Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – December 1st to 7th, 1959

The photos found in this blog post are the property of Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario. Any reproduction for commercial use without permission is prohibited.  Any other distribution must credit Huronia Museum.  Please contact the museum with any questions you may have. 

Click on photos to enlarge.

    Free Press Herald headline of December 2, 1959; GUNMAN  NABS  $2500  IN ELMVALE  BANK  ROBBERY. Elmvale’s Toronto-Dominion Bank has been the scene of much extra-mural activity in the last week, climaxed by a $2,500 robbery Monday afternoon. Friday afternoon, the Elmvale bank had been coupled with Midland post office in an alleged “bomb scare”. A man had walked into the bank and told assistant manager John Rumble, “If you don’t give me some money, a bomb will explode in the Midland post office at 2.30 p.m.” Nothing came of the Friday episode on either count, but Monday’s affair was “for real”. Waiting until all the customers had left around 3 p.m. the armed bandit escaped with $2,500. Approaching the teller, Mrs. Pauline Miller, he shoved a shopping bag through the wicket, with a note reading: “This is a holdup, fill this bag”. Mrs. Miller said she looked up, saw a gun pointed at her, and complied with the order. As the bandit left, she ran to Mr. Rumble and told him what had happened. Mr. Rumble went to the door to see if he could see the robber. Two other employees, John Bell and Marian Graham, went to a window and were able to get the licence number of a car pulling away from the bank. It headed west on Highway 92 in the direction of Wasaga Beach. No arrests had been made by mid-morning yesterday. 

    Thirteen people are homeless and an estimated S40,000 in damage was caused when flames ripped through a combined grocery store and lunch bar and two-storey frame home in the village of Phelpston early Saturday morning. The blaze, which taxed the facilities and men of Wasaga Beach and Elmvale-Flos fire departments, broke out in the lunch counter about 1.30 a.m. Saturday. When it was finally subdued, the two-storey business establishment owned by Reno Chaput and the frame home of Joe O’Neil were in ruins. Both buildings have been Phelpston landmarks for more than half a century. When he discovered it, Mr. Chaput, 37, made several unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire with bomb-type wall extinguishers.  When he was unable to control the flames he and his wife, 36, bundled up their three children. Collette, 8, Gerald 7, and an infant, Jacques, and got them out of the building. Assisted by Bernard O’Neil and Joe Fair, Mr. Chaput returned to the burning structure and led Mrs. Bernard Toner 73, and her sister, Mrs. Frank Loftus, in her seventies, out of the smoke-filled second storey apartments. At times they had to crawl on the floor to keep from being suffocated. Mrs. Chaput suffered minor burns.

Edwin Toner examines some of the wreckage of the combined restaurant and grocery store, owned by Irene Chaput, which burned in Phelpston early Saturday morning. Mr. and Mrs. Chaput, their small children and two elderly women escaped from the apartment upstairs.

    Penetang Fire Department was called to a boat fire late Thursday night when flames were discovered on the “Nadine”, a converted Fairmile tied at Penetang dock. A young couple in a car at the dock noticed the flames and reported it to Sgt. L. Robillard, who turned in the alarm. Firemen experienced some difficulty in bringing the flames under control, although the damage was mainly confined to the engine room where the blaze apparently broke out. The “Nadine” is owned by Rev. L. Brechin of Newmarket. 

    Tragedy struck a Midland family of six persons Friday morning, leaving them homeless after fire gutted the interior of their small frame home at 374 William Street. Forced to seek temporary shelter with relatives were Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Smith and their four children, Barbara, 8, Terry, 6, Susan, 2, and Cindy, a baby, only a few weeks old. The Smiths have another son, Brian, in hospital in Orillia. More trouble hit the Smiths Sunday when Cindy had to be sent back to the hospital. Mrs. Smith said the baby had not been well even prior to the fire. 

 Seemingly “miles” of fluorescent lighting have to be strung high up under the roof to provide illumination for the huge (75,000 square foot) Greening Wire Co. plant in Midland. Here, some 30 feet from the floor, two employees off Bumstead Electric, Wyevale, are connecting wiring in one of the long strings, prior to placing the lights in place.


Two employees of Bumstead Electric, Wyevale, are connecting wiring in one of the long strings, prior to placing the lights in place.

Smiling happily for the cameraman, these five youngsters were having a great time learning to skate at the family session in Midland Community Centre Sunday afternoon. Held weekly, the event is sponsored by Midland Figure Skating Association. Conduct on the ice, by both grown-ups and youngsters, is strictly regulated to prevent accidents to the young beginners. A section in the middle of the ice is roped off to provide a safe area for beginners.  (No names were taken)


A letter from Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission read to a meeting of Midland PUC, announced that free hydro power would be provided to rural consumers to operate washing machines, licensed radios and electric pumps for water pressure systems. The object of the offer is to extend the benefits of cheap electric energy to farmers, who have not in the past taken advantage of the benefits offered by hydro, the letter stated. * * * Noting that both systems were undergoing constant modification, Hon. Wm. Finlayson, K.C., predicted that Communism and Capitalism would “continue to walk parallel roads”. Mr. Finlayson was the principal speaker at the ninth birthday party of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club.  * * * Customs collections at the Port of Midland up to the end of November 1934, amounted to $104,072.98, or $56,886.63 more than was collected in the same period in 1933. Capt. Humphrey Colquhoun, the consul for Costa Rica in Toronto, deeded 15 acres of his estate on the Sturgeon River to the Toronto Black Watch Association, and the Canadian Scottish (16th Battalion) Association. The land was to be used as a summer camp for the wives and children of men who served with the Black Watch. * * *  The chemistry department of the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph conducted experiments with oats, barley and potatoes on the farms of Eric Simpson and Mr. Griffin, near Elmvale. Substantial increases in the yields in all three crops were obtained through relatively minor outlays for commercial fertilizers, it was noted. 

