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

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Members of Midland Council and Harbour Committee surround the flagpole at the town dock on which council has had a plaque mounted in honour of the late Capt. E. F. Burke. Left to right are Aldermen Wm. Orr and Herb Beauchamp, Clerk Wm. A. Hack, Alderman Clinton Smith, Jack Blackburn of the harbour committee, and Reeve W. H. Keller.

From the April 1958 newspaper; There will always be a part of Capt. Ed Burke on his beloved Midland waterfront as long as this flagpole stands. 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.

(I’m not sure how long “there will always be” is, but it has come and gone for the Captain’s flagpole.) 

This musical pair is comprised of Mary, 10, and Lloyd, 14, children of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Preston, Wyebridge. Mary was Lloyd’s accompanist when he won the amateur division at Peterborough’s first annual old-time fiddlers’ contest Friday night. Mel Lavigne of Honey Harbour won the professional section. 

This handsome trophy presented for competition at Peterborough’s old-time fiddlers’ contest, will have the name of Lloyd Preston, 14, of Wyebridge inscribed on its base. A representative of Dow’s brewing company, donors of the trophy, George Gilmour of Peterborough is seen above with the young Wyebridge fiddler, who won the amateur section of the contest. Lloyd gets a smaller replica to keep permanently. 

Annual damage to their chalet is getting past the joke stage to members of Midland Ski Club. Ross Irwin is seen retrieving tow rope that some persons started to lug off the property. Damage to windows and other parts of the building will cost nearly $300 to repair, Mr. Irwin estimated. 

Among the improvements planned by Midland Ski Club for the coming season is a smoother-operating tow. Ross Irwin is seen adjusting an automatic tension device recently installed at the club. The club also hopes to open up a new trail this winter. 

Another improvement at Midland’s ever-expanding Little Lake Park is the clearing of the section of land at the southeast end of Little Lake. Last year at this time the entire area was over-run by tag alders and other brush. Program of improvements is to run for several years, as money becomes available. 

Formerly of Sarnia, Ian McClung is shown at work in his new office in Midland’s municipal building. He has been active in lacrosse circles for some years. 

Sentries standing, with heads bowed and, their rifles reversed, the crowd standing in respectful silence, two mothers march to the cenotaph in Midland to place their wreaths on the steps of the memorial. Hundreds attended the special service of remembrance. 

These three rows of boxcars, parked in the CNR’s Tiffin Yard, were later hooked up to make the longest grain train (more than 90 cars and 4,000 feet long) ever to leave Midland. Three big diesel units (visible near the top of the picture) were used to haul the train 200 miles to Belleville. Total weight of grain in the cars was more than 7,200 tons.

(This year the Canadian Pacific Railway will be operating 8,500-foot trains of 147 cars weighing 15,000 tons.) 

A Great Lakes mariner since 1917, Capt. Cecil Clarke has been appointed Commodore of the Paterson Steamship Co.’s fleet. Capt. Clarke succeeded Capt. T. C. Jewitt formerly of Penetang. Only two other Midlanders belong to the exclusive “Commodores club.” They are Capt. Frank Harpell, Commodore for Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Navigation Ltd., and Capt. Alex McLennan, who was Commodore of the Canada Steamship Line’s fleet until his retirement a couple of years back. Commodores of Great Lakes’ fleets being as scarce as they are, Midland may be unique in Canada. There are few towns with three living Great Lakes Commodores. 

