Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – Aug 8th to 15th, 1958

Many of the captions and news items have more information printed with them and we would be glad to provide that to anyone interested in a particular piece. 

Barbara Duke, left, of Kirkland Lake, and Mary Brett, right, of Shelburne, are the new public health nurses for the Midland – Penetang district. They are replacing Miss Jay Yule and Miss Frances Hincks.

Several persons escaped with minor injuries in this truck-car collision on Yonge Street, just west of the Midland town limits, around noon Sunday. Small truck, driven by Ed McWatters of Wyebridge, was overturned by the impact. The driver of the car, Forbes Millington of Toronto, has been charged with careless driving. 

Although he’s been a regular visitor to Midland’s Little Lake Park for more than 30 years, Jack McGee, of 91 Billings Ave., Toronto, was “from Missouri” as far as big bass in the lake was concerned, until around noon August 6, that is. Then he caught the 4 1/2-pounder he’s proudly displaying to his wife and parks manager Harold McAllen, right. 

Blinkum the clown delighted these Elmvale youngsters when the circus came to town last week. Talented Blinkum produced coins, wieners and other amazing things from the ears of his young admirers. In real life, he is Bill Arnott of Toronto. 

Knockabout acrobatics of the Stevens Brothers proved a crowd pleaser when Murray Bros. Circus played a one day stand in Elmvale Wednesday. Their visit was sponsored by Elmvale and District Lions Club, headed by president Frank Hannah. 

Nothing in Midland was in more need of a coat of paint than the light standards on the government docks at the foot of King Street. Two members of the Midland PUC staff are seen above performing the much-needed task which will spruce up the dock area immensely. 

“You meet the strangest people on this job,” says Gilmour Nesbitt, left, owner of a Midland service station, as he examines “Junior,” a year-old skunk owned by R. Allen of Weston, right. “Junior” had his protective armament rendered “skunk de combat” shortly after Mr. Allen bought him from a small boy for $1. “What does he eat? “Anything,” said his proud owner. 

There’s lots of room in the new boat Capt. Percy Beatty of Midland is building for himself at Port McNicoll. Capt. Beatty (facing camera) discusses a problem with Fulmar Neilsen, who is putting the finishing touches on the all-welded steel hull. 

This new, all-welded hull is being fitted out for Midland’s Capt. Percy Beatty, who will make the boat his permanent home, winter, and summer. Hull is 34 feet long and has a 10′ 10″ width. The boat will cruise at 12 to 15 knots per hour. 

Iain Brownlee of Midland will receive the $25 award for the outstanding student at the “University of Western Ontario’s Summer School of Indian Archaeology”, presented annually by the Huronia Historic Sites and Tourist Association. Association secretary Barry Conn Hughes announced today that the school’s director, Dr. W. W. Jury, had designated the 16-year-old Midland boy as “the obvious choice” for the award. Iain is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Brownlee, 329 King Street, and it was the first time he had attended the summer school. This fall, he enters Grade 11 at Midland-Penetang District High School.  

Iain Hutchinson Brownlee – Peacefully passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer at the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital, Dunnville on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Born March 26, 1943, in Port Glasgow, Scotland to John Brownlee and Robina (McMaster). Iain immigrated to Canada with his family in 1952. Iain was raised in Midland, Ontario, where he began a long broadcasting career. His distinctive voice and news writing abilities moved him first to Barrie T.V. and then to Toronto where he worked at CHUM, CKEY and CFRB from the 1960s through the 1980s. He also taught broadcasting at Niagara College in the 1970s and was the narrator of the T.V. Series ‘Wild Animals of the World’. The descendant of a long line of skilled tradesmen, Iain later became a gifted carpenter whose attention to detail was appreciated by family, friends, and contractors. He spent many summers boating on his beloved Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. Iain was devoted to and is lovingly remembered by his wife of 45 years, Ann, his son Scott and daughter Jackie (Dan Tickler), five grandchildren, Mackenzie, Maysen, Daelyn, Payton and Grady, and sister June (Baker). Gratitude and thanks for the outstanding care given by Dr. Xu, the nursing staff at Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and the CCAC nurses especially Beth and Jackie. Iain requested a private cremation and interment in the family plot in Midland. A public Memorial Service will be held at BALLARD MINOR FUNERAL HOME, 315 Broad St. E., Dunnville on Thursday, March 28, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.