   Singer Motors celebrated their first anniversary in business with an ad in the Free Press, this is the message from Marsh Singer along with photos of the staff and building. It had previously been Leitch Motors, then MacNeil Motors, now Singer Motors and followed by Roger Hunter Motors. The location is currently operated as Adco Tire and Auto Inc.

This is the anniversary of our first year in Midland. We want to say Thank You to all those who have done business with us during the year. We would like to thank the friends who helped us to get settled in Midland. We do appreciate it. We hope you feel, as we do, that we have honestly done our best to please our customers and we hope you will continue to have confidence in us.

Pictured here is a car which has just come out of our shop. After being repainted and thoroughly reconditioned mechanically, this 1956 Chevrolet Deluxe Sedan is now ready for resale. 

Illustrated above are a few of the many modem testing machines we have in our shop. The distributor calibrating machine shown on the right has become almost a necessity to perform a proper tune-up on modern day cars. 

Don Moreau and Gord Jones, salesmen. 

Frank Gendron, bookkeeper and Don Dahmer, service manager. 

Alex Widmeyer, shop foreman and Ken Ward, parts manager. 

Marsh Singer, owner of Singer Motors, corner of Fifth & Vinden Streets. 

    County Herald headline of December 4, 1959; MAY  GET  NEW  ICE BREAKER  IF OUTLAY  JUSTIFIED;   A letter from Transport Minister George Hees was in reply to a request from Georgian Bay Development Association officials for further information on the winter berthing of the department’s new ice-breaker “Alexander Henry.” The transport minister said the “Henry” would be berthed at a lakehead port. He said surveys showed that, while there are some ship movements in the bay area at a date earlier than that on which navigation opens in Lake Superior, the heaviest traffic at the beginning of the season is at the lakehead. “In fact,” he said, “we have been doing ice-breaking there for quite a number of years with a rented vessel.” He explained that, as the Alexander Henry was fitted with ice-breaking capacities, specifically to take over the icebreaking task at the lakehead, and as no money has been authorized to continue to hire a vessel for the lakehead work, the treasury board had advised him it will not approve funds for the continuation of this rental arrangement when the “Henry” was provided for that purpose. Transport Minister Hees stated that the Georgian Bay request for ice-breaking facilities was a “new request” whereas the lakehead operation is a “longstanding commitment, upon which shippers have come to rely.” He added, however, he was willing to “look into the need” in the Georgian Bay area. 

    First Yuletide decorations were erected this week on Midland’s King Street by members of the public works department. Scots pines, obtained on the weekend by Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce members under the direction of Jim Clark, were mounted on parking meter standards. About 15 Jaycees made the trek to Orr Lake where trees were obtained from the Department of Lands and Forests. Large pines at the post office were obtained at Lafontaine. All trees were hauled to Midland on trucks loaned by Beaver Lumber and the town. Jaycees will erect candy canes on street light standards Tuesday night. Another added Yule decoration this year will be Santa-Clauses purchased by the merchant’s committee of the chamber of commerce. 

Bob Bates, manager of the Agnew Surpass shoe store, found this dead jack-rabbit behind his store when he came to work. (Fur lined slippers maybe?) 

Midland assessor, Ian McLung kept the “scoreboard” up to date at Midland nomination meeting Thursday night. This year’s session in the municipal building saw seven more nominations submitted than last year. Attendance was more than double the 1958 mark.

One of the largest crowds in many years turned out for Midland’s nomination meeting in the municipal building last Thursday night. They nominated a total of 32 candidates (seven more than last year). Five achieved seats by acclamation and 15 more are contesting seats in Monday’s election. 

Lining up to sign on the dotted line, these candidates were snapped at Midland’s nomination meeting last week. Left to right are Bev Keefe, Neville Keefe, Herb. J. Beauchamp, Alex Macintosh, W. H. Keller and Clerk W. A. (Bill) Hack. Bev Keefe was acclaimed to the public school board when his brother, Neville, withdrew. Mr. Beauchamp became reeve by acclamation. Both Mr. Macintosh and Mr. Keller face elections, the former seeking to return to the PUC and Mr. Keller in a three-way fight for the mayoralty. 

If all of Mrs. Hector Adams’ grandchildren were old enough to vote in the municipal elections Monday, Dec. 7, she would have a fair amount of support. She has twenty of them. The first Midland woman ever to run for municipal office, aside from the school board, Mrs. Adams will oppose Wm. Orr in the aldermanic race in Ward 2. 

    FM radio reception — the most popular new development in high fidelity programming is now available in Midland. Midland, indeed, is the first community north of Toronto to have access to FM radio programming. FM — it means frequency modulation — was the brainchild of Major Armstrong, the holder of many of the key patents for standard radio broadcasting, and started its tidal wave of popularity after World War II. Now, in Europe, over 75 per cent of all radio broadcasting is on FM frequencies and an increasing number of FM stations are being licensed in the United States and Canada. 

Family skating Sunday afternoons at Community Arena has become a very popular innovation in Midland this season. Above, Mr. and Mrs. Morland Mount help daughter Sonya, 4, in her debut on the silver blades. A special roped-off area in the center of the ice surface has greatly increased the safety of the younger tots just learning to skate.

    Oldest businessman on Midland’s King Street, where he operated an express service for more than half a century, Angus C. McNabb died at his home, 310 Hugel Ave., early Monday evening. In his 76th year, Mr. McNabb was born on a farm near Orillia on May 14, 1884. One of a family of five boys and three girls, Mr. McNabb is survived by only one brother, I. P. McNabb of Toronto. Before he had reached his 16th birthday, Mr. McNabb started out as a messenger for the Canadian Express Co. in Orillia. For three years he drove an express wagon around that town. Then he joined the old Grand Trunk Railway as an express messenger out of Toronto. Many of his runs took him to Toronto and North Bay. On July 1, 1908, Mr. McNabb took over the old Canadian Express Company agency from the late Mr. McCallum. The firm is now a part of the Canadian National Express system. Horses provided the motive power for the express wagons when Mr. McNabb took over in Midland and he kept three of them on the go. He purchased his first truck in 1928 and later acquired a small fleet of them. Mrs. McNabb, the former Ada Smith, predeceased her husband in October 1954. One of Simcoe County’s most ardent curlers, Mr. McNabb also served for many years as a director of Midland’s Arena Gardens. Rev. L. Self of Knox Presbyterian Church will officiate at the funeral services, to be held Thursday afternoon. 

