Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – November 24th to 30th, 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. Twin brothers who hadn’t seen each other in 31 years were reunited in Midland on the weekend. They were Herbert Caldwell, of Elizabeth Street, and Harry Caldwell of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Harry and Herbert are the twin sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Caldwell. They were born on an Oro Township farm on July 25, 1893. 

Nearly 200 neighbours and friends gathered at the Sunnyside home of Mr. and Mrs. George Gawley Sunday afternoon to congratulate the couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. Both are long-time residents of the Midland district.

  And they were still knocking on the door late Monday night. Both husband and wife are well known in Midland, to both local residents and hundreds of visitors who have patronized Gawley’s Camp at “The Portage,” a mile around the bay from their home. As a matter of fact, it is nearly 60 years since Mrs. Gawley came to Midland, where,  as Mary “Maude” Edgar, she kept the books for Edgar and Sons (her father and brothers) who ran a butcher shop at Bay and Fourth Streets. George Gawley made his first appearance in Midland in 1907 and it was here he met Maude Edgar. His first job was at the old smelter operated by the Canadian Iron Furnace Company, where he drove a horse and cart and also got his start as a top-filler in the smelter. (The town of Midland now operates a public park “Gawley Park” at the end of Gawley Drive the former site of the Gawley’s Camp.) 

BALD — To Mr. and Mrs. Andre Bald, 277 William St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, Nov. 20, 1959, a son.
BARRON — To Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Barron, Port Severn, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, Nov. 23, 1959, a daughter.
CERNEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Steven Cerney, Yonge St W., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Sunday, Nov. 22, 1959, a daughter.
E P L E T T — To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Eplett, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, Nov. 20, 1959, a daughter.
FOX — To Mr. arid Mrs. Victor Fox, R.R. 1, Wyebridge, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Saturday, Nov. 21, 1959, a son.
QUESNELLE — To Mr. and Mrs. James Quesnelle, 274 William St., Midland, at St Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a son.
RICHMOND — To Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Richmond, 154 Seventh St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.
RICHMOND — To Mr. and Mrs. Norman Richmond (nee Suzanne Ayres) at Grace Hospital, Toronto, Monday, Nov. 16, 1959, a daughter, (Susan Penelope).
SANDY — To Mr. and Mrs. Francis Sandy, Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.
St. AMAND — T o Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm St. Amand, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1959, a daughter.

The Free Press Herald headline of November 25th, 1959; APPLIANCE STORE BURGLED, SAY LOOT VALUE $1,000. An estimated $1,000 worth of small electrical appliances and $50 in cash were reported stolen from Dunlop’s Appliances Limited, Moonstone, early Monday morning. “Everything appeared to be in order when I turned out the lights at 1 a.m. Monday,” stated Lloyd Dunlop, owner of the store. According to Mr. Dunlop, the thieves took 15 small radios, electric frying pans, toasters, record players, a tape recorder and cartons of cigarettes as well as $40 cash from the store till and $10 cash from the post office till. Entry to the building apparently was gained through jimmying a door at the back of the warehouse, it was stated. 

    Douglas Sanderson, Penetang, got an unanticipated cold bath Saturday morning when his car skidded off the dock pavement into the water of Penetang Bay. Travelling north on Main Street, Sanderson attempted to turn left on to the paved dock area when his car failed to negotiate the turn because of slippery snow. According to Chief Jack Arbour, eye-witnesses said the car was travelling at a slow rate as it went into the water. Settling in about 14 feet of water directly behind the Penetang 88, the car came to rest on its wheels. Sanderson escaped by rolling down the window on the driver’s side and crawling through. He was assisted from the water by several men who were minnow netting.

This is what they were netting.

    Chickenpox, with 12 cases, headed the list of communicable diseases reported to Simcoe County Health Unit for the month of October, Dr. P. A. Scott reveals. Whooping Cough was second with 11 cases and German measles and regular measles each had seven cases reported, while infectious jaundice, scarlet fever and mumps had five, three and two cases respectively. 

