Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – April 15th to 21st, 1959

Penetang’s Little League Hockey entry in the provincial playdowns lost out in the championship by a slim margin but came back to win the consolation series at Welland, April 4. Kneeling with the trophy is Don Deschambault; standing, left to right, Stan Leclair, coach; Michael Dubeau, Jos. Lamoureux, trainer, Paul Maheu, Bill Lepage, Donald Light, Ian Dick, Ted Mason, Paul DeVillers, Doug Scott, Martin Robillard, Jim Martin, Paul Cordes, Gerald Gignac, Fred Scott, manager, Ron Robillard, Peter Berry.

A host of friends and relatives greeted Mr. and Mrs. Charles Goodfellow Saturday afternoon and evening when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Ray Maughan. Story on page 18. 

(I almost didn’t go back and read the story on page 18 as noted by the cataloguer who described the artifact. I would have missed an excellent insight into old Midland, reproduced below.) 

   Two long-time residents of Midland who played and attended school together in their younger years, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary April 12. The couple, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Goodfellow of 363 Midland Ave. (Now 467), received a host of gifts, flowers and congratulatory cards and messages from their many friends and relatives. More than 90 attended the “at home”, held at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Ray Maughan, Saturday afternoon and evening. 
    Born in Sarawak, Grey County, near Owen Sound, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Goodfellow, Charlie moved to Midland with his family when he was eight years old. A native of Elmvale, Mrs. Goodfellow is the former Mary Louisa (Dollie) Smith, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. The Smiths moved from Elmvale to Penetang, where they remained for a year, and then to Midland where Mr. Smith was head miller for the Copeland Milling Co. It was in Midland where the two first met as playmates. Then they attended the same school, the first being a school housed in the old Baptist Church on Manley Street. Miss Truman, whose father was town clerk at the time, was one of their first teachers. When the old church was torn down and the new school built on Manley Street Charlie and Dollie attended it. R. G. Nesbitt was principal of the school at that time. From public school, Charlie went to Midland High School for three years. Among his school mates were the Strathearn boys, whose father owned the jewelry business that still flourishes on Midland’s King Street. He recalled that Mr. Simpson was principal of the high school, and the mathematics teacher was Mr. Glass.
    During the summer holidays, Charlie got his first taste of printer’s ink in the printing and publishing business operated by his uncle Charlie and his father. The Free Press and job printing plant were located over Peter’s Hardware Store (later purchased by Charles and William Hartman). One of young Charlie’s duties was to carry wood slabs up two flights of stairs, cut them up and stoke the steam boiler that provided the power to operate the presses. Later this power plant was replaced with a gasoline engine.  When it refused to run, men were hired to turn the presses by hand cranks, Charlie recalls. A few years after Peter’s hardware was sold, Mr. Goodfellow senior bought the King Street building where the Free Press Herald is now located. The building was owned by John Wallace. Electricity was coming into its own as a source of power at that time, so the printing equipment was converted to electrical power. Another new piece of equipment then was the Rogers Typograph, the forerunner of the modern linotype machine. Young Charlie was the first in Midland to operate this newfangled gadget which his father bought from an uncle in Bradford. The budding young printer was 17 years of age when he began to work in the newspaper plant on a full-time basis. The firm employed eight persons.
    The couple who celebrated 50 years of married life Saturday were not quite 20 years of age when they were wed April 12, 1909, in Penetang at the manse of Rev. F. W. Gilmour of the Presbyterian Church. They kept their marriage a secret for three weeks, then told their parents.
      Around 1920, J. F. Goodfellow sold his printing and publishing business to a stock company comprised of Midland businessmen. Charlie continued to work for the new firm until 1927. He joined Osborne and Johnson for a time and then moved to Toronto, where he was employed by the Consolidated Press for 19 years. They returned to Midland in May 1945, and have remained here ever since. Charlie still operates a linotype machine, at the Free Press.
    Both remember the old boardwalks and unpaved streets. The latter generally became a quagmire each spring. Some of the roads on the outskirts of the town were so boggy they had to have a log base to keep them from sinking. A member of the Odd Fellows Lodge and of the Canadian Order of Foresters, Charlie has held every office in the latter fraternal organization and served as financial secretary for years. He liked to play ball and still has the last ball batted out in the series when he quit playing the game. The Midland team played Orillia, Victoria Harbour, Penetang and Barrie. During their teens and early married life, Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow enjoyed skating and snowshoeing. In this, they were frequently accompanied by another couple, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Wadge. Mrs. Wadge is deceased.
    Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow are members of the United Church and Mrs. Goodfellow is a member of the Woman’s Association. Of Mr. Goodfellow’s three sisters, only Mrs. J. A. Seager (Bella) of Orillia is living. His other sisters, Laura and Pearl, died some years ago, Mrs. Goodfellow, is one of two children in her family, her brother William died of pneumonia when he was a young man of about 21. (Below is a 1954 picture of Charlie at work.)
Free Press employees. Charles Goodfellow has served nine years as a linotype operator under the present management but is a veteran to the business as he worked with Bill Cranston’s father who owned and published this paper. The photo was also used in the May 1, 1957, Free Press on page 10 with this caption; Veteran linotype operator at Midland Printers Limited, Charles Goodfellow celebrated his 68th birthday April 30. Mr. Goodfellow first started to work on the paper in the summer of 1898. In June of that year, his father, the late J. F. Goodfellow, and his Uncle Charlie bought the Free Press. 