CADEAU — To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Cadeau, Port Severn, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, November 25, 1959, a son.  
FRASER — To Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Fraser, 187 George St. Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, November 26, 1959, a daughter.  
HARDY — To Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Hardy, 275 Eighth St., Midland, at the Penetanguishene General Hospital, on Thursday, November 26, 1959, a son (William Douglas).
Jessome — To Mr. and Mrs. Jessome, 307 Queen St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, November 24, a daughter.
LARMAND — To Mr. and Mrs. Edmond Larmand, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Thursday, November 26, 1959, a daughter.
LATOUR — To Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Latour, 318 William St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, November 24, 1959, Twin daughters.
SHIELS — To Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Shiels at the Toronto Western Hospital, Tuesday, October 27, 1959, a son, (Stephen Patrick).
 WILKINS — To Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Wilkins, 285 Queen St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, November 27, 1959, a son.

Penetang police moved into new quarters last week, transferring from the fire-damaged town hall to the library basement. Almost a month was required to renovate the-new quarters. Besides an office for police and a two-cell lock-up, the new police headquarters provide space for holding the weekly magistrate’s court sessions. Spectator accommodation for court sessions will be at a premium because of the smaller quarters. It is expected Penetang council will use the court facilities for council meetings until the town is able to erect a new municipal building. The double lock-up has been built of steel and has steel barred doors. Doors in the old cell-block in the town hall were partly made of wood. A washroom, convenient to both the cells and office, has been installed. 

A quick look at the front page, December 6, 1939. 

    VASEY 1939 — The worst fire in many years occurred last Wednesday afternoon when flames consumed Alvin Drennan’s store and the adjoining dwelling house, his sixty-foot barn, garage and stable, and the dwelling house belonging to Hilton Steer. For a while it looked as if Cleve Long’s general store across the road might go too, but fortunately, the combined efforts of a bucket brigade of 200 farmers, who swarmed in from all over the country, were successful in confining the conflagration to the one side of the road. The loss was estimated at $7,000 and was partially covered by insurance. The fire started when Norman Brown, an employee, was adjusting a gasoline lamp generator. Some gasoline, which spilt from the lamp on to his hands, became ignited and the lamp dropped to the floor and exploded. The store immediately filled with black, suffocating smoke which in a few minutes gave place to flames. Brown hastily spread the alarm and soon villagers and farm folks from miles around were busy fighting the fire, water being thrown on the flames with buckets. Fire extinguishers were also used. It was soon evident that the Drennan store could not be saved. The furniture was lifted out of the building occupied by Mr. Brown and his family at the rear of the store, just in time to save it from destruction. The Hilton Steer home was the next to take fire. It was a frame house seventy years old, and being partly of cement construction, it burned more slowly. The volunteer firemen with their buckets of water managed to save the Steer blacksmith shop. The gasoline in the Drennan pumps exploded and a drum of oil added to the conflagration. 

    The Bell Telephone Company has just completed a changeover to its rural lines running out of Midland to the common battery system. In the future, the subscribers will get a connection with central by the simple process of lifting the receiver off the hook as is done in town phones. It will no longer be necessary to ring the bell. Altogether there are five rural lines running out of Midland, all to the south through Wyebridge and there are altogether some 32 subscribers. At present, the maximum number of subscribers on any one line is eight.

Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – November 24th to 30th, 1959

The photos found in this blog post are the property of Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario. Any reproduction for commercial use without permission is prohibited.  Any other distribution must credit Huronia Museum.  Please contact the museum with any questions you may have.  

Click on photos to enlarge. Twin brothers who hadn’t seen each other in 31 years were reunited in Midland on the weekend. They were Herbert Caldwell, of Elizabeth Street, and Harry Caldwell of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Harry and Herbert are the twin sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Caldwell. They were born on an Oro Township farm on July 25, 1893. 

Nearly 200 neighbours and friends gathered at the Sunnyside home of Mr. and Mrs. George Gawley Sunday afternoon to congratulate the couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. Both are long-time residents of the Midland district.

  And they were still knocking on the door late Monday night. Both husband and wife are well known in Midland, to both local residents and hundreds of visitors who have patronized Gawley’s Camp at “The Portage,” a mile around the bay from their home. As a matter of fact, it is nearly 60 years since Mrs. Gawley came to Midland, where,  as Mary “Maude” Edgar, she kept the books for Edgar and Sons (her father and brothers) who ran a butcher shop at Bay and Fourth Streets. George Gawley made his first appearance in Midland in 1907 and it was here he met Maude Edgar. His first job was at the old smelter operated by the Canadian Iron Furnace Company, where he drove a horse and cart and also got his start as a top-filler in the smelter. (The town of Midland now operates a public park “Gawley Park” at the end of Gawley Drive the former site of the Gawley’s Camp.) 

BALD — To Mr. and Mrs. Andre Bald, 277 William St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, Nov. 20, 1959, a son.
BARRON — To Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Barron, Port Severn, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, Nov. 23, 1959, a daughter.
CERNEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Steven Cerney, Yonge St W., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Sunday, Nov. 22, 1959, a daughter.
E P L E T T — To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Eplett, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, Nov. 20, 1959, a daughter.
FOX — To Mr. arid Mrs. Victor Fox, R.R. 1, Wyebridge, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Saturday, Nov. 21, 1959, a son.
QUESNELLE — To Mr. and Mrs. James Quesnelle, 274 William St., Midland, at St Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a son.
RICHMOND — To Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Richmond, 154 Seventh St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.
RICHMOND — To Mr. and Mrs. Norman Richmond (nee Suzanne Ayres) at Grace Hospital, Toronto, Monday, Nov. 16, 1959, a daughter, (Susan Penelope).
SANDY — To Mr. and Mrs. Francis Sandy, Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.
St. AMAND — T o Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm St. Amand, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.

