Transcript: Robert Paterson | Oct 10, 1991

(Lyrical theme music plays)

A clip shows water lilies on a pond, birds flying around and a view over a
misty forest glen. Smoke rises from factories and round mesetas appear.
Snow falls and coats a valley. A farmhouse is totally blanketed by snow. A
small plane flies over a lake with a rippled surface.

"TALK TO ME SO I
CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE
LIKE A LAKE SO
DEEP AND CLEAR
SOARING THROUGH THE
TOPS OF THE TREES
DANCING BY MY WINDOW
LIKE A WIND BLOWING
THROUGH MY DOOR
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES"

In close-up, a clean-shaven man with reddish hair in his late thirties or
early forties with a serious face speaks for the camera. A caption reads
"Robert Paterson, Shipping Magnate."

Robert says WE'VE ACTUALLY GONE
THROUGH SOME TOUGH TIMES
IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS.
WE'VE HAD TO REALLY FACE
UP TO THESE QUESTIONS
TO SOME EXTENT.
AND THE ANSWER REALLY
IS THAT WHERE WE HAD
DIVERSIFIED AWAY FROM
IT, TO SOME EXTENT,
THE GRASSROOTS, THE
CORE BUSINESS IS STILL
THE MARINE BUSINESS FOR
PATERSONS... IS GRAIN HANDLING
OUT WEST AND AS GRAIN
SHIPPING OUT OF THUNDER BAY
AND MOVING GRAIN ON
THE GREAT LAKES.
SO, WHAT WE'VE DONE IS
WE'VE REALLY CONCENTRATED
ON THAT BEING THE BUSINESS
THAT WE WANT TO BE IN,
THAT WE HAVE TO BE IN.
AND I SUPPOSE THAT IF THAT
COMES TO AN END SOMEHOW
IN THE FUTURE, THEN I
GUESS WE'LL BE LOOKING
FOR SOMETHING ELSE TO DO.

A loon swims across a lake. A title caption reads "Distant Voices."
A further caption reads "with Eva Solomon, C.S.J.
[loon calling]
Eva, in her forties, wearing a flowery blouse, sits facing the camera.

Eva says WHEN ROBERT PATERSON'S
GRANDFATHER, NORMAN,
CAME TO THUNDER
BAY FROM MANITOBA
IN 1908, HE WAS
ONLY 25 YEARS-OLD.
THIS YOUNG MAN WITH A
DREAM WENT ON TO FOUND
AN EMPIRE BASED ON SHIPPING
AND GRAIN HANDLING
AND LATER BECAME A
SENATOR IN OTTAWA.

Photos show the young Norman and the grain elevator. A posed photo shows the
family, with six children.

Eva continues THE PATERSON FAMILY HAS
CARRIED ON THE TRADITION
AND COME TO REPRESENT
AN ARISTOCRACY
IN NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO,
A POSITION WHICH MIXES
POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY
IN EQUAL MEASURE.
WHEN ROBERT WAS 30 YEARS OLD,
HIS FATHER DIED SUDDENLY.
ROBERT HAD TO ASSUME
THE PRESIDENCY
OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS.
IT HASN'T BEEN AN EASY RIDE.
TRANSHIPMENT OF GRAIN
THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES
HAS FALLEN DRAMATICALLY
IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS
AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
HAS DOWNGRADED
THE PORT OF THUNDER BAY
TO AN AUXILIARY PORT.
BUT ROBERT FEELS HE HAS A
TRADITION TO UPHOLD
AND HE CAN'T IMAGINE
LIVING ANYWHERE ELSE.

Sitting with his back to the lake, Robert says I THINK AS A THIRD
GENERATION ENTREPRENEUR
YOU'RE IN A HOT SEAT;
PEOPLE ARE OFTEN COMPARING
ONE TO THEIR FATHER
OR THEIR GRANDFATHER.
AND I THINK THE WORST
THING ONE CAN DO IS TO SAY,
WELL, I AM THAT
PERSON, I'M NOT ME,
TRY TO LIVE UP TO SOMEBODY
ELSE'S EXPECTATIONS,
TRY TO BE SOMEBODY ELSE.
AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE A
DECISION IN THE EARLY GOING
THAT YOU'RE ROB PATERSON AND
YOU'RE NOT SOMEBODY ELSE
AND YOU'RE GOING TO
HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS
THAT ARE NEEDED
AT THE TIME WHETHER
THEY'RE POPULAR OR NOT.

A caption reads "Robert Paterson is Executive Vice-President of N.M.
Paterson and Sons (Winnipeg and Thunder Bay). he is also President of Western
Engineering Services, a Thunder Bay subsidiary."

