Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – December 16th to 31st, 1958

Due to the holidays, we have combined the last two weeks of 1958 into one edition of our Huronia Museum – Looking Back feature.

Click on Photos to Enlarge Preparing for their Christmas pageant has been a lot of work but at the same time a lot of fun, for the First Midland Brownie pack. Seen during a practice session at St. Mark’s parish hall are, left to right, back row, Cathy Harrison, Margaret Hood, Lois Belsey; front, Margaret Shill, Elizabeth Taylor, Ruth Barber, Jay Ellis, Beverley Hanna, Carol Nalysnyk, Ruth Anne Battrick, Debbie Lawlor, Aura Finch. 

At this time of year, children in many lands will be enacting the old and loved Christmas story. The First Midland Brownie pack is one of these groups. They staged their play at St. Mark’s parish hall Saturday and will do so again Friday night. Taking part are, left to right, back row: Jan Worrell, Debbie Bertrand, Joyce Ferris, Carol Banting, Cynthia Lamorandiere, Anne Delaney, Beverley Lamorandiere; front, Barbara Lloyd (Joseph) and Sandra Nesbitt (Mary). 

 A miniature streetcar and the traditional reindeer and sleigh provided part of the transportation at Elmvale’s Santa Claus parade Saturday. In this picture, Chief Horace Elwell gives a few tips to the youthful driver of the “streetcar”. Santa in the lower photo, of course, needed no tips on how to drive reindeer.

Rather an odd pairing, these two “characters” provided fun for the spectators along the route of the Santa Claus parade in Elmvale Saturday. There were a number of other animal characterizations to enliven the parade. 

Saturday’s snowstorm subsided just long enough to permit reasonably good conditions for Elmvale’s Santa Claus parade. An hour earlier or later, and nobody would have been able to see the Three Little Pigs playing hide and seek with the Big Bad Wolf. 

Be it the Grey Cup or a Santa Claus parade, no event is complete without its scantily-clad majorettes. Snow and cold winds didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of these young girls from Oakwood Beach (Wasaga) as they marched in front of Elmvale’s Santa Claus parade Saturday. 

Well known in Midland, where he received his early education Capt. John Wesley Scarrow of Hamilton, left, ended a 46-year sailing career when the Sir James Dunn docked at Tiffin elevator, Midland, Friday. On hand to wish him well in retirement was J. A. Hill, Tiffin superintendent. 

Now studying at MPDHS, these three girls received scholarships for their work in Grade 8 at Port McNicoll public school during a ceremony in Port McNicoll Friday night. Left to right are, Marlene Loney, Mary Kovolak and Helen Elliott. Making the presentations are board members Bruce Duncan (chairman), left, and Raymond Belanger. 

Port Legion President Russell Coughlin (who is also a member of the school board) presents prizes to these Grade 6 and 7 pupils. Left to right are Brenda Latondress, Annabelle Todd, Joky Van Pypen, Heather Hartford Judy Coughlin, Mr. Goughlin, and Francis Kelly, the lone boy among the nine winners. The presentations to top pupils were made Friday night. 

There’s nothing much colder than the top decks of the big bulk freighters at this time of the year; as numbed fingers fumble with icy ropes in the annual tie-up. Men in the foreground are placing a tarpaulin over a lifeboat on the Sir James Dunn. Other workmen in the background are performing a similar operation on the funnel of the Thunder Bay.  Both CSL ships will winter at Tiffin elevator, Midland. 

Battening down the big bulk freighters for the winter season was a tough, cold job last week in strong winds and near-zero temperatures. Covering over one of the lifeboats are M. J. Montgomery of Nova Scotia, left, and Walter Lacroix, Midland. On top of the lifeboat is Dave Dunning, also of Midland. 

One of the best places to find lots of snow in the Midland area is on “The Mountain”, along the county road to Balm Beach. Snow banks already tower high over the top of the car seen in the picture above. 

The thousands of letters and postcards seen in the picture above long since have reached the homes of Midland residents. Only a small part of Wednesday’s incoming mail, the letters are being sorted into carriers boxes by Fred Grigg, Roy Mitchell and Chuck R. Stelter, left to right. Many additional helpers are being employed by Postmaster W. F. Bourrie to assure prompt delivery of Christmas mail and parcels. 

Letter carrier John Hilliard is still able to muster a smile despite the evidence of heavy loads as he readied his carrier’s box in Midland post office Wednesday. By Wednesday night the Midland office had handled more than 165,000 pieces of Christmas mail. 

