Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years ago in North Simcoe – Jan 1st to 7th 1956

  • National Employment Service (NES) reports that there were 400 fewer jobless in the North Simcoe district in 1955. At December 31st 1955 there were 1,008 males and 111 females drawing benefits and 35% of the men were sailors.
  • William H. Hewson, Penetanguishene barrister and clerk – treasurer of the town was appointed Queen’s Counsel. Bill carried on the work of his father W. H. Hewson who died in 1928 and was Penetang’s clerk for almost fifty years.
  • Only nine absentees of the 687 students registered at MPDHS on opening day, Thursday January the 5th, the best day in three months and a sign of things to come hopes principal Lorne M. Johnston. Students were given time tables with room numbers at their last day in the old school, this helped to avoid lost students wandering in the unfamiliar halls. Shops should be ready by Monday, PA system by Wednesday, home economics lab in a week and the gymnasium by the end of January.     (This morning I was informed of the passing of Annabelle Lovering a former home economics teacher at MSS and wife of science teacher Murray Lovering)
  • Sir James Hamet Dunn, 81, dies at his home in St. Andrews, N.B. Sir James controlled many companies that had a direct connection to the fortunes of Midland and many of us remember watching his namesake, the CSL bulk carrier Sir James Dunn, spending her last years tied up at the coal dock waiting for a cargo that never came. Sir James controlled the Algoma Steel Corporation, Canadian Steamship Lines, Midland Shipyards, Century Coal Co. and the Midland Grain Elevator Company.
  • Chief Leonard Monague of Christian Island is recovering in Midland hospital from injuries he received in an assault at his home on New Year’s Eve. Charges have been laid.
  • Lorraine Mfg. Company and Cyril N. Larkin and Sons now represent half of Port McNicoll’s industrial presence. For many years a one industry town the Larkin family now employ sixteen people in the manufacture of textile goods that they sell to Eaton’s, Simpson’s, Gordon MacKay and many other large wholesalers and retailers.
  • Only a week after Remi Asselin of Perkinsfield died in a collision with the Penetang freight train on Robert Street in Penetang a young mother is killed in a similar accident in Elmvale involving the thrice weekly train. Mrs. Donald McFadden was enroute with her husband from Toronto to her in laws, Mr. & Mrs. Leonard McFadden, Conc. 10, Flos.
  • The Midland Public School Board is sponsoring a contest to name the new public school that was MPDHS. The writer of the article, Barry Hughes, is suggesting geography might give some ideas for a name, perhaps “Westside” or “Parkside”. Founding families or individuals such as Samuel Fraser, Jabez Dobson, J. B. Horrell, T. I. Trueman or the first settler in Tay, Michael MacDonnell could be other options.
  • Notice in the classified section; “Would the person who borrowed sleigh and harness bells Christmas Eve from Frank Carroll, promising to return them the next morning, kindly do so and oblige.”
  • From “Wise and Otherwise” a quote from Pete Pettersen; “the credit for the success of the new Midland Ski property should in no small part go to Budd Watson. Budd’s instruction classes have won high praise from many visitors and some Torontonian’s have joined the club just to benefit from his teaching. Shutter bugging and slaloming have something in common with Budd who is also building up a reputation as a stage comic.”
  • Don Boyce is joining Duggan Motor Sales as Service Manager. Don has 25 years experience in automobile mechanics.
  • Midland police shot a wolf in the yard of A. Irvine on Dominion Avenue last week, photo and write up in the Midland Free Press caused Mrs. Norman Clarke of 167 Fifth Street, (two blocks away) to identify her 10 month old German Shepherd as the wolf. (a bit more humane than running over it multiple times)
  • Big part of Christmas for 1,250 Penetang kids was the free ticket distributed to them on the last day of school before the holiday by the Pen Theatre and Mrs. Milly Watson the manager. Special films were secured for the kids and had to be shown twice to accommodate everyone. It is also known that the Pen regularly gives free Saturday admission to school safety patrollers.
  • Pete Pettersen strapped on his skis for the first time in seven years after badly breaking his leg, the only serious injury in the history of the Midland ski jump.
  • Port McNicoll volunteer firefighters man the village skating rink again this year, two of them every evening.
  • No charges of impaired driving over the New Year holiday weekend by OPP, Midland or Penetang police.

