Transcript: Yonge Street: The End of the Road | Jun 27, 1996

A fast clip shows a two lane roadway with yellow white lines, this changes to a two part road sign with the number 11 in a shield shaped white sign and beneath a square sign with a rotary signal.

A narrator says I DON'T THINK IT'S THE
END OF THE ROAD FOR US.
I THINK IT'S THE
BEGINNING OF THE ROAD.
AT LEAST IT'S THE BEGINNING
OF THE ROAD, I THINK,
FOR THE PRESENT GENERATION.

The clip continues with a green fields and the camera zooms in on the sign that reads “Rainy River” and then the word “ENDS.”

The narrator continues I THINK WE WANT TO CARRY
ON THE TRADITIONS AND THE
SPIRITS, OR THE SPIRIT, THE
LIVELINESS OF THE TOWN, THAT
HAS ALWAYS BEEN A TRADEMARK
OF WHICH THOSE PEOPLE WERE
PROUD, AND OF WHICH WE
ARE EXTREMELY PROUD.

A white house is shown on the corner of a small town that reads Library, and that changes to a corner in Rainy River where people are congregated. Then a group of elderly men stand in front of a True Value Hardware and bicycles, and a close-up shot of the street sign for Fourth St. and Atwood Ave.

The narrator says THE OPPOSITE END
OF HIGHWAY 11,
THINGS COULD NOT
BE MORE OPPOSITE.
IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO,
YONGE STREET IS BUSTLING,
EXHAUSTING, CLAUSTROPHOBIC.
IN RAINY RIVER, ATWOOD AVENUE
HAS A DIFFERENT TEMPO.

The CIBC Banking Centre building appears, which is a red brick building with white awning and an open parking lot.

A caption appears. It reads “Larry Armstrong. Rainy River Town Council.”

Larry is in his fifties, has white hair, and wears glasses and a white button up shirt.

Larry says I LIVED A SHORT TIME IN A
CITY, AND I KNOW THE PACE
OF LIFE IS FAST THERE.
BUT I THINK THAT'S ONE OF
THE FEATURES OF THIS TOWN IS
THAT YOU CAN MOVE
AT YOUR OWN PACE.
YOU CAN DANCE TO THE
MUSIC OF YOUR OWN DRUMMER.

A view of a preserved black railroad train under a roof.

The narrator says LEN HANNON HAS LIVED IN
RAINY RIVER ALL HIS LIFE.
LIKE MANY RESIDENTS, HE
REMEMBERS THE TOWN IN ITS
HEYDAY AS A HUB OF THE
RAILROAD, LONG BEFORE ANYONE
EVER HEARD OF HIGHWAY 11.

A senior in his mid sixties with white hair and glasses. He wears a watch and a short sleeved shirt with red, blue and yellow stripes and a notepad and pen in his chest pocket.

He says OH, THIS WAS A RAILROAD TOWN.
I'D SAY THREE-QUARTERS
OF THE POPULATION, A GOOD
THREE-QUARTERS WOULD BE
RAILROAD -- EITHER RAILROAD
RUNNING CREWS, OR WORKING
CREWS, SECTION CREWS,
BIG SECTION CREWS WERE HERE.
IT'D BE A BIG
PORTION OF THE TOWN.
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THIS
WAS THE HUB OF THE WHOLE TOWN.
THERE WAS THE MAIN LINE GOING
THROUGH HERE, GOING SOUTH AT
FORT FRANCES AND THEN
EAST INTO THUNDER BAY.
THESE TRACKS THAT YOU SEE NOW BEHIND
YOU HERE WERE FILLED WITH
BOXCARS ALL THE TIME.
OVER BEHIND THAT WAS A FULL
RIP TRACK WHERE ALL THE
REPAIRS WERE DONE.

A train passes on the grassy train tracks that cut through the town.

The narrator says THINGS HAVE CHANGED
IN THE PAST 30 YEARS.
TODAY, THE TRAINS ONLY STOP IN
RAINY RIVER TO CHANGE CREWS.
THE TEAMWORK DEVELOPED FROM
WORKING ON THE RAILS HAS
REMAINED THE
BACKBONE OF THE TOWN.

The senior says IT'S A LOOK AFTER ONE
ANOTHER NEIGHBOURHOOD.
WE HAD A YOUNG
FAMILY HERE IN TOWN.
WE HAD A TRAGEDY, 35-36 YEARS OF
AGE... WAS STRUCK WITH CANCER.
THREE LITTLE CHILDREN.
AND PEOPLE THAT HARDLY KNEW
THEM WERE DROPPING MONEY INTO
A SLOT TO HELP HIM BECAUSE HE
HAD TO GO TO MONTREAL FOR CARE.
NOW, YOU KNOW, IF THEY'D LIVED
IN WINNIPEG OR THUNDER BAY,
THEY MIGHT HAVE GOT A FEW
FROM THEIR FRIENDS, BUT HERE
TOTAL STRANGERS WERE SAYING,
OH, GOD, ISN'T THAT A TRAGEDY?
LET'S HELP 'EM OUT.
SO IT'S A SMALL TOWN.
IT'S NICE.