Robert continues AND WE'VE HAD TO GO
THROUGH SOME DIFFICULT
TIMES LATELY, WE'VE HAD TO
MAKE SOME UNPRECEDENTED
DECISIONS IN OUR COMPANY.
BUT I THINK PEOPLE
UNDERSTAND THAT WE REALLY
WANT TO CONTINUE
TO EMPLOY PEOPLE.
WHEN MY FATHER
PASSED AWAY IN 1981,
IT WAS A CRUCIAL TIME.
WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
WHAT ARE THE NEW
OWNERS GOING TO DO?
ARE THEY GOING TO CASH IN
AND MOVE OUT OR ARE
THEY GOING TO MAKE A
COMMITMENT TO THE BUSINESS?
AND IN THE BUSINESS, WE
WERE AT A CROSSROADS
WHERE WE HAD TO EITHER
REINVEST IN SHIPS
OR JUST LET THEM DETERIORATE.
AND WE BUILT A SHIP IN
1985, AND RIGHT NOW IT'S
THE LARGEST SHIP RUNNING
ON THE GREAT LAKES
AND IT'S A BIG SHIP AND
IT WAS A BIG INVESTMENT,
IT WAS A BIG LONG-TERM COMMITMENT.
AND THAT WENT A LONG WAY
TO ILLUSTRATE TO PEOPLE
THAT WE WERE COMMITTED
TO THE BUSINESS,
THAT WE WERE COMMITTED AS EMPLOYERS,
WE'RE COMMITTED TO THE
COMMUNITY, IF YOU WILL.
WE WANT TO STAY IN THE BUSINESS.
WE WANT TO BE IN THE
BUSINESS, AND WE HAD
TO START TO BUILD UP PLANT
AND EQUIPMENT AGAIN.
YOU MIGHT THINK YOU CAN
PROJECT FIVE YEARS OUT
BUT YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
AND JUST WITH THE DROUGHT
AND LACK OF SALES
AND ALL THINGS THAT
HIT US AT ONCE,
IT WAS TESTY AT TIMES, BUT
WE'VE SEEN THINGS IMPROVE
IN 1990-91. AND SO HAVING
BUILT THAT SHIP WAS THE
RIGHT DECISION IN THE
LONG TERM AND IT'S GOT PEOPLE
COMMITTED TO US.
AND WE HAVE A FELLA
RETIRING AT THE END
OF AUGUST, 48 YEARS
WITH THE COMPANY.
THOSE TYPE OF PEOPLE AREN'T
GOING TO BE AROUND AGAIN...
THERE'S A MUCHDIFFERENT EMPHASIS
ON EMPLOYMENT THESE DAYS.
BUT WE HAVE CAPTAINS
STILL THAT ARE 30-, 35-,
40-YEAR EMPLOYEES, SO
WE HAVE A DEDICATION OF PEOPLE.

A clip shows the ship moored alongside the huge battery of grain silos.

Robert continues THERE'S A LOT MORE THAN
DOLLARS AND CENTS,
THERE'S PEOPLE'S LIVES
AND A COMMITMENT TO THOSE
LIVES, AND YOU HAVE TO
MAKE PROPER DECISIONS,
TIMELY DECISIONS, AND
I'M LEARNING EVERY DAY.
IT'S ALMOST INITIATION BY FIRE.
YOU GET PLUNKED INTO A POSITION...
WE HAVEN'T ALWAYS MADE
THE RIGHT DECISIONS,
BUT YOU LEARN FROM THEM AND
YOU WORK WITH PEOPLE AND...
SO WE'RE COMMITTED.

Against the Paterson lakeside installations, a caption reads "The N.M.
Paterson and Sons Company has seven ships which it runs on the Great
Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River."

Robert continues THE FAR WATERWAY WAS IN
EUROPE OR SOMEWHERE ELSE.
YOU GOTTA IMAGINE THE TYPE
OF TRAFFIC WHEN YOU'VE GOT
A WATERWAY THAT EXTENDS
ALMOST THREE THOUSAND MILES
INTO THE HEARTLAND
OF THE COUNTRY WHEN
YOU HAVE INEFFICIENT
TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE
TO YOU, WE DON'T SEEM
TO REALLY USE IT TO,
MAXIMIZE IT TO THE WAY
PERHAPS WE SHOULD.
BUT, I WAS IN OTTAWA LAST
WEEK AND I WAS MEETING
WITH THE MINISTER OF
TRANSPORT AND HE'S JUST
NEW TO THE PORTFOLIO
AND SO WE THOUGHT
AS AN ASSOCIATION IT WAS
IMPORTANT TO MEET WITH HIM.
AND HE USED AN INTERESTING
POINT, AND THAT WAS
THAT CANADA IS A TRADING NATION,
CANADA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A
TRADING NATION AND CANADA
WILL CONTINUE TO BE A TRADING NATION,
CANADA WILL RELY ON TRANSPORTATION.
AND TO HAVE THIS GEM OF
A GREAT LAKE SYSTEM
AND A SEAWAY SYSTEM INTO THE
HEARTLAND OF OUR COUNTRY,
THAT WE REALLY SHOULD UTILIZE IT.
AND WATER TRANSPORTATION,
AS MUCH AS ANY OTHER MODE
IN THE COUNTRY, IS
IMPORTANT TO CANADIANS.
AND I THINK THAT IF
THEN YOU TAKE THAT,
YOU START THINKING IN
TERMS OF CANADA BEING
A TRADING NATION.
THEN YOU GO BACK TO MY
GRANDFATHER'S DAY WHEN,
REALLY, WE'D MOVED FROM
CANOE TO SAILING VESSEL
TO STEAMSHIP, THEY WERE
JUST TAKING THAT CONCEPT
AND USING MODERN TECHNOLOGY
AND ADVANCING IT.
AND SO IT REALLY
MADE SENSE TO HAVE
A MAJOR INTERFACE OF
TRANSPORTATION IN OUR PORT
ON THE BAY OF THUNDER
BAY TO BRING GRAIN
TO THE WATERFRONT, PUT IT ON
SHIPS AND MANY OTHER THINGS.
AND FUR I SUPPOSE WAS
INCLUDED IN THOSE DAYS AS WELL,
BUT A LOT OF GENERAL
CARGO, AND WE DON'T SEE
AS MUCH GENERAL CARGO,
GENERAL MOVEMENT
THAT WE DID IN THE PAST.
AND THERE HAS TO BE SOME
THINKING THAT WE CAN UTILIZE
THIS AGAIN TO ITS
FULLEST IN THE FUTURE
BECAUSE THERE'S NO DOUBT
THERE ARE PROBLEMS
TODAY ON THE SYSTEM.
MAYBE WE'RE MOVING TOO
QUICKLY INTO THAT MODERN ERA.
BUT I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS
AN INTERESTING ANALOGY.
AND I HAD NEVER HEARD IT
FROM A TRANSPORT MINISTER
BEFORE TALKING ABOUT... I
DON'T THINK IT WAS A SNOWJOB -
BUT TALKING ABOUT US, CANADA,
AS A TRADING NATION
AND THE IMPORTANCE
OF TRANSPORTATION IN THAT RESPECT.

