Ontario Opens First Provincial Fire College

Ontario Opens First Provincial Fire College

A scale model of the Ontorio Fire College on display at the Ontario Fire Marshal’s booth in the Ontario Government Building at the Canadian National Exhibition. The college, the first of its kind in Canada, is located on 92 acres of land just north of the Town of Gravenhurst fronting Lake Muskoka

—Photos courtesy Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office

Leslie M. Frost (left) greets R. C. Malmquist, first vice president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and chief of the Minneapolis Fire Department at opening ceremony. Raul Gandara, chief of the Fire Services of Puerto Rico, and Ft. M. Smith, Her Majesty's chief inspector for fire services, watch from the background

MANY DISTINGUISHED VISITORS from all points of the compass attended the official opening of the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst on August 22. The ceremonies took place in the lecture hall at the fire college with Ontario Fire Marshal W. J. Scott acting as chairman.

Seated on the platform before approximately 350 invited guests were the dignitaries who officiated; The Hon. Leslie M. Frost, Premier of Ontario, the Hon. A. Kelso Roberts, Attorney General for Ontario; Robert Boyer, M.P.P., for Muskoka District; Newfoundland’s Fire Commissioner Frank Ryan; Chief Ken Putnam, Kitchener, President of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs; Chief Donald Charles, Charlotte, N. C., President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs; Major General George S. Hatton, Federal Deputy Civil Defense Coordinator; Chief Raul Gandara, Insular Fire Services, Puerto Rico; H. M. Smith, C.B.E., Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Great Britain; and a special guest, the Hon. Leslie Blackwell, former Attorney General for Ontario.

Speaking to the assembly during the ceremonies, Chief Charles praised the Ontario Fire College and called it “a monument to the fire services not only in Canada but in the world as well.” Major General Hatton suggested that the fire college could be used by Civil Defense for the six months of the year when the college was not operating. Fire Marsha! Scott thanked General Hatton and pointed out that the fire college had “profited tremendously in the pattern of courses from the examples of the Canadian Civil Defense College at Arnprior.”

Marshal Scott’s dream

Chief Inspector Smith of Great Britain, spoke briefly and emphasized the need for greater knowledge by fire fighters of their profession. Attorney General Roberts cited the fact that the opening of the fire college was “a dream come true” for Fire Marshal Scott who had worked so long and so hard to make it a reality. Mr. Roberts expressed his appreciation for the assistance of some of the United States visitors in proving to him the need of a fire college in his province since he was ultimately responsible for securing the necessary approval of the Ontario Legislature.

Mr. Roberts then called upon the Premier of Ontario, the Hon. Leslie M. Frost, to open the Ontario Fire College. Mr. Frost spoke of the determination of the fire marshal to establish the fire college and commended his leadership. He then declared it officially open with these words; “For the betterment of the lives and property of the people of Ontario, I declare the Ontario Fire College officially open.” With a pull on the fire alarm box on the stage of the lecture hall, the Premier set off the bell and siren system which noisily proclaimed the commencement of activities of the first fire college in Canada.

Visitors were then given a chance to examine the buildings under the guidance of staff members of the Fire Marshal’s Office and later were treated to a display of fire pumpers in action.

Premier Frost of Ontario pulls the alarm box to signal the official opening of the fire college. Tim and John Barrett, sons of D. E. Barrett, director of the college, hold their ears as the bells and sirens sound. W. J. Scott, Ontario fire marshal, looks on
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