Few, if any, have stronger ties to Golden than Paul Ricard, so perhaps it was only natural that he moved back here after spending a few years living in Fort Nelson and on the Queen Charlotte Islands.
“It was home,” Ricard said, explaining why he decided to return.
And for his family, it’s been home for quite some time.
Ricard’s great great grandfather, Baptiste Morigeau, was born in the valley and later moved to Golden in 1883, where he owned a general store, becoming the first merchant to set up shop in the area. Morigeau is also famous for renaming the town from The Cache to Golden City.
For Ricard, Golden has been home since his youth, aside from those brief four years away from the town, and with the birth of his granddaughters, seven generations of his family have now been born in the Columbia Valley, five in Golden.
Ricard graduated from Golden Secondary School in 1972 and worked with his father, a heavy duty mechanical logger. He married his high school sweetheart in 1975 and the couple have two children together.
Ricard aspired to be an electrician – his excellent math skills seemed to be a perfect fit for the job – but a careers test told him he would be better off pursuing accounting, as electrical work wouldn’t keep him interested. He was offered an accounting job with Evans Forest Products and flew through his CGA and CMA certification programs. As it turns out, accounting became tedious for Ricard as well, and he moved into a supervisor role with Evans instead. He stayed with the company until he moved to Fort Nelson in 1993.
Separate from his professional life, Ricard has had a big impact on various community groups in town. With his experience in logging, he was a valuable asset to the teams of volunteers that helped build the Golden Golf Club and the Whitetooth Ski Area.
“It seemed like if you volunteered on the ski hill, you also volunteered on the golf course and you also volunteered on whatever else we had around here,” he said. “Everybody worked at it…everybody just pitched in and nobody was better than anybody else, it was great.”
Ricard grew up in what he calls a poor household, but he learned to skate and ski in his adulthood, alongside his children. Eventually he took up hockey and also became a referee.
“I made a better ref than I did a hockey player,” he said.
As a hockey dad, Ricard accompanied his sons on countless trips, and those experiences remain some of his best memories.
“We used to go on all the hockey trips with the boys,” he said. “It wasn’t just about them playing hockey it was the camaraderie of the families getting together.”
Ricard returned to Golden in 1997 and worked for the Weir Corporation from 1998-2011 as an operations manager and chief financial officer. Under new ownership, Ricard was laid off in 2013 and has since decided to start his own accounting business. He hopes to work alongside small businesses in town.
In the mean time, Ricard continues to enjoy Golden. He plays golf on a weekly basis and regularly fishes in the Columbia Wetlands.
With two of his four grandchildren living in town, there might just be several more generations of Ricard’s family who, like him, call this town ‘home’.