Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – November 1st to 7th, 1957

Click on Photos to Enlarge The progress of Midland YMCA fundraising drive for $9,500.00 will be recorded on the big thermometer at the corner of King and Hugel. L to R, Alex Owen, “Y” secretary, W. H. Mutch, Jack Doughty campaign chairman and J. W. Smith, executive secretary. Up the ladder is Lloyd Stackhouse, the physical instructor at the “Y”. 

Midland librarian Dawson Leigh studies one of the pamphlets in the library’s display of publications by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The travelling exhibit helped to mark United Nations Day, October 24th. 

Somewhere beneath the pile is “Red” Glenn Nicholls who has just scored the second touchdown in the senior MPDHS senior teams 25 – 0 win over Orillia ODCVI at Midland Tuesday afternoon. The Purple and Gold scored one touchdown per quarter and have yet to be scored on this season. 

The new roadway at the junction of Highways 12 and 27, just west of Midland seems to be meeting with favour from most motorists. Above, a truck coming from Midland on Highway 12 is stopped prior to entering Highway 27. One car can be seen heading towards Penetang and the other towards Barrie on No. 27. Some motorists, travelling north on 27 have criticized the project finding the curve leading into Midland rather sharp. 


Valedictorians at the MPDHS graduation exercises Friday night were Myrna Bannan and Joseph Tersigni. Both top students, they each garnered two scholarships during their final year at the high school. 

MPDHS Glee Club opened the program at the graduation exercises of MPDHS Friday night. The girls’ choir of the club presents a selection under the direction of R. C. Ireland, accompanied by Mrs. Spence Richardson. 


 Joe Lee moved to 59 Sixth Street about a year ago, broke the land and has found everything he planted doing well. These two beauties weighed in at a total of four pounds. 


Saturday’s pheasant hunt sponsored by the Penetang Chamber of Commerce who released 70 birds last Wednesday at two farms northwest of Penetang, provided a lot of hunting but not too much shooting for the large group of hunters who turned out. John Powers got the first of less than six birds shot. 


This new type of floor covering, stretching across the sidewalk in front of Edwards Specialty Shop also crossed the roadway and was an eye catcher for locals last weekend. Staff member Frank Harmsworth is seen with the display. 

Former principal J. J. Robins was present at the MPDHS graduation exercises Friday night to present the Kiwanis Club scholarship of $50.00 for the highest and second highest aggregate marks in English, History and four options of the graduation diploma. Marion Gray and Wendy Howard tied for the top spot. 

You just don’t see newspaper ads for farm grease anymore!!


