Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – May 24th to 31st, 1959

Click on photos to enlargeGrouchy-looking old Indian medicine man seemingly holds no terrors for pretty Western University co-ed Dawn Phibbs of St. Thomas, as she gets him ready for another big season at Midland’s Huron Indian village. Supposed to be holding the ladder is Dr. Wilfrid Jury, supervisor of the village and noted archaeologist. 

Getting ready for another busy season, John Bridges nails sign to palisade of Midland ‘Y’s Men’s Huron Indian village at Little Lake Park. Holding the sign for Johnny are Norman Clarke of Barrie, left, long identified with historic sites in Huronia country and workman Wallace Kells. The village, now starting its fourth year, will host more than 5,000 school children in the next few weeks. 

Each year the compound behind the palisades of Midland’s Huron Indian village at Little Lake Park gets more and more crowded as new and authentic pieces of every-day Indian life more than 300 years ago are added. This picture was taken from new look-out erected this year at the south end of the village. It makes an excellent camera vantage point. 

Long-time residents of North Simcoe, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Reynolds marked their golden wedding anniversary May 19. They are seen above with their anniversary cake during a gathering held in Wyebridge Community Hall. 

   There were, times when things were pretty tough, financially, but Henry Reynolds would be quite willing to do it all over again. Commented Mr. Reynolds as he was interviewed by a representative of the County Herald in Wyebridge Community Hall last Tuesday afternoon. The occasion was the celebration of his and Mrs. Reynolds’ 50th wedding anniversary.  Mr.  Reynolds and the former Maude Carpenter were married in Barrie May 19, 1909. Both were natives of Tiny Township.
   They operated farms in the area all their lives until they retired to spend their remaining days in Wyebridge four years ago.  The Reynolds’ first farm after their marriage was near Wyebridge, but they moved several times in subsequent years to a farm near Waverley and another elsewhere in Tiny. Then they settled down to live on a farm at Lot 86, Con. 1, Tiny, for something like 40 years before they retired.
   Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds had seven children, four sons, and three daughters. All are living and all are married, providing their parents with 23 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Sons are Armour, Albert and Willis, all of the Wyebridge area, and Edwin, who lives at Barrie. The daughters are Mrs. George Marchant (Gladys), R.R. 1, Midland; Mrs. Ed Collins (Leta), Midland and Mrs. Meredith Guthrie (Hazel), Wyebridge. Warden of the Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican) at Wyebridge for 15 years, Mr. Reynolds also served on the board of S.S. 21, Tiny (MacDonald’s School) for six years. He’s a staunch Conservative in politics. Both Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds enjoy reasonably good health and entertained a large group of friends Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

Thursday night was a happy occasion for these pupils of St. Mary’s Separate School, Victoria Harbour, as they received their Grade 10 graduation diplomas. Left to right are; Bryde Bernard, Margaret Cadeau, Audrey Somers, Mary Deschenes, Carol Roy and Celima Pelletier. Mary will attend MPDHS next year, Celima hopes to register for a business course, and Carol will work for the Bell Telephone Company in Midland. The other three girls will attend St. Theresa’s High School in Midland. 

Chairman of St. Mary’s Separate School Board, in Victoria Harbour, Mrs. Theo Bernard can be proud of the scholastic prowess of her own daughters, as well as other students in the school. Bryde, left, had the highest standing in general proficiency, grades 9 and 10. Minta, right, was tops in religious studies among grades 7 and 8 pupils. 

These five Victoria Harbour boys took another step forward in their scholastic careers when they received their grade 10 diplomas at St. Mary’s Separate School, Thursday. Left to right are; James LaChapelle, Brian Larmand, Willard Larmand, Bob LaChapelle and Pat St. Amand. Jim, Brian and Willard will attend St. Theresa’s High School, Midland, next term. 

Old MacDonald’s farm was the theme for the junior choirs of St. Paul’s Presbyterian and St. John’s United Church as their portion of a musical evening held at Victoria Harbour Public School Friday night. Getting “in the mood” are, left to right, Barry C. Schissler, Lorne Profit, Danny Johnston, Jim Pearsall and Dennis Rutherford.

