D.O.T. Radio Station, and Hospital

Norm Sanders, 1945

Photos taken, 1945 by Norm Sanders review the DOT Radio station (Norm Sanders Home), photo taken during water tide out, Hospital (Ste. Therese) centre background. The other photo review Chesterfield Inlet view walking down to Radio station from OIC’s (Officer-in-Charge) house which Ernie O’Haria spent 3 years in the settlement/ post.

In 1943 at 19 years of age Norm began working for the Department of Transport, with postings at small airports throughout Ontario responsible for operating radio ranges, air traffic control and meteorological reporting. In August, 1945 he volunteered for the marine branch and a posting to Chesterfield Inlet. He lived there for 13 months with other Department of Transport employees, those of the Hudson’s Bay Company post, the RCMP detachment, the bishop and brothers of the Catholic church, the nuns who ran the hospital, along with the local Inuit settlement – known to him at that time as Eskimos.

As an avid photographer he was able to record the daily life – from community social events to wandering out onto the sea ice hunting seals with the locals – as it was almost 70 years ago now. The photos were captured in black and white and painstakingly developed and printed in a makeshift darkroom in his bedroom onsite (where precise temperature control of the developing chemicals was haphazard at best!). They have since been digitized into a 353 photo collection and labelled with titles, names and short description.

In some photos there is reference to the following individuals:

Ernie O’Hara: Department of Transport Officer-in-Charge (with his wife Marge and 2 children)

Ross Smith: his radio operator colleague (Norm is still in touch with Ross’s daughter)

Mr. Scott: manager of the HBC store (with his wife and 2 children)

Maurice Strong: apprentice to the HBC manager (age 16 from Oak Lake MN, now a noted UN environmentalist and Peace envoy to Korea and China) Norm and Maurice are still in contact with each other.

Cpl. Len Corey: RCMP detachment (with his wife and 2 children)

Photo credit: Norm Sanders, 1945

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