After the Party
The highlight of the 1990’s in Red Rock has to be our wonderful Homecoming Celebration. July, 1995 marked the 50th Anniversary of the town of Red Rock and it seemed that every citizen of the community was involved in some aspect of the planning of the week-long celebration. Red Rock never looked so good- flowers were planted, buildings sported new paint jobs and people were excited at the prospect of seeing family and old friends.
And what a party we had; “RED ROCK’S ALIVE IN 95” was a huge success. Former residents came from every corner of Canada and even several from the United States were able to attend. 3000 people took part in the festivities which included Mill Tours, a Talent Contest, dances and food galore. Approximately 1000 people visited the Red Rock Public Library where a display of old photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia and paintings by local artists, past and present were set up. Organizers of the event did a fabulous job which can be attested to by the positive comments and letters of thanks from residents and visitors alike.
It seems that nothing ever stays the same and this is certainly true with Red Rock. As of January 1, 1998, another major change came our way. Domtar Inc., Montreal merged assets with Cascade inc. to become the largest container board producer in Canada and the tenth largest in North America. The new company formed by the merger became NORAMPAC (North American Packaging) of which the Red Rock Mill is the largest in the company. Total sales for the company were 9 million dollars per year and the Red Rock mill was responsible for 40% of those sales. The transition was accomplished with very little disruption.
In 1994, the Red Rock Ambulance Service officially opened a new base office and garage. This building is very significant because it came to be through the efforts of the volunteer ambulance staff and the citizens of the community who dedicated many hours to the construction of the facility.
There was much excitement in the winter of 1995 when helicopters carrying drilling equipment took off from the Red Rock Marina to drill through the ice of Nipigon Bay in search of what is believed to be a substantial deposit of nickel at the bottom of the Bay. Falcon Bridge Ltd. has continued that drilling operation each winter as ice conditions allow. To date, no conclusions have been reached, however, such a deposit, if it exists, would have a very positive affect on Red Rock and the surrounding area.
In 1995, the historic Red Rock Inn was sold and the new owners began a 1.5 million dollar restoration and renovation project to return the building to its former elegance. In the past few years, the Inn has become a popular destination for boaters and hikers in summer and snowmobilers and ice climbers in the winter.
In 1996, Bulk Systems, the trucking company that hauls chips to the Mill opened a branch office in Red Rock, creating several new jobs for residents of the area.
As always, sports and recreation are an important part of life in Red Rock. The Recreation Centre is still a very popular spot with its bowling alley, arena, curling club, weight room and seniors’ center all under one roof. Summer 1999 saw the reopening of the outdoor pool and the resumption of both recreational swimming and lessons.
Outdoor sports, both summer and winter, are very popular in the area. The Nipigon Bay Snowmobile Club has been instrumental in providing more than 300 kilometers of groomed trails that are linked to a network of trails throughout Northwestern Ontario. As more winter enthusiasts take to the trails, the economic benefits of this sport are realized in the community. Each year more and more ice fishing huts appear at the Marina as more and more fish are being caught close to shore.
Summertime finds residents and tourists both enjoying the waterfront park and marina and each year there are more and bigger boats using the facility. The annual Fish Derby, sponsored by the Red Rock Fish and Game club, attracts fishermen from far and wide.
The Nipigon River Recreation Trail is becoming well-known. The 21 kilometers provide hikers with a challenging walk and a view of nature at its most spectacular. Since 1997, every September, the “Hike For Health” has raised money for local charities and has attracted hikers from as far away as Thunder Bay. Another area attraction is the Northshore Golf Course and it, too, has increased in popularity not only with local residents but visitors as well. The redesigned course is challenging and the surroundings, beautiful.