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

We can assume that Ken Somers, the Free Press photographer, was on holiday during this week in 1958. The only “staff photos” in the two papers were from the regional correspondents and Penetang staff photographer Vern Farrow, for which we do not have the negatives.

   We will cut and paste the photos of interest but this will be a sparse edition. 

  Formalities of his induction as minister of Midland’s St. Paul’s United Church behind him, Rev. Wilson Morden enjoys a cup of tea with J. W. Smith, Mrs. Morden, and Mrs. T. M. McCullough. Despite the hot July night, there was a good turn-out of St. Paul’s members and visitors from other Midland congregations present to welcome the successor to Rev. W. R. Auld.


  • The Free Press Herald headline of July 9th, 1958; Cottagers Tempers Flare in Beach Ditch Battle. Two ditches dug across Mountainview Beach from the lot line to the water line are about as hot an issue in Tiny Township this week as was one other “ditch” in the Near East about three years ago. One of the Mountainview ditches was filled in Saturday afternoon on orders issued by the Tiny council. By Sunday morning, another had been dug within 50 feet of the first. Local resident Mr. McDermott claimed the ditches had been dug by owners to prevent cars from driving on the beach. Mountainview Beach is situated immediately south of D’Aoust’s Bay. A section of the beach had been used as a roadway on the beach front. The cottager said that, on the previous Sunday afternoon, “hot rodders” were making a “drag strip” of the beach. “These young punks race up and down going at least 60 miles an hour and cut figure eights,” he claimed.
  • The County Herald headline of July 11, 1958; Land-use Survey Report Urges Forest Expansion. The four townships were examined by a group of foresters in 1952-55, who made a survey of the woodlots and who examined the land area for forest crop production. Appropriate ratings were suggested for forestry, agriculture, and pasture for different land characteristics. A brief historical sketch of the area shows that prior to 1650, a moderately large portion of the area was cleared and farmed by Huron tribes who at one time numbered at least 30,000. Many of their needs for food, medicine, clothing and building materials were largely supplied by the forest. Between 1650 and 1800 the area was largely uninhabited and returned to forest. Settlement of the area began along the main access roads just before 1800 and was increased after the War of 1812. Today the survey area, more than 284,000 acres in extent, has more than 159,000 acres (56.07 percent of its area) of land used for agriculture, nearly 93,000 acres (32.67 percent) of natural woodland, and nearly 11,000 acres (3.8%) of planted forest. The remainder is roads, railways, towns, inland water, scrub, and swamp area. Writers of the report feel that the total forest area should be increased by about five percent. Rural population in 1955 was 11,613 and the urban population 16,607.
  • A new Sputnik is in orbit at Midland’s Little Lake Park. While it won’t contribute anything to the International Geophysical Year, it’s giving local youngsters a whale of a time. The Sputnik is the newest addition to the playground equipment near the Indian village in the park. Made of metal tubing, it resembles a rocket on a launching pad with a round earth satellite at the tip. It is designed so children can clamber up through the rocket and drop to the ground from its tip. Dozens of children were lining up to play on it as soon as it was firmly fixed in its cement base. The attraction is the gift of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club, first of the town’s service clubs to respond to an appeal by the parks commission for assistance in providing playground equipment. Parks Commission chairman W. Murray said more help was needed to equip the popular playground. (I saw the spaceship in a backyard along the Old Fort Road a couple of weeks ago.)
  • Between 600 and 700 members of four Orange Lodges in Midland are expected to take part in what may be the largest, “Glorious Twelfth” parade ever held in Simcoe County, at Collingwood Saturday. Held as part of Collingwood’s centennial year, the celebration is expected to attract hundreds of lodges from Simcoe East, South and West County lodges. All but one of the 14 lodges in Simcoe East are expected to march in the parade. The four Midland lodges are Maple Leaf LOL 947, Lady Parkhill LOBA (Ladies’ Orange Benevolent Association), Orange Young Britons, and the girls’ juvenile lodge. Other Simcoe East lodges included Penetang, Coldwater, Wyevale, Waverley, Vasey, Elmvale, Allenwood, Warminster, Uhthoff, Orillia, Hawkestone, and Craighurst.
  • Two former members who played a large part in the history of both Midland YMCA and its famed Camp Kitchikewana are to be honored in ceremonies at the camp on Beausoleil Island Sunday. A new chapel at Kitchikewana is to be dedicated as a memorial to the late Mr. and Mrs. Norman Playfair of Midland. Several friends and relatives of the Playfairs have contributed funds towards the restoration of the chapel, badly damaged in a wind storm last year. (Photos next week)
  • Sharon Park, daughter of Mr. and, Mrs. Clive Park, Midland, suffered minor injuries Thursday afternoon in Little Lake Park, which required a few stitches to close a cut in her forehead. Sharon, apparently, was pushing her bicycle downgrade from the trailer section in the park when its weight became too much for her and she ran into the back of a car owned by Rev. M. E. Rueber of Stratford. She was taken to the hospital, treated and then released.
