Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – December 7th to 15th, 1957

Click on Photos to EnlargeOld’ King Cole was the theme of this float, somewhat laboriously assembled by the “dads” on the Free Press Herald staff. The fiddlers at left are Mary Murphy, Cathy Harrison and Valerie Somers. At right Elizabeth Ann Holden, as Old’ King Cole, and her brother Wayne Holden, the court jester. 

Saturday was hardly a fit day for beauty of any kind to be out of doors aboard a slow-moving float. These children braved the elements to be in the Santa Claus parade aboard the Simcoe Elevator’s “Sleeping Beauty Float”. Joan MacDonald was Sleeping Beauty with Billy Snider as Prince Charming. In the fairy group are Anita MacDonald, Barbara English, Bobbi Joy Carson and Brenda MacDonald. 

Children aboard the Midland Planing Mills Queen of Hearts float got some protection from the wet snow that blanketed the parade this year when the sponsor erected a plastic covered roof. Queen Bonnie Bray with Ronnie Henderson on the left as the Knave and Paul Henderson the King. 

“Carollers from all nations” was the theme of this float entered in the Santa Claus Parade last Saturday by the Stanway School of Dancing. All members of the school, the dancers wore symbolic costumes representing ten different countries. 

Despite the driving wet snow hundreds of Midland children lined up to greet Santa Claus in front of the new municipal building following Saturday’s big parade. Morie Witcher and Haig Abbott are seen helping Santa distribute candy canes. 

This photo is not related to the parade pictures above but they do answer a question we have had about this 1955 photo. The names of the three watching through the fence are unknown as the photo was never used in the newspaper but the location was also a mystery. Knowing that this was the fence around the cenotaph and that they were standing on the outside, by the angle of the fence posts, there is no current background that could identify where they were standing. The mystery was solved when we saw the parade photos. The same fencing extended in front of the curling rink as well and that is where they are standing. Note the beautiful trees in front of the curling rink in the photos above. 

Perkins Trophy for the best play in the inter-house drama festival at MPDHS Friday went to House Theta Kappa for “The Monkeys Paw”. Mr. & Mrs. Al Perkins present their trophy to director Chris Thomson, the first recipient. 

Best actress in the inter-house drama festival at MPDHS last Friday was Barbara Johnstone, receiving her trophy from the donor, Mrs. Eileen Peters. Miss Johnstone starred in House Theta Kappa’s presentation of “The Monkey’s Paw”. 

Tie for best actor was the decision of the adjudicator J. C. Peters of Orillia, at the MPDHS drama festival last Friday. Winners were Tom Marr, of Sigma Chi and John Pritchard of Theta Kappa. Miss H. Moderwell presents her trophy. 


Work has already begun on the million dollar addition to the Pillsbury Canada Ltd. plant on Midland’s waterfront. The tall piece of machinery is driving piles for the new building. The company’s flour mill can be seen to the right rear. 

New IOOF, Odd Fellows Hall on Dominion Ave., next door to Jefferys’ Hardware,  has progressed to the steel stage. Along with the new Pillsbury plant, the addition to the Ontario Hospital in Penetang and a number of new homes being built in the Ingram Subdivision, the new hall will provide many jobs for construction workers. [The IOOF hall has recently been sold and the Midland chapter closed.]


Four girls and one boy were presented with scholarships by Russell Coughlin, president, on behalf of the Port McNicoll Legion, in a ceremony at Port’s municipal office last Friday. Nancy Bell, Sharon Armstrong, Helen Rudy, Mr. Coughlin, Molly Malone and Kirk Mitchell. 

 Last Friday night saw a number of Port McNicoll students presented with scholarships by both the village school board and by the Port McNicoll branch of the Legion. President of the School Board, R. B. Duncan made the presentation to the four girls pictured. Molly Malone, Helen Rudy, Helen Kovalak and Mary Loney. 


Toppled transport load of bagged plastic pellets at the corner of Fifth and Vinden Monday afternoon. The 30-foot trailer owned by Haslam Transport went into a skid when the brakes locked. The driver, George Golden of Hamilton was uninjured. No charges have been laid. 

