Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – April 22nd to 30th 1958

Click on images to enlarge  Residents of Midland for almost all of their married lives, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Marks celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their Gloucester Street home Friday. A native of England, Mr. Marks came to Canada in 1905; his Scottish-born wife three years later as a new bride. Parents of beloved kindergarten teacher, Margaret Marks.

    A lot of recent immigrants to Canada could take heart, and a lesson, from the experiences of Arthur Wm. Marks of 119 Gloucester Street, Midland.  When he first came to Canada from England in 1905 his first job netted him less per month than many newcomers can earn in a day now, when they find steady employment. Mr. Marks wasn’t happy with the pay in his first job, either. So he kept moving around until he found conditions and pay that were satisfactory. Three years later he was able to return to England, marry the former Christina MacDonald and return to Midland the same year. On Friday Mr. and Mrs. Marks celebrated their golden wedding anniversary quietly in the Gloucester Street cottage that has been their home for nearly 40 years. A native of Reigate, Surrey, England, Mr. Marks learned the bookbinding trade in the Old Country. He is the last survivor of a family of seven children. 
    Coming to Canada in 1905, Mr. Marks first job was on a farm near Napanee — at the princely salary of $9 per month. He was there three months when a better job presented itself at Edenvale, near Stayner. This was a big improvement, as he was paid $1.25 per day for working in a stave mill. Within a couple of weeks, he had a raise in pay. But not even the offer of another raise could keep Mr. Marks at Edenvale when he had the chance to better himself by taking a job at Playfair’s lumber mill in Midland. In the winter months, along with the other men, he worked in the bush. After two years of this he found a new job at Potvin’s shook mill. Following his marriage on April 18, 1908, Mr. Marks returned to Potvin’s, remaining there until the outbreak of World War I.
   He joined the 117th Battalion, Grey and Simcoe Foresters, and was a member of that unit’s band for some time. During some 13 months in France, he earned the Military Medal and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
   Back home in Midland after the war, Mr. Marks got a job at Ganton Dobson’s boat building establishment. Later, at the outbreak of World War II, he went to the Midland Shipyard, where he remained until age regulations forced his retirement. As a shipwright, Mr. Marks supervised the construction of the masts of all the big ships made in the yard during his years there. Boatbuilding still remains one of his chief hobbies, along with his garden and fishing. An elder of Knox Presbyterian Church, Mr. Marks was also a member of the old Sons of England Lodge when it played a prominent part in the social life of Midland. He still belongs to the lOOF. Mr. Marks meeting with Christina MacDonald came in a roundabout way, for she was a native of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, off Scotland. She still retains more than a trace of her Scottish accent, too.  Christina had worked as a maid in one of the big estates in Surrey. So did Arthur’s sister. It was his sister who introduced Arthur and Christina to each other when he went to the home for a visit one day. Mr. and Mrs. Marks have three children living, including sons John of Altadena, Cal., and Arthur Wm. Jr., Islington; and one daughter, Miss Margaret Marks, a teacher at Regent Public School. One son and one daughter died many years ago.
   Like her husband, Mrs. Marks has taken an active interest in Knox Church, where she has been a member of the WMS for more than 30 years. Both enjoy a reasonable measure of good health and both agree they would “do it all over again” if the opportunity was offered to them. The couple was thrilled to receive a congratulatory message from Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

Promotion literature by the tens of thousands is distributed annually through the Midland Chamber of Commerce. Dispatching another load are Walter Woods, left, tourist committee chairman; and secretary-manager R. B. Moffatt.

First new commercial building to be erected in Port McNicoll in some years, work on the new post office is now well underway. Located on Fourth Ave., the new building will also contain the residence of Mr. John Reedy, the Postmaster, and Mrs. Reedy. Mr. Reedy is shown in the lower photo painting door frames. 

Midland Jaycees executive members are busy plan planning their ‘Sports Show’ which is slated for April 28, 29 and 30. From left to right are President Jack Gardner, show Chairman Bill Bennett, Director Ken Webb and Secretary Herman Livingston.

  Photos from the Sports Show. Top photo Frank Swales and Ted Brodeur. 

The arrival of the first grain cargo in the spring is always an event of great importance at Port McNicoll, where the economy of the entire village is closely allied with the elevator. Hence the turn-out above for the arrival of the CSL’s Hochelaga, under Capt. C. E. Armstrong, Monday. Left to right are B. J. Brownell, village clerk; Sgt. John Clark, CPR police; Councillor Jack Fisher; S.F. Malin, superintendent CPR Steamships; Councillor Tim Lewis; Harbourmaster George Burns; Capt. Armstrong; Chief Engineer I. E. McCutcheon; Councillor Art Worth; Reeve Albert Calvert. 