  • Midland’s award-winning Citizens’ Band presented its second concert of the season to a bumper crowd in Little Lake Park, Sunday night. Estimates of the crowd, which was seated in front of the bandstand and in hundreds of cars nearby, ran from 800 to 1,000 persons. The band directed by Bandmaster Al Hume and for one number by the new Midland Salvation Army Officer, 2nd Lieut. George Swaddling played a varied program of hymns, marches and classical selections. They received their greatest applause and car-horn ovation after playing Holiday Sketches, the Waterloo festival test piece for which they won the senior division brass band title.
  • Since Stephen Leacock’s death 14 years ago, Orillians have never ceased to perpetuate his fame; and to bind it to the town he loved. So said William Arthur Deacon, Globe and Mail literary critic, at the luncheon preceding the opening of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Home there Saturday. “Your first effort,” recalled Mr. Deacon, “was the establishment of the Leacock Medal for Humour”. Today there are 15 national, annual literary prizes; but only one bears the name of a famous Canadian writer.
  • Births; Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Simms are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Dianne Lea, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, on Saturday, June 28, 1958, a sister for Margaret Ann. Mr. and Mrs. Ken Snider are proud to announce the arrival of a son, a brother for Kathy, at Penetang General Hospital, July 2.
  • “The best piece of copper we have found on this site to date”, was the comment of Dr. Wilfrid Jury as he displayed an Indian spearhead found this week on the Forget site, southwest of Wyebridge. The spear point was turned up in the ‘dump’ of the centuries-old Indian village where students at the University of Western Ontario Summer School of Indian Archaeology are receiving field training. The Penetang girl who unearthed nine pieces of copper during last year’s “dig” was no more excited and thrilled than Patricia Teeple of Tillsonburg who made the latest find. The new discovery is believed to be of Lake Superior copper which had been forged cold from a single piece of virgin copper ore. “The Indians of that time had no knowledge of smelting, and although at times they would weld two pieces of ore together by the simple expedient of hammering, this one is all one chunk,” Dr. Jury said. The spearhead is seven and one-half inches in length overall and one inch at the widest point. It is excellently tapered from the narrow rolled helved portion at the base to the widest point about midway. The head then tapers again to a sharp point.
  • High school student 16, requires any kind of summer job. Apply 119 Hanly St., Midland.
  • Editorial – The Barrie TV station, which was seeking a reporter in the Midland-Penetang area, seems to have found the answer in the columns of this newspaper. On the station’s late local newscast the other night, two stories which appeared in the July 2 issue of the Free Press Herald were read word for word as published the day before. Up to the present, the news coverage for the telecast has been credited to the facilities of the Toronto Telegram and the station’s staff. Now it should include “and the Free Press Herald.”
  • Editorial – With the train to Mariposa now a thing of the past, and a cut in passenger service by rail to and from Midland a distinct possibility of the near future, the iron horse will soon be as scarce in this area as old Dobbin.
  • Penetang’s share of resurfacing Robert Street W. will amount to approximately $900. The total cost of the job is estimated at $8,000. This fact was brought out at Monday night’s meeting of Penetang council when an agreement between the county and the town was read. The agreement calls for one and one-half inches of hot-mix asphalt over present pavement which varies in width from 57 feet to 19 feet. Total length is given at 3,494 feet with a total of 97,000 square yards. The portion to be paved runs from the Main Street corner to the CNR tracks. It is likely some attempt will be made to eliminate a serious depression in the same street near Penetang’s water pumping station, while the resurfacing is being done. (It would be interesting to know how much has been spent on Robert St. W. over the years.)
  • A number of Tay Township taxpayers have protested the erection of eight new buildings of the summer cottage type on Parkside Drive, just west of the Midland town limits. Clerk Ralph Dalton read a petition bearing 17 signatures at Tuesday night’s meeting of Tay council at Victoria Harbour. The group asks that council halt work on the buildings on the grounds that sections of building bylaw 1692 are being violated. Cottages are being built by Mac. Perrin, Midland florist. Two were near the completed stage by Tuesday night, the council was told. Mr. Perrin said yesterday that, when he bought the property 18 years ago he had every intention of building a home on it for himself. But he said he had changed his mind and after a number of summer cottages had been erected along the street (Parkside Drive). He said he used it as a garden for a number of years until the land became “overloaded with septic tank fluid. Then it was of no use as a garden.” The Tay Township building inspector had examined the buildings and found that the only breach of the township’s building bylaw was that cement block pillars supporting the cottages were only 18 inches in the ground instead of 30 inches, Mr. Perrin said. The Midland florist felt the cottages being erected were as good and in some cases better than some of the cottages on the street. (I think Parkside Drive is the present Noreene St. but maybe Pat Cowden can clarify that?)


