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Hearst's Rene Fontaine dies

Rene Fontaine, a prominent Northern Ontario politician from Hearst, died March 17.
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Rene Fontaine
At the Heritage Sawmill Marketplace in Hearst, Rene Fontaine stands beside an old photograph of himself as a child, along with his father and grandfather.

Rene Fontaine, a prominent Northern Ontario politician from Hearst, died March 17.

Fontaine, who came from a prominent logging and sawmill family, served as a member of the Ontario Legislature from 1985 to 1990, and served as a cabinet minister in the David Peterson government.

He was 78.

Fontaine resigned his seat in 1986 for failing to disclose shares in a mining company and was re-elected in a by-election, and again in 1987 in a general election.

Fontaine served as Minister of Northern Development and Mines until 1990. He did not run for election that year.

Hearst's airport is named after Fontaine.

In an interview with Northern Ontario Business in July, Fontaine discussed his family's history in Hearst.

His grandfather came to Hearst in the mid-1920s and started his own forestry business.

He bought part of the business, along with his borther-in-law, from his father in 1958.

“When I look at all these pictures, it was just a lot of fun,” he said. “It was cold during those winters, with a lot of snow.

“It was hard but we enjoyed it.”




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