A caption reads "In 1983, 1,700 grain elevator workers found employment in
Thunder Bay's 12 elevators. In 1990, that number had fallen to less than 400."

Robert continues THUNDER BAY COMPETES WITH
THE WEST COAST AND THE
WEST COAST COMPETES,
THERE IS A RAIL SUBSIDY.
THE RAIL SUBSIDY ONLY GOES
AS FAR AS THUNDER BAY.
SO, THE FARMER PAYS
THE FULL COST OF
TRANSPORTATION WHEN HE
GOES EAST OF THUNDER BAY
TO TIDE WATER,
SAINT LAWRENCE RIVER.
HE ONLY HAS TO RAIL
IT TO VANCOUVER,
TO TIDE WATER, THEN IT
GOES ON AN OCEAN SHIP
AND AWAY IT'S GONE.
SO, THERE'S A DIFFERENCE
IN COST, BUT THEN YOU
WEIGH OUT... WHAT ARE
THE REAL COSTS?
THERE'S A SUBSIDIZED COST
TO THE FARMER AND THERE'S
A REAL COST TO THE
CANADIAN TAXPAYER.
OUR COMPETITION,
FOR ME, FOR GRAIN,
IS EAST VERSUS WEST.
AND THIS IS UNDER THE
MICROSCOPE RIGHT NOW.
THERE'S A LOT OF
DISCUSSION OF PAY
THE PRODUCER, PAY THE RAILROAD,
THAT SORT OF THING.
AND THAT'S BEEN COMING
AROUND FOR YEARS AND YEARS.
BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT
THAT, THEN YOU HAVE TO -
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE REAL
COST OF MOVING GRAIN
EAST OF THUNDER BAY, THEN
YOU'VE GOT TO THINK
ABOUT SEAWAY TOLLS
AND PILOTAGE CHARGES
AND COASTGUARD
CHARGES AND MY COST AND
PORT CHARGES AND ELEVATION
CHARGES AND TRANSSHIPMENT
AND ANY NUMBER OF OTHER
THINGS THAT INTERFACE
WITH THE SHIP THAT COST
MONEY TO THE FARMER.

A silo hosepipe pours grain into a ship's hold.

Robert continues AND THERE'S CORRESPONDENCE
FROM THE MID '30s TALKING
ABOUT THE CONSPIRACY TO
ARTIFICIALLY MOVE GRAIN TO
THE WEST COAST AND THEY
WERE STILL TALKING ABOUT
THOSE THINGS IN THE '90s
AND IT ALL HAS TO DO
WITH DECISIONS MADE TO SUBSIDIZE.
AND SUBSIDY TODAY PLAYS A
ROLE IN "EAST VERSUS WEST."
AND IT'S UNDER SCRUTINY.
IT'S DANGEROUS TO
SAY IT'S IN TROUBLE.
IT'S IN A HIGH DEGREE OF
CHANGE AT THE MOMENT, I THINK.
BUT, AS FAR AS THUNDER BAY
IS CONCERNED, IN MY MIND,
AND THE GRAIN ELEVATORS
AND CANADA AS A WORLD
PRODUCER OF GRAIN, THUNDER
BAY IS GOING TO HAVE
TO CONTINUE TO EXIST.
AND IT'S GOING TO HAVE
TO CONTINUE TO RELY
ON WATER TRANSPORTATION.
SO, IN THAT SENSE, I
THINK THERE'S DEFINITELY
A FUTURE FOR THUNDER BAY, I
HAVE NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT.

The enormous battery of silos at Thunder Bay appears, with the Paterson
ship moored alongside.