This giant Santa Claus made of snow has attracted a lot of visitors to 267 Lindsay Street, Midland, during the holidays. It’s the product of Ken McFarland and his younger brother, Albert. The huge figure dwarfs the brothers who made it. 

 Four CSL ships are now safely tied up at the winter berth in Midland for another season. They are the Goderich, Donnacona, Prescott (hidden from view) and the Lemoyne. Last in, the Lemoyne tied up Thursday, Dec. 18 after a four-day battle with the elements. 

Midland Indians wound up a successful baseball season last week when they received new jackets and the OBA intermediate “A” trophy they won on the diamond. Left to right are Reeve W. H. Keller, trying on one of the jackets for size and handing a cheque to John Power; players Larry Greene and Harold Jackson, with the trophy; and Alderman Herb Beauchamp, admiring both the jackets and the trophy. 

There was plenty of entertainment as well as gifts for children at the Shoe Corporation Christmas party in Roxy Theatre Dec. 20. Among the entertainers were John Geere and Marc Gignac, from Penetang’s Fern Shoe plant. 

Saturday, Dec. 20 was a lucky day for 3-year-old Randy Vincent, son of Mr. & Mrs. Dean Vincent. When his name was drawn from the box at the Shoe Corporation Christmas party, Randy won the huge panda bear. The man with the dual armful is William Axten, personnel manager at Fern Shoe, Penetang. 

Winning their certificates for feats on the gym floor, brought big smiles to these young members of Midland YMCA. Girls are Linda Duggan, left, and Barbara Ann Spence, boys are Gerald Jeanotte, Allan Cornell and Ronnie Jeanotte.

One of several hundred youngsters who attended a big family party, held by Shoe Corporation of Canada at Midland’s Roxy Theatre Saturday morning, Little Esther Duguay, 2, seems more interested in the camera than Santa at the moment. Esther is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nestor Duguay, Midland. Party was staged for families of Midland Industries, Midland Footwear, and Fern Shoe employees, Penetang. 

On her way into Roxy Theatre for a big family Christmas party Saturday, Sharon Forget gets a party hat from Miss Sheila Bechard, left, and Mrs. W. Jaeniseh. Sharon is the 4-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Forget, Penetang. 

Helping with the prize list at the Shoe Corporation Christmas party at the Roxy Saturday were the six young ladies seen above. Left to right are, seated, Arlene Vaillancourt and Mrs. Miles Blackhurst (Grace Edgar); standing   Margaret LaGrandeur, Doreen Cascagnette, Joyce Quesnelle, and Betty Anne Mayer. Several hundred youngsters from Midland and Penetang branches of the firm attended the party. 

After some 37 years in business in Midland, George Parr, right, has sold his battery and auto electric business on Bay Street. New owners are Les Cammerer, left, and his son-in-law, Bill Sutton. Mr. Parr will remain with the new firm for some time, he indicated last week. 

Finding a place to dump the thousands of tons of snow dumped on Midland streets during recent storms is almost as much a problem as clearing the streets in the first place. Midland harbour provides a convenient place but even this gets plugged eventually and must be plowed under by the CSL tug Tiffin. 

These four buoys recently came in to spend the winter in Midland, They got a snowy (more than 40 inches this month) and frosty (it was 20 below zero Saturday morning) reception. Before spring they may wish the Canadian government lightship (seen in background) had left them out in Georgian Bay. 

The photo below, although a poor copy taken right from the paper, was added because the family and the girls were so well known in Midland. Again there are many such photos that we do not have the negatives for.