PC Candidate Lloyd Letherby, left, and Liberal candidate Jack Andre, right, met for the first time on Friday afternoon, May 22, in the office of J. R. Chittick (centre), general manager of the Free Press Herald, where they shook hands as a preliminary to campaigning for Simcoe East membership in the Ontario Legislature. 

Junior and senior choirs of St. Paul’s Presbyterian and St. John’s United Churches in Victoria Harbour combined talents for a musical evening in the public school Friday night.  Looking over their music are senior members Joanne Reid, Mrs. Dorothy O’Hara, Paul Eplett, Mrs. Mary Cameron and Mrs. Norine Schissler.

Among the junior members were, left to right, Patsy Warren, Doreen Todd, Dorothy Eplett and Linda Hutchinson.

Almost as old as man going to sea is the art of signalling messages between ships with flags. Demonstrating their ability at the annual inspection of RCSCC “Huron” Wednesday night are L/C Terry Mcllravey, left and L/C John Doran.


  • Free Press Herald headline of May 27, 1959; Large Wire Rope Plant Slated for Midland Site. The B. Greening Wire Co. Limited of Hamilton today announced it has purchased 22.8 acres of land on the southeastern outskirts of Midland on which it will erect a 75,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. Frank Bray, chairman of Midland Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee, said the property forms part of the farm belonging to Kenneth Taylor and lies within the corporation limits. The announcement climaxes negotiations between the company and the Chamber of commerce first initiated in March 1957. Mr. Bray said at that time, Harvey White, then chairman of the Industrial Committee, and R. B. Moffatt, secretary-manager of the chamber, received a suggestion from the Canadian Pacific Railway industrial commissioner that the Greening company might be interested in locating in this area. He explained that in the fall of 1958, representatives of the company toured various Central Ontario towns. They were accompanied by an official of the trades and industry branch, Ontario Department of Planning and Development. They spent some time in Midland, obtaining statistics and other pertinent industrial information.
  • County Herald headline of May 29, 1959; Council Holds Tax rate to Four-Mill Increase. A $20,000 cushion from the 1958 surplus and $l8,900 of accumulated surpluses enabled Midland Council to hold the 1959 tax rate increase to roughly four mills. The new rate was officially set Tuesday night at a special meeting of the council. Commercial taxpayers will have a levy of 78 mills up four from last year, and residential ratepayers a levy of 70.10 mills, up 4.60 mills from 1958. Rates for Separate School residential and commercial taxpayers will be the same as above. Clerk-treasurer William A. Hack said the slightly larger increase in the residential rate is caused by the fact that residential property assessment is up and therefore there is more to share the benefit of the provincial unconditional grants, which have not been increased since 1955. Mr. Hack said there was an 8.83% increase in the town’s population in 1955 which brought about a 7% increase in unconditional grants.
  • Some 30 Penetang councillors and ex-members of the council and their wives were present at a testimonial dinner for veteran clerk-treasurer W. H. Hewson, who retired from that position last year after completing 30 years of service. The guest speaker was J. W. P. Carter of the Department of Municipal Affairs, who spent some time in Penetang during the depression assisting with the administration of the town after it had fallen into default along with a number of other municipalities. “When I first came to Penetang 22 years ago, things were not too rosy, and it was a treat to meet such a thorough gentleman as W. H. Hewson,” he said. “I have many happy memories of working with you Bill, especially since many of the things I had to do were not always popular. Somehow you had a knack of smoothing the way,” Mr. Carter said. Mr. Carter recalled that five of the seven members of the council at that time were on relief, and I had the job of convincing them they were spending too much money.”
  • Representatives of Midland Chamber of Commerce, the parks board and public works department Monday night decided on the location of two tourist information centers at the eastern and western entrances of Little Lake Park. Tourist Committee Chairman Walter Wood said one would be situated at the Yonge Street W., entrance and the other at the King Street entrance. The information centres will be housed in two full-scale summer cottages donated by Midland Planing Mills and Beaver Lumber Ltd. Mr. Wood said. He said the parks board cooperated by providing sites for the two units.
