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A final journey to the North
Family and friends remember Daphne and L.F.G. Borden, who contributed to Yellowknife's early days

Robin Grant
Northern News Services
Friday, August 5, 2016

Although they left Yellowknife for British Columbia in 1976, L.F.G. "Bob" Borden and his wife, Daphne Ralph Borden, contributed so significantly to the city in its formative years that a road - Borden Drive - was named after them in the 1980s.

Daphne Borden passed away on Feb. 28 and her husband on Aug. 2, 1991.

After 25 years, their family spread Bob and Daphne's ashes at their favourite camping spot last weekend.

During a final farewell on Sunday to coincide with the spreading of the couple's ashes, their son Mike Borden spoke about his mother and father's legacy.

Bob came to Yellowknife in 1947 a little more than a decade after the city was established.

As an accounting student, he was looking for a job in the fledgling mining industry and after a couple of years, established an accounting practice.

He was the accountant for many of the mining companies in the area, including the Beaulieu, Frobisher and Akaitcho Mines.

He was also chief accountant at Giant Mine.

In the 1950s, he branched into tourism, founding the Yellowknife Travel Agency, which became part of national agency Marlin Travel.

From 1950 to 1962, Bob played a prominent role in Yellowknife's business sector and was president of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, known back then as the Yellowknife Board of Trade.

He was also active with the Masonic Lodge and a promoter of the Dog Derby, the precursor to the Caribou Carnival races.

Following her family roots to Canada, Daphne came to Yellowknife from England in 1949.

An avid landscape painter, she became a member of the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts and played a prominent role promoting the arts during her time in Yellowknife.

"Mom was a prolific painter," Mike said.

"We have paintings all over our house and paintings given away to others. Her love of painting is certainly the enduring memory for mom."

She also helped out in the business sector but later worked for the Yk1 School District.

"The garden was her other love in life," he added.

The couple married in 1950.

Mike explained that his mother and father's generation never threw anything away - they reused whatever they could.

While he was sorting through his father's things after he passed in 1991, Mike said he found a tobacco can labelled: "Bits of string too short to use."

"That kind of epitomized dad. He had a tremendous sense of humour and a tremendous sense of resourcefulness and he certainly made due with the best of it."

Among his mother's belongings, Mike found remnants of every art project she had ever made.

The couple's ashes were spread in an area where they used to camp.

"Dad's wishes were to have his ashes spread with Mom's so she had them quite literally sitting on a shelf in his wine-making room for almost 25 years," he said.

Plaques sponsored by the family will also be placed in the Loraine Minish-Cooper Garden of Hope located beside city hall.

Mike has a younger brother, Richard, and an older half brother from his father's first marriage, Dave.

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