Robert continues IF YOU LOOK AT THE
VALUE OF WHAT'S IN
OUR WATERFRONT AND
THE INFRASTRUCTURE
OF ELEVATORS AND
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM,
IT WOULD COST BILLIONS
AND BILLIONS TO TRY AND
RELOCATE THAT, OR TO
LET IT FALL INTO DISREPAIR.
AND OUR MARKETS HAVE
CHANGED OVER THE YEARS
TO MORE OF A PACIFIC
RIM MARKET AND THAT
COMES AND GOES.
THEREFORE THUNDER BAY, WHICH
IS ACCESSING TIDE WATER,
DOESN'T PLAY A ROLE IN THE
PACIFIC RIM MARKETPLACE
BUT IF YOU HAVE TO START
ADDING COST OR ADDING
INFRASTRUCTURE
TO VANCOUVER,
AND THE COST OF
DEVELOPING THE WEST COAST
ON RESTRICTED SPACE, YOU
HAVE TO THINK THAT MAYBE
THERE'S AN ADVANTAGE OF
PAYING A LITTLE MORE
FREIGHT TO GO EAST AND
GO AROUND THROUGH
THE PANAMA CANAL.
BUT, THAT'S JUST
ONE THOUGHT BUT,
THAT'S ONE REASON WHY
I THINK THUNDER BAY...
ANOTHER REASON WHY THUNDER
BAY WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY
A ROLE, JUST COST BASIS,
AND WHO'S GOING TO
PAY FOR THAT?
BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION
THAT AN AWFUL LOT WENT ON
FROM 1908 WHEN MY
GRANDFATHER FIRST CAME
TO THUNDER BAY WHEN HE WAS
25 YEARS OF AGE AND GOT
INVOLVED IN THE GRAIN
BUSINESS IN A SMALL WAY.

A portrait shows a man in his sixties with thinning gray hair and a determined
expression. A caption reads "Robert's grandfather, Norman M. Paterson."

Robert continues AND JUST THROUGH
OPPORTUNITIES OF GREAT
VARIETY, HE WAS ABLE TO
REALLY CAPITALIZE ON
MANY THINGS IN THE CITY
HERE AND DEVELOP LASTING
COMMUNICATIONS AND RADIO
STATIONS AND CAR SALES
OPERATIONS AND MANY THINGS
THAT ARE STILL HERE TODAY.
HE WAS FROM PORTAGE LA
PRAIRIE ORIGINALLY AND HIS
FATHER WAS INVOLVED IN
THE GRAIN BUSINESS
IN SOME WAY IN WINNIPEG.
HIS BACKGROUND WAS REALLY
HE STARTED AS A RAILROAD MAN
WHEN HE WAS 15 AND HE
WAS ALSO A TELEGRAPHER.
HE UNDERSTOOD CODE
ON THE TELEGRAPH.
AND I THINK, BECAUSE
HE EVENTUALLY HE WENT
TO WINNIPEG FOR A WHILE
WITH HIS FATHER,
SO HE DID HAVE AN
UNDERSTANDING OF THE GRAIN
BUSINESS FROM BEING
A TELEGRAPHER.
HE HAD AN UNDERSTANDING
OF TRANSPORTATION FROM
WORKING ON THE RAILROADS,
AND HE ALSO HAD A CERTAIN
UNDERSTANDING OF
JUST HOW BUSINESS
SHOULD BE GENERALLY,
I SUPPOSE.
SO, HE DIDN'T
ALREADY HAVE A FORTUNE
OR ANYTHING ELSE WHEN HE
CAME TO THUNDER BAY.
HE HAD AN IDEA THAT HE
WANTED TO LIVE HERE.
I THINK WHAT IT SAID IN
HIS DIARY WAS THAT
"I LIKE THIS TOWN, I
THINK I'LL STAY."

Old black and white photos show his grandfather with his family and associates.

Robert continues THAT WAS 1908 AND HE DID
STAY AND HE GOT INVOLVED IN
THE GRAIN BUSINESS
REALLY BECAUSE
THERE WAS A NEED TO
CLEAN DAMAGED GRAIN,
THERE WAS A NEED
TO DRY GRAIN.
THE FARMER TOOK A LOSS
ON THAT TYPE OF GRAIN
AND HE WAS ABLE TO PUT
VALUE BACK INTO IT.
SO, THERE WAS A NEED FOR
A SERVICE LIKE THAT
AND THAT'S HOW HE
GOT STARTED.
HE BUILT A "HOSPITAL
ELEVATOR," IF YOU WILL,
AND WOULD BUY GRAIN AND
EITHER SELL IT BACK FOR
TRANSHIPMENT OR SELL IT TO
THE MILLERS FOR MILLING.
THERE WAS NO QUESTION
THERE WAS DEBT, I MEAN,
WHEN HE EVENTUALLY GOT INTO
THE SHIPPING BUSINESS,
WHEN HE FINALLY DECIDED
THAT HE WOULD START
TO MOVE GRAIN DOWN
THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES
AND ST. LAWRENCE, HE GOT
INTO IT IN A VERY BIG WAY,
VERY QUICKLY.
WHICH I GUESS IS THE WAY
HE DID THINGS AND SO
HE HAD TO FINANCE THROUGH
DEBT AND HE HAD DEBT, AND
HE BUILT SHIPS IN THE U.K.
SO IT WASN'T AS IF HE...
HE WAS ALWAYS REINVESTING.
I MEAN, THERE WAS
REINVESTMENT, BUT THERE WAS
ALSO, YOU'RE ALWAYS OUT
ON THE END OF THE DOCK
FOR A WHILE OR TWO.
YOU HAD TO WORK HARD TO
COVER THE DEBT
AND YOU HOPED YOU
GOT THE BREAKS.
BUT, THERE WAS A LOT OF
OPPORTUNITY IN THOSE DAYS
AND YOU DON'T LIKE TO
THINK OF WORLD CONFLICT
AS OPPORTUNITY BUT, WHEN
YOU FEED THE WORLD,
AFTER THE FIRST WORLD WAR
AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR
AND WE HAD TO PRODUCE
GRAIN, GROW GRAIN,
WE HAD TO STORE IT.
SO, THERE WAS
STORAGE REVENUES,
THERE WAS TRANSPORTATION
REVENUES, CANADA WAS
FEEDING THE WORLD.
FOR A PERSON THAT HAD COME
ALONG IN 1908 AND SET UP
A BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE,
THOSE DEVELOPMENTS THAT COULD
NOT HAVE BEEN FORESEEN,
JUST WORKED OUT VERY WELL
IN A CENTURY FOR
PEOPLE IN BUSINESS.
IN MANY OTHER BUSINESSES AS WELL.