  • Clarence Bannister discovered a unique coin while ploughing his garden with a tractor Friday night. Mr. Bannister said he saw the coin shining in the sun and stopped to examine it. It turned out to be an 1854 United States “Half Dime”. It is about the same size as the old Canadian five cent pieces. Mr. Bannister is attempting to determine the value of the coin.
  • Births – BATES — To. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bates, Sunnyside, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Monday, May 25, 1959, a son. EDWARDS — To Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Edwards, Vasey, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, May 22, 1959, a son. HEBNER — To Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hebner, Port Severn, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland; Monday, May 25, 1959, a son. LATOUR — To Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Latour, 51 Bay St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, May 21, 1959, a son. LeCLAIR — To Mr. and Mrs. Patrick LeClair, 109 Elizabeth St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Monday, May 25, 1959, a daughter. (Stillborn). WALKER — To Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Walker, R.R. 1, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Saturday, May 23, 1959, a son, (James Gordon). GRIGG — Helen and Fred Grigg announce the arrival of a new sister for Peter, Jane and Paul, Monday, May 25, 1959, at Penetang General Hospital.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – Two stores and a dwelling were destroyed in a disastrous fire which swept the Victoria Harbour business section. The damage was estimated at $75,000. * * * Edwin Walker of Midland was elected deputy district governor, Zone 8, District A-3, Lions International, at the district annual convention in Toronto. Mr. Walker was a charter member and past president of Midland Lions Club. * * * Nearly 400 persons, school children and adults, comprised the first organized pilgrimage of the season to Martyrs’ Shrine, Midland. The pilgrims came from Guelph and Toronto. * * * A new $15,000 combined boat and bath house was officially opened at Little Lake, Midland. The official opening ceremonies were arranged by Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce. * * * Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Governor General of Canada, and Lady Alexander were to visit Huronia the last week in July, an announcement from Ottawa revealed. * * *  Midland’s tax rate for 1949 was set at 49.5 mills, 3.5 mills higher than the 1949 levy. The public school rate was up 1.466 mills and the county levy increased by 1.152 mills. * * * Port McNicoll ratepayers were to be taxed 38 mills for 1949, an increase of six mills over the previous year’s rate. The hike was caused by a three-mill increase in the general rate and an increase of one mill each in the public school, continuation school and county rates. 
  • Midland council has purchased and installed a soft drink dispensing machine in the new municipal building. Price of the machine is $547 and was purchased on an installment basis. Council was informed that the sale of three cases a week of soft drinks from the 80-bottle capacity machine would meet the installment payments. Maintenance of the unit is free.
  • According to the Montreal Star, a Midland skipper Norman Donaldson was the master of the first merchant ship to enter the St. Lawrence Seaway when navigation opened in the new waterway. Captain Donaldson was in charge of the 36-year-old Canada Steamship Lines freighter Simcoe which led the convoy of merchant ships into the 185-mile waterway. The Simcoe was followed by the S.S. Prescodoc, owned by N. M. Paterson Lines. The Seaway will be officially opened by Queen Elizabeth and President Eisenhower June 26.
  • Midland council has approved the sale of lot 27 on the north side of Scott Street and lot 44 on the south side of Scott Street to Bernick Construction Limited. The lots, assessed at $105 each, were sold for $210 each for a total of $420 cash, with the stipulation that houses be built on them in a year. The action was deferred on a request from Marshall Edwards, Midland Point, offering to purchase lot 36 on the east side of Seventh Street for $200.
  • A young visitor to Midland’s Indian village discovered the other day, much to his own personal discomfort, that this replica of a Stone Age community has its good and bad points. The experience, however, was no joke so far as he was concerned. Apparently, he slipped and fell on a porcupine that Dr. Wilfrid Jury was preparing for display in the village. Medical assistance was required to remove “porky’s quills from the lad’s posterior. 

News items from The Midland Free Press on the last week of May 1939, 80 years ago. 

