Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – June 23rd to 30th, 1959

Click on photos to enlargeMidland became an international port over the weekend, even though the “ships” were a bit on the small side. Actually, the two vessels involved were outsized outboard cruisers that would delight the hearts of many a local boating enthusiast. First to arrive, at noon Saturday, was the Transco II, en route from New York to Oregon. Docking Monday afternoon was the “Coronet Explorer”, en route Montreal to Chicago on this occasion. Last year the Coronet gained worldwide publicity by becoming the first outboard-powered cruiser to cross the Atlantic. Built in Denmark, it made the crossing from Copenhagen to New York in 10 days, 17 hours, according to Jack LaFrendre of Lake Forest, Ill, in charge of it now. 

Route of the Transcona II on its 5,280 mile trip from New York to Oregon is seen on the above map. The only detour is 400-mile stretch over the Continental Divide in Montana and Idaho. 

Three Collingwood sailors, including Capt. Percy Butters, 64, lost their lives when the tug Bayport sank off Collingwood harbour Monday. Other victims were Ed McCoy, 49, a crewman, and engineer Ken Mclnnis 41. During winter months the Bayport was a familiar sight in Midland harbour, where she was used as an ice-breaker. (Happier days in this photo from September 1954.) Bayport returns from boiler work in Collingwood, on board are two captains and two first engineers. Capt. J. W. Scarrow of the Hochelaga, and Capt. C. S. Ward of the Goderich. J. G. Hendrickson general agent for CSL Midland and P. J. Rutherford, chief engineer of the Goderich.  Bayport was moored at the end of the (Sea Cadet shed) custom shed dock, near the Townhouse elevator. 

Hanging flower baskets on light standards along King Street has been an annual job for Midland’s Jaycees for a number of years. With the visit of Queen Elizabeth coming up July 4, the baskets (72 of them) are larger and better than ever this year. Helping with the job are, left to right, Jaycees George McLaughlin, Don Swinson, Doug White and Bill Mitchell. [Mac Perrin’s greenhouse behind the flower shop where the parking lot is now. The two flat-roofed houses in the background, built by Mac, are still there on Midland Ave.] 

Midland has begun its preparations for the royal visit July 4. Workmen above are attaching “ER” shields to light standards along King Street. Town employee on right is Jim Stewart. 

Familiar scene around the Midland-Penetang area these days are strawberry-picking groups like the one above, adjacent to Highway 27. A good rain is badly needed, however, to assure more than an average crop this year. Grain crops are also reported to be suffering from lack of moisture in the past three weeks. [Sandy Rankin had a patch at the south end of King Street and would pay us 5 cents a box to pick for him.] 

Fast becoming one of the most popular picnic spots in North Simcoe, the Flos-Medonte Park at Orr Lake has been all spruced up for another season. Caretaker of the park, Joe Lea is seen above starting work on a new stone fireplace. A number of churches in the area have already “booked-in” for picnics in June. 

Huronia Museum in Midland has opened for another season and one of the features this year is a display of paintings by Simcoe County artists. Some of the pictures, collected by the county arts and crafts association, are seen above with Mrs. D. H. Wray of the museum staff. John Desrochers of Penetang completed the one of Magazine Island (top centre). Other artists represented in the pictures above include Katherine Day, Orillia and J. L. Vleming, Port McNicoll. 

Happy pupils are members of Principal James Robinson’s grade 8-A class at Parkview School, who move on to high school in September. Class includes – Larry Ferris, Stephen Galt, Robert Gray, Sylvia Grexton, Nancy Hawke, Dorothea Heron, Alan Holt, Marvin Howard, Paul Howard, Gail Lalonde, Suzanne Lamb, Marilyn Lamorandiere, Richard Lemieux, Terrence Lethbridge, Kathleen McElroy, James McKean, Bob Mathis, Brian Mohan, Patrick Mohan, Elizabeth Morrison, Sharon Murday, Douglas Mutch, Beverley Nichols, Janice Nicklee, Joan O’Hara, Janet Playne, Jean Playne, Collette Preston, Carol Scott, Susan Swan, Lawrence Toutant, Frances Weatherell, Steven Weatherell, John Weeks, Dianne Wilcox, William Young. 

All spruced up for the grade 8 graduation exercises at Regent School last Thursday are, left to right, front row – Frank Reynolds, Barry Mcllravery, Ed Zablotny, Dave Carpenter, Randy Green, Graham Shaw, Ken Langley, Bill Scott, Jim Butson, Grant Langridge; back row – Ross Hutchinson, Bruce Moss, John Jensen, Art Langley, John Argue, Peter Dunn, Ted Black, Ron Merkley, Dave Belsey, Wayne Edwards, Gary Wood. 

