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Pipeline buddies

During 1957 and 1958, my father, Bill Leenhouts, worked for a Texas company that specialized in building river crossings for the TransCanada natural gas pipeline. At that time it was the longest in the world.

In 1957, he worked on the Île aux Tourtes crossing to the Île de Montréal under the Ottawa River. It involved long days, seven days a week, but the pay was good, and it was close to our home on Île Perrot, Quebec.

Crossing a river required special preparations of the pipe, including covering it with tar and then wrapping it with brown paper. A cone was placed in the end of the pipe, which was then pushed into the riverbed to reach the other side.

In 1958, my dad was one of the few Canadians employed on the Missinaibi River crossing at Mattice in northern Ontario, primarily to clear brush in the wilderness. Most of the workers were Texans, such as the welder’s assistant and bulldozer driver in this photo taken by my father. He worked with the two men, but their names are not known.

It was quite an adventure for my father — living out of the back of an International pickup in a homemade portable shack. My mother, two brothers, and I joined my father by train and spent an interesting summer getting to know the predominantly French people and significant Aboriginal population of the town.

Submitted be Chris Leenhouts of Quebec City


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