PEACE, QUIET THE MIDNIGHT SUN... AND A CHANCE TO MAKE A BUCK
The new sourdoughs
PEACE, QUIET THE MIDNIGHT SUN... AND A CHANCE TO MAKE A BUCK
The Canadian North has always drawn a special breed of men. Some have been visionary, some greedy, some have been outcasts, some pioneers intent on building a new and better society in a land where a man can still make it if he has guts. All have been gamblers. The North has produced mil-
lionaires, but not many. Costs are higher, money tighter, labor scarcer and the climate cruder than in the south. Enterprises that are profitable in the south are only marginal in the north, and those that are marginal in the south are hopeless in the north. Still they come — men who, in this increasingly
35, commercial pilot, owner of Reindeer Air Services, Inuvik, NWT. Part Loucheux Indian, part Irish, son of a trapper. Worked on the DEW Line to earn enough to buy a small plane. Started Reindeer Air Services in 1960 with Lyle Trimble, an ex-RCMP man who left the company in 1964 to enter politics. In 1967 Reindeer had three planes and a beat-up shack on a river bank. Today, the company owns 10 aircraft and a shiny new hangar (built with a loan from Ottawa’s Industrial Development Bank). Estimates assets at about $500,000. Wife part Eskimo. Four children. "I want to encourage natives to help themselves, to show them that they can do as well as the whites. Nearly half of my 20 employees are native northerners. Why did I get into flying? My older brother John and I would set the same number of traps. John would come back with eight, nine muskrat. I might get one. John became one of the best trappers in the area. I got my pilot’s license."
urbanized, wage-earning and foreign-owned economy, want to do their own thing. They come, they work, they gamble and sometimes they win. To the winners the North offers more wealth more quickly than it can be found anywhere else in Canada. To the losers . . . well, to the losers it offers
what is almost as sought after today — peace and quiet. This is the story of six such men. We call them the new sourdoughs. Two of these six will probably make a million dollars. Two will probably give up trying. Two will probably go broke trying. See if you can guess which new sourdough is which.
41, mining engineer, land surveyor, part owner of Northwest Survey Corporation Ltd., of Edmonton and Grande Prairie, Alberta, and Whitehorse, Yukon. Arrived in Whitehorse to start a surveying company in 1964 with $200 and a return ticket. Grossed about $20,000 in 1964. Now has between 50 to 75 employees working for him. Northwest Survey's 1970 gross: about one million dollars. Needs expansion capital. Bought Yukon Airways Ltd. last year so the company could handle charter jobs. Now has about $500,000 in loans. Lives outside Whitehorse with wife and three children, on land secured by staking mineral claims around their small lot. "I came to the North in search of freedom, I guess, and the room to build something. In the North I felt — to use an overworked word — fulfilled. Southern Canada will bring its values here and by sheer force of numbers will force us to adapt. But we don’t have to accept those values as fast as we would in the south. I haven’t quit yet.”
29, expediter, part owner of Deines Brothers General Hauling, Hay River, NWT. Loves trucks. Bought his first one when he was 19. Expert in Arctic transport. Started Deines Brothers General Hauling with two brothers in 1969. They bought an International truck for $1,000 and fixed it up themselves (today it’s worth $20,000). Borrowed from banks, credit unions, finance companies, using furniture as collateral. By midsummer of 1970 the Deines boys were $8,000 in debt. Today they have $40,000 in clear assets and are borrowing again for expansion. Married; three children. "Borrowing has been the story of my life. But it’s no good complaining about lack of funds. You have to say the hell with living on $800 to $1,000 a month that someone else is paying you. You have to decide to take the plunge, to get with it. But you can perform in the North. We’ll make or break it in one year.”
38, chief pilot for Wardair at Yellowknife, NWT, part owner of Titan Drilling Company Ltd. (Yellowknife). Bought his first plane when he was 17 and has been flying commercially ever since. Moved to Yellowknife in 1962. Joined Wardair in 1967. Put up $4,000 and with partner Stan Cochrane formed Titan Drilling in 1968. In 1969 Titan grossed $325,000, returning the partners $77,000 before .taxes. Anticipated gross in 1971: $500,000. Claims he would sell his half interest in the company today for $150,000. Wife is a former fashion model. Two children. “We’ve been a lot happier in the North. My son can climb on his snowmobile at our back door and hunt ptarmigan in the bush. When he gets to be a man he’ll know there are better things to do than stand around on a corner with long hair smoking pot. In this country when you do something you’re serving a purpose.”
31, pilot, formerly part owner of Arctic Air Ltd., Fort Simpson, NWT. Started flying out of Fort Simpson in 1964 for Northern Mountain Airlines. Got bored, quit, worked for a few years in Yellowknife. Returned to Fort Simpson in 1968 and bought Northern Mountain’s license for $40,000 (half his own, half loaned by the Industrial Development Bank). Business boomed. In its last year Northern Mountain grossed $65,000. In its first six months Arctic Air grossed $40,000. Took in partner to help finance expansion. Sold out last year when four accidents destroyed two planes. Doubled his investment in two years. Plans to “stay around and start something else.” Wife teaches school. "You come up here to make a sackful, but there’s a hole in the bottom and you can't quite fill it, so you keep trying and pretty soon you get to like it up here. Our water is still clear and our air unpolluted and a young man has a chance to make it.”
32, former merchandiser for the Hudson’s Bay Company, owner of Mack’s Travel Agency, Inuvik, NWT. Was recruited by the Bay in Scotland and came to Canada in 1956. Went north in 1957. Quit the Bay in 1968 to start his own travel business with $17,000 in savings and part of the proceeds from the sale of 160 television sets purchased a few days before the Inuvik TV station went on the air. Can arrange a photographic (no killing) whale hunt ($75), a trip from Inuvik to Aklavik ($27), a week on a trapline with a trapper ($850 from Edmonton). Planning trips this year to the North Pole. Expects to write $500,000 worth of business in 1971. “There are people in the south, particularly the United States, who come up here for no particular reason except to see the country. You can go to the upper Amazon or the Antarctic, but there are few places you can see in this stage of transition. What am I selling? Peace, quiet and the Midnight Sun."
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