Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – February 24th to 28th, 1958

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Believe it or not, these women are preparing for “Sliding Down a Moonbeam”. It’s the name of a two-act operetta being put on soon by the 32-member junior choir of Knox Presbyterian Church, Midland. The women are some of the 15 volunteer workers who gathered at the home of Mrs. Wm. Manson last week to prepare costumes for the choir, which is led by Mrs. Art McElroy. Left to right are Mrs. Ray Trew, Mrs. Morley Kinnear, Mrs. Len Webster, Mrs. Stan Hacker, Mrs. David Major and Mrs. Lorne Wood. 

“Liberal times are good times,” proclaimed Paul Martin, center when he visited Midland Saturday afternoon for the Simcoe East Liberal nomination convention. John R. MacIsaac of Orillia, left, was the unanimous choice of the convention. At right is E. B. Kendall of Midland, who was convention chairman. 

Dr. P. B. Rynard of Orillia, center, was the unanimous choice of East Simcoe Progressive Conservatives to contest the riding for them in the forthcoming federal election. Also pictured at the nomination convention in Orillia Tuesday night are Hon. Waldo Monteith, left, Minister of Health and Welfare, and provincial member Lloyd Letherby, MPP, of Coldwater. 


It was so near and yet so far as the ball just wouldn’t drop through the hoop for Ron Blair on this occasion. The action took place at MPDHS gym Friday as the Purple and Gold seniors dropped, a 40 – 37 decision to Richmond Hill. The second game of the total point COSSA playoff series will be played in Richmond Hill Friday afternoon. 

Were you there? Part of the large crowd that watched the MPDHS boys senior squad lose its first game in nine starts to Richmond Hill Friday in the MPDHS gym. 

Shortly after this picture was taken firemen fighting the recent fire at the Canada House hotel, Penetang, had to abandon their lofty perch as flames threatened to engulf them and their ladder. Following the fire Thursday night, owner James Dillon is reported to have told friends he intends to rebuild the hotel in the same location. It is understood the building is more than 100 years old, was covered by a large amount of insurance, although not sufficient for replacement purposes. 

 Canada House fire. Fire photos never turn out well and are even worse at night.

Weather-wise at least, Midland and Port McNicoll provided a chilly reception for a group of government officials who made a tour of dock and other installations in the two ports early last week. Seen in 10-below weather at Midland Shipyard are, left to right, H. F. White, chairman of Midland harbor committee; Mayor Charles Parker; Gerald Clark, department of public works official; Charles Stocking, an engineer with the same department and a native of Waubaushene and Alderman Clint Smith, who conducted the tour of the yard. 


Chicago captain Larry French receives trophy and handshake from league director Len Self after Hawks scored a 4-2 win over Toronto to win NHL “B” honours. Little lad is David Lamb, Leaf captain, and that’s Frank Graham the Hawks coach at right.

 These three photos were featured on the front page without captions and refer to the Little NHL awards night. “Two overtime ties featured the big, “Final Night” of Midland Little League hockey at Arena Gardens Wednesday night, witnessed by the largest turnout of fans to enter the Gardens this year for any occasion.”

New officers of Simcoe East County LOL are seen above at their annual meeting in Midland Wednesday night, left to right are, front, Rt. Wor. Bro. John Moore, Toronto, PGM, Ontario West; Wor. Bro. Peter Clause, Midland, new county master; Rt. Wor. Bro. J. E. Wood, Orillia, DGM, Ontario West; Wor. Bro. Albert Black, Midland, financial secretary; second row, Wor. Bro. Bill Elliott, Penetang, recording secretary; Wor. Bro. W. S. Manning, Elmvale, chaplain; Wor. Bro. Harvey Rowley, Elmvale, deputy county master; back row, Wo. Bro. Howard Rowley, Elmvale, deputy lecturer; Wor. Bro. W. H. Archer, Elmvale, association lecturer; Wor. Bro. George Thorburn, Orillia, treasurer; Wor. Bro. Russell McElwain, Allenwood, Marshall. 



