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

 Click on photos to enlarge

2006-0020-2938 Burned out of house and home just about a year ago these pupils of Crossland Public School now have a brand new building, opened officially by George G. Johnston, MPP, Friday night. About 30 children attend the one room school where Miss Marlene Strath is the teacher. Classes have continued in the nearby community hall, the former Methodist Church.

 2006-0020-1855 New one room Crossland Public School in Flos Twp. southwest of Elmvale, officially opened November 30th, 1956. The old school burnt on January 11, 1956 and construction began on August 1.  The building is now a private residence and no longer looks like it did in 1956.

 2006-0020-2960 Mr. & Mrs. Joe Strath served as caretakers of the old Crossland Public School for 18 years before it burned down on January 11th of this year. They will continue to look after the new school which has cost $26,000.00 to build and equip, including air conditioning.

 2006-0020-2868 President of the Midland YMCA, James Playfair, (son of Norman Playfair the stepbrother of Midland industrialist James Playfair), is seen addressing nearly 100 new and youthful members of that organization at induction ceremonies in the “Y” last Wednesday night. Demonstrations on the floor followed the more solemn part of the program.

 2006-0020-2947 Group of first year members of the Midland YMCA demonstrate tumbling during a parents night at the “Y”.

 2006-0020-2949 Open house night at the Midland YMCA last Wednesday night gave new youth a chance to demonstrate some of the abilities learned at the “Y”.

 2006-0020-2944 2006-0020-2945

 Twenty-five officers and men of “C” squadron, Grey & Simcoe Foresters staged a wood cutting bee at R. J. Gilmore’s farm on the 3rd of Tay (Midland Point) on Sunday to aid their comrade who is seriously ill in St. Andrew’s Hospital. Two buzz saws were used to cut 18 bush cords of wood into furnace size. Ten cords were piled in the basement, the rest close to the house.

 2006-0020-2978 Captain Joseph Stewart and his wife in the wheelhouse of the Assinaboia on the occasion of his last trip of the season and of his 36 year career with CPR steamships and 50 years of sailing.

 1994-0132-0036-loading-trees-cnr Harold Gibson, CNR freight agent at Penetang, said yesterday that the last carload of Christmas trees left Penetang for the United States Monday afternoon. Mr. Gibson said that the 57 cars shipped this year was about average. All trees shipped by rail from Penetang are exported, with the majority going to mid-U.S. centers. One carload went to Corpus Christi, Texas. (Photo of Penetang station is undated)

 2006-0020-2890 Not too many years ago, when Anthony Blouin was learning the trade, contact to ships from shore was by Morse key or primitive wireless transmission. Now Mr. Blouin can pick up the phone and talk to almost any ship on Georgian Bay, as far away as the Soo. Telephone connection between the ship and its headquarters in Toronto, Montreal or elsewhere is also made through the Midland Marconi station.


 For the past five years, Anthony Blouin has taken great pride in keeping the grounds and buildings of the Canadian Marconi station in Midland in trim shape. Mr. Blouin watches his son Emile, a teacher at MPDHS, apply white paint to the trim of the radio building.

2006-0020-0793 For those who do not remember the wireless tower, myself included, it can be seen in the background of this photo taken at the corner of Donalda and Irwin Streets. Other stations in Tobermory and Port Burwell had two towers, does anyone remember if there were two here as well?

2006-0020-3089 Estimate loss at $75,000.00 in stubborn fire in the Grise block. Chief Tippin said the blaze was the worst King Street fire since the Dudley block burned in 40 below zero weather in 1949. There were no soaring flames but the fire burned in the ceiling of the first floor in the middle of the building and took five hours to bring under control. Thick smoke kept firefighters from getting at the source of the blaze.

 2006-0020-3019 Huge mess in the Cross Country Cut Rate store about 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning after Midland firefighters poured thousands of gallons of water on a stubborn fire in the Grise block. This store, Martin’s Shoe Repair, Onley & Haig Barristers, The Royal Bank and the office of Dr. Ed Grise were all badly damaged by smoke and water.

 2006-0020-2956 Veterans of politics in Port McNicoll are pictured during nominations last Wednesday night. Clerk Treasurer B. J. Brownell, seated, clerk for 23 years, was able to name Reeve Albert Calvert to his uncontested position for 1957, his ninth term in that office.

2006-0020-2955 Seven men have qualified for four council seats in Port McNicoll ensuring a lively election on December 17th. Cyril Larkin, George H. Burns, T. E. Lewis, Steve Thoms, Jack Fisher and seated Alec McCullagh. Absent was Jack Zummach.

