Borstad, Elmer

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Borstad, Elmer

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Elmer Borstad was born in 1924 and raised on a farm in the Ross Creek area near Elk Island Park. His mother died when he was only ten or eleven so he had to learn to look after his younger brother, cook, milk cows, and take care of the school house five miles away for some pocket money. Starting in 1942, Elmer worked on the Canol Pipeline, then joined the Navy and served on HMCS Gatineau & Sioux. In 1944 he married his childhood sweetheart, Doreen Schnieder and in 1945 he was discharged from the navy. The following year came to Grande Prairie and went to work as a surveyor on the Hart Highway. From 1950-1953 he worked as a surveyor with Century Geophysical. In 1953, he joined his father and younger brother in a trucking business, Borstad Cartage Ltd., which expanded into a 50-man operation with branch offices in Peace River and Dawson Creek. In 1972, the company was sold and a new venture, Borstad Welding Supply (1972) Ltd. was formed. By this time, Elmer, Doreen and their two sons were well established in Grande Prairie. Mr. Borstad's early public service included five years as chairman of the city's police commission, three years as chairman of the economic development commission, two years as chairman of the local Progressive Conservative constituency association and three years on the executive of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce. He founded the Grande Prairie Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in 1954 and was Commanding Officer until 1964. He was also involved with the Masonic lodge, the Shrine Club and the County Fair Board. In 1963, Mr. Borstad ventured into politics as a city alderman, and was elected Grande Prairie's mayor in 1968. In 1973 he did not seek re-election but remained active in the community. From 1979-1982 he served as Grande Prairie's MLA in the provincial legislature and during this time successfully lobbied for changes to the Urban Parks Program to allow cities smaller than Edmonton and Calgary to receive funding. The result was Grande Prairie receiving $10 million for the redevelopment of Muskoseepi Park and a commitment for 15 years of maintenance. Borstad Point, a tribute honouring his efforts, is located in the park. Mr. Borstad turned back to the family business in 1982 but sold his interests in 1985 and retired to the B.C. coast, returning to Grande Prairie in 1995. In 1997, as chairman of the QEII Hospital Foundation, he headed up the MRI capital campaign, raising over $4 million to secure a MRI for the hospital. In 2001, as chairman of a capital campaign for additional student residences at the Grande Prairie Regional College, he secured funding for two phases of a student village complex.


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South Peace Regional Archives

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