New co-operation may be in the offing between the Children’s Aid Society and Simcoe County council. Here, Warden Arthur Evans, left, shakes hands with retiring CAS president Ernest Cumberland, at the CAS annual meeting in Guthrie Friday night. “We will not let down the less fortunate children of the county”, Mr. Evans promised. 

Mariners’ services were held annually in most Bay ports, including Midland, as the men and women were preparing to go back to the Lakes for another season. 

Members of the Chatham Maroons, sponsored by Midland Police Athletic Association, are shown as they planned strategy for Little League finals Wednesday night. The team lost a hard-fought game 7-5. Around the table are, left to right, Gary Rourke, Bob Logan, Const. Ernest Bates, Wayne Marchand, and Ron McConnell. At rear are Const. Ross Willett and Chief R. J. Cameron. 

A huge replica of Penetang Winterama’s admission button proves interesting to these five girls who will be gracing floats in the winter carnival parade March 8. Left to right; Barbara Labatte, Anita Fournier, MaryLou O’Leary, Marguerite Gervais, and Karen Robinson. 

  • Headline from the Free Press Herald, February 26, 1958; Pair Killed in Crack-Up as Fog Shrouds Highway. Two men from the Orangeville area met violent deaths early Monday morning when the small German model car in which they were travelling to work at Port McNicoll collided with a heavily-laden truck about three miles south of Midland. Burnett, a foreman, and Crolley, a cook, were engaged in winter work on the CPR trestle at Port McNicoll.  They were travelling in a Iate model Volkswagen, that had only 5,000 miles on the speedometer.
  • Headline from the County Herald, February 28, 1958. Hears 13 Liquor Charges, Raps Drinking by Youth. Charges arising out of incidents during Saturday night dances in Elmvale’s community hall in recent weeks was the cause of considerable concern to Magistrate K. A. Cameron in Penetang police court Thursday. Trouble following the dances apparently reached a peak Feb. 8, judging by the evidence presented by Const. Wilkinson and Chief Ellwell at a recent court. The officers said several fights broke out and that some 300 persons milling around in the center of the road brought traffic on Queen Street to a complete standstill. As a result of the fracas, two men were charged with creating disturbances by fighting, one with assaulting a police officer, and another with escaping the custody of Const. Wilkinson.
  • Three Midland representatives on Midland-Penetang District High School Board who, a little over a week ago, submitted their resignations, agreed late Saturday afternoon to return to the board. The agreement was reached at a joint session of six members of council and the three board members, held in the boardroom of the new municipal offices. Outcome of the session was that, if the three Midland board members had a major problem pertaining to high school matters which they wished to discuss with council they would do so, and if council had a major problem which it wished to discuss with the Midland representatives, they agreed to meet with council and discuss it.
  • William Winchester, active in farm organizations in this district, has been nominated CCF candidate for Simcoe East in the forthcoming federal election. Mr. Winchester was CCF standard bearer in the June 1957 federal vote. He was nominated at a convention in Orillia Feb. 20.
  • News from the local Protestant Churches is printed each week in the Free Press under the banner “Midland Church News”. Local church services are also listed under a separate heading. There were ten churches listed in February, including the Midland Gospel Hall, the Emmaus Baptist Chapel, and the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
  • To help offset increased costs of materials and production, single copy, mail subscription, and carrier delivery- prices of this newspaper and the Free Press Herald will be increased effective March 5. The new price schedule will be as follows: 10c per single copy, 25 cents every two weeks by carrier; $4 per year by mail in Canada.
