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2012-03-15 at 16:42

Local historical sites get official historical designation

By Jodi Lundmark,
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A pair of culturally-significant sites received historically significant designations from the federal government.

The Finnish Labour Temple and the Welch Company were announced this week by Minister responsible for Parks Canada Peter Kent as historically significant sites through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

The Finnish Labour Temple was recognized for its involvement of the labour movement and for providing job opportunities for Finn immigrants.

The Welch Company provided employment for Italian immigrants.

Founded by the Veltri brothers, the company recruited Italians to Canada to work on the railway and construction projects. Their head office was located in Thunder Bay for 80 years.

The building still stands on Court Street.

People, places and events can be nominated and Parks Canada communication officer Heidi Strobl anything that is nominated has to have national significance.

“It has to have had impact in some way or another on the economy or our culture or something that is significant on a national level,” she said.

“We have a very strong Finn culture and a very strong Italian culture and we see that in the events that happen here every year in town,” Strobl added. “There is a lot that ties around our culture and our history.”

The Finlandia Club building is near and dear to many people in the city and surrounding area, said Pasi Pinta, project manager for renovations at the 102-year-old building.

“It’s really an opportunity to recognize countless generations of people that have come and gone and have really done their work in their era…to make this world a better place,” he said.

The Hoito Restaurant located in the basement of the building has been employing local residents since 1918 and if people haven’t worked there, they enjoy the food. Many Thunder Bayers have also enjoyed many concerts, plays and other shows in the hall upstairs.

The Finnish Labour Temple and the Welch Company will each be given a plaque, to be unveiled sometime next year, to outline their historical significance. The plaque for the Welch Company will be located at the Italian Cultural Centre.


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