The Free Press Herald headline of November 25th, 1959; APPLIANCE STORE BURGLED, SAY LOOT VALUE $1,000. An estimated $1,000 worth of small electrical appliances and $50 in cash were reported stolen from Dunlop’s Appliances Limited, Moonstone, early Monday morning. “Everything appeared to be in order when I turned out the lights at 1 a.m. Monday,” stated Lloyd Dunlop, owner of the store. According to Mr. Dunlop, the thieves took 15 small radios, electric frying pans, toasters, record players, a tape recorder and cartons of cigarettes as well as $40 cash from the store till and $10 cash from the post office till. Entry to the building apparently was gained through jimmying a door at the back of the warehouse, it was stated. 

    Douglas Sanderson, Penetang, got an unanticipated cold bath Saturday morning when his car skidded off the dock pavement into the water of Penetang Bay. Travelling north on Main Street, Sanderson attempted to turn left on to the paved dock area when his car failed to negotiate the turn because of slippery snow. According to Chief Jack Arbour, eye-witnesses said the car was travelling at a slow rate as it went into the water. Settling in about 14 feet of water directly behind the Penetang 88, the car came to rest on its wheels. Sanderson escaped by rolling down the window on the driver’s side and crawling through. He was assisted from the water by several men who were minnow netting.

This is what they were netting.

    Chickenpox, with 12 cases, headed the list of communicable diseases reported to Simcoe County Health Unit for the month of October, Dr. P. A. Scott reveals. Whooping Cough was second with 11 cases and German measles and regular measles each had seven cases reported, while infectious jaundice, scarlet fever and mumps had five, three and two cases respectively. 

   (How the teenage mind works sometimes, your daughter goes to a high school track meet and ……) Disappearing after the Tudhope-Thompson track meet in Midland Oct. 3, Wendy, 15, and Gloria, 14, both of Orillia, were found last week in Northern Quebec and returned to their homes. They were the object of a widespread search. James, father of one of the girls said that they had gone on to Collingwood from Midland Oct. 3 and then took a ride with some hunters to Northern Quebec. He explained that the girls left home in order to find work. Gloria obtained work in a Notre Dame du Nord restaurant and Wendy was working for a Noranda family with eight children. The girls were traced through immigration department officials in Noranda who were attempting to locate Wendy’s parents. (Last names omitted) 

The dinner was held at the home of a daughter in Anten Mills. Mrs. Lizotte, the former Mary Longlade, has spent her entire lifetime of 70 years in Penetang where she was born. Her husband, Fred, was only a child when his family moved to Penetang from Mattan Quebec.  He has lived in Penetang since that time. Although he was forced to retire some 20 years ago through ill health, Mr. Lizotte, now 74, vividly recalls days he spent working in the lumber mills around Penetang and Midland. He also worked at times in nearby lumber camps. He said while he was working in a lumber mill in Midland, he rode his bicycle to and from work, carrying noon lunch. There were no roads as we know them today, he said, and he speaks of cycling in and out among the trees to get to the mill. Mrs. Lizottte recalled seeing the first car owned in Penetang, and the day W. F. Beck first drove it down the town’s main street. Still talking about travelling, she said, we used to go to Honey Harbour once in a while, and that was a full day’s trip. The road to Honey Harbour was “just a path through the bush”, and the buggy had to be driven in and out among the trees. The couple’s anniversary actually occurred Monday. They celebrated it in their own Peel Street home where they had lived for the past forty years. The family gathered around them included their only son, Arthur, who is a constable on the Penetang Police force. (Gave me my only Penetang speeding ticket.) They have eight daughters; Mrs. M. Friedman, Mrs. M. Lacroix and Mrs. B. Ellsworth, Sarnia; Mrs. D. Ostertag, Orillia; Mrs. B. Fraser, Midland; Mrs. Frank Moreau, Anten Mills; Mrs. M.  Duquette and Mrs. B. Lalonde, Penetang. There are 37 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “I wouldn’t mind living long enough to celebrate another 50 years of married life,” Mrs. Lizotte said as this reporter left. 

 Long considered a man’s stronghold, curling rinks across the country now resound to urgings of “sweep” in feminine pitch most afternoons. The scene above was taken in Midland Curling rink as skips Mrs. Ray Trew, left, and Mrs. Charles Walton measures a couple of close ones. Other members awaiting the outcome in the back row are Mrs.  Bruce Holt, Mrs.  Dan Nicholls, Mrs. C. Paterson, Mrs. Jack Thompson, Mrs. Clive Park  (Mary nee Patterson) and Mrs. Woodrow McConnell (Merza nee French). 

TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – At the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Bay Lodge No. 210, Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, Freight Handlers and Station Employees, Port McNicoll, Frank Hall, vice-president of the International Brotherhood, told his listeners that Communist labour leaders should be sent back to Russia. About 200 members and their wives attend the dinner in Parkside Inn. * * * Reeve of Tecumseh Township for three years, Fred Hunter was appointed the clerk of Simcoe County. Eleven applied for the position. * * * Midland Chamber of Commerce reported that more than 2,100 persons were employed in industries and retail and service businesses in the municipality. * * * Canada Steamship Lines issued a public warning that the “tug Bayport is now breaking the ice in Midland harbour”. Persons using the ice as a thoroughfare were warned to do so with the utmost caution. * * * Reeve W. R. Benson of Penetang told a nomination meeting in that town that some $76,000 had been budgeted by the County for Children’s Aid Society wards and that it had been necessary to authorize a further grant of $8,000 for this purpose. He held it would be necessary for each county community to form organizations which would raise funds to pay that portion of the C A S work not “taxable by the county”. * * * Penetanguishene Protestant Separate School supporters formed a home and school association. It was believed to be the first such group in North Simcoe. 

    Simcoe County’s reforestation committee reported the purchase of 568 acres of land for reforestation purposes at the Nov. 18 sitting of the county council in Barrie. The total cost of the new land is $19,500. 