  • Funeral service was held Feb. 7 for Mrs. Charles Gratrix who died Feb. 5 at St. Andrews Hospital Midland, following pneumonia and a stroke. Burial was at Waubaushene Cemetery. Pallbearers were Steve Gratrix, Walter Gratrix, Reg Potter, Donald Potter, Charles Cross and Russell Brandon. Mrs. Gratrix was born May 11, 1882, at Vasey and was educated there. On June 20, 1906, she married Charles Gratrix who was warden of Simcoe County in 1929. He predeceased her in November 1941. Gratrix had been a resident of this community for the past 52 years. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lorne Quantrell of, Huntsville; three sons, Harold off Oro Station, Joe and Elmer of Rosemount; three sisters, Mrs. Nixon of Eady, Mrs. Alf Hawke of Eady, Mrs. Nicholson of Midland, and 12 grandchildren.
  • A resident of this community for the past 40 years, Mrs. Clifford Laughlin died Feb. 12 at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland. She was 59. Mrs. Laughlin, the former Isobel Meek, was born Oct. 4. 1898; at Dorchester Mass., and was educated at Midland, Ont. In August of 1937, she married Clifford Laughlin at Allandale. She had been a school teacher in this district before she married, and was a member of the Anglican Church. Pallbearers were Norman Chew, Lenwood McGhee, James Lennox, D. R. Campbell, James Mackie and Joseph McKinley. Besides her husband, Clifford Laughlin, she is survived by a daughter, Mary of Midland: brother, Charles Meek of Toronto; and a sister, Ethel Brown of St. Catharines.
  • A resident of North Simcoe for the entire 84 years of his life, Ferdinand (Fred) St. Amand died at Penetang General Hospital Feb. 16, where he had been confined with a heart ailment. Born and educated in Perkinsfield, Mr. St. Amand moved later to Victoria Harbour, and for the past 40 years had resided in Penetang. He married Leonie Bazinet in Waubaushene, April 25, 1899. A teamster during his working years, Mr. St. Amand was a devout Roman Catholic and a member of the Holy Name Society and the Sacred Heart Society, in sports he was chiefly interested in horse racing and hockey. Surviving, besides his wife, are four sons, Herman, Emery, Zephirin, and Gilbert; one daughter, Mrs. Wilfred Ladouceur (Eugenie); and one sister, Mrs. Sam Moreau, all of Penetang. Pallbearers were Gerard Hamelin, Bernard Ladouceur, Ted Robillard, Stanley Arbour, Morland Mount, and Reg Garraway.
  • A resident of Port McNicoll for the past 38 years, John McMann died Feb. 9 at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, from a heart condition. McMann was born in Tecumseth Township August 14, 1894. He was educated at Barrie, Tottenham, Schömberg and Lambton Mills. On Dec. 20, 1920, he married Elizabeth Latanville at Midland. After residing at Owen Sound for 26 years, he had resided the past 38 years at Port McNicoll. A sailor with the Great Lakes Steamship Lines CPR for 32 years, he had retired only a year and a half ago. Mr. McMann was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Thomas of Elmvale and Lorne of Port McNicoll. Also, surviving are brothers Wesley of Shelburne, Thomas of Owen Sound and sister Marie (Mrs. Jack McChestney) of Owen Sound.
  • Charles W. Gervais, a lifelong resident of Waubaushene and a highly respected citizen, died in St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Feb. 19. Honourary pallbearers were Mrs. Minnie Mayhew, Fred Wood, Walter Montgomery, Fred Kinnear, Fisher Ganton, Ralph Dalton, Lawrence Barker, Walter Lumsden, Fred Hunter and Ernie Miller. Active pallbearers were Alvin Tucker, Elmer Tucker, John Wilson, Joseph Gratrix, Thomas Stewart and John Rosborough. A special Oddfellow’s service was held the evening of Feb. 20 at the funeral home, with Oddfellows from Orillia, Midland and Waubaushene participating. Mr. Gervais was born in Northumberland County July 7, 1879, and was educated in Waubaushene. He was married to Edith Rissah Breech Oct. 14, 1903, in Toronto. [Sister of Ella Breech, secretary to Wm. Sheppard of GBL fame and related to Jacob Gill builder of many of the original grist mills in North Simcoe.]They took up residence in Waubaushene, where they have since resided. He was a lumber inspector with the Georgian Bay Lumber Company for a number of years, then clerk and treasurer of the Township of Tay for 27 years. He was a faithful member of the United Church, being an elder for 50 years, but in an honorary position recently. He was also a member of Georgian Bay Lodge, No. 219, since 1901 and of Margaret Rebekah Lodge since 1911, being Past Noble Grand of I.O.O. F. Lodge and Secretary for many years. He was for many years manager and secretary of Waubaushene Public Utilities until forced to retire because of ill health.
