Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – January 8th to 15th, 1959


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“Holding the fort” in front of Mrs. D. Evans’ home at 290 Queen Street, Midland, are George Hutchinson, left, and Bill Black. The two lads, along with Don Evans and Sid Hutchinson, built the eight-foot-high snow fort during the Christmas holidays. (Tanner apartments in the background.)

Cutting their golden wedding anniversary cake are Mr. and Mrs. Albert Ovell of 242 William Street, Midland. In 1886 Mr. Ovell emigrated to Canada on his own at 9 years of age. In 1907 he moved to Midland and worked constructing the Tiffin elevator, then the CPR elevator in Port McNicoll, before settling down to a permanent job at the Aberdeen. His wife is the former Emily Jane Jennett from Medonte. 

These men clearing snow from the deck of a freighter in front of the Town House elevator in Midland on Monday morning needed no urging to keep the shovels moving. The 10-degree below zero temperature and a brisk north wind whipping in across the bay kept everybody on the move. 

Cold, who’s cold says Midland florist Mac Perrin as he basks in 67-degree temperature behind a cheery bank of white and yellow mums. Mac joined the other grumblers when he had to go a few doors up the street for his new 1959 licence plates. There was a 77-degree difference in temperature between inside and outside the greenhouse even at 9 a.m. Monday, one of the coldest days this winter. 

Big smiles light up the faces of Midland’s 1959 council as they posed for the cameraman following inaugural ceremonies Monday. Left to right are, seated, William Hack, clerk-treasurer, and Mayor Charles Stevenson; standing, Aldermen James Mackie and William Orr, Reeve W. H. Keller, Alderman Clint Smith, Deputy-reeve Herb J. Beauchamp, and Alderman Douglas Haig.

The Imperial Oil trophy was the goal of 20 rinks which took part in a one-day spiel at the Midland Curling Club Saturday. Lloyd Wilcox’s Midland rink proved the eventual winners in a photo finish over Wilf Parker’s Toronto High Park rink. Winning rink, seen in the top photo, was left to right, Graydon Rodgers, Lloyd Wilcox, Lawrence Wilcox, and “Woody” McConnell. Behind them are Joe Sibbald, Jack Russell, Bill Adams, and Wilf Parker. In the lower photo, Murray Yorke, Jack Duggan, Armand Robillard (skip) and Les Barber also came close and did win first prize in the 9 o’clock draw.  (My dad, Les Barber, would be forty years old in August of 1959. His rink was the last to win the IOL trophy and it sat in our basement for years before I donated it to the Huronia Museum. It has since been loaned by the museum to theMidland Curing Club for public display.)

When it comes to “taps,” these girls are tops, as witnessed by their certificates from the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association. The girls received their primary certificates following recent examinations in Toronto. Seen with their instructor, Mrs. Bob Stanway, they are left to right, Laurie Lee Stanway, Jane Ladouceur, Joyce Walker, Mrs. Stanway, Paulette Dewell and Joanne Adams. Nancy Beteau, now living in Detroit, also received her certificate. (Friend Nancy Beteau moved back from Detroit and had a very successful 35-year career with the CIBC in downtown Toronto. Semi-retired she moved back to Midland and worked at our CIBC branch. Nancy died May 8th, 2018 at GBGH.) 

Avid readers of the Free Press Herald, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hanes marked their 58th wedding anniversary at their home, 14 Quebec Street, Midland, Friday. Both were born in and have lived all their lives within the boundaries of Tay Township. 

She was built in 1889 at Bay City as the single screw wooden bulk freighter John Mitchell (US 76792) by F. W. Wheeler for Gratwick and others of Buffalo. Her length was 283 feet, width 41 feet, depth 24 feet and gross tons 1,864. In 1902 she was sold to Capt. John Mitchell  (Mitchell and Company organized in 1891) and was later renamed, Major. She rode through the Great storm of November 1913, while crossing Lake Superior and on Nov. 13 was found thirty miles northwest of Whitefish Point in a sinking condition. The Tomlinson freighter George G. Barnum (ex Socapa and presently the Cliffs’ Hennepin) removed the crew and towed the Major to Sault Ste. Marie. She was abandoned to the underwriters, who sold her to the Great Lakes Transportation Co. of Midland (the Playfair Fleet) by whom she was repaired and put back into service. For the ensuing seven years, she carried crushed quartzite in bulk from the quarry three miles west of Killarney to the Electro Metals plant at Welland. In 1920 the Georgian Bay Wrecking Co. of Midland bought the Major and converted her into a floating dry-dock by cutting her in two.  A watertight gate with sluice valves to admit water was built. The water was removed by pumps after a vessel had entered. After a few years in this service, a fire of unknown origin completely destroyed the floating wooden dry-dock. 