The shape of things to come, are these ice formations on docks and rocks in front of cottages at Victoria Harbour. Warmer weather and rain have removed the ice since the picture was taken, but it may not be long before there’s a permanent coating that will last several months until the spring thaws. (Scenic photos of our area were included in almost every edition of the Free Press and County Herald.) 

COLDWATER — Conservation officers of Lake Simcoe District reported 354 hunters obtained 81 deer from Nov, 9 to 12 in Matchedash Township. The game consisted of 36 adult bucks, 33 adult does and 12 fawns. 

Arthur Mitchell fashions a hand-carved picture frame. Author turned carpenter moved to North Simcoe with his wife nine months ago. For quite a few years Mr. Mitchell was a short story writer, with the CBC one of his best customers. But he tired of that profession and now he has literally “carved” out a new career for himself — making picture frames. Mr. Mitchell and his wife came to North Simcoe some nine months ago and bought a neat, white frame house and a partially built shop just off Highway 27, about midway between Waverley and Wyebridge. He put a roof on the building and windows in the gaping holes. Now it keeps him busy to supply enough frames to keep up with the demand. 

Last week’s snow brought joy to the youngsters, if not to their disgruntled elders. Off for a spin down a hill in Victoria Harbour are, left to right, Norman Cadeau (on skis), Jean and Willard Cadeau, and Billy St. Amand, with Rover all set to dash after them. By Monday morning the snow had all disappeared. 


JOSEPH CASCAGNETTE School children of Penetang Public School lined the streets from the doors of St. Ann’s Memorial Church to St. Ann’s Cemetery when funeral service was held for Joseph Dominique Cascagnette. Mr. Cascagnette had been caretaker of the school for 23 years. Rev. J. Marchand officiated at the funeral mass, assisted by Msgr. J. M. Castex. Pallbearers were Harry and Thomas Dorion, Henry J. Fournier, Henry King, Louis Larmand and Philip Quesnelle. Mr. Cascagnette died unexpectedly in Penetang General Hospital, where he had been taken following a heart attack suffered while he was at work. He was born in Penetang in 1906 and had lived there his entire life with the exception of seven years spent in Akron. It was in 1929 that he married Felanise Contois, who survives. Other survivors are three sons, Robert of Welland, Bill of Knowlton, Que., and Jas., Penetang, and two daughters, Annette (Mrs. Robert Leblanc), Oshawa; and Linda, Penetang.  

PIITZ – Following a short illness, Mrs. W. A. Piitz died in Penetang General Hospital Saturday, Nov. 7.  She had been suffering from a heart illness. Born in Penetang, Feb. 7, 1892, the former Florestine O’Desse, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward O’Desse, married Wm. Piitz Feb. 8, 1921. She lived her entire life in this community where she was known as a faithful homemaker. Besides her husband, Capt. W. A. Piitz, she leaves two sons, Edward of Comox, B. C., and Fred of MacTier, and two daughters, Alice (Mrs. Fred Biasucci) Mactier, and Alma (Mrs. J. H. Brace), Toronto. Funeral service was held Tuesday, Nov. 10 from Beausoleil’s funeral home to St. Ann’s Memorial Church where Father J. Marchand officiated. Burial was in St. Ann’s Cemetery. Pallbearers were Nelson, Pat and Wilfred Piitz, Thos. Gignac, Napoleon Perreault and Marcel Quesnelle. 


    The County Herald headline of November 27th, 1959; SEE THREE WAY CONTEST FOR MIDLAND MAYORALTY. For the first time in more than 10 years, a three-way battle for the mayoralty appeared to be almost a certainty following nominations in Midland last night. Nominated for the top municipal office were W. H Keller, veteran reeve and councillor, Charles Stevenson, the incumbent, and Charles N. Parker, ex-mayor and holder of the title for eight years. The meeting, one of the best attended in years; saw 32 nominations, seven more than in 1958, submitted for the election slate this year, there were 100 or more persons present, almost double the attendance of last year. 

   The first lockmaster at the Port Severn locks when it was opened in 1915, Joseph A. White, 77, died at Port Severn Nov. 24. Mr. White, who was born at Stratford, went to Port Severn in 1912 to survey the area for the lock which was built by a Toronto firm. When it opened a 15-cent toll was charged and the proceeds were given to the Canadian Red Cross Society. He retired in 1948 and a son, Robert, who had assisted him, was appointed lockmaster. He put 5,528 boats through the locks in the peak year. Following his retirement, Mr. White opened a parking lot near the locks and continued to meet the hundreds of tourists he had served during his 33 years as lockmaster. Besides his “wife, the former Delphine Moreau, he is survived by six sons and four daughters: Arthur and Elgin of Honey Harbour, Harold of Timmins, Morley of Gravenhurst, Robert of Port Severn, Jack of Toronto; Mrs. Hazel Richmond of Weston, Mrs. Edna Hewitt of Honey Harbour, Mrs. Gladys Young of Islington and Mrs. Eileen Morais of Weston.  

   A lifelong resident of Medonte Township, Fred Spence, 65-year-old farmer, was pinned beneath his tractor Wednesday afternoon and died before help could arrive. Coroner Dr. R. E. Brown of Coldwater said Mr. Spence died of a compound skull fracture. According to police, Mr. Spence had been hauling wood from his bush lot. While going down a hill on Con: 9, near Moonstone, the wagon on which the firewood was piled jackknifed. Thrown into the ditch, the farmer was pinned beneath the tractor, which landed with its wheels in the air. Mr. Spence was found by his son Barton, and a neighbour, Herb Walker. Among those who assisted at the scene were Art Robertson, Ab Mine, Bob Beard, Jack Dunlop, Lloyd Dunlop and Lloyd Robertson. 

    Midland Public Schools Board was informed at its recent meeting that the conversion of Regent School auditorium for use as a gymnasium would cost about $1,050. Property Committee Chairman Jack Thompson told the board that work was proceeding on the project. When completed, the room will serve a dual purpose. Mr. Thompson said the cost figure does not include the price of a screen for the stage. The board also discussed the question of expenditure of the remainder of the insurance funds, which it received when Central School burned several years ago. 