Two veteran sailors, Captain C. C. Chattenburgh, center, and Chief Engineer Mel Leatherdale, right, were aboard the bulk freighter Gordon C. Leitch when the 1958 navigation season opened in Midland last week. On hand to greet them was Bill Russell, left. Mr. Leatherdale has been a Midland resident since 1913, and the Gordon C. Leitch was one of the last ships built at Midland Shipyards. 

Business is booming again at the port of Midland, as shown by the happy smiles of these men at the “topping” ceremony Monday, April 21 aboard the Gordon C. Leitch, the first arrival of the season. From left to right are CPR agent Harvey White, Chamber of Commerce president Frank Bray, Capt. Clyde Chattenburgh, Mayor Charles Parker, and M. E. Tully, superintendent of the Midland-Simcoe Elevator. 

Getting ready for another season means plenty of work for the groundskeepers at Midland Golf and Country Club. Above they are tackling a perennial trouble spot, the fourth green. The recent fine weather has lured a lot of early birds to the course. 

A big moment at the official opening ceremonies at the new Midland branch of the Toronto Dominion Bank came as Mayor Charles Parker cut the red ribbon to admit visitors on a tour of inspection. With Mayor Parker, center, are Norman Shill, manager, left, and Frank F. Hull, the assistant general manager from the bank’s Toronto head office. 

This week, the three young staff members of the new Midland branch of the Toronto-Dominion Bank are engaged in such mundane things as handling money and cheques. Saturday they were seen arranging flowers for the official opening ceremonies. Left to right are Kay Doherty, Leah Dwinnell and Ed Gamna, teller accountant, all of Midland. 

There will always be a part of Capt. Ed Burke on his beloved Midland waterfront as long as this flagpole stands. (Or until the town tears it down) The flag was flying at half mast in honor of the veteran mariner, who died last week. Capt. Burke had erected the valuable pole, and enclosed it in a suitable base, at his own expense. 

From the editorial page “From Our Viewpoint”.
   GEORGIAN BAY will never be quite the same again.   The master of the “Captain Ed” has gone. And gone with him is a larger part of the living history of the most colorful days the Bay has known.

  Captain Ed Burke was the last of the “sawlog sailors”— big physically, wise in the ways of its waters, a gentleman and a leader. The west wind was in his face and everything he undertook reflected his purposefulness.

   For over seventy years the winding channels of the Georgian Bay had known him. He and his brothers and their father before them tested the Bay in times both good and bad, and found them good. Captain Ed was the last of a line which stemmed from Penetang’s old military garrison and the log cabins along The Lines. They were an adventuring lot, always with their sights on the stars. In Captain Ed lived the spirit of the Georgian Bay. Even in these last few years of retirement, he did not and could not forget his link to the water.

   The flag which we trust will fly forever on Midland’s docks bears silent testimony to that love. The whole of the Georgian Bay area mourns a distinguished sailor, a senior citizen and community leader.

 A coincidence that I found this in the March 19th, 1903, Free Press, just before finishing this weeks post.


