Local History Links

















new logo Silver Mountain Historical SocietyNewly-founded: The Silver Mountain Historical Society

Read about this summer's events: Horseback Ride/History Day in the spring 2013 edition of SMHS semi-annual Newsletter

Membership SMHS

This brand new historical society would like to expand their membership. Please encourage friends and family to join; feel free to share this membership form by saving and emailing it or copy the link of this page.


The Lady Lumberjack

Dorothea Mitchell, writer and film maker, lived in the Silver Mountain Station around 1910 as both station master on the Pee Dee line and Postmaster in a part-time capacity while she ran her own general store... read more about this remarkable woman that once lived in our area. http://www.ladylumberjack.ca/home.html

And don't forget visit thenow a Restaurant.

Find Dorothea Mitchell's History in short on the filmstrip: http://www.ladylumberjack.ca/dmb_ladylumberjack_filmstrip.html

Local author Leo Hunnakko released his newest book titled: "Against All Odds". A book about Nolalu from past to present. $20.00
Available in local stores and through Leo: leoh@tbaytel.net
"Now available at Chapters"


Leo Hunnakko - Author of the Book 'Sisu' agreed to have some stories of the book on the Nolalu website.

These very interesting memories, about the Nolalu area, appeared in local newsletter 'GrassRoots' from Nov '08 till October '09.

Many thanks to Leo for writing these stories down and making them available online.



‘Rural Roots’ is drawn largely from my book ‘*Sisu – The Finnish Determination of a Canadian Family’.

Copies are available ($30.00) by calling me at 577-7484, cell 621-6621 or email: leoh@tbaytel.net

More Rural Roots stories







Rural Roots
by Leo Hunnakko
Issue #10 (Published in 'GrassRoots' January 2009)

World War II – A Distant War Hits Home

As I write this, the headline news of the day is “Three more of our soldiers reported killed”. This brought the casualty tally to 103 Canadian servicemen killed in the war in Afghanistan. War, it seems, will always be a part of our lives.  Never was it felt quite as painfully here in this region as during the Second World War. Only a few weeks ago another Remembrance Day came and went. How many of us stopped if only for a minute of silence, to remember not only those who gave their lives but also those who risked their lives and returned home only by the grace of God? Here, in the dead of winter, it is worth considering any day of any month worthy of such remembrance.

Turning the pages of the “Memorial Album of Finnish-Canadian Soldiers”, it is interesting to note that some twenty-three men including a few women from Nolalu enlisted. That’s a remarkable number for a small rural community. Naturally the number was even greater with many other nationalities also taking up arms in our defense. 

Did I say by the grace of God?  My late uncle Allan Ilkka was a Gunner who saw action in Sicily, Italy, Belgium, Holland and France.  One of his responsibilities was to drive the munitions and artillery truck, often at the warfront.  It happened one night in Italy, when as instructed, Allan and others from his unit bedded down in a ditch rather than in the somewhat greater comfort of the truck cab. How easily does sleep come when under the threat of enemy fire? That night the nearby munitions truck, a favourite target, was strafed and destroyed.  “Not much left of it,” he later recounted to his brother Bob.

I spoke to Linnea Niemi about her late husband Eugene, better known as Charlie.  While under fire in France, Charlie ducked for cover in a trench resting his head on his right arm. An explosion of shrapnel pierced through his legs and out of his hip. More seriously, it shattered his left arm. Amputation was the only option. Charlie, a veteran at the age of 20, never lost his sense of humour. When his children asked, “What happened to your arm Dad?” He answered, “The Germans made hamburger out of it” or “the wind blew if off”. Thankfully most came back to their families. Some like Reino Palo even brought back a family returning with his Dutch war bride Mary along with her three sons. 

Others weren’t so fortunate. Three from Nolalu gave their lives in defense of their country and the freedoms and privileges we all now enjoy.  Forgive me if I missed anyone.  Rifleman Sulo W. Alanen was one of the casualties.  Born in 1914 in Silver Mountain, he joined the army out of Fort William in April 1943.  Sulo died in France on April 5th, 1944.  He was thirty years old.  Private Anton Michael Salmi was born in Nolalu in 1913.  He enlisted in June of 1944 out of Winnipeg. Private Salmi lost his life in Holland on April 21, 1945 at the age of thirty-two.  Only 17 days later, on VE (Victory in Europe) Day, May 8, 1945, the end of the war in Europe was declared.  Jim Morgan, was another young casualty.  Being non-Finnish he is not listed in the memorial album so I don’t know his rank or age upon death.  I do know that his passing left a shroud of pain and sorrow for his parents that crept over all of the community. Jimmy was an only child.           

More Rural Roots stories