   (How the teenage mind works sometimes, your daughter goes to a high school track meet and ……) Disappearing after the Tudhope-Thompson track meet in Midland Oct. 3, Wendy, 15, and Gloria, 14, both of Orillia, were found last week in Northern Quebec and returned to their homes. They were the object of a widespread search. James, father of one of the girls said that they had gone on to Collingwood from Midland Oct. 3 and then took a ride with some hunters to Northern Quebec. He explained that the girls left home in order to find work. Gloria obtained work in a Notre Dame du Nord restaurant and Wendy was working for a Noranda family with eight children. The girls were traced through immigration department officials in Noranda who were attempting to locate Wendy’s parents. (Last names omitted) 

The dinner was held at the home of a daughter in Anten Mills. Mrs. Lizotte, the former Mary Longlade, has spent her entire lifetime of 70 years in Penetang where she was born. Her husband, Fred, was only a child when his family moved to Penetang from Mattan Quebec.  He has lived in Penetang since that time. Although he was forced to retire some 20 years ago through ill health, Mr. Lizotte, now 74, vividly recalls days he spent working in the lumber mills around Penetang and Midland. He also worked at times in nearby lumber camps. He said while he was working in a lumber mill in Midland, he rode his bicycle to and from work, carrying noon lunch. There were no roads as we know them today, he said, and he speaks of cycling in and out among the trees to get to the mill. Mrs. Lizottte recalled seeing the first car owned in Penetang, and the day W. F. Beck first drove it down the town’s main street. Still talking about travelling, she said, we used to go to Honey Harbour once in a while, and that was a full day’s trip. The road to Honey Harbour was “just a path through the bush”, and the buggy had to be driven in and out among the trees. The couple’s anniversary actually occurred Monday. They celebrated it in their own Peel Street home where they had lived for the past forty years. The family gathered around them included their only son, Arthur, who is a constable on the Penetang Police force. (Gave me my only Penetang speeding ticket.) They have eight daughters; Mrs. M. Friedman, Mrs. M. Lacroix and Mrs. B. Ellsworth, Sarnia; Mrs. D. Ostertag, Orillia; Mrs. B. Fraser, Midland; Mrs. Frank Moreau, Anten Mills; Mrs. M.  Duquette and Mrs. B. Lalonde, Penetang. There are 37 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “I wouldn’t mind living long enough to celebrate another 50 years of married life,” Mrs. Lizotte said as this reporter left. 

 Long considered a man’s stronghold, curling rinks across the country now resound to urgings of “sweep” in feminine pitch most afternoons. The scene above was taken in Midland Curling rink as skips Mrs. Ray Trew, left, and Mrs. Charles Walton measures a couple of close ones. Other members awaiting the outcome in the back row are Mrs.  Bruce Holt, Mrs.  Dan Nicholls, Mrs. C. Paterson, Mrs. Jack Thompson, Mrs. Clive Park  (Mary nee Patterson) and Mrs. Woodrow McConnell (Merza nee French). 

TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – At the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Bay Lodge No. 210, Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, Freight Handlers and Station Employees, Port McNicoll, Frank Hall, vice-president of the International Brotherhood, told his listeners that Communist labour leaders should be sent back to Russia. About 200 members and their wives attend the dinner in Parkside Inn. * * * Reeve of Tecumseh Township for three years, Fred Hunter was appointed the clerk of Simcoe County. Eleven applied for the position. * * * Midland Chamber of Commerce reported that more than 2,100 persons were employed in industries and retail and service businesses in the municipality. * * * Canada Steamship Lines issued a public warning that the “tug Bayport is now breaking the ice in Midland harbour”. Persons using the ice as a thoroughfare were warned to do so with the utmost caution. * * * Reeve W. R. Benson of Penetang told a nomination meeting in that town that some $76,000 had been budgeted by the County for Children’s Aid Society wards and that it had been necessary to authorize a further grant of $8,000 for this purpose. He held it would be necessary for each county community to form organizations which would raise funds to pay that portion of the C A S work not “taxable by the county”. * * * Penetanguishene Protestant Separate School supporters formed a home and school association. It was believed to be the first such group in North Simcoe. 

    Simcoe County’s reforestation committee reported the purchase of 568 acres of land for reforestation purposes at the Nov. 18 sitting of the county council in Barrie. The total cost of the new land is $19,500. 

The shape of things to come, are these ice formations on docks and rocks in front of cottages at Victoria Harbour. Warmer weather and rain have removed the ice since the picture was taken, but it may not be long before there’s a permanent coating that will last several months until the spring thaws. (Scenic photos of our area were included in almost every edition of the Free Press and County Herald.) 