  • The County Herald headline of November 1st, 1957. Textile Industry Expands – Centres Operations Here; Steve Cerney, general manager, announced yesterday Bay Mills Limited, Midland, is in the process of shifting its head office and finishing department from Montreal to Midland. Key personnel of the company who have moved, or will be moving to Midland are Mr. Cerney himself, S. J. Nichols, sales manager, E. Johnson, head of the accounting department, Phil Fuller, order service department, Harry Miller, quality control supervisor, whose family is now in Midland, and Bob Hull, in charge of the finishing department. He explained that up to the present Fiber Glass fabrics only had been made at the Midland plant. The finishing work was completed in Montreal. By the end of November the fabrics will be made and finished in Midland. Mr. Cerney indicated that the company is considering the erection of a 1,500 to 2,000 square-foot addition to the finishing room in the existing building on Fourth Street. It might be built next year.
  • The Free Press Herald headline of November 6th, 1957. Urges Tri-Level Conclave at Ottawa Financial Talks; Mayor Charles Parker of Midland yesterday went on record as favouring the admission of municipal delegates at the Dominion-Provincial conference at Ottawa Nov. 25 and 26. The mayor was commenting on a proposal submitted to the House of Commons last week in correspondence tabled by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
  • A well known and respected citizen of Penetang, Dr. B. A. Blackwell died at Penetang General Hospital Oct. 15 following a long illness. He was 77. Funeral service was held Oct. 18 at All Saints Anglican Church and interment was in St. James on-the-lines Cemetery, Penetang. Rev. R. T. C. Dwelly and Rev. B. G. Brightling conducted the service. A member of the Anglican Church, he had held the office of people’s warden, rector’s warden, and also served on the advisory board. He was the soloist of the All Saints Choir for many years and active in the choral society. A Conservative in politics, Dr. Blackwell was interested in all sports and music. He had also been a past master of the Georgian A.F. and A.M. Masonic Lodge and was one of the charter members of the Kiwanis. Until the amalgamation of the Midland – Penetang District High School, Dr. Blackwell had been chairman of the Penetang High School Board. He had also been a member of the Penetang council and of the hydro board. Besides, his wife, the former Edith Grace Thompson of Penetang, he is survived by one son, Allen John Blackwell, and one daughter, Katherine Mary Grace Hurley. Also surviving is a brother W. W. Blackwell.
  • Grandson of the late Jabez Dobson, one of Midland’s first settlers, Wesley William Richardson died Oct. 23 at Midland in his 71st year. Funeral service was held Oct 25 at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home with Rev. J. L. Self officiating. Interment was in Wyevale cemetery. Mr. Richardson was born August 18, 1887, in Flos Township. He was educated in Midland and in 1916 he married Mabel Miller at Wyevale. Wesley Richardson had lived in this community most of his life spending 30 years in Port McNicoll as caretaker of the school and the last three years in Midland owing to ill health.
  • Funeral services were held Monday for Rev. R. J. Simpson, 87, retired Methodist clergyman who died Friday at Toronto General Hospital. His charges had included churches in Manitowaning, Thessalon, Queensville, Midland, Newmarket and Toronto. He was the minister of the Midland Methodist Church from 1907 until 1910. While residing here he also was a member of the Masonic Lodge.
  • Funeral service for Mrs. Fred Dorion, who passed away in Penetang General Hospital, Oct. 13, was held Wednesday, Oct. 16, in St. Ann’s Memorial Church. Rev. J. J. Kelly officiated. Interment was in St. Ann’s Cemetery. Pallbearers were Marcel, Gilbert and Alfred Dorion, Gilbert Deschambault, Louis Laurin and Don Axten. Born at Port Severn in 1876, Emily Marie Grégoire married Fred Dorion in 1892 and from that time had lived on the 18th Con. of Tiny Township. She was a Roman Catholic. Surviving are five sons, Fred, Théophile, Philip, Antoine and Edward, all of Penetang, and four daughters, Mrs. Eugere Legault (Cécile), Mrs. M. Maracle (Josephine); Mrs. Théophile Deschambault (Rosanna) and Mrs. M. Picotte (Elizabeth). There is also one brother, Octave Grégoire of Midland, and a sister, Mrs. Peter Dorion, of Penetang. Her husband predeceased her in 1952.
  • At the Roxy; Night Passage with Audie Murphy and James Stewart, also Oklahoma with Gordon MacRae and Gloria Grahame.
  • Word has been received in Penetang of the appointment of Ernest Lalonde as manager of the newly-opened branch of the Toronto-Dominion Bank in Chicoutimi. Believed to be one of the youngest managers on record, according to local bankers, Ernest was born in Penetang 29 years ago and joined the Penetang Bank of Toronto staff in 1945. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Eudgere Lalonde, he has since worked in Kingston, Ont., and Malartic and Val d’Or, Que., branches.