 2006-0020-2952 Signing up all the youngsters in Midland and Penetang who wish to join Little League Hockey is a big job, as is finding equipment, ice time and coaches. Front, David Scott, Bobby Ruston, coach Freddie Scott of Penetang and Jim McKinnon. Rear, Rev. Len Self, director of Midland LHL and Bob Morgan, a director of the Penetang league. 

  • Mayor Charles Parker acclaimed for his seventh term as Midland’s mayor. Elections were held annually in December at this time.
  • Well known Midland accountant Frederick “Freddie” French died suddenly at St. Andrew’s Hospital Sunday in his 61st year. Mr. French had recently purchased the home of the late Dr. J. D. McPhee of Port McNicoll. For many years Mr. French was the bookkeeper for the D. S. Pratt Co. and prior to that worked for the old Manley Chew Lumber Co.
  • Flos Reeve, Walter Middleton, acclaimed for his 15th term. He has served Flos council for 24 consecutive years.
  • Seventeen students receive certificates at commencement exercises at Port McNicoll Continuation School.
  • The regular court room in the band hall on Dominion Ave. was tied up with four polling booths, Magistrate K. A. Cameron found himself presiding over court from behind a table in Fire Chief Arnold Tippin’s office in its temporary quarters on Bay Street.
  • 25 YEARS AGO 1931 – Capt. W. A. Lavigne, skipper of the Gleneagles, was instantly killed when the car in which he was riding struck a freight train between Fort William and Port Arthur. — The first snowfall of the winter hit Midland on December 1st — Midland’s new arena, under construction, was said to be “the best looking arena north of Toronto”. It was to feature “gleaming white walls and a roof of slate-coloured three-ply asphalt.” —Dr. J. M. Nettleton reported to Penetang council that the town had the second highest infant death rate in the province. Of 87 local births, 10 died before the end of the first year. — One of the most modern barns in the district, owned by Howard Smith on Penetang Road, was destroyed by fire. Although most of the stock was saved, 12 pigs and 3 calves were lost.  — The new Ritz restaurant was destroyed in a fire that also damaged surrounding stores. Damaged by smoke and water from the blaze was McKillen Bros. Men’s Wear.
  • Three people had run into the new glass walls in the entrance to Regent School in one day. Red placards have been put up as a warning.
  • Penetang solicitor A. B. Thompson, (“Great escape” veteran) wins the only ballot facing voters, the mayoralty. Mr. Thompson received 612 votes against 277 for his opponent George Kerr. Penetang’s first mayor, when it was incorporated in 1882, was Alfred A. Thompson, grandfather of the mayor elect. Father of the new mayor, also A. B. Thompson, served this area for many years in the provincial legislature. Another member of the Thompson family who entered civic life was Wm. A. Thompson who served as mayor before receiving an appointment as Crown Attorney for Simcoe County.
  • Onley and Haig, barristers, wish to announce that their office is now located at 217 King Street, formerly Strathearn’s Jewellers.
  • Coldwater sees 80% turnout of voters due to efforts of the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
  • $25.00 reward offered for information on the theft of a boat and motor from the dock behind the Boat Works, signed Howard Dragoman, Cities Service Station, Bay & First Sts.
  • The tree that wasn’t there last year on top of the Midland Simcoe Elevator isn’t there again this year. The tree is made up of strings of coloured lights festooned from the flag mast. The tree illusion is created at night only, in the daytime it disappears.
  • Odeon Theatres Canada appealed the assessment on the Capitol Theatre they own on King Street as it has not been used for several years as a theatre. Midland Foundry and Machine appealed the assessment on their Manton Foundry building on Manly Street that is being assessed by the cubic foot. C. E. Onley on behalf of Midland Foundry argued that the 40 foot high roof had been designed to fit the needs of the previous owners and that present operations only required a 15 to 20 foot ceiling. They were awarded a $1,500.00 reduction on their $23,040.00 assessment. The Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada were also awarded a reduction on the 30 acres they own between the Wye River and the CNR tracks which they were renting out for $25.00 per year as pasture.
  • Two Toronto men will spend two years in jail for stealing the cash register containing $91.00 from Wilford’s Service Station on October 22nd.
  • Midland election results, Reeve, W. H. Keller; Alderman, Clinton Smith, Bill Orr and Doug Haig; PUC, Bill Logan and Charles Stevenson; Public School Board, Frank Bray, Mrs. McIntyre and Jack Thompson. Turnout of voters was 42.6% compared to 38% in 1955.

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