    Midland Assessment Commissioner Ian McClung and his staff are compiling a file on hairdressers in Midland who are operating businesses in non-commercial areas. The move is the outcome of a motion passed by Midland council asking the assessment department to prepare a list of names of hairdressing establishments, the location of their businesses, the assessed value of the buildings used for this purpose and a history of operations. The motion came after council heard a deputation from the Midland Hairdressers Association, headed by Mrs. Gertrude Major, president. The deputation demanded that the council close all hairdressing establishments now operating in residential zones in Midland. When several councillors pointed that such action would result in the closure of other small businesses, a member of the deputation said the hairdressers were not interested in seeing other businesses closed or put anyone out of business. All they wanted was to have these people move to commercial zones and pay business taxes, it was stated. 

For the first since its opening a few years ago, press, radio and TV representatives in a tour Tuesday were permitted to see how the Pine Tree radar network station, RCAF Edgar, operates. Along with a  representative of this paper, the group included left to right: F/L J. H. Maxwell, F/0 P. B. Conroy, James Lamb, Orillia Packet and Times; Pete McGarvey, manager CFOR, Orillia; W/C Hockney, C.O. at Edgar; Bob Hunter, manager CKBB;  Bert Snelgrove of CKVR-TV; Milan Korcok, Barrie Examiner; S/L J. A. Cochrane, and S/L W. Honegger. One of the big radar domes, objects of mystery to most North  Simcoe residents, is seen in the rear. 

   It’s one of the radar stations in the Pine Tree chain, one of three air raid warning systems which have been built, at a staggering cost, by Canada and the U.S. over the sparsely inhabited northern part of this continent. The other two chains are the DEW line (Distant Early Warning) and the Mid-Canada. The latter chain, embracing 102 sites extending clean across the country, was the subject of a scathing denunciation in a recent weekend magazine story. Group Capt. Bernard Limbrick, former director of radio warfare for the RCAF, termed the Mid-Canada a “$250 Billion Goof.” Nobody, so far, has had anything much to say against the Pine Tree chain, of which RCAF Edgar is one of the many links. Perhaps they’re too afraid. For, as S/L J. A. Cochrane, chief operations officer at Edgar, pointed out during the tour, “It’s our last hope.” There probably isn’t a more important radar station in all three chains than Edgar, although its commanding officer, W/C W. Hockney, made no such claims. But the story was plain enough on a map shown to the radio, TV and newsmen. Edgar, in effect, guards the vital Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo industrial areas and the more-than-vital Welland Canal. Thus every aircraft that shows up on the many radar scopes within the big central control room becomes an object of immediate concern — until it is positively identified. “We have just two minutes to identify that plane,’.’ said Mr. Hockney. “If we haven’t identified it in two minutes we get through by direct wire to Norad headquarters. That takes another minute, and then it’s up to them as to what action shall be taken,” he explained.

Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe May 8th to 15th, 1959

Click on photos to enlarge

An annual event at Port McNicoll public school is the tea put on by the grades 7 and 8 home economics pupils for their mothers and grandmothers. Held last Wednesday afternoon, the event drew a large attendance again this year. Some of the girls of Mrs. W. Moriarty’s class are seen above at the close of the reception.

Wife of the chairman of Port McNicoll public school board, Mrs. Ray Belanger is being served by two young ladies of Mrs. W. Moriarty’s home economics class at the annual tea held in the school Wednesday for the mothers and grandmothers of the girls in the class. Serving are Lorraine Bell left, and Faye Cameron.

Winners of the Atkinson Marine goalie awards received their trophies at the hockey banquet which climaxed Midland’s Little NHL season Monday night. Left to right are Lloyd Graham (Junior “B”), Greg Somers (AHL “A”), Jürgen Baumann (AHL “B”), Bill Silvey (NHL “A”), Ted Black (NHL “B”), and Laurie Thomas (Junior “A”).

Named “Most Valuable” players in their sections of Midland’s Little NHL, these lads received the Robin Hood trophies at the hockey banquet in Parkside Inn Monday night. Left to right are Ernie Boast (junior “A”), Mike Robitaille (AHL “B”), Jon Pettersen (AHL ”A”), Mike Borsa (NHL “B”), Ed Zablotny (NHL “A”), and Gord Paul (junior “B”).

Presentation of trophies was one of the highlights as Midland’s Little NHL wound up the season at a banquet Monday. Captains of the winners in the various sections are, left to right, Mike Robitaille (AHL “B”), Ed Zablotny (NHL “B”), Jon Pettersen (AHL “A”), Larry French (NHL “A”), Tommy Borsa (junior “A”), and Tommy Sweeting (junior “B’).

Donated by William Wilcox in memory of his son, the Kelvin Wilcox Trophy was presented to Windsor Bulldogs, winners of the Police-Legion sponsored senior OHA section of Midland’s Little NHL at the hockey banquet Monday night. Left to right are, Billy Reay, former Toronto Maple Leaf coach, Mr. Wilcox, Cpl. Ernie Bates, Larry Cripps (captain), John Hanley, Billy Girard, Dennis Marsell, Fred Burgie, Ronald Contois, Ricky Manson, and Const Ross Willett. Absent were Charles Ward and Randy Green. (The trophy was lost in the arena fire.)

Pomp and pageantry came to Midland Saturday night as the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, Hon. Keiller Mackay, officiated at a recognition ceremony for some 50 new Queen’s Scouts. Preceded by his aide de camps, His Honor is seen entering MPDHS auditorium with Mrs. Arthur Ferguson, wife of the regional, commissioner for Scouts. Behind them are Mrs. Mackay and Commissioner Ferguson, followed by Mayor Charles Stevenson and Mrs. Stevenson of Midland.

