Alan Edward Rafuse

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario. He was a Great Lakes Freighter Seaman.





“When they were cutting down all the trees and the Seaway … The river was still there but they had started cutting down trees and moving buildings and all this.

And, on the south side, there was a point. When you were coming down the river, there was a point and there was one big lone pine tree on that point and there was a period, a certain course you were steering, you headed … the pilot would tell you to steer on the pine tree.

So I was coming down there the last trip and when he mentioned, he says, ‘Steer on the pine tree.’ I looked out and there was no pine tree. They’d cut it down.

So I questioned him, ‘What pine tree?’ So he looked out and he noticed the pine tree was gone.

That was the first time I’d seen a grown man cry.

And that was his last trip.”




Alan Edward Rafuse’s Voice

Alan Edward Rafuse, Interview Audio Excerpts, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013




The lone pine cut down. First time I ever saw a grown man crying.

My dad, the Seaway captain, got in trouble when he told the Montreal Star what he really thought about the Seaway.

My last trip along the old Canals.

My dad was a away a lot as a Captain. I would daydream at school.

Video



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013



In the first video Alan Edward Rafuse describes his last trip down the old canal as a Seaman before the new St Lawrence Seaway was opened. One of the navigation markers was a lone pine tree; on that last trip the pilot tried to find and steer on the pine tree - but it was gone, it had was cut down. He recalls the pilot crying, and never making that trip again.

In the second video Alan recalls his first trip up the Seaway. As his ship steamed upstream from the Eisenhower Lock the Captain called him to the bridge to help steer the ship on the new lake that had flooded were his place used to be. He only realized after a while that the Captain was joking as the new navigation had been laid out with buoys on newly created marine charts.

Bio

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario.

His father was a canal boat captain on the system of locks and canals that predated the St Lawrence Seaway. Alan also became a Seaman working on Canal and Great Lakes freighters both before and after the Seaway was established. He is a powerful story-teller with a wealth of experiences and anecdotes about the politics of the Seaway and its impact on those lived in the Sunken Villages.

He now lives in Cornwall, Ontario.