  • Free Press Herald headline of November 19, 1958; Grant Firms in Midland $30,000 Assessment Cut. Reductions in assessments totaling approximately $30,000 and abatements or write-offs of taxes amounting to $4,643.65 were approved by Midland’s Court of Revision Tuesday. Hugh Blair was chosen the chairman of the court, which also included Gordon Boyd, R. S. McLaughlin, William Jeffery, and Herbert Carpenter. The first appeal was from Odeon Theatres, on assessments on the Roxy and Capitol Theatre properties. Roxy Theatre assessment was sustained but the building assessment on the Capitol was reduced from $13,130 to $8,810. The $4,320 reduction was based on present use factor. Howard Markham was granted a reduction of $950 on the building assessment of his Bay Street property. Mr. McClung recommended a reduction on the older portion of the building, bringing it to $5,825. Acting on the assessor’s recommendation, the building assessment on the new Pillsbury Canada Ltd. plant was reduced from $82,905 to $71,945, a reduction of $10,060, and the business assessment fell accordingly from $49,745 to $43,165.
  • County Herald headline of November 21, 1958; Forecast Major Decrease in Midland Hydro Rates. A one-cent cut in the per 100 watt flat rate for water heaters, effective Dec. 1, and a possible eight to 10 percent reduction in hydro rates next spring was announced Wednesday by Stewart Holt, secretary-treasurer of Midland Public Utilities Commission. Mr. Holt said he had been informed by HEPC (Hydro-Electric Power Commission) officials that the basic rate for flat rate water heaters of 40 cents per 100 watts had been reduced to 39 cents.
  • Plans are now underway for a new Sacred Heart Separate School to serve Midland’s east end, following completion of negotiations which have been underway for some time. Tied in with the new school will be vastly improved recreational facilities for that area. Secretary of the Separate School Board, Ted Johnstone disclosed that completion was made recently of the purchase of approximately nine acres of land from Orvil Kitching. The property will provide a site for a 14 or 15 room school and ample playground facilities. The property is bounded roughly by William, Yonge, Elizabeth and Fitton Streets. Flat in nature, the ground is already being used for rugby and soccer by pupils of Sacred Heart School and nearby St. Theresa’s High School.
  • An extremely close battle for North-South honors featured last week’s session of the duplicate bridge in Midland YMCA. Only two points separated Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Holt, who were the winners, from Mr. and Mrs. Dave Haig, who placed third. “Win” Smith and Ken Somers were sandwiched in between, one point back of the leaders. Mrs. R. S. McLaughlin and Mrs. C. H. White came out on top of the East-West pairs, with Mrs. Todd Jeffery and Mrs. Ray Smith runners-up; Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Martin were third. Six tables were on hand for the event.
  • TV star Juliette endeared herself to a large audience at Penetang Nov. 9 when one of the many numbers she sang was in the French language. Idol of many in her TV appearances, the CBC star appeared to be more at ease on the stage than she does on television. One of the reasons was explained by the star herself when she told the crowd attending Penetang Jaycees’ variety show that everything is very exacting when one appears before a TV camera. “You have to stand in particular spots because of the lighting and microphones. I like to move around,” she said and move around she did, covering the entire length of the Pen Theatre stage. Probably the most thrilled person in the theatre was little Ann Montgrain who had appeared earlier on the program and was seated near the front of the theatre. Juliette walked to the end of the stage and sang directly to her for a minute or two. Later she complimented Ann on her numbers and urged her to continue the work.
