By Paul MacLean – Former Volunteer who worked on First Project in Split Lake, Manitoba, 1964
It’s 50 years ago that I participated in the summer work camp at Split Lake Manitoba, the first project of Operation Beaver. I remember seeing the notice on my college bulletin board just at the time when I was wondering what to do with my summer. No pay, hard construction work, northern Manitoba … but it sounded like an adventure.
Why do we do these things? Looking back 50 years, I’m still not sure. What I can say is that summer adventure had a lasting influence on my life.
First, I went to Split Lake a somewhat insular Anglican, and I returned an ecumaniac. We were all Christians in the work group, but from many countries and denominations. There’s something about living in tents together for a month that tests one’s theological prejudices. Never again would I assume that my particular brand of Anglicanism was the superior form of religion.
On Thursday June 26th, Frontiers Foundation celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Operation Beaver program with a breakfast held at the Flora McCrea Auditorium of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Toronto.
From our very first project in Split Lake, Manitoba back in 1964, volunteer participation has always been a cornerstone of Operation Beaver. We were quite happy to see one of our very first volunteers Paul Maclean managed to be among the one hundred people who gathered at this annual event.
(FF President Lawrence Gladue with Iolene Bjorna from Batchawana Bay, Ontario and author James Bacque)
The breakfast began at 7:45 a.m. as President Lawrence Gladue welcomed guests and introduced the MC for the day Jane Dawson, a member of Innu First Nation and current Board member of New Frontiers Aboriginal Residential Corporation, who introduced the head table: Olivia Chow, Lawrence Gladue, Barbara Catto and Rev. Andrew Sterling.