Bruno Fradette knows the history of Arvida’s industrial heritage like no other. Bruno worked as a security officer at Rio Tinto and recently retired after 40 years. He had followed in the footsteps of his father, who devoted his career to Arvida Works. With many people sharing anecdotes and memories with Bruno throughout his career, he has become a true reference for historical facts. Because of dedicated and passionate people like Bruno, who help tell the story of the past, we can better understand the present and continue to write history today.
You are the third generation of Fradettes to have worked at the local facilities. Tell us about this family connection.
My grandfather was working at Arvida Works, and he died, leaving a widow and 11 children. To help, the plant offered a job to the eldest—my father. He was only 15 years old when he started working as a courier at the plant to support his brothers and sisters. He ended up working at the plant for 47 years as a machine operator, foreman, and supervisor. I joined the Rio Tinto family in 1979, after completing my studies in police techniques, and ultimately dedicated my entire career to the company.
You recently received a special symbolic honour. Tell us about it.
On December 14 and 16, I met with management from Arvida Works’ AP60, Petits Lingots Saguenay, and Dubuc Works to share the story of my family and that of Rio Tinto. During these two conferences, we talked about the pivotal times that led to the development of the company that exists today. I think that knowing what happened in the past is important. The past tells us a great deal about the present and helps us understand the changes that happened over time, especially when it comes to Rio Tinto, which made it through the turmoil of the Second World War. Everyone wanted to learn more about their history, and I received positive feedback. It was following these meetings that Jean-François Leblanc, Director, who is also a history buff, gave me a carte Arthur. This card is given to employees who have stood out through their dedication, their courage, and their excellence. I am very proud to have received this card from the director.
Why is it important for you to continue to be involved in your community?
As a history buff, I am happy to share my knowledge whenever I get a chance to do so. I recently led the guided tours that were organized for the 95th anniversary of Arvida Works. I am also a member of the Board of Directors of the Arvida Heritage Centre and of the Committee for the Fiducie pour le patrimoine de l’industrie de l’aluminium d’Arvida (Arvida aluminium industry heritage trust). I would like to keep on being involved—it is a way for me to pass the torch and continue to sow the seeds of history.