Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – February 1st to 7th, 1960

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 enlargeSpeaking at the annual meeting of the Tiny Tay Agricultural Society and referring to the Fall Fair, Mayor Charles Parker said, “Midland will continue to grow, and you will have to grow along with it.  He said he was somewhat disappointed to learn that the Tiny and Tay Society had abandoned the idea of setting up new, larger grounds at the end of Dominion Ave., west of town. “You are greatly handicapped by the limited area of the present site and will have to acquire a larger area sooner or later if you are going to carry on,” said Midland’s mayor. “With a little work and a little faith, we can have an even better fair.”  Mr. Gardiner explained that the property the board had purchased west of Midland had proved too rough and stony. It had been sold because it would have proven too costly to develop, Mr. Gardiner explained. 

The annual meeting of Tiny and Tay Agricultural Society, held in the Oddfellows’ Temple, Midland, Saturday night, drew a good turnout. Seen above are, left to right, Ellsworth Collins, re-elected president for 1960, and three past presidents, Victor Beatty, Arthur Gardiner and Ralph Dalton, now clerk-treasurer for Tay Township. All departments of the Society reported a good year in 1959. 

Wintertime is still a wonderful time for Canadian youngsters, despite what their disgruntled elders might say about the subject. Having a “whale of a time” in the snow at Midland Ski Club are, top to bottom, Nancy Gayle, Sharon Elizabeth and Wendy Louise Biggar, energetic daughters of Mrs. Don Simpson (nee Barb West), Midland. Mr. Biggar was killed in an RCAF flying accident before his youngest daughter Nancy Gayle was born.

Free Press August 18, 1954, Front PageCounty Herald, August 27, 1954, Front Page. 

Residents of the Midland and Penetang area will get a chance to bolster Canadian Red Cross blood supplies by attending blood donor clinics to be held in the Knights of Columbus Hall on Feb. 9 and at the Midland municipal building, Feb. 10.  Mrs. Venard LeCamp, the laboratory assistant at St. Andrews Hospital, carries out some blood typing operations. The clinic hopes to attract 600 donors. 

“Ernie Mink shows Bernie Willette the new EUREKA vacuum cleaner just arrived at H. J. Thompson and Sons Ltd. Of new design this cleaner has all the features of higher-priced machines — here are the main advantages.”

This copy and photo were used in an advertisement for H. J. Thompson and Sons Ltd, furniture and appliances.

(Ernie, seen on the left, had been a sales representative for the distributor of Eureka cleaners when he lived in Kitchener, his calls in the Georgian Bay area and his association with H. J. Thompsons and Sons Ltd. encouraged him in 1959 to move here and continue his sales career with Thompsons. Ernie died last August but his company, Mink Insurance, under the guidance of son David, continues to flourish in Midland.) 

Editorial page photo entitled “Winter at Macey’s Bay”. 

Patients at Midland’s St. Andrews Hospital might have a hard time recognizing these gals, all set for an old-fashioned sleigh ride and quite apparently enjoying the experience. In more sedate moments, they are all nurses at St. Andrews, where they assume more formal garb. Sleigh ride, held Thursday night, was made possible by the generosity of a former patient at the hospital. 

Work has resumed on Midland’s portion of the winter works program, sponsored jointly by municipal, provincial and federal authorities. Men above are installing a new cement curb on Ruby Street, despite wintry conditions. [Note the “Copeland & Strong plumbing, sheet metal, appliances” sign and the large display windows. The building later became Strong,s corner grocery store, then part of Armstrong ‘s Dairy stores.] 

Making model aeroplanes is still an exciting hobby for many boys, even with the advent of the rocket age. Displaying their DeHavilland Beaver at the hobby show held in Midland YMCA last week are left to right, Mervin English, Edo Wensveen, Tom Atkinson and Horst Jatzek, leader of the model aeroplane club. 

George LeMesurier asks, “How much am I offered?” as he held a stamp auction in connection with the hobby show at Midland YMCA last Friday and Saturday. “Clerk of the auction” is Peter Berry of Penetang. 