Going back to March 29, 1900 are some newspaper ads from the King Street merchants of the day. The paper is the Midland Free Press which appears to have been in pretty rough shape when photographed.

1900 adsadsGough Adosborne ad

Herman Robinson Jr – Pipe Organ

Herman Robinson Jr paid the museum a visit last week. Mr Robinson, born in 1923, asked to see the pipe organ. When he told us that he played it, we couldn’t be happier than to let him sit down in front of it.
He told us of how it came to be in Vasey, how it was brought there by oxen and sleigh from Toronto, and how it took 6 days.
When we asked to take photos he was more than happy to oblige.

Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – July 1st to 7th, 1958

Click on photos to enlargePenetang Jaycees installed new officers at ceremonies June 25 in the K of C Hall. Left to right, seated, Ted Light, retiring president, Gordon Patterson, Barrie district president; Rene Lesperance, president-elect; standing; Doug Piitz, director; Martial Dupuis, treasurer; Glen Smith, 2nd, vice-president; Alvin Gravelle, director. 

Trailer fans appear to be taking life easy at Midland’s Little Lake Park. This summer home on wheels is one of several who have registered at the tourist camp for the entire season. 

Tiny colt born at Little Lake Park last Thursday is admired by Margaret Jackson, 13. The colt weighed less than 20 pounds and was 22 inches high. The owner is Edgar Lawson.  Lawson operated pony rides in the park. 

Motorboat races and log rolling contests were among the main attractions at Waubaushene’s annual regatta on the holiday.  Mike Basic, Toronto, was a big winner in the motorboat races.  Bare feet and a slippery log posed quite a problem for these youthful log rollers. 

The annual regatta at Waubaushene attracted a good turn-out of both spectators and competitors on the holiday. Winners of the boys’ swims, seen above left to right, are Ralph Barron, Wayne Jickells, and Roger Wood. Wayne is a Niagara Falls visitor. 

Bubbling over with good health and good spirits, these girls were prize winners in the swims held in connection with the Waubaushene regatta Tuesday. Left to right are Jackie Moreau, Laurie Wilson and Audrey Somers, all of Waubaushene, Helen Richardson, Toronto, Gail and Sharlene Bell, Thistletown. A few minutes after this picture was taken, Audrey stepped on a fish hook. 

Wind and rain failed to dampen the ardor of these teenaged lads who battled it out in the finals of the Inter-County section of Midland’s Little Baseball League June 26. Seen above are, left to right, Sgt. Ernest Bates, coach of the winning police team, Gary Carr, Bill Offord, Doug McGibbon and Phil Hamelin, coach of the losing Canadian Legion squad. 

Kitchikewana Chapter, lODE, awarded social studies awards to David Simmonds and Bonnie Green of Parkview Public School during graduation ceremonies last week, when 95 Midland pupils graduated to Grade 9. 

Chris Gardner, Midland magician, whose feats of legerdemain at the recent convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in Buffalo won him entry into “The Ancient Mystic Order of the Silken Dragon”, admires his trophy. His tricks also won him $40 worth of magic equipment. 

Despite the loss of their sight, these guests at the CNIB picnic in Midland last week still had fun in games specially designed for them. This one is a simple pass-the-ball contest, with the person holding the ball being eliminated when a whistle blew. Rain drove the picnickers indoors from their usual spot at Little Lake Park. More than 140 blind persons from various Simcoe County points attended the event. 

This machine saves a lot of backbreaking labour in laying the natural gas pipeline along Hugel Ave. west into Midland. Big stones, used to build up the roadway when it was laid only a couple of years ago, make it hard going even for a machine. 

