Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – December 16th to 31st, 1957

Click on Photos to EnlargeHundreds of toys are made shiny and new again in Lions Club member Gordon Boyd’s basement workshop. Mr. Boyd has been doing this in his basement for five years with the help of other club members. Cecil Launder, left, is chairman of the Lion’s Health and Welfare Committee which is in charge of this project. 

A few minutes work by Lions Ed Walker and Hugh Blair and this discarded wheelbarrow had a new handle, the wheel straightened and a new paint job. It and hundreds of others will be distributed to the needy at Christmas by the Midland Lions Club. Any leftover will go to the Salvation Army. 

The result of a collision at the corner of Dominion Ave. and Queen Street Monday morning. Sgt. George Wainman who was driving the police cruiser escaped injury, the other vehicle was a local taxi. [I believe this is the lane behind Mr. Grocer looking south, the large building on the right is the Georgian Hotel and the glass house in the upper left is Mac Perrin’s greenhouse?]

White gift Sunday has been an annual event for more than a decade at St. Paul’s United Church, Midland. Money received is to help young students from the church prepare for ministry. Holding the boxes are Bruce Gazely and Kenneth Walker. Placing a gift envelope on the crib is Sonja Beatty. 

There was plenty of work for mail carriers in Midland last week as witnessed by this carriers “case”, laden with Christmas cards and other mail for delivery in Midland. Sorting the mail into the proper routes is Rex Downer. 

This is the biggest week of the year for both the regular and extra staff at Midland’s post office. Post-Master W. F. Bourrie, right, and Jim Wallace get parcels ready for distribution by mail carriers to hundreds of Midland homes. 

Post-Master W. F. Bourrie considered this line up a lull in the crowds that have been jamming the wickets at Midland’s post office all week. 

On the table in front of Don Toole are some of the 21,000 pieces of mail, mostly Christmas cards, that have been coming into the Midland Post Office daily since last Friday. 

Gathered together in the Georgian Hotel Tuesday night were fifteen men who had served as presidents of the Midland Lions Club since its inception 20 years ago this month. Front row, W. A. McArthur, Don Swinson, Edwin Walker, Dr. Art H. Pinchin, Gilmour Nesbitt, John Hodges, W. S. Struthers; back row, Bill Jeffery, Gordon Boyd, Jack Doughty, Alex MacIntosh, Hugh Blair, Lorne Watson, Bill Orr and Walter Woods. 

Charter members of the Midland Lions Club who were there twenty years ago when the club received its charter. Front, Gilmour Nesbitt and Dr. Art Pinchin who was the club’s first president. Back row, Don Swinson, Lloyd Letherby, MPP for Simcoe East now living in Coldwater; Bill A. McArthur and John Hodges. The picture was taken at a get together in the Georgian Hotel Tuesday night. 

Keeping an eye on the reindeer while Santa was off distributing candy elsewhere, “Rusty” was a big hit at the Coldwater Santa Claus parade December 21st. On less important days Rusty can be found not far from his master, Charles Eplett. 

Despite the gloomy weather the Santa Claus parade staged by the Lions Club and merchants in Coldwater Saturday afternoon drew the usual large crowds. Santa is seen distributing candy to the children. 

Coldwater Santa Claus Parade, the Candy Cane Princess is Sally Galbraith, her court is Sandy Galbraith and Beverly Langman. 

Santa had some dandy gifts for the huge “family” of the Shoe Corporation of Canada at Midland’s Roxy Theatre Saturday morning. Employees and their families from Midland Footwear, Midland Industries Ltd. and Fern Shoes, Penetang, completely filled the theatre for the event. Officials of the firm are seen in the background directing traffic for Santa. 

The Chatham Maroons of the Canadian Legion’s senior boy’s league sport brand new uniforms. Sponsored by the Midland Police, money came out of funds collected for sport and safety council work. Chief Robert Cameron, Const. Ross Willett secretary-treasurer of the league, Constable Tom Currie vice president, Sgt. Ernest Bates coach; Middle row, Jim Wright, D. Squires, George Hilliard, Bill Claus, Bob Logan, Dave Stainton; Back row, G. Rourke, Bob Irwin, Bill Atkinson, John Hawke, Doug Dwinnell, Wayne Marchand captain. 

