Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe 1955 May 8th to the 15th

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 2006 0020 1190

Children line up at the Midland Armory to receive their first Salk polio vaccine shots. Mrs. Grace Gillies and Miss Bessie Smith both of the Collingwood toxoid team of the Simcoe County Health Unit.

 2006 0020 1193

Gerald (Jerrold) Karch watches unflinchingly as Dr. G. E. Moodie of the Simcoe County Health Unit administers a Salk polio vaccine while nurse Grace Gillies of Collingwood prepares another dose. Hundreds of children received their first shots this week.

 2006 0020 1194

Midland City sits forlorn at Midland town dock after fifty years of plying the waters between Midland and Parry Sound, familiar to all cottagers, locals and tourists. No longer a viable business her fittings were sold at auction and the hull which was purchased by Arthur “Frenchy” Grondin was towed by Ernie Edwards and Bev’s Marine to the mouth of the Wye River and burned to the water line. Mr. Grondin plans to salvage her metal hull plates. Built in the British Isles in 1887 she was brought to Canada in sections and named the “Maud”. In the winter of 1894-5 she was rebuilt, lengthened and renamed the “America” and cruised the St. Lawrence under that name. Her dimensions were; length 149 feet, breadth 33 feet, gross tonnage 580 tons.  The City of Dover was also sold out of the area in 1955.

 2006 0020 1189

Only the first week of May but the unseasonably warm weather has made Little Lake warm enough for Linda Discepolo and Roma Toutant, both of Midland, to swim. Editor noted elsewhere in the paper that the girls were reluctant to have their photo taken as they were swimming without their parents’ permission.

 2006 0020 1171

Midland and District High School Cadet Corps NCO’s. Front row,  CQSM Jim Farmer, SSM John Deakos, SSM Don Anderson, RSM Bob Abbott, SSM Ken MacEachern, SSM Glen Nicholls, back row, Sgts. Hartmut Bezner, Len Woods, Bill Wagg, Paul Bissette, Rodger Gray, Ron Blair and Peter Brown.

 2006 0020 1185

Pouring new cement in front of the Penetang Midland Coach Line terminal on the southwest corner of Midland Avenue and Bay Street. Part of town engineer R. M. White’s plan to find work for men coming off unemployment. Six inches of reinforced concrete nine feet wide with two inches of cold mix asphalt on top along the west side of Midland Avenue from Bay to Yonge Streets. Parts of Elizabeth and Dominion are getting the same treatment.

Roxy Theater; Ma & Pa Kettle at Waikiki starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride
Gone With The Wind starring Clark Gable & Vivian Leigh

 Midland Drive In; Abbott & Costello in Dr. Jekle & Mr. Hyde also starring Boris Karloff
Hell Below Zero starring Alan Ladd

Pen Theatre; Texas Trail with William Boyd
Valley of Head Hunters with Johnny Weissmuller
All Ashore with Mickey Rooney 

  • Midland Citizens Band wins top honours at Grey County music festival, prepare for CNE competition
  • Largest Cadet Corps in MPDHS history, over 200 cadets will parade at May 18th inspection
  • H. Jory Ltd. is selling 16 various drugs needed around the farm, Scourex for Scours, Lax-a-Tex for constipation, Ringtex for ringworm, Fertilex for retained after birth etc.
  • Jeffery’s Hardware is offering the fully featured McLary refrigerator for $264.95
  • Beauchamp’s Electric is offering R.C.A. Victor refrigerators for $229.50
  • Mayor commends Y’s Mens Club on their new Indian Village project at the town park, “will be a big asset to the town”
  • $25,000.00 damage to Nap Beauchamp Construction shop on Church St. worst fire in Penetang since the skating rink burned in 1946
  • Jeffery’s Hardware ships order for four sets of #5 horse shoes and eight sets of #4’s to Dauphin Manitoba
  • 25 years ago; the highway bridge over the Wye River at the Shrine collapses as an 18 ton shovel owned by King Construction crosses it on route to Midland, no one injured
  • To be ordained – 25 year old Joseph Marchand to be ordained at the Church of the Holy Cross, Lafontaine, by James Cardinal McGuigan. He obtained his B. A. in 1950, his PHL. in 1951 and his M. A. and Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1955.
  • Harvey Ellison has nearly completed his new Motel (Shamrock) on Yonge Street West overlooking Little Lake
  • Willard Duquette, 18 year old grade 11 student wins top honours in the French speaking section of the Ontario – Quebec public speaking contest in Oshawa, Helen Henderson, Penetang, 14 year old grade 9 student took third place being bested by a 21 year old university student from Quebec City
  • Richard Moreau, 21, a graduate of the Lafontaine Secondary School in 1949 has graduated from Ecole Poly-technique with a B.A. Sc. and a diploma in electro-mechanical engineering
  • Midland public works superintendent R. M. White has tendered his resignation, will take a job with the Town of Aurora
  • new one room school opens just off Hwy 92 west of Elmvale, SS 19 Flos

