Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – December 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.Touch of Winter 

December 9th, 1959 Midland Free Press headline; HEAVIEST  VOTE  IN  YEARS 49.1  PERCENT  TURNOUT 

    Defeated in the 1958 election by 49 votes, Charles N. Parker, eight times mayor of Midland, Monday night made a successful comeback at the polls, obtaining a majority of 461 over the combined votes of his two opponents. The three-way mayoralty contest saw Mr. Parker rack up a final vote of 1,330, compared with Charles Stevenson’s 552 and W. H. Keller’s 317. Mr. Parker obtained a clear-cut majority in all but one ward. In his home ward, Ward 2, he had a plurality of 84 votes over 1959 mayor Charles Stevenson. GREATEST GAIN  – Mr. Parker made his greatest gain of the day in Ward 1 where electors accorded him a 254 vote lead over the other two contenders for the top municipal office. Both Mr. Keller and Mr. Stevenson received their strongest support from Ward 4 electors. In the contest for the deputy-reeve-ship, Mr. Smith made a clean sweep of all four Wards, to defeat ex-alderman Wm. Wilcox by 407 Votes. In the final tally, Mr. Smith obtained 1,305 votes to Mr. Wilcox’s 898. 

    Battered around from pillar to post, from one government department to another, for the past five or six years, the proposal to turn Tiny marsh into a conservation area for waterfowl appears doomed to failure following a recently reported decision of the Department of Lands and Forests. The parks integration board, in whose lap the project finally had been dumped, is reported in a daily newspaper to have returned the file to Premier Frost’s office with the final notation “that a marsh would not meet the requirements of a provincial park since understandably it could not be used for picnic or campsites. The daily went on to state: “The parks integration board, in effect, said there was apparently no legislation under which the province could operate a marshland.” Among the many persons and groups showing concern over the apparent demise of the project, started originally by the Humber Gun Club, is Tiny Township council. At a meeting Saturday, one person asked, “Would you be satisfied to have a local club take over the project?” The consensus of council was that it would sooner have it sponsored by the government, as the government has the facilities as well as the personnel for maintaining control. In the eyes of Frank Ridley, well known in this area as an amateur archaeologist, the park integration board’s decision, in the face of a more recent announcement, is enough to make “one blow his top”. The latest item, quoted a Lands and Forests official as decrying the great shortage of public marshlands in the province — wetlands where water birds can take refuge from the increasing fury of the shot-raked Ontario autumn skies. The idea of turning Tiny marsh into a conservation area is actually the brainchild of Frank Ridley. He enlisted the assistance of the Humber Gun Club in an attempt to give Ontario a 1,2O0-acre marsh as a game refuge. Obstacle after obstacle has been placed in the way of this gift during a six-year runaround by government departments, it was stated. Tiny marsh, situated in the 1st and 2nd Con. of the township, is about 11 miles south of Penetang. It was first charted on the 1650 map produced by Jesuit Father DuCreux as “Lacus Naouites”.  During that 300 years, it has stoutly resisted the efforts of man to reclaim it and turn it into arable land. Drains and ditches have been dug, and some areas around the outer rim have been converted, but never has the greater portion given up its marshy characteristics. Deer and bear, ducks and geese are drawn to it by the very nature of the protective grasses and sheltered ponds. (Public access is off the 1st concession.) 

   “Tiny land-sub-dividers in future will find it a great deal more expensive to open a new sub-division than it has been in the past. Passing of a bylaw by Tiny council, Saturday, setting forth minimum standards for building roads, and providing “that the sub-divider must carry out this work, will account for the increased expenditure. Under the new set-up, it will be necessary for the sub-divider to completely finish road construction in his plan before the township assumes responsibility for the road. Earlier regulations in this respect have been tightened. The- bylaw also provides a means to ensure that sub-dividers carry out the road-building through agreements, which must be signed before their plans are approved. 

    Tall, slim, dark-haired, Mrs. Hamelin was non-plussed when a representative of this newspaper visited her Broad Street home and asked to take a picture including her six oldest children. Completely at ease, as though it were an everyday request, she herded her brood into a bedroom where, with a minimum of fuss, she changed them into “presentable” clothing. Anyone who, on a moment’s notice, has been given the task of changing and dressing six children can realize readily what a job it is. But this office seeker soon had the half dozen ready for the camera, still looking as fresh herself as she had before commencing the task. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Basinet, Mrs. Hamelin was born in Penetang and attended school there. When she was ready for the workaday world, she went to Toronto where she became a stenographer. Later she returned home to marry Mark Hamelin of Midland. Asked where her interest in school board matters arose, she said, “Well, with seven growing children, I have a natural interest in the education they will be receiving.” In addition to that, Mrs. Hamelin has gained further interest in school matters through her association with the PTA, on which she has served as a regional councillor. 