Mrs. John Maxwell and her mother in law Mrs. M. Maxwell discovered this old lodge certificate while cleaning out the attic of the home they had sold on First Ave. Port McNicoll. The certificate had been used for backing in a picture and was dated 1808. The ladies presumed it had been brought from England as the lodge was the “Grand Surrey Lodge, Mother Lodge of the World”. The organization was the Royal Antediluvian Buffaloes. [A later edition of the paper stated that theatre manager Al Perkins had been a member at one time and that a chapter still existed in Niagara Falls.]


  • Free Press Herald headline December 18, 1957: Fifteen Freighters to Winter at Bay Ports.  A survey of bay ports yesterday disclosed that a total of 19 ships will winter in Midland and Port McNicoll this year, three more than last season. Included in the list are 15 bulk carriers, with some 5,800,000 bushels of grain in their holds for winter storage. Three CSL ships are at the C S L winter berth, three at Tiffin elevator, Midland, and three at the C P R elevator, Port McNicoll. At the winter berth, the Gleneagles, Prescott and Westmount have about one million bushels for later delivery at the nearby C S L elevator. At Tiffin elevator, the Sir James Dunn, Lemoyne and Hochelaga have 1,600,000 bushels in their holds. At Port McNicoll, the McLagan, Thunder Bay and Coverdale have even more, 1,700,000. Another million bushels lies in the holds of the Barge Portadoc and the bulk carriers Quedoc. Senator of Canada and the Paterson at Midland Simcoe elevator. All are of the Paterson Steamship Line. Two smaller ships, the Algocen and the Algoway have around half-million bushels for the Aberdeen elevator, Midland. Completing the list of ships in bay ports for the winter are the Canadian Pacific vessels Keewatin and Assinaboia at Port McNicoll, and two Canadian government lightships, St. Heliers and C. P. Edwards, in Midland. The C S L tug Bayport is again available for icebreaking duties in the two ports.
  • County Herald headline December 20, 1957: Trio Seeks Ottawa Aid for Harbour Development. A three-man delegation left Midland early Thursday morning for Ottawa where its members will interview Transport Minister George Hees. The delegation, comprised of Midland Mayor Charles Parker, Mayor A. B. Thompson of Penetang, and Percy Crawford, president of Midland Ratepayers Association, will present a brief to the federal cabinet minister. The brief outlines the advantages of Midland harbour as a deepwater port for ocean-going ships, once the seaway is opened, and sets out the facilities available here for building new ships.
  • The Free Press Herald headline December 23, 1957; Merry Christmas from the Management and Staff of Midland Printers Ltd.   Photo of Staff             From Left to Right — 1st Row: Bob Chittick, Charlotte McGrattan; 2nd Row: Wils Harrison, Jim Lennox; 3rd Row: Ab Cripps, Florence Ladouceur, George Garraway, Bill Murray; 4th Row: Charles Goodfellow, Ken Somers; 5th Row: Vern Farrow, Marilyn Rumney, Charles Scott, Stan Brooks, Bill Murphy, Frank VanStone; 6th Row: Clare Holden, Finlay Macnab, Lillian Rutherford, John Silvey, Vivian Cadieux, Barry Conn Hughes; 7th Row: Bill Sharper, Alma Woods, Charles Palmer, Viola Leroux, Kees Hordyk, Florence Morrison, Harry Brown; 8th Row: Serge Jeannotte, Marie Leclair, Phil Adamson, Frances Leclair, Lawrence Todd, Lorne Letherby, Dorothy Evans.

