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

Click on Photos to EnlargeGizele Bezner of Midland was named Queen of Hearts at the Roxy Theatre last night. The new teen-age sovereign will receive a host of prizes from Penetang and Midland merchants. Runners-up were Carol Van Luven, Rosemary Shiels, Annette Ducaire arid Judy Belaire. Gizele, 18, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Bezner, is a Grade 13 student at Midland-Penetang District High School and hopes to enter university when she graduates from high school. 

Clerk of session Don Swinson holds the semi-illuminated scroll that he read and presented to Rev. J. L. Self, at the annual meeting of Knox Presbyterian Church. Centre, Tommy Trew presents Mr. Self with new vestments on behalf of the session. Mrs. Self received a bouquet of roses, presented by Adam Millar, absent when the photo was taken. 

Penetang Hurons’ hopes of getting some junior “C” playoff action are much brighter following a weekend in which they trimmed Richmond Hill Orioles twice. Left to right above are, front row, John Dubeau, Larry Merkley, Rodger Gray, Terry Pike, John Decarle; back row, Owen Weiser, Ralph Ironside, Al Arbour, Joe Huston, Tom Lancaster, Al Robillard, and John McCann. Missing when the picture was taken were “Buzz” Deschamp and John Brodeur. 

Winter or summer, there’s always interesting scenery at Balm Beach. This past week there were no bathing beauties on this road, only a few yards from the main beach. Snow was piled almost as high as the cottage visible in the rear. A half-mile further west the main road through the beach area was blocked entirely. 

James Lazonby, the provincial meteorologist at Coldwater, said this week that 221 inches of snow had fallen in this area from Nov. 4 to Feb. 9. The figure represents more than 18 feet. Mr. Lazonby said that from Nov. 4 to Dec. 19 more than six feet of snow had fallen. He revealed that Sunday night it was 28 below zero at Coldwater. Pictured is the corner at Balm Beach in front of the arcade. 

“Running the army”, even a small branch such as Midland Troop “C” Squadron of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, means plenty of work for the headquarters staff. Pte. Joyce Rutherford types out an order under the watchful eye of Lieut. J. A. Downer, officer commanding. In the other corner, W02, B. A. Parker checks an orderly room detail with Trooper, Jim Parker. 

Everybody’s all smiles as coach Miss Dorothy Enright gives the MPDHS senior girls’ basketball team a pep talk prior to Friday’s game with Barrie Central Collegiate. 

Chairman of Midland Jaycees 50-50 Club contest, Doug White presents a cheque to Manley Gilbank of Penetang, the first winner of the monthly contest. Funds raised in the contest will be used in Jaycee community projects. 

Line superintendent Morland Mount; Linesman Elgin West, General Superintendent Frank Yon, Linesman Norm Savage. Standing by the new service truck are these line crew members of the Midland P.U.C. Staff who are helping you to “LIVE BETTER ELECTRICALLY”. 

There’s plenty of both work and play (with pay) for young men who join Midland’s Troop “G” Squadron of, the Grey and Simcoe Foresters. In the bottom photo Sgts. John Hilliard, left, and Bill Elrick give three recruits a lecture on first aid as part of a civil defence course. When recruits reach more advanced rank they get a crack at one of the big tanks seen in the photo above. Left to right are Sgt. C. A. Sheriff, Trooper Robt. Scott, Trooper R. J. Wright and Sgt. D. G. McPeake.


