Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – June 23rd to 30th, 1957

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Forty foot cruiser the “Sea Flight”, owned by Toronto industrialist Robbert Hartog of Kitchen Industries Limited, and Paterson freighter Quedoc collide at about 10:50 PM two miles north of Hope Island. Mr. Hartog was outbound for Little Current with five Scouting youth and another leader while the Quedoc was inbound loaded with grain for Midland. One third of the stern was sheared off but there were no injuries. Passengers were picked up and the cruiser towed to Midland by the Quedoc. These photos are taken at the Great Lake Boat and Machine yards in Sunnyside. 

 Last Monday’s heat was too much for one Midlander. The sign on tailor Bill Wilson’s door speaks for itself.  

Winners of three of the five trophies won by Little League baseball teams in Midland are seen following the “final night” at Parkview School field. Vern Kettle was captain of the New York Giants who beat St. Louis for the National League title. Sandy Berriault led Montreal to victory over Toronto in the International League. Ernie Boast was captain of the American Association winners, Indianapolis Indians. 

An old friend returns to Midland harbour Wednesday, June 19, when the cruise ship South American brought some 350 members and guest of the Cleveland Ohio Chamber of Commerce. A few years ago the South and her sister the North American plus other cruise ships made Midland a regular port of call. Frank Bray, president of the Midland Chamber of Commerce has just presented Curtis Smith, his Cleveland counterpart, with a handsome plaque made by Canadian Name Plate to commemorate the visit. Left to right are; Neville Keefe, Hugh Blair, Frank Bray, Doug Haig, Ted Lounsberry, Mr. Curtis, R. M. Ruhlman secretary of the Cleveland group, harbourmaster Dave Hewis, W. H. Keller and Mayor Charles Parker. 

“Toujours elle était joyeuse.” That’s the way Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Laurin of 115 Fifth Street, Midland, feel about their 50 years of wedded life, having celebrated their golden wedding anniversary June 16. In spite of the trials of nearly a half century of farming, the depression years, two wars and raising 10 children, they still say “it was always happy”. If it was happy, it wasn’t always easy. Born on a Lafontaine farm, Philip started to work at 13. He had to stand on a box to harness the horses. A horse caused him trouble later on, too, when he was kicked in the leg and was out of work for nine months. He met Odianna, daughter of farmer Frank Robitaille, at a dance in Lafontaine. They were married by the then parish priest, Father Desroches, when Mr. Laurin was 25 and she was 18. They raised all their children in Lafontaine, where they themselves were born, and educated. The couple moved to Midland 13 years ago, when Mr. Laurin stopped farming. Their Fifth Street home is close to the church; they like their neighbours; there’s a good-sized vegetable garden. Which is quite enough, they feel, to keep them happy. They have three boys and seven girls living, and all are married. There are 66 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The golden wedding anniversary was the first time all the children had been together at once since they’d grown up. 

“Suffer the little children to come unto Me” is the title of this stained glass window erected in St. Paul’s United Church Midland, in memory of Mary Elizabeth Auld. Miss Ethel Wagg unveiled the window at a special ceremony Sunday and J. W. Smith, the clerk of session, accepted the window on behalf of the congregation. 


Newly elected executive of the Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural meeting in the office of the senior chamber Wednesday night. Seated; Ken Webb, director; Frank Bray, president of the senior chamber; Jack Gardiner, Jaycee president. Back row; Herman Livingston, secretary; Armin Weisflogg, treasurer; Bill Spiker, first vice-president; Norman Palmateer, director. 

Four winners of awards for proficiency in social studies are pictured at public school graduation ceremonies at Parkview School. They are Winston Schell (Regent), Arlene Staruck (Parkview), Carol Morrison (Parkview), Lynda Riley (Regent). The awards are presented annually by Kitchikewana Chapter, Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire. 

Grade 10 graduates at St. Mary’s Separate School in Victoria Harbour receiving their certificates Monday night. Front row; Martha LaChapelle and Maryanne Lavereau. Back row; Alvin Asselin, Allan Arbour, James Brodeur and Michael St. Amand.


Ten years ago Roy Fenton built a cruiser of welded aluminum and it was so successful he built another one last winter. Along with his son John, he is seen launching the “Skipper” at Midland dock. Twenty-four feet long with an eight-foot beam and features a “V” drive with the engine at the rear and gear box amidships. 

