Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – October 23rd to 31st, 1958

Click on photos to enlarge; 

Accountant for the town of Midland, Miss Hilda Martin (seated) could be $140,000 richer if a horse named Aggressor wins the Cambridgeshire Handicap in England this morning. Sharing Miss Martin’s pleasure upon receiving word she had a ticket on the event are Miss Norine Bell and William Hack, clerk-treasurer of Midland. (The “crackling” on the photo is the result of the negative being stored for 60 years and the reason the Museum is actively digitizing the Free Press collection.)

(“Aggressor” came third in the race and Miss Martin won $28,000, it was reported at 10 a.m.) 

The historic picture above marked the departure of the last CNR passenger train from Midland, Saturday, October 25th. The cut-off meant the end of a service Midlanders have had for nearly 80 years. Left to right, Conductor Roy Whitney, brakeman Harvey Wallace, Midland, agent Frank Whiteman, fireman Jack Rowell express agent Harwood Gosselin, engineer Jack Cochrane, baggage man Roy Head. 

The smiles look a little forced, as indeed they were when CNR agent Frank Whiteman, left, shook hands with conductor Roy Whitney as the afternoon train left Midland Saturday. It was the last regular passenger train to leave Midland. The service has been discontinued because of a lack of passenger revenue in recent years.

The cutting off of CNR passenger service to this area Saturday brought many memories for the two Midlanders in the photo. Mrs. Charles Laughlin, now 90, was just a child when the first train went through Fesserton.  J. G. McArthur, who later had a railroad career of his own in the U.S.A., went from Port Severn with his parents to see the first train arrive at Waubaushene in the late 1870’s. Both now reside at 313 Manley Street, Midland. 

The very latest thing in Chevrolets — 30 years ago — was this 1929 model. Almost a museum piece now, the old sedan was sold for $40 at an auction sale in Midland Saturday. 

Carol Cowan—says “we young people in Midland are indeed fortunate to have a YMCA with excellent leadership to provide us with the opportunity to grow physically, socially and in character.” Your financial support is needed to keep the ‘Y’ active — support your YMCA in its financial campaign for funds commencing today. 

Getting a birds’ eye and a tail-end view of the situation are these four big freighters tied up at the shipyard in Midland harbor. The view from either end, as far as lake shipping is concerned, is far from pleasant. These four giants, along with four smaller ships, have been tied up for many weeks, long before the end of the navigation season. Ships are, left to right, the Gleneagles, Sir James Dunn, Hochelaga and Thunder Bay. 

The first step towards a coveted YMCA crest are the certificates held by the three lads above. Showing their gymnastic achievement awards to Lloyd Stackhouse are, left to right, Paul Howard, Burke Thompson, and Gary Bryant. Paul is a three-star man; the other boys have one each. Campaign for funds with which to carry on this and other work at Midland ‘Y’ starts this week. 

Picture used in an ad for the YMCA fundraising campaign, the copy read as follows; HELP KEEP THESE DOORS OPEN Join with your friends and neighbors by giving financial support to your YMCA. Every dollar is needed if the YMCA is to continue its active program with the youth of the district. -YOUR YMCA CAMPAIGN FOR FUNDS STARTS TONIGHT – The volunteer canvasser who calls at your home is giving his time voluntarily for a cause he believes in — please don’t disappoint him.   -CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVE $10,500-  If by chance you are not canvassed but you would like to make a donation to this worthwhile cause please telephone LAkeside 6-6461 or call at the YMCA on Hugel Avenue West, Midland. 

The YMCA’s annual drive for funds got off to a good start at the campaign’s opening banquet in the “Y” Wednesday night. Before the meeting adjourned, more than 20 percent of the objective of $10,500 had been received in cash and pledges. Susan Heels, Joanne Kettle, Sonja Beatty, and Janet Setterington receive certificates from Lloyd Stackhouse. 

This home on the old Grant farm in Midland, between Ruby and Donalda Streets, will be put to the torch in a spectacular Halloween night fire. Midland fire brigade will standby to prevent its spread. 

Past and present Grand Lodge officers who attended the 75th-anniversary dinner of Caledonian Lodge, Midland, Wednesday night are shown, assembled in their regalia. Left to right, front row, are Rt. Wor. Bro. R. T. C. Dwelly, formerly of Penetang, Rt. Wor. Bro. George S. Dudley, Q.C., Wor. Bro. W. M. Perrin, both of Midland, the latter master of Caledonian Lodge, Rt. Wor. Bro. C. M. Pitts, DGM of Canada, Ottawa, Rt. Wor. Bro. J. J. Robins, Midland, and Rt. Wor. Bro. J. K. McAuley, Elmvale. Back row, Very Wor. Bro. G. Clemence, Stayner, Rt. Wor. Bro. W. A. Blackburn, Stayner, Very Wor. Bro. C. A. Flowers, Midland, Very Wor. Bro. W. R. Bagley, Orillia, Rt. Wor. Bro. W. E. Bacon, Orillia, Very Wor. Bro. Robt. Trustham, Midland, and Rt. Wor. Bro. W. R. Allen of Stroud. 

