In local history this week: The sign said “Cochrane, Home of the Polar Bear Express.”
In January, 1984, town council put out tenders for a sign directing travellers to the Rail Town, at the junction of Hwys.11 and 101, just west of Matheson.
It was a defence tactic, after Timmins Chamber of Commerce president Nick Bucar suggested the train to Moosonee should start in his city.
As library archivist Ardis Proulx-Chedore reads from a Timmins Press article, council members liked the arrow-shaped design proposal from local artist Derrick Crouch.
“That’s really nice and it even points the way to Cochrane,’ Coun. Reynald Brisson commented. ‘There’s no doubt people would know where the home of the Polar Bear is with that sign,’ Mayor Ray Fortier added.”
A couple other bidders were way above the range of how much council wanted to pay. So spent $1,800 on a sign designed by local artist Derrick Crouch.
Coun. Juli Karam felt neighbouring municipalities should help pay the cost.
“’The Polar Bear brings tourists to the North and helps the other communities’ economies.’ Proulx-Chedore reads Karam saying. Mayor Ray Fortier rejected that idea. ‘It’s Cochrane that is the home of the Polar Bear’, Fortier said.”
Our weekly history feature would not be possible without the archives at the Cochrane Public Library.