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

Click on Photos to EnlargeMidland’s King Street looked like a picture in a Christmas card after the weekend storm. Yuletide decorations have been erected by Junior Chamber of Commerce members, public works employees and PUC workmen. This view is looking north on King Street, the town’s main business section. (King Street before Percy’s Peaks.) 

He always seems to bring up the rear of the parade but no matter where they put him Santa always gets a warm welcome from the kiddies. Santa’s float in Midland’s annual parade Saturday was provided by the Midland Lions Club. The old chap in the red suit and long white whiskers stopped off at the CNR station long enough to distribute candies to the children. 

Two veteran Midland politicians made successful bids to return to public office in Monday’s elections. Getting the good news in the Free Press Herald office are mayor-elect Charles Stevenson, left, and James Mackie, a former mayor, who was elected alderman for Ward 3. Mr. Stevenson is a former PUC chairman. 

Midland constable Ray Atkinson had good reason to make sure the Free Press Herald’s Jim Lennox, left and Wils Harrison, tallied up the Tay Township returns correctly Monday night. Const. Atkinson was a candidate for the deputy-reeveship of Tay, opposing fellow councillor Lawrence Parker. Listed as a dark horse prior to the election, Constable/Councillor Atkinson emerged the winner by 89 votes. 

Midland Public Works Department was kept busy last week clearing away the snow from the season’s first big storm. They barely finished the job when a second storm hit Friday night and continued on Saturday. Here the snow loader can be seen clearing parking space along Hugel Ave. W. 

Supervised skating periods at the Midland Arena are proving popular with both parents and school children. Wednesday afternoons are set aside for the junior grades and Fridays for the upper classes. Acting as pilot for Debra Williams, left, and his own daughter, Nancy, is Lorne Craig. Teachers also help with the supervision. 

NEW MAYOR — Father of six growing children, RCAF veteran former councillor and chairman of the Penetang General Hospital Board, Jerome Gignac is mayor-elect for the town of Penetanguishene. He also operates a successful clothing business. 

Midland chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Barber Shop Quartet’ Singing came up with the top chorus in the Metro-Northern Area competitions held in Barrie recently. Club president Cecil Crealock is seen receiving the championship trophy from Roy Keys, left, of the Aurora Chapter, in a ceremony held at the club rooms in Midland Wednesday night. Choirs from Owen Sound, Midland, Orillia, Aurora and other district points took part in the event. 

Question is, does this old cannon stand guard over Victoria Harbour, or is it a warlike gesture on the part of Port McNicoll residents? Seen in winter dress, the cannon has been photographed countless times by visitors to Port’s famed CPR gardens. It’s not likely it will ever fire a shot in the direction of Victoria Harbour, seen in the distance beyond Hogg Bay. 

One of the many phases of youth activity at the Midland YMCA, a newly-formed radio club. Some of the young members are seen above during a demonstration at Harwood Gosselin’s home on HugeI Ave. Left to right, standing, are Mel Moreau, club director, Paul Howard, Jock Ambrose and Ron Gosselin. Seated are Ken Langley and Mr. Gosselin, club assistant. 

Youngest men in the Midland political scene are Jack Thompson (left), and Thomas “Tim” Nesbitt, two of the successful candidates for seats on the public schools’ board Monday. Mr. Thompson is a member of the present board and Mr. Nesbitt was a member of the board several years ago. 

In “the good old days”, before the advent of the motor car, Midland children could go sleigh riding or tobogganing down almost any street. Now, of course, such fun is highly dangerous. The view above is an everyday one for residents of Montreal Street, who can look east across the new Pillsbury plant and the CNR yards and up Gloucester Street. On a good clear day, the southeastern shore of Georgian Bay is clearly visible many miles away. (The distortion in the photo is due to deterioration of the negative.) 

Forty years of service to the Canadian Pacific Railway’s steamship division came to an end this week with the retirement of John H. Bridges, supervisor of traction equipment at Port McNicoll. Mr. Bridges, a resident of Midland since 1923, was honoured by his fellow employees in ceremonies held in the CPR sheds at Port McNicoll Tuesday. The same evening, a number of members of Midland Y’s Men’s Club gathered at Mr. Bridges’ Colborne Street home to wish him well in his retirement. He has been a Y’s man for many years. Mrs. Bridges (Edna) stands beside him with the bouquet. John was also the go-to person at the Y’s Mens Indian Village now part of Huronia Museum. He was their person on the site for many years living only yards away on Colborne Street.

