Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – February 16th to 23rd 1958

Click on photos to enlarge Just a few months more and summer will return; will scenes like the one above from Little Lake Park in 1954 ever do the same. Most local people are too young to remember when it was hard to find a place for your towel on the grass.

 But for now, this is what we can expect! In February 1958 heavy snowfall in North Simcoe closes many roads for days with drifts ten to fifteen feet deep. Winterama postponed for two weeks, too much snow.

Big event of the year, “Final Night” for hundreds of youngsters in Midland’s Little NHL has been set for February 26. Among the prizes to be given out are three hockey sticks autographed by stars of the pro NHL Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.  Trying out the sticks are, left to right, Bruce Wilcox, Lennie Roach and Vince Ellery. 

Big event of the year, “Final Night” for hundreds of youngsters in Midland’s Little NHL has been set for Feb. 26. Among the prizes to be given out are three hockey sticks autographed by stars of the pro-NHL Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Leafs. Rev. Len Self shows one of the sticks to Rusty Marsell, Larry Hebner, Bill Black, Ian Dalrymple, Ken Edgar, Mike Dion, Fred Cousineau and Ralph Battrick. 

Despite zero temperatures Saturday night’s fire in Victoria Harbour attracted a large number of spectators. Some young lads are seen above seeking shelter behind one of the fire trucks as they watched the home of Earl Asselin go up in flames. Waubaushene and Port McNicoll brigades came to the assistance of the Harbour brigade in limiting the fire to the residence. 

Rudy Kvasnak, right, and another member of the Port McNicoll fire brigade are seen above as they worked on the blaze which destroyed the home of Earl Asselin in Victoria Harbour Saturday night. Firemen were able to save the home of Ted Walker, less than 50 feet south of the Asselin residence. 

Thought to have been under control in the early stages, the fire destroyed the home of Earl Asselin in Victoria Harbour Saturday night. Failure of water supplies due to a frozen hydrant eventually resulted in the two-storey building burning to the ground.

Representing urban centers in Thursday night’s “Queen of Hearts” finals at the Roxy Theatre are Judy Bellaire, left, and Judy McIntyre. Miss Bellaire is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Bellaire, Penetang, and Miss McIntyre is the daughter of Mrs. Hugh McIntyre, Midland. The pair of Judys, plan to embark on teaching careers when they leave high school, which should be good news for the department, hard put to find enough teachers to meet requirements these days. 

It shouldn’t be hard to “keep them down on the farm” when there are gals around like these three entrants in the “Queen of Hearts” finals at Roxy Theatre Thursday night. They are Shirley King, Mount St. Louis; Rosemary Shiels, RR 1 Waubaushene and Jackie Edwards, Vasey. 

 Hard to imagine how beautiful this part of King Street must have been under the canopy of those beautiful trees.

The apron table was a popular spot during the open house at Sacred Heart School in Midland last week. Grade 10 girls were selling handiwork made in their home economics class to raise money for the new separate high school. Left to right are Vicki Noquet, Marilyn Wilson, Mrs. Edward (Marg) Mechan and Mrs. Stan (Marg) McLaughlin. 

Scientific progress, from rockets’ to faucets, was the subject of this blackboard display prepared in Room 8 at Sacred Heart School for the open house held last week. The colorful display was made by Grade 7 and 8 pupils under Sister St. Barbara. 

Mr. and Mrs. John Hamelin didn’t expect to have their photos taken when they attended the open house at Sacred Heart School in Midland Wednesday night. Miss Veronica Lindale, right, teaches their son, Brian John Hamelin.


Trying to keep Ron Blair from potting baskets has been a big headache for other teams in the Georgian Bay COSSA group this season. Ron has potted 101 points in five games for a 20 point per game average. Guarding the MPDHS sniper in this practice session is team captain Lloyd Farqhuar. Looking on are Marty Reynolds, left and Ed Trudeau. 

Mrs. Charles Laughlin came to live with her daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. John G. McArthur of 313 Manley Street, only a year ago. But neighbors surprised and delighted her on her 90th birthday last Tuesday, with visits, gifts, notes, and flowers. Born at Sparrow Lake and educated in Waubaushene, she was married in 1885. Here, Mr. and Mrs. McArthur admire Mrs. Laughlin’s corsage. 

A thousand dollar cheque brought a delighted grin from Gordon Moss, left, chairman of the St. Andrews Hospital Board. President Cecil English of the Midland Lions Club, right, made the presentation of the donation from his club at Monday night’s meeting of the hospital board. 