Landing this 18-inch black bass would be a thrill for any fisherman. It was even more so for 8-year-old Jo-Anne Adams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Connie Adams, Elizabeth St., Midland. Jo-Anne made her big catch, using a leech while fishing off the dock at Port McNicoll Sunday evening. “It’s bigger than any I ever caught,” her proud father admitted. 

Here we see that nasty big Ed Miller giving poor Yukon Eric the business with the corner rope during Monday night’s wrestling card at Midland Arena. Referee Bert Maxwell, natch, was nowhere to be seen when all this was going on. These scenes and others are repeated every Monday night at the Arena.


The natural gas lines in Midland are nearly ready to go into use and the local coal and oil dealers are using the newspaper to get out the message on the advantages of their products.


  • County Herald headline from August 8, 1958; Councils Back Hospital for Elmvale District. Meetings held at Wyevale and Woodland Beach,” Mr. Nash continued, “show that the people are almost 100 percent behind the proposal to build a hospital, and the vote of those present indicated they are willing to have 1.9 mills added to the tax rate for hospital purposes.” He added, “We’re not going to let this matter drop; we’ll pursue it further until we have the necessary 66 percent signatures of property owners on the petition. About 80 percent of the farming area has been covered and roughly 100 of 550 cottagers.”
  • Free Press Herald headline from August 13, 1958; Midland Plant will Move Toronto Personnel Here. One of Midland’s younger industries, Pinecrest Products Ltd., plans to follow a $25,000 expansion program here by moving its Toronto operation to Midland late this fall. Robert Holt, president of the ready-to-paint furniture and wood specialties company, said Webster-Smallwood Ltd. would start construction of a 3,500 square foot addition to their Centre Street (Bay St. east of William) plant within two weeks. About Nov. 1 the firm will close down its Toronto plant and conduct its operations entirely in Midland, he said. The move from Toronto would add about 20 employees to the 30 who normally work in Midland.
  • County Herald headline from August 15, 1958; Midland Group Protests Threat to Two Midland Firms. Midland Chamber of Commerce sent a strongly worded protest to provincial Minister of Labor Charles Daley Wednesday after two Midland manufacturers were threatened with criminal action by the Advisory Committee to the Ladies’ Dress and Sportswear Industry. Last week, Jim Thomas of Fabulous Formals Limited and Saul DeVries of Celebrity Formals, here, received letters from the Committee threatening criminal action within a week if they did not comply with its regulations. Late in May, the manufacturers were informed of the appointment of the advisory committee and its issuance of several regulations. Most contentious of these was the prohibiting of overtime work except under special conditions, and then only after a written request had been made to the committee; and the levying of a tax of one half of one per cent on the wages of employees in the industry and an additional one half of one per cent to be paid by the firm on its total payroll.
  • Midland police chief Robert Cameron was knocked unconscious when hit on the head with a stone yesterday as he sought to question a man on the southerly outskirts of Midland. Later it was learned the man who threw the stone, (name withheld), 31, was an escaped mental patient from the Ontario Hospital at Smiths Falls. Chief Cameron had stopped to question the man on King Street south, near the town limits. Not satisfied with the answers, Chief Cameron asked the suspect to get in the cruiser for further questioning. He demurred and took off, with the chief in pursuit. Picking up a rock, he hurled it at Chief Cameron, striking the officer on the back of the head. Knocked out, Chief Cameron later required medical treatment for cuts about the head. Meanwhile, several citizens who saw the episode captured the suspect and took him to the police station. He was turned over to authorities at the Ontario Hospital in Penetang and will be taken back to Smiths Falls later this week.
  • Of late years game dishes have lost some of the glamour previously attached to them. Roast wild goose and wild duck, black squirrel pie, fried rabbit and beaver tail were a few of the delicacies on the culinary list that caused people to smack their lips. It has been said that the plucking, drawing and general preparation of such game for the oven, is not to the liking of the present-day housewife. Despite the illegal action it was interesting to hear there are still some hunters who do not believe in throwing certain types of game in the garbage. Conservation Officer Fred Bowes of Waubaushene was surprised to discover the head, wings, legs, and feathers of a loon in the vicinity of a summer cottage. Investigating the incident, he found the occupants were roasting the prize meat on the stove in preparation for a sumptuous meal. The explanation the cook gave the Conservation Officer that the bird was actually a Canada goose, was not very convincing and it did not excuse the parties concerned from court action for an infraction of the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