  • Report 25 Percent Cut in Area Unemployment – is the Free Press Herald headline of April 23, 1958. About 100 people will be dropping off the unemployment insurance benefits this week, district unemployment Insurance Commission Manager Harold Humphries predicted yesterday. The main reason for the decrease in the number of jobless was the opening of navigation, he said. At a meeting of the Local Employment Committee Friday, Mr. Humphries reported a total of 1,264 receiving benefits on April 17 — about 25 percent fewer than in March. Practically none of those classed as “employables” were on relief, he said.
  • Poachers Jump Officers Say Five Face Charges – is the County Herald headline of April 25, 1958. This newspaper was informed yesterday that at least five men who were involved in a fracas with Ontario Department of Lands and Forests officers and their deputies at Port Severn early Sunday morning will be charged. The battle started when the officers attempted to arrest a group of men who were alleged to have been spearing and netting pickerel spawning in the Severn River.
  • $761,253 Paid by UIC to District Unemployed – is the Free Press Herald headline of April 30, 1958. “You might say it is an industry unto itself.” So said Harold Humphries manager of the Midland office of the Unemployment Insurance Commission. He was referring to the fact that the staggering sum of $761,253.65 had been paid out through his office in unemployment benefits during the fiscal year of April 1, 1957 – March 31, 1958. The number of unplaced job applicants on the files at the Midland office April 24 was 1,062, including both male and female. Figure on a comparative date a year ago was around 667.
  • This newspaper was informed Friday by a Wyebridge woman, who wished to remain anonymous, that Mrs. Angus Rawn of Wyebridge had risked her own life in a valiant attempt to pull Bryan Banks, 5, from the waters of the Wye River April 7. A non-swimmer herself, Mrs. Rawn ran to the river and jumped in when she saw the lad down in the water. The hole where she jumped in was more than nine feet deep. Unable to reach the boy before he was swept away, Mrs. Rawn grabbed hold of some overhanging branches and pulled herself out of the water.
  • A move is underway to see if residents of Hugel Avenue west of Eighth Street would be favorable to investigating the possibility of annexation to Midland, it was learned Monday. The area is now part of Tay Township.
  • SWALES — Cathy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Doug Swales, wishes to announce the arrival of her sister, Christine Ann, 9 lbs. 1 oz., on Thursday, April 17, 1958, at the Penetang General Hospital.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – The first Canada Steamship Lines ship to leave Midland harbor was the “Edmonton”, bound for Windsor and Hamilton for a cargo of package freight. She steamed out of the harbor April 17. The first ship out of the harbor, however, was the St. Heliers, which left April 15. * * * The president of the Ontario Educational Association was presented with a gavel made from wood taken from the hull of the U.S. warship Tigress, sunk in Penetang Bay during the war of 1812. Parts of the hull had been raised to the surface the previous summer. Father Brunelle of Penetang presented the gavel on behalf of the town’s board of trade. * * * The Ontario legislature had reduced the province’s 112 constituencies to 90. Simcoe East riding remained unchanged but Simcoe Centre was extended to include the township of West Gwillimbury and the village of Bradford; and Simcoe South West was changed to Dufferin-Simcoe, the townships of Mono and Mulmur being added. * * * The Canadian Pacific Railway announced that it planned to discontinue passenger train service out of Midland.  The action was being taken to curtail expenses. * * * First ship into Midland harbor for the 1933 season was the Pan Snider, an American ship. She arrived from Chicago with 148,000 bushels of corn and 85,000 bushels of oats on board.
  • Proudest boy in Penetang Sunday night will be seven-year-old Terry Dubeau, who has been chosen by Penetang Lions Easter Seal Committee as the local “Timmy”. With Whipper Billy Watson appearing at the Penetang Easter Seal concert Sunday night, on behalf of the Fund for Crippled, Children, Terry will be able to meet the wrestling idol first-hand. The pair is scheduled to appear on the stage in an appeal for funds.
  • George S. Dudley, CAHA secretary-manager and Midland’s ”Mr. Hockey,” continued to acquire honors, and job’s, accruing from his many years in the sport. Mr. Dudley was one of seven “builders of hockey” named to hockey’s Hall of Fame in Toronto on the weekend. The others in this group were Senator Donat Raymond, the late George McNamara (well-known in the Penetang and Thunder Bay area’s), the late James Norris Sr. (a huge bulk freighter bearing his name was built in Midland), A. W. Picard, Con Smyth, and Lloyd Turner.
  • One of Midland’s established King Street business firms has opened a branch in Orillia. It is Watson’s studio and camera shop. The official opening Thursday, Friday, and Saturday climaxed about two months of renovations and alterations to the store on Mississaga Street, Budd said. Manager of the branch will be Budd Watson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lorne Watson. Lorne Watson is the founder of the Midland firm. Assisting Budd in the Orillia studio and store will be his sister Peggy, who for the past three years has been employed in Eaton’s College Street store camera department.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – First ship into Midland harbor was the “Imperial Hamilton” whose skipper was former Midlander Capt G. S. Sloans. The ship arrived at 11.05 p.m. April 17. * * * Tay Township council accepted a tender of $500 per year from a Waubaushene garage man for the collection of garbage in the village. The tender followed on the heels of a petition from Waubaushene ratepayers. * * * Proponents of a proposed recreation commission for Penetang approved a bylaw outlining the organization and jurisdictions of the commission, at a special meeting in the Anglican parish hall. Nominated as a committee to present the legislation to council were J. M. H. McGuire, Dr. W. E. Binkley, Jack MacIntaggart, A. R. McDonald, O. L. Dubeau, W. H. Yelland, Clarence Sinclair, Charles Day and Andrew Morrison. * * * Liberals in Simcoe East named William L. Moore as their candidate in the June 7 provincial election. The convention was held in Coldwater. Simcoe Centre Liberals nominated Charles W. Henry of Thornton at their nomination convention in Phelpston. Mr. Moore was seeking to unseat Conservative Dr. J. D. McPhee of Port McNicoll, and Mr. Henry’s opponent was George G. Johnston of Minesing, MPP. * * * Sidney Pibworth was elected to fill the vacancy on Port McNicoll council caused by the resignation of David Dack. He defeated candidates Lloyd Cameron and J. Handy. Only 134 of the 500 eligible voters cast ballots.

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