As the sign indicates, the dozen or so cats around the CPR sheds at Port McNicoll will miss Mr. Bridges about as much as the many friends he made there in 40 years service with the company. Mr. Bridges, who retired this week, is seen with his wife Edna and S. F. Malin, superintendent of the steamship division. 

Gentlemen in the picture above can look back on jobs well done as far as the CPR is concerned. All now retired, their total service in the various branches of the CPR at Port McNicoll totalled 319 years. Left to right, with number of years’ service, are W. S. Struthers (38), W. R. Mitchell (25), Tom Morgan (48), Reg Vosper (42), J. M. Frederick (34), J. W. Ball (14), J. H. Bridges (40), J. E. Heels (43) and John Bell, 35. The picture was taken aboard the S.S. Assinaboia at a luncheon for J. H. Bridges, who retired this week. 

Unidentified clowns in the Santa Claus parade.

  Several of the new floats this year drew favorable comment from spectators, and officials. Among them were Midland Industries “North Wind”, Beaver Lumber’s “Enchanted Forest”, Bausch and Lomb’s “Davy Crockett”, Midland Phalanx Club’s “Three Men in A Tub”, and Wagg’s Laundry. Several organizations used the same theme as last year while adding improvements here and there. Among these were Midland Planing Mills, Ernst Leitz (Canada), Canadian Legion, Knights of Columbus, Bev’s Marine, and the Free Press Herald. Also taking part in the parade were Midland Citizens and Sea Cadets bands, Midland Fire Department and Singer Motors. Midland Lions Club provided the sleigh and reindeer for Santa, mounted on a trailer. 

 We include this ad from Dunlop’s to highlight the pace of technology. The “Victrolas” or record players offered here sixty years ago are still usable today if you have the records and some do exist, do you have one? The proof is in the photo below that was forwarded to us. The irony is that we have also received a Palm Pilot 1000 for possible inclusion in our museum collection. The PDA or Personal Digital Assistant was first offered for sale in 1996 and is now obsolete.

That is a penny taped to the arm.

