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

2006 0020 2037Taken last Sunday during the Provincial Ski Jumping Championship, this photo shows part of the large crowd that turned out for the meet. With more onsite parking and the help of the Provincial Police and a provost corps from Base Borden, organizers were able to keep traffic flowing freely. 2006 0020 2033Skiers eye view from atop the 60 meter ski jump looking north east towards Midland. The roadway is now called Sundowner Road but in 1956 it was the road to Perkinsfield and Balm Beach. It connects directly to Yonge Street and coming west on Yonge Street today you can still see that Yonge led directly to the base of the ski hill. Little Lake is on the right.

2006 0020 2039Long identified with skiing in Midland, William A. Robinson, MP for Simcoe East, cuts the ribbon to officially open the new sixty meter ski jump at Midland Resorts Ltd. during the provincial meet Sunday. Mr. Robinson was also the first president of the organization. Photo includes Pete Pettersen, manager of the resort, Mr. Robinson, Mayor Charles Parker and Ross Larway, Toronto, ski zone official. 

Cropped CrowA crow is perched on a mop in the porch of Mr. & Mrs. Clare Marcellus of 183 Elizabeth St. (now 449). When released he headed home to the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Norman Reynolds, 168 Lindsay Street (now 176) where he is the pet of their son Frank Reynolds. “Tommy” was picked up as fledgling last year at Cedar Point and is a common sight around Regent School. He prefers to be indoors during the cold weather.
I remember this crow when I was a kid, until I saw this article I thought of him as “my pet crow” but I guess he had another life beyond our yard. 

2006 0020 2058

2006 0020 2057“Reached the Limit”. Midland librarian Dawson Leigh stores books in the basement of the library on Hugel Avenue that should be out on the shelves but there is no room. In the top photo, a ladder is needed to reach these books and they were shelved right to the floor, you would have to lie down to read those titles. Angus Mowat, father of Farley Mowat and director of Public Library Service for Ontario, advised the town to either add an addition or construct a new library building. In 1940 when the town first obtained the services of a professional librarian the book stock totalled 8,075 and circulation was 51,000. In 1955 the book stock was 21,750 and the circulation was 69,170. Present membership (1956) stands at 3,610.

Mrs. F. Grimshaw reported to the Penetanguishene library board that 2,046 members had borrowed 20,065 books during 1955. 

2006 0020 2025The winter fleet at Port McNicoll holds 2.5 million bushels of wheat which will be unloaded during this winter. Seen at the dock in front of the huge elevator are the T. R. McLagan, Georgian Bay, and Coverdale of the Canadian Steamship Lines; Golden Hind and the Capt. C.D. Secord of the Mohawk Navigation Company. Also the barge Alexander Holley and tug Helena. CPR Passenger ships Assiniboia and Keewatin winter on the other side of the slip.

2006 0020 2092“Credit Union Appoints New Officers” St. Margaret’s Parish Credit Union directors were chosen at the annual meeting Tuesday. Front, S. Leclair, Mrs. W. J. Murray, secretary; Tom Pyman, president; L. Berriault; Back row, K. Moreau, F. S. Johnstone treasurer, W. Leclair. 

2006 0020 2076

2006 0020 2085 Midland Business College, the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night classes now have an enrollment of 49 students. The classes in typewriting and accounting have proved popular with adult residents of North Simcoe. Head of the business college is Norman Schell who is seen standing in these two photos. 