For several weeks the newspaper has been sponsoring a fashion contest. Six fashion photos are published and the public is asked to pick their favourites and mail their choice to the Free Press. A professional panel makes their selection and anyone who matches them can win up to $300.00. Below are some of the winners. 

A winner in the Free Press Herald’s “Pick the Fashions” contest seen relaxing in her Midland home, is Mrs. Elsie Colling, 212 Elizabeth Street.

A winner in the Free Press Herald’s “Pick the Fashions” contest seen relaxing in her Midland home, is Mrs. J. Lesperance òf 381 Bay Street.

One of the prize winners in the Free Press Herald’s “Pick the Fashions” contest was Mrs. Ray Trew, seen here relaxing from her housewifely duties at her home, 189 Colborne Street, Midland. (“housewifely duties” not surprised that phrase didn’t catch on!)

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The ladies of Port McNicoll are style conscious too, as witness the two winners from that village in the recent Free Press Herald “Pick the Fashions” contest. Pictured in their Port McNicoll homes are Mrs. C. Willock, bottom, and Mrs. W. H. Shaw.

  • Midland Free Press headline of April 15, 1959; Ask Engineer to Study Industrial Site Proposal. Midland council Monday night instructed its consulting engineer, James Knox of Canadian-British Engineering Limited, to commence a study for the proposed installation of water and other services on the industrial property on the southeastern outskirts of Midland. Mr. Knox was asked to discuss the proposal with R. B. Moffat secretary-manager of the Midland Chamber of Commerce after the latter had told the council that a major industry was planning to locate in the area. Reviewing the industrial development proposal, Mr. Moffat reminded council that a chamber of commerce deputation had asked the council about two months ago to provide water to the Tay Township site, in the event an industry decided to locate on that property. “We are now reasonably sure that a firm will be going in there in about two weeks or so,” Mr. Moffat said. He revealed that the firm previously had planned to locate on the western end of Midland Bay, but tests had shown the ground to be unsuitable.
  • County Herald headline of April 17, 1959; Sanction Booster Pump, PUC Agrees to Tay Plan. Midland Public Utilities Commission concurred, at their meeting Wednesday night, to a proposal submitted by Tay-Township council concerning a booster pumping station located at the Seventh Street standpipe in Midland. However, the motion by Commissioners O. H. Smith and Wm. Logan included seven conditions: The move is seen as the answer to current water problems for township residents on the western outskirts of Midland, and especially those in the high school area. The commission also authorized its chairman A. Macintosh, and manager Stewart Holt, to sign the necessary documents authorizing the amalgamation of locals 1032 (Midland) and 1647 (Orillia) of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
  • Mother of three young children Mrs. John D. Bugg, 21, died instantly early Saturday night when she fell down a flight of stairs in Midland’s Queen’s Hotel. Relatives said Mrs. Bugg and her husband, 24, were moving from an apartment on the third floor of the hotel to a new home on William Street when the accident occurred. It is believed that Mrs. Bugg, carrying a chair or some other article; made a lunge to save her son, Brian, 3, from falling. Instead, she herself fell, the full length of the stairs to the second floor. In addition to Brian Mrs. Bugg was also the mother of Sharon, 5, and David, four months. Her husband is employed in the paint shop of Canadian Name Plate Company. Also surviving are her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Quesnelle of Sunnyside, Midland, and several brothers and sisters.
  • Midland Y’s Men’s music festival, which starts next Monday, has approximately 600 entries, the largest in the festival’s history. There are an especially large number of entries from Penetang, a festival official noted. The festival which runs from Monday to Thursday of next week will conclude with a “Stars of the Festival” concert Friday evening. Ken J. Ellis is chairman of the festival committee.
  • Quick work by Midland police Corporal Ernie Bates led to the recovery of a stolen car before it was reported stolen in Toronto. A 1950 Monarch car being driven without lights on Bay Street aroused the suspicion of Corporal Bates and he gave chase to the car Monday about 10 p.m.