  • New Arrivals – MARION — To Mr. and Mrs. Tom Marion, Donalda St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, November 14, 1958, a son. McINTOSH — To Mr. and Mrs. Les McIntosh 216 Soudan Ave., Toronto, at the Toronto Western Hospital, Sunday, November 16, 1958, a son. MOREAU — To Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Moreau, Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, November 17, 1958, a son. TREMBLAY—To Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tremblay, 345 Manley St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Sunday, November 16, a daughter. WADGE. — To Mr. and Mrs. Russell Wadge Jr., of Long Branch, at Oakville General Hospital, Friday, Nov. 7, 1958, a daughter.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – Frank Reynolds of Waverley had a bumper crop of potatoes. Eight of them filled a six-quart basket, and when weighed tipped the scales at 12 pounds. One large potato weighed a pound and three-quarters. * * * Benito Mussolini ordered all bachelors holding executive posts in the Fascist party or who were candidates for the Italian legislature to marry or resign. * * * A new oil tanker plying the Great Lakes, whose 379-foot hull had been electrically welded throughout, was being hailed by mariners as the forerunner of new developments in shipbuilding methods. She had been built in Tyne shipyards in Britain. * * * A $38,000,000 public works program, designed to employ about 61,200 men, had been announced by the Ontario government. * * * The hydrographic service reported that the water level of Lake Huron was the lowest since 1860. Lack of snow during the winter and of rain during the spring and summer was said to be the cause of the low water. * * * Winter invaded the district with a bang. During the week of Nov. 16, 10 inches of snow fell. By the weekend, however, temperatures had moderated and the snow had disappeared as rapidly as it came. * * * District chambers of commerce and boards of trade had given their support to a resolution calling for the speed limit on highways to be increased from 35 to 45 miles per hour. Several dissenting groups in Southwestern Ontario contended that 40 mph was fast enough for any driver. * * * A meeting of parents and Sunday School teachers in Waubaushene lOOF hall endorsed a resolution calling for the formation of a parent-teacher association. The meeting was sponsored by the Tay-Medonte Religious Educational Association.
  • Work is expected to get underway next week on a ten-room addition to Midland’s Midtown Motel. The new addition will bring accommodations at the motel to thirty rooms. Included in the plans is a new central lounge for use by the guests. Measuring fifty by fifty-two feet the new second storey addition will be placed in the middle of the building well back from the street.
  • Dear Editor: After 46 years I have had the pleasure of visiting my old hometown, and I am sorry to see it has changed so much. I do miss the old fire hall and the town bell that rang out the hours and at nine at night sent all the children flying home off the streets. Believe me, it is needed today. I took a walk up and down the main street. It made me lonesome for all the good folks who once were there and now are around no more. First I missed the Playfair Preston store near the town docks. W. E. Preston was a friend to all. There were others like the Big Four, McCartney brothers, E. H. Piggott, Jack White, A. Osborne, the last operated one of the finest stores Midland ever had. There were others like the Horrell family, Watt Gladstone for many years postmaster, and J. F. Goodfellow, one-time owner of the Free Press; dear old Dr. McGill, one of the best doctors Midland ever had. One thing pleased me; Knox Presbyterian Church is still standing. I sang in the choir when I was a very young; Rev. J. J. Elliott was the minister, a fine saintly man who was loved by all. I see there is a United Church on the main street. The old town has certainly changed and is not home anymore. There are so many new faces. -Mrs. E. Worthall.
  • When Mr. and Mrs. William Archer, Elmvale, celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary recently they received messages of congratulations from Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Diefenbaker, Heber Smith, P., and the Grand Lodge of Ontario. The Archers, who have farmed in the Elmvale area all their lives, are now living with her brother, William Reid of Elmvale. Mr. Archer was 94 in September and his wife, who has been blind for 14 years, was 79 two weeks later. Mr. Archer comes from a long living family, with three of his sisters living nearly a hundred years. The couple who were married in the Anglican Church, Barrie, have six living children, Mrs. E. Beardsall of Elmvale, Mrs. G. Dean, Mrs. William Murray, and Mrs. Tom Hobson, all of Toronto, and Blain and Lawrence, also of Toronto. A son, Harold, was killed in a car accident 16 years ago. The Archers have 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