Both MPDHS football teams are enjoying another good season on the field this year, aided and abetted by their pretty cheerleaders. Girls are, left to right, front row —Gail Richardson, Junia Corcoran, Mary Lou Brissette, Rosemary Shiels, Marilyn Thompson; back row—Gail Rankin, Shirley Newton, Marion Lavigne, Betty Ann McCullough, Carol VanLuven.

  •  County Herald headline from October 24, 1958; Penetang Foundry Firm Secures Major Contract. Working in competition with more than 50 firms across the province, a Penetang plant, P. Payette Co. has been successful in obtaining a contract for 185 brick kiln cars with an estimated gross value of approximately $65,000. Anticipating production of three cars daily, Chas. Sweet said yesterday, the order will keep his plant busy for more than two months. “We are going to have to keep jumping to meet the final delivery date of Jan. 1,” he said. Pilot car of the order was nearing completion when a reporter visited the plant yesterday. Employees were busy throughout the machine shop setting up and proving jigs which will be used in the production. Containing a total of 1,400 lbs. of material, the cars have an overall dimension of nine feet four inches by six feet six inches. They are mounted on a flanged wheel with special type bearings between the wheel and axle.
  • Free Press Herald headline of October 29, 1958; Midlander Holds Ticket on Sweepstakes Favourite. Midlanders in general and Miss Hilda Martin, in particular, will have an ear cocked this morning for the results of a horse race being run in England. Miss Martin’s interest is understandable. She happens to have a sweepstake ticket on a horse named Aggressor in the Cambridgeshire Handicap. If Aggressor comes first, he will make 24 persons happier and richer to the tune of $140,000. Miss Martin, and the other 23 ticket holders won’t do too badly if he merely places second or even drops to third. They’ll collect $56,000 for place and $28,000 for show. (Aggressor came third in the race and Miss Martin won $28,000, it was reported at 10 a.m.)
  • County Herald headline of October 31, 1958; Gasoline in Car Explodes, Tiny Man Badly Burned. For the second time in his life, Hilaire Lesperance, 39, received serious burns to a large part of his body late Saturday afternoon as the result of a fire which started while working underneath his car in front of his Con. 3 home, Tiny Township. Lauzon said the injured man is suffering third-degree burns to a large area on his right arm, second degree burns to other parts of his right arm and hand, second degree burns to his back from his neck to the tip of his spine, and second degree burns to his left hand. The doctor said Mr. Lesperance’s condition is “as well as can be expected, and plans are being made to have him transferred to a Toronto hospital for skin grafting in about 10 days.” “He will need a great deal of skin grafting,” the doctor said. When questioned further, he intimated the process could take more than a year. As a young lad, Mr. Lesperance had his back badly burned when he tumbled backward into a tub of boiling water. Medical men believe the scar tissue which formed on his back was of little use to him, and that now he will be better off when grafting operations are complete.
  • The seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of Caledonian Lodge, AF and AM, No 249 G.R.C., Midland, was marked by a banquet in the Sunday School auditorium of Knox Presbyterian Church Wednesday night. Thirty visitors from district lodges were included in the 150 who attended the anniversary dinner. Rt. Wor. Bro. G. S. Dudley gave a brief history of Caledonian Lodge beginning with its transfer from Angus late in 1882 and the first election of officers in 1883. The first, officers in Midland were: H. F. Switzer, worshipful master; Henry S. Ruby, (grandfather of Sargeant Ruby) senior warden; Richard Finch, junior Warden; Edward Peplow, secretary; Josiah Hicks, treasurer; William Henderson, inner guard; Bennett Jane, senior deacon;  Andrew Miscampbell, junior deacon; and Frank K. Vincent, tyler. Mr. Dudley pointed out that during the 75 years, Caledonian Lodge has been honored by having five of its members elected to the office of District Deputy Grand Master in the persons of: Richard Raikes, Alexander C. Adams, M. Seymour Keller (brother of Reeve W. H. Keller who was a worshipful master in 1954), George S. Dudley and John J. Robins. The lodge has had four past masters who have received from Grand Lodge the title of Very Worshipful. They are as follows: Arthur W. Bell, William H. Thornton, Roy S. King, and Charles A. Flowers.
