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Elliot Lake
My Host for my stay in Elliot Lake - John Muir

My many thanks to John Muir for sharing his house and family with me for my stay at Elliot Lake. John is a Scot from Banknock who came to Canada in 1981. (He says that in Banknock you daren't walk the streets alone at night) :-)

Here I am going to share a few photos that I took while with him and a few he provided...

John Muir and his wife May who passed away March 2003 after 32 years of marriage
Lost but never forgotten!

John in his "Beer Garden" and his daughter Jackie, grandson Brandon and his son-in-law Scott

Another shot of Jackie and on the right John with his friend Linda and what an outstanding baseball cap he's wearing :-)

Here is John's home in Elliot Lake and his front garden

And his pride and joy, the bike!

And scenes from his beer garden :-)

This is a picture of John's Mum's Father and family. John's Mum is on the extreme left

John's Father is on the left and right in makeup as an extra in the Last of the Mohicans all filmed in Scotland. The chap in the left in the right hand picture is Peter his Dad's younger brother

And here is Jackie and Brandon with a Bear Cub

And boy does John have lots of certificates!

And John tells me this last one was the hardest of all :-)

This is his dog Scruffy after his hair cut :-)

John now works at the Electronic Centre and if you need a computer fixed he's your man!

When he first arrived at Elliot Lake he was a mechanic in the Uranium mines

He also has a web site at

And this is Brandon's favourite pet which he lets his grandad keep in his car

And these last three pictures are his fellow Scots and friends Bill, Joan and their dog Bonnie

John has had an interesting life in that he left school to become an apprentice mechanic back in Scotland.  The story he tells is that from the age of 10 he helped his big brother service trucks, etc. So when the school took the pupils around various manufacturing companies John was introduced to the owner of the work shop. Something must have rung bells with the owner as John was invited back to meet him. In the second meeting the owner said that he asked everyone the same questions - "What makes an engine go".  John looked at him for a moment and then asked "What kind of engine? A two stroke, four stroke, diesal or petrol?  The owner looked back and said four stroke petrol. And of course as John had been working five years with his big brother he was able to answer the question :-)  The owner then asked John if he could come back on the Monday and John said Yes.  He then turned up around 11am as he'd assumed this was just another meeting.  The owner greeted him with "What time do you call this to start work?"  John, somewhat flabbergasted said "But I though you just wanted to talk to me again!"  The owner said... you've got a job and you start at 9am... then he got one of the men in the workshop to drive him home to get more suitable clothers in which to work.  John tells me he ran into the house shouting to his mum that he'd got a job, shucking off his clothes on the way to his room and finding his work gear and then dashing out to the car which was waiting for him. That night he got a big hug from his mum :-)

He served with his first company for some 10 years doing work on all kinds of vans, trucks, etc. After some 10 years he found out that lorry drivers were earning more than he did so he went and applied for an HGV licence and took the course and passed at the first attempt. He then found great problems in finding a driving job as he got the usual "No experience" reply any time he applied. Feeling somewhat despondant he decided to go and see an old school friend whose father owned a haulage company. When he got there he met his friends mum who greeted him and asked how he'd been doing. The the father came in and greeted him then asked what they could do for him. John said he was looking for their son. The father said he was out at the moment but could he help?  So John took a deep breath and explained his position. The father said... come and work for us... can you start today?  John said he'd love to start today but as his current employer had done well by him he felt he had to give notice to him and so John was to start the following Monday.

He tell an interesting story of his time with them but one story I liked was when the big lorry on the fleet, a AEC Mandator, couldn't bring a load up the hill to the yard. He'd come bouncing into the yard to say that he couldn't get the load up the hill so had left it at the bottom of the hill. The boss paused a moment then turning to John said "Go fetch the load John". Now John's lorry as an Albion Clydesdale, a much lighter lorry.  Anyway, of John went with his lorry, got to the bottom of the hill and then hooked up the load. Off he set in really low gear (which is around 2 miles an hour). He managed to get about 500 yards of a run on the flat to build up speed then took the ninety degree turn and headed up the hill. As he was getting to the top he could feel the revs slowing, black smoke pouring out the back, and just as he got to the hill he managed to get the lorry over it but he was really slowing and he could feel it was about to give up when he felt a nudge which told him he'd made it.  So he drove into the yard and asked the boss "Where do I park it?". And I'm told the boss had a wide grin on his face.

In actual fact John credits the boss as having loads of experience in all kinds of trucks and situations and he knew that the lighter Clydesdale with it's extra gears could likely do the job and he was right by the skin of his teeth :-)

Having found that mechanics were now getting paid more than drivers John went back as lead mechanic for another firm in Scotland and not long after that he saw the job in the Falkirk Herald newspaper advertising for diesal mechanics for mines in Canada. So after consulting his wife May they applied and he got the job and hence his entry into Canada. John worked for a mine for a while but as May wasn't happy he applied to transfer to the Dennison mine in Elliot Lake and so he arrived.

John has a real gift for story telling and he sure had lots to tell but after an accident at the mine he had to retire and find another job and hence he trained as a computer technician and that's what he now does for a living. He does however regret he couldn't have stayed in the mechanical side. He did get accepted by two teaching schools to do a 5 year course to teach what he knew best but the WVA wouldn't pay for that and so here he is.

Do visit his web site at

And this was my final meal at Elliot Lake - Sliced Sausage, Fried Eggs and Chips - Thanks John! :-)

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