  • Work to begin next week on the new Loblaw’s Groceteria on King Street. G. C. Bennett of Bennett & Pratt Ltd. of Toronto told this newspaper that 30 to 40 men would be employed, many of them local. The firms other partner is ex-Midlander, Lorne Pratt. The building will measure 67 by 140 feet.
  • Flight-Lieut. Edward R. Jackson of Midland received the Distinguished Flying Cross from Governor General Vincent Massey at an investiture in Ottawa, January 24th.
  • R. J. Cardwell was named president for 1956 of the Midland Medical Officers Association at their recent annual meeting. Dr. James Small, vice president and Dr. E. A. Grise, secretary.
  • Gropp Motors special of the week, 1953 Ford 2-door sedan, two tone blue, radio, heater, excellent tires, $1,395.00.
  • Not the winter of 2015/16; on January 29th, Art Connell, Bill Pheasant, Lloyd Taylor and Mel Wyley of Coldwater drove to Go Home Lake and travelled from there to Gloucester Pool on the Severn River. They reported seeing about twenty five cars and a tractor on the river ice.
  • 25 YEARS AGO, 1931; The newly organized ski club with Wm. A. Robinson as president met to plan the development of the club and the town as a winter resort area. Two jumps were built in the park, one five feet and one three feet. –  Robert Andrew Kent of Hillsdale died in Coldwater in his 90th year. Excerpt from the January 22, 1931 Orillia Packet & Times;  in 1865 he was engaged on the sessional staff of the old province of Upper Canada. This was the session preceding Confederation and in 1867 he was engaged in the sessional staff of the Legislature of Ontario, a position which he filled annually up to and including the last session. It was his great pride that he had never missed a session. He also served on the staff of the Dominion House for seven years during the period in which they met at different times. About the time of Confederation he moved into Flos Township and farmed there until 1901, when he retired to the Village of Hillsdale.
    Kent was a remarkable penman and to him fell the honour of writing out the copy of the British North America Act which was sent to Queen Victoria.
    One of Mr. Kent’s earliest recollections was of having seen Lord Elgin, then Governor General of Canada, pelted with rotten eggs and filth following the signing of the Rebellion Losses Bill. That night the parliament buildings were burned, also the Premier in effigy. He was in Ottawa when Thomas D’Arcy McGee was shot and next morning examined the bullet still sticking in the door of McGee’s boarding house. – January 17, 1931, one of the largest rock falls in the history of Niagara Falls occurred when a large “U-Shaped” formation tumbled down.
  • Edwards Specialty Shop announces the opening of their “Housefurnishings Department”.
  • Federal government contracts have been awarded to two Midland firms, Atkinson Marine & Machine and Daniells’ Welding Service, to construct two steel scows for the Department of Northern Affairs. One of the 35 foot scows will be used at Beausoleil Island National Park.
  • Coach Johnny Mariucci’s U.S. Olympic hockey team win a stunning upset over Canada at Cortina, Italy. Mariucci is well known in Midland. As a member of the defunct St. Louis Flyers, he was a fan favourite when the team trained at the Arena Gardens for two seasons.
  • From the Christian Guardian, archives of the United Church of Canada, the Free Press printed the account of a canoe voyage taken in 1833 from Coldwater to the Saugeen Indian Mission at the mouth of the Saugeen River on Lake Huron, now the home of the Saugeen First Nation. In the letters Matchedash Bay was known as Mahjedushk Bay, Penetanguishene was Penatonguishingk, Nottawasaga River was Notawaysaugah River, Owen Sound was Chewingkatung, Saugeen was Sahgeeng. The voyage was taken in one canoe by four men, averaging 30 miles per day, following the shoreline to Owen Sound.
  • Hobart School to reopen after being closed for five years.
  • Midland Friendship Club of Toronto to hold its second annual meeting in the Oak Room at Union Station, Mayor Charles Parker to be guest speaker.
  • Pen Theatre advertising family nights, “No need to get a baby sitter, bring the kids with you” up to four children in a family admitted free on Thursday nights.
  • Jeffery’s Hardware is selling McClary refrigerators for $199.00 (I bet some of them are still working)
  • Illness of less than a week, 14 year old John Murray Viger, an MPDHS student, dies of rheumatic fever.
  • 1956 campaign, anti-polio Salk vaccine to be given to one million Ontario children.
  • Over seventy grade 12 and 13 girls nominated for Queen of Hearts in the eighth annual contest.
  • HMCS Penetang has been transferred to Norway, renamed KNM Draug in a colourful ceremony in Halifax.
  • Roger Adams, 17, finds a small oyster in a can of frozen oyster soup, about the size of a B-B pellet, pear shaped and blue in colour.
  • All rubber type overshoes on sale for $2.98 a pair at the Midland General Store, 222 King Street.
  • Midland & Penetang’s Queen of Hearts contest, in co-operation with MPDHS, will choose by audience applause five finalist on Thursday night at the Roxy


January 21st, Anne Marie Hamelin, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Hamelin, Penetang and Donald Cyril Lavigne, son of Mr. & Mrs. Cyril Lavigne, Midland at St. Ann’s Memorial Church.
 January 21st, Joan Beteau, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Bath and William A. Hack, son of Mrs. Charles Hack, both of Midland, at Knox Presbyterian Church.


 Frederick A. Hacker, one of Midland’s oldest and most respected businessmen died suddenly Tuesday at his home at 310 Second Street. He was in his 71st year. Born in Midland, he was the son of William & Sarah Hacker. His father operated what is now the Midland Boat Works. He is survived by his second wife Ethel Mae Turner and his son Stanley.
 Mrs. Milton Eplett nee Matilda Nichol Willison, 73, a well respected and active citizen of Coldwater for 53 years. Pre-deceased by her husband Milton Eplett, a Coldwater merchant, in 1954. Surviving are a daughter Marjorie and a son Harry.

 Off topic but interesting, from the Official Automobile Guide of Canada 1912. 
Orillia to Midland 
-Leaving Orillia go west on Mississaga Street past Orillia Opera House and turn right, then left on Coldwater Road, top of the hill pass the cemetery on the right at mile  .7, through Marchmount, a good gravel road to Warminster. Just before the creek leave the telegraph poles and turn to the left at mile 9, then follow the road, at mile 11.1 meet the main road with telegraph poles, turn to the left, jog to the right, follow poles to Midland. Clay road fairly good from Warminster to Coldwater. Here is the Dennison House Hotel and a good gravel road. Turn left at mile 15 over the railway bridge and go on to Fesserton, a winding gravel and sand road, fairly good to Waubaushene and the Queen’s Hotel. On to Victoria Harbour, straight on following the lake shore through to the Old Fort. Good road all the way to Midland, the Queen’s Hotel and Etwell’s Garage.

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