  • BIRTHS – CORBIER — To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Corbier, 64 Ontario St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday; April 8, 1959, a daughter. CORNELL—To Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cornell, 173 Hugel Ave., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Thursday, April 9, 1959, a daughter. DORION—To Mr. and Mrs. Russell Dorion, 303 First St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, April 10, 1959, a son. DUPUIS – To Mr. and Mrs. George Dupuis, 280 Second St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, April 10, 1059, a daughter. GARDINER — To Mr. and Mrs. Ray Gardiner, 153 Sixth St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, April 10, 1959, a daughter. GRANT — To Mr. and Mrs. David Grant, 295 Bay St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, April 13, 1959, a son. LAURIN — To Mr. and Mrs. Ovide Laurin, R.R. 3, Penetang, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, April 7, 1959, twin daughters. LEDUC — To Mr. and Mrs. Lawson Leduc, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, April 8, 1959, a daughter. MOREAU — To Mr. and Mrs. Urbain Moreau, Highland Point, at Penetang General Hospital, Friday, April 3, 1959, a daughter. SANDY —To Mr. and Mrs. Edward Sandy, Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital Midland, Saturday, April 11, 1959, a son. WAGG — To Mr. and Mrs. William Wagg, 317 First St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, April 10; 1959, a son. WEISSFLOG — To Mr. and Mrs. Erhard Weissflog, 105 Ruby St., at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, April 13, 1959, a daughter.
  • A parcel of town-owned, waterfront property, approximately 300 feet square has been sold to Bev Keefe of Midland for $l,000. The sale was incorporated in a motion approved by Midland council Monday night. Council also agreed to lease another easterly 200 feet of the property to Mr. Keefe for $50 annually. Riders to the motion requested that Mr. Keefe, who proposes to build a marina on the site, submit any changes he plans to make to the town engineer for approval; that Mr. Keefe be given the first chance to buy the easterly 200 feet, if council decides at any future date it wants to sell this part of the property. The town solicitor is to be instructed to draft the lease for the easterly lot. Mr. Keefe is currently negotiating with CNR officials for adjoining property, to which the railway claims title under letters patent issued May 18, 1906, but which were never registered.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – Four young Midlanders, Ted Courtemanche, Bob VanStone, Wally Hook and Tom Berthelotte, spent all night in line at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, to get tickets for the Leaf-Red Wings finals. A Midland student at the University of Toronto loaned them a camp cot for their night-long vigil. * * * Tenders had been called for the construction of an addition to the Bell Telephone Company building in Penetang. In Midland, Bell lines east of King Street were to be redesigned, shifted or renewed during the summer. * * * Victoria Harbour council struck the 1949 tax rate for the village at 48 mills, eight mills more than the levy in 1948. The increase was caused by a 12 mill levy to meet debenture charges on the village’s new water system. * * * Dale Miller, Grade 8 pupil at Mount St. Louis School, won the Ontario finals of the public speaking contest sponsored by the Ontario Trustees and Ratepayers Association in Toronto, during the Easter convention of the Ontario Educational Association. He was one of eight contestants in the contest. * * * First ship into Port McNicoll harbor in 1949 was the S.S. Royalton, which arrived April 15. The Royalton’s skipper was Capt. J. Walton. * * * Two hundred Indians representing the Huron, Iroquois, Algonquin, and Cree tribes and members of the Jesuit Order were to lead a pilgrimage over the three-mile massacre trail from St. Louis to St. Ignace. The pilgrimage was to form part of ceremonies scheduled for July 9 and 10.