Girls of the graduation class of grade 8, Regent School are shown above following exercises Thursday night. Left to right are, front row -Linda Revard, Carol Bridges, Barbara Caston, Wallace Graham, Edna Vernon, Nancy Jones, Detta Ridd, Christianne Brinkmann, Peggy Dempsey, Wendy Feltham; back row – Elaine Stainton, Marilyn Nicholson, Heather Davidson, Donna Lovell, Donna Jackson, Diane Cruise, Joanne Kettle, Mary Ironside, Judy Davidson, Helen Farrow, Pia Zuidema. 

Just in time for the Queen’s visit July 4, the dock area at Midland harbour is getting a new hardtop. The contractor is Jim Anderson, Midland. Improved surface for the dock has long been sought by local authorities. 

Midland firemen have successfully concluded another bicycle road-e-o in which public school pupils try written tests and later give an actual demonstration of their ability to handle their bikes on the road. Some of the winners include, left to right, front row — Mary Jane Mohan, Wendy Walton, Peggy Krochko (holding the lamp kit she won for placing third in the contest), Eleanor Boden, Connie Stelter; back row—Ronald Jessome, Danny Donaldson and Blair Shakell. Missing were Katherine Brandon, John Cranston, David Gosselin and Tom Atkinson. 

July 4 will be a long remembered day for 8-year-old Mary Lou Gignac of Penetang, chosen to present flowers to Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her visit to that town. Seen with her mother, helping to fit her brand new dress, Mary Lou is the daughter of Mayor Jerome and Mrs. Gignac. 

Brand new bikes were the rewards for Maureen Mohan and Ralph Battrick, who knew their rules of the road, and how to apply them in practice. With fireman Dave Hudson, left, and Chief Arnold Tippin, Maureen scored 780 and Ralph 786 out of a possible 824 marks in the bicycle road-e-o sponsored by Midland Fire Department June 20. One of the bikes was the joint donation of Gordon Moss and W. H. Cranston and the other of the fire department. 

Midland Indians needed an extra inning before edging Orillia Terriers 5-4 for the Inter-county League championship of the Little Baseball League at Town Park Wednesday night. Members of the winning team are, left to right, front row—Bill Offord, co-captains John Hawke and Bob McLaughlin, and league director Len Self; second row—Edgar Dorion, Fred Jackson, Gary Blake, Ernie Charlebois; back row—Al Fournier, Rodney Todd, Ralph Blake and Ron Contois. 

Captains of the winning teams in Midland’s Little Baseball League finals are seen above with their trophies. Left to right are Bobby Offord (Brantford White Sox), Frank Reynolds (Baltimore Orioles), John Webb (St. Louis Cardinals), and Billy Jory (Toronto Leafs). Standing behind the lads is league director Rev. Len Self. 

When Farmer Humphrey climbs into the wrestling ring, it generally means a tough night for the ring, as well as his opponents. “Humph”, all 600 lbs. of him, hails from Georgia. He won a decision over Karl Kulaski at Midland Arena Monday night when Karl, who made sure his playmate didn’t fall on him, was disqualified. 

UGH!—”Hey, cut that out,” says Whipper Billy Watson, right, as Hard-Boiled Haggarty sinks a mighty right into the Whip’s tummy at the wrestling matches in Midland Arena Monday night. 