Next week is “White Cane Week” across Canada when residents of North Simcoe can join with other Canadians in helping their less-fortunate friends. At present, there are 56 blind persons under the jurisdiction of the Midland-Penetang District Advisory Committee of the CNIB. One of them is George Paterson, Yonge Street, Midland, seen above, enjoying a session with his “talking book” machine, one of several services provided through the local committee. One of the chief functions of the CNIB and its committees is in the preventative field. 

In one of the most horrifying accidents in this area in some years, Frank Parke, 27, of Long Branch was killed instantly Sunday morning by the whirling propeller of a “scoot” on Penetang Bay. According to police, the scoot was owned jointly by Ken Cote, Midland, and his brother Cliff, of Penetang. The three young men were setting out around 7.45 a.m. to go fishing near the Cote’s cottage, some miles “Up the Shore”, police said. Apparently, they had some difficulty with the scoot sticking to the snow and ice and Mr. Parke had been shoving the vehicle at the rear. When the scoot was some 20O feet offshore, Mr. Parke attempted to jump on the vehicle, it was stated. Either his foot slipped while he was doing so or he was sucked into the whirling blades of the propeller. Both blades of the prop were badly damaged but the craft proceeded another 200 feet out onto the bay before coming to a stop, police said. Dr. Roland Lauzon and Dr. A. D. MacKenzie attended the scene. An accountant, Mr. Parke was married but had no children. Mrs. Parke is a granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Gendron, formerly well-known residents of Penetang. 

Editorial page photo entitled “Spring’s Mill, Wyevale”. Spring’s Mill, later Withall’s Mill on the Wye River at Concession 4, Tiny Township, just east of County Rd. 6. A popular scene for photographers. 

“BUSTER” GIBSON flashes a big smile as he played his accordion for Wishart Campbell, music director for radio station CFRB, Toronto. “Buster” was one of a number of persons who took part in a “talent-hunt” staged by the radio station at the lOOF Temple, Midland, on Saturday. 

Midland electrician Ed Walker is presented with a Gold Medallion Award by Harry Foy, manager of the Electric Service League. The award is presented to owners of homes that have been built and equipped to meet a high standard of electrical excellence.

Representing the Electric Homes Association of Ontario, Ronald K. Pile discusses a feature of the control panel with Mr. & Mrs. Ed Walker. The Walker’s new home is completely electrical including the heating system.  [“Live Better Electrically” was the slogan of the day, now having electric heat is no longer a celebrated option.] 

Her reign now nearly over, Gisele Bezner, 1959 Queen of Hearts, will give up her crown to her successor on Feb. 11 in the Roxy Theatre when a new queen will be chosen. Red-haired Gisele who hopes to be here for the pageant, is now in residence at Whitney Hall at University College, Toronto, studying to become a secondary school teacher. Her course is Honor English. The contest is sponsored jointly by businessmen of Midland and Penetang and Roxy Theatre manager, Wilfred LaRose. Contestants for the Queen of Hearts contest are chosen on a popularity basis by students at Midland Penetang District High School. From grades eleven, twelve and thirteen, the girls aspiring for the Queen’s crown were the top ten in number of votes polled. By general agreement, the girls wear a sweater and skirt school outfit on the first elimination night (Thursday) and the following week the five finalists will wear the gown of their choice from a selection of styles by Celebrity Formals. 



   Free Press headline of February 3, 1960. For the second year in a row, the value of building permits issued in Midland exceeded the million-dollar mark in 1959, according to figures released this week by W. F. Turnbull, the building inspector. Included in the $1,472,050 grand total was $659,850 for residential construction, an all-time high in Midland, Mr. Turnbull said. Other figures for last year were $131,000 commercial, $532,700 industrial, and $148,500 government. The latter figure is largely accounted for by the construction of two schools by the Midland Separate Schools Board. June was the best month in 1959, with permits issued having a total of $537,000. September accounted for another quarter million. April had $216,200 and October $172,400. Last year’s total was made more impressive by the fact that no permits at all were listed under the first three months of the year. Helping to swell the total for residential construction were 57 permits, including 25 for September alone. July at 10 and April at 8, were the next best months. Another 36 permits were issued for renovations, etc. Commercial permits included two service stations, a hardware store and a warehouse. The new B. Greening Wire Co. plant accounted for all but $82,700 of the industrial total. By comparison, the total value of permits issued in 1958 was $1,268,760, and in 1957 it was $748,650, just a little better than half the 1959 total.  


