© Photo by Ty Dunham
Wabush mayor Ron Barron and John McGregor unveil the new street sign named after beloved residents of the community.
In a land full of rock and ore, it’s the rare gems that brightens a community. Pat and Elizabeth “Lolly” McGregor were rare gems in Wabush.
With a history of community volunteerism and selflessness, the McGregor family was honoured with the unveiling of a new street sign named after them.
A crowd celebrated the new name, with speeches by Wabush mayor Ron Barron and John McGregor and a reception afterward.
John McGregor said it was an overwhelming feeling.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled at this great gesture naming a street after our family. When dad first arrived in Wabush Lake in 1959, little did the McGregor’s know that the town would recognize them in such an enduring way. I know mom and dad are looking down on us today with great pride and humility.”
Arriving in the summer of 1961, two years after her husband Patrick started working in Wabush, Lolly came with their four children, Pat, Michael, Terry, and Nancy.
Settling in a trailer by Little Wabush Lake, the family dug their roots long before the town began to take shape or a mine began its production. Expecting and without a hospital, Lolly was transported to the Carol Lake hospital where she gave birth to John, the first baby born in the town on December 24, 1961.
Throughout her time in Labrador West Lolly earned a number of notable achievements surrounding her community involvement, including: Life member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 57 and Certificate of Merit awarded in recognition of her many services in and about the community; Long Service Certificate from Girl Guides of Canada; Member of former Labrador West Branch of Retarded Children’s Association; Certificate in recognition of her services and participation in the Wabush Minor Hockey Association; Citation of Merit in recognition of her assistance to the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of Canadian Cancer Society; Canadian Tourism Ambassador certificate in special recognition of her outstanding hospitality to many visitors to the area; First President of Seniors Club, Horizon Group and Twin Cities Golden Group.
And that's the way she was. Very community minded, a sense of humour like no other, always carefree and joking, and just a beautiful lady.” Ron Barron
The Governor General of Canada also presented Lolly with the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation for making a significant contribution to Canada, fellow Canadians, and her community. The medal signified the values she exemplified in service, individual respect, and community effort.
Wabush Mayor Ron Barron said her reputation preceded her.
“Pierre Trudeau once visited the area, and when he got off the plan she ran towards him because she loved Pierre Trudeau. She said, "Hi, I'm Elizabeth McGregor," and he said, "I know.”
Barron had his own fond memories of the women he grew up close to.
“I remember being lost one Halloween and the only person I could remember was her, and I remember knocking on her door bawling and crying as a child, and she was there to help. And that's the way she was. Very community minded, a sense of humor like no other, always carefree and joking, and just a beautiful lady.”
Barron said anyone who knew Lolly or the McGregor family personally will likely smile as they drive past the new sign.
“It’s nice to name streets after whatever, but it's really nice to recognize individuals and what they contributed to the community. It's a good feeling, someone seeing good in the person for what they've contributed to the community. And I can guarantee it wasn't about the self for these people, it was about giving. Thanks to people like the McGregor’s, our town is a good town.”