  • The headline from the Midland Free Press December 11, 1957; Vets Study Mystery Bug Infecting Herds in Simcoe County P. A. Scott, health unit director, told this newspaper yesterday many milk producers’ herds were harbouring an infection which caused lower grades on laboratory examination, but in most cases was not visible on a physical examination of either the milk or the cows. The condition in the herds did not seem to affect the pasteurized milk, which in recent inspections was “very good”, the director said. The infection has not yet been definitely identified but appears to be a form of mastitis, an infection of the cow’s udder. Describing it as expensive and difficult to treat, Dr. Scott said: “it is a continuing economic problem for the farmer”. Providing the milk is pasteurized, there is little danger, he intimated and labelled as “farfetched” the possibility of human contagion.
  • The headline from the County Herald December 13, 1957; Makes Meet Application- Ski Jump May Operate in 58  Steps were taken in Midland yesterday to put a $20,000 “white elephant” back on its feet—the white elephant being the now idle ski jump and assets at Midland Ski Resorts Ltd. Ross Irwin of Midland, closely associated with the jump and for years an active member of Midland Ski Club, told this newspaper today he had made an application to hold an invitation ski jumping meet on the property on the weekend of January 11 and 12.
  • Two Midland girls, Judith Rankin of 372 Johnston Street, and Sharon Benson were among the more than 200 carriers of a Toronto evening newspaper who won an all-expense trip to Chicago over the weekend. The party left Toronto Friday night and arrived home Monday. The girls arrived in Midland Monday afternoon.
  • New lights and electric outlets were installed on the Knox Presbyterian Church auditorium’s newly constructed stage in time for the Christmas program of the kindergarten and nursery classes. The tiny tots were the first to perform on the rebuilt stage. The kindergarten group has 37 children registered who are under the guidance of Mrs. Charles McElroy and Mrs. William Cameron. For the concert, Miss Margaret Marks was the piano accompanist. Nursery children are under Mrs. Herb Carpenter, assisted by Miss Judy McIntyre. In the first group of songs, the children sang included ‘Tick-tock’ and ‘Very Softly I Will Walk’. Three little girls, Mary Jane Walton, Betty Hacker and Susan Rodgers sang a trio and Anne Cleaver’s solo was about ‘My Pony’. Representing the boys, Peter Donaldson and Ian Sheriff, gave recitations, and David Cooney sang ‘Deep and Wide’. Sharon Biggar and Donna Gallivan sang a duet, and Barbara Hudson a solo.
  • Ontario Department of Lands and Forests has revealed that, of an estimated herd of 870, 100 deer were “harvested” during the four-day open deer season in Orillia Township and Crown lands in Matchedash Township.
  • If remarks made at the annual nomination meeting Wednesday, Dec. 4, are any criterion, Port McNicoll residents so far are well satisfied with the scrapping of the former continuation school in favour of sending the pupils to Midland-Penetang District High School. Almost every member of the council and of the school board said they were pleased with the results, as did one member of the small audience. Not one complaint was voiced.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week –  Candidates seeking public office in Midland went on record as favouring the establishment of a town planning commission, and a local bus system. Voters were being asked to accept or reject a ten-year franchise with Penetang-Midland Coach Lines. * * * Small boat builders in the North Simcoe district welcomed a federal government announcement that a 25 percent excise tax would apply only to motors for small watercraft. * * * Midland Public Utilities Commission was seeking council’s approval to enter into an agreement with Tay Township to supply water to the veterans’ housing development on Yonge Street, W. * * * Attorney General Leslie Blackwell had approved the establishment of a magistrate’s court at Coldwater.” It was expected the court would not be instituted until early in the new year. * * *  Area doctors reported that a measles epidemic, which had reached fairly high proportions in North Simcoe district, was on the wane. About 30 children in Port McNicoll and vicinity were still suffering from the disease. * * * A proposal to establish a small library at Victoria Harbour under the county library scheme was discussed with Victoria Harbour council. Under the plan, about 330 books yearly were to be provided to the village.  * * * Waubaushene Chamber of Commerce was making plans to build a fire hall on Pine Street in the village. A building owned by C. H. Sheppard had been dismantled and removed to build the hall.
  • To help meet the heavy demands placed upon it at this season of the year, Midland’s Salvation Army Corps will conduct a house-to-house canvass to boost its Christmas cheer fund. Envoy J. Thompson said this week. Envoy Thompson said that this year Midland Citizens’ Band will accompany the canvassers and will play carols. The band will be under the direction of bandmaster Al Hume.
  • ELMVALE — On Wednesday at noon, a general store of long standing was closed. Mrs. Lawson Robinson, who carried on the business since the death of her husband, found the store too much of a responsibility, she said. However, she is remaining as a citizen of the village at her residence on Peter Street. —-  At midnight or somewhat later the citizens who live near and around Lawson Avenue were awakened by shots and by merrymakers who gathered to charivari Mr. and Mrs. Webster, newlyweds, who invited their friends in for lunch and a social hour.
  • For the first time in some years, Penetang has two vacant stores in its business section. One-half of the store formerly occupied by Economy Stores still remain vacant following removal of that concern to Midland. The grocery store operated by J. D. McNamara for many years on Robert St. has been vacant for the past couple of months, with no sign of a new tenant.
  •  Dear Editor: The propeller-driven wooden passenger steamer “John Lee Senior,” official No. 100,122, was built at Wallaceburg in 1893 for Mr. John Lee Sr. The length was 86 feet, breadth 21 feet, depth 7.2 feet and weight 88 gross tons. For a number of years, she was operated between Penetang and Parry Sound under the command of Capt. “Punch” Dube, father of the late Salem Dube of Penetang. She was totally destroyed by fire on August 8, 1913, at Victoria Harbour. —W.R. WILLIAMS

5 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – December 7th to 15th, 1957

  1. Dear museum staff: I can’t tell you how much pleasure I have received from your “Looking Back” posts. My father, Ken Somers, worked for the Free Press for 30 years and took a number of the pictures that are posted.My brother, Greg, sister Valerie and I were frequently the subject of photos that appeared in the paper.The first photo in this post was particularly poignant for me as Valerie is currently undergpoing chemo/radiation for cancer. Being able to send this photo to her brought her a pleasant respite in her yucky day. It made her laugh and that was a good thing.Thanks so much for sharing these photos.
    Glenna Somers Janssen

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