    County Herald headline of February 5, 1960. The uproar arising out of the alleged unsightliness and loud hum rising from Midland PUC’s new Scott Street sub-station appears to have been stifled, for a month at least. At a meeting in the commission board room Wednesday night, the PUC agreed to have a design prepared setting out any future alterations and the final appearance of the sub-station. Copies of the design will be sent to Midland council and to Walter Kluck, representing a number of homeowners adjacent to the new station who have protested both the appearance and the hum.  

BIRTHS – ADAMSON — To Mr. and Mrs. Clare Adamson, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Friday, January 29, 1960, a son.” BRANDON—To Mr. and Mrs. James Brandon, 261 Midland Ave., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, January 27, 1960, a son. DWINNELL — To Mr. and Mrs. Raymond DwinnelI, 289 Queen St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, January 26, 1960, a son. ESPEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Espey, Sunnyside, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, January 27, 1960, a daughter. GAGNON — To Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Gagnon, 382 Russell St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, January 29, 1960, a son. IRVINE — To Mr. and Mrs. Earl Irvine, 326 Midland Ave., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, January 27, 1960, a son. ZARAWSKI — To Mr. and Mrs. Henry Zarawski, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, February 1, I960, a son. WILSON — To Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wilson, Perkinsfield, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, January 25, 1960, a son. 

TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – Continuing mild weather led to cancellation for the year of the annual winter carnival at Penetanguishene. Outstanding among the expected events were “scoot” races. It was feared ice would be unsafe for contestants and spectators. * * * A middle-aged Honey Harbour guide was seriously burned attempting to light a fire in the kitchen stove with kerosene. Flames shot out of the stove and entered the can, which exploded in his hand. * * * It was reported that losses encountered on the care of indigent patients had caused a deficit in St. Andrews Hospital finances. The deficit was about $5,000. * * * A speaker before the Ontario Municipal Board said, in part: “The town of Midland is a compact, homogeneous and progressive municipality. It has dynamic industrialism. It shows commercial enterprise and growth.” * * * Two Midland curling club rinks had visited the international bonspiel in Quebec City the previous week. One was composed of “Smoky” Wood, Ange Hartman, Karl Bertrand and Ernie Nicholson, skip; the other, Vern Johnston, Tom McCullough, Cy Ney, and Ab Hartman, skip. The two rinks came into competition and the Hartman rink won. “A good time was had by all.” * * * Al Perkins, manager of the Roxy Theatre, won a special showman award for ingenious promotion of the film “Father Was a Fullback.” To this end, he had enlisted the combined support of high school football [One of the few times we have composition errors in the paper, the balance of this item and the beginning of the next were missing] Harbour was selected as “Campus Queen.” * * * People were still talking about “the new look” in styles and hair-dos.

    Back in the Hills of Penetang – Operating a still without a licence cost two district men a $300 fine each, or three months in jail, when they appeared before Magistrate K. A. Cameron in Penetang police court Thursday. Forced to take the alternative to the fines were a 37-year-old North West Basin man and a 32-year-old man from Perkinsfield. Neither was represented by counsel. A. A. Ingram, Midland barrister, prosecuted the charges for the Crown. RCMP Const. W. H. Cascagnette of Orillia detachment said he and Cpl. J. Lougheed came upon the two accused in a bush lot near Cook’s Lake, north of Penetang, Dec. 31. The two men were carrying three vinegar jugs containing what later proved to be spirits. Tested in Ottawa, the contents of the jugs proved to be 94.4 per cent proof spirits, containing 53.9 per cent by volume of ethyl alcohol. Investigating further, the RCMP constable said they found a home-made, commercial type still in an old wooden shack. Also in the shack were several wooden barrels containing about 115 gallons of mash which tested out at 19.7 per cent proof spirits. Displayed in court, the “still” proved to be a portion of an old copper washtub, some copper tubing and a small oil drum.