  • Free Press Herald headline of Wednesday, December 10, 1958; Midland Has New Mayor in Close Municipal Vote. For the first time in eight years, Midland ratepayers Monday elected a new mayor. The winner Charles Stevenson obtained a 49-vote majority over Charles N. Parker, who has held the office since 1950. Mr. Stevenson, a former public utilities commission chairman and commissioner, swept every poll but Ward 1 where he trailed by 83 votes. In Mr. Parker’s own ward, Ward 2, he led by nine votes.
  • County Herald headline of Friday, December 12, 1958; Repairing Plant Machine, Sand Mixer Mangles Man. The life of 37-year-old Theophile Cascagnette of Penetang was snuffed out yesterday morning in an accident at James Stewart Manufacturing Penetang, where he worked. As far as is known, the accident took place about 10:30 a.m. According to Chief Jack Arbour, who investigated, Mr. Cascagnette was doing some maintenance work inside the sand mixer when another workman inadvertently threw the machine’s starting switch and set the machine in operation. The sand mixer is used to blend moulding sand, preparatory to re-use in the moulds.
  • Ren Moffatt, secretary-manager of Midland’s Chamber of Commerce, expressed it this way: “You wouldn’t think it possible we would get a day like this two years in a row.” Moffatt was referring, as mildly as possible under the circumstances, to the weather conditions which have plagued Midland’s Santa Claus parade these last two Decembers. Last year the weatherman dished up a heavy, wet snowstorm less than half an hour before the parade was slated to get underway! Everybody and everything was soaked. There was still plenty of snow in evidence for this year’s event, Saturday. It was a blustery, squally day that made a lot of people in the surrounding townships and villages decide there was no place like home, and the children on the various floats didn’t get wet. Because of the low temperatures, most of the children were placed aboard their floats seconds before the parade moved off, and removed as soon as possible at the other end.
  • The students of MPDHS held their election for the Students’ Council for 1959 last week. House ALPHA BETA elected captain, Arlene Armstrong, the vice-captain, Bernard Arbour, secretary-treasurer, Louise Brand; boys’ athletics, Brian Dubeau, girls athletics, Ann Maher; director of arts, June Bannan. Executive members. Grade 9, Jane Campbell; Grade 10, Wayne Sinclair; Grade 11, Stan Holden; Grade 12, Sue Quinlan. House THETA KAPPA, captain, Ken Ball; vice-captain, Anna Mae Sweet; secretary-treasurer, Ken Mackie; boys athletics, Don Popple; girls athletics, Linda Riley; director of arts, Harry DeVries; Grade 9, Ken Leonard; Grade 10, Judy Hack; Grade 11, Ross Hebner; Grade 12, Faye Lavigne. House SIGMA CHI captain, Carol Van Luven; vice-captain, Paul McDonald; secretary-treasurer, Carol Fox; boys athletics, Bob Rawson; girls athletics, Mary Jane Gouett; director of arts, Bryson McQuirter; Grade 9, Keanna Boyce; Grade 10, Richard Blair; Grade 11, Elizabeth McGowan; Grade 12, John Adamson. House DELTA PHI, captain, John Daniells; vice-captain, Mary Lou Brissette; secretary-treasurer, Elmer Quesnelle; boys athletics, Don Zabzinski; girls athletics, Earla McCuaig; director of arts, Elizabeth Cowan; Grade 9 Brigit Brinkmann; Grade 10, Jill McKinnon; Grade 11,  Ardath Zimmer; Grade 12, Peter Gouett.
  • VASEY — The Vasey Woman’s Association and Missionary Society met at the home of Rev. and Mrs. R. Dingwall Nov. 26. President Mrs. Orval Edwards conducted the meeting. Mrs. Nathan Edwards gave a reading entitled, “It isn’t the church, it’s you”. Members had been asked to make a crib quilt and it was decided to bring patches of flannelette to the next meeting in January. Roll call at that meeting is to be answered with a verse containing the word portal or beginning. Mrs. Harold Cowden, secretary, read the minutes of the last meeting and a report was given by Mrs. Charles Brown, the treasurer. Election of officers for 1959 was held. WMS officers elected were, president, Mrs. Orval Edwards; Mrs. Earl Jones, 1st vice-president; Mrs. Ross Faint, 2nd vice-president; Mrs. Frank Smitham, secretary Mrs. Charles Brown, treasurer; Baby Band, Miss Eleanor Edwards and Mrs. Ken Robinson; pianist, Mrs. Ross Faint; Mission Band superintendent, Mrs. Ted Vasey, with Mrs. Joe Lockhart and Mrs. Frank Smitham assisting. W.A. officers elected were president, Mrs. Wm. Irish; 1st vice-president, Miss Eleanor Edwards; 2nd vice-president, Mrs. Nathan Edwards; secretary, Mrs. Martin Strath; treasurer, Mrs. Fred Edwards; auditors, Mrs. Mervin Russell, Mrs. Joe Tinney; welfare, Mrs. Ross Faint, Mrs. Joe Tinney; parsonage committee, Mrs. Mervin Russell, Mrs. Nathan Edwards, Mrs. Wm. Irish. Light refreshments were served by Mrs. Charles Brown and Mrs. Stewart Belfry, assisted by the hostess. Next meeting will be at Mrs. Joe Tinney’s in January. The Sunday School held its Christmas tree end concert Friday evening in the church. Recent visitors of Mrs. Stewart Belfry were Rev. and Mrs. Ross Cumming and family, Coldwater, and Mr. Andrew Cumming, Barrie. Quite a number of friends and relatives called on Mr. and Mrs. Joe Tinney to offer congratulations and best wishes Sunday, Nov. 23, when they celebrated their golden anniversary. Mrs. Wm. Collins of Stayner is spending some time with her daughter, Mrs. Morgan Edwards.