“It’s a nice country, and the people are nice, too.” That’s why Danish-born Folmar Nielsen gave up a good job near Ottawa to return to the Midland area and begin anew his boat-building business. “We feel more at home here,” said Nielsen. “We” includes his wife and six children, all but one of whom were born in Denmark. Renting a farm on Con. 3, Tay, about half a mile south of Old Fort School he is operating under the name of Nielsen Products. Folmar has all the boat building and repairing he can handle at the moment. On the rush list are a number of boats for various YMCA camps on Beausoleil Island. These have to be ready for the water by July 1. Also on order are a 25-foot motor boat, a sailboat, and several others of smaller size. Folmar also helps out at Roy French’s Midland shop when his services are needed.

This photo was not used in the newspaper but we wanted to include it because it shows the Midland Curling Club before the addition of the club room on the north end, the water fountain that I remember as a kid and the fact that public school field days were held in what was then called the “Midland Town Park”.  Rick Lemieux is seen beside the fountain, others to be identified. 

Another of this area’s grand old couples, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Jones marked their golden wedding anniversary at their Con. 4, Tay, farm home, about a mile west of Port McNicoll, June 19. A farmer all his life, Mr. Jones credits that active vocation with the good health still enjoyed by himself and Mrs. Jones. Now in his 74th year, he has always looked after large stocks of both cattle and sheep. For some 16 years, he was in the wholesale milk business, with the CPR boats at Port McNicoll his largest customers. Although he was born at Cartwright, near Port Perry, Louis Jones has been a resident of this area practically all his life. Louis had two brothers and a sister, all well-known locally. His sister, Miss Annie Jones, was a public school teacher in Midland for many years and still resides here. One brother, James, still lives in Wyevale at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Delbert Reynolds. The other brother, Wilmott, who farmed at Triple Bay after a number of years in Western Canada, died two years ago. Louis Jones got his three R’s at the old Russell School a mile and a half northeast of Vasey. Louis and Emma met when Mr. Jones, Sr., and his son were visiting old friends in the Omemee area. About a year later, June 19, 1907, they were married. For the first six years of their wedded life, Mr. and Mrs. Jones lived on the old homestead at Vasey. It was in the spring of 1914 that they moved to the present farm, just outside Port McNicoll. “Farming then was a lot different than it is today,” said Mr. Jones, who along with his son, Edmond, who has the adjoining farm, still likes to do his share of the chores. With some 300 acres and plenty of stock between them, there is still enough work to keep Mr. Jones plenty active for a man his age. (This anniversary was posted in last weeks edition but with a different photo and less information.)