My memory of the gas pipeline installation along our street, Russell Street, was being stuck in the house watching out the window, recovering from an appendectomy. This is Bay Street E. with the Canadian Tire store on the right. 

Brigitta Duwe of Parkview Public School receives her Grade 8 graduation diploma during ceremonies held last week. Frank Whiteman of the Public Schools Board makes the presentation, while principal James Robinson, right, assists. 

Winners of the Inter-County division title of Midland’s Inter-county Little Baseball League this year was the police-sponsored Barrie team, seen above. Left to right are, front row John Hawke, Lloyd Kaus, Bob Jackson, Larry Cripps, Dave Squire; back row Sgt. Ernest Bates (coach), Gary Carr, Bob Cripps, Bill Swann, Doug McGibbon, John Dubeau and Murray McComb, league director. 

4-H Homemaking Club girls, ranging from 15 to 20 years of age, spent four days at the OAC, Guelph, last week. They were taken on conducted tours of the campus, MacDonald Institute, and the newly completed physical education building. Here, Helen Marie Langman of the Rugby Club, Orillia, left, Joyce Reynolds of Wyevale, center, and Joanne Hodgson, Craighurst, right, interrupt their busy schedule and stop for a chat. —Photo by Ross J. Anderson 

Among the 200 4-H Homemaking Clubs from 55 Ontario counties who visited the OAC, Guelph, last week was the Busy Misses Club of Wyevale. Diane Hall, left, and Marion Webb of the Wyevale club demonstrate and explain the correct way to dry and take care of nylon stockings, to club members attending the four-day conference. —Photo by Ross J. Anderson 

Happiest woman in town as the cooking school sponsored by Dominion Stores Ltd., and Barber and Haskill in St. Margaret’s parish hall ended last week, undoubtedly was Mrs. Frank Bath, Charles Street. Ticket bearing Mrs. Bath’s name was picked from the box by Gail Scott, the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Scott, and now Mrs. Bath is the proud owner of the brand new electric-stove pictured above. With Mrs. Bath and Gail is Adele Hunt home economist for Dominion Stores. 