This was a solemn moment for these young girls as they took the “Guide’s Oath” administered by Mrs. J. E. Lawlor, district commissioner, in a ceremony at St. Mark’s parish house May 6. New members of 1st Midland Company Girl Guides (St. Mark’s) are, left to right, Sheryl Lattimore, Mary Louise Parker, Laurie Young, and Karen Greisbach.

Twenty new girl guides were enrolled in the 1st Midland Company (St. Mark’s) last Wednesday in a ceremony in the parish house. Above, District Commissioner Mrs. J. E. Lawlor pins Girl Guide badge on the tie of Joanne Ambrose.

Among the best catches of the day as the trout season opened May 1 were these two rainbows caught by Midland’s Bev Day. The big one topped five pounds and the smaller one was a pleasing 2 ½. A number of good catches were reported throughout the district.

The rain which eventually drove hundreds of participants in the family rosary parade and rally in Midland Sunday scurrying for shelter hadn’t hit as yet when the two pictures above were taken as the parade formed near St. Margaret’s Church. Top: On the float, all from St. Ann’s Parish, Penetang, are left to right Shirley King, Marcel Moreau, Iber Cadeau, and Michael Murphy.  Lower: Perkinsfield and Penetang children make up the personnel on this float. Included are Lorraine Lacroix, Exilda Moreau, Gerry Parent, Lucille Lesperance, Irene Robitaille, Gilbert Moreau, Robert Brunelle, Lorraine Ducaire and Gerald Jones. 

These are “spit and polish days” at Midland – Penetang District High School as the cadet corps prepares for its annual inspection Thursday. Members of the colour party are giving the colours an airing under the watchful eyes of the quarter-masters staff. Left to right are S/Sgt. R. Blair, Sgt. P. Smith, S/Sgt. J. Vincent and W.O. 2 J. Rankin of the QM staff; and color party members Sgt. J. Quinlan, Lieut. G. Crowe, Sgt. S. Campbell, Lieut. R. Attridge, and Sgt. J. Brodeur.

Much of the success of any army group depends on the efficiency of its NCO’s, and high school cadet corps are no exception. Above, Major W. C. Setterington, chief instructor of the MPDHS corps, makes sure this group of corporals knows its assignments for Thursday’s annual inspection. Corporals are, left to right, front row, L. Anderson, P. King, P. Bellehumeur, W. Puddicombe, G. Ronald; back row, R. Irvine, H. Charlebois, J. Quesnelle, N. Zoschke, B. Small.

Officers of the battalion headquarters staff of Midland – Penetang District High School cadet corps are seen above during a lull in training for Thursday’s annual inspection. Left to right are Cadet Major Hartmut Bezner, Cadet Major Paul McDonald, Cadet Major J. Parker, 2 I/C; Cadet Lieut.-Col. K. MacEachern, commanding officer; Cadet Major Wayne Morrison, adjutant; Cadet Major R. Scott, and Cadet Major M. Reynolds.

  • [The Free Press Herald front page of May 13th, 1959, is missing from the microfilm. We will examine the original copies in the museum archives to see if it was an oversight by the people who originally photographed our Midland-Penetang newspapers or whether it was ever in the collection. The museum is always attempting to add to the Free Press collection, many editions and many years are missing. Missing are most papers prior to 1939 except 1950 which is missing entirely. If you have an old Midland or Penetang newspaper from these years you wish to donate please contact the museum, 526-2844. ]
  • County Herald headline of May 8, 1959; Employment Scene Good, Future Prospects Bright. Ranks of unemployed have been depleted considerably and prospects for future work look bright, district National Employment Services officials believe. Employment in the construction industry is good and local industry is employing as many if not more than they did this time a year ago it was stated.
  • Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce last night commenced plans for its seventh annual fireworks display to be held in Little Lake Park, Midland, May 18. Jaycee President Bill Bennett said the “Jaycees will really light up the sky over the lake that night” Bennett explained that very few residents realize this is a non-profit venture, paid for by the donations collected at the entrance to the park each year. He said although, receipts have been good, approximately $50 was raised in this manner last year. This was about $200 short of the actual cost of the 1958 display. If it were not for the assistance from the town of Midland and Midland service clubs, who help underwrite the loss, the Midland Jaycees could not carry on each year, President Bennett He said the club itself does not have the funds to cover the additional expense.
  • Two young, members of RCSCC “Huron” Midland, spent an anxious few hours adrift on Georgian Bay yesterday afternoon before they were finally rescued by a provincial police boat. Michael Moreau and Ron Belanger, both about 16, set out around 8 a.m. for a sail in one of the sea cadet corps dinghies. They took their lunches with them, intending to spend the day afloat. By mid-afternoon, the wind freshened considerably and the seas got rougher. The two inexperienced sailors decided to let the sail down and drift with the wind about 2.30 p.m. Tom Scott an employee at the CSL Town House elevator, had seen the boys’ sailing around Midland harbor on several occasions during the day. When he again spied the dinghy with the sail down, he feared the craft might have capsized and contacted the police.
  • Long distance charges between Midland and Penetanguishene telephones will be eliminated early next year H. A. Kilroy local Bell Telephone manager announced today. He said the change is being made to keep pace with the steady growth in the community of interest between Midland and Penetanguishene. This growth is reflected in the long-distance calling between the two communities.
  • TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – Midland council was considering asking the Canadian Home Underwriters Association for an inspection of the municipality with a view to lowering fire insurance rates. Council’s action stemmed from a recommendation made by Fire Chief Peter Grigg. * * * More than 400 North Simcoe’ citizens attended the official opening of Bausch and Lomb’s new lens manufacturing plant, in Midland. * * * C. L. Chittick of Barrie was elected president of Simcoe County Children’s Aid Society at the May 10 meeting of the society’s board of directors. He succeeded G. S. McConkey. * * * Elmer Wood, youthful deputy-reeve of Orillia Township won the Simcoe East Progressive – Conservative nomination at a riding convention in Coldwater. His opponent, A. “Affie” Thompson, was nosed out by only 10 votes. The nomination assured a three-way fight in the federal vote. * * * New addition to the Canada Steamship Lines fleet, the S.S. Coverdale was nearing her launching stage at Midland shipyard. The new bulk carrier was 640 feet long. * * * At a special meeting in Vasey May 13, plans were discussed for the construction of a community hall for the village. The dinner meeting was sponsored by the Vasey Women’s Institute. It was suggested that the proposed building be erected in a corner of the athletic field. * * * Midland had the youngest airman in Canada in possession of a commercial pilot’s licence. He was Bert Barbour of Toronto and he was flying out of Midland for Georgian Bay Airways. * * * Members of the Masonic Order from lodges in the Lindsay to Meaford area were present when Rt. Worshipful Brother J. J. Robins, district deputy grand master of Georgian District, paid his official visit to Caledonian Lodge, Midland. It was reported to have been one of the largest Masonic gatherings in Midland in some years.
  • A native of Midland and a member of one of the town’s oldest families, Howard Chew is now the sole proprietor of Royal Oak -Lodge on Yonge Street, West. In 1956 Mr. Chew and Elmer Portwood of Philadelphia purchased the tourist and guest home from W. Sterrett. Now Mr. Portwood has returned to Philadelphia and has sold his interest in the business to Mr. Chew.
  • Penetang has lost one of its most active new residents. Kenneth Macdonald, manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia, established here in June 1956, has been moved. Mr. Macdonald was notified on May 6 that he was being transferred to the managership of the bank’s branch in Haileybury. It is the only bank in the Northern Ontario town, which is the district town for the District of Temiskaming. Since his arrival in Penetang, Mr. Macdonald has taken a keen interest in community activities and has been closely connected with many civic groups.
  • When the royal yacht “Britannia” enters the St. Lawrence River this summer for the official opening of the Seaway, it will be the first time that the vessel has been in fresh water in the 100,000 miles she has logged in many of the world’s sea lanes since she was launched in 1953. After the opening at Montreal June 26, “Britannia”, escorted by Royal Canadian Navy warships and Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol boats, it will carry the Queen through the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes on the first stage of the 44-day royal tour. Hundreds of pleasure craft will swarm about the ship in mass excursions organized by yacht clubs along the route. The United States is to send a force of 28 warships to the opening. They may also join the “Britannia” on the trip up the river. The “Britannia” visited Canada once before. She picked up Prince Philip in 1954 after he attended the British Empire Games at Vancouver.
  • Members of St. Margaret’s and St. Ann’s Teen Town Clubs last Sunday night danced to the music of Jack Beauchamp and his band. The orchestra consisted of Mrs. Beauchamp at the piano, Jack on saxophone, Guy Johnstone, drums, George Johnstone, trumpet and Moris Dusome, guitar. During the social Harvey Boyd and Marian Lavigne won prizes for the spot dance. The presidents of both clubs thanked each other for their hospitality.
  • William C. Lennox, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Lennox of Midland, received a $50 award for standing first among students in his year at Waterloo College. Bill was the top man of six students who received honors in promotional exams for the winter term in the co-operative engineering course at the University of Waterloo. All six gained honor marks in their first year.