  • As Christmas Day falls on the publication day of the Free Press Herald, publication schedule for the paper has been advanced to Monday, Dec. 23. Only one paper will be published Christmas week, the Friday, Dec. 27 issue of the County Herald having been cancelled.
  • J. M. Castex Monday night admitted that, for once, Huronia Council Knights of Columbus had been able to carry through a project entirely without his knowledge. The occasion was the presentation of a full-colour portrait of the venerable priest, which will be hung in the K of C Hall in Penetang. Practically every member of the group was present when Rev. A. J. Desaulniers and Grand – Knight Lloyd  LaPlume, made the presentation.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – Twenty-five freighters, tugs, barges, cruise ships and a government light tender were wintering in Midland harbour. Sixteen of the ships were grain freighters and barges. * * * Bush Street residents in Coldwater awoke to find their homes flooded by water from the swollen Coldwater River. The floods were caused when stop-logs in a dam were not removed after several days of heavy rain. *  * * A health report showed that death rate from typhoid fever in 1931 was 90 percent below the death rate for the disease in 1911. Scarlet fever, whooping cough, measles and diphtheria death rates had declined to a point 80 percent below 1911 figures.  * * * Full breasted, milk-fed chickens were being offered in district meat stores at 15 cents per pound, up to five pounds in weight.  * * * Midland council approved a 21-year lease for the Arena Gardens with Arena Gardens Limited. The lease was subject to the approval of the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board. (A 1914 Act replaced by the OMB, which was also replaced this year by the “Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 “) Under its terms, children under 15 years of age were to be admitted to the rink free one afternoon per week.  * *  * For the first time in the season, snow plows had been used to clear the streets of a heavy fall of snow. Following the snowstorm, the temperature dropped to 15 degrees below zero. * * * The government light tender S.S. St. Heliers was assisted into Midland harbour by the tug Strathbogie. The ice in the harbour was so thick the St. Heliers was unable to plow her way through it.
  • Some indication perhaps of the inroads lamprey eels are making on the game and commercial fish populations in Georgian Bay can be gained from an Ontario Department of Lands and Forests survey this year on commercial fish landings. The report for the first nine months of this year showed lake trout landings were down sixty-one percent, to 15,000 pounds, whitefish down sixty-seven percent, to 136,000 pounds, and yellow pickerel down a third to 30,000 pounds. Even more disturbing was the fact that coarse fish such as bullheads, carp, catfish, chub, sunfish, suckers, rock bass and others were on the increase.
  • At their December meeting, Orillia council passed a motion to designate the old post office building on Peter Street, now being renovated for a municipal building, as the “Sir Sam Steele Building.” Sir Sam born at Fair Valley, was one of the founders of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and carved out a notable career in military service for Canada.
  • No gadabouts are Mr. and Mrs. Treffle Coté, who marked their 60th wedding anniversary in Victoria Harbour Dec. 6. Mrs. Coté has lived all her 78 years in Victoria Harbour. Her husband has lived all but two of his 82 years in the same village. And the last 52 years of their married life have been spent in the same home, just across the CNR overhead bridge at the north end of the village. Life has never been too easy for the Cotés. Yet neither had any complaints when a representative visited them last Wednesday. Both expressed a willingness to do it all over again, if such a thing were possible. ” I’d still choose her if I had the chance again” said Mr. Coté, nodding in the direction of his spouse. Treffle Coté was born at Port Severn in 1875, the youngest in a family of four boys and three girls born to the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis (Louis de Gonzagoue) Coté. Treffle is the last surviving member of the family. A lumberjack in his younger days, Coté Sr., moved his family to Victoria Harbour when Treffle was only two years old. There he went to work in the old Powers’ lumber mill and later transferred to the Waldie Company, a name almost synonymous with Victoria Harbour in the first quarter of the century. Treffle went to work for the Waldies after a brief schooling that ended when he was 13 years old. He received 50 cents per day, working in the yard. The “day” started at 6.30 a.m. and wasn’t over until 6 p.m. This went on six days a week. Treffle stayed with the  Waldies until the firm closed its doors for good. Then he took what jobs he could get, from day to day and week to week until he eventually found steady employment at the CPR elevator in Port McNicoll. This too came to an end with the return of younger men following World War 2. By that time Treffle was 69 and entitled to take things a bit easier. Victoria Harbour in the old days was a pretty busy village, “and a good place to live and work,” Mr. Coté  Mrs. Coté was the former Marie Louise Labatt and like her husband, she is the only surviving member of the family. Her only sister died many years ago. Her father, Albert Labatt, also earned his bread and butter in the lumber Mills of Victoria Harbour.  