COLDWATER — Conservation officers of Lake Simcoe District reported 354 hunters obtained 81 deer from Nov, 9 to 12 in Matchedash Township. The game consisted of 36 adult bucks, 33 adult does and 12 fawns. 

Arthur Mitchell fashions a hand-carved picture frame. Author turned carpenter moved to North Simcoe with his wife nine months ago. For quite a few years Mr. Mitchell was a short story writer, with the CBC one of his best customers. But he tired of that profession and now he has literally “carved” out a new career for himself — making picture frames. Mr. Mitchell and his wife came to North Simcoe some nine months ago and bought a neat, white frame house and a partially built shop just off Highway 27, about midway between Waverley and Wyebridge. He put a roof on the building and windows in the gaping holes. Now it keeps him busy to supply enough frames to keep up with the demand. 

Last week’s snow brought joy to the youngsters, if not to their disgruntled elders. Off for a spin down a hill in Victoria Harbour are, left to right, Norman Cadeau (on skis), Jean and Willard Cadeau, and Billy St. Amand, with Rover all set to dash after them. By Monday morning the snow had all disappeared. 


JOSEPH CASCAGNETTE School children of Penetang Public School lined the streets from the doors of St. Ann’s Memorial Church to St. Ann’s Cemetery when funeral service was held for Joseph Dominique Cascagnette. Mr. Cascagnette had been caretaker of the school for 23 years. Rev. J. Marchand officiated at the funeral mass, assisted by Msgr. J. M. Castex. Pallbearers were Harry and Thomas Dorion, Henry J. Fournier, Henry King, Louis Larmand and Philip Quesnelle. Mr. Cascagnette died unexpectedly in Penetang General Hospital, where he had been taken following a heart attack suffered while he was at work. He was born in Penetang in 1906 and had lived there his entire life with the exception of seven years spent in Akron. It was in 1929 that he married Felanise Contois, who survives. Other survivors are three sons, Robert of Welland, Bill of Knowlton, Que., and Jas., Penetang, and two daughters, Annette (Mrs. Robert Leblanc), Oshawa; and Linda, Penetang.  

PIITZ – Following a short illness, Mrs. W. A. Piitz died in Penetang General Hospital Saturday, Nov. 7.  She had been suffering from a heart illness. Born in Penetang, Feb. 7, 1892, the former Florestine O’Desse, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward O’Desse, married Wm. Piitz Feb. 8, 1921. She lived her entire life in this community where she was known as a faithful homemaker. Besides her husband, Capt. W. A. Piitz, she leaves two sons, Edward of Comox, B. C., and Fred of MacTier, and two daughters, Alice (Mrs. Fred Biasucci) Mactier, and Alma (Mrs. J. H. Brace), Toronto. Funeral service was held Tuesday, Nov. 10 from Beausoleil’s funeral home to St. Ann’s Memorial Church where Father J. Marchand officiated. Burial was in St. Ann’s Cemetery. Pallbearers were Nelson, Pat and Wilfred Piitz, Thos. Gignac, Napoleon Perreault and Marcel Quesnelle. 


    The County Herald headline of November 27th, 1959; SEE THREE WAY CONTEST FOR MIDLAND MAYORALTY. For the first time in more than 10 years, a three-way battle for the mayoralty appeared to be almost a certainty following nominations in Midland last night. Nominated for the top municipal office were W. H Keller, veteran reeve and councillor, Charles Stevenson, the incumbent, and Charles N. Parker, ex-mayor and holder of the title for eight years. The meeting, one of the best attended in years; saw 32 nominations, seven more than in 1958, submitted for the election slate this year, there were 100 or more persons present, almost double the attendance of last year. 

   The first lockmaster at the Port Severn locks when it was opened in 1915, Joseph A. White, 77, died at Port Severn Nov. 24. Mr. White, who was born at Stratford, went to Port Severn in 1912 to survey the area for the lock which was built by a Toronto firm. When it opened a 15-cent toll was charged and the proceeds were given to the Canadian Red Cross Society. He retired in 1948 and a son, Robert, who had assisted him, was appointed lockmaster. He put 5,528 boats through the locks in the peak year. Following his retirement, Mr. White opened a parking lot near the locks and continued to meet the hundreds of tourists he had served during his 33 years as lockmaster. Besides his “wife, the former Delphine Moreau, he is survived by six sons and four daughters: Arthur and Elgin of Honey Harbour, Harold of Timmins, Morley of Gravenhurst, Robert of Port Severn, Jack of Toronto; Mrs. Hazel Richmond of Weston, Mrs. Edna Hewitt of Honey Harbour, Mrs. Gladys Young of Islington and Mrs. Eileen Morais of Weston.  