  • PORT McNICOLL- The W.A. and WMS of the United Church met in the Sunday School room last Thursday evening for a potluck supper. Their regular meeting followed, beginning with the WMS Christmas program, conducted by Vice-president Mrs. J. Duncan. Rev. G. Nodwell read the scripture. A brief business meeting of the W.A. followed conducted by the president, Mrs. M. J. Armstrong. The election of officers for both groups was held, with Rev. Gordon Nodwell in charge. The WMS officers for 1959 are President, Mrs. J. Duncan; vice-president, Mrs. D. Ramsay; secretary, Mrs. B. Adam; treasurer, Mrs. C. N. Callard; Christian stewardship. Mrs. B. J. Brownell; Christian citizenship. Mrs. M. J. Armstrong. The officers for the W.A. are president, Mrs. H. Loomes; vice-president, Mrs. B. J. Brownell; secretary, Mrs. E. N. Ramsay; treasurer, Mrs. D. Ramsay; flower fund and cards, Mrs. M. J. Armstrong. The Willing Workers of Bonar Presbyterian Church held their monthly meeting Thursday at the home of Mrs. A. McCullough, Sr. Mrs. L. Fair conducted the election of officers. The following are the officers for 1959: president, Mrs. D. Duncan; 1st vice-president, Mrs. E. Lawes; 2nd vice-president, Mrs. A. Bremner; secretary, Mrs. J. D. McPhee; assistant secretary, Mrs. A. McCullagh, Sr.; treasurer, Mrs. L. Fair; remembrance fund secretary, Mrs. T. Lawler; assistant, Mrs. F. French. At the close of the meeting, the hostess served refreshments. * * * The Explorer initiation and red star ceremony was held Friday evening in the United Church. Many parents and friends attended. The opening ceremony was conducted by Sheila Dundas. Cheryl Lattimore and Lynda Miller were in charge of the worship service. Lynn Lattimore and Sally Spencer were initiated into the group by leader Sheila Armstrong and received their red stars. Blue stars were presented by the leader to Linda Adam, Linda Comber, Sheila Dundas, and Jane Lattimore. Gold stars were received by Cheryl Lattimore and Lynda Miller. Graduation certificates were presented to Joky Van Pypen and Gloria Waples by leader Sheila Armstrong. A Christmas story was read from St. Luke, chapter 2, with all of the Explorers taking part. A film was shown of the Christmas customs in countries throughout the world. Refreshments were served following the program. * * * Weekend visitors of Mr. and Mils. H. Loomis were Shirley Calhill and Henry Loomis, Jr., of Smiths Falls. Mrs. J. Calvert and Mary spent Saturday in Toronto. Raymond Sauve, Toronto, spent the weekend with his mother, Mrs. J. Sauve. Guests of Mr. and Mrs. A. McCullagh, Sr., were Mr. and Mrs. Orville Wood, Toronto.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – The finance chairman of Port McNicoll’s 1948 council told a nomination meeting in the village that he believed a law should be passed, prohibiting a person from serving more than two consecutive years on council. He declined to let his name stand for reeve or councillor. * * * Temperatures were hovering in the fifties when Midland held its Santa Claus parade Dec,4. The parade was sponsored by Midland District Shrine Club. * * * For the first time in 15 years Port McNicoll had a new reeve. Albert Calvert was nominated to the post by acclamation, succeeding George Patterson. * * * Simcoe County council approved village status for the municipality of Elmvale. A census of the village revealed a count of 783 persons. * * * A proposal to establish a juvenile and family court in Simcoe county, advocated by Deputy-reeve Alex Macintosh of Midland was voted down by county council. The vote was 30 to 25. * * *  Only 298 out of 2,026 eligible voters cast ballots in Penetanguishene’s civic election December 13. Three members of the 1948 council and three new men were elected. * * * Waubaushene had completed a new cement block building to house its fire truck and snow plow. Ninety percent of the funds for the structure were raised in the village by the chamber of commerce. The building was erected in the main by volunteer labor. * * * After 35 years of service as lockmaster at Port Severn, Joe White retired. He was succeeded by his son Bob.
  • An Orillia woman who took a strong sedative, then set out to drive from Midland to Orillia Nov. 7 was sentenced to 15 days in jail and her licence was suspended for 12 months in magistrate’s court in Orillia Dec. 2. She had been charged with impaired driving.
  • The Canadian Girls in Training of St. Paul’s United Church, Midland, will be joining other CGIT groups across Canada in their annual Christmas vesper service Dec. 14. , The CGIT is an inter-denominational movement under the Canadian Council of Churches. Its activities are many and varied but its chief purpose is to present the Christian way of life to teenage girls, it was stated.
  • Penetang-Midland Coach Line buses are now providing musical rides for their passengers. While passengers on town buses in Midland have enjoyed radio programs, only recently has the bus company installed the radios in other district buses. The newscasts and Christmas music are proving to be an enjoyable feature.