Looking further back, 80 years ago, May 10, 1939, and the Midland town council report.

At the regular meeting Monday night, Midland Town Council received confirmation of the basis of the federal and provincial grants-in-aid for relief, 74.07 percent for the first quarter of the year, and 80 percent thereafter provided the total costs do not exceed $130,200.
Application for permission to operate a dry cleaning plant in the former Taylor  Auto showrooms, Dominion Ave. E., from James Mackay, was passed.
By-law 1181, Sec. 28 was amended to provide a taxi stand for Chas. Stewart on Dominion Ave. East.
A by-law was passed requiring vendors of cordwood or firewood within the Town to furnish written or printed receipts, stating the name and address of the vendor, the number of cords, and sale price. This does not apply, however, to kindling, mill waste or mill cuttings.
Council accepted an offer of $300, provided suitable payments could be arranged, from William Crawford for the property at 294 Dominion Ave. on the understanding that the premises would be completely overhauled and repaired.
Tender of T. Calhoun of $50.00 for the barn on 203 Third St. was accepted.
A considerable discussion arose on the sale of the property and house at 378 Hugel Ave. W., known as the Trilsbeck house to H. A. Humphries for $750 cash. It is a housing commission building, and over $2,300 is still owing to the Town on it. Capt. Ed. Burke pointed out that for an expenditure of $250 the house could be put in a first-class state, rent at $18 per month and eventually liquidate the whole amount outstanding against the property. “At the $1,000 valuation, you would be getting 10 percent on your money in addition to paying, full taxes,” he declared. Mayor Mackie objected, saying that the Town was not in the real estate business. Mr. Humphries’ offer was finally accepted, 3-2, with Aldermen Burke and Argue dissenting.
Permission was given the Horticultural Society to beautify the Rest Room lot. 
A determined drive will be made against persons dumping scrap or garbage on vacant properties around town. It was pointed out that one irresponsible individual had gone so far as to dump a load of scrap in the Town Park.
Tenders were considered for the steel in the old malleable iron building, the highest bid being $1,077, but it was decided to leave the matter with Capt. Ed Burke to attempt to make a better deal at a private sale.

New dry cleaning establishment, May 10, 1939.
In an advertisement carried elsewhere in this issue, James MacKay of Toronto, laundry and dry-cleaning machinery engineer, announces the lease for four years with an option to purchase of the former Taylor Garage showrooms on Dominion Ave. E., Midland. Workmen have been busy since Friday installing a modern cleaning and laundering plant which features machinery of the latest type. The building has been redecorated in a smart green and white motif, and plans call for a start of operation later this week. Blue and grey has been chosen for the firm’s truck. James McKay, born near Glasgow in Scotland, owns the firm, to be known as the French Dry
Cleaners and Launderers, which will be managed by his brothers. “This firm has absolutely no connection with the former Marvo Cleaners,” commented Mr. McKay. Many specialty cleaning jobs will be featured by the new concern, and agencies opened in neighbouring communities.