  • The Free Press Herald headline of July 2nd, 1958; Warns Bay Water Level May Hit Record Lows in ’59.  K. McKean, district marine agent, Department of Transport, Parry Sound, said this week that it is expected next year will find even lower lake levels on the Great Lakes than those which exist at present. A study of rain and snow precipitation on the Great Lakes Basin, carried out by the U.S. Army Engineer District Lake Survey, indicates that precipitation for the first five months of 1958 is from a half to a quarter less than average for this area, he stated. Cottagers along Georgian Bay, who were plagued by high water levels a few years ago when boat houses were partly submerged and docks under water, find this year in many instances that the docks and boathouses are high and dry. (Sound familiar!)
  • The County Herald headline of July 4th, 1958; Call Special Conference on New Dresswear Edict; Manufacturers in the ladies’ dress and sportswear industry, who objected strongly to the introduction of the Ontario Zone schedule made under the Industrial Standards Act, are being offered the opportunity to discuss further the controversial issues involved. Last month chamber of commerce officials submitted a protest to Prime Minister Frost. Objecting chiefly to the one percent levy on the entire payrolls of the dress and sportswear industry. Chamber officials felt the levy was, in effect, a tax on the Industry which was levied by the Ontario Department of Labor, without specific sanction of the legislature.
  • Harried Harold McAllen, parks superintendent, estimated there were 1,200 visitors in the park’s tourist camp Saturday and Sunday. They filled nearly 80 cabins, 17 trailers, and more than 20O tents. Several families, he said, had registered for the entire season, until Labour Day. The 300 families registered in the tourist: camp were half again as many as there were for the same weekend last year and more than there were for the past four years.
  • Author Ken Wells of Medonte revealed this week he and his wife Lucille have made a switch in plans and will go to the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico as soon as their new craft the ea Owl is fitted out.
  • New fluorescent streetlights have been erected on King Street North, between Bay and Dominion Ave. The new lights, while more expensive than incandescent, are said to be less costly in the long run because their greater lumination permits a reduction in the number of lights without adversely affecting lighting conditions.
  • Sudden onset of hot weather brought what may have been a record number of visitors to the Coldwater area last weekend. A steady stream of autos, many hauling boats on trailers, passed through Main Street which connects with Highway 12 and roads to the Honey Harbour and Port Severn, resort areas, Bass Lake, Orillia, Midland, Martyrs’ Shrine and other points of interest. (The completion of the 400 extension to Coldwater added to these numbers as the Coldwater by-pass had not been built and all traffic went down the main street.)
  • The great wealth of Ontario is indicated by the fact that one-half of the entire country’s income tax comes from that province.
  • Wilf LaRose, 45, a man whose forefathers can be traced back to one of five families which settled on St. Pierre and Miquelon in 1620, is the new manager of the Roxy Theatre, Midland. Wilf, a native of Orillia, is no stranger to Midland having played against Midland high school football teams during his younger years.
  • (Promotion lists were published in this paper for all area schools including rural schools in Tiny and Tay and Sacred Heart in Midland, but many of the pages are damaged. This is my kindergarten class at Regent.) Kindergarten A to 1 Morning Class—Jane Adams, Susan Andrews, Edward Bath, Barbara Benson, Sharon Brooks, David Clark, Joy Cudmore, Terry Diver, Judy Duncan, Stewart Duncan, Dona Galivan, Henry Gallong (I believe it should be Gollong), Susan Hallyburton, Steven Hassell, Jimmie Holden, Edwin Hornsby, Barbara Jean Hudson, John Levack, Brian Mcllravey, Ruth Moore, Harvey Moreau, Stephen Schleihauf, Deborah Smith, Barbara Spence, Billie Spiker, Diane Valliear, Mary Anne Wilson. Afternoon class — Tommy Barber, Gary Brabant, Barbara Campbell, Sheila Child, Katherine Cornell, Danny Edwards, Joseph Harpell, Debbie Heels, Patricia Henry, Marilene Hentzelt, Linda Hopkins, Steven Irvine, Timothy Irvine, Sheila Johnston, Mary Jane Jory, Olile Lacey, Dennis Langridge, Laurel LePage, George Ligowski, Patricia Moreau, Alan Puddicombe, Beatrix Schaefer, Judy Smith, Donnie Stacey, Terry Taylor, Mark Wilcox. Kindergarten B to 1 Patsy Beatty, Sharon Biggar, Bobby Brodeur, Connie Butson, Stuart Cardwell, Jimmy Caston, Stephen Condren, Anne Cummings, Linda Dempsey, Bobby Frame, Freddy Franz, Virginia Fuller, Hugh Gair, Lynn Gray, Stephen Leclair, Randy Lediard, Jane McLean, Donna Mclntaggart, Randy Monckton, Andrew Puddicombe, Susan Rodgers, Bori Shushan, Janice Smith, Patsy Smith, Jimmy Stacey, Leslie White.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – A 26-foot launch, owned by Western Islands lighthouse keeper J. G. Dickson, which had been missing for nine years, was found by Oscar Ellery of Midland and two companions while they were netting carp near the mouth of the Wye River. The hull of the submerged craft was raised, loaded aboard the St. Heliers and transported to Parry Sound, where Mr. Dickson was residing. * * * The semi-annual meeting of the County Lodge of East Simcoe was held in Coldwater Orange Hall. About 150 members attended. * * * A goose owned by Edward Coombs of Midland apparently had adopted mass production methods. It laid two eggs, one completely contained within the shell of the other. * * * A newspaper campaign, protesting against “indecent and immoral pictures which appear on the covers of magazines of a certain class” had been launched in several communities. * * * Two graduates of Midland YMCA Junior Leaders’ Corps, Walling Ruby, and Clarke Edwards were appointed summer playground instructors at Midland and Port McNicoll, respectively. * * * Professional wrestling bouts were to be held in Midland Arena Gardens during the months of July and August. It was the first time the sport had been presented on this scale. * * * Midland’s tax rate for 1933 was set at 46 mills. The total assessment for all purposes was $285,695. * * * The M.S. Midland City set a record for passenger traffic on the Dominion Day holiday weekend. It was her first run of the season.
  • Port McNicoll has a new resident doctor in the community, the first since Dr. J. D. McPhee, former Simcoe East MPP, died in December 1953. The new medico is Dr. C. A. Talbot, a native of Toronto. The Talbots took up residence in Port July 1. Educated at Toronto public and high schools. Dr. Talbot is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and of its School of Medicine. He interned at Toronto East General and Orthopedic Hospital. For the past year he has been associated with a doctor in the Niagara Peninsula. A veteran of World War II, serving with the Royal Canadian Navy, he is married and the father of three children. Keenly interested in Little League Baseball, he played junior hockey in Toronto, softball and senior baseball as well. 

A couple of items from 100 years ago in Midland, during the war years.