Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – June 15th to 22nd 1958

Click on photos to enlarge 

Choir comprised of Grade 5 and 6 pupils in Regent School, taught by Miss Jessie Carson, have been selected to sing at the graduation exercises for Grade 8 pupils in the Regent auditorium June 24. Wednesday afternoon they travelled by bus to Georgian Manor where they sang for residents of the manor. Teachers who have worked with the group and their music instructor R. C. Ireland consider the children to have “exceptional singing qualities.” 

Once a weekly visitor, the cruise ship South America made its lone stop-over for the season last Tuesday. On hand to greet Captain Harold Nelson, center, were Chamber of Commerce officials R. B. Moffatt, left, and Walter Woods. Mecca for most of the 150 passengers aboard was the Martyr’s Shrine. 

The first educational project of Midland Foremen’s Club, sponsored by the YMCA, was a course in blueprint reading. Those who completed the course are, front row, left to right; Jack Condon, Jerry Butineau; instructor Jim Murray, Richard Slanisky, Morie Whitcher; back row, Ivan McConnel, Fred Salmon, Russ Duncan and Roy Shakell. They received their certificates Monday. 

Near perfect weather, in contrast to cold, high winds later in the week, made things pleasant for delegates of the Ontario Historical Society who attended the official opening of Midland’s Huronia Museum Thursday. Many visitors were impressed by the excellence of the exhibits they found inside the building.

Son of the late Hon. William Finlayson, one of the town’s great figures in former years, R. M. Finlayson, left, officially opened Midland’s Huronia Museum Thursday afternoon for a new season. With Mr. Finlayson are Dr. Louis Blake Duff, famed Canadian literary figure, and little Debbie Yelland, daughter of museum curator Jack Yelland and Mrs. Yelland.

Delegates to the annual convention of the Ontario Historical Society held in Midland last week visited many points of interest in the district. Above, Dr. Wilfrid Jury explains some of the wonders of the Forget Site, an ancient Indian encampment on the banks of Wye Lake, southeast of Midland.


 President of the Ontario Historical Society, which held its convention at Midland last week, Miss Lillian -Benson of London took great interest in some of the costumes produced for the official opening of Penetang museum for the new season. Left to right are Miss Annette Brunelle, Donald Lavigne, Mrs. Benson, Miss Barbara Mead and Mrs. George Bryant. 

Here’s one fellow who appeared “well set for blades” at the opening of Penetang’s museum last Friday. Behind the whiskers is Urbain Moreau, seen with Pete Vaillancourt, Jacqueline King and Mrs. Moreau, left to right.

Here are some contractors and services you may remember.


A popular spot in Penetang.



