Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years ago in North Simcoe – Feb 8th to 15th 1956

Under the title “Tiny Talks”, the author is not identified.

 “Sleigh Bells’ Song is Gone”

   As I stood outside on a cold sunny day in February I realized the sounds of winter have changed. A few years back on a day such as this I would hear the monotonous twang of the crosscut saws in the bush as they cut slowly through the big logs. Picture tired men on each end of them steadily sawing from day light till dark. Today I hear the much louder power saws as they scream their way through the logs in bushes to the north and west of us.

   Years ago, on this frosty day, you would hear the quick jingle of the string bells that hung across the driving horses backs and kept up a merry tune as they trotted along. Then there were the loud chimes nailed on the shafts of the cutters, and last but not least you could hear the steady ding, ding of the big bells that hung on the harness of the heavy horses, and kept tune as they plodded along with their heavy loads. Everyone knew the sound of their own bells and many a farm wife would listen to hear if their men-folk were coming home. As I write this I can only hear the hum and rumble of the cars and trucks on the highway a mile away.

 Click on photos to enlarge2006 0020 0657A. E. “Andy” Davidson has been appointed administrator of St. Andrew’s Hospital, relinquishing his position as secretary on the board to do so. Replaced on the board by Frank Spence. Mr. Davidson had been the office and personnel manager at Leitz since they opened in Midland in 1952 and prior to that was a senior systems analyst with the Steel Company of Canada. Previous to that he had seven years in the banking business and had served in WW11. Andy is married to Beulah Silvester of Midland and has four children. 

2006 0020 2096Despite the cold weather the brickwork is nearly complete on the new Bell Telephone exchange building on the corner of Hugel and Midland Ave. The building is scheduled to open early next summer.

2006 0020 2095No better site in Canada for a winter ice carnival than Penetang Bay, seen here from Highland Point looking into Penetang. February 25th the annual Winterama will take place here and will include scoot races, ski-joring (being pulled on skis behind a scoot) and trap shooting. 

2006 0020 2099Chimneys and rubble are all that remain of Grisé’s Store and dance hall in Honey Harbour after a fire early Sunday morning. The one story 70 x 150 foot structure was built by George Grisé Sr. eighteen years ago and George Grisé Jr. was in the process of converting it into a fourteen unit motel. 

2006 0020 1950Mary Wilson of Midland was the unanimous choice of the audience for the Queen of Hearts title held at the Roxy Theater. Among her many gifts was an all expense paid trip for two to New York city. Runners up were Marg Ambeau, Jeanne Sauvé, Annette Martin and Noreen Shiels.

2006 0020 2086Poster contest winners from Midland high school and public schools with two members of the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union). Seated, Ingabord Krauss, Mrs. C. V. Freeman, Carolyn Bath, Mrs. Wilfred Farquhar and Lynn Howard. Standing, Wayne Farquhar, Christian Rebhan, David Bertrand and Frank Okenka. Dawn Annand was absent when the photo was taken. 