Judges Friday night will choose a queen and two ladies in waiting from this sextette of entrants in the Penetang Winterama Queen contest at the Pen Theatre. Left to right, front, Mary Lou O’Leary, Karen Robinson, Barbara Labatte; back row. Marguerite Gervais, Anita Fournier, Marita Lalonde. 

Mayor Charles Parker of Midland, right, on behalf of the Canadian Weekly Editor, a weekly newspaper trade publication, presents the CWE  editorial competition trophy won by the Free Press Herald to Wils Harrison, the managing editor. The competition, an annual one, was held in November 1957 and the results were announced in the latter part of January. 

  • The Free Press headline from February 19th, 1958 –  “Storm Blocks Area Roads, Curbs School Attendance”.   Schools throughout the area seemed to be the hardest hit by the severe cold and high winds that swept across North Simcoe Monday and Tuesday. It was one of the worst storms in some years.
  • The County Herald headline from February 21, 1958 –  “See Break-Even Stage in Hospital Operations”.  St. Andrew’s Hospital could be breaking even on its operating expenses by the end of March, and have its overall accounts balanced in 1960, board members predicted Monday night. Consensus of the board meeting was, however, that much co-operation would be needed to wipe out the indebtedness which totalled nearly $141,000 as of Feb. 1
  • Three veteran members of Midland – Penetanguishene District High School Board, one of whom has served for more than a quarter of a century (six as chairman) have resigned. The three, Tom McCullough, this year’s board chairman, Clarke Edwards, chairman of the management committee, and Dr. J . R. Parrott, chairman of the building committee, submitted their resignations Saturday. They asked that the resignations take effect immediately. The resignations followed on the heels of their receipt of letters, sent out by the town clerk on the instructions of council, requesting the three board appointees to prepare a report on the “activities, progress, problems, etc., that confront the members” and submit it to the March 10 meeting of Midland council. The report was to cover the year 1957. The letter further requested that quarterly reports on the activities of the board be submitted to the council. All three indicated in the letter of resignation, they felt council’s letter was an expression of non-confidence in their work on the board.
  • Reports on Sunday night’s cold snap ranged up to 30 below zero. The gauge in James Lazonby’s backyard, which is somewhat protected from north and west winds gave an official reading of 12 below zero. Mrs. Lazonby stated it was still 10 below zero at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Orillia’s Main Street reported an unofficial reading of 14 below zero at 11 a.m. Some Coldwater residents who delayed bringing in their milk, found bottles split with the frost.
  • Eleven music pupils from Midland and Penetang achieved first class honors in music theory exams conducted recently in Midland by the Royal Conservatory of Music. First class honors were attained in Grade 2 theory by Bill Bates, Peter Bramah, Marion Miller, Sharon Armstrong, John Richardson; Sheila Armstrong, Danny Richardson, and Frank Okenka.  Carol McConnell obtained honors and Catherine McAllister, pass, in Grade 2 theory. First class honors in Grade 1 theory were obtained by Barbara Gropp, James Cleaver, and Mary DesChenes. All three are pupils’ of Miss Dorothy Swallow, and Peter Bramah.
  • Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at Logan’s funeral home, Parry Sound, for Charles Myers, veteran Moon River district resident who died in Parry Sound General Hospital Friday morning. Mr. Myers is the father of Free Press Herald columnist Juanita Rourke. He is survived by his wife and one daughter, Mrs. Frank Rourke of Midland.
  • Ten (70) Years Ago This Week 1948 — Midland Public Schools Board, deferred its decision on a proposal to establish kindergarten classes in two of the town’s public schools until it could determine what effect such a move would have on the annual budget. * * *  District citizens were being notified by the Hydro-Electric  Power Commission that unless electric power consumption was cut ten percent from the October 1947 level, that it would be necessary to discontinue the electric power supply for certain periods each day. *  * *  Keith Robinson of Coldwater reported he had attained speeds up to 65 miles per hour in a snowmobile he had built in his workshop. He felt the machine was capable of hitting the 100-mile-per-hour mark.  * * * Penetanguishene Chamber of Commerce was completing plans for its first winter carnival. Secretary of the carnival committee was Marcel Bellehumeur. * * * George Grise of Honey Harbour drove his scoot at an estimated 115 miles per hour in a race held on a three-mile course between Honey Harbour and Beausoleil Points  * * * The highway between Midland and Barrie was drifted so badly that a Midland motorist spent eight hours making the 32-mile trip. His car consumed nine gallons of gasoline.  * * *  Two leap year babies were born to residents of Elmvale.  The children were born at Royal Victoria Hospital.
