Charles Fraser Forrest was born in 1943 on a farm in southern Manitoba, only 8 miles from the North Dakota border and the location of some Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s). Theirs was a mixed farm of crop and livestock; later his Dad would acquire more land and convert to wheat and canola exclusively.  Electricity came to the farm in 1949; prior to this Fraser and his family lived the ‘pioneer life’ – wells, pumps, no indoor plumbing, and outdoor loos. He attended a one room schoolhouse for his elementary education, and Manitou H.S. for his secondary before going to the University of Manitoba where he took a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Small scale rural agriculture requires people to be resilient, creative and resolute – especially in the 40’s. As Fraser told his story we could see that these qualities, shaped by his childhood, permeate his entire life.
In 1966, jobs were plentiful for mechanical engineers and Fraser had his choice of opportunities. He declined work in the oil fields but accepted the offer from Hawker Siddley. And for a brief time he enjoyed working in aerospace. But as we know that industry in Canada has had a bumpy ride, so it wasn’t long before he left and joined AECL in Chalk River.

After several years there, Fraser decided to return to university and he pursued his Masters of Engineering at Waterloo. This led to a job offer from Frank Stern who then was leading the transformer division at Westinghouse. Over time this division became an independent, employee owned company, STERN Laboratories Inc. They test safety systems for nuclear power plants. Fraser loved this work: the challenge, the creativity, and the importance of getting it right.
He is a published author of numerous books, articles and reports. He has presented at conferences and universities worldwide. He shared with us a photo of an ‘experiment’ where they tested a “what if” scenario for a potential leak at a nuclear reactor. The reactor reminded Fraser of a farm silo. They filled the silo with steam and cesium – and in his words made lots of noise!
In 1977 he settled with his first wife on Spring Creek Trail in Dundas and they raised two children, Steve and Holly. Today Steve and his family live in Germany; Holly and hers in Waterdown. Fraser is still on Spring Creek.
He is not just an engineer! Fraser has a plethora of interests and hobbies. He has been a member of the Canadian Orpheus Male Choir (and toured the UK and Europe). He enjoys canoeing, cycling and skiing throughout North America with his second wife. He is also a carpenter and woodworker who not only crafts stages and toys for his grandchildren, but also builds china cabinets and ‘Mission” style beds.

Most relevantly, Fraser’s interest in developing the Spencer Creek Trail has prompted him to join our club. Here he has found like-minded people who share a vision of making the Spencer Trail a fully accessible, signposted heritage trail. There are also others in the community who believe in this project.

Fraser was supported at STERN by a great team; he hopes that DVSRC will be another great team that can support a new project of significance.