(Gentle guitar music plays)
The huge white seven-deep silo battery stands on the lake shore.

Eva says ROBERT PATERSON
OFTEN THINKS ABOUT
THE DIFFERENCE IN BUSINESS
PRACTICES BETWEEN
THE YEARS WHEN HIS GRANDFATHER
WAS SETTING UP THE COMPANY
AND TODAY'S HIGH-SPEED WORLD.
ALTHOUGH AIRPLANES AND
HIGH-TECH COMMUNICATIONS
HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR
HIM TO SPEND A LOT MORE TIME
WITH HIS FAMILY, HE
SOMETIMES IMAGINES
WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR HIS
GRANDFATHER, WHO TRAVELLED
ON TRAINS FOR DAYS WHILE
PLANNING BUSINESS DEALS
WITH HIS COLLEAGUES.
IT'S A CONTRAST HE RELISHES.

Robert says I SUPPOSE
IN THE TEENS,
IN THE '20s AND '30s,
FOR SOMEONE LIKE MY
GRANDFATHER, WHOSE OPERATION,
WHOSE BUSINESS WAS IN
NORTHERN ONTARIO
AT THE HEAD OF THE GREAT
LAKES, THERE WASN'T
AIR TRANSPORT, THERE WAS
GOOD RAIL TRANSPORT.
YOU'D RAIL DOWN TO THE
STATES OR YOU'D RAIL OUT
AND GO BY TRAIN OUT WEST
OR YOU'D GO BY TRAIN
TO THE EAST AND CONNECT
DOWN TO NEW YORK
OR TO MONTREAL.
SO, I IMAGINE IN HIS DAY,
YOU'D SPEND A LOT MORE TIME
SITTING ON A TRAIN AND
HOPEFULLY YOU'RE WITH A PARTNER
OR YOU'RE WITH A
FELLOW WORKER AND YOU'RE
DISCUSSING PLANS AND
YOU'RE FORMULATING IDEAS
AND YOU'RE READING
AND YOU'RE WRITING.
AND I JUST, IN MY IMAGINATION,
IT WOULD BE A LOT DIFFERENT.
THERE WAS A LOT MORE TIME SPENT,
A LOT MORE TIME SPENT AWAY
FROM HOME AND IN THIS
DAY AND AGE, THERE'S A
MUCH GREATER EMPHASIS ON
A BUSINESSMAN TO
BALANCE HIS TIME,
TO BE AT HOME WITH HIS FAMILY,
WHICH, EVEN IN MY FATHER'S TIME,
THAT BALANCE WASN'T THERE;
IT WASN'T NEEDED TO BE THERE.
IT'S MUCH DIFFERENT
TODAY... IT'S NEEDED,
IT'S MUCH MORE OF THE HOME LIFE.
SO, THERE'S SO MANY
INFLUENCES ON A BUSINESSMAN
TODAY AND HOW HE'S GOING
TO BALANCE HIS TIMES.
I HAD TO BE IN OTTAWA FOR A DINNER,
SO TO DO THAT I REALLY HAD
TO GET OUT OF THUNDER BAY
ON THE MORNING FLIGHT.
SO, IT'S AN 11-30
FLIGHT, FLY TO TORONTO,
STAY ON THE PLANE, IT'S
THE SAME PLANE THROUGH
TO OTTAWA, ARRIVE IN OTTAWA,
CATCH A CAB DOWNTOWN,
CHECK INTO THE HOTEL,
GET ON THE PHONE, PHONE THE OFFICE,
DO SOME READING FOR THE MEETING
THAT NIGHT. THE NEXT DAY,
HAVE DINNER WITH THE MINISTER
THAT NIGHT, GET SOME SLEEP,
MEET WITH THE MINISTER,
WITH OUR OWN ADMINISTRATION
IN THE MORNING UNTIL NOON OR UNTIL
ABOUT 2 O'CLOCK.
RUN TO THE AIRPORT, CHANGE FLIGHTS,
CATCH AN EARLIER FLIGHT
AND GET HOME BY 6-30
AND THEN RUN OUT TO MY
SON'S SOCCER GAME.
THERE IS A STORY OF JUST
A SMALL STORY THAT
MY GRANDFATHER WAS WORKING
FOR A RAILROAD COMPANY
BEFORE HE GOT INTO
HIS OWN BUSINESS.
HE WAS ON THE TRAIN
ONE DAY WITH THE
SUPERINTENDENT, A FELLOW
NAMED D.B. HANNAH,
AND THEY HIT A COW.
AND RATHER THAN LEAVING IT
THEY PICKED THE COW UP AND
THEY TOOK IT ON THE TRAIN
AND THEY DRESSED IT
AND THEY BUTCHERED IT AND
DRESSED IT AND SOLD IT
AT THEIR DESTINATION.
AND ON THE WAY BACK THROUGH,
THEY STOPPED THE TRAIN
AND THEY PAID THE FARMER
FOR THE COW.
SO, I SUPPOSE YOU COULD
THINK THAT COULD'VE
NOT PAID ANY ATTENTION
TO THE FARMER, BUT,
THEY PAID THE FARMER, AND
EVERYBODY WAS LOOKED AFTER.
MY GRANDFATHER STARTED TO
WORK WHEN HE WAS 15
SO I THINK ANYTHING
LIKE THAT WOULD'VE HAD
A MAJOR INFLUENCE
ON HIS LIFE, ON HIS FUTURE
AND THE WAY HE DEALT WITH
PEOPLE IN EVERYDAY LIFE.