  • That problem appearing in the Feb. 19 issue and taken from an old arithmetic examination paper of 1898 apparently has aroused considerable interest from readers. And it can be solved without the use of the X-factor. James Robinson, the principal of Parkview Public School, was quick to provide one method. You’ll remember the problem was: “A man divided his farm among three sons. The first received 40 acres, the second one-half of the whole farm; and the third three-quarters as much as the two others. How many acres were on the farm?” OK, says Mr. Robinson, the first son got forty acres and the second half the farm. The third got three-quarters as much as the other two, which would be 30 acres plus three-quarters of one-half, or 3/8. Thus 30 plus 3/8 equals 40 plus 4/8, or 1/8 equals 70 acres and the whole farm is 560 acres.
  • The Midland Parks Commission approved an increase in tourist accommodation rates, ranging from, $1.50 weekly for trailers to $5 weekly on cottages and cabins. A flat rate of $7 per week is to be charged for tents.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week, 1933 – C. E. Stevens was elected reeve of Coldwater after Reeve A. C. Robins resigned. Mr. Stevens was elected to the office by acclamation when four other nominees withdrew. * * * Barrie’s skating rink, first erected in 1897, was totally destroyed by fire. Two other buildings a quarter of a mile away,  owned by a coal and wood firm, caught fire from flying sparks but the Barrie brigade was successful in saving the structures. *  *  * Premier Henry reported in the provincial legislature that a total of $61,500,000 had been spent for relief by the federal, provincial and municipal governments in a three-year period. The province had contributed $19,050,000 of this amount and the municipalities $24,400,000. * * *  Midland council was informed that if suggestions put forward by the bank were adopted the rate for 1933 would be 77 mills. The mill rate was made up as follows: the 1932 rate of 43 mills, a reserve against bad taxes, three mills; a further reserve against slow taxes, 10 mills; to operate on a cash basis, 14 mills; town’s share of relief, 7 mills.  *  *  *  Officials presiding at high school departmental and entrance examinations were to receive less money for their services. Presiding officers at departmental examinations were to receive $8 a day and their assistants $6.50. Previously they had received $9 and $7 respectively. * * *   Midland curling club members were informed at their annual meeting that the club had an excess revenue of $300 over the expenditures for the year. Total expenses amounted to $1,400. W. E. Haggart was re-elected the president.
  • Pleading guilty to a charge of assault causing bodily harm, with intent to endanger the life of his wife, a Midland man was sentenced to four years in Portsmouth Penitentiary by Magistrate K. A. Cameron in Midland police court.
  • As we continue to process our collection of local newspapers a wealth of interesting local history comes to light, as time permits we will add items such as this one from January 8th, 1931 Midland Argus.Ernie Swan (1906 – 1990) was born in Vasey, Ontario, and later moved to nearby Midland, where he became interested in this new fad “radio”, which eventually produced the town’s first radio station, CKPR, which he managed for several years. Ernie was 14 when he got his first radio license. When the shipyard closed in Midland, the station moved in 1931 to Port Arthur with studio and offices in Fort William, across the river, and Ernie’s dream of owning his own radio station never came to pass.  He moved to Toronto where he became a legendary figure in Canadian broadcast engineering during his tenure as chief engineer of CKCL (later CKEY) Toronto from 1930 to 1944. He then went on to trail-blaze new techniques in radio transmission that benefited existing stations and opened up opportunities for increasing the efficiency and number of stations that could occupy the AM dial.

[From the History of Canadian Broadcasting]

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