  • Midland Free Press headline of February 11, 1959; Penetang Council Backs Closed Session Proposal. Penetang council has decided to hold one of its semi-monthly meetings as a committee of the whole and exclude the press from the discussions which take place at this session. This information was imparted to a representative of this newspaper at the close of the regular meeting of council Monday night. So far as the representative of this newspaper could learn, no vote had been taken on the proposal. Mayor Jerome Gignac, who had been asked by Free Press Herald reporter Vern Farrow whether he would be permitted to attend the meetings of the committee of the whole, informed the press representative “they were strictly committee meetings and were not open to the press.”
  • County Herald headline of February 13, 1959; Drift Derails “Snow Train” on Penetang CNR Line. The heaviest snowfall in more than 10 years has tied up road traffic and halted schools throughout the province and this week was responsible for the derailment of a CNR “snow train” in North Simcoe. The train, comprised of a snow spreader and ditcher, two diesel units, an equipment car, and caboose, running out of Allandale to Penetang, was derailed about two miles north of Perkinsfield station. 
  • A decision of the Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. to withdraw 23 boats from the canal service will have an adverse effect in the South Georgian Bay area. As a result, some 12 licenced mariners in Midland, Penetang, Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour, and Waubaushene may not have boats to go to this spring. This list includes captains, mates, and engineers. In addition, another fifty unlicenced men, such as deckhands, wheelsmen and other trades, will also face the loss of employment unless posts can be found for them on other ships. The cause of the Misener decision is the pending opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and competition from foreign ships. These latter vessels will now be able to go direct to the Lakehead for their loads. It will no longer be necessary to transship at Port Colborne, Kingston, Prescott or other ports to canalers in order to get the grain to ocean ports, it was stated. Marine officials in this area said other navigation companies would undoubtedly be faced with the same decision — whether or not to compete with the foreign vessels.
  • Ted Cadeau of Cambridge Street, complained in a letter to Penetang council that he had no garbage pick-up or snow plowing. The letter, which had been sent to the town’s auditors, threatened that the writer would not pay any more taxes until he received an answer. Councillor Ray McDonald, chairman of streets, said this problem had been brought up before. He explained the street was too narrow and too rough to put a plow on. According to the chairman, the street is not one controlled by the town, but rather is on “tannery property,” It was recommended that no action be taken on the letter.
  • Tiny Township council was told Saturday that spraying of weeds along road allowances could have a detrimental effect on bees, and subsequently could result in a lack of seed crop, particularly in the case of red clover. Reg Gignac claimed bees are poisoned by the spray and asked that consideration be given to the elimination of this project. He said he has hives spread over a considerable portion of the township, and that these were a big help to farmers. (It has only taken 60 years for concerned citizens to be heard on this issue, Mr. Gignac was ahead of his time.)
  • A bid of $6,500 for the old band hall at Midland and Dominion Avenues was accepted by Midland council at its meeting Monday night. The successful bidder, one of two who submitted offers, was K. S. Lewis, a Midland chiropractor. Mr. Lewis also submitted plans of proposed renovations which hopes to make to the building. These include a chiropractic center and apartments. The only other offer for the building was $6,000. Council indicated it felt either bidder would make a good owner.
  • Working in extremely cold weather, but protected from the elements by plywood and tarpaulin enclosures, a construction crew employed by Finlay McLachlan Company has the bridge spanning the Moon River on the new Trans-Canada Highway, between Footes Bay and Port Severn, nearly completed. To provide winter employment, work was resumed on the bridge after a halt had been called because of weather conditions. The federal government is paying the additional cost of cement work in the winter. About 15 men from the area are employed on the project, under the supervision of company foremen. A heating unit and housing have been provided so that cement laying and other work can proceed on the bridge, in spite of the bitter cold. It has been reported the bridge, 36 by 248 feet, may be ready before the end of March.