An old black and white company poster shows a group of men at a table. The
heading reads "The Paterson Group of Companies... Our Strength is People."

Robert continues THE BUSINESS ITSELF IS
A VERY COMPLEX BUSINESS.
I'VE BEEN 20 YEARS
IN THE COMPANY AND
I'M STILL LEARNING AND
WILL ALWAYS BE LEARNING.
IT'S A VERY COMPLEX BUSINESS.
I WAS BORN IN FORT WILLIAM
AND WENT TO SCHOOL HERE
AND THEN I WENT AWAY TO
PRIVATE SCHOOL IN GRADE 7,
ACTUALLY IN GRADE 8.
I WENT TO GRADE 7 HERE.
AND MY GRANDFATHER,
THE SENATOR, AND
MY GRANDMOTHER WERE
LIVING IN OTTAWA.
AND WHEN I WENT IN 1964 TO
ASHBURY COLLEGE IN OTTAWA
AND I WENT TO THE PRIVATE
SCHOOL THERE UNTIL GRADE 12.
I WAS FORTUNATE BEING
SENT TO SCHOOL IN OTTAWA
BECAUSE IT DID GIVE
ME AN OPPORTUNITY,
EVEN THOUGH I WAS VERY YOUNG,
TO HAVE MEMORIES TODAY
OF MY GRANDFATHER,
THE SENATOR, AND OF MY
GRANDMOTHER, WHO WAS
A VERY STRONG PERSON
IN HER OWN RIGHT.
SO I USED TO GO AND
HAVE LUNCH WITH THEM.
I COULD ACTUALLY WALK TO
THE HOUSE FROM THE SCHOOL,
IT WAS A GOOD 10-MINUTE
WALK... IT WASN'T FAR.
IT WAS AN ENJOYABLE WALK.
SO, I COULD WALK.
I WAS POPULAR SUNDAY
MORNINGS BECAUSE SOMETIMES
I'D INVITE SOMEBODY TO
COME FOR LUNCH WITH ME SO,
YOU'D GET AWAY FROM
THE SCHOOL FOOD.
BUT MY GRANDFATHER WAS
ALWAYS FULL OF IDEAS
AND DOING DIFFERENT THINGS
AND HE HAD A FARM
OUTSIDE OF OTTAWA,
ON THE OTTAWA RIVER
AND THEY USED TO
TAKE ME OUT THERE.
BUT THE FIRST
WEEKEND I WAS THERE,
MY GRANDMOTHER INVITED ME
TO COME AND STAY FOR THE
WEEKEND AND I'LL ALWAYS
REMEMBER THAT, BECAUSE
I REALLY DIDN'T HAVE TIME
UP UNTIL THAT POINT
TO BE HOMESICK.
BUT TO GO BACK TO THE
SCHOOL ON THE SUNDAY NIGHT,
WHICH WAS A FAIRLY
DREARY PLACE ANYWAY,
TO GO BACK THERE
ON A SUNDAY NIGHT,
GOING FROM MY GRANDMOTHER'S,
IT FINALLY ALL CAUGHT UP
TO ME SO I UNDERSTOOD
WHAT HOMESICKNESS
WAS FOR A WHILE.
BUT, THEY WERE VERY GOOD
TO ME AND I STILL
LOOK BACK AS IT BEING
A VERY IMPORTANT,
VALUABLE TIME IN MY LIFE
TO KNOW THE SENATOR.

Against an old photo showing a speaker on a podium standing between a pair
of Union Jacks flanked by Navy men, a caption reads "Senator N.M. Paterson
was sworn in as a senator on May 16, 1940." A colour photo shows him at a
later time. The caption reads "He retired 41 years later at the age of 97."

