Memories from 1955

In April 2004 Dave McCormick, veteran on-air radio broadcaster (disc jockey) to 600AM in Vancouver, BC. shared these memories.

In the summer of 1955, as a UBC student, I worked at Cassiar, as an Electrician's Helper. I was a classmate of Boris Pavlov, whose father was the chief Electrical Engineer for the Mill. I worked on the installation of a bucket tramline up the Hill that summer, 49 years ago. This would be prior to the actual Tram Towers installation. It was a miserable job, even in summer, it was cold & windy & working on a 45 degree slope of a hill! Somewhere I have some B&W photos of me there, back then. I turned 19 that summer at Cassiar! I don't recall any names of work mates - but I do have a lot of memories of that "town." It wasn't much of a "town" in 1955! And not much to do - the older guys all gambled, drank, and fought!

I worked as the assistant to an electrician named "Andy" (forgot his surname) from Scotland. He and I were only the members of the 20-man electrical crew that spoke English!! All the others were newly-arrived from Europe - mostly Italians. We worked doing mill maintenance, and installing new electric gear, and oiling big honking motors as they were running! Doing all this with no facial masks. We were told to spit into our hands every day, to check to see if we had swallowed asbestos!! Unbelievable huh?

There were 3 flights a week a week bringing new employees up from Vancouver and/or Edmonton into Watson Lake, and then we were school bussed down to the Cassiar site. Many guys came in on a Monday and left the next Wednesday! They couldn't stand it. For me, it was my first adventure away from my west van home, and working 7 days a week, provided me a nice financial stash to pay for my 2nd year UBC expenses.

As I said, Boris arranged, thru his dad, to get me that summer job. On Sunday evenings, Mr. & Mrs. Pavlov invited me over for a 'family' dinner, at their "home" - which when I think back, was what we now call a "double-wide" trailer. I've forgotten their first names, but Mr. Pavlov was the big honcho - the electrical engineer who designed and upgraded all electrics on that sight. I'm sure they're both deceased by now.

I started on air at C-FUN 2 years after my Cassiar days - still doing it!


John Murray remembers Alec(x?) and Nina Pavlov.

Dad [Fred Murray] knew Alec when they worked the gold mines of northwestern Quebec in the late forties and early fifties, and followed Dad to Cassiar (probably in '54 or '55). I think they originally came from eastern Europe shortly after (or before) after the war.

The Pavlov's (senior) eventually changed their name to Powell; I don't know if Boris did so too - I think he may not have. My (admittedly faulty) memory tells me Boris became an engineer - or was it economist? - at any rate I believe he had a successful career in Ottawa rising to senior levels of Canada's civil service. Mom exchanged Christmas cards and letters (which I would read) with them for many years.

Nina was an accomplished piano player ( I think ) and I believe she did teach piano lessons. (Mine did NOT last long!!!) She succumbed in the seventies or early eighties after a very lengthy and valiant struggle against breast cancer (again if memory serves me right).

This page was last edited Monday, February 02, 2015

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