Fred Goodfellow, born in 1920 and passing away in 1999, was more than just a man; he was a teacher, an inspirer, and a dedicated collector who left an indelible mark on the heritage of Northwestern Ontario. His legacy lives on through The Heritage Park, a testament to his unwavering commitment to preserving the past for future generations.

In 1961, Fred embarked on a journey that would change the face of heritage preservation in the region. He purchased the land where The Oliver Paipoonge Heritage Park (OPHP) now stands, and with his own hands, he dismantled the old Biloski Barn on Oliver Road and meticulously reconstructed it on the site. This labor of love became his Centennial Project in 1967, a project that symbolized his dedication to preserving the pioneering history of Northwestern Ontario.

Fred’s passion knew no bounds. He scoured the countryside, approaching farmers and country folk to donate items that held historical significance. Flea markets and yard sales were his hunting grounds for antiques, and he gladly accepted donations of items that were no longer in use from previous generations. The Biloski Barn served as a treasure trove, housing the artifacts he had collected, some of which were offered for sale to support the budding facility.

Not content with merely collecting artifacts, Fred began constructing replica rural village buildings within the park, including the General Store, Village Square, Homestead House, Train Station, Carpenter Shop, Cobbler Shop, and Newsprint Shop. His passion even led him to acquire a steam tractor from Mine Centre, which was put to work moving larger construction pieces.

Fred’s vision came to fruition with the establishment of the Founders Museum and Pioneer Village, a living tribute to the rich heritage of Northwestern Ontario. His hands-on teaching style in the classroom reflected his belief that students could learn best through experience, a principle that left a lasting impact on many who crossed his path.

Upon Fred’s passing, the torch was passed to a board of directors and volunteers who carried forward his legacy. However, sustaining the facility proved challenging, and the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge stepped in to ensure the preservation of this invaluable heritage site.

Fred Goodfellow’s dream lives on in The Heritage Park, a place where the past is lovingly preserved for future generations to explore and appreciate. His dedication to education and heritage has left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire and educate visitors to this day.