  • Obituaries – Death came unexpectedly to KENNETH ETIENNE CORRIVEAU, Sunday, March 29, as the result of a heart seizure. Mr. Corriveau, who would have been 49 at the end of this month, died at his Church Street home. Born in Lafontaine, he had lived there and married Helen DeVillers in 1953. They moved to Penetang about five years ago. Besides his wife, he leaves four brothers, Marcel, Lafontaine; Augustin, Perkinsfield; Herman, Penetang, and Albert, California; five sisters, Mrs. Marion Noonan, Florida, Mrs. Angeline Sandford, Toronto, Mrs. Annie Sauve, Capreol; Louise Corriveau, his twin sister, Abitibi Canyon, and Blanche Corriveau, Barrie. The funeral service was held Tuesday, Mar. 31, from Beausoleil’s funeral home to St. Ann’s Memorial Church where Fathers Ramsperger, Robitaille and Petitpas officiated. Interment was in St. Ann’s vault. Pallbearers were Raymond Grenier, Jos. and George Corriveau, Robert and Maurice Laliberte and Clifford Leduc. * * * MRS. EVA M. CARPENTER A native of Matchedash and a resident of Midland for 53 years, Mrs. Eva Maude Carpenter died in St. Andrews Hospital, April 2, after a prolonged illness. She was in her 85th The funeral service was conducted by Rev. J. L. Self, April 6, at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home. Pallbearers were Captain Sam Bell, Ben Cowie, Clifford Laughlin, William Logan, Douglas Swann and Russell Switzer. Mrs. Carpenter the former Eva Maude Hall, married Charles E. Carpenter at Coldwater Jan. 4, 1906. The couple had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary three years ago. Besides her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Edwin Jardine (Annie) and Mrs. Clinton Smith (Agatha); and three sons, Murray of Collingwood, Walter of St. Catharines and Herbert of Midland.* * * A resident of Midland for 42 years, ARTHUR JOSEPH ROBITAILLE died at Penetang General Hospital April 8 following a lengthy illness of a year and a half. Mr. Robitaille‘s nephew, Rev. Kenneth Robitaille, celebrated the mass at St. Margaret’s Church, Midland, April 10. Pallbearers were five sons and a son-in-law. They were Louis, Andrew, Arthur, Leonard and Raymond Robitaille, and Eric Holden. Born and educated at Lafontaine, Mr. Robitaille married the former Leona Laurin there, in 1914. Besides his wife, Mr. Robitaille is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Ernest Rodway (Theresa), Red Deer, Alberta; Mrs. J. Abbott (Eva), Midland; Mrs. Marcel Moreau (Lucy), Toronto, and Mrs. Eric Holden (Margaret), Toronto; and six sons, Louis and Andrew of Hamilton; Leonard and Edward of Toronto, Raymond of Streetsville and Arthur of Midland. Four brothers, Ernest, Midland; Edmund, Toronto; Joseph, Windsor, and Israel, Penetang, also survive.
  • A native of the Penetang area and now a Kingston surgeon, Dr. R. B. Lynn recently opened a human heart and removed a tumor the size of an orange from the interior of the heart. The patient was a middle-aged man who, today, is in excellent health. This operation, the seventh successful one of its kind in the world, was performed by Dr. Lynn in Kingston General Hospital about a month and a half ago. It was the first open heart surgery performed in Kingston. Dr. Lynn, a comparative newcomer to Kingston, is an associate professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery in the faculty of medicine at Queen’s University, he also holds the position of a thoracic surgeon at both Kingston hospitals and is surgeon-in-chief at Ongwanada Sanatorium.
  • After at least two lengthy closed sessions, during which allegations against the chief of police were investigated by Midland council late Tuesday afternoon agreed to withdraw its request that Chief Robert Cameron submits his resignation. Council indicated, however, that it intends to “give further consideration to police matters with the hope of resolving any difficulties.” Chief Cameron has stated that regardless of council’s action he may resign in the near future. The motion calling for the chief’s resignation was precipitated by a discussion of police affairs at a special meeting of council March 26. At that meeting, it was charged that the chief was not carrying out the duties that were required of him and, because of this fact, that he no longer enjoyed the confidence of the men who served under him.
  • Midland council Monday night decided to up its welfare payments to people on relief in the town. Alderman Clinton Smith, chairman of welfare, asked that the town adopt the provincial standard of payments. He said he felt, in view of the increased cost of living, that current payments were too low. He said close scrutiny would be kept on the expenditures. Council was informed that under the present system a married man, his wife, and one child receive $12.35 weekly for food, milk, etc. The provincial grant for these welfare expenditures is now 80 percent, the council was told.