Robert continues ONE OF THE KEYS TO MY
GRANDFATHER'S SUCCESS
WAS HIS PEOPLE-SKILLS,
HIS ACCESSIBILITY,
HIS ABILITY TO
MOTIVATE PEOPLE
AND TO GET THINGS DONE.
BUT, HE WAS VERY
INTERESTED IN THE CHURCH
AND IN EDUCATION AND
HEALTH AND HAD
A TREMENDOUS RAPPORT
WITH PEOPLE AND A WAY
WITH PEOPLE.
AND WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED
IN WHAT WAS HAPPENING
JUST IN ANY DETAIL.
AND SO FOR ME, HE WAS
NOT A FORMAL FIGURE
IN THAT SENSE FOR ME, TO
GO TO THE HOUSE AND BE WORRIED
ABOUT CROSSING HIM UP OR
SAYING THE WRONG THING.
HE HAD A GREAT SENSE OF
HUMOUR AND LOVED TO TEASE,
WAS JUST A REGULAR
FELLOW, YOU KNOW?
AND AS I SAID, HE LIVED
IN A BIG HOUSE AND IT WAS
FULL OF ARTIFACTS AND FULL
OF ART AND FULL OF BOOKS.
AND SO, FOR ME, MY
GRANDMOTHER WOULD GO FOR
A NAP AND MY GRANDFATHER
WOULD GO FOR A NAP,
FOR THAT MATTER, AND I'D
JUST STAY FOR A WHILE AND
WANDER AROUND THE HOUSE
AND LOOK AT BOOKS
AND LOOK AT THINGS.
I COULD ASK HIM QUESTIONS,
I'D ASK HIM ABOUT
SOMETHING AND THEY'D HAVE
GREAT STORIES OF HOW
THEY GOT THIS OR SOMETHING
THAT WAS GIVEN TO THEM
OR A STORY BEHIND EVERYTHING.
SO, TREMENDOUS MEMORIES OF
LITTLE INCIDENTS THAT
I'M ALWAYS IN AWE OF, BECAUSE
IT'S HARD TO REMEMBER
THINGS AT TIMES, BUT THEY
HAD A WONDERFUL ABILITY
TO TELL STORIES AND REMEMBER
HOW THEY ACQUIRED THINGS
AND THE IMPORTANCE OF
THOSE LITTLE THINGS IN THEIR LIVES.
IT'D BE WONDERFUL TO HAVE
MY FATHER HERE TODAY TO BE
ABLE TO SIT DOWN AND TALK
BUSINESS WITH HIM AND
TALK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND
TALK ABOUT POLITICS
AND TALK ABOUT ALL
OF THOSE THINGS.
BUT, IF MY FATHER WERE
STILL HERE TODAY,
WOULD I HAVE THE
SAME EXPERIENCES?
WOULD I HAVE BEEN THRUST
INTO THE THINGS THAT
I HAVE BEEN IN HIS ABSENCE?
AND WOULD I HAVE HAD TO
MAKE DECISIONS THAT...
I DOUBT IT.
AND I DON'T THINK I WOULD
HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE
AND THE SAME BACKGROUND
I HAVE TODAY BECAUSE
YOU WOULD'VE RELIED
MORE ON SOMEBODY ELSE
TO DO THOSE THINGS FOR YOU.
AND IT JUST WOULDN'T
HAVE BEEN THE SAME.
SO, YOU EITHER HAVE
ONE OR THE OTHER.
EVERYBODY WOULD LIKE TO
HAVE THEIR FATHER AROUND
STILL AND CERTAINLY MY
BROTHERS AND I WOULD,
MY SISTERS WOULD, AS WELL.
BUT, IT'S JUST NOT
THE WAY IT WORKS OUT.
BUT, WE'VE HAVE TO
CONTINUE ON, AND I OFTEN
THINK ABOUT WHAT MY DAD
WOULD DO IN A CERTAIN
SITUATION, BUT
YOU HAVE TO MAKE
YOUR OWN DECISIONS.
AND OFTEN TIMES YOU FIND,
I SUPPOSE YOU'RE BETTER
OFF WHEN YOU DON'T
HAVE THE FALL BACK;
WHEN YOU'VE "GOT TO DO IT."
I'D LIKE TO THINK THAT
AS A THIRD GENERATION
BUSINESSMAN IN THE
FAMILY BUSINESS,
THAT YOU CAN TAKE ME ON
MY WORD THAT I'LL DELIVER
WHEN I SAY I'LL DELIVER.
AND THAT'S WHAT MY FATHER DID,
THAT'S WHAT HE TAUGHT
ME, AND THAT'S WHAT
MY GRANDFATHER TAUGHT ME.
THAT YOU DON'T KEEP
SOMEBODY WAITING.
WHEN YOU SAY YOU'LL BE
THERE AT 10 O'CLOCK,
YOU BE THERE AT 10
O'CLOCK, NOT FIVE AFTER.
AND YOU JUST TREAT OTHERS
AS YOU'D HAVE THEM
TREAT YOU, I GUESS, IS
REALLY THE BASIC PREMISE.