  • Free Press Herald headline from June 18, 1958; Two Boats in Collision, Charge Severn Operator. Several Toronto area anglers narrowly escaped serious injury when their boat and another were in collision on the Severn River Sunday. A Port Severn boat operator has been charged under the Canada Shipping Act following the collision, police said.  Police said a Port Severn man has been charged with careless operation of a boat. OPP Const. H. R. Donaldson investigated. The other craft involved in the accident was an outboard motor boat operated by Elmer Burt of Brampton. Minor damage was caused to both crafts. No one was injured, police said. Passengers in the small craft were able to swim to shore.
  • County Herald headline from June 20, 1958; $15,000 Concrete Dam Proposed for Orr Lake. The cost is to be shared by the province and the two townships, Medonte and Flos. The dam will control the flow of water from the lake to the Wye River. The cost would be amortized over five years. This will amount to approximately $5 per year for every $1,000 assess The addition to the lake will be a structure of engineering skill and hard work, suitably landscaped to make an attractive place to visit on a summer afternoon. Copeland Milling Company, present owners of the property surrounding the dam site, have also given approval to the project, this paper was told. At a meeting held In Orr Lake Sunday, Reeve Ganton and Reeve Trace said the need had existed for years for a more permanent type of dam. It is felt a dam is needed capable of withstanding sudden storms such as Hurricane Hazel, and which would not be in need of constant repair.
  • A recent communication from headquarters of Ontario Provincial Police spells doom to the siren-screeching fast escorts for VIP’s. According to the bulletin, sent to all police departments, “In future, no high-speed escorts for visiting dignitaries will be provided. All escorts provided must move within the legal speed limits and in compliance with all laws. “In emergency cages for doctors and ambulances with critically ill or injured persons, the utmost care must be exercised at all times so as not to endanger the life of anyone.”
  • Funeral service will be held at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home this afternoon for A. K. M. Gaviller, a teacher on the staff of Midland District High School and Midland Penetang District High School for 30 years. Mr. Gaviller, who retired two years ago from the MPDHS staff, died Monday at his home after a lengthy illness. He was in his 63rd year. Prior to coming to Midland, he taught one year in Simcoe High School. Mr. Gaviller specialized in modern history. Married to the former Kathleen McLaren. Mr. Gaviller was a member of Session and the Board of Managers of Knox Presbyterian Church and a past president of the Midland Kiwanis Club. Besides his wife, he is survived by sons, David with IBM in Toronto, and Fred, a second-year University of Toronto student.
  • The Community Hall at Lafontaine was filled to capacity Sunday evening when graduation exercises were held for 11 Grade 12 students of Lafontaine Continuation School. Following a welcome by Irene Maurice, Augustin Desroches took charge as master of ceremonies for the program, consisting of speeches, presentations, and entertainment. Class valedictorians were Viateur Laurin, speaking in French and Vincent Marchildon In English. Honoured guests who were asked to speak during the evening included Rev. T. Marchildon, parish priest; Geo. Johnston, MPP, and Montcalm Maurice, reeve of Tiny Township.
  • Two esteemed members of the teaching profession were honored by their associates at a dinner in St. Paul’s United Church hall, Midland, Friday evening. Guests of honor were Regent School teachers Miss Annie Ross and Miss Margaret Duffett. Seventy guests comprised of teachers, board members, public school inspectors and former teaching associates of the two women attended the event.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week; Midland Little Lake Park had become so popular a camping spot that the park commission had to extend the camping area to include space for an additional 100 tents providing accommodation for a total of 600 tents. Indications were that every one of the campsites would be filled for the summer. * * * Members of the Midland Chapter of the Masonic Order extend congratulations to John Preston the occasion of his 88th About 20 local members went to the Preston home and presented him with a bouquet of flowers. * * * Midland court of revision heard 22 appeals at their regular session. Of the appeals, assessments were sustained on eighteen and four were granted reductions from $100 to $150. * * * Dr. Herbert Bruce, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and Mrs. Bruce officiated at graduation ceremonies for St. Andrews Hospital School of Nursing students. Dr. Bruce presented the diplomas and Mrs. Bruce, St. Andrew’s pins. * * * Vernon Trott of Hamilton had been appointed the director of athletics for Midland Camp Kitchikewana. * * * Following on the heels of a 90-degree heat wave a severe wind storm swept across North Simcoe leaving a trail of toppled trees in its wake. Water levels in Midland Harbour were raised two feet by the gale force wind from the northeast. * * * Max Bear defeated German challenger Max Schmeling in a world heavyweight boxing match at Madison Square Gardens.
  • Simcoe County’s 1OOth warden, Arthur Evans of Bradford, watched the unveiling of photos of all but three of the previous wardens last Wednesday at the council chambers in Barrie. Ex-warden Ernest Miller, now county messenger, removed the flag from the individually framed photos now hanging on a wall of the chamber. The ceremony was directed by B. Harvey, president of the ex-wardens’ association and two other ex-wardens, C. H. Eplett of Coldwater and J. T. Simpson.
  • A blend of strawberries, old silver and pottery marked the annual meeting of the Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Association. Held at Midhurst Re-forestation Hall June 12, it was attended by arts and crafts enthusiasts from almost every section of the county. This year the program was unique in that two members of the association were featured as guest speakers,  Miss Violet Edwards of Midland, for many years manager of the silver department of Henry Birks and Sons, Hamilton, and Jozo Weider of Collingwood. Miss. Edwards’ topic was “Old Silver and Hallmarks” while Mr. Weider talked about his “Blue Mountain Pottery”.
  • Midland Parks Commission at its meeting Thursday night instructed parks superintendent Harold McAllen to purchase aluminum roofing to completely renew the picnic canopy in the park. The commission also agreed to lease for one year approximately 100 square feet of parkland in the playground area to John Parker. Mr. Parker plans to set up a miniature golf course and a small ride on the land. A live pony ride (merry-go-round style) has been set up in the same area by Edgar Lawson.
  • Both of Simcoe County’s homes for the aged have more applications for bed care than they can accommodate a report to county council showed last week. At Georgian Manor in Penetang, there are 28-bed patients and 24 ambulatory patients while at Simcoe Manor in Beeton there are 45-bed patients and 54 ambulatory residents.
  • Parks Commission Chairman Bill Murray stated today that rumours of the park lake being unfit for swimming are not true. The Park Board has the county health authorities keep a close watch on the water condition throughout the summer. The last certificate from the health unit is dated June 11th and indicates that the water in Little Lake meets “the bacteriological standards for swimming”.

    The obituary below is for Mrs. James Burke Sr., Jane Gegg born in Dublin 1843, who died May 8th, 1916 at Midland and it was published in the May 16th, 1916 Free Press. It marks the passing of the matriarch of one of North Simcoes important and prominent families, the Burkes. The article is also an excellent example of the type of prose used at the time. (click on the link)


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