Although they never went to school together, Louise and Treffle were always together as youngsters around the Harbour. They were married by Father Barcello in the Roman Catholic Church there Dec. 6, 1897. Two-sons and six daughters were born to the Cotés, all of them still living. All six of the girls, now married, live in Toronto. The sons are William of Hamilton, and Wilfred, who still resides in the Harbour. Six daughters are Mary (Mrs. Albert Fortier), Celina ( Mrs. Harold Norrise), Maude (Mrs. Otto. Eddy), Florence, (Mrs. Alvin O’Sullivan), Christie (Mrs. Fred Cripps), and Ida (Mrs. Warren Chapman). In addition to their eight children, the Cotés also have 22 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
  • Midland council has approved applications from Marshall Dorion and Jack M. Holden for taxicab owners’ licences, as recommended by Police Chief Robert Cameron. It was reported that Mr. Dorion would be associated with Martin’s Taxi and Mr. Holden with Hebner’s.
  • With the arrival of the Sir James Dunn and the Thunder Bay this week, the Midland Marine Radio Station will close down for the season. The government ship St. Heliers brought in Hope Island lighthouse keeper Alex Herron this week. The ‘Wireless’ is to reopen April 1. It was supposed to have been moved to Wiarton, according to some reports, but construction there has not yet started.
  • Two young children late Saturday night lost their lives in a fire which seriously gutted the two-storey brick home of their grandparents, located on Fox Street, Penetang. The two, Jeanette, 7, and William, 5, were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Perrault of Penetang. So fierce was the blaze that firemen were unable to enter the building for more than an hour, and then only behind a fog nozzle spray. They found the two bodies huddled in an upstairs bedroom.
  • V. B. Strickland Real Estate and Insurance opened its new office on Midland’s main street over the weekend. The spanking new office is situated in the Ingram Block on the southwest corner of King and Dominion. The block has been undergoing a face lifting since the town office staff moved into the new municipal building last month. First a livery and then a harness shop, the Ingram Block has long been a fixture on Midland’s King Street. It was the location of two banks and a number of offices before the town occupied it many years ago and survived a fire in 1914.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – Three Midland High School students commenced their training in lens polishing and grinding techniques, in a temporary plant set up by Bausch and Lomb Optical Co. in the basement of Midland YMCA. The firm’s new plant was to be built at Elizabeth and Lindsay Streets. * * * It had been announced by postal authorities that letter carrier mail delivery would be inaugurated in Midland not later than July 1948. Seven men were to be added to the existing post office staff. * * * A North Simcoe district man was fined $10 and costs for operating a vehicle when in an intoxicated condition. The vehicle in the incident was a team of horses and a sleigh. The case was heard in Penetang court.  * * * Tiny and Tay  Agricultural Society in its annual report showed a net profit of $42 on the year’s operations. Total revenue for the year was $4,654.38, and total expenditures $4,612.04. * * * Penetang council was proposing to ask the Ontario Municipal Board for permission to raise $75,000 to be used in the construction of a memorial wing at Penetang General Hospital. The request was to be made early in the new year.  * * * Honey Harbour residents were preparing for their tenth annual dog derby and winter carnival. The events were to be held Feb. 1. * * * Seventy-two persons were killed in highway traffic accidents during November 1947. The number was six fewer than that for the same period in 1946. * * * St. Paul’s United Church, Midland, was filled to capacity for the fifteenth annual presentation of its Christmas pageant.

With this local winter scene, the staff and volunteers of the Huronia Museum’s collections department wish you  a safe and happy holiday and all the best in 2018!


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