A clip shows the forest along the roadway pass by.

The narrator continues THAT SPIRIT AND THE NATURAL
BEAUTY OF RAINY RIVER KEPT
RAILROADERS IN TOWN
EVEN AFTER THEY RETIRED.

A clip shows elderly people and grandchildren under an awning having a picnic, one man sits in an automatic scooter. People pass around plants and other items are laid out on the wooden benches.

The narrator says WHY WOULD YOU MOVE FROM
PARADISE TO ANOTHER PLACE?
AND, YOU KNOW, MOST PEOPLE
LIKE FISHING AND HUNTING AND
STUFF, AND THAT'S THE
REASON FOR STAYING HERE.
AND A SMALL COMMUNITY, WHERE
PEOPLE KNEW EACH OTHER.
WHERE ALL YOUR FRIENDS WERE.

A farmers market sign appears and senior citizens are shown bagging fresh produce.

The narrator continues FRESH AIR, FRIENDLY
PEOPLE, GOT THE LOCALS
TO THINKING MAYBE THEY
WEREN'T THE ONLY ONES
WHO MIGHT ENJOY LIVING HERE.

Larry stands in front of a building with the title Rainy River

Larry continues THE FACT THAT SENIOR
CITIZENS WERE MOVING IN.
THE FACT THAT ELLIOTT LAKE HAD
DEVELOPED, ONCE MINING HAD
FAILED THERE, DEVELOPED AS
A RETIREMENT CITY OR AREA.
THE CASE OF ROSSBURN, I
BELIEVE IT WAS, MANITOBA,
WHERE THEY RAN THE AD IN
PAPERS DOWN EAST AND ATTRACTED
A MASS OF PEOPLE WHO CHOSE
TO MOVE TO A RURAL LIFE
AND A RURAL SETTING.
I THINK THOSE ARE SOME OF
THE FACTORS THAT PROBABLY
INFLUENCED OURS.
BUT AS I SAID, IT
ISN'T A NEW THING.
IT'S BEEN ONGOING.
IT'S MAYBE BECOME A LITTLE
BIT MORE ACTIVE NOW.

An ad pops up under the title “Reasons to Retire in Rainy River, Not.” It reads “Rivers and Lakes, Rocks and Trees, Relaxed Atmosphere, Recreational Haven, Resource and Development.”

The narrator says EARLIER THIS SUMMER, THE
TOWN COUNCIL PLACED ADS IN
SOUTHERN ONTARIO NEWSPAPERS,
AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO LOOK
TOO HARD FOR ENDORSEMENTS.

Don and Pat stand in their house. Don is in his sixties and has glasses and a baseball cap. He wears blue pants, black suspenders and a grey and white plaid short sleeved shirt. Pat is in her mid sixties and has short curly hair and glasses. She wears a white shirt with red polka dots and blue pants.

He says A WELL, WE LIKE TO FISH,
AND WE LIKE THE WATER,
SO WE HAD TO BE ON THE WATER.
OF COURSE, WE'RE GOING TO
LIVE HERE FOREVER AND A DAY,
WE NEEDED A NICE
LITTLE HOSPITAL.
COUPLE OF OLD FOLKS HOMES,
FRIENDLY PEOPLE, AND THAT'S IT.

Don and Pat leave the blue wooden house that overlooks the water, two dogs: one black lab and one yellow lab accompany them.

Pat says NOW, ISN'T THAT
A BEAUTIFUL VIEW?

The narrator says DON AND PAT JORGENSON FOUND
EVERYTHING THEY WERE LOOKING
FOR IN RAINY RIVER AT A LOWER
COST THAN EVERYWHERE ELSE.
A WATERFRONT LOT IN DRYDEN,
FOR EXAMPLE, WOULD HAVE COST
THEM ALMOST 50,000 dollars.
IN RAINY RIVER, THEY BOUGHT
TWO LOTS FOR THAT MUCH.
A GOOD PRICE GOT THE
JORGENSON'S ATTENTION, BUT
IT WAS THE TOWN'S HOSPITALITY
THAT CLOSED THE SALE.

Don and Pat look at the pieces of wood for the construction of their house.

Don says WE MOVED IN HERE
NOVEMBER 11th.
FELT LIKE HOME RIGHT
THAT FIRST DAY.

Pat says THE PEOPLE HERE ARE VERY
OUTGOING, AND MOST OF THEM
HAVE BEEN BORN
AND RAISED HERE.
AND WHEN A STRANGER COMES INTO
TOWN, EVERYONE KNOWS IT.
AND THEY MAKE A POINT
OF BEING VERY FRIENDLY
AND ASKING YOU
HERE AND THERE.

