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Labrador West Pioneer: Frank Manstan

Frank Manstan
Frank Manstan - Gary Shaw

LABRADOR WEST, N.L. — Labrador West pioneer Frank Manstan has brought a lot to Labrador West for a very long time.

Frank and his wife Dianne were married on March 4, 1967 and arrived in Labrador West from St. John’s five days later on March 9. Frank was quick to point out their arrival was at a -40 temperature, just a bit different than St. John’s was when they left.

Frank was starting his life’s work as a pharmacist in Labrador West. He began his career as an employee, the new pharmacist in town at the local pharmacy. Most days in the early years saw him punching 12-hour workdays and most of weeks saw him behind the counter for seven days. All of this was done for a monthly salary of $580.


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After five years Frank stepped out on his own and opened Manstan’s Drugs in 1972 working out of the Romano Building on Drake Street. He worked hard and built his business for five more years and then moved his business to the Carol Lake Shopping Centre. He also worked out of the hospital for some of those years as he maintained his own business. Frank ran his business from the Carol Lake Shopping Centre until his retirement in 1995.

Over all of those years he carried a huge responsibility within the community with over the counter sales and the many prescriptions from doctor’s offices as well as folks who required medications from hospital visits.

All of these services were provided with an ongoing and growing relationship with the many folks from the community. Friendships were formed that have lasted a lifetime and with that, the added sense of responsibility to not just the community at large, but to neighbours and friends alike.

Frank has been a constant supporter of the community over the years. He has served for many years on the Rotary Club including a stint as president. The Chamber of Commerce has also seen many years of service from Frank, including time as president as well. Frank has also served on council with the Town of Labrador City.

He said during the early years the social side of the communities saw many wonderful nights of entertainment at the Ashuanipi Club and the Wabush Hotel. The community was young, most of the folks were young, and these were the two components that made for some really good times.

Frank was quick to say that looking back on their years spent here in Labrador West that he and Dianne have no regrets in coming and staying here. It is a safe place to live; you are surrounded by great neighbours and have lifelong friends that are always there for you. 

Frank has been retired now for 22 years and he and his wife Dianne have continued to devote their entire lives to their only son Justin.

Justin is a special part of the community, most in Labrador West know Justin and he also knows most of the community members. His unique way of passing on a warm greeting each and every time someone bumps into him with his Mom or Dad at the mall or the grocery store represents a family and a community that truly understands what really matters. Mom and Dad’s never-ending commitment to what matters is a gentle reminder to us all, of what is truly important.

This given, as the entire community continues to give positive reinforcement, should make everyone proud of who we are and where we call home. Perhaps we owe some of the thanks for this gift, to Justin as well.

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