  • Dear Editor: Owing to a recent broadcast over CFRB, there’s an idea abroad that I do not know how I came into possession of Capt. Elmes Steele’s sword. I would like to clear up this aspersion on my memory, for it is remarkably good, not only for an old lady of nearly 75 but for any age. These are the facts: About 70 years ago, I was playing with the sword in Steele’s drawing room when John Steele (Capt. Elmes Steele’s eldest son) and my father, who was then the newly-appointed rector of St. Matthias’ Church, Coldwater, came into the room. Mr. Steele was churchwarden and a friend of my father. When they came into the room, they watched me for a few minutes. I was playing David and Goliath. Then Mr. Steele turned to his niece, Miss Currie, and said, “Maggie, I think that we will give the sword to the parson’s lass.” I have always loved the dear old thing and so have my children and grandchildren. But at the request of my cousin, Dr. C. H. Hale, I gave it to the Sr. Sam Steele Memorial Building. I felt it would be seen by a larger number of people who are interested in the things of Canada’s early days than would be the case if it had been kept in my own home. ADA SHEPPARD WALKER, R.R. 1, Coldwater.
  • It was announced at the Tuesday night meeting of Midland Y’s Men’s Club that Miss Wendy Howard was the winner of the annual $50 scholarship. Miss Howard was the top student at MPDHS last year. She obtained nine firsts and two seconds with an average in all subjects of 84 percent. She is at present attending Teachers’ College in Peterborough. The presentation on behalf of the club will be made Nov. 8 by Frank Powell.
  • At least four North Simcoe citizens reported seeing Sputnik III as it travelled across the sky from the southwest to the northwest between 6:14 and 6:19 p.m. Monday. A Coldwater woman and three Midland people said they watched the Sputnik. It was launched into orbit In May. Mr. and Mrs. Jim Murray of Midland said the satellite could be seen quite clearly and looked like a bright star.
  • When the CNR passenger train pulled out of Midland station at 2.30 p.m. (EST) it marked the end of an 80-year era. Some 40 persons, on a “sentimental journey,” were aboard the train when it pulled into Midland an hour earlier. On its outward trip, the train carried about the same number, several of them children getting their first train ride. The advent of Highway 400 drove the final nail into the coffin as far as railway passenger business out of Midland to Toronto was concerned. Private cars or buses can get to Toronto in easily half the time taken for the rail journey. One of the veteran residents of Midland who still remembers the advent of the railway to this town is W. T. Bath, Fourth Street. Born in England, Mr. Bath came to Canada in 1875 with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John Bath. His father was a stonemason. The Baths arrived in Orillia at a time when Baron Von Hugel was building his Midland Railroad from Port Hope to Midland. Bath Sr. got a job as foreman on the railroad and in 1878 brought his family as far as Waubaushene, at that time the end of the line. They made the remainder of the trip by small boat. Thus Tom Bath was in Midland when the first train arrived in 1879. The arrival of the train brought the entire population of the struggling village down to the tracks. Many more came from Penetang, already a well-established town, and from neighbouring farms.
  • Major problem of St. Andrews Hospital after the Ontario Hospital Services Commission Act comes into force Jan. 1 will be patients not protected by some type of hospital and medical insurance. This was the fear expressed by Chairman Gordon Moss when it was learned the per diem rate for ward patients after Jan. 1 will be at least $14. It may run as high as $16. Many Ontario hospitals, including Royal Victoria at Barrie, have intimated their new ward rate under the hospital plan will be $17, which provides payment for drugs as well as ordinary hospital services. “A stay in the hospital could be disastrous financially for the ordinary citizen who does not belong to an insurance plan,” said Mr. Moss. “We must do everything we can to point out to the people of our area the protection that is available to them for only $50.40 per annum. That covers the entire family.” “The average person simply cannot afford not to have this insurance,” Mr. Moss pointed out.
  • Coldwater – Liquor and beer stores received approval of the majority of voters in this village Monday by a narrow margin. The village, which has been dry for half a century, did not vote on other types of liquor outlets. The votes were: for a beer store, 250, against, 152; for a liquor store, 242, against, 160. In each case, the vote for beer and liquor was slightly more than the 60 percent required by the Liquor Control Act.