(Gentle guitar music plays)

Eva says ROBERT PATERSON IS
HOPEFUL ABOUT THE FUTURE
OF SHIPPING IN AND
OUT OF THUNDER BAY
AND ALONG THE
GREAT LAKES.
HE FEELS SURE THAT
THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES'
REPUTATION AS A
BREADBASKET TO FEED THE WORLD
IS ONE THAT WILL BE PUT
TO THE TEST AGAIN.
HE LOOKS FORWARD TO THE
DAY WHEN THE ST. LAWRENCE
SEAWAY WILL ONCE AGAIN
OPERATE AT FULL STEAM.
UNTIL THEN, HE WILL LISTEN
TO THE DISTANT VOICES
OF HIS FAMILY AND HIS
COUNTRY'S HISTORY.

Robert says ONE OF THE
LEGACIES THAT'S REALLY
BEEN LEFT TO ME AND MY
BROTHERS THROUGH MY FATHER
AND MY GRANDFATHER IS THAT
OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING
THAT THE PATERSON NAME
APPEARS AROUND OUR
COMMUNITY ON PATERSON HALL
OR PATERSON PARK.
AT THE UNIVERSITY,
HOSPITALS, WHEREVER.
SO, THERE'S DEFINITELY A
FEELING OF RESPONSIBILITY
THAT RELATES TO MY
BROTHERS AND I
TO BE INVOLVED... TO
BE INTERESTED.
BUT WE WANT TO BE, AS WELL,
IT'S NOT THAT WE FEEL
WE'RE DOING SOMETHING
THAT WE DON'T WANT TO DO.
I THINK IT COMES NATURALLY.
BUT, THERE'S THAT FEELING
OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.
AND TO LIVE IN A COMMUNITY
THE SIZE OF THUNDER BAY,
IT'S VERY EASY TO BE
INVOLVED AT THE DECISION
MAKING LEVEL, IT'S VERY
EASY, IT'S VERY REWARDING.
YOU'RE NOT LOST
IN THE SHUFFLE.
BUT, WE REALLY FEEL THAT
WE'RE CONTINUING ON,
WE FEEL VERY CLOSE TO OUR
GRANDFATHER AND OUR FATHER
IN THAT AREA WHERE WE
CONTINUE TO WORK
IN THE PHILANTHROPIC AREA.
WE HELP PEOPLE AND HAVE
A BIT OF A LIBERAL VIEW,
IF YOU WILL, IN THAT
AREA OF HELPING PEOPLE.
SO, HE, MY DAD HAD A
GREAT INTEREST HERE,
WANTED TO BRING THINGS
TO THE NORTH
THAT WERE IMPORTANT TO HIM.
WE HAD A SPITFIRE ONE TIME
THAT HE FINALLY FOUND,
HE WAS A SPITFIRE PILOT,
MY UNCLE WAS A LANCASTER
BOMBER PILOT IN THE WAR.
MY FATHER WAS A SPITFIRE
FIGHTER PILOT
AND HE ALWAYS WANTED TO
BRING A SPITFIRE BACK TO
NORTHERN ONTARIO BECAUSE
HE FELT... AND TO CANADA,
BECAUSE HE FELT IT WAS A
VERY IMPORTANT PART OF,
A TOOL OF THE WAR, IF YOU WILL.
AND HE FINALLY FOUND ONE
IN ABOUT 1960 IN BELGIUM
AND IT WAS BROUGHT BACK
TO FORT WILLIAM
AND PUT TOGETHER OUT AT THE
AIRPORT AT THE FLYING CLUB
AND HE FLEW IT AROUND
NORTHERN ONTARIO,
MUCH TO MY MOTHER'S CHAGRIN.
AND I CAN ALWAYS
REMEMBER PLAYING BASEBALL
OUT AT AMETHYST AND YOU
WOULDN'T HEAR THE PLANE
COMING BUT HE'D GO OUT,
HE'D GO DOWN THROUGH
TO BIRCH BEACH AND HE'D COME
RIGHT OVER THE BALLPARK,
ABOUT 100 FEET OVER THE
BALLPARK WITH THIS GREAT
BIG ROLLS-ROYCE MERLIN
ENGINE FIRING AT, WHATEVER,
16 PISTONS, I GUESS.
400 MILES AN HOUR, STRAIGHT OVER.
AND IT WAS JUST AN
INCREDIBLE SIGHT THAT HE GAVE US.
YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY
ABOUT THIRD GENERATIONS?
THE FIRST GENERATION
BUILDS THE COMPANY,
CREATES THE COMPANY AND
THE SECOND GENERATION
NURTURES THE COMPANY AND
DEVELOPS IT, AND THE
THIRD GENERATION RUNS
IT INTO THE GROUND.
SOMEBODY TOLD ME THAT ONCE
AND IT CONCERNED ME
GREATLY, SO WE'RE MAKING
A GREAT EFFORT TO NOT
LIVE UP TO THAT.
[laughing]

(Gentle guitar music plays)
Over shots of the lake shore and the Paterson complex, the end credits roll.

Produced by Jim Hanley, Jim Hyder.

Directed by Dan Robinson.

Written by Patricia Michael.

Editor, Patrick Malone.

Post-Production Facilities, TVOntario.

Executive for TVOntario, Marjorie Robinson.

Executive Producer, Jim Hanley.

A Co-Production of TVOntario and Sleeping Giant Productions.

The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. 1991.

Watch: Robert Paterson