 Taking that further step back to 1939 and a Free Press article written by Herbert Cranston about the career of Ganton Dobson.

Taken from the Midland Free Press, Wednesday, April 29, 1939, Page 3.

David Ganton Dobson has considerable claim to be styled “Midland’s First Citizen.” No other present resident of the town who was born here can boast so long a period of continuous residence. It was 73 years ago that he opened his eyes on the old Dobson homestead on Mundy’s Bay and he has spent nearly every year of his life since then in this locality. That alone sets him aside from other old-timers who have lived here for forty, fifty, sixty and even seventy years. In previous issues, I have told some of the facts and stories about early life in Midland which I gleaned during the course of a chat with Mr. Dobson. This week I propose to tell the tale of Mr. Dobson’s own career.

    It was the coming of the railway that gave young Dobson his first chance to earn a dollar. He carried water for the railway builders, at thirty cents a day, and was happy to get it. His next job in Sam Chew’s sawmill pushing lumber on the rollers in the yard brought him fifty cents a day. That only lasted a month, and then the lad decided to go farming with his uncle Benjamin Ganton down in Medonte Township. Mr. Ganton, by the way, is still living retired down at Hillsdale. He is 80 years old. As a lad of fourteen Ganton Dobson got a job in H. H. Cook’s sawmill, working all summer from spring thaw till freeze-up. During the winter he picked up what jobs he could in the surrounding lumber camps. One winter he cut wood at the Old Fort for 40 cents a cord long wood and 60 cents for short wood. “When I was just a boy I cut wood with a crosscut saw on the back of our old farm, which constituted a large part of what is now Ward One in Midland, built a sleigh and pulled it down to the farmhouse and kept the stove going all winter,” said Mr. Dobson. One wonders how many lads who live in town now would like to have that as a winter chore.


    His next job was with an English cabinet maker, Thomas Offer by name. “There I stayed for six months.” said Mr. Dobson, “and I learned a lot about tools which has been of great value to me through the years. I was paid $8 a month, and I took my wages in trade. I made furniture and took it home to mother. The only money I had in those days I made by carving out boats with a butcher knife and selling them to the other boys.” A summer was spent in a mill operated by M. M. Nickerson at Victoria Harbor, after which the voting (typo perhaps) fellow took a job with Jas. Davenport, a contractor, for a couple of years, and helped him put up houses, barns, and sawmills. Next, he was in the employ of John Munro, another contractor, and assisted in the erection of a number of Midland houses which are still standing. It was while he was working for Mr. Munro that the Presbyterian Church in Penetanguishene was built. After a short time with Mr. Nickerson at house building, Mr. Dobson branched out for himself and erected quite a number of Midland dwellings. He also helped Mr. Munro put up the Baptist Church in Parry Sound. For a short time, he went south to the Oakville district and helped Peter Heuser erect a number of homes in that vicinity. The next move was to Collingwood where he accepted a job in the Wilson Bros., sash and door factory, and worked there for two and a half years. While there he did some work at the shipyards and got his first knowledge of ship construction. Coming back to Midland he worked on the remodeling of the residence of the late James Playfair after that gentleman had purchased the H. H. Cook mill. He also built a house for Ed Letherby which is still standing and designed and built a house for Mr. McKee which is now owned by William Steggles.