   Winter seemed a little less bleak Sunday for two Perkinsfield residents. As they sat in their home and looked out the window at the deep snow in the fields, a robin suddenly flew up and perched on the limb of a tree outside the window. The first robin spotted in Midland was seen by Garfield Steer, 108 Quebec Street, perched in a russet apple tree behind his home on Wednesday morning. 

    Ownership of one of Midland’s oldest industries has changed hands. Announcement of the purchase of the Midland Boat Works, said to have been founded in the 1880’s, was made yesterday by John MacRae and Ken Thistle, two young businessmen in Toronto. Principal shareholders in the newly reorganized company, Mr. MacRae said the purchase was completed Jan. 25. The purchase price was hot revealed. The new owners stated their present plans call for an expansion of boat storage facilities, the extension of dock facilities to double the length of existing docks with “arms” added to provide extra accommodation. Gas pumps are also to be more conveniently located, they said. Both single men, Mr. MacRae is 30 and Mr. Thistle is 31. The parents of the two men own cottages at Wymbolwood and Balm Beaches, respectively, and have summered in this area for many years. Mr. MacRae has stored his 20-foot cruiser at Midland Boat Works for the past three years. Other members of the board of directors of the newly reorganized company, which will retain the name of Midland Boat Works, are Tom McCullough of Midland, J. B. Kennedy of Toronto and Balm Beach and Richard Perry, Toronto solicitor. Superintendent of the boat works since 1912, Len Cowdrey will remain in that capacity with the new company. Founded in the early 1880s by “Pop” Smith, a canoe builder, the boat works was later purchased by John Hacker. Mr. Hacker sold his interests to Capt. John G. Gidley and the firm became known as J. G. Gidley and Son. Shortly after World War I, Mr. Gidley sold the business to Ganton Dobson. In 1922, the Honey Harbour Navigation Company, headed by N. K. Wagg, bought the small pleasure craft division of the boat works from Mr. Dobson. In 1941 the same firm bought the remaining Dobson interests known as the Georgian Bay Shipbuilding and Wrecking Company. In 1945, Midland Boat Works became the official name of the firm. During World War 11, the plant produced seven Fairmiles and two minesweepers in addition to other smaller naval craft and army pontoons. Since the war it has built small pleasure craft and in 1957 completed a 96-foot coastal patrol boat for the Royal Canadian Navy. 

    Port McNicoll — The Annual Mariners Service was held in Bonar Presbyterian Church, Sunday evening, with a capacity crowd in attendance. The church was decorated with flags and various other items of marine equipment, including a bell, ship’s wheel, starboard and portside lights, a miniature lighthouse and model ships. The service began with the sounding of the ship’s bell and the hoisting of the colours by Wayne Garrett and Jim Zummach. Rev. C. H. Carter welcomed the congregation. He especially mentioned those from a distance. The Scripture lesson from St. John, Chapter 3, was read by Capt. Fred Harpell of Midland. The guest preacher was Rev. Cameron Orr, of the Welland Canal Sailors’ Mission. The theme of his sermon was “Life”. The music was under the direction of Mrs. J. D. McPhee. Special guests were the Midland Quartet — G. Ingram, R. Bell, W. Steer and P. Smith. They sang “The Solid Rock” and “The Harbour Lights”. The choir’s anthem was “If With All Your Hearts”, by Mendelssohn. The service was closed with the singing of the National Anthem and the lowering of the colours. An hour of fellowship followed the service with refreshments served by the ladies of the church. The ushers were Capt. A. McCullagh, and Engineers C. Ward, C. Rother and A. Mateff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s