  • Two Midland boys whose case had been heard Monday in Midland Court were given suspended sentence of two years in the custody of Salvation Army Lieut. Swaddling, when they appeared in Penetang Court for sentence, July 31. Magistrate J. Rennicks told the boys that conditions of their probation included being in the house by 11 each night and 12 Saturday night. They must abstain from liquor, and be very careful of their company. Evidence was given by OPP Const. R. T. Donaldson was that the two had been caught stealing gasoline from a truck belonging to Angus Rawn, Wyebridge, on July 22.
  • Eighty-seven of the Jones Clan met at Vasey, Aug. 9, for a happy get-together. Supper was held in the church basement, after which members of the Vasey W.I. washed the dishes, while the Clan met at the park for games and the annual business meeting. Oldest married couple present were Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Cumming of Barrie. They also had the most grandchildren present. The eldest person attending the reunion was Mrs. John Bacon of Midland. Western members included Phoebe Jones of British Columbia and Tom Jones of Edmonton. The most recently-married couple were Mr. and Mrs. Ron Graham (Patsy Jones). Officers for the coming year will be President, Murray Cumming, Toronto; secretary, Dean Jones, Toronto; treasurer, Jack Crooke, Midland; sports committee Earl Carscadden, Toronto, and Mary Campbell, Wyevale.
  • Either Mrs. Bill Logan’s fame as a cook has spread considerably or some person was just plain hungry. In any event, the home of PUC Commissioner Logan and Mrs. Logan on Lindsay Street, Midland, was entered over the weekend. Concentrating solely on the refrigerator, the thieves made off with a roast of beef and other tasty foods. Money, however, was the object of thieves who broke into Strohm’s service station on Yonge St. W. Tuesday morning. Removing a pane of glass in a rear window, they ultimately gained entrance by removing the entire frame. Loot was about three or four dollars in change police said.
  • 25 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – “Large gathering spent money freely” was a sub-head on the story of the Kiwanis Carnival held this week in 1933. Apparently, there were weather problems that summer too; the carnival had to be postponed from Monday till Tuesday evening but was crowded and successful. * * * Charles Hill, a Civil War veteran, and Midland’s oldest resident died one month to the day after his 101st birthday. He was reported as well and mentally active almost to the last. * * * Two thousand pilgrims, the majority of them from Welland, visited the Martyrs’ Shrine on Sunday. The majority came by chartered bus, but several hundred made the trip in their own cars. * * * Fire did considerable damage to the residence of Mrs. Coombs on Colborne Street. No water damage was caused, the firefighters confined themselves to the use of chemicals. * * * Boxing and wrestling were attractions at the Parkside Pavilion. Dancing started at 9 o’clock, with the bouts in between. The management had announced a corn roast. * * * * * * George Young, the conqueror of the Catalina Channel, was scheduled to appear at an Orillia sports day. * * * The fourth reunion of the Rumney Family was held at Couchiching Park, with about 30 present. * * * 200 of the Russell family gathered for a reunion in Little Lake Park. The youngest member was the three-week-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Edwards of Vasey. * * * This being a depression year, there was a long list of land for sale in arrears of taxes. * * * All records were broken at the Midland Little Lake tourist camp over the Toronto civic holiday weekend. Peak was reached Sunday evening when there were 510 tents in the camp. The previous high had been 430 tents.
  • Held at Couchiching Park, Orillia, on a warm late-July day, the 26th Rumney family reunion was attended by 87— the descendants of Matthew Rumney who came to this country in 1882. The founder of the family arrived with his second wife and four children by his first wife. (The fourth Rumney reunion was recorded in 1933 and a reference is made to it this week in the Twenty-Five Years Ago column.) More than 80 sat down to a picnic supper at No. 2 Pavilion, where the official meeting was held. The president, Mrs. Harry Rumney, expressed pleasure at the large attendance and called for the secretary’s report, which was read and adopted. It was decided to hold the 1859 reunion at the same place, the last Saturday in July Officers elected for 1958-59 were: President, Nathan Edwards; vice-president, Robert Rumney; secretary, Verne Rumney; sports committee, Mr. and Mrs. Art Brand, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Wilton. Youngest member present was Joanne Bidwell; oldest member believed to be Charlie Beatty; largest family, that of Mrs. Nathan Rumney.
