B.A.F. Toys opened their doors on April 25th, 1952 in the town of Kentville, Nova Scotia. As a town known for its history in agriculture, it also became a bustling centre for coal, timber, dairies, bakeries, food processing and fruit stands. With this influx of jobs brought with it the expansion of many young families to the area. One such individual who moved to the area was that of Robert Albert Fraid (originally from Cut Knife, Saskatchewan).
Upon arriving in Kentville on April 13th, 1951, Robert started working as a ticket taker for the Dominion Atlantic Railway. It was during this job that he met his wife Mary Rachel Smith (originally from Amherst, NS) as she was passing through Kentville on a passenger train during a warm June 11th evening.
Their affection and admiration for each other quickly grew and it wasn’t short after that they became engaged.
It was on a cold December night during a walk through town to see the holiday decorations that Robert and Mary decided they wanted to start a family. Later that evening during a heart to heart it was when Mary became aware of Robert’s past. Robert actually was married several years before to a young lady from Regina (Mary Susan Fraid - 1914-1947). They had a child together named Sarah Rachel Fraid (1943-1947). The birth of Sarah was a beautiful time in Robert’s life. He was always looking forward to be a father, as his childhood was less than ideal.
In 1947 a tragic disappearance of his wife and daughter on lead Robert to go into a deep depression for 3 years, only to head east in 1951. (Details of the incident can be found in the History of Robert Albert Fraid).
As for the B.A.Fraid Toy Company it successfully operated on what is now the same site as the current Canada Post & Arena building in Kentville for just over 6 and a half years, until one day something very disturbing happened.
It was at exactly 7:06 am (6 minutes after the new shift of workers started on the production line) what seemed like a normal day quickly turned into one of the most tragic industrial accidents of it’s time in Nova Scotia. Some would say that fact that it happened on the 6th year, 6th month, 6th day since the factory opened would be strange enough, but if you combine that where the exact time on all the clocks were stopped at the 6hour and 66th minute (7:06am) are enough to suspect this was not just an accident.
While the exact cause of the accident (an accident is what it was called) have never been determined. History does know that what was found when the factory was entered at 6:38pm by the first set of workers for the next shift was beyond what anyone should have witnessed.
It has appeared as if there was a significant electrical charge that went through the entire factory and all it’s machines, causing a mass electrocution of all 67 shift workers. What was weird was not that all workers were deceased, but rather that all the workers were pulled into the machines in which they were working on. It was a terrifying scene for anyone who witnessed it. The local authorities did all they could to keep the news of this tragic event concealed from the general public. The factory was immediately shut down and sealed up the following year as local residents were advised to keep what they knew of what happened a secret.
2018 marks the 60th year since the horrible industrial incident at the B.A.Fraid Toy Factory and many historians believe that it is this year that truth to what happened on that grim night will be revealed on the site of the original factory.
Copyright 2018 B.A.Fraid Toy Company, Kentville, Nova Scotia