  • County Herald headline of January 9, 1959; 12 – 20 Percent Boost in Yule Trade Reported. Most Midland retailers managed to hold their own in retail sales in 1958 despite expectations of a slight drop, a survey revealed this week. Some found sales higher than last year. Lorne Craig, manager of Walker Stores said Christmas sales were “a little better than 20 percent higher” than in 1957. He felt the increase was due to a better stock and more variety. “It was a bang-up December,” said Mr. Graig, “I’ve never seen it so busy.” “The January sales are good as well,” he added. Mrs. E. Deakos of the Eleithia Shoppe also said that sales were up from last year.
  • Free Press Herald headline of January 14, 1959; Ask County to Halt Plans to Dispose of Buildings. Don’t dispose of the present Simcoe County buildings at Barrie until we are sure whether it may not be best to split the county in two. And, in any event, don’t just move the county seat five miles out of Barrie. This is the advice of a resolution passed unanimously Monday by Tay Township council at its inaugural meeting at Victoria Harbour. Councillors pointed out that the county might well sustain a substantial loss if the present county buildings were put on the block simply because Barrie was leaving the county.
  • “I have no official word yet of the deadline for obtaining 1959 licences,” said Alex MacIntosh, Midland’s issuer of automobile licences, Wednesday. “The only date I know is what appeared in the papers and that was March 18,” added Mr. MacIntosh, who noted that the sale of licences “had not been very brisk yet but it picks up a bit on the weekends”. Ontario plates this year are white letters and figures on a blue background. Licence numbers for Midland this year start with H-84401 stated Mr. MacIntosh.
  • Speaking of activities at the new Penetang Community Centre, Manager Don Shave said it is a busy place seven days a week. Figure skating classes have become so large that three two-hour periods are needed each week. Classes are being held Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons from 4.30 to 6.30, he said. Ice Skating has been drawing good crowds, according to Mr. Shave, who said he is pleased with the attendance. Curlers now have interclub competitions underway. Ladies are getting into the game, and a mixed spiel was held this week. Several rinks are expected from Orillia next Wednesday, to test the strength of Penetang curlers.
  • Unemployment in this area as of Dec. 31 was about 10 percent higher than the same period in 1957, Harold Humphries, manager of the National Employment Service office, Midland, told this newspaper yesterday. He said the level of unemployment in this district was about the same as the national average. Mr. Humphries said that on Dec. 31, 1958, his office had 1,442 males and 229 females registered for work. On Dec. 20, 1957, there were 1,191 males and 160 females registered. Drawing unemployment insurance benefits at the present time are 1,379 men and 217 women. He said the Midland office serves Penetang, Midland, Tiny, Tay, Baxter and Gibson Township. Of the total jobless, 350 were sailors or involved in the shipping trade, approximately 444 were construction workers and 125 were freight handlers at Port McNicoll.
  • Arnold Van Pypen REALTOR Port McNicoll— 212 Midland Ave. — LA. 6-6154 – FOR SALE  – 317 Hugel Ave., Midland, — $15,000.00 or best offer—Solid brick 2 storey home, 16 rooms. Size lot 115 X 100 ft. Clean throughout. New Gas furnace, 3 bathrooms, excellent for 5 apartments.    This link,    the dollar house is from the Midland Heritage Inventory & Register, the best site for information on Midland’s historic buildings.   file:///C:/Users/tom62/Desktop/Heritage%20Inventory%20and%20Register.pdf   
  • Port McNicoll News – W. J. Elliott, of HMCS Algonquin, Halifax, is spending 10 days leave at his home. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Parliament, Woodstock, and Bill Parliament, North Bay, spent the weekend with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. Parliament. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Parliament, North Bay, spent Saturday and Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Roy Elliott. Helen Elliott returned home with them after spending a week in North Bay. Helen Hrizo, Toronto, visited her parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. Hrizo during the holiday. Weekend visitors of Mr. and Mrs. J. Lever were Mr. and Mr. L. G. Crooke and Karen, and Mr. and Mrs. M. Crooke and family, Toronto. John Valcheff, Toronto, visited his mother, Mrs. Helen Valcheff, recently. Holiday guests of Mr. and Mrs. A. Van-Pypen were Mr. and Mrs. A. Brewer and Mr. and Mrs. B. Currel, Toronto, and Mr. and Mrs. B. Zuidema, Midland. Mr. and Mrs. Jock McCormick and Jane, Owen Sound, spent the New Year’s holiday with Mr. and Mrs. B. Adam. Sandra Watson and Gary Newton, Toronto, spent the weekend with the latter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Newton. Mrs. Woloski is visiting her two daughters in Toronto, Mrs. T. Terry, and Mrs. E. Lemieux. Mr. and Mrs. C. Tompkinson and Linda visited in Hamilton during the holiday season. David Saundercook, Toronto, spent the weekend at his home. Mr. and Mrs. Leon Todd and Mrs. Gertrude Brown, Victoria Harbour, were Christmas guests of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Todd and family. The Lewis Todd family spent New Year’s Day in Victoria Harbour with Mr. and Mrs. Leon Todd. Terry Karen and Michael Dault have returned to Owen Sound after spending two weeks with their uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. John Reedy. Mr. and Mrs. A. Worth spent five days last week with Mr. and Mrs. Art Ryan and family in Montreal. David Lumsden left last Friday to spend the weekend in New York City. He was one of a group of more than 200 Toronto newspaper carrier boys who earned the trip by obtaining necessary points through, new customers. Mr. and Mrs. Neil McArthur and family visited in Port Credit during the Christmas weekend. Margo remained in Port Credit to visit friends, returning to her home last Sunday. Bernice Frederick, Toronto, spent the weekend with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Frederick. Guests of Mr. and Mrs. L. Todd Saturday were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Atkinson, Midland. Lawrence Todd spent the weekend in Sudbury.
