The Sunday Magazine

Resolute - a Karin Wells documentary

Iroquois Fall was once the home to the largest paper mill in the world, making newsprint for its great newspapers. But now the company has pulled the plug; the mill is no more. Now the community of 4,500 is scrambling for ideas to reinvent a one-industry town. Karin Wells's documentary is called, appropriately enough, "Resolute."

When the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992, The Globe and Mail newspaper wanted to celebrate - with a blue front page of the sports section. A call was made to Iroquois Falls and overnight, Number 8 paper machine at the Abitibi mill turned out the blue newsprint.

They tell that story with pride today in the town. They talk about the time that Abitibi was the largest pulp and paper company in the world. Iroquois Falls - population 4500 - was where it all began. Not long before Christmas, Resolute Forest Products, the latest corporate incarnation of Abitibi, announced the ending. A final shutdown.

This year, the first in a hundred years, there is no cloud of steam hanging over Iroquois Falls, no hum of the mill. And another old company town, another single resource community, is thrown back on its heels. The women at the Legion Bingo, the town councillors, the millwrights and the paper makers, are all forced to confront harsh economic realities and to scramble for ideas of re-invention.

Karin Wells went to Iroquois Falls - 10 hours north of Toronto. Her documentary is called "Resolute."


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