Immigrant in Porcupine

Immigrant in Porcupine
and His Later Journal
by Magne E Stortroen

An Immigrant's Journal is a sequel to Immigrant in Porcupine; both are autobiographies of a Norwegian immigrant, Magne Stortroen. Both books are in this special reprint volume.

Immigrant in Porcupine starts with Magne's journey to Canada from Norway. Born on a farm in Tylldalen, Norway, he came to Canada in 1923 at the age of 20. He worked in lumber camps and road construction around Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Larder Lake and Timmins from 1923 till 1925, the period described in this story. He describes the conditions of the these camps at that time. Generally the experiences he describes are common to that era, but hard to believe today. As such, it is important that these pieces of history are preserved to remind us of their unique contribution to our Canadian history. His wry sense of humour certainly helps him to cope in his new environment.

Between 1925-1950 he worked for Tough-Oakes Mine in Kirkland Lake, and the Hollinger Mine in Timmins. For 19 years he worked for the Dome Mine from 1950 until his retirement in 1969. Altogether he worked 34 years underground, mostly in production jobs.

In the 1930s and 1940s he was a strong worker for the Mine and Mill Workers, in the days when 'it was almost a crime to belong to a union' and the meetings were held in people's homes.

An Immigrant's Journal takes up the thread of his life from 1925. From meeting his future wife, building homes, coping with the natural and social environments of the Timmins area in the 1920s, 1930s and on, he continues to find the balance between what he expects, and what actually is. He took an active part in the establishment of miners' unions. This is a story of the love and determination which overcame hardships during the first half of the twentieth century.

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Table of Contents

Immigrant in Porcupine

3 Dedication

4 Introduction to This Edition

5 Original Foreword

6 Table of Contents for Immigrant in Porcupine

9 The Voyage to Canada

17 Bush Camp Experience 1923

29 Shacking 1924

34 1924-1925 Winter In Cochrane

46 Aristocrats Of Roadbuilders

60 Compassion Of My Fellow Immigrants

79 Biographical Notes

An Immigrant's Journal begins on page 81

83 Acknowledgements

84 Original Foreword

85 Table of Contents for An Immigrant's Journal

87 Original Introduction

89 The Gambler

92 The Street Fight

94 Mining at the Tough-Oakes (1925-1926)

107 Prospecting Fever

112 Mining at the Hollinger (1927-1928)

122 Fire at the Hollinger Mine

129 Search for a Better Job

136 Meeting Elsa

138 Bolton Street Tunnel

147 Competition For Jobs, 1932

150 The Beginning

156 Tragedy Strikes

159 Boat Trip Camping

164 Our Second Beginning

167 A Dream Realized

169 The Ski Club

174 Squeezing The Dollar

179 Watabeag Lake

184 Our First Car

193 Our New Life in Bourkes

201 You Are A Thief

206 To Porcupine

208 Voice From The Past

210 Miners' Union Struggle

212 Train Ride To Moosonee, 1948

216 Moosonee

224 Elsa's Visit To Moosonee

227 Jacob-The One-legged Trapper

229 Back To Mining Again

231 Norway Trip

240 Second Trip To Norway

248 Elsa's Art

249 Elsa's Cancer

257 Appendix