  • Land surveyor John M. Harvey will officially open his completely renovated Royal Victoria Hotel In Victoria Harbour next spring. Mr. Harvey will serve meals to the general public and has booked several club banquets. The hotel has nearly 40 rooms. He purchased the building from Jack MacKinnon in August. Originally a boarding house owned by the old Victoria Harbour Lumber Company, it was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Murdock MacKinnon for the company workers. Sometime after the company left their son Jack purchased it as a hotel. He had operated it for 27 years until the death of his wife this spring.
  • In a departure from usual procedure, Midland – Penetang District High School will be issuing report cards every two months from now on. Principal L. M. Johnston said the first reports will be out this week. End-of-term reports will be issued as usual, but the additional reports in mid-term will be based on tests and class work, along with the teacher’s estimated mark. Aided by this peek into the future, students will be able to govern themselves accordingly, he said.
  • Want ad; Clean Mattresses and Springs; reasonable. Apply [Name removed] Lodge, Balm Beach, Ont. [Would you really want to buy a used mattress from a motel?]
  • A deputation requesting consideration for a development road between Highway 11 and Highway 26 received favourable consideration in an interview last week, arranged by Lloyd Letherby, MPP, between municipal representatives and Highways Minister James Allan. The proposed road would run from Big Chief Lodge on Highway 11, across Highway 12 at Price’s Corners and the new Trans-Canada Highway, through Jarratt, Coulson, across Highway 93 at Craighurst, across Highway 27 and join Highway 26 at Minesing, thus providing a cross-country highway.
  • It is unlikely council will get any arguments from Midland motorists over the removal of parking meters this weekend. Most will be happy to see the end of the one-armed bandits for another season.
  • Twenty-Five Years Ago This Week – 1932 –  Although the majority of hunters failed to bag a single pheasant during the two-day open season, Robert  Roger, Imperial Oil Co. agent Midland, obtained one without firing a shot. The cock pheasant crashed into the gasoline storage tank owned by the company on Fourth Street and fell stunned to the ground. * * * The Midland King, in charge of Capt. Roy Burke of Hamilton, ran aground on rocks in Key Harbour, inbound with a load of coal. A similar fate befell her sister ship, the Midland Prince, three weeks previously. * * * Penetang council approved a proposal to repair the town market and make it suitable for winter use. Improvements were also to be made to the Beck playing field.  * * *  Outcome of dissatisfaction expressed by men working on the construction of Highway 12, Midland council endorsed a resolution calling on the Ontario government to increase its hourly rate of pay from 25 to 35 cents. * * * Canada’s only institution for the care of the criminally insane was nearing completion at Penetang. It was expected to be opened within a few weeks and was capable of accommodating 152 persons.  * * * In an address to Midland Kiwanis Club, Professor Norman MacKenzie contended that Soviet Russia offered no menace to the rest of the world. He said the Russians were too busy with their own internal problems. He had completed a trip across Russia from Manchuria to the western border. * * * Forty-six district farmers displayed and offered produce for sale at the town’s first farmers’ market.  It was held in the Craighead garage. An hour after the market opened the building was filled to near capacity.
  • Business has been so bad, or the lack of it so good, in Penetang police court in recent weeks officials are considering a return to bi-weekly instead of weekly courts in that town. Following exceptionally heavy dockets in the spring and summer, the number of cases has been greatly reduced in recent weeks, much to the relief of Magistrate K. A. Cameron, the crown attorney’s office and other officials.
  • F. S. Johnstone of Midland received one of the top honours bestowed by the Roman Catholic Church at an investiture at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto Sunday evening. The award, “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice”, is awarded by the Pope and recognizes Mr. Johnstone’s work as a layman of the church. The notification came from His Eminence James Cardinal McGuigan, Archbishop of Toronto. The presentation was in the form of a medal.
