Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – December 1st to 7th, 1958

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The Santa Claus parade in Midland Saturday should be bigger than ever this year. Members of the Midland Lions Club prepare the large float that will carry old Santa into town. Left to right are Garnet Armstrong, in charge of the Lions float committee, Herb Secord, an assistant, and Lions Lloyd Murday, Bud Turnbull and Bob MacLeod. 

Mrs. E. Keylwerth, Ken Simms and Hans Wiese paint some of the scenery for the Leitz float. This is the second year of the return of the annual parade after several years without it. Providing music for the procession will be Midland Citizens’ Band, the Collingwood band and Midland Sea Cadet Corp band.

One of the best floats in last year’s Santa Claus parade was the one entered by Midland Planing Mills. Making sure the firm’s float will enjoy the same success in Saturday’s parade are Ray Laurin, left and Bert Maheu.  The parade is sponsored by the Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycee’s). Committee Chairman J. E.
Lounsbery said there will be 15 floats  (at least three of them new entries), three bands and models of new cars in the procession that will leave the curling rink at 2 p.m. The parade will move down King Street to Bay Street, east on Bay to the CNR station where Santa will hold court on a throne being provided by the Midland Y’s Men’s Club.

Getting ready for Midland’s big Santa Clause parade Saturday, Mrs. Don Argue wields the paintbrush while Harvey Boyd marks out the letters on one of the displays to be featured on the Bausch and Lomb float. 

Employees and senior staff members of several Midland industries have been busy preparing floats for the Santa Claus parade in Midland Saturday. Here Heinz Kiefer, Ernst Hasenier and Wolfgang Detambel assemble a section of the float of Ernst Leitz Canada Limited. 

Putting the finishing touches on the North Wind, the theme of Midland Industries Ltd. float in Saturday’s Santa Claus parade is Jim Wood, designer, for the plastics firm. Watching is Miss Anne Shiels, who will be “Queen” on the float. 

There are bound to be some changes in Tay Township council this year with the retirement of Deputy-reeve Mrs. Minnie Mayhew. Pictured at a farewell party for Mrs. Mayhew at Bourgeois’ dining room Friday night, the present council includes, left to right. Clerk Ralph Dalton, Reeve Fred Kinnear, Councillors Norm Widdes and Ray Atkinson, Mrs. Mayhew, and Councillor Lawrence Parker. 

New houses seem to be springing up everywhere you look in Midland these days. The area above, between the Leitz factory and Wireless Hill, was a bare sandy plain only a couple of years back. Now it is dotted with many taxpaying homes.

“Sign here,” advised William Hack, Midland clerk-treasurer, as candidates for the town’s 1959 council and other bodies lined up following Thursday nights’ nominations. Three men above, PUC Commissioner Bill Logan, Alderman Doug Haig, and Reeve Bill Keller left to right, all received acclamations. Seated are Mr. Hack, left, and Kenneth Hawke, assistant assessor. 

The busiest man in Midland Arena Thursday night during Brooklin-Midland junior game was Red Wing goalie Rodger Gray. In the top photo, Rodger has just warded off a close-in drive by Brooklin forward in the foreground (dark jersey). Wings meet Orillia here Thursday night.  

People’s warden at St. Mark’s Church,  Arthur Lloyd examines a scale model of the new memorial tower to be erected at the church.

The tower is to be a memorial to Captain and Mrs. Ed. Burke and the McCartney family. Bequests for this purpose had been made by the Burkes and by Miss Annie McCartney. The tower will house the chimes donated to the church by Jim Thomas in memory of his son Bob, who died in 1948 at the age of 13. The 40-foot tower, originally planned when the church was enlarged in 1953, is of contemporary style, and will be made of pre-cast concrete according to the plan by Toronto architect E. S. C. Cox. 

It’s a question whether learning to skate is harder on the tiny tots or on the mothers. Above, Mrs. Lloyd Roberts helps her two-year-old daughter Lynn get the feel of the ice at Midland Arena. 

Big moment in a “Cub’s” life comes with his elevation to full Scout status. Three lads above seen with Cub Leader Mrs. Albert Magloughlin, got their Leaping Wolf badges in a ceremony at Knox Church, Midland, Wednesday night. New Scouts are, left to right, Gary Crawford, Bill Mackie, and Pat Lediard. 