    A Penetang store manager was chuckling when he came into the office of this paper yesterday. “I’ll bet that woman won’t leave her phone off the hook again after she made a call,” he said in a way of greeting. Realizing that the phone in his otherwise busy store hadn’t rung for a considerable period, the manager had picked it up and could hear voices. After some futile attempts to get the attention of the party at the other end of the line, the manager finally let go a shrill whistle into the mouthpiece. The effect was electrifying, according to the merchant. There was a dog in the house, and the animal immediately set up “a terrible fuss.” Realizing this might bring an end to his problem, the manager continued whistling, and the dog kept on barking. Finally, the householder apparently realized where the sound was coming from and hung up the phone. 

    Six senior student nurses from this district, training at Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, were presented with pins and badges Dec. 2 for their successful completion of a first aid instructors course as laid down by the Canadian Red Cross Society. The successful district nurses were Anne Bertram, Elmvale; Lynne Crippin, Penetang; Judith Quesnelle, Port McNicoll; Sandra Robinson, Vasey; Deanna Slessor, Hawkestone, and Ruby Wood, Elmvale. 

    Largest enrolment of new members in the church’s 85-year history took place at a special service in Knox Presbyterian Church Sunday night. The outcome of an every house visitation Nov. 22, 118 persons indicated their desire to become members of the church. Included in the group were a number joining by certificates. The majority were new members and adherents joining by profession of faith. Several older members of the congregation remarked that they could not remember when such a large number joined Knox congregation at one time. 

Returned by acclamation to seats on the 1960 Tay Township council were Deputy-reeve Ray Atkinson (left) and Reeve Fred Kinnear. It will be Mr. Kinnear’s 12th term as reeve. Ratepayers will have to choose three councillors from a field of five in elections to be held Monday. 

Only two persons not already connected with village affairs or to be nominated, turned out for nominations at Port McNicoll last Wednesday night. Left to right, Alex McCullagh, a veteran councillor who was acclaimed to the school board this year; Lloyd Cameron, returned as PUC commissioner; Ernest Quesnelle, returned to the board of school trustees; and David Duncan, who resigned from the latter board. 

All positions on various municipal bodies at Port McNicoll were filled by acclamation last Wednesday night. This year’s council is seen above as Clerk B. J. Brownell, seated left, watches Albert G. Calvert “sign on” for his 12th term as reeve. Councillors in back row are Arthur Worth, Jack Fisher and George Burns, returning members, and Robert Smith, a former school trustee making his first appearances as councillor. 

The first lady to run for council in Midland, Mrs. Hector Adams lost out in her bid to become alderman for Ward 2. With her are Leslie Barber, left, who led the voting for the two positions open on the PUC, and Clinton Smith, newly elected deputy-reeve. 

Despite slippery road conditions, even the older Midland citizens were turning out in near-record numbers for Monday’s municipal election. One of this group of citizens was Mrs. Rita Currie, waiting to get her ballots at a Ward 4 poll in Regent Public School. 

Scenes like this were common in many Ontario communities Monday night as officials awaited election returns. Gathered in the CKMP newsroom to tabulate results in Midland were, left to right, R. B. Moffatt, secretary-manager of the chamber of commerce, Grant Forsyth and Bruce Armstrong of CKMP, editor Wils Harrison and Mrs. C. McGrattan of the Free Press Herald, and John McCullough, CKMP. 

It was good news for some of the candidates and not so good for others as the results poured in on election night in Midland. Three aldermanic candidates in Ward 1 are seen above checking with John McCullough, CKMP news announcer. Left to right are John Burke, Tom Downer, Mr. McCullough, and “the winnah”, Percy Crawford. 

Returned for his ninth term as mayor of Midland, Charles N. Parker is shown with his wife after his victory at the polls had been confirmed by a substantial majority. The mayor-elect spoke to citizens from CKMP radio studios, where election returns, compiled by the staffs of the radio station and this newspaper, were broadcast. 

Returned for another term on Midland PUC in Monday’s election, Alex Macintosh, left studies the returns with Grant Forsyth (centre) and Bruce Armstrong in the CKMP studios. Midland electors turned out in force for Monday’s balloting. 

Manager Larry Curran and Robert Cuthe try out a new precision welder. Nearly completed Bausch and Lomb’s modern addition adds 10,000 square feet to the factory.        
    Although it doesn’t always get the headlines which greet new industries in most communities, of equal importance is the expansion of existing industries in a community. Municipal officials and citizens are agreed, Midland’s Bausch and Lomb Optical Company Ltd. falls in the latter category, with a large new addition just about ready to go into production. Nearly 10,000 square feet in size, the new wing will give B and L a total floor space of around 25,000 square feet. It is primarily intended for frame manufacturing and assembly. However, its effects will be more far-reaching than that. Completion of the new wing will make possible a number of changes in the original plant. When the present offices and employees’ lunchroom are ready in the new section, more space will be provided for storage and other needs in the older part of the plant. At present Bausch and Lomb has between 50 and 60 employees on the payroll, and another dozen will be added when the new plant goes into production. 

