© Submitted photo
Former Massey Drive resident Dan Wiseman, pictured here in his backyard in Alberta, will be attending the town’s Come Home Year festivities this summer.
It’s been about a decade since Dan Wiseman last laid eyes on Massey Drive.
Now 58 years old, the former resident will get back to his old stomping grounds this summer during the town’s first-ever Come Home Year celebration.
“I’m going back to have a good time, I suppose,” he said via telephone recently from his current home in Chestermere, Alta. “I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family back there.”
It was back in 1964-65 that he and his family moved to the Massey Drive area from their house on Country Road in Corner Brook. His parents, Alan and Mary, have both since died — Alan in 1984, Mary in 1997 — but his sister Joy still lives there with her husband Andy Connors.
“There were only about 35-40 homes in there, most of them were cabins then,” he said of the area when they first arrived. “There wasn’t much there ... a gravel road.”
In 1988, at the age of 26, Wiseman decided to quit his job with West Coast Bakery and head west to Fort McMurray, Alta.
“I got tired of getting paid on Friday and being broke on Friday,” he said with a laugh.
He lived there, operating heavy equipment for Suncor until 2005, when he, his wife Angela and children Brooklyn and Mackenzie moved to Chestermere, where he’s been working as an industrial firefighter EMT ever since.
Just before making that move, Wiseman and his two children visited the province. Brooklyn was 11, Mackenzie was four and neither had been on the island before.
Though Brooklyn won’t be making the trip with the family this time, he’s anxious to show his wife and son around again. He fondly recalls hunting and fishing, particularly catching trout in Link Pond. He’s seen some of the residential development that’s been taking place in Massey Drive, but not the latest changes.
“There’s been a lot of changes since I left again in ’04-05,” he said.
One of Wiseman’s best friends from home is Rick Fiander, who happens to be the Come Home Year committee chairperson.
Fiander said plans have been in motion to organize the inaugural summer festival for at least 16 or 17 months.
“They’ve been mulling around for a while, trying to get people to head it up,” he said. “I guess all the ducks kind of fell in a row for them.
“I guess it’s the old cliché,” he added. “The time was right.”
Four nights of entertainment are scheduled from July 31-Aug. 3, including a performance by Ontario-based Eagles tribute band Hotel California at 8 p.m. on Aug. 2. Local and provincial acts such as Papa String, Wide Side Ride, Big Train, Mixed Tapes and the Humber Road Greasers will also be part of the festivities. Children’s entertainment will be provided by Reptiles on the Rock, Jodo the Clown, and Cathy Best and Charlie Mercer throughout the weekend.
Fiander is optimistic there will also be plenty of nods to the history of the town, the roots of which trace back to 1936-37.
“Hopefully we’ll have some photos and memorabilia,” he said. “Whatever we can get from our residents.”
Through comments on social media, Fiander is already anticipating a “good crowd” will be on hand to help the town, which now has a population eclipsing 1,500, celebrate. He’d like to see people from the surrounding areas join the party as well.
“We’re getting a good response from residents away, through Twitter and Facebook and everything else,” he said.
“But this is open to the public too ... we want to make it as big of a community event as we can.”
For more information and a full schedule of events, check out the Massey Drive Come Home Year 2014 page on Facebook.