  • Almost three tons of butter has been allotted to Midland in connection with the Dominion government drive to reduce the great surplus of butter now in the hands of Canadian creameries. The butter will be distributed to families on relief and those not on relief but in straightened circumstances. The Canadian Red Cross Society has undertaken the distribution, but the issuing of the vouchers locally will be done by Relief Officer G. H. May at the Midland Relief Office. The plan under which the butter is to be distributed provides that those holding vouchers will receive free one pound of butter for every pound they buy with cash. The vouchers are issued in one, two and three-pound denominations. There are available for distribution 2576 one pound, 1203 two pound and 204 three pound vouchers. Eighty per cent of the vouchers are designed to go to families which are now receiving relief and the other twenty to those which are finding the going hard but are not actually receiving aid. The vouchers will be presented at the various grocery stores at the time purchases are made, and will be accepted by the merchants as payment when accompanied by a cash purchase for an equal amount. The vouchers will then be redeemed in cash by any bank when presented by retailers or wholesalers, and the banks will return them to the Dominion government. If a family is now receiving its butter by voucher it will be entitled to a pound per pound with that now being given. The non-relief vouchers must be applied for and they are not to be given to anyone who is now on relief.
  • Mayor James Mackie of Midland has received definite word from the Department of Public Works at Ottawa, through George McLean, M.P. for this riding, that work will be started in the very near future on the $22,668 dock in Midland Harbor for the use of pleasure craft. Arrangements have been completed with the Canada Steamship Lines,” commented Mr. Mackie, “and the site of the new structure which, it is hoped, will be completed in time for use this summer, will be on the old C. S. L. coal dock east of the property occupied by Canton Dobson. A road will be constructed to it, and the old coal sheds removed, and parking areas constructed. “It is hoped,” continued His Worship, “that some Midland firm will now have sufficient enterprise to construct boathouses in that vicinity in order to provide storage for the craft which now seek winter storage elsewhere”. [I am assuming this is the area between the Unimin property and Central Marina. For a long while known as Downer’s Yacht Haven.]
  • The following have signified their intention of assisting in the promotion of a Boy Scout Association for the Town of Midland. Messrs W. A. Finlayson, Dr. A. H. Pinchin, Donald Swinson, Reginald Tipping. J. J. Robins, Murray Kearns, Rev. Father Belanger, Rev. A. E. W. Ingram, Peter Barr, W. H. Shaver and Les Taylor. A general meeting will be held in St. Mark’s Parish Hall on Tuesday, June 6th at 8 p.m., at which time the election of officers will take place and the meeting will be addressed by Art Paddon, Field Secretary of the Ontario Boy Scout Association. All men interested in the Boy Scout movement are requested to attend the meeting.
  • After a lengthy and full discussion of all applicants, Council accepted the tender of J. E. ‘Chris’ Gardner, returned man, for the position of caretaker of restrooms.
  • Christian Island News– Kenneth Cowan, United Church missionary, Miss O’Toole and Miss Bell, members of the school staff, and councillor Bert Monague visited Mr. Cowan’s parents at Blythe recently. Mrs. Cowan, who has been on vacation for two weeks returned with them. * * * Tuesday of last week, Indian Pay Day, found merchants of Penetanguishene very busy parcelling supplies. Twice annually, when the government allowance is drawn, a decided impetus is noted in trade in Penetanguishene. * * * Mr. Rawlings, former missionary on the reserve, Mrs. Rawlings and their boy Bobby were recent visitors with Mr. and Mrs. George Lumsden at the agency. * * * Rev. Father Labelle is spending a few days with his parishioners on the Island. Services are being held morning and evening each day. * * * Farmers on the island are busy getting their land in shape for seeding. * * * Fishing has started in the Georgian Bay waters surrounding the reserve. * * * Very entertaining concerts were held last week by the Agricultural Society, On-a-Quest Club, and the Catholic Church. In each case the concert was followed by a dance. * * * The death of Mrs. Christine Henry occurred at the Penetanguishene hospital on May 22 following a short illness. She is survived by one son John and three grandchildren. * * * The Island Women’s Institute held a very successful sale of works on payday.