  • The Free Press Herald headline from Wednesday, December 17, 1958; Adopt Acceleration Plan in Three Midland Schools. The anticipated introduction of the acceleration program during the balance of this school year will only affect Grade 1’s of the schools this year. Normally a child in Grade 1 would complete three units of work but in the acceleration program the top group of children in Grade 1 (about 20 percent of the class) would com­plete four units of work, the report continues. “In other words” the principals’ report states, “those pupils would advance a unit into Grade 2, thereby completing one and one-thirds years’ course in one year. The following year they would go on with unit five in Grade 2. (This worked well for me until Bill Barnett sat me down at the end of Grade 10 and said, “You had a good time this year, I think you should do Grade 10 again, this time with more school and less fun.” Is that de-acceleration?)
  • The County Herald headline of Friday, December 19, 1958; Say ‘58’ Grain Shipments up Four Million Bushels. During the summer prospects looked bleak indeed. There were as many as eight freighters tied up in Midland harbour alone, because of a lack of cargoes. Similar distressing sights were to be seen in every harbour on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. It was not until well into the fall that business suddenly picked up and sailors were hastily called back to their ships. Unfortunately one of the earliest and most severe winters in several years appears to have ended this state of affairs. As late as Monday, however, several ships were still battling snow storms and thickening ice to reach elevators in Midland and Port McNicoll. As far as can be learned at the moment, this appears to be the winter fleet for the year: At Tiffin – Sir James Dunn and Thunder Bay. At Aberdeen – Algoway. At Port McNicoll – Nipigon Bay, the first time in Georgian Bay, Coverdale, Hochelaga, and the two CPR passenger ships, Keewatin and Assiniboia.  At CSL – Prescott, Goderich, Donnacona, Lemoyne. At Midland-Simcoe – Paterson, Senator of Canada, Quedoc and the barge Portadoc. 
  • This is a link to the front page of The Free Press Herald of December 23rd, 1958. The file was too large to include. (Click on the link to view, use the ‘Back’ button to return to this page.) Pages from Free Press Herald_1958-12-23  
  • The Free Press Herald headline of December 31, 1958; Harbour Acclaims Reeve, Seeks Six Council Seats. While the village is still $5,000 “in the red”, the financial picture of Victoria Harbour has improved by $9,000 over last year at this time, according to Reeve Ernest J. Cadeau. Reeve Cadeau made this statement at the annual nominations in the Legion Hall Monday night, where he was accorded an acclamation for his second term as reeve of the village. Also nominated for the reeveship, Mrs. Florence Belcher, a former reeve, and former councillor Theo Bernard, both withdrew from the race. A goodly number of ratepayers attended the meeting, which proved to be much less controversial than has been the case in recent years.
  • Clerk Wm. A. Hack informed Midland council Thursday night that E. (Red) McCuaig had paid $5,000 for the town garage and has obtained his deed. (On Yonge St. between Manly and Russell, north side.) 
  • Persistence paid off for a Penetang girl when one of her ideas finally stumped the panel of “Front Page Challenge” a CBC-TV program. Monday night Miss Lorette Desroches, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Medard Desroches, suggested as a challenger, Leona Gates, the girl who was on her way to winning the Miss Universe contest last year before it was discovered she was actually a married woman. 
  • The volume of mail handled through the Midland post office this Christmas will almost certainly constitute a record year according to W. F. Bourrie, the postmaster. Up until Dec. 17, inclusive, the Midland office had handled 11,000 more letters than for the same period last season. In order to speed up the work, Mr. Bourrie has hired 16 additional employees. Because of the heavy snow and poor weather conditions this year, extra helpers for the letter carriers were hired a day earlier than last year, Mr. Bourrie said. 
  • Since Boxing Day, Dec.26, falls on the publication day of the County Herald, only one paper, the Free Press Herald, will be published next week.
  • What might have been a serious fire at Dubbin’s Dairy, Dominion Ave., Midland, early Wednesday, was quickly brought under control by Midland fire brigade. Starting near the plant’s boiler, the fire burned a hole in the roof before being brought under control. Firemen were called shortly after 8 a.m. No estimate of the damage is available.
  • In the recent death of Elmvale born Lewis L. Crawford, the ranks of Great Lakes mariners lost another old timer of the lakes. Born in Elmvale August 23, 1885, Mr. Crawford had sailed for the greater part of his life, and in July 1945, was made a chief engineer of the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company’s fleet. He retired Sept. 27 this year.
  • “I’ve been on council a long time but this is the first time that I have heard public expressions of tribute at the last regular meeting of the year.” So stated Ward 1 Alderman Clinton Smith at the last regular meeting of Midland council for the year. The statement was prompted by tributes paid to retiring Mayor Charles N. Parker by members of council. The expressions of praise from all members followed on the heels of prepared statement made by the mayor.
