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Profile 3 – Carolyn Blommestyn

By Nancy Dorrance
with photography by Kat Kopiak

The picture says it all. It’s a black-and-white photo, circa 1962, of a little girl in shorts and a tee-shirt clutching her father’s hand as they stand at attention beside his shiny, two-tone company truck. He is smiling broadly, and she looks both proud and determined. In the background, Kingston fields are being converted into what will become the new subdivision of Calvin Park. 

The girl is Carolyn Blommestyn, and her father, Cornell (known as Case), is the person building those houses.

“I was my father’s ‘daughter-slash-son,’ and I did everything with him then,” Carolyn recalls with a chuckle. The oldest in the family by three-and-a-half years, she often accompanied Case to his work sites, while her mother dealt with three younger siblings who arrived annually after that initial gap. “I became his helper, holding the nail bag and handing him nails … I loved it,” she smiles at the memory, sitting in a meeting room at CaraCo’s head office on Concession Street.

That corporate building and the extensive properties owned and managed by his family’s company today are far removed from the Joyceville farm where 20-year-old Case worked as a labourer after immigrating to Canada from the Netherlands — with little money and no English — in 1949. The only other Dutch person nearby was his future brother-in-law, Richard Splinter, one of eight children who brought over his siblings after acquiring landed status. . . .