Tom Doornbos – Yellowknife Legend


Tjar (Tom) Doornbos was born in a part of Holland that the Romans never conquered and, if he is any indication of the prevailing character of those who came from those parts, I can understand why the Roman Legions kept away. Tall and lanky, Tom came to Canada in 1934 and, in 1941, eventually came to Yellowknife which, at that time, was a spanking new community only 4 years old. He started out working in the cookhouse of a gold mine but quickly moved on to odd jobs… chopping wood, a mine watchman or helping in building a school and hospital or carrying fresh water to various homes in the new town:


Tom moved around a lot in those early years… from the Northwest Territories in Canada to Texas and over the pond back to Holland a number of times.

When I first knew him back in 1971, he was kindly thought of by everyone, but they also knew he was as frugal a man as can be imagined. He would order a glass of hot water and add ketchup to make a soup or he would take a tea-bag out of his pocket and brew his own. Whenever I met him, whether walking through downtown or in the YK Cafe, he would always nod and say hello. People thought he must have been a millionaire, but they were wrong on that. Whatever money he had was gone when he finally passed on, much to the dismay of relatives hoping for a fat bundle. Cagey to the end, Tom will remain a mystery and a legend.

All I can say is ‘Well done, Tom’.

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1 Response to Tom Doornbos – Yellowknife Legend

  1. Pingback: Tom Doornbos – Yellowknife Legend | Masqua's Art

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