Wooden hulled steamers St. Andrew, formerly the W. B. Hall, and C. W. Chamberlain, both owned by the Playfair Line, are shown coaling up at the Beck coal wharf at Penetanguishene. The small tug  Shawanaga is the wooden vessel in front of the two steamers.  —Photo by J. W. Bald.  (Note that J. W. has written his name and the date on one of the timbers in the foreground.)

For the marine buffs, we include the entire article that accompanied the photo above;      The early days of the shipping interests of the late James Playfair were recalled recently when W. R. Williams reminisced about the steamer “St. Andrew,” the first steam-driven ship purchased by Mr. Playfair in 1896. The “S.S. St. Andrew” was originally the “W. B. Hall”, built in 1885 by Maltese shipbuilder Louis Shickuna of St. Catharines, relates Mr. Williams. The single screw, wooden steamer, which was built for William B. Hall of Toronto, was 157.6 feet long, 27.9 foot-beam and had a depth of 12.4 feet. Deciding to enter the grain trade, Mr. Playfair bought the “W. B. Hall” and had her lengthened to 192.6 feet with a beam of 41 feet, and a gross tonnage of 1,113 tons. This rebuilding of the “St. Andrew” was done at the Owen Sound Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. and gave the ship a capacity for 40,000 bushels of wheat. Captain Featherstonehaugh became financially interested in the boat and was given command of her. On her trip to the head of the lakes she carried coal and returned with grain. Northbound on Sept. 20, 1900, the St. Andrew struck the rocks near Bachand Island near the entrance to Nipigon Strait, continued Mr. Williams, who noted that she soon filled with water and sank in deep water, but not before her crew made their escape to the island. They were picked up by the tug “Georgian” and taken to Port Arthur the following day. Another fond memory of Mr. Williams is the wooden tug “Shawanaga” which was built in 1882 at Penetang by “carpenter Morat” for Charles Beck, lumber merchant. The 80-foot tug had a beam of 17 feet and was used each summer to tow log rafts from various Georgian Bay timber limits to the two Beck sawmills at Penetang. At the close of navigation in 1904 she was sold to Joseph Ganley of Sault Ste. Marie because Mr. Beck had the 90-foot tug “Wahnapitae” under construction. After serving several owners the registry of the “Shawanaga” was closed Sept 20, 1912, because she was “broken up” at Midland.  

 This was the ultimate before Nintendo, Game Boy, Xbox, Play Station 4, etc. It was estimated that in 1950 there were 25,000 miles of Lionel train track in service and 500,000 toy train layouts in the U.S.A. In 1952 Lionel sold 622,209 locomotives and 2.4 million freight cars at a time when there were only 43,00 real locomotives in the country.

By 1958 this scene was quickly disappearing with the advent of fuel oil but even at my tender age, I can remember the coal furnace in my uncle’s basement, although he had a mechanical stoker and watching the delivery truck slide coal down the chute into the neighbour’s basement. The car that wouldn’t start in the cold is also pretty much a thing of the past. The endless cranking of the engine, before electronic ignition and fuel injection.

