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

The photos found in this blog post are the property of Huronia Museum, Midland, Ontario. Any reproduction for commercial use without permission is prohibited.  Any other distribution must credit Huronia Museum.  Please contact the museum with any questions you may have.  

Click on photos to enlarge.Midland’s “big inch”, a new 10-inch water main, is inching its way slowly toward the new B. Greening plant on Highway 12. Here workmen are laying pipe up the Wireless Hill on William Street. The new main is almost one mile in length, starting on Midland’s newest thoroughfare, Scott Street. 

Branch 80, Canadian Legion, Midland, held its annual poppy sale Friday night and all day Saturday, with good results reported. One of the taggers, Miss Shirley Wiles, left, is seen making a sale on King Street. The annual remembrance services were held this morning. 

Several members of the Midland Band Committee appear to be enjoying some of the remarks made by Alderman Clinton Smith in an address he gave at a dinner Saturday night honouring members of Midland Citizen Band. Midland council feted the bandsmen in recognition of their victories in music competitions. Left to right are Aldermen Smith, Alderman James Mackie, Herb Wiles, Herb Taylor, Charles Stewart, Harry Brown and ex-mayor Charles Parker. 

Chairman of the Midland Band Committee, Alderman Clinton Smith presents Bandmaster Al Hume with certificates authorising each member of the band to obtain a ring symbolising their victory in music competitions at the CNE this year. The certificates were presented at a dinner in the Georgian Hotel Saturday night, sponsored by Midland council.


 Midland Home and School Association embarked on a safety program this fall to impress on pupils the necessity for following safety rules at all times. This laddie riding a bicycle and holding on to a truck is courting disaster. Although the picture was taken several years ago during Midland Kiwanis Club safety drive, the lesson it teaches is no less applicable today.


It is lots of fun to play around or hitch rides on cars but it is also very dangerous. This lad could be tossed off into the path of other vehicles if the driver was forced to come to a sudden stop. 

Hundreds of friends, old and new, dropped in to offer best wishes to Frank Whiteman Friday, following his retirement as Midland’s CNR agent earlier in the week. Seen with Mr. and Mrs. Whiteman (centre) are his daughter, Mrs. Morris Brink (Dolores), of East Douglas, Mass., and his son, Dr. Duart Whiteman, now a dentist in London. 

There was the usual weather for Remembrance Day in Midland this year, rain and wind;— as veterans and citizens paid tribute to the fallen heroes of two world wars. Rain-soaked coats of the Legionnaires at the right of the picture were the order of the day, for veterans and citizens alike. 

Despite sullen skies and heavy rains, dozens of wreaths provided a blaze of colour around the cenotaph in Midland Town Park Wednesday morning during Remembrance Day observances. One of several women who took part in the wreath-laying is seen paying silent tribute to the fallen. 

Cadets from both the army and navy service branches provided the guard of honour at the cenotaph erected on the stage of MPDHS for special Remembrance Day ceremonies held Tuesday morning. The holding of the service has become an annual event at the school. 

New construction between west transept and tower at St. Ann’s Memorial Church, Penetang, will be used for youth activities as planned by Msgr. J. M. Castex. The addition will be faced with stone to match the church. 

Now the Home Hardware parking lot.

We are seeing these in the stores again for the Christmas season. 