  • The Victoria Harbour Chevys have stretched their winning streak to seven straight, defeating the second place Honey Harbour team by a decisive 9 to 5 win in a fast game at the Palace Rink, Coldwater, Friday evening. The Chevys, undefeated in the East Simcoe Rural League this season, clinched first place and the Dunlop Trophy, which will be presented tonight at Coldwater when the Chevys meet the third-place Coldwater Jaycees.
  • Penetang Hurons greatly enhanced their chance of grabbing a playoff spot in the Super-Seven OHA junior group playoff on the weekend with a pair of victories over Richmond Hill Orioles. Hurons looked impressive, beating Orioles 7-3 in a game played at Nobleton Arena Friday night. After a bad start in the Penetang Community Centre Saturday night, Hurons rallied for a 6-5 win in the final period.
  • Said to have been in destitute circumstances, a 23-year-old resident of the Honey Harbour area, was placed on a suspended sentence when he appeared before Magistrate K. A. Cameron in Midland police court Feb. 4. Represented by A. B. Thompson of Penetang, he pleaded guilty to one charge of theft from a cottage and breaking into four others with intent. Crown Attorney W. M. Thompson, Q.C., prosecuted. OPP Const. William Mohan said the five break-ins all occurred at cottages on islands in the Honey Harbour area Jan. 25. Only articles taken were two, part bottles of whiskey found in one of the cottages, the officer said. Const. Mohan said he believed accused was looking for food for himself, his wife and infant baby. In reply to questions by defence counsel, Const. Mohan agreed that there were many valuable articles in the five cottages that accused might have stolen for resale if such, had been his intention. Unemployed since last September, the man has been keeping his family on $20 per week unemployment insurance. Const. Mohan said he understood the 10-week-old baby of the couple required a special diet and that accused was worried about medical expenses. The family had been living on rabbits and wild ducks, the court heard. Noting the unusual circumstances, Magistrate Cameron said that as it was the first offence for accused he would agree to a suspended sentence in this instance. Magistrate Cameron also said he felt certain help would be forthcoming from church or other agencies if accused had presented his case to them.
  • Twenty-Five Years Ago This Week; A French prophetess predicted that 1934 would see prosperity return to the world and that Hitler would lose his power by 1935. * * * The federal government reported that 900,000 fewer cars from United States centers toured Canada in 1933 than in 1932. In 1933, 2,339,000 U.S. cars entered Canada, the report stated. * * * Reeve Marcel J. Tessier, chairman of the pension board of Simcoe County, reported that 274 pensioners were added to the county payroll in 1933, bringing the total on pension to 2,074. * * * H. J. Thompson was elected chairman of the Midland Board of Education at the board’s inaugural meeting. * * * The County Orange Lodge decided that the 12th of July would be celebrated in Penetang. About 150 persons attended the annual meeting of the lodge, held in Midland. Jack Moore of Midland was elected master. * * * Nurses at St. Andrew’s Hospital said that an 11-day-old baby boy, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Quinn of Fifth Street, Midland, had cut two lower teeth. * * * Sub-zero temperatures were the order of the day throughout North Simcoe. On Feb. 8, 26 below was recorded on Midland thermometers. * * * Christian Island Indians were irked by reports in Toronto newspapers and broadcasts over the air that they were starving to death. The first indication the members of the Indian band had of “their plight” was in a news broadcast.
  • Owing to Tuesday’s heavy snowstorm, some 80 students of the Elmvale District High School were not able to get back to their homes that night because the roads were impassable for school buses. The students spent the night at friends in the village or at the local hotel. “The buses have been doing quite well getting the pupils here on time,” commented Principal L. M. Johnston of Midland-Penetang High School at the board meeting Wednesday night.
