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29 years since Spruce Falls Crisis in Kapuskasing

It’s been 29 years since the Model Town was rocked by something known as the Spruce Falls crisis. Former Kapuskasing Mill owners Kimberly Clark and the New York Times gave the community an ultimatum, either find new owners or the employees would be reduced by 1,000. Al Spacek, who was part of the fundraising team, says the crisis has shaped the community.

“When you look at what’s going on in the forestry and newsprint industry, these are very challenging times,” he said. “These are challenging times, and throughout the decades Kapuskasing has prevailed because of this enormous pride that we have.”

Tembec along with community residents and employees worked out a deal to purchase the mill from the past owners. The crisis even featured a blockade of Highway 11 and a camp out at Queens Park.

Spacek said the trickle-down effect of the power dams being built up north has helped businesses grow and thrive in the community even today.

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He added that there were a lot of emotional highs and lows that the community had to battle through thanks to Kimberly Clark and the former Provincial Government under Premier Bob Rae.

“There was certainly times when the community was quite excited and optimistic,” he said. “There would be obstacles that would be a problem and you would have to work your way through it.”

It’s that perseverance that Kapuskasing is known for today.


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