  • YMCA News Review by George Le Mesurier – Well, at last, all is back to normal at the ‘Y’ as our younger members have returned to school. Here are the winners of the last two weeks of special Christmas activity—door prize winners were Ruth McQuirter, Wayne Holden and J. Delaney, table tennis winners were F. Hacker, R. Jeannette, R. Lemieux, J. Delaney, E. Stainton, A. Delaney, and K. Griesbach. Floor Hockey winners were J. Roger, S. Heels, K. Griesback, A. Delaney, L. Duggan, E. Rutherford, S. Beatty, E. Stainter, P. Henderson, C. Hamer, F. Hacker, and W. Holden. Winners in the special checker game contest were W. Holden, B. Merkley, R. Lemieux, T. Lethbridge, E. Rutherford, and Darlene Rogers. The winning team in floor soccer was composed of T. Fisher, B. Shaken, G. Huvers, P. Henderson, A. Carnell, and P. Ellery and the winning team in the special basketball series consisted of B. Cripps, J. Marsell, B. Asselin, J. Jones, and W. Brock. NEW CLUBS OPERATING This week three new clubs — the chess club for senior boys and adults (meets Monday evenings at 8:00) the Indian adventure club (for boys 9-11, meets Tuesdays at 7), and the Midland adventure club (for boys 12-16, meets Thursdays at 7) — commenced their activities. Other groups in operation are the boy’s stamp club (Wednesday at 7) the radio hobby club (Tuesday at 7) and the model airplane club (Tuesday at 7:00).
  • No action having been taken in several months by the would-be purchaser, Midland council Monday decreed to be “null and void” the agreement for the sale of the old band hall at Dominion and Midland Avenues. Council will also endeavor to collect several months’ rent allegedly owing on the building. The building is to be advertised for sale again.
  • It is said that a policeman’s lot is not a happy one. Neither, it would seem, is a volunteer fireman’s as witnessed by the predicament Orillia firemen were in the other night while battling a lumber yard fire. The fire was almost under control when a freight train, in spite of frantic signals from members of the brigade, severed their hose line.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week – 1934 – Alternate mild weather and cold snaps were playing havoc with the mechanism of the clock in the tower of  the Midland post office. Condensation in the sleeve between the hour and minute hand, caused during mild spells, was freezing when the mercury dropped, locking the two in icy manacles. * * * Gasoline retailers in Toronto were engaged in a full-scale price war. The price per gallon had been cut five cents and leading companies were offering it at 16 1/2 cents a gallon, tax extra. Service stations in Oshawa were retailing the motor fuel at 22 1/2 to 25 1/2 cents a gallon, tax included. * * * Owing to an improvement in shipments of grain by rail from Midland, the Canadian National Railways brought back a yard engine to assist in making up the trains. In July of the previous year, the yard engine had been removed because of the decline of grain shipments at that time. * * * The National Association of Marine Engineers of Canada Inc. had asked the federal government to set up regulations which would force vessels of foreign registry to pay canal tolls. The association pointed out that unfair competition was permitted in the free use of canals. The engineers were concerned, too, that the jobs of Canadian mariners were jeopardized by the fact that ships of foreign registry were permitted to engage in the Canadian coastal trade. It was feared that this situation would be heightened once the proposed St. Lawrence Seaway was completed, * * * J. P. Bickell, Ontario registrar of motor vehicles, said 12,217 persons in Ontario had lost their permits to drive a car, after the Provincial government implemented legislation calling for proof of financial responsibility in case of accidents. The new legislation came into effect Sept. 1, 1930. * * * Wheat prices took a decided drop. Dealers were offering 75 cents a bushel.
  • If 1958 rail shipments of Christmas trees are any criterion, North Simcoe growers may have to find new ways of marketing the product. CNR agent Harold Gibson said less than half the usual quantity of trees had left Penetang yards this year, as compared with other years. “We usually run from 50 to 60 cars, but only 25 carloads of trees were billed out this year,” he said. Mr. Gibson said the information he had gleaned indicated tree crops maturing in several states were cutting into the Canadian business. All of the rail shipments generally are destined for United States points. In addition, directives had been received from New York State that trees could not be shipped in there for sale without a certificate of inspection ensuring them to be free of disease, he said.

2 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – January 8th to 15th, 1959

  1. It was nice to see my Dad in one of the pictures.
    Fred Scott donating equipment for those who can not afford. I remember my dad spending his own money to make sure a kid pkayed hockey or any sport.

  2. I remember Bill Black & Joyce Walker from the photos Tom. In 1959 I was 11 years old and the pictures I am seeing now in 1959 are starting to bring back the memories. Keep up the good work.

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