake Road, Mattawa, P0H 1V0.
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