The bridge at dusk over a river changes to a train crossing a rail road crossing.

The narrator says THE TWILIGHT YEARS.
RAINY RIVER AS A
BRIDGE TO A NEW LIFE.
BUT FOR THE TOWN'S
YOUNGER RESIDENTS,
LIFE IN RAINY RIVER IS
COMING TO A CROSSROADS.
[Train whistle blowing]

He continues AS IS THE SCENE ACROSS CANADA,
THE TRAIN HAS LEFT TOWN.
INSTEAD OF SWAPPING CREWS IN
RAINY RIVER, CN IS NOW RUNNING
NON-STOP TO FORT FRANCES,
AN HOUR'S DRIVE EAST.
MOST OF THE RAILROADERS CAN
KEEP THEIR JOBS IF THEY'RE
WILLING TO MAKE THE DRIVE,
BUT SOME DON'T SEE THAT
AS MUCH OF A CHOICE.

A view of the caboose of a train appears.

Donny Gall is in his mid forties with a blue shirt with the Toronto Blue Jays Champions ’93 and grey baseball hat.

Donny says WELL, WE'VE BEEN
THINKING ABOUT MOVING,
MOVING AS FAR AS MELVILLE,
SASKATCHEWAN, ACTUALLY.
AND IF WORST COMES TO WORST,
THAT'S WHERE WE'D PROBABLY
END UP.
BUT I WOULDN'T
WANT TO LEAVE HERE.
THIS IS PROBABLY THE BEST
TOWN THERE IS AROUND.
THERE'S NOTHING YOU
MISS AROUND HERE.

Donny walks across the train tracks.

The narrator says DONNY GALL IS ONE OF 70 RAIL
WORKERS LIVING IN RAINY RIVER.
LIKE OTHERS, HE HAS HAD
THE CHANCE TO MOVE AWAY,
BUT HE STAYED IN HIS
HOMETOWN TO RAISE A FAMILY.

Donny says I'D RATHER THEY GROW UP IN A
SMALL TOWN THAN A BIG CITY
WHERE YOU DON'T KNOW ANYBODY,
OR YOU DON'T KNOW WHO IS
GOING TO BE KNOCKING
ON YOUR DOOR NEXT.
IT'S JUST... IT AIN'T
GONNA WORK OUT THAT WAY.

Speedboats are docked on the river and one man connects his speedboat to his car.

The narrator continues RICK TIMKIN IS ALSO
THINKING ABOUT MOVING.
AS AN ENGINEER, TIMKIN OFTEN
GETS CALLED INTO WORK
AT 3 IN THE MORNING.
HE'S NOT SURE ANYTHING WILL
CONVINCE HIM TO MAKE THAT
DRIVE TO FORT FRANCES
FOR VERY LONG.

Rick is in his thirties and has short brown curly hair. He wears a tight white shirt, black sweatpants, a gold chain and matching gold watch.

Rick says PICTURE 40 BELOW WITH BLOWING
SNOW, AND YOU GOT TO DRIVE AN
HOUR AFTER BEING ON
THE TRAIN FOR 12 HOURS.
JUST TALKS OF 18,000 dollars TO DRIVE
TO FORT FRANCES, WHICH IS NOT
NET PAY, IT'S GROSS PAY.
AND BY THE TIME, MYSELF
INCLUDED, BUYING A NEW CAR OR SOMETHING,
I GOT NOTHING.
I MEAN, THEY'RE RUNNING
THROUGH MY HOMETOWN HERE
FOR NOTHING, BASICALLY.

The town is seen through a car window.

The narrator continues MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE
TOWN'S HOUSEHOLDS DEPEND ON
THE RAILROAD.
SOON, IT WILL BE GONE.
ATTRACTING ENOUGH SENIORS TO
KEEP THE ECONOMY GOING IS
A TENUOUS EXPERIMENT.
ONE THAT COULD MAKE RAINY
RIVER'S FUTURE EVEN GREYER.

Donny says IF WE HAVE TO PULL OUT ROOTS
HERE AND EVERYBODY HAS TO
LEAVE, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO
PULL OUT ALL THE KIDS AND
EVERYBODY ELSE, YOU'RE NOT
GOING TO HAVE NOBODY LEFT HERE.

Rick says I DON'T KNOW.
IT'S A TOUGH CALL.
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, BUT I
CAN'T SEE IT GETTING ANY
BETTER IN RAINY RIVER
AS FAR AS, YOU KNOW,
FOR THE YOUNGER PEOPLE.
IT'S UNFORTUNATE, BUT
IT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS.
AND IF THE RAILWAY'S GONE, THEN
WHAT'S LEFT OF RAINY RIVER?

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