    I was not satisfied with the education I had,” said Mr. Dobson. “The key of the door of knowledge is the knowledge of one’s own ignorance”. I commenced burning the midnight oil. I took a course in draughting from the International Correspondence School at Scranton, Pa., and got a diploma. My wife was a great help to me. If it had not been for her encouragement I doubt whether I would have stuck at it, for I was usually pretty tired when I came home from a day’s work. However, I learned to make designs and drawings of houses to scale and to make blueprints, and to this day I make my own working drawings of all boats that we build in our yards. “When it came to the tougher problems of mathematics I was halted for a while. It so happened, however, that when doing some repairs on the Western Island lighthouse a young man, not long returned from the South African war,  asked for a job, which I gave him. I found he had taught school before the war and at night we worked together, and he taught me square root, cube root, etc. This was tough sledding, for after working outside all day in temperature around zero, one was inclined to go to sleep rather than study when he got into a warm house. However, I was doing my best to make amends for the time I had wasted as a boy when I neglected my studies and forgot the sacrifices my father was making for my education. “And how did you get into the boat business?” Just about that time, the Owen Sound Dredging Company was dredging in the bay. They used to call me in to help repair their dredging plant. I rented our present site on the waterfront from the government and put in some ways so we could haul the scows up for repairs. That was about 36 years ago. From then on the business just grew on me. More and more work came my way. In 1903 I went into partnership with William Carson as the Georgian Bay Shipbuilding and Wrecking Company, but after a short time I bought him out. For some time I kept up house building on the side, and I erected quite a number of summer cottages and docks. “I have owned the Midland Boat Works twice. I bought it first from Fred Hacker’s father and sold it to John Gidley. Then when he died I bought it from his widow. Later I turned it over to Newton K. Wagg in 1924. While I owned that plant we put together many small power boats and canoes.” 


    “What are some of the interesting boats that I built?”    Mr. Dobson took me on a tour of inspection around his art gallery. On the walls of his office are a number of framed photographs of steamers, tugs, launches, and sailing ships, as well as some wrecked ships which are just showing stems or sterns out of the water, or being floated between pontoons and towed to repairing yards. Each photo recalls a story for Mr. Dobson. “There’s the ‘Aubrey C.’ said he, pointing with pride to a picture of a trim white boat he had built for the late Manley Chew. “They used to tell me she was the smartest little tug on the Great Lakes. I think it is down near Montreal now.” The “Eva Belle” was the first ship he built. He sold it to Capt. Bill White. The “Beaver” was the first boat of his own design. It was made for Chew Bros. Then there was the “Clipper”, a tug made for Manley Chew, the “Lynn B” for the Boone Dredging Co., the “Con Lynch” for Canada Dredging Co. and the “Elsie Doris” for the Department of Marine and Fisheries. Mr. Dobson reconstructed the passenger steamer “Normac” for the Owen Sound Transportation Co., and he also reconstructed the “Alice,” later known as the “Hibou.” for John Tackaberry, who sold her to the Dominion Transportation Co.