More than $15,000 worth of new machinery is being set up in Bausch and bomb’s addition to fits Midland plant. Above, Bill Taylor (seated) tries out a slotting machine while R. S. Ingram, secretary of Bausch and Lomb of Canada, looks on. The new addition is expected to be ready for production later this month. 

Wasaga Beach and Elmvale-Flos fire brigades battled a stubborn blaze which broke out in Phelpston early Saturday, Nov. 28. The fire completely levelled a store and restaurant and gutted this nearby home. The fire in the store was first noticed at about 1.45 a.m. 

Now ready for operation, Midland PUC’s new Scott Street sub-station is seen above. The 3,000 K.V. station, designed primarily to relieve some of the load on hydro services to Midland’s fast-developing Wireless Hill area, will also take care of any future expansion for some time to come, PUC officials state. Roadway with houses on is actually Hillcrest Lane. 

Taking part in the official opening of Midland PUC’s new Scott Street substation last week were left to right, Commissioner William Beaton, Mayor Charles Stevenson, and Commissioner Alex Macintosh. 

December 12th, 1959 County Herald headline;  START  WINTER  WORK  PLAN  TO  ASSIST  TOWN  JOBLESS. 

    At a meeting called by Deputy-reeve H. J. Beauchamp Wednesday, Midland council approved a motion to start at least a portion of its winter work program at once. A gang started on Hugel Ave yesterday. “It will be a big help to a number of our unemployed if they can get in a week or 10 days on the job just before the Christmas season.  Otherwise, things might be pretty bleak for some families,” said Mr.  Beauchamp, chairman of the public works committee. Installation of new curbing likely will form the bulk of the work to be undertaken in the immediate future. Also on the proposed program are a number of new sidewalks. Much of the latter work, particularly as it affects King Street, will be left until early spring, it was stated. If the council proceeds with the full program discussed Wednesday, the total cost could be in the neighbourhood of $84,792 of which it was estimated $21,235 and $31,010 would be returned in subsidies by the provincial and federal governments respectively, providing the program is approved by government authorities. 

   New medic chooses Midland – After travelling far and wide throughout Canada I was attracted by the beauty of this area and my general impression of the town and the people living here. These were the words of Dr. H. Kiefer, who recently came to Midland to take over the practice of Dr. T. J. Johnston. Dr. Kiefer explained, Wednesday afternoon, that negotiations had been underway for two months prior to Dr. Johnston’s illness which had precipitated his arrival in Midland. Dr. Kiefer, a native of Germany and a graduate of Hamburg University in 1953, came to Canada in 1954. The following year he received his LMCC, Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada. He will carry on the general practice of physician and surgeon in Dr. Johnston’s King Street office. Miss M. McMurtry will continue in her duties, the doctor stated. The 35-year-old doctor has just completed four years practice at Prelate, Sask. Dr. Kiefer’s wife was born near Brighton, England, and came to Canada in 1946. The Kiefers have two daughters, Pauline and Carmen. Languages are Dr. Kiefer’s hobby and he speaks French, English, German and Italian.  

   Gordon Yearsley, Midland artist, told Midland Y’s Men’s Tuesday night that Canada’s present administrative policy with respect to the country’s Eskimo population is too inclined towards treating the Eskimos as so many statistics in a welfare report rather than as people. Mr. Yearsley has spent about a year in Canada’s northland where he got to know the Eskimo well. He felt Canadian tax funds being spent on Eskimo welfare work are out of line. He said the Department of Northern Affairs budget amounts to $45,000,000. The speaker held that, if the government was solely interested in the Eskimos’ welfare, it should not need to spend nearly so much money. An Eskimo family can live quite easily on $2,000 per year and since there are only 10,500 Eskimos and roughly 3,000 families, he inferred that cost for this type of welfare would be roughly $6,000,000. Yearsley submitted that another body other than the civil service might better serve the needs of the Eskimo. The civil service is competitive, he said, and the Eskimo needs more downright understanding than red tape and organization. They need people who are dedicated to the service of other people. He contended that the Northern Affairs Department’s policy is to force a wage economy on the Eskimo. “Our dynamic western culture is being rammed down the Eskimo’s throat,” he said, by an arbitrary authority that is answerable to the Canadian taxpayers only.     