  • Free Press Herald headline of November 11, 1959; $124,834 Owed in Taxes, Get Tough on Owners. Concerned about some $124,834 still outstanding in current and back taxes. Midland council Monday night authorized its municipal employees to implement a get-tough policy on delinquent taxpayers. Hack said he was concerned, however, about the amount of taxes due on the current levy which had not been paid, and more so about tax arrears some of which have not been paid for four or five years or more. He told council there are two or three large tax bills owing on this year’s levy which, if paid, would bring tax collections up to last year’s figure. One of these involves $7,000, he said.  The clerk told this newspaper later that $90,572 was still owing on the 1959 tax levy. Tax arrears from 1958 back amount to $34,262. In 1958, $22,578 remains unpaid, in 1957, $7,527, and in 1956, $2,493. Council was informed that all properties on which taxes are owing from 1957 or prior years are subject to registration. There are at least 40 properties on which taxes are now owing which can be registered or listed and sold at a public tax sale. Mr. Hack said registered letters have been sent to property owners who are in arrears, in an attempt to collect back taxes. In the majority of cases the letters had not been heeded, he said.
  • County Herald headline of November 13, 1959; Want Wildlife Sanctuary Established at Park Lake. Ontario Department of Lands and Forests is being approached by Tay Township municipal officials with a request that Little Lake and its immediate environs be made a game and wildfowl sanctuary. Tay council took its first step in this direction at a meeting Tuesday night when councillors approved a new bylaw prohibiting the use of firearms on township land surrounding the lake, and in the built-up areas in the township west of Midland, and Sunnyside district. This newspaper was informed that the prohibition of firearms in the defined area was implemented not only as a means of protecting persons living in the area but also as a means of promoting the game and wildfowl sanctuary plan. It is understood that the Midland Parks Commission also has been giving serious consideration to the sanctuary proposal. Earlier this week, a flock of ducks, estimated at more than 500 in number, settled on Little Lake for a time.
  • The weekend saw Penetang Fire Brigade answer three alarms, the first of which proved the most serious. The fire of undetermined origin was discovered shortly before six Saturday morning in the old Cascagnette home on Robert Street W. At the time the alarm was turned in flames were visible for a considerable distance. The blaze evidently started in a back shed attached to the log house. It was completely destroyed and the house itself was badly charred before the fire was extinguished. When firemen were able to enter the building through the dense smoke, it was discovered to be practically empty. The lower floor was devoid of furniture, and there was no heating equipment. Two beds were found upstairs in a condition which indicated someone had been sleeping in them.
  • All parking meters, except those on King Street between Bay Street and Elizabeth Street, will be removed Nov. 15, Midland council decreed Monday night. Council opinion was divided on whether the meters in the business section should remain on all year round. It decided to leave on the designated King Street meters until the end of the year and let the 1960 council decide what would be done after that date.
  • TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – Nearly 6,000 inoculations and 679 vaccinations were given to Simcoe County children during October 1949, Simcoe County Health Unit officials revealed. The inoculations were for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus and the vaccinations were for smallpox. * * * Five cases of polio in October brought to 27 the total number of poliomyelitis cases reported in the county in 1949 up to the end of October. * * * Green Island, lying about two miles out in Georgian Bay northwest of the Severn, officially became part of Tay Township as a result of changes made in government maps. Previously it had been considered part of Baxter Township. * * * A garage and home in Phelpston were levelled by fire. Firefighting equipment and men from Elmvale, Barrie and Wasaga Beach battled the flames unsuccessfully. They were hampered by a lack of water. * * *  Eleven persons, on their way from 12-mile Bay to Penetang in two large launches, spent a frigid night on Split Rock after one of the boats exploded en route. After those in the ill-fated craft had been rescued, darkness and a heavy snowstorm prevented the party from continuing its journey. * * * Unemployment Insurance Commission officials in Midland reported there were 450 persons, 391 men and 57 women, out of work and seeking employment.
  • Midland council may rent cars in future for use as police cruisers. This policy evolved out of a discussion as to whether council should call for tenders now on a new cruiser. Alderman Douglas Haig suggested the rental deal. He said an increasing number of commercial enterprises are now renting cars rather than buying them outright because they have found that, in the long-run, they save money in maintenance costs and repair bills. Mr. Haig said he would like to know what it has cost the town of Midland for maintenance and repairs during the last three or four years. The Ward 4 alderman pointed out that, where vehicles are driven by more than one driver, it has been proven maintenance and repair bills are considerably higher. He said he had discussed the proposal with Larry Dumais of Bourgeois Motors. Mr. Haig explained that Mr. Dumais told him his firm has not had much experience in this field but is prepared to give it a try for a year. Normally, rental agreements run for two years, Mr. Haig stated. Mr. Dumais, who was present at the meeting, said his firm is seriously considering the proposal. He explained that under the agreement, the unit (car) would be replaced at least once during the model year and perhaps twice if the car’s condition warrants. 

Some items from 80 years ago, November 1939. 