    In the Magazine of Industry published in 1911 the following paragraph appears relative to the company operated by Mr. Dobson: “During the past two years, the company have built two large dump scows, rebuilt a dredge, and done a large amount of repair work to the outfit of the Owen Sound Dredge Company. They have built the tug “Audrey C”, and have rebuilt the hull of the yacht “Siesta” owned by Mr. Waldie of the Victoria Harbor Lumber Co. They have built a dredge and rebuilt two dump scows for Russell and Brooks of Toronto. Rebuilt the tug “Midland,” owned by the Canada Iron Corporation. Rebuilt the yacht “Minnicog,” owned by D. S. Pratt. Rebuilt steamer “John Lee” of Penetang. Done extensive repairs for the boats of the Canadian Dredge Company. Built at Victoria Harbor two lighthouses for the Dominion government. (type missing here) wrecked the Schooner “Ariel” and the barge “Benson” at Owen Sound.”


    The boat Mr. Dobson is the proudest of however is a forty-foot launch built for Dr. Paul Morgan Ogilvie, a New York newspaperman who named it “Beatrice” after his sweetheart, Miss Beatrice Hill. The “Beatrice” was 31 feet and had a beam of 10 feet, and was most complete in every detail. It was built in Midland after the designs of Dr. Ogilvie, who took it from here to New York through the Great Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the Hudson River. There it was loaded on a transatlantic liner and taken to Marseilles. Dr. Ogilvie and his bride then travelled on her on an inland waterway trip across Europe, ending up at the Black Sea, after travelling on the Rhone, the Rhine, and the Danube. Thence they came back to Marseilles through the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean. When this unique honeymoon trip was concluded Dr. Ogilvie sold the “Beatrice” in Egypt, where so far as Mr. Dobson knows, she is still plying the waters of the ancient Nile. “Dr. Ogilvie was even more proud of the “Beatrice” than I was,” said Mr. Dobson. “He complimented me very highly on the quality of the workmanship. I assured him that I could not have given him so satisfactory a job had it not been for the fine staff of conscientious workmen in my employ. Including Len and Frank Cowdry, Fred Hacker and Hamilton Gidley. And while I mention these men in connection with the “Beatrice” I am not unmindful that whatever success I may have had has been largely due to the loyal men who have stood by me throughout the years. They have always given me splendid support.”

    “In the winter I was asked by a firm of New York brokers to tender on six trawlers about one hundred feet long”, said Mr. Dobson, I felt there was little use in trying, but that it was good experience and advertising. So at some expense and trouble, I made up my tenders and sent them in. I was informed that they could be built in Holland for fifteen percent less. The engines could be bought much cheaper there, and besides, there was a government subsidy. I was complimented on my position in the race. Had I been successful I would not have been financially strong enough to carry the job through. The contract would have run about $600,000. It seems to me that it would pay the Canadian government better to subsidize the shipbuilding industry, and employ hundreds of men rather than keep them on relief, to say nothing of the better effect on their morale.


    The Georgian Bay Shipbuilding and Wrecking Co. are equipped with a marine railway on which the bow or stern of a boat can be pulled up 100 feet out of the water, and a floating dry dock two hundred feet in length. During the year from ten to sixty men are employed according to the amount of work in hand. The prospects for the 1939 season are very fair.

    Mr. Dobson had a warm spot in his heart for the late James Playfair. “I miss him very much,” said he. “He was always willing to help with work in any way that he could. He was a great friend of mine, why I do not know. Another man who has been a good friend to me is D. S. Pratt. These two and D. L. White were three of the finest gentlemen I ever knew. They were always absolutely white in all their dealings with me. They sent work to us whenever they could, and they put us next to many good jobs.”


    “How do you feel about the future of Midland?” I asked. Here was a man who had seen Midland through all its history of ups and downs, and his views should be interesting. ”I have seen the town go down a lot of times and I have always seen it come back,” said Mr. Dobson. “If the proper kind of legislation is passed and the proper support is given to industry, by the town council and Chamber of Commerce I have every faith it will come back again. I believe that if the government had been awake to the interests of Canada we would never have lost the smelter. We might also have saved the Fibreboard factory buildings, if not the industry itself, if the town had been alive to what was going on. Things have taken a turn for the better of late, and the town is in better shape than It has been for years. Midland is not the only town in Ontario that has been hard hit. I can see no reason at all why Midland should not some day before long be again enjoying prosperity.”

(Midland was just emerging from bankruptcy, the province had been controlling its affairs.)

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