  • VASEY NEWS – The WMS and W.A. met at the home of Mrs. Jos. Tinney Jan. 28. There were 19 members and eight visitors present. Mrs. Orval Edwards conducted the WMS meeting. Rev. R. M. Dingwall was present and suggested that a Young People’s group be organized. Members favored the proposal. Mrs. Fred Edwards was in charge of the program. The meeting was closed with prayer by Mrs. Orval Edwards and was turned over to the W.A., conducted by President Mrs. Wm. Irish. Patches were contributed for a crib quilt which had been requested. Miss Maggie Cumming proposed that she and Mrs. Belfry piece the quilt ready for quilting. Plans were made to cater for a wedding Feb. 21. Rev. R. M. Dingwall closed the meeting with prayer. Mrs. Harold Cowden and Miss Eleanor Edwards served refreshments, assisted by the hostess. Next meeting will be at the home of Mrs. Cowden. * * * Eldon Nixon and three children and Delmer Brown of Toronto spent the weekend at Charles Brown’s. Miss Emmaline Edwards and a friend of Toronto, spent the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Manley Edwards. Mrs. Lulu Gallin of Orillia is spending some time with Mr. and Mrs. Martin Strath. Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Atkinson of Nobleton, called on Mrs. Stewart Belfry Sunday. Miss Pauline Robinson spent a weekend recently with Mr. and Mrs. Harold Graham of Wyevale. Nelson Brown of Toronto visited his brothers, Carson and Newton Brown. Miss Donna Lane, and Miss Bonnie Bannon of Toronto, and Miss Myrna Bannon of Guelph visited the Walter Bannon’s last weekend. Miss Christine Alderson of Eady visited the Vern Todds Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Melvin McKeown of Toronto visited Mrs. T. H. McKeown recently. Miss Sandra Robinson, nurse-in-training at Barrie, spent Sunday with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ken Robinson.
  • Obituaries – Native of Penetang, PETER HERMAN ST. AMANT died unexpectedly in a Toronto hospital Jan. 31. He had lived his entire life in Penetang until about 12 years ago when he moved to Toronto. He was 61 years of age. A bachelor, Mr. St. Amant was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Stephen St. Amant. He leaves two sisters, Mrs. Robert Ovren, Orillia, and Mrs. Jonas White, San Salvador, Central America. Harry St. Amant, who died in December, was a brother. Funeral service was held Monday morning in St. Arm’s Memorial Church when solemn high mass was sung by Msgr. J. M. Castex. Burial was in St. Ann’s Cemetery. Pallbearers were all nephews of the deceased: Leo, Paul, Bernard, Oswald, Richard, and Lawrence St. Amant. * * * ANTHONY E. GENDRON Funeral service for A. R. “Tony” Gendron, who died in his 88th year, Jan. 28, was held Jan. 30 at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home, Midland, with Rev. A. J. Lewis officiating. Pallbearers were Adam Woloski, Cecil Belsey, Art Busby, Douglas Gendron, Frank Gendron, and Lawrie Belsey. Born in Penetang, where he spent most of his life, Mr. Gendron married the former Eva C. Dunlop at Aylmer, Ont., Dec. 26, 1917. He was a member of the United Church and a Liberal in politics. Besides his widow, he is survived by two sons, Wallace of Penetang and Gordon of Indiana, and four daughters, Miss Gretchen Gendron, Kitchener; Mrs. Cecil Belsey (Ruth), Midland; Mrs. Adam Woloski (Margaret), Victoria Harbour; and Mrs. Arthur Busby (Evelyn) of Hanover. Eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also survive. * * * EDITH O. TAYLOR A resident of this district for 53 years, Mrs. Edith Odella Taylor died after a lengthy illness at her residence, 182 Elizabeth Street, Midland, Jan. 5, in her 75th year. The funeral service, held Jan. 8, was conducted by Rev. W. L. Morden at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home. The pallbearers, who were grandsons and nephews, were Bill Taylor, Wayne Taylor, Don Taylor, Ken Hooper, Frank Sheffield, and Alan Elliott. Mrs. Taylor, who sang in St. Paul’s United Church choir and was a member of numerous church organizations in previous years, was married to W. Herbert Taylor Feb. 1, 1905, in Victoria Harbour. Besides her husband, she is survived by four daughters; Mrs. Leslie Bell (Orma), Stoney Creek; Mrs. Sam Hanson (Mary), Edmonton; Kay of Mexico City and Mrs. Bill Barnett (Joan), Midland and three sons Albert and Kenneth of Midland and Meredith of Noranda, Que. * * * WILLIAM MACKENZIE A life-member of Midland branch 80, Canadian Legion, William MacKenzie died of a heart attack at his home, 286 Third Street, Midland, Jan. 31. He was in his 76th year. Funeral service under the auspices of the Canadian Legion was conducted Feb. 3 by Rev. J. L. Self at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home. Legion pallbearers were Earl Williams, Charles Stewart, George Parr, Fred Ball, George Thompson and Walter Nichols. Born at Port Gordon, Scotland, Mr. MacKenzie married the former Violet Chester in Penetang July 15, 1914. He had resided in Midland for 50 years. Besides his widow, he is survived by a son, Kenneth of Midland; two daughters, Mrs. Robert Crippin (Elsie) of Penetang, and Mrs. William Hooper (Laura) of Midland. A brother, Andrew, and sisters Mary and Bella of Port Gordon, Scotland, also survive as well as seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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