  • PENETANG—The newly formed Penetanguishene Lions Club is rapidly completing plans for their Charter Night Celebration on November 23. They are expecting about 150 Lions from the various clubs in the district. Including the District Governor and District Deputy Governor, who will officially welcome the new club. The Midland Lions Club, who are sponsoring the local organization, will have charge of the dinner program and the Penetang are making arrangements for the dance and floor show to follow.
  • PENETANG — St. James-on-the-Lines, Anglican Church, Penetang was filled to overflowing on Sunday afternoon, when the Penetang Branch of the Canadian Legion, accompanied by “D” Company of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, the Midland branch of the Canadian Legion and the  Regimental Band of the Simcoe Foresters, held their annual church parade.
  • PENETANG — Funeral services for Godfrey Trilsbeck, beloved husband of Josephine Handy, Penetanguishene, were held on Thursday at St. Ann’s Jesuit Memorial Church, Penetang. Mr. Trilsbeck died at his Fox St. home on Tuesday after a two-week illness. He was in his 70th Mr. Trilsbeck was born in Germany and came to Penetanguishene with his family when he was four years old. He was married in Toronto in 1909. Surviving is his wife and six children, Godfrey, Josephine, Charles, William, Ell and Irene, all at home.
  • Marriage More Expensive Than Legal Fees He Tells Club “When you are getting rid of a will, burn it, tear it up, or have a new will drawn up revoking the first.” cautioned Wm. A. Robinson, Midland barrister, in addressing the Midland Kiwanis Club Monday on “Queer Quirks of the Law.” Of course, there is a third way, annulling it by a subsequent marriage, but you might find that even more expensive than paying your solicitor,” he added.
  • PENETANG — The annual High School Field Day was held at Payette’s Park and at the High School grounds on Wednesday afternoon. About 80 students took part in the twenty-eight events. Championships in all classes were closely contested, except for the Senior Boys, where Jack Hanna obtained 30 points out of a possible 35 to lead his nearest rival, Lomer Dubeau, by 11 points. Joseph Marchildon placed third among the Senior Boys with a total of 15 points. In the Junior Boys’ division, John Magnus and John Bailey ran neck and neck until the last event of the afternoon, when John Magnus won the high jump to finish the day with 23 points to Bailey’s 21. Doriste Moreau placed third with 11 points. In the Senior Girls’ Championship, an even closer finish took place. Peggy Thompson won the shield with 19 points end June Manson and Leona Valentine were tied for second place with 18 points each. Lorraine Moreau, with 25 points, led the Junior Girls’ competitions, followed by Annette Desroches with 20 points and Norma Magnus with 14 points.
  • PENETANG—A. B. Thompson, Penetanguishene, obtained the first detailed information regarding his son’s imprisonment in Germany on Tuesday, when he received a letter from his son, Flying Officer Alfred Burke Thompson of the R.A.F., through the Red Cross Society in Geneva, Switzerland. The letter was written in the German prison camp at Itzehoe, Germany, where Mr. Thompson’s son is confined. In the letter, the flyer stated that they were treated very well but that meals were all pretty much the same and that anything with sugar in it was hard to get. He told his father that his airplane, which carried a crew of five, was on a night flight over Germany when the engines failed and they were forced to abandon the ship in their parachutes. The prison camp quarters were reported to be comparatively comfortable. Thompson and another Air Force officer being quartered in a small flat, equipped with hot and cold water. The two English flyers and two French flyers share a Polish servant among them. Most of the prisoners’ time is spent playing bridge and reading a few English novels that were loaned them by a German officer. The rest of the time is spent in exercise and in studying the languages of their associates. The letter stated that a canteen in the camp sold cigarettes and toilet articles, but suggested that plain chocolate bars, tinned meats and some reading material would be very much appreciated. Prisoners are allowed to write only one letter per week of four pages. Mr. Thompson’s son wrote in quite small letters to get everything possible into the length allowed.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Miner of Parry Sound, reputed to be the only married couple working together in the steeplejack trade, have been engaged to paint the lofty spire on Martyrs’ Shrine. Known throughout Canada and the United States, the Minors arrived here in a trailer. Mrs. Miner worried about her husband on his risky job and pleaded with him to let her accompany him. She finally “talked her hubby into it” at Owosso, Michigan, and with him scaled the spire of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. After working at a height of 128 feet, Mrs. Miner commented enthusiastically, “I liked it”. Since then she has helped her husband on dozens of jobs in Canada and the United States. A month ago she accompanied him atop the spire of St. Mary’s Church, Barrie, a height of 180 feet.

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