  • Midland Free Press headline of Wednesday, December 3rd, 1958; Say Loss Tops $7,000 in Two Weekend Blazes. Two major fires, one in a home in Sunnyside and the other a woodworking shop in Midland, caused more than $7,000 damage over the weekend. The first occurred in the three-storey brick dwelling owned by Frank Rourke of Sunnyside, a lighthouse keeper at the Western Islands. It was first noticed about 8.02 p.m. Friday. The second major fire occurred about 1.25 p.m. Sunday when a storey and a half, frame woodworking shop owned by Angus Willette of 120 Seventh Street, and its contents were destroyed.
  • County Herald headline of Friday, December 5th, 1958; Ten Seek Civic Seats, 4,300 Can Vote on Monday. Ten candidates are seeking election to the six municipal offices being contested. Polls will open at 10 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. Adding interest to the vote this year is the contest for the mayoralty where Mayor Chas. Parker faces his first vote battle in three years. Title contender is Charles Stevenson. First elected as an alderman in Ward 1 in 1946, Mr. Parker moved up to the deputy reeve’s post the following year. He has been mayor for the last eight years. Engineer Charles ‘Steve’ Stevenson is no newcomer to municipal affairs having served eight years on the Midland Public Utilities Commission, at least two terms as chairman. In his second bid for a PUC post in 1948, he led the polls.
  • Two boys and a girl, 16 to 18 years of age, will appear in Midland police court today to face a total of 45 charges laid by members of the OPP detachment at Victoria Harbour. With the arrests, police hope they have cleaned up a series of cottage break-ins along the Severn River, particularly in the Severn Falls area.
  • Worst damage reported in Penetang from the weekend snow and wind storm was at Norse Boats where a boathouse collapsed after being struck by a large section of open roof. The loss is estimated at approximately $3,000. According to Jan Ulrichsen, sometime Saturday night the wind picked up a section of roof from an open stall and slammed it down on a metal clad boathouse causing it to collapse. The section of roof, 90 by 20 feet, was metal sheathing on six by six timbers, and fairly heavy. The flattened boathouse was 45 by 20 feet.
  • Motorists around Penetang found the going extremely difficult between four and five Saturday afternoon when wind-driven snow almost completely cut off all vision. Visibility was so poor that several car drivers almost became lost in territory they know well. One man left his office in time to view the football game and decided to put his car in the garage. When he arrived home he couldn’t find the garage and didn’t know where he was until the car dropped into a ditch about 15 feet off the road. He was a little late getting to see the game.
  • For F. A. “Sandy” Dempster, the appointment this week as manager of Midland’s Loblaw’s store was something, of a homecoming. “Sandy” first served in the old Loblaw store a couple of blocks farther north on King Street, on several occasions during the war years. Part of that term he served as a relief manager. “It’s nice to come back again, especially to a fine new store like this,” Mr. Dempster said Monday.
  • “We will be able to give better service in our exclusive line of furs,” stated Sam Cadesky when he announced yesterday that he had doubled the size of his store on Hugel Ave., E., in the Georgian Hotel block. Mr. Cadesky has rented the store next to his present location which was formerly occupied by Oliver Smith. The smart new showroom to house the silver racks of fur styles has been decorated in a pink and mushroom color combination. Interior decorations are not quite complete but Mr. Cadesky reports they will be finished shortly. Mr. Cadesky, who started out buying raw furs more than 40 years ago has spent most of his business life in Midland. Besides his many American customers who are here during the tourist season, Mr. Cadesky lists many communities in central and southern Ontario with citizens who wear furs with the Cadesky label.
  • New Arrivals – CERNY — To Mr. and Mrs. Steven Cerny, Yonge St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, November 25, 1958, a daughter. IRWIN — To Mr. and Mrs. Ross Irwin, Manley St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, November 27, 1958, a daughter. PELLETIER—To Mr. and Mrs. James Pelletier. Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, November 29, 1958, a son.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – A cold wave, which was felt throughout the province, froze Midland Bay as far as the gap. Several Midland and district deer hunters, who had been hunting Up The Shore, were icebound in their hunting camps. Preceded by the tug Fanny Arnold the City of Dover steamed out of Midland to pick up some of the stranded parties. * * * Twelve hours overdue in an 86-mile trip from Charlotte, N.Y., a CSL collier arrived in Toronto sheathed in ice after she had bucked a gale all the way. There were 18 inches of water in rooms below decks. The ship was commanded by Capt. Reg. Belcher of Victoria Harbour. * * * Simcoe County Trustees and Ratepayers Association had endorsed a resolution at its annual meeting in Barrie requesting that Latin and French be dropped from the curriculum and that subjects of “more practical value” be