  • The headline, June 26, 1957, Free Press Herald. “Find 24 Foot Boat Washed Ashore, Drag Severn for Missing Workman” Ontario Provincial Police officers from Victoria Harbour detachment yesterday continued dragging operations in the Severn River north of Port Severn in an attempt to discover the body of a cottage workman who has not been seen since he left Port Severn shortly after midnight   Missing and believed drowned is John Butt, 28, of Grafton, who was working at the C. B. Wallace cottage about four miles upriver from Port Severn.
  • The headline, June 28, 1957, County Herald. “Say Move Under Way in Coldwater for Four Way Liquor Vote in the Fall” The village of Coldwater may be faced with a vote on the introduction of a liquor store, brewers’ warehouse and men’s and women’s beverage rooms, it was learned yesterday. A group of Coldwater businessmen are said to be drawing up a petition for such a vote, and that an organizational meeting is to be held Tuesday night.
  • Plaques marking two historic sites at Penetang were unveiled in ceremonies Wednesday afternoon with officials from Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board, Army, Navy, provincial and federal houses and municipalities participating. The historic plaques were erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board to mark St. James’ Garrison Church-on-the-Lines and the site of the residence of Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield, R.N.
  • When Francis “Punny” Dumais saw a car rolling along the Main Street of Penetang last week with only a couple of children in it, he decided it was time to act. He eventually stopped the vehicle with his own car. An investigation later revealed the car was owned by Martin Fitzgerald, who, along with his wife was shopping in the IGA store at the time. They had parked the car in front of the store, leaving their two young children in it. While waiting, the children had taken the car out of gear, and it proceeded to roll down the steep Main Street incline. When “Punny” saw the car he accelerated his own vehicle, got in front of it, stopped, and reversed until he came in contact with the wanderer, bringing it to a halt.
  • “Love Me Tender” starring  Elvis Presley is playing at the Pen.
  • Next Monday, July 1, Canada, as a nation, will be 90 years old. To help celebrate that 90th birthday, Midland’s Huronia Museum is opening its doors free on Dominion Day to all children 12 and under. There will be no admission charge next Monday at the museum for any child accompanied by an adult. “Nearly 1,000 school children from all over central Ontario have come to see the museum’s Indian, pioneer and marine exhibits these past four weeks”, explains Mrs. D. H. Wray of the museum staff.
  • A former Midland boy now holds a somewhat unique honour. He is one of four specially trained technicians in Canada in charge of an electronic brain that is reputed to be the most advanced scientific computer in the western world outside of the United States. The “brain” is the only one of its kind in Canada and is the same type as the one that will be used to calculate and predict the orbit of the scientific earth satellite to be launched by a multi-stage rocket into space during the International Geophysical year. One of the four in charge of the computer is Graham Gunn, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Gunn, Midland. Born in Midland, he attended Regent School and Midland District High School.
  • TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK; Sugar and molasses were the only products still being rationed when rationing regulations were removed. Price ceilings were also removed from butter, cheese and concentrated milk. * * * The luxury cruise ships, North and South American, had to use radar to dock at Midland because of the heavy fog which hung over the harbour. * * * Each member of the winning team in the OMHA Bantam series was presented with a crest, and a cup was presented to the team. * * * Twenty-two American weekly newspaper editors, on a 10-day goodwill tour of Ontario, visited Midland and Martyrs Shrine while they were in this area. * * * Don Perrault, a petty officer of Midland’s “RCSCC Admiral Yeo” (now RCSCC Huron), was one of 25 Canadian sea cadets selected to visit Britain. * * * Ray Gauthier was appointed principal of Penetang High School. He succeeded Principal E. J. Doris. * * * A new high school area was being discussed by the county council and district school boards. The proposed new area was to include Victoria Harbour, Tay Township, Medonte, Port McNicoll, Penetang and Tiny Township. * * * Midland council decided to hold a special meeting to discuss a plan to operate buses in Midland. Penetang – Midland Coach Lines was seeking a franchise. A group of taxi operators in the town were opposed to the move. * * * West Simcoe Deanery held its 29th annual meeting in All Saints’ Church, Penetang. Seventy-four delegates attended.
  • Fear of missing important telephone calls need no longer keep a person from leaving his home or office unattended. He can now obtain an “electronic secretary” which will automatically answer his telephone when he is absent. Two such devices are now being made available by the Bell Telephone Company in its Ontario-Quebec territory, according to H. A. Kilroy, the company’s manager for this region.
  • A veteran of several campaigns and two world wars, James Somerville, 79, Midland, died Wednesday at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Rev. J. L. Self of Knox Presbyterian Church is to officiate at the service Saturday afternoon at Nicholls funeral home. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery. Mr. Somerville was a member of the 1st Bn. Grenadier Guards with which he went ‘up the Nile’ under Kitchener in 1895. He was with the Grenadiers at Gibraltar in ’96 and at Khartoum in Egypt in ’97, He received his first campaign medal from the hands of Queen Victoria at Windsor, England, in 1898. Transferred to 3rd Bn. Grenadier Guards in ’99, he fought with them through the South African campaign. Taking his discharge in 1903, he came to Canada. He was back in uniform in World War I, overseas with the Engineers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He had four years’ service. In World War II, he served for two more years in the Veterans Guard. He retired after years of service with the Bell Telephone Company several years ago.
  • Next week’s wrestling card at the Arena Gardens headlines a great local favourite, Yukon Eric, against the newest villain of the squared circle, former Edmonton Eskimo football star Gene Kiniski.

One thought on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – June 23rd to 30th, 1957

  1. Louis Jones was my great great grandfather, Edmound was my great grandfather, Wayne is my grandfather and David Jones is my father. It makes me so happy to see that report from ’57, that was the year my father was born. I have never seen that picture before and loved reading about the “grand old couple”. Thank you!! I still have some of Louis’ old papers as well as some of Edmonds old work calendars.

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