  • A native of Lafontaine, Dr. Pierre Marchildon died in Penetang, Jan. 11, at the age of 75 years, following a heart seizure. Born in Lafontaine in 1863, Pierre Marchildon received his elementary education there and continued his schooling in Quebec, and Burlington, Vermont, where he obtained his medical diploma. He had practiced medicine for (edge of the page cut off)? years in Montreal and 20 years in the Abitibi area before going to live with his daughter in France, in 1938. He intended returning to Canada, but when World War II broke out he was forced to remain in France, and it wasn’t until 1946 that he was able to return to his homeland. On his return, he again went to the Abitibi and took up his medical practice, for a short time before retiring to his home village of Lafontaine. He spent his remaining years there and in Penetang. He was extremely interested in music, and for many years was the tenor soloist in Notre Dame Church, Montreal. In 1885 he married Emma Tessier in Montreal, and the only remaining member of his family is his daughter Clorinde (Mrs. Eugene Oulmon) of Suresnes, France. His wife predeceased him in 1938. The Funeral was held Jan. 14 from Beausoleil’s Funeral Home to Holy Cross Church at Lafontaine, where Rev. Thomas Marchildon was in charge of the service. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery. Pallbearers were Theophile, Etienne and Gabriel Marchildon, Severe, Jean and Leo LeBlanc.
  •  Funeral service was held Jan. 30 from St. Ann’s Memorial Church, Penetang, for Telesphore Gauthier who died Jan. 27 at Penetang after a lingering illness. Rev. J. Kelly officiated at the service and interment was in St. Ann’s Cemetery. Twelve brothers of the Christian schools were present in the sanctuary. Pallbearers were Gerard Gauthier, Edmund Kyte, Alan Johnson, Eugene Lalonde, Léo Gauthier and Marins Guimet. Born in Penetang in 1896, Mr. Gauthier was also educated there. In 1907 be married Alice D’Ault and lived in Penetang for the remainder of his life. Predeceased by his wife in 1913 and a son, Edgar, in 1948, he is survived by three sons, Bro. Romuald, Raymond of Penetang, and Wallace of Toronto. Also surviving are two brothers; Henry of Penetang and Arthur of British Columbia, and one sister, Eliza (Mrs. Doucette) of Hamilton.
  • Recent discontinuance of the CPR noon passenger train from Medonte station to Toronto and the limiting of service at some stations in the area on both railways is reported in line with a curtailment program because of reduced patronage.
  • A year of steady progress in all departments was reported by Arthur Bell, president, at the annual meeting of Port McNicoll Community Credit Union Ltd. last Monday night. Held in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the banquet and dinner meeting was attended by more than 100 members and guests. President Bell said membership in the credit union had increased by 40 in 1957, bringing the total to 365. Profit on the year’s operation was $6,504, compared with $4,074 in 1956. Dividends in 1957, $3,160, were up $1,439 over the previous year.
  • Tiny Township road crews are battling almost around the clock in an effort to clear storm-clogged roads particularly in the north end of the municipality, road superintendent Les Spring told this newspaper yesterday. “However, the concession roads are so badly drifted in places our plowing equipment is powerless to punch a hole through some of them,” he said. Officials are arranging to bring in a bulldozer to battle the drifts, which at some places are said to be 10 to 15 feet high.
  • Strange as it may seem, “too much snow” was the main reason Penetang’s Winterama committee decided to postpone the event for two weeks at a meeting held Tuesday. “There is too much snow for the parade, too much for the parking, and too much for the 1,000 persons we expect to take part in the fish derby,” explained Marcel Bellehumeur, chairman of the Winterama committee.
  • Letter to the editor; The wooden tug “D. S. Pratt”, official No. 126,655, was built in 1911 at Midland for the Canadian Dredging Co. Ltd. of Midland. Her dimensions: length, 81.3 feet; breadth, 20 feet; depth, 10.5 feet; weight, 161 gross tons; engine, 42 h.p. Her engine was transferred from the steam barge Reliever, owned by the late Manly Chew, which had burned in 1910 at a point 300 yards west of Methodist Point. Weathered and black after 47 years, the remaining oak timbers are used by cottagers and visitors to make coffee tables, lamp stands, and ashtrays.  Signed W. R. WILLIAMS
  • From the MPDHS “Hi-Sterics” column; Congratulations to Red Nicolls who this year has been chosen the winner of the Roxy Theatre Trophy which is presented annually to the member of the senior football team who excels in scholarship, leadership, and sportsmanship. * * * The Latin Club has been far from idle. If they don’t have anything to do they busy themselves at playing Latin bingo using Latin numbers and Latin words.

Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – February 8th to 15th 1958

Click on photos to enlarge 

Queen of Hearts contestants at Midland – Penetang District High School, sponsored by the Roxy Theatre, Midland, include, back row, left to right, Carol Cowan of Midland; Rosemary Shiels of Waubaushene, Nancy Somers of Penetang. In front are Anne Hamilton, left, of Midland, and Janice Edwards, right, of Vasey. 

More than 100 fellow employees and friends of Ralph Howard attended a dinner at Parkside Pavilion last Thursday, marking the retirement of the Midland CNR car department foreman after 40 years with the company. Mr. and Mrs. Howard, left, were presented with a portable radio and other gifts. Also pictured are Frank Whiteman, right, CNR agent in Midland, and Len Galloway, a district superintendent, who made the presentation.


Ten girls still in the running for Penetang Winterama Queen title will appear on Pen Theatre stage Friday night in third elimination. Left to right, front, Lucille Duquette, Barbara Labatte, Joan Somers, Mary Lou O’Leary, Betty Ann Mayer, Standing, Karen Robinson, Marguerite Gervais, Marita Lalonde, Anita Fournier, Carol Cummer. 

In a few months now, traffic will be speeding over this new bridge that crosses the CNR tracks at Waubaushene. The bridge is part of the construction being carried on in connection with the opening of the new leg of the Trans-Canada Highway that will eventually be linked with Highway 400 near Crown Hill. 

One of the best years in their history was reported at the annual meeting of Port McNicoll Community Credit Union this week. Some of the union’s officers and two guest speakers are seen above. Left to right are, front row Lloyd Cameron, Mrs. M. Lawrence, Arthur Bell, president, Miss Helen Duncan; back row, Jack Fisher, Norman Alexander, Credit Union League’ field representative, Joseph Wallner, from Cuna Mutual Insurance head office, and John Clarke.


