Flin Flon Footprints: Catherine Jorundson, a Flin Flon pioneer

Catherine Jorundson, a Flin Flon pioneer

Catherine (known as Cay) Laidlaw was the first person born in Flin Flon at the Robinson hospital, and then many years later the first person born in Flin Flon to be married in the community.

Cay’s father Jack Laidlaw arrived in Flin Flon in 1928, followed by her mother Cora, who came in 1929 once the railway was finished. Jack and Cora opened a store on Main Street called the Green Front Store. (Later, when they moved away in 1952, it became P n G Bakery).

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Jack was a building contractor. He helped raise the Flin Flon Hotel to put another storey under it, helped build the Corona Hotel and was responsible for building at least a dozen homes in Flin Flon.

Meanwhile, Cora worked at the Ross Lake Market grocery store that was owned by brothers Frank and Joe Huber. 

Cay smiles as she says, “I remember the well-oiled floors and the saw dust on the floor in the butcher shop! They also had a beautiful ornate cash register on the counter.”

The Laidlaw family first lived where the manse of the United Church on Hill Street was, which Jack had built. There were four kids: Mae, Cay, Jim and Bill.

School days

The family moved to 206 Green Street once Birchview School was built, though Cay had to go to Ross Lake School since at the time Birchview only went to Grade 3.

Cay’s class teacher was Mr. McLennan for grades 5 and 6. Then she went to Hapnot for grades 7 to 12 along with friends such as Babe Evans, Louise (Jamieson) Ekstrom, Betty Christianson, Fub Krezski, Marie Barr, Bob Barr, Duke Russell, Ralph Adams, “Fuzz” Pasieka, Chickie Iannone and Ann Michalkow.

“We didn’t go off in twosomes, but hung around in gangs/groups,” says Cay. “We would go to the Jubilee Jive, where we had live bands for our dances. We curled in high school with skips like Johnny Akert. We had class teams for basketball and since I wasn’t very tall, I played guard.”

There were also three movie theatres in town: the Rex, Northland and the Paragon in Creighton. There was also a bowling alley known as Stag Bowling Lanes, so there was a lot to do after school, and especially on the weekends.

During the Second World War, food was rationed. Families had ration books and one neighbour was a vegetarian household, so Cay’s mom would trade coupons with them to get their meat.

Cay’s mother gave her a quart sealer of whole cloves in 1952. With her being a Scot, she says, she just finished them a few years ago: “I don’t throw anything good away!”

Love and marriage

Cay noticed Bruce Jorundson when he was a bus driver, while she was still in school. One thing led to another and the couple was married in 1949.

The Jorundsons bought the vacant lot next door to her parents on Green Street and began to build their own home.

That was the time when “work bees” were as common as sharing a coffee break. They had a cement pour with the help of Bruce’s friends, the Bray twins Don and Ron, and about eight or 10 guys from HBM&S, where Bruce had worked since 1948.

Cay worked for five years at the Co-op store before her children were born. She recalls that there were four ladies’ shops in town at that time: Tubby’s (Ladies Smart Shoppe), Mary Jayne, the Bay and the Blue and White.

There were many grocery stores on Main Street back then. They included Central Meat and Grocery run by the Perpeluk family; Fruit and Produce run by the Kowalewich family; Ostry’s Grocery and Dry Goods (which was W.F. Hughes until it was sold to Ostry’s in 1931); and Shamrock Meats run by Red Donaldson.

There was also the Cash and Save  (owned by the Maluta family) grocery store in Mile 84 along with Pop Ionnane’s; Birchview Grocery, owned by the Korach Family; the Modern Food Store (run by the Andreychuk family); and Willowvale Grocery run by the Klewchuck family.

In Channing there was Al’s Grocery owned by the McIntoshs, then the Rudds, the Whitletons, the Maxwells and finally the Sutherland family. There was also Leone’s (Leone Gilbert) grocery in Channing that burned down, and Eddie’s Grocery, first owned by Eddie Lauzon.

Career

Bruce started at HBM&S in 1948 as a mucker underground. He then became a heavy-duty mechanic.

In 1985 he finally came up from underground, retiring on surface as a mine maintenance planner in 1989. Bruce passed away in 1998.

During their marriage the Jorundsons had children Greig Jonelle in 1954, Devon Bruce in 1956 and Michelle Catherine in 1964.

Greig lives in Victoria, BC, and Cay goes out to stay with her every winter. Devon is married and he and his family go to East Asia for three months a year. Michelle is a nurse in Red Deer, Alberta.

Cay worked on the Flin Flon Archives for the area’s 100th anniversary, along with Eleanor Sparling, Norma Barr and others.

Cay is active in her church and can be seen breakfasting with friends after church; ladies such as Ruth Rose, Anna McEachern, Nayda Maximchuk and others!

Thanks for sharing your interesting life, Cay!

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