The Courier

“Taken at the Courier in 1995 in the old building before we moved to a new one” – All Photos Supplied

Medley of Memories is a captivating feature that invites you to delve into the rich tapestry of Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake’s legacy. From military personnel to civilian residents, Medley of Memories weaves together a mosaic of experiences. Immerse yourself in these tales as we celebrate the 70-year history of this iconic Canadian military institution through the heartfelt narratives of those who have left a mark on its legacy.

My husband, Cpl Fernand Langlois and I were posted to Cold Lake in 1990 after four years in Baden. It was his last posting.

Being a military wife since 1974, I was used to moving a lot. I remember having been a bit anxious about being posted to Cold Lake after hearing others talking about that Base being far away from everything and that there was nothing to do besides fishing and hunting.

We lived in Cold Lake for 10 years where I worked as a French proofreader at the Courier from 1994 to 2000. If you look in old newspapers from those years, you’ll see the name of Diane Langlois. That was me.

My husband was a Ref Tech at 419 Sqn. When we arrived, our two sons were 7 and 9 years old. We lived in the new PMQs in Cold Lake and we didn’t like it since we had only one vehicle. Luckily it didn’t take long to get one on the Base. That’s when I was able to appreciate the friendliness, the good sense of being part of a huge family and really enjoy what that part of the world had to offer.

When I was in Baden, I worked at Der Kanadier as a French proofreader for the two last years of our stay. And then, in 1994 I saw an ad in the Courier for a French proofreader. I applied and got the job. I loved it.  I worked there for seven wonderful years with great people. During a visit at the Courier of the Base Commander I was introduced as the fastest fingers on Base (because I typed 86 words/minute). I also worked on the Welcome to Cold Lake Book, met people at the counter to take their ads and I even wrote a few articles.

“My son Eric Langlois with Maj John Stacy”

I have lots of wonderful memories from Cold Lake. Among them, Snowfests, the Air Shows, a certain night we hosted a BBQ in our backyard in the Beaver area and ended up with the whole German team from Maple Flag. They got to taste moose and deer meet with a salad and homemade wine. I also have good memories of the great people I’ve met, some I’m still in contact with.

The memory I’ll always keep in my heart is when my youngest son Eric was diagnosed with cancer in 1994. We had to go to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton every month for six months for his chemo. We took the medical run to go there the day before his treatment, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House and came back the next day. Then, after the chemo was over, he had radiotherapy every day for 3 weeks. During those three weeks, we had to stay in Edmonton but his father and I shared the time spent there. One week I stayed with him and on Friday, my other son and his father came so we could all spend the weekend together then on Monday, I came back to Cold Lake, did my week at work and got back to Edmonton for the next weekend.  Both my boss and my ex’s boss made sure we had the time off we needed. Even more, when my husband asked permission for our son to try the flight simulator, a visit was organized for him to spend time at the Squadron.  A little briefing, a visit of the place, him trying the simulator and pictures with Maj John Stacey. He also got a picture of a plane signed by all pilots of the squadron. (The visit was on October 1994 and you’ll find an article in the Courier around that time).

It’s a visit I’m sure he still remembers. Yes, he won his fight but unfortunately, because of the radiation he got in the neck area, he could not receive the normal amount of oxygen and because of that, he couldn’t become a pilot. In 2007 he joined the Forces and graduated on March 2008. He’s a Supply Tech in the Army. He did a tour in Qatar and one in Alert. His first posting was in Cold Lake and today he’s at the Base in Edmonton.  Last year, he also was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He also goes back to Cold Lake every year for the Holidays to spend some time with his friend he made as a teenager. Since he spent all his teenager years in Cold Lake, to him, it’s his home.

My husband got a year extension and after 21 years, he retired to put all his energy in his business of making bags of all sorts and he was doing well.  After he retired I left Cold Lake and a few years later we got divorced in good terms.

I left Cold Lake in 2000 to go back to Quebec. My ex died in 2016 of a heart attack. My two sons are still in Alberta; one in Calgary and the youngest in Edmonton. As for me, not long after I got to Montreal, I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Today, if I would talk to a military wife about Cold Lake, I would tell her not to listen to the ones who say it’s at the end of the world (well… maybe a bit) or there’s nothing to do there. It’s a beautiful place full of wonderful people and a lot of activities.


Share via
Copy link