Click on photos to enlarge.

2006 0020 1998 Mrs. Robert Carson, 68 Ottawa Street,  gave birth to the first baby of 1956 at 3:45 A.M. January 4th, somewhat late for the New Year’s celebration. Teddy Carson will be a brother to Roberta Joy Carson aged two. Missing the first baby honours by a few hours were Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Howe whose daughter was born at 9:15 AM December 31. Dr. Ike Weldon had the honour of delivering both the last baby born in St. Andrew’s in 1955 and the first in 1956. First baby in Penetang, a boy, was born January 3rd to Mrs. Robert Rowat of Elmvale. 2006 0020 2014 Grade 3 and 4 students waiting for the bell to ring at their new school on Sixth Street, the former MHS. Formerly students of Central School they and their teachers will no longer have to endure early risings and staggered classes. 

Getting the old Midland High School or more recently the MPDHS building on Yonge Street converted to a public school over a Christmas holiday week was no easy chore. It was noted in the newspaper that because the taxes of Separate School supporters had been used to fund the operation and some of the capital expenses of the old High School, the approval of the Separate School Board would be required before the building could be transferred to the Public School Board. Approval was given.2006 0020 2004Moving a piano to the second floor of the old Midland High School in preparation for public school pupils to begin using the building. Jim Crawford on far left, Bill Bowen, Charlie Stewart and Len Wiles.2006 0020 2005A rush job converting the MHS facility for public school use over the Christmas holiday, carpenter Ken Trew is seen boring holes for ink wells in 40 grade eight desks as well as other jobs throughout the school.2006 0020 2007Principals Lorne Johnston, right, and Ray Gauthier did not get much of a Christmas holiday as they worked to ready the new MPDHS for students who actually got two extra days off, reporting to class on Thursday.2006 0020 2003No Yule Holiday for them, Bill Elrick, left, and Len Wiles, caretakers of the combined Central and Sixth Street schools are seen arranging desks in the Grade 1 class at the newly acquired school on the corner of Yonge and Sixth Streets.2006 0020 0815I missed a good Santa photo last week. This one is from 1954.

Santa Claus pays a pre-Christmas visit to the Midland YMCA. On Santa’s knee is John Thompson, other children from the left are Karl McAllen, Ken Trew, Tommie Attridge and Betty Ann McCullough. 2006 0020 1601

“Waxing the Hickories” Young skiers learn the proper way to apply ski wax from Budd Watson, downhill and slalom ski instructor at the Midland Ski Club.2006 0020 2009Golden wedding anniversary of Mr. & Mrs. William Wilcox of 403 Nelson Street. They are seen reading congratulations from Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, Premier Frost, Deputy Speaker Wm. A. Robinson  and MPP Lloyd Letherby.2006 0020 2012Once a member of the famed RAF “Dam Busters” squadron, Frank Harmsworth of Midland looks over a model of a Lancaster bomber used in the raid. Although he joined the squadron after that raid he was involved in many others and was shot down over Germany. With the help of the French resistance he eventually made his way back to Gibraltar and Britain. He turned 20 during his escape. Now pursuing the more mundane job of selling flooring in Edwards Specialty Shop, Frank would eventually have his own very successful flooring business during the time when we carpeted every room. He is a member of the Order of the Boot, Caterpillar Club and RAF Escaping Society. With him is Al Perkins manager of the Roxy Theater. Interest in this story was occasioned by the showing this weekend at the Roxy Theatre of the epic new film “The Dam Busters”.

Frank died at Midland, July 20th, 2014, age 91. 

2006 0020 2015The year 1955 is just so much water over the dam now. Photo taken New Years Day at Port Severn.

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