Dredging operations which have been underway in the slip at Port McNicoll for the past three weeks are slated to wind up this week. “At zero water level, we hope this dredging will give us 25.5 feet of water the entire length of our dock (2,200-feet) and for 250 feet out,” Bert Armstrong, manager of the CPR elevator at Port, told this paper. Mr. Armstrong said the dredging would make it possible for any three of even the largest bulk carriers to be berthed side by side along the elevator, with plenty of water under them. “We will have at least three big ships this winter — the McLagan, Sir James Dunn, and the Coverdale — and quite possibly others with winter storage this year,” said Mr. Armstrong. Ontario Dredging and Marine Ltd., Toronto, is carrying out the dredging operations. Already a number of large boulders which have caused trouble to ships attempting to dock at the elevator have been removed. One clam, one dumping scow and two ordinary scows are being used on the job. Earth and rocks dredged from the slip are being dumped around the corner in Hog Bay.

New officers of Caledonian Lodge, AF and AM, Midland, were installed Monday night. Left to right are, front row, Bro. John Dalrymple; Wor. Bro. J. A. Lennox, new master; Bro. Lloyd Wilcox; second row—Rt. Wor. Bro. George S. Dudley; Bro. Frank Powell; Wor. Bro. Lorne Watson; IPM; Very Wor. Bro. C. Flowers, installing master; Bro. W. W. Struthers; Rt. Wor. Bro. J. J. Robins; back row —Bro. H. Humphries; Bro. Ken S. Lewis; Wor. Bro. M. McCullough; Bro. Stan Burton; Bro. Ken Hawkes. 

TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – A cast-iron cross, found by Penetang duck hunter Arthur S. Gendron along the shore between Pinery Point and Champlain Cross, was posing a mystery for Huronia historians. Mr. Gendron recovered the 16 by 12-inch cross off the sandy bottom of the bay. * * * V. S. Struthers, chief engineer on the S.S. Assiniboia, ended 38 seasons of sailing on the Great Lakes when the CPR passenger ship tied up at Port McNicoll for the winter. He was feted by a group of friends at the lakehead before the vessel left on her last run of the season. * * * Immunization teams of Simcoe County Health Unit were at work in Midland’s public and separate schools inoculating pupils with diphtheria toxoid. The clinics, headed by Dr. Robert King, MOH for North Simcoe, were the result of an outbreak of diphtheria in the town. Three of the four cases reported involved school children. * * * Twelve men, only four of whom were on the 1949 council, were contesting the six vacant seats in Penetang council. Mayor W. D. Hunter, elected by acclamation, said the number of candidates set a record for the community. * * * A record was also set by the Free Press Herald, then being published once a week. The Wednesday issue of the second week of December contained 36 pages in five sections, the largest in the paper’s 66 years of publication. Seven and one-half miles of newsprint were used. * * * Following 13 years of service in the municipal field, Reeve George Widdes of Tay Township announced at the annual nomination meeting that he planned to retire at the end of the year. 

Members of Midland PUC got down in this hole last Wednesday afternoon to witness the laying of the last sections of the new 10-inch water main which will service the huge new Greening Wire Co. plant. Left to right are; Thomas Wilcox, contractor; Commissioner William Beaton; Mayor Charles Stevenson; and Commissioner Alex Macintosh. It is hoped to have the job completed and water running in the plant this week. 

     Early days of Midland with “the saw-mills and smelter” were recalled in an item sent to this newspaper by Jane LaVigne, now living in Galt, Ont. In her stroll, in memory, down the main street, she recalls the store of J. B. Horrell and Peters Hardware and Tin Shop, then next door was Morrow’s Furniture store. The general store of Dave McCoy with its dry goods, groceries and coal oil came next to Ray Burns’ harness shop and then the Timmins Furniture store, with its hanging rocking chairs. The writer then recalled Duncan’s store and the Salvation Army hall next to a vacant lot where the Post Office now stands and finally the bakeshop before the vacant lot called “Ackerman’s Green,” where the young and young of heart used to play after school. View from “The Lookout” at Martyrs’ Shrine is even more spectacular in winter than during the summer months. The “Gateway to Huronia”, marked by the historical plaque in the foreground, is laid out geographically by Midland Point and Beausoleil Island in the background. It was the route of Champlain and the Huron Indians of 300 and more years ago. 

Something new has been added to the view from the Lookout atop the hill back of Martyrs’ Shrine. In the middle distance is the huge new plant of the B. Greening Wire Company, now rapidly nearing completion. The Wye River, flowing quietly in the foreground, was frozen recently.

One thought on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – December 8th to 15th 1959

  1. I read your articles with great interest.
    I was just a youngster 60 years ago.
    It’s nice to read local history.
    Please keep it up.

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