  • In failing health for the past few years, Mrs. Mary Annie Elsom, wife of the late George C. Elsom, died in her 88th year Nov. 8. A life-long resident of this area, she was born at Randolph, Ont., July 22, 1871, and was married June 4, 1893, in Penetang. The funeral service was held at A. Barrie and Sons’ funeral home Nov. 11 and was conducted by Rev. Wilson Morden. Pallbearers were Ellwood Marcellus, Vernon Sweeting, Jack Fallis, Ray Atkinson, Garry Robinson, and Elmer Ellison. Mrs. Elsom is survived by one son, George of Midland, and seven daughters: Mrs. C. Marcellus (Mabel); Mrs. Ray Atkinson (Nellie); Mrs. F. W. Whiteman (Lillian), all of Midland; Mrs. Gerald Sweeting (Hazel), St. Catharines; Mrs. C. Fallis (Ethel), Toronto; Mrs. Ted Robinson (Grace), Willowdale, and Mrs. A. Whiting (Vema), Aurora. Burial was in Lakeview Cemetery.
  • Concerning the non-attendance of students under 16 years of age, Mr. Johnston stated that four students had been reported to the probation officer and the juvenile court. “The students have just not returned to school,” continued Mr. Johnston. “It would appear to me that the parents and students are defying the laws of the province. In each case, the family allowance cheque has been cancelled for the particular child. The biggest problem we are facing is the disinterest of pupils and parents.” Asking if drop-outs were due to financial reasons, board members Dr. A. H. Pinchin said he understood 40 percent of provincial bursaries were not being used. Mr. Johnston replied that he did not feel the drop-outs were for financial reasons. While he felt it might be true, province-wide, that 40 percent of the bursaries were not used, he added that two-thirds to three-quarters of the value of bursaries for Simcoe County were being used by MPDHS alone.
  • Judging by the enthusiasm of the 25 members present at the annual meeting in Midland YMCA last Wednesday night, Midland Ski Club is in for another banner season given good weather conditions. Jack Harvey, of Victoria Harbour, was named the president of the club succeeding Ray Smith. Mrs. Miles Blackhurst will be one of the vice-presidents, with another still to be appointed. Mrs. Gordon Wallace is secretary and Mrs. Enya Keylwerth is treasurer. Don White heads the publicity committee and Miles Blackhurst the social. John Moss is the junior club’s representative on the senior body. Captain of the ski patrol will be appointed later. Provincial ski authorities have already allotted one date to the club — Jan. 18 — for a junior and senior invitation meet. Other events are planned by the club for later in the season.
  • LAFONTAINE NEWS— Teachers from Ste. Croix school here attended a convention last week.  * Citizens in this district are complaining of the effects of the sonic booms being made by super-sonic speed aircraft flying over the area. The worst yet was Nov. 11.  * Lionel Beauchamp’s car caught fire on the road and was completely destroyed. * Martial Marchildon is drawing loads of Christmas trees to his yard.  * H. Beaudoin is busy repairing the home he bought on Con. 16.  * Among those attending the Royal Winter Fair are Mrs. Irene Marchand and Honore Genier. Mr. Genier prepared the Lafontaine potato display at the fair. * Dandelions are still blooming in this area. * Miss Lea Toutant celebrated her 50th, birthday Nov. 11 and her uncle, Arthur Marchildon of Perkinsfield celebrated his 70th birthday the same day.

2 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – November 15th to 22nd, 1958

  1. The two photos of Lloyd Preston are either not from 1958, or have his age wrong. In Fall 1958 Lloyd was in Grade 11 at MPDHS, as was I. As Lloyd was always small for his age, and looked much younger than he actually was, I’m inclined to believe that the year is correct, but Lloyd would have been about 16, one year younger than me.
    Incidentally, in the photo at the cenotaph, I am the soldier standing with rifle reversed at the right rear of the cenotaph. Front right is not easy to identify because the face is obscured, but probably was Sgt David (Davy) Bell. At the time I was a Trooper with the Grey & Simcoe Foresters, who at that time were an Armoured regiment, with a squadron in Midland. I remember the day well; despite it being dry, it was also very cold, and standing there in only battle dress and not visibly shivering was a challenge.

    • Thank you Gerry , here is the article that went with the photo. That old saying, “Don’t believe everything you read in the paper!”

      “14-year-old District Lad Wins Fiddling Contest”
      Peterborough’s first old time fiddlers’ contest, held in the “Lift Lock City” Friday night, turned out to be a big boost for fiddlers in the Midland area. Big surprise of the event was Lloyd Preston winning the amateur section of the contest. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Preston, Wyebridge, he’s a ripe 12-years old.

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