  • BIRTHS – ARBOUR —To Mr. and Mrs. Jules Arbour, Penetang, at St. Andrews Hospital. Midland, Sunday, Dec. 21, 1958, a son. HENRY  – To Mr. and Mrs. Charles Henry, 142 Dominion Ave., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday. December 16, 1958, a son. MARSDEN—To Mr. and Mrs. Earl Marsden. Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland. Thursday, December 18, 1958, a son. McINTAGGART—To Mr. and Mrs. Philip Mclntaggart. 92 Fifth St. Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, December 17, 1958, a son. PRENTICE—To Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Prentice, Port McNicoll, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday. December 17, 1958, a son.
  • Coldwater and area residents quickly responded to a fund appeal for Mr. and Mrs. Walter Laughlin of Coldwater, who lost all their possessions in a fire in their home early Dec. 21. The parents and two of their children, Bobby, 3, and a twin daughter Kerry, one-year-old, escaped from an upstairs window. The other twin girl, Kim, lost her life by suffocation. The family was treated for injuries following the tragic fire, Mr. Laughlin being the most seriously affected. In rescuing members of his family, he suffered serious burns and severe cuts which have kept him in Orillia’s Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. His wife and children have been provided with temporary accommodation at the home of relatives.
  • According to a recent study made by the Canadian Life Insurance Officers Association, the first babies born in 1959 will in all likelihood, live longer. If the first New Year’s babies are boys, they can expect to live until they are 67.6 years of age—an increase in life expectancy of 7.6 years since 1931. If they are girls, they can expect to live until they are 73 years of age, a gain of almost 11 years since 1931, the study shows. (In 2017 those figures were 79 for men and 83 for women. For indigenous Canadians, the numbers are 69 and 73.)
  • Basic hourly starting rates at Fern Shoe and Midland Footwear will be increased 8 percent Jan. 5, and employees of all divisions of Midland Industries Limited — Fern, Midland Footwear, and Plastics—will receive two more paid statutory holidays effective with the year beginning May 1, 1959. This announcement was made last week by Jerry Zabransky, executive vice-president of Midland Industries, in a Christmas message to the 365 employees of the shoe factories in Penetang and Midland.
  • Motorists in Midland apparently behaved very well over the Christmas holiday weekend, with not a single arrest for drunk or impaired driving, according to Chief Robert Cameron.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – J. B. Roebuck, a veteran Midland merchant, was elected president of Tiny and Tay Agricultural Society. He succeeded Archie McArthur. * * * Forty percent of the eligible voters turned out for Midland’s 1948 civic elections. Elected were reeve, W. H. Taylor; aldermen, Clinton Smith, P. A. McKeown, W. L. Logan, and G. R. Stevens; PUC, Charles Stevenson, and David Hurrle. * * * A few hours after the home of Penetang Legionnaire George Beaudoin was destroyed by fire, Penetang Legion branch swung into action to aid the stricken family. At a special meeting, the Legion decided by unanimous vote to rebuild the Beaudoin home as soon as conditions would permit. * * * Midland Public Utilities Commission, at its final meeting of the year, decided to retire the remaining water debentures, amounting to $14,901 and interest. Electric utility debentures had been paid off for some years. * * * Orillia citizens voted down by a substantial majority a proposal that the town secedes from Simcoe County and become a city. The vote was 1,544 against to 1,053, in favor.
  • 25 Years Ago This WeekA cold wave sent thermometers in Midland plunging to 30 below zero. At Alliston, 32 degrees were recorded, at Coldwater and Huntsville, 48 below, at Sudbury, 60 below, and in Toronto 21.2 below. * * * Magistrate Compton Jeffs of Barrie was named the successor to Magistrate Daniel McCaughrin at Orillia. * * * Wheat exports for the week ending Dec. 22, 1933, amounted to 2,347,673 bushels, an increase of 1,382,697 bushels over the preceding week. * * * J. B. Roebuck was re-elected mayor of Midland for his sixth term. He had a 140-vote majority over his opponent. Elected deputy-reeve was Jack Moore. * * * W. Parliament was elected worshipful master of LOL 947, Midland, at the lodge’s annual meeting Dec. 29. About 50 members were in attendance. Deputy master was H. Wiles. * * * A boys’ council, modeled on lines of the town’s municipal council, had been organized at Midland YMCA. The council was to meet every two weeks. * * * To provide winter work for the unemployed, the Ontario government proposed to widen a section of Highway 27 between the Midland cut-off and Penetang, and to straighten and widen a corner near the golf course. * * * As the first nomination meeting in Penetang had been unsuccessful in obtaining a mayor and three of the four aldermanic seats, a second nomination meeting was scheduled for January 15. * * * Midland public and high school teachers had asked the board of education to pay at least part of their back salaries before Christmas. Because of the town’s financial state, the board had been unable to pay teacher’s salaries since October. The board was able to obtain enough funds to pay them for the month of November.

The board of directors, staff and volunteers of Huronia Museum wish everyone a  happy and safe holiday season and all the best in 2019!!


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