  • At Port Arthur shipyard recently the Alexander Henry was launched for the Department of Transport for service on the upper Great Lakes. This vessel will be assigned to the Parry Sound Marine Agency of the Department of Transport, which regulates channels, lighthouses and other marine services on the lakes above Sarnia. The C.G.S. “Alexander Henry” is well fitted for the task ahead of her, being a modern ship in every aspect of her design. She is an ice-breaker, supply and buoy vessel and thus is designed for the general service demanded of the Department of Transport work on these large lakes. She measures 210 feet in length, has a displacement of 2,440 tons, a beam of 45’6″ and a cruising radius of 6,000 miles. She is powered with two 10 cylinder diesel engines, each developing 1,775 h.p. The engines have been installed with the special task of ice-breaking in mind, the large fluid clutches being placed between each engine and the propeller it drives in order to take up the shock when the wheel jams against a block of ice. The ship is also equipped with a helicopter landing platform to be used for scouting weak spots in the ice when this work is going on in the spring and fall.
  • WEDDINGS — Red and white carnations decorated the altar of St. James the Minor Church, Stirling, Ont., July 19 at 10 o’clock for the summer wedding, when Rev. F. J. O’Neill, P.P. united in marriage Helen Frances Kerby of Ivanhoe, daughter of Mr. Michael Kerby, and Ambrose Lalonde of Midland, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lalonde of Midland.  * * *  Gladioli and summer flowers formed the setting for the wedding ceremony Aug. 2 when Eleanor Blanche Minaker became the bride of Frederick Clark Miller. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Minaker of Lochlin and the bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Miller of Toronto. * * *  A summer afternoon garden wedding was solemnized at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lorne McMurtry, Midland, July 26, when Betty June Cudmore became the bride of John Roy Fenton. The bride is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Cudmore and the groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy E. Fenton. Tall standards of pink and white gladioli and baskets of mixed summer flowers formed the background for the double ring ceremony conducted by Mr. A. Dellandrea, evangelist, of Port Loring, Ont. * * *  Kathleen Esma Edgar, the youngest daughter of Mrs. Anne Edgar of Toronto and the late J. Edgar of Midland, was married recently to John Sluyster of Holland, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. M. Sluyster, in a ceremony conducted by Rev. Simon Perdue of Saint Basil’s Church, Toronto. Given in marriage by her brother, Warren Edgar, the bride wore a floor-length gown of embroidered nylon. Her tiara of seed pearls held her chapel length veil. She carried a bouquet of orchids and Lilly of the valley. * * *  Standards of white gladioli and white Shasta mums formed the setting in Knox Presbyterian Church, Midland, for the wedding vows exchanged by  Patricia Anne Perrin, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter MacKenzie Perrin, and Ernest Bruce Cowden, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Cowden of Vasey. Rev. J. Leonard Self officiated at the afternoon double-ring ceremony July 19. Organist Stanley Harman played the wedding music and soloist Mrs. Joan Smith, the aunt of the groom, sang “Wedding Prayer” before the ceremony and “Wedding Hymn” while the register was signed. Given in marriage by her father, the bride chose a white floor-length dress of lace and net over taffeta, featuring a bouffant skirt with appliqués of lace. The fitted bodice of lace was styled with a scalloped neckline and short sleeves. Her mittens were of matching lace. The French illusion veil of finger-tip length fell from a coronet of seed pearls, and she wore the gift of the groom, a string of pearls. Matron of honour was the bride’s sister, Mrs. Shirlie Germann. Bridesmaids were Miss Helen Laidlaw and Miss Norma Cowden, sister of the groom. Identically dressed in blue crystal charm sheath dresses with overskirts of pale blue silk organza, and picture hats covered in matching material, they carried old-fashioned swing style baskets of white anemone ‘mums and feathered chrysanthemums. Flower girls, Janice McGee, cousin of the bride, and Barbara Smith, cousin of the groom, wore blue Crystal charm dresses styled with pinafores of white silk organza. They carried flowers similar to the bridesmaids’ but smaller in size. Best man was Gordon Brand, cousin of the groom, and ushers were Laurence Donnell, Ward Barrie, and Pat Roberts. The men in the wedding party wore white dinner jackets and navy blue trousers.  * * *  St. John’s Anglican Church, Waverley, was decorated with baskets of mixed flowers for the three o’clock wedding on July 26, when Kathleen Sarah youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Truax of Waverley became the bride of Paul Eric Eplett of Toronto, second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Bruce Eplett of Victoria Harbour. Rev. A. G. Fairhead performed the double ring ceremony and Mrs. George Brock was organist and accompanist for the soloist; Mrs. Wm. Sibthorpe, who sang ‘A Wedding-Prayer’ before the ceremony and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’- during the signing of the register. Given in marriage by her brother Roy Truax, the bride wore a floor-length gown of embroidered organza over satin, featuring a portrait neckline and bouffant skirt with nylon tulle and lace flounces.