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Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe 1955 May 1st to 7th

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  • Council approves plan to install flood lights at the ball diamond, plan later nixed by the Hydro Electric Power Commission when Midland PUC not allowed to spend rebate dollars on the project
  • The planting of 325,000 trees by the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests in the Severn River area is nearly completed, 60 percent white pine, 30 percent red pine and the balance white spruce and white cedar
  • Council approves purchase of new police cruiser with puncture proof tires and the establishment of a public lane way from Hugel Avenue to Elizabeth Street between King and Midland Avenue (Bourgeois Lane)
  • New industry in Midland, Midland Reinforced Plastics Limited to manufacture reinforced polyester Fiberglas products, rent former Blair Construction building on Ellen Street
  • A heavy haze, which looked like smoke but without the smell, settled over North Simcoe reducing visibility, cause was a Montana dust storm that has crippled parts of Saskatchewan
  • Miss Anna B. Magnus retires from Protestant Separate School Board after 45 years of teaching
  • Floor of the garage collapsed this week at St. Mark’s Anglican Church Rectory leaving a five foot deep cavern
  • Stone from Ste. Marie donated by Martyr’s Shrine authorities will be incorporated into the entrance way of the new St. Andrews hospital, linking the two places of refuge separated by 300 years of history
  • Smelts first introduced to Great Lakes from the ocean by the state of Michigan 43 years ago
  • William Harrison establishes a small industry on Manly Street now employing three men in the manufacture of ornamental iron work. The former welder at the Midland Shipyards has also acquired an agency for aluminum storm windows, doors and awnings
  • Elmvale council requests a flashing traffic light at the intersection of highways 27 and 92
  • Parking meters are back on the main street for the summer, mom and dad will be saving their pennies for the meters instead of the kids

2006 0020 1141

At the Midland Park ball diamond boys who came out for Little Ball are divided into two leagues, the National and the International. Rev Len Self, director of the Midland Lions Club ball program ends up with eight teams in each league compared to the six anticipated.

2006 0020 1168

“First loss of the season” Gary Hood, left, and Ronnie Josselin use the time tested way to decide in or out. Boys are part of the two hundred youth signed up to play Little League baseball this summer thanks to the Midland Lions Club.
The newspaper cropped the outside boys from the picture so we do not know their names. One of this volunteers favourite photos in the Free Press collection so far.

2006 0020 1169

Golfers out in force. Fine April weather proved irresistible to these golfers at Midland Golf & Country Club. Watching Don Argue attempt an eight foot putt  are Dr. C. N. James, Lorne Watson, “Ange” Hartman and Del Hastings.

2006 0020 1167

Building fund for the new St. Andrews Hospital was enriched by $865.00 this week. The cheque came from the CP and T Committee (Cancer, Polio & Tuberculosis) of the  Midland IOOF, Lodge No. 274 and Ideal Rebekah Lodge, No. 190 Midland. Money will purchase an isolette air conditioned infant incubator. Mrs. Eldon Belfry, president of the CP & T Committee, Mr. V. G. Edwards, building fund campaign chairman, Albert Bowie, treasure of the IOOF Lodge, Mrs. J. Argue, noble grand of the Rebekah Lodge, back row, Omery Caudle, secretary of the encampment branch of the lodge, Garfield Steer, vice grand of the 274 Lodge and Stewart Glassier, noble grand No. 274.

Council approves new subdivision, plan submitted by H. J. Beauchamp in April of 1954. There are 36 lots bordered by Ellen Street to the north, Irwin to the east and Colborne to the south. Walter Kluck of Ernst Leitz Canada Limited, whose employees own lots in the subdivision, explained that the owners were anxious to start building and hoped sewer, water and other services would be installed as soon as possible.

Editorial complains of the poor phone service to Coldwater, stating that there is only one circuit and it is always busy. To get to the Hillsdale or Moonstone exchange one is routed to Barrie then back through Orillia.


Ernest Francis Desroches, born in Lafontaine 61 years ago died in Penetang last Wednesday of a heart ailment. Married in 1927 to Angeline Desrochers they have two daughters Vivian and Lucille and two sons Donald and Ronald

Mrs. Majoric Beaudoin died on April 15th of heart failure at the age of 90. The former Marguerite Chevrette was the first female school teacher in Lafontaine. She is survived by two daughters Stella and Alma and three sons Robert, Jerome and Martin. She was predeceased by her husband in 1917.

Mrs. James Mertz, the former Edna Minnie Campbell passed away in Hillsdale April 17th in her 61st year. Born in Innisfil, educated in Waverly, married in 1920, Mrs. Mertz lived her whole life in North Simcoe. Survived by four sons, Clarence, Ralph, Arden and Ronald and a daughter Gweneth.

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