  • A well-known and respected businessman, Harry Stephen St. Amant, Penetang, died unexpectedly in St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Wednesday night. Mr. St. Amant had been ill for the past three or four years and had been confined to the hospital for the last two weeks following the second amputation of a leg. He had been reported to be progressing favourably, and those who had visited him told of his happy outlook and healthy appearance. Members of his family had talked to him by telephone earlier in the evening. Born in Penetang 68 years ago, Harry St. Amant, often called “Steve” by his close friends, had lived all his life in Penetang. Married 41 years ago to Rebekah Laurin in Lafontaine, the couple had raised eight children. Mrs. St. Amant died four years ago. It was 25 years ago that Mr. St. Amant went into the plumbing business with four of his sons joining him as they completed their education. The present showroom and shop on Robert Street W. was built in 1942. A keen spectator at sports events, Mr. St. Amant followed the fortunes of his home teams with great interest. For many years he was an active member of Penetang Volunteer Fire Brigade. In public life, Mr. St. Amant had been a member of the public school board, and it was when he was serving in that capacity that bilingual classes were started at the school. A Roman Catholic, he was a member of Huronia Council, Knights of Columbus, and St. Ann’s Holy Name Society. Surviving are five sons, Bernard, Gerard, Richard, Lawrence and Oswald, all of Penetang, and three daughters, Mrs. Clair Edgar, (Margaret), Parry Sound; Mrs. Lionel Lacroix, (Marie), Penetang, and Mrs. Bernard Gravelle, (Betty), Thorold. There is also one brother, Herman Peter St. Amant of Toronto, and two sisters, Mrs. Robert Ovren, Orillia, and Mrs. Jonas White, San Salvador. The body is at the family home, Robert Street, W.
  • Since the end of October this year no mail deliveries at Coldwater have been made by train. Post office service is now entirely dependent on trucks, this has been detailed as follows by Coldwater Postmaster Fred W. Brown. – One truck service between Orillia and Penetang leaves Penetang daily, except Saturday, at 10:25 p.m. serving Midland, Victoria Harbour, Waubaushene, Coldwater, Orillia, where it connects with Toronto and North Bay train 47. A return trip leaves Orillia at 2:45 a.m. after receipt of mail from Toronto and North Bay from train 47, serving the same offices on the return trip. All mail received via this service is sorted when the Coldwater post office opens at 8:30 a.m. daily. The second truck service is the Lindsay, Orillia and Midland one, which leaves Lindsay daily except Sunday at 8 a.m. delivering and receiving mail en route for offices between Lindsay and Orillia, arriving at Orillia Post Office at 10 a.m. and waiting there to receive mail from the Toronto and North Bay train 41 at 12:30 noon. Then it proceeds to Coldwater, Waubaushene, Victoria Harbour, Port McNicoll, and Midland. The return trip leaves Midland at 2:30 p.m. serving the same offices to Orillia, and connects with the Toronto and North Bay train 44, and then on to Lindsay serving the intermediate offices between Orillia and Lindsay, arriving at Lindsay at 6:45 p.m.
  • EMMA MAUDE SHAKELL – After a prolonged illness, Mrs. Emma Maude Church Shakell died in St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Dec. 6. Born at Palgrave, Ont., in July 1884, she was educated and lived in Matchedash until her marriage on June 26, 1907, to George Shakell at Coldwater. She had lived in Midland for five and a half years. Funeral service was conducted at the Nicholls funeral home by Rev. Wilson Morden Dec. 9. Honorary pallbearers were Joseph Silk, George Silk, and David Haig. Active pallbearers were; Ernest Hurl, Douglas Church, Leslie Church, Haig Abbott, Wilford Abbott, and Pat (Doug) Roberts. Besides her husband, she is survived by two sons. Nelson and Roy of Midland, and three daughters, Mrs. J. Little (Anne), Mrs. E. Noland (Lillian) and Mrs. A. Romanchuk (Pauline); all of Toronto. A second son, William Albert, was drowned while his father was overseas in World War 1. One sister, Mrs. A. Knibbs (Gladys) of Toronto, also survives. Burial was in Lakeview Cemetery vault.
  • One of the few things that are not at an inflationary level these days is the percentage of eligible voters who turn out for elections. Municipal Affairs Minister W. K. Warrender said the other day that the provincial average so far this year has been about 30 percent. In one or two cases it dropped as low as 15 percent. In the village of Coldwater, the majority of citizens seem to value their franchise for 60 percent of them cast ballots during the village election two weeks ago.
  • Orchestra –   For company dances, weddings, etc. Modern and old-time, Polkas, Rheinlanders, waltzes. Stuart Johnstone 183 Eighth St., Midland. Phone LA. 6-5158.
  • Births – BROWN — To Mr. and Mrs. Everett Brown, Port McNicoll, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 2, 1958, a son. BRISSETTE To Mr. and Mrs. David Brissette, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, on Tuesday, December 9, 1958, a daughter. CORBIER—To Mr. and Mrs. David Corbier, Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, December 8, 1958, a daughter. FISHER — To Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Fisher, Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Thursday, December 4, 1958, a son. GRANT — To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Grant, 291 Dominion Ave., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 2, 1958, a daughter. HENDERSON — To Mr. and Mrs. John Henderson, 368 Manley St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 9, 1958, a son. STRICKLAND — To Mr. and Mrs. Victor Strickland, 191 Yonge St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Sunday, December 7, 1958, a son. THOMPSON—To Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Thompson, 88 Dominion Ave, Midland, at St. Andrew’s Hospital, Midland, Monday, December 8, 1958, a daughter.

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