  • by KEN SOMERS; A spry “young fellow” of 86, who must be Midland’s oldest native born citizen, Capt. Joseph Lagree marked his 60th wedding anniversary along with Mrs. Lagree, Oct. 25. At first glance “spry” might seem a rather strange term to apply to an 86-year-old man. But what else can you term this “young fellow” who already has his winter’s wood cut and stored in the cellar? And who for the ‘umpteenth time has put on all his own storm windows, including those on the second storey of his home at 194 Manley Street! [old spelling of Manly St. honouring Manley Chew] None of these accomplishments seems out of the way to Joe Lagree who has been working since he was 12 years old and who started a sailing career when he was 18. ” I just can’t sit around the house all day doing nothing,” said Mr. Lagree, who hopes to be sailing again next year, too. For the past several years, Joe, who has had his captain’s papers even longer than he has had a marriage certificate, has confined his duties to that of a pilot. He still goes out regularly as such aboard Lorne Pratt’s yacht, and occasionally is hired to pilot some American yacht through the Georgian Bay waters he knows so well. Capt. Joe first saw the light of day in a little house at Sunnyside, near the present Midland-Simcoe elevator in 1871. His dad, also named Joe, was a fisherman. As a matter of fact, Joe’s grandfather was also an early resident of Midland. One of a family of three boys and two girls, Capt. Joe is the only survivor of that early Midland family. What little schooling he was privileged to get was at Penetang. Then Joe Sr. moved the family to Britt, where Joe Jr. went to work helping his dad in one of the lumber mills. Only 12 at the time, he was paid 50 cents a day for a 10-hour day. The Lagree family remained at Britt for about 10 years, finally moving back to Midland. Young Joe took a job as a chore boy in a hotel that occupied the site of the present Jeffery hardware store. There were many hotels in Midland in those days, and most of them were equipped with bars, and there were some wild days, Capt. Joe recalled. This was especially true when the men came down from the bush with the spring log drives. From bell-hopping, young Joe turned to agriculture, very briefly, when he hired out for one season on a farm near Wyebridge. By this time his dad had gone into the commercial fishing business and for the next few seasons Joe, Jr. also engaged in this work. “The very best of fish, lake trout, whitefish or any other variety sold for five cents a pound,” Capt. Joe recalled. At least the fish were there to be had in those days, something  that can’t be said now. Still a lad in his teens, Joe’s next venture was a job in one of the many lumber camps “up the shore”. Things were much better there, financially, at $18 per month and board. In all he put in six winters in the camps. After his fishing experience however young Joe had pretty well decided that sailing was his dish. He started as a deck hand at the age of 18 on the late Charlie Martin’s tug, the Bruce. The tug worked mainly in the Moon River area, and Joe stayed with Mr. Martin for 12 years. By that time he had his captain’s papers. Something like rags to riches, Joe went from tugs to yachts, first with D. S. Pratt and later with James Playfair and finally with Lorne Pratt. He also worked for a number of years on “Newt” Wagg’s passenger boat out of Midland, and for another five years at Ganton Dobson’s shipyard. “I was never out of a job in my whole life,” Capt. Joe can say, proudly. Mrs. Lagree, the former Delia St. George, was one of the four daughters and one son born to the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry St. George. She was born in Penetang, where her father was employed in the old lumber mills. Two of the daughters are still living in Toronto, besides Mrs. Lagree. It was one of her sister’s curiosity that eventually led to Delia’s marriage, before she was yet 18 years of age. The sister wanted to see life in a lumber camp, and took Delia along with her. Joe and Delia met on the Martins’  houseboat and they were married a few months later. The wedding, Oct. 25, 1897, was solemnized by the late Father Laboreau, whose name is indelibly associated with St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, Penetang. The big church was still practically new when Joe and Delia were married there. The young couple lived in Penetang for a short time, but they have been residents of Midland for the past 55 years. Their first home was one of several wooden houses that dotted Mill Street, adjacent to the shipyard, at that time. For more than 40 years now they have resided at 194 Manley Street. Capt. and Mrs. Lagree had four children, including a daughter, Madeline, who died when she was only a few months old. Another son, Percy, also died in Detroit at a comparatively young age. Still living are two sons, Albert of Midland, and Lawrence, Toronto. There are also six great-grandchildren and three grand-children. Asked the traditional question, “Would you do it all over again?” Mrs. Lagree replied “I sure would— every bit of it.” An opinion that found ready approval from her husband. We should say here that Mrs. Lagree enjoys very good health too. It shouldn’t be necessary to say much about Capt. Joe’s constitution. Any chap of 86 who cuts his own winter’s wood, and put on his own storm windows, must be a pretty hardy specimen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s