adopted. * * *  The Northern Navigation Co. passenger steamer Huronic had arrived at Midland to undergo extensive repairs at Midland Shipyard. The Huronic was built at Collingwood in 1902. * * *  Midland was to have the distinction of manufacturing the first television equipment in Canada. Two floors of the Craighead building had been leased by General Television of Canada Limited and production was to get underway as soon as machinery could be moved from Chicago. * * * Dr. G. E. Tanner of Midland was the unanimous choice of East Simcoe Liberals as their candidate in the next provincial election. Dr. Tanner was nominated at a party convention in Orillia. Principal speaker was Mitchell F. Hepburn, M.P., provincial Liberal leader. * * * Fire Chief Peter Grigg reported that fire losses in Midland in 1933 were $239,158 less than those for 1932.
  • Editorial comment. – Here’s a new switch. Australian postal workers have requested higher pay for night work on the ground that television, now well, established in the land down under, has become a way of life in Australia. Night work deprives them of “this privilege” and, therefore, they hold that they should be reimbursed because of this loss. If their programs are anything like many telecasts in this country, the viewers should be paid for watching them.
  • Three Penetang district residents received awards in the potato seed classes at the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto. Gabriel Maurice, R.R. 2, Penetang, received award 15 for his Sebago seed potatoes. Telesphore Forget, R.R. 2. Penetang, in the same seed class, received award 18. Mr. Forget also received award 26 for his Katahdin seed potatoes and Ida Maurice of R.R. 3, Penetang, received award 28 in the Katahdin class. Total entry in the seed department was almost 1,200 with several entries from England, Australia, France, Africa and various parts of the United States and Canada. (An important industry in North Simcoe and Lafontaine farmers were world-class competitors.)
  • ROSEMOUNT NEWS (Or should it be Gratrixville)— Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Gratrix and boys spent last Tuesday at the Royal Winter Fair. Bob Hughes and Jim Ironsides of Midland visited Ted Potter Saturday. Mrs. Walter Gratrix was the weekend guest of her sister, Mrs. Eva Milligan, in Toronto. Verne Laughlin, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Laughlin, is a patient in Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Orillia. Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bell of Swift Rapids spent Thursday evening with Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gratrix. Bud Winger of Severn Falls visited Melville Boyd Sunday evening. Ron Jordan of Warminster spent Saturday evening with Dorland Potter. and Mrs. Alex Ferguson and Jack Hardy of Toronto were Sunday visitors of Steve Gratrix. Mrs. Walter Slack of St. Catharines and Earl Walters of Beamsville spent the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Reg Potter and George Walters. Mrs. M. Boyd visited Mrs. O. W. Lovelace in Coldwater, Friday evening. Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Gratrix, Cecil and Garnet were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Gratrix at Oro Station. Mr. and Mrs. Currie Bell of Waubaushene visited Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gratrix Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Siddall of Hamilton were at their home here for the weekend. Murray Gratrix spent Sunday with his grandmother, Mrs. Thomas Lawson, at Sturgeon Bay. Mr. and Mrs. Garfield Cross of Orillia and Miss Edna Brush of Coldwater were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. Melville Boyd and Charles Cross.
  • Between 350 and 400 hunters were in the field on opening day of the four-day open season for deer in Matchedash Township November 3 to 6. Ontario Department of Lands and Forests officers report. Department staff operated a checking station between Lovering and Severn Park and counts were made daily between 2 and 6:30 p.m. Some 291 hunters passing through the station were questioned and officers report that 99 deer were shot. Of this total 40 were bucks, 35 does and 24 fawns. Three bears were also killed during the shoot.
  • Saturday’s violent storm played havoc with TV reception of the Grey Cup game for a number of set owners in this area. Many private TV antennae were toppled by the high winds and even officials of Midland’s community Tower TV had some second thoughts about the Hydro’s new slogan — “Live Better Electrically”. Breaks on the Hydro lines in Tiny Township twice interrupted reception by the Tower of portions of the first half of the Grey Cup final. So heavy have been the losses on roof antenna that Canadian insurance companies are no longer including replacement coverage on TV aerials in their blanket homeowner policies, it was stated.
  • Orr Lake Post Office, one of the oldest in the Elmvale district, was closed Nov. 13. A rural delivery has been established with new rural boxes set up in front of Farmer’s store. This service is from the Elmvale Post Office.
  • The 1958 edition of Penetang voters’ list indicates that 59 percent of citizens own their own homes. Figures show a total of 2,432 eligible voters with 1,428 of this number indicated as owners.

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