  • S. Arthur Orr, out of Chicago, arrived in Midland Thursday. 
  • After lying idle in Midland Harbor for nine years, the C. S. L. freighter Glenross has been taken to Collingwood to be cut down to canal size. If memory and rumour serve us correctly, she was formerly canal size and was enlarged for lake service.
  • PENETANG — Captain Eddie Mabey, the Ontario-born daredevil stunt artist, flew into Penetanguishene last week to make arrangements for a thrilling performance to be staged at the town dock next Monday evening, June 5, at 8 o’clock. The performance is being sponsored by the local fire department. Captain Mabey’s stunt consists of two fire dives from the top of a high ladder, into the waters of the bay. In the first dive, gasoline is poured over the waters of the bay and Mabey dives from a high ladder into the sea of flames. The second the diver is saturated from head to foot with gasoline and as a living ball of fire, he plunges from a great height into the water. Mabey is the son of A. E. Mabey, formerly of Barrie. He returned from England a few weeks ago after a course of study in the Royal Air Force. Prior to that for nine years he followed his hazardous pursuit as a professional daredevil. Some years ago he worked and lived in Penetanguishene. His air training stood him in good stead last year when he worked in Hollywood in the production of such outstanding air pictures as Men with Wings, Hell’s Angels, and Dawn Patrol.
  • PENETANG — The McGibbon mill whistle sounded an unusually musical note last Wednesday as it called back a number of men who have been waiting for several months to return to work. The entire crew has not yet been called in but they will begin work just as soon as the first log boom arrives. When at full, strength the mill employs about 60 men.
  • PENETANG — Funeral services for Louis Trudeau, professional fisherman and a life-long resident of the Penetanguishene district, who succumbed in his 89th year to a three weeks’ illness, were held at St. Anne’s Jesuit Memorial Church this morning. Mr. Trudeau’s death occurred Monday at his home on Robert Street. He is survived by only one daughter, Mrs. Mary Dusome. His wife pre-deceased him ten years ago. Pallbearers were Alphonse Dorion. Napoleon Levique, Arthur Copeland, Wilfred Lamoureux, Joseph Bellisle and Cyril Carriere.
  • Midland Arena Gardens is expected to be filled to capacity Friday night for the third annual music festival of the Midland Public Schools, which, starting at 7.30 p.m., will feature the vocal and instrumental work of close to 1,000 school children. Douglas Major, director of music in the schools, is in charge of the festival, and Miss Katherine Clark will be at the piano. Chairman of the evening is to be Dr. Ross Parrott, chairman of the Midland Board of Education, while Tom McCullough will be in charge of the announcing. After the address of welcome by Dr. Parrott, the massed chorus of 900 voices will render “Caller Herrin,”  “Killarney,” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Primary classes will then sing “Twenty Froggies” (Anon), The Rainbow” (Major), and “Dong Dong” (Gaynor). New features this year, the third number on the program, is to be selections by an 80-piece mass mouth organ band under the direction of Ian MacLaren and Douglas Winfield. A 150-voice massed choir will then sing three numbers, a selection in unison “Where the Bee Sucks,” followed by two three-act renditions, “O Worship the King,” and “Let Us With a Gladsome Mind.” 

Last week we posted an article on the creation of a 4,000-acre resort community that included Giant’s Tomb Island. This much older notice in the local paper indicates that it was not the first scheme that involved the island.

Another interesting item from March of 1914.

And finally, kitchen stoves are no longer manufactured in Canada, possibly not even in the U.S.A, but in 1937 you could buy this “Beautiful Creation” built in Penetanguishene.

2 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – May 24th to 31st, 1959

    • Hi Brent, sorry I was slow to respond. That would be a great extra for the museum blog. I looked ahead and there are a few photos. The event was overshadowed by the visit of the Queen I think. Not very teckie but if you send me an audio file I’m sure we can link it. Thanks again, Tom B. Huronia Museum

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