Tips on canoeing with the Huron by Jean de Brebeuf S.J. 1637

(Quoted word for word) 

“If you don’t want to make them annoyed at the beginning, don’t keep them waiting for you to get into the canoe. ”
“Take a tinder-box with you or a burning glass, or both. This is so you can offer them a light if they want to smoke during the day or night when you make camp. Little gestures like this please them”.
“Eat their food the way they prepare it—even though it is dirty, half-cooked and tasteless. There will be other things, a lot of them, you won’t like. Put up with them for the love of God without either saying a word or as much as appearing to notice them”.
“In the first days, take everything they offer you even if you can’t eat it all. When you get used to it, you will find there is none too much”.
“Force yourself to eat at daybreak (unless you can take your dish into the canoe with you). The Huron eat only at sunrise and sunset when they are travelling, and that’s a long day to go without eating”.
“Don’t dally getting in or out of the canoe. Tuck up your soutane so it won’t get wet and drag either water or sand into the canoe. To be well dressed, have your feet and legs bare, you can wear your shoes at rapids, and on long portages, you may even put on your leggings”.
“Don’t at any time annoy even one of the Indians”.
“Don’t ask too many questions— and don’t let your eagerness to learn the language lead you into passing remarks along the way. This can be carried too far. Spare those in your canoe this annoyance—especially since it won’t do you any good anyway. A quiet tongue is a good piece of equipment in times like these”.
“Take half-a-gross of awls with you, two or three dozen little pocket-knives, a hundred fish-hooks and some beads of plain and colored glass. These can be used when you meet other tribes- to buy fish and other things to make a feast for your Indians. It is best to give these things to them early on, saying, ‘Here’s something to buy fish”.
“At the portages, try to carry some little thing according to your strength. No matter how little it is, even if it is only a kettle, this pleases the Huron. “Don’t stand on ceremony with the Huron. Take anything they offer you in the way of comforts—like a good place in the cabin at night. The best comfort they can offer you will be uncomfortable enough, and they get offended by polite refusals”.
“Don’t start anything you can’t finish. Don’t, for example, offer to take a paddle unless you are willing to paddle all the way. Take at the very start the place in the canoe that you intend to keep. Don’t lend them any of your clothing unless you want them to keep it for the whole journey. It is easier to refuse at first than to ask the thing back afterward”.
“Remember, finally, that you are going to live with these peoples. The opinion they form of you on the way down is the one they will keep back in this country. If they find you irritable or troublesome, you will have a lot of trouble changing that judgment later”.
“And you are not dealing only with the men in your own canoe but with the whole country. You will continually meet people who have asked the men who brought you down what kind of man you are. It is incredible how much they observe and how they remember even the slightest fault”

(Brebeuf had made the 800-mile journey three times when he wrote this.)

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