Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – August 23rd to 31st, 1959

Click on photos to enlarge

There’s always a lot to do around an elevator in the way of maintenance and repairs during slack periods. Here Lloyd Cameron, covered with cement dust, guides an air hammer on a repair job at the top of the CPR elevator in Port McNicoll. Mr. Cameron also serves as chief of Port’s efficient fire brigade. 

Nine lives? “Frosty”, the cat held by Ernie Dupuis, distributing foreman of the CPR elevator at Port McNicoll, must have a thousand lives. Last winter it fell 85 feet from the top of a bin onto the cement floor and lay there for four days in 20-below zero weather before he was found. Today he’s around as good as ever “and there isn’t a mouse in the place,” said Mr. Dupuis. 

Biggest factor in the successful operation of a grain elevator is just plain, simple “good housekeeping”. That’s what T. A. “Bert” Armstrong, superintendent of the CPR elevator at Port McNicoll says, and he has one of the biggest in eastern Canada to keep spic and span—a 6,000,000 bushel “house” to be exact. And, as of Saturday, August 22, “Bert” had a record 6,603,000 bushels in his house, the biggest pay-load it has ever carried. Pay-load is a good word. That 6,603,000 bushels of grain represents between $10 and $11 million dollars, depending on the price of grain day by day. Ernie Dupuis, distributor foreman is seen with a full grain bin. (Grain is now measured by weight, a bushel of wheat is about 60 pounds, contains approximately 1 million kernels and sells for around $4.00 a bushel. 36.7 bushels per tonne.)

Canada’s new Minister of Public Works, David Walker (dark jacket) is seen with three well known fellow cottagers at Nottawaga Beach. Left to right are Col. R. M. Harvie, former Midland physician who is now medical administrator of Sunnybrook Hospital, Mr. Walker and Dr. Walter G. Carscadden, senior surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto. Standing is Cecil A. Cathers, MP for North York. The dog is the Walker family pet, “Wiggy”.

North Simcoans in general and residents of Nottawaga Beach, in particular, will have a special interest in Canada’s new Minister of Public Works.  David J. Walker, Q.C., member for Toronto-Rosedale riding since 1957. Members of the Walker family, have been familiar figures at Nottawaga Beach for the past 20 years. Mr. Walker’s introduction to this area had a romantic note. He was best man for Dr. D. C. S. Swan when the popular Midland medico joined the ranks of the Benedicts. He was invited to see Midland and district prior to the event and liked what he saw. In 1939, Mr. Walker purchased the cottage of the late Mr. and Mrs. Norman Playfair at Nottawaga Beach. He and his family have made it their summer home ever since. 

Visitors who look at Midland’s comparatively small Little Lake are often sceptical about it containing fish of any size or quality. Harry Stewart of Birmingham, Mich., disproved the size theory when he hauled in this 5-lb., 9-oz. largemouth black bass around noon last Thursday. It took the American angler some 15 minutes to land this beauty on light spinning gear. He was fishing from a boat and using ordinary worms. “It’s the biggest one I’ve ever caught,” the happy fisherman admitted.

The big flag pole, under which Midland and summer visitors have gathered for 28 years, is no more. Alarmed at the amount of dry rot appearing in the pole, Parks Superintendent Harold McAllen had the 90-foot pole taken down August 19. Mr. McAllen is seen at right top photo examining remains of the pole with W. A. Hack secretary of the parks commission. Workmen remove some of the supporting wires from the top section of the pole which was also rotten. The pole was the gift of the late William Findlayson and was unveiled August 17, 1931.

Excerpt from the Midland Argus, August 27, 1931. 

Mr. Finlayson has taken a great interest in the park development movement here, and to his efforts is entirely due the credit, for a fine motor road that now sweeps from end to the other. Mayor of the town when the first small section of the present property was purchased for park purposes and yesterday he reminded us that at that time considerable opposition to the movement developed. The park of to-day demonstrated how wise this foresight was. The fine flag pole, his latest contribution to the development of the property was secured from the Temagami forests and brought here early last spring. It was trimmed and made ready for erection by the Georgian Bay Shipbuilding Co. and is a splendid ornament. The Park Commission has superintended its erection and it stands to-day a worthy tribute to the generosity and good-will of our popular representative in the Ontario. 