  • The Free Press Herald headline of February 12th, 1958; Estimate Loss at $150,000.00 in Blaze at Fern Shoes The biggest fire to hit Penetang in many years did an estimated $150,000 damage to plant and stock of Fern Shoe Co. yesterday morning. Believed to have started in a corner of the shipping room, the blaze spread quickly sending dense billowing smoke throughout the building. Although outwardly it appeared the entire structure was ablaze, efforts of firemen, coupled with the plant’s sprinkler system, confined the actual fire to the shipping room.  The first indication of trouble came a few minutes after 10 o’clock when Wm. Axton, working at his desk next to the shipping room, looked up and noticed smoke in the southwest corner. As he looked, flames burst out and started up the wall. Firemen battled the blaze for more than two hours before they were successful in bringing it to an end. Difficulty was encountered when the thousands of pairs of spring shoes still continued to smolder, despite streams of water being poured on them. The loss is completely covered by insurance.
  • The County Herald headline of February 14, 1958. Five Men to Investigate Development of Harbour  Harbour Commission Chairman Harvey White told this newspaper yesterday that five top federal government officials will be in Midland Monday to survey the possibilities of developing Midland harbour for deep-sea shipping. The federal government officials will meet with the newly-appointed harbour commission. Representatives of Midland council, the town of Penetang, the Local Employment Committee and Midland Chamber of Commerce have been asked to attend the meeting.
  • Members of Midland YMCA’s Tironae Hi-Y Club, a girls’ organization, now has a little “brother” — in far-off Korea. Recently, as part of their participation in “Save the Children Federation, Incorporated”, the Tironaes “adopted” little Sung Ho Yang, year-old son of Kyung Suk Yang and Mrs. Yang. Little Sung Ho, his parents, a grandmother and an aunt live in the village of Songpo Myun.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week —  At its February meeting, Midland council heard that its relief account for January amounted to $22,709. Mayor Roebuck termed it a staggering figure. He said if it continued for the remainder of the year it would mean a 10 to 12-mill increase in the tax rate. *  *  * A report tabled in the House of Commons at Ottawa revealed there was $1,800,196.00 lying unclaimed in the banks of Canada. * * * Sir Malcolm  Campbell drove his racing car Bluebird over the mile course at Daytona Beach at a fraction over 273 miles per hour. His previous record for the same course was 253 miles per hour. *  *  * Under the watchful eye of 18 guards, 100 criminally insane inmates of the Guelph Industrial Farm were transferred to the new Ontario Hospital at Penetang. Provincial police officers blocked off roads in Penetang while the transfer from the train, on which they travelled from Guelph to Penetang was being made. * * * Tempers flared and a fist fight almost developed at a meeting of Penetang council when one councillor accused another of making false statements with respect to qualifying for a seat on the council. Police intervened before any blows were exchanged. * * * The Ontario Employment Bureau reported that the employment picture had improved considerably. * * * Midland -Kiwanis Club had completed plans for a dog derby. The race for mutts and sleigh dogs was to start at Firth’s Corner and end at the Georgian Hotel. * * *  The Coldwater Intermediates trounced Midland 7-3 to take the two-game round for the series championship.
  • Midland Chamber of Commerce had an all-time record for membership revenue in 1957, Finance Committee Chairman Gordon Moss states in the chamber’s annual report. The 26 percent increase over the previous year (about $1,000) brought the total to $4,632.15. Of the total budget of nearly $11,900 the chamber spent $2584 on industrial promotion, about $3,000 was spent on tourism promotion and $1,800 on general business promotion.  “Mention should be made of the generous financial assistance given by the town of Midland to the chamber,” said Mr. Moss.
  • Hundreds of Penetang people had the opportunity last week to see themselves on the screen at Pen Theatre, in one of the short subjects on the program. The film, produced by the National Film Board as one of its “Eyewitness” series, centers around the Georgian Bay scoots, and the races at the Winterama. It was made at the time of last year’s carnival and covers several other carnival sights as well as the scoots.
  • Midland police collected nearly $3,500 more in 1957 through meter collections and violation fines and recoveries than in 1956. The total of $12,049 included meter collection of $7,453., violations amounting to $520 and fine and recoveries of $4,075. Police made 673 charges and registered 585 convictions. There were 68 convictions under the Criminal Code, 428 under the Highway Traffic Act, 55 under the Liquor Control Act and 34 under local bylaws. Chief Cameron’s report was read at Monday night’s meeting of Midland council. Also read was a letter from Chief Cameron recommending staff changes for his men. The Chief suggested that probationary constable Ross Willett, now on the force nearly eight months, be promoted to a second class constable at $3,000; that Const. Ed Armstrong be superannuated; that Const. Tom Curry be promoted to first-class constable at $3,3OO; that Sgt. George Wainman be promoted to staff sergeant at $3,600; that acting Sergeant Ernest Bates be promoted to sergeant at $3,400.
  • Winning two games last week, MPDHS senior cagers set a new record by winning eight straight games to become district champions. Last Wednesday’s important game for the league leadership saw the Purple and Gold come through with another great effort in upsetting Barrie Central 38-32 in Barrie. They wound up the season with an easy 56-39 win over Collingwood at MPDHS gym on Friday.
  • As we have mentioned before there are weekly reports submitted by area correspondents to the Free Press. To convey the down-home nature of these reports this is the Lafontaine report of February 14th. LAFONTAINE — Miss Evelyn Clement of Montreal is in this vicinity. She is a full-time worker for the Union of Electors. – Mr. and Mrs. Ovide Laurin spent a week in Ottawa visiting their daughter, Mrs. Cusson. – Mr. and Mrs. Anatol Charlebois returned from Montreal just before the storm. – The last frost caught several water pipes around here. – Skiing is good at present. The Thunder Bay Ski Club is out every day on the new private hill rented from Tel. Forget. – The young son of Tel. Forget broke a leg during his first attempt at learning to ski. – Gabriel Brunell, the young son of Hubert Brunell is in Penetang hospital, suffering from an ulcer. – The snow plow went up and down four times Sunday to keep the roads open. – Laurin school was temporarily closed Monday so the furnace could be repaired. – Miss Evelyn Clement was a recent guest of Mrs. Armidos Laurin. – The Parent Teachers Association meeting will take place today in the parish hall. – Mrs. Mark Genier is teaching the pupils of Sister Joseph Victor of Penetang during her absence visiting her sister who is dangerously ill. – Mrs. Art Beauchamp doesn’t mind being snow-bound now: her son has secured a TV set and they are enjoying themselves very much. – Pat Robitaille’s German Shepherd dog had ten pups.
  • Slated to open about April 1, the first branch of the Toronto-Dominion Bank in Midland should provide a pleasing bit of face-lifting for King Street, as well as additional banking facilities for residents of both the town and surrounding areas. Bank officials say the renovation of the two-storey property is about one-third finished. The building accommodated the exchange of the Bell Telephone Co. for many years and was also the temporary quarters of another bank for several months following a fire. (This building is currently vacant and is for rent)