   A lifelong resident of Medonte Township, Fred Spence, 65-year-old farmer, was pinned beneath his tractor Wednesday afternoon and died before help could arrive. Coroner Dr. R. E. Brown of Coldwater said Mr. Spence died of a compound skull fracture. According to police, Mr. Spence had been hauling wood from his bush lot. While going down a hill on Con: 9, near Moonstone, the wagon on which the firewood was piled jackknifed. Thrown into the ditch, the farmer was pinned beneath the tractor, which landed with its wheels in the air. Mr. Spence was found by his son Barton, and a neighbour, Herb Walker. Among those who assisted at the scene were Art Robertson, Ab Mine, Bob Beard, Jack Dunlop, Lloyd Dunlop and Lloyd Robertson. 

    Midland Public Schools Board was informed at its recent meeting that the conversion of Regent School auditorium for use as a gymnasium would cost about $1,050. Property Committee Chairman Jack Thompson told the board that work was proceeding on the project. When completed, the room will serve a dual purpose. Mr. Thompson said the cost figure does not include the price of a screen for the stage. The board also discussed the question of expenditure of the remainder of the insurance funds, which it received when Central School burned several years ago. 

    Midland Assessment Commissioner Ian McClung and his staff are compiling a file on hairdressers in Midland who are operating businesses in non-commercial areas. The move is the outcome of a motion passed by Midland council asking the assessment department to prepare a list of names of hairdressing establishments, the location of their businesses, the assessed value of the buildings used for this purpose and a history of operations. The motion came after council heard a deputation from the Midland Hairdressers Association, headed by Mrs. Gertrude Major, president. The deputation demanded that the council close all hairdressing establishments now operating in residential zones in Midland. When several councillors pointed that such action would result in the closure of other small businesses, a member of the deputation said the hairdressers were not interested in seeing other businesses closed or put anyone out of business. All they wanted was to have these people move to commercial zones and pay business taxes, it was stated. 

For the first since its opening a few years ago, press, radio and TV representatives in a tour Tuesday were permitted to see how the Pine Tree radar network station, RCAF Edgar, operates. Along with a  representative of this paper, the group included left to right: F/L J. H. Maxwell, F/0 P. B. Conroy, James Lamb, Orillia Packet and Times; Pete McGarvey, manager CFOR, Orillia; W/C Hockney, C.O. at Edgar; Bob Hunter, manager CKBB;  Bert Snelgrove of CKVR-TV; Milan Korcok, Barrie Examiner; S/L J. A. Cochrane, and S/L W. Honegger. One of the big radar domes, objects of mystery to most North  Simcoe residents, is seen in the rear. 

   It’s one of the radar stations in the Pine Tree chain, one of three air raid warning systems which have been built, at a staggering cost, by Canada and the U.S. over the sparsely inhabited northern part of this continent. The other two chains are the DEW line (Distant Early Warning) and the Mid-Canada. The latter chain, embracing 102 sites extending clean across the country, was the subject of a scathing denunciation in a recent weekend magazine story. Group Capt. Bernard Limbrick, former director of radio warfare for the RCAF, termed the Mid-Canada a “$250 Billion Goof.” Nobody, so far, has had anything much to say against the Pine Tree chain, of which RCAF Edgar is one of the many links. Perhaps they’re too afraid. For, as S/L J. A. Cochrane, chief operations officer at Edgar, pointed out during the tour, “It’s our last hope.” There probably isn’t a more important radar station in all three chains than Edgar, although its commanding officer, W/C W. Hockney, made no such claims. But the story was plain enough on a map shown to the radio, TV and newsmen. Edgar, in effect, guards the vital Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo industrial areas and the more-than-vital Welland Canal. Thus every aircraft that shows up on the many radar scopes within the big central control room becomes an object of immediate concern — until it is positively identified. “We have just two minutes to identify that plane,’.’ said Mr. Hockney. “If we haven’t identified it in two minutes we get through by direct wire to Norad headquarters. That takes another minute, and then it’s up to them as to what action shall be taken,” he explained.

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