  • Midland Free Press headline of August 26, 1959; Sooty Pall Covers Harbour, Town to Protest to CSL. The CSL freighter Prescott blew its (boiler) tubes in Midland harbour some time Monday night and a large number of citizens literally blew their stacks the next morning. Came the dawn and the angry citizens found their boats, cars, planes and even the water itself covered with thick, black soot. Mr. Wm. A. Hack, Midland clerk-treasurer said he had been instructed to send an official letter of protest to the CSL concerning the incident. “It was a terrible mess. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Midland harbormaster D. G. Hewis. “The soot was lying inches thick on the water and everything you touched was covered with it.”
  • County Herald headline of August 28, 1959; Seek New Traffic Study for King-Yonge Corner. The outcome of special talks on traffic control in Midland and its environs Monday night, Midland council is asking the Ontario Department of Highways to make a new traffic study on the King-Yonge intersection. Purpose of the study will be to determine whether there is sufficient flow of traffic to make necessary the installation of traffic lights at the corner. S. Trew, a traffic engineer with the Highways Department, told the council, that two previous studies made by the department had indicated that the lights were not necessary. He said the one survey was made on a day specified by the council and the other on a day of the departments own choosing. Mr. Trew held that experience has shown that traffic lights tend to congest traffic. He conceded, however, that there had been a considerable increase in motor cars in the province since the last study was made.
  • James Connell, 73, of R.R. 2, Midland, is “holding his own” but still in critical condition in St. Andrew’s Hospital, where he was rushed following an accident on Highway 12, one-half mile west of Midland, Saturday afternoon. Mr. Connell was riding a horse-drawn hay mower into Midland when it was struck from the rear by an eastbound car. The elderly man was tossed 48 feet by the impact and suffered severe lacerations to the top of his head and chin, compound dislocation to the left ankle joints, probable damage to the circulation in the left foot, compound fracture to the left elbow and severe shock. He is being treated by Dr. I. T. Weldon. The brown and white team of horses died as a result of the accident. The brown mare, which had its right rear leg broken, had to be destroyed. The white horse was being given sedation by Dr. T. J. Henderson, Midland veterinarian when it died of its injuries.
  • The carnage continues in every edition of the paper in the summer, as well as the article above, two men were killed in a car accident near Port Severn and a seven-year-old boy drowned at Paradise Point.
  • BIRTHS – BOWEN To Mr. and Mrs. John Bowen, 278 William St. Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Saturday, August 22, 1959, a daughter. WRIGHT — To Mr. and Mrs. James Wright, 291 King St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, August 19, 1959, a son. YORK — To Mr. and Mrs. John P. York, Penetang Road, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Saturday, August 22, 1959, a son.
  • 25 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – Airman James R. Ayling and, Leonard Reid, who took off from Wasaga Beach on a nonstop flight to Bagdad, were forced to land at Heston aerodrome, England, owing to carburetor trouble. The two made history, however, for it was the first time a plane had flown from Canada to England. Previous trans-Atlantic hops had started from Newfoundland. * * * A. Allan of Victoria Harbour was appointed Indian agent at Christian Island. He succeeded H. J. Eade. * * * At its August meeting Tay Township council authorized payments to farmers for 44 sheep which had been killed or injured so badly by dogs that they had to be destroyed. * * * The cruise ship Midland City, returning to Midland after an afternoon jaunt with 150 passengers on board, struck a rock shoal near Present Island and started to take in water. Her officers beached the ship in the sand on the north side of Midland Point. All passengers and crew were removed safely in lifeboats. The stern of the ship sank in 30 feet of water. * * * The McGibbon Lumber Co. mill in Penetang was completely destroyed in an early morning fire August 26. The mill, built in 1920, was one of few which had been in operation in this area. * * * A total of 106 game wardens were dismissed by the Hepburn government in an economy wave being carried out within the department of game and fisheries. Twelve of those dismissed were from district No. 2, with headquarters at Orillia.
  • An addition to St. Theresa’s High School is now nearing completion, Ted Johnstone, Secretary of the Midland Separate School Board, told this newspaper. The new room will house the Grade 12 students and will mean that pupils will be able to complete their junior matriculation at St. Theresa’s. Mr. Johnstone said the board also hope to get its expansion plans for Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Separate Schools underway in the new year. Three rooms are to be added to St. Mary’s and four the east end school.
  • For the first time in what some people believe to be between 80 and 90 years, the school bell will not ring in the little one-room school of S.S. 17, Tiny, when classes begin this year. Better known as McAveela School (MacAvalley). It is one of the oldest in Tiny Township. Board Secretary Chas. Robb said he has no definite records as to when it was built. He has, however, been able to trace the school back as far as 1893. The school was originally built on property owned by an Irishman named McAveela, who farmed nearby. Mr. Robb said it was only in recent years that the board had obtained a deed for the property on which the school stands. Originally the school section covered a far greater area then it does at present. Two new school sections have been carved from it within the last 40 years. In 1922, a school was built at the Northwest Basin and became known as S.S. No. 22. Eight years later another large section was turned over to S.S. 23 when a school was built at Highland Point. This is familiarly known as the “Light‘s School. The school burnt down within a year of its closure.

  • Owing to an increase in pupils, indicated during last spring’s pre-school registration, a new kindergarten room has been added to Regent  School. The new classroom has been constructed in the basement of the school. At Parkview School the gym floor has been repaired, Secretary W. A. Hack stated. Mr. Hack said blackboards in all three public schools have been resurfaced, the roofs on all three have been inspected and repaired where necessary and all have been given a general clean-up.
  • An Elmvale area egg-producer may not know it, but he has a hen that seems to be pulling a fast one on him. It is laying egg’s within eggs — complete with shell. Jim Borland of Midland, who buys eggs from Elmer Peacock near Elmvale, discovered this unique event this week. When a normal-sized egg was broken open, it was found that it contained not only the regular yolk and white but another egg about one inch by one and a half inches, encased in a shell.
  • Simcoe County Health Unit report, released Tuesday, reveals there was one death from infectious hepatitis during the month. Tops among the communicable diseases reported was chickenpox with 33, next highest on the list was mumps with 13. Others in order were whooping cough, 10; scarlet fever, 4; undulant fever, 1; measles, 1.
  • Funeral services will be held Saturday for Thomas Wesley Scott under the auspices of Canadian Legion, Branch 80, Midland. Mr. Scott, a long-time resident of Midland and veteran of World War I, died Tuesday in Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto. The body is resting at Nicholls funeral home, Midland. Mr. Scott is survived by his wife, the former Margaret Stevenson, a son Wesley and two daughters, Mrs. Robert McLeod (Audrey) and Mrs. Norman Donaldson (Betty).

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