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Newsletter - July 2010



A small work crew led by Eddie Paul began excavation for a new concrete wall along the north side of the Recreation Hall at Giant Mine, the main museum building. The foundation repair will replace the rotting timber posts, constructed in the 1960s, with a concrete wall.

The original plan was to dig for bedrock and pin the concrete wall onto a solid foundation. Unfortunately, the bedrock in this area is deep under natural fill, but a concrete wall can still be erected with a modified design. Stay tuned for more updates.


The 2009/2010 annual general meeting of the Society was held on June 9 at the Giant Mine townsite parking lot. We welcomed Gord Piro and Deb Bain back onto the Board of Directors after many years. The BBQ social was well attended by members.

Of special note were two donations: a large collection of vintage cameras found at the local dump by Pattie Beales, and an old underground, blast-proof telephone from Giant Mine, reconditioned by Merlyn Williams and donated by Barry Taylor. Merlyn also donated two gold bar molds and a lead brick painted gold. Merlyn placed bets on how far people would get trying to carry the heavy, mock-gold brick with a single hand.


J&R Mechanical Donation: The Society is pleased to announce they have received a $5,000 donation from J&R Mechanical Ltd. Mike Vaydik, vice president of the Society, accepted the cheque from Joe Chorostkowski, one of the partners of J&R Mechanical. Mr. Chorostkowski has been an active volunteer of the NWT Mining Heritage Society for many years. We welcome J&R Mechanical's contribution to help us preserve mining heritage. The money will be used towards repairs to the recreation hall foundation this summer.

Avalon Rare Metals: A special thanks to one of our corporate sponsors, Avalon Rare Metals, for donations towards the Society. Avalon pledged to donate $12 for every guest attending its public open house on June 28, split evenly between its Yellowknife community partners, netting $252 for the Society. They have also donated $350 towards the Walter Gibbins Trust Fund.


The second annual Beer Barge BBQ was another great success! We lucked out on beautiful weather which kept the beer flowing until 11pm. The boat docked at 4:58 after a brief struggle through shallow waters just off shore, but without the barge which, according to the friendly deck hands, was ‘sunk’, but it is suspected they turned pirate and hid the beer barge and its loot on Great Slave Lake. Thanks to Dave Smith and Ed Eggenberger for loaning us the boat!

Stage entertainment kept the party-goers hopping on the ‘dance floor’ all evening, with great bands including Momentary Evolution, Randy Sibbeston, and Priscilla’s Revenge. Merlyn Williams also entertained the crowd with his legendary Woodyard stories.

A costume prize contest was held as many of the guests wore period clothing. Notable among these were Mike Vaydik as ‘Tom Doornbos’ the water carrier, Ian Vaydik as photographer Henry Busse, Mike Byrne as an underground gold miner, Brian Latham as a dapper businessman, and Penny Shaw and Velma Sterenberg as female prospectors. All contestants were judged by audience applause and the finalists re-judged by three of our Yellowknife Golden Girls. The winner was Jaime Goddard who wore a very styling vintage summer dress.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers who made this event possible. A special thanks also goes out to the sponsors of the event:    Up Here Magazine and Outcrop Communications, Avalon Rare Metals (who donated the prizes), Weaver & Devore, Williams Engineering (its staff manned the beer kegs), Territorial Beverages, Lisa Tesar from Bottomline PR (who sponsored the music), and Northbest Distributors. We would also like to thank James Boraski and Norbert Poitras for setting up the sound equipment, and Garth Wallbridge for being our emcee.

We hope to see you again next year!

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