  • Special school grant from the province of $2.00 per pupil will cut local school taxes by $10,000.00
  • Employment at Midland Reinforced Plastics on Ellen Street has increased to five full time and five part time employees, orders for the 8 foot sport outboard boat, the Flying Flivver are strong
  • Penetang town clerk W. H. Hewson and his wife report seeing a robin in their yard Saturday morning
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners withdraw pickets from the Orillia Collegiate and Midland Bell Telephone building sites to allow other trades to continue their work. The pickets have been on the two sites since September 21st
  • In the want ads we see three ads with chicks for sale, standard varieties, broiler chicks, special hybrids, Pilch, White Rock, Ames in-Cross, Arbor Acre
  • Waitress wanted, apply Globe Restaurant, Elizabeth Street, still a nice place to eat 60 years later
  • Re-organization of Midland Police unanimously decided by council. Council admitted there had been insufficient liaison in the past two years between the chief and the chairman of the police committee. Constable Ed Armstrong will be retired on pension, Chief William Nicholas has been asked to submit his resignation as of March 15th, and the remainder of the force will also be dispensed with on March 15th. Advertisements have been placed for a new chief, constables and probationary constables with applications to close March 1. Members of the present force are free to apply.
  • Knox Church will host the Mariner’s Service this year, the lesson will be read by Captain Frank Harpell, other officers and sailors will be ushering, including Mel Buckland, Norm Donaldson and Dick Tuck
  • MPDHS senior and junior basketball teams score a double win over Collingwood
  • Glen Mawr Frocks Limited are holding a sale of Remnants, Mill Ends and Seconds, assorted Trimmings and Material, corner of Manley and Hugel. (In 1956 Manly Street was always spelled with an “e”)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Walter Patchell, well known in Midland and Tiny Twp. were injured in an auto accident at LeFaive corner Wednesday morning. Mrs. Patchell is hospitalized in Penetang with her injuries. The Patchell’s operated a grocery store on Yonge St. E. Midland for many years and in recent years operated a store and summer post office at Nottawaga Beach
  • At the Pen, James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Rear Window” and James Stewart in the “Man from Laramie”
  • At the Roxy, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief”. Filmed in Monaco where she will soon live and reign as a princess
  • St. Margaret’s Parish Credit Union has, since its inception in 1945, made 487 loans valued at over $100,000.00
  • Why run for the phone when you can have an extension anywhere in your home for less than .05 cents per day
  • Midland council calls for tenders to build a new municipal building
  • Between 900 and 1,000 entries expected for the tenth annual Midland Music Festival, under the joint auspices of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club and the Midland branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association, to be held in the YMCA
  • Penetang Council asks Chief of Police, John Power, for his resignation
  • Remember TV Snack Tables? Only $1.59 with every $5.00 purchase at the Red & White Food Stores
  • McNamara Construction of Toronto (summer home at Thunder Beach) has been awarded the $702,135.00 contract for the next section of the new Trans Canada highway between the MacDonald River and the Muskoka River (Musquash maybe)
  • Winterama fishing derby prize to be a new boat and motor


January 28th, Yvette Marie Moreau, daughter of Mrs. Willie Moreau, Perkinsfield and John Frederick Kaus, son of Mr. & Mrs. Fred Kaus, Penetang, at St. Patrick’s in Perkinsfield.

January 28th, Barbara Helen Dillon, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. V. Dillon, Penetang, and Gerard Gabriel Genier, son of Mr. & Mrs. Honore Genier, Lafontaine, at St. Ann’s Memorial Church.

January 14th, Lucille Dumais, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Albert Dumais, Penetang, and Alvin Gravelle, son of Mr. & Mrs. Albert Gravelle, Penetang, at St. Ann’s Memorial Church.

January 14th, Annette Sauvé, daughter of Mrs. Joseph Sauvé of Port McNicoll, and Joseph Lewin, son of Mr. & Mrs. William Lewin, Toronto, at Sacred Heart Church, Port McNicoll.


Emily Adelaide Beatty, died at St. Andrew’s Hospital, February 3rd. Born in Wyebridge in 1874 and married there to John Beatty on June 11, 1902. Related to the Drummond-McCaul smelter family and moved here when the smelter opened. Pall bearers were a “who’s-who” of Midland. V. G. Edwards, Capt. Ed Burke, J. J. Robins, Albert Hartman, James Clarkson, George Dudley Q. C., Dr. T. J. Johnson.

 David Bell Sr. died February 1st in St. Andrew’s Hospital of a heart attack, aged 76. Rated as one of the top boxing and running trainers of his day. Born in Scotland Mr. Bell came to Canada in 1907 and lived in Midland for 42 years. Shipbuilder by trade, David married Mary Jane McWha at Peterborough in 1911. Father of Davie Bell of Midland.

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