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – Street lighting in Midland was so poor and sidewalks so hazardous that women and children were carrying a flashlight when they walked anywhere at night. Utility commission officials said the dimly glowing street lights were primarily the result of a direct hit by lightning on a booster transformer. PUC workmen were rewiring the “series” system lights to avoid recurrence of the problem. * * * Citizens of Elmvale had submitted an application to Simcoe County council requesting it approve full village status for the community. The request was to be presented at the November meeting of council. * * * Coldwater council had been advised that the federal Department of Public Works had authorized the leasing of the Maconachie building on Main Street as the location of the new post office for the village. * * * Tiny Township Court of Revision was swamped with 40 appeals on assessments, necessitating a second sitting of the court. * * * Power shortage was causing half-hour cut-offs daily in Penetanguishene. All power in the town was shut off between 5 and 5.30 p.m., and consumers were warned the cut-offs would become more severe if more savings of power were not affected immediately. * * * Dr. W. B. Boyd, a resident of Coldwater since 1894, died at his Eplett Street home. Because of ill health, he had not practiced medicine since 1937. * * * The Ontario government had authorized the establishment of six new fish sanctuaries in waters of the southern end of the Inside Channel, Georgian Bay.
  • WAVERLEY NEWS — Mr. and Mrs. Don Irwin and Nancy of Barrie spent last week with Mrs. Irwin’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reynolds. – Mrs. Charles and Mrs. Hounsome of Wyebridge visited Charles French last Tuesday. – Dave McFadden of Toronto spent Sunday with his sister, Mrs. Freeman French. Mrs. French and Esley went to Toronto with Mr. McFadden Sunday evening. – Carolyn and Janice Reynolds of Wyevale spent last week with their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reynolds. -An item in Friday’s paper should have read: Mrs. Corlett, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Drinkle and Mrs. Whetham spent an afternoon in Barrie purchasing new drapes for the United Church hall here. Mrs. Fred Archer donated the funds for the new drapes.
  • Port McNicoll This Week Evening Group of the United Church sponsored a bake sale last Friday afternoon in Todd’s store. The conveners were Mrs. L. Todd, Mrs. M. Lattimore, Mrs. L. Vasey, and Mrs. D. Spencer. – Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Morris and Jill arrived in Port last Friday, from Stone, Staffordshire, England. They made the journey to Canada aboard the S.S. Empress of Britain. The “Morris’s spent the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. C. Larkin prior to moving into the Loney apartments Monday.  – Mr. and Mrs. A. McCullagh Sr., Mrs. M. J. Armstrong and Mrs. A. Gallagher, spent last Thursday in Orillia and Barrie. – Mr. and Mrs. Lennox Vasey spent the weekend with the latter’s parents  Mr. and Mrs. W. Stapleton in Newcastle. –  A. G. Calvert and A. Van Pypen spent Thursday of last week in Toronto.  – Among the guests at the Badalie – McGuffin wedding in Toronto, Saturday, were Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lever, Mrs. H. Gammon, Mr. and Mrs. J. Reedy of Port McNicoll, and Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Cooke, Victoria Harbour.  – Mrs. J. Duncan left Monday to spend a week in Smiths Falls.  – Recent visitors of Mr. and Mrs. A. Calvert, were Mr. and Mrs. Harold Bartley, Toronto.  – Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Chapple, Judy and Patti of Toronto visited Mrs. D. Spencer Monday. – Many of the townspeople attended anniversary services in the United Church at Ebenezer Sunday. – Irene Valcheff entertained several friends at her home on Saturday on the occasion of her ninth birthday.
  • Obituaries GEORGE NELSON AMBEAU As the result of a heart attack, George Nelson Ambeau died at St. Andrews Hospital Oct. 16. Born at Byng Inlet, April 13, 1904, Mr. Ambeau had spent most of his life in Midland except for one year at Sarnia, Ont. He was married to the former Lavena Latour in Midland Oct. 26, 1925. The son of Nelson Ambeau and the late Mrs. Ambeau, he is survived by his wife, sons, Gordon and Thomas of Midland and Jack of Gananoque and daughters, Mrs. Lorne Lagree (Jean), Newmarket, and Mrs. Rudy Hochrein (Connie) of Toronto, and six grandchildren, two brothers, Orval of Penetang and D’Arcy, London, Ont., and a sister, Mrs. Alf Latour (Myrtle), Sarnia, also survive. Solemn high mass was celebrated at St. Margaret’s Church, Midland, by Father R. Egan Saturday, Oct. 18. Pallbearers were Herman Ambeau, Lawrence Latour, Alf Latour, Edward Tocher, Sam Alarie, and Leo Fournier. Burial was in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Midland. * * * MRS. RICHARD LETHBRIDGE A life-long resident of Midland, Mrs. Richard Lethbridge, died at Balm Beach Oct. 19 at the age of 67. Born in Midland Oct. 1, 1891, the former Elsie Hannah Bonter, she received her education here and was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church and the Rebekahs. In 1910 she married Richard Lethbridge in Penetang and for brief periods lived in Penetang, Orillia, and Toronto. She is survived by her husband, a son, Fred, and a daughter Frances (Mrs. Charles Bell), both of Toronto. Pallbearers were J. J. Robins, C. A. Flowers, Ernie Hurl. James Clarkson, Frank Whiteman and Wm. Leitch.

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