  • Free Press Herald headline of June 24th, 1959; Investigate Theft Try, Police Arrest Three. Penetang police questioned three North Bay men in connection with an attempt early Monday morning, to crack the safe at Penetang IGA store. It was the second time since it opened less than six months ago, that thieves had broken into Gillie’s IGA Foodliner at Penetang. Unlike the previous occasion, March 8, when more than $5,000 was taken from the safe, this latest attempt proved unsuccessful when the marauders were disturbed by police. Penetang police got a tip shortly after 5 o’clock Monday morning that men were around the store. As he approached, Const. Wally Lacroix saw a man running toward the rear of the store. Hastening around to the back, Const. Lacroix came face to face with a man about to leave by the rear door. As the intruder turned again and ran toward the front, Const. Lacroix fired a warning shot in the air.
  • County Herald headline of June 26th, 1959; Council Bows to OWRC Request; Approves Sewage Plant. Midland council has agreed to proceed with the construction of a primary sewage treatment plant for the corporation, to conform with the policy established by the Ontario Water Resources Commission. Initial cost for stage one of the project, which includes the plant, a digester, 15 per cent engineering costs and contingencies and the diversion of the William Street outfall, is $349,000.
  • Free Press Herald headline of June 30th, 1959; Commission Approves New Low Rate Schedule. Midland will now have one of the lowest electric rate structures in Ontario, Midland public Utilities Commission Chairman Alex Macintosh announced today. Mr. Macintosh said the new rate structure has just been approved by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario for the town of Midland. “We have boon negotiating with hydro officials for some time in an attempt to have local hydro rates reduced,” continued Mr. Macintosh, “and our manager has just received verbal confirmation from the Barrie that the Hydro commission in Toronto has approved our request for a rate revision.” “I believe, there is only one other municipality in the whole of Ontario that has a similar rate structure. It places us in the lowest bracket normally approved by the HEPC.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week – 1949, Two special trains — one of 16 coaches and the other 10 coaches — brought 1,235 pilgrims from London and Chatham to the Martyrs’ Shrine. Nearly 400 others arrived from Detroit and Windsor on the S.S. South American. * * * For the first time since the war of 1812-14, a ship of the United States Navy visited Georgian Bay waters. She was the patrol craft escort No. 894 of the U.S. Naval Reserve Training Centre, Chicago. She docked at Midland. * * * According to a report prepared by Simcoe County Assessor Eric Simpson, the county’s population climbed four per cent in 1948. The total population was listed as 91,933 or 3,573 more than the previous year. * * *  Twenty-five pupils — the entire Grade 8 class of Coldwater Public School passed their entrance examinations, Orillia Collegiate Principal D. H. McGill announced. More than half of the class did not have to try the examinations, passing on their year’s work. * * * Tourist resort operators and businessmen in North Simcoe and southern Muskoka reported that the early invasion of summer visitors indicated the district in 1949 would have one of the best years for tourists. * * *  Franz Johnston, internationally famed artist and one of the originals of the Group of Seven, died in a Toronto hospital following a cerebral hemorrhage.
  • A new record was established at Midland Y’s Men’s Club’s Indian Village June 19 when more than 1,000 school students and teachers visited the famed village at the east end of Little Lake Park. They formed a large part of the more than 4,000 students and teachers from 74 schools who have visited the village this year since the last week in May. Each of the groups has heard lectures by Dr. Wilfrid Jury, assisted by three students from the University of Western Ontario. Of the 74 schools who have visited the village this spring 25 were from the Toronto area. Names of other towns represented sound almost like a complete road map of Ontario.
  • The final week of classes brought 110 school groups to Martyrs Shrine last week to boost the total to 234 groups for the season. An exact count of the numbers who came was not kept, but judging from the number of buses, seven thousand children seems a conservative estimate, shrine officials said. The number of groups visiting the shrine has risen from 24 in 1951 to 150 last year and to 234 this year so far. School principals, teachers and parent-teacher associations are largely responsible for this increase.
  • PLAUDITS FOR PARK – Dear Editor: About two weeks ago, my family and I made use of your excellent park in Midland. I must say that we were pleasantly surprised to find such high calibre accommodation and facilities. Since coming to this country four years ago, we have visited a good many communities in Ontario, some of them with a much larger population than your town, where the picnic and amusement and even the parks themselves were in a much shabbier state. On our visit to Midland, we were particularly impressed by the beautiful sand beach and the cleanliness of the park and picnic tables. The park workmen are to be commended for the care and attention they give to these While we were there, we noticed one disturbing thing, and that was that a number of the cars driving through the park seemed to be exceeding the speed limit. Perhaps they were the exceptions to the rule. With so many small children playing nearby, one would think their own common sense would cause the drivers to take it just a little bit slower. “J.P.”  – Toronto
  • Community groups in Simcoe County are now, making plans for summer vacation programs for their children. In co-operation with the Simcoe County Recreation Service, swimming classes and day camps for 30 groups or communities will be held in almost every section of the county beginning early in July. Swimming classes, under the director of swimming and water safety, Mrs. Mary Elliott of Barrie, will be held from Tottenham to Waubaushene and from Oro to Oakview Beaches. More than 2000 children are expected to participate. Courses for regular classes include seven lessons.
  • Penetang Police were called in to solve the case of a one-man nudist colony set up on the town’s Main Street Wednesday evening. With the principal in the case a completely naked two-year-old, the job resolved into one of going from door to door in the area until his home was found. According to the information given Sgt. L. Robillard, the youngster had been wandering around naked for approximately 10 minutes before he was taken in tow.

Taking that glimpse further back we are invited by the CPR to enjoy a cruise on one of their “gleaming white ships” on the inland seas. This page is from the Midland Advertiser paper, April 1940.

CPR Lake Cruise

2 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – June 23rd to 30th, 1959

  1. I enjoy reading Looking Back each week. Hope I last another 5 years to read about 1964 when I joined the Free Press Herald as news editor. Nice to read a few familiar names on the blog. All the best. — Ritchie With, Wyoming, ON

    • Ritchie, thank you for your support. I had a look at a 1964 edition to see your name as news editor. I also remember seeing some photographs/negatives in the museum’s collection with your name attached. I checked the database and they do not appear so I will assume they were not accessioned. When I get a chance I will pull them out to see what they are. I have asked many people why the newspaper pages are numbered from the editorial page and not the front page, can you answer that question? Regards, Tom Barber, Collections Volunteer, Huronia Museum.

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