Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – April 24th to 30th, 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 enlargeDream of kids everywhere — a ride on the fire truck came true for these Penetang lads after they won the Ontario Little NHL championship in Huntsville Saturday. Sunday afternoon found the NHL champs riding the big new truck in the foreground, while the junior “A” entry, eliminated in the semi-finals, got a ride on the older truck. Numerous cars joined in the joyful procession. 

Machinery is arriving steadily, on schedule, at the new Greening Wire plant in Midland. Here John Fox, left, and Gil Hamelin, are busy on one of the new spooling benches which have been set up. Earlier in the month floods swept across the floor of the factory. 

To persons not acquainted with the manufacture of wire rope, this machine turns out the finished product in startling fashion, weaving a number of strands around one central wire core. Attending the machine, in Midland’s new Greening Wire plant, is Mike Fox, one of about a dozen local men now steadily employed. 

Perfect weather on the weekend brought out a large number of divot-diggers at Midland Golf and Country Club. On hand to greet them for the first time were new pro Bob Rothmel and his wife, Betty, who will be in charge of the club house. The early birds found the course had wintered well and is in good condition. 

It was a real “dog day” for sure at the Roxy Theatre last Wednesday as the kids brought along their favorite pooches for the big dog show sponsored by manager Wilf LaRose. Happiest man when it was all over, Mr. LaRose, who spent an anxious half hour stopping dog fights and untangling himself from leashes. 

“I sure hope Toby wins a prize,” says little Carol Willett, three-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Willett, as they wait for the judges’ decision at the dog show held at the Roxy Theatre recently. Lending moral support to Carol (and Toby) is Roxy attendant Sharon McElroy. 

This is the time of year when bowlers collect the prizes they’ve won over the long, hard season just finished. Prizes for high individual scores in the Twin City League were won by left to right, front — Ina Knapp, May Williams, Shirley Jeffery; back — Leo Perrault, Gord Ross, Bob Somers. 

Members of the All-Stars, winners of the George Webb Trophy were May Williams, Phil Hamelin, Dorothy Spicer, Shirley Jeffery, Doug Swann and Joan Brechin. Not present was Pete Hamelin. 

Attendants of this gasoline pump at Six Mile Lake will have to swim to their jobs, unless the water goes down a foot or more before the customers start to arrive. Many private docks, as well as those of commercial establishments, are covered by a foot or more of water. 

Getting into this boat house at Six Mile Lake may be quite a problem for some time, unless the unusually high waters recede quickly. Although it doesn’t show, there’s a dock running along the left side of this picture to the boat house door. It’s covered by more than a foot of water. Level of the lake is governed by the level of the nearby Severn River. 

Among the “Old Timers” who attended the opening of the new wing at Mountain School April 6 were the women, and one gentleman, above, watching Mrs. Bertha Clark McQuay of Midland sign the guest book. Mrs. McQuay was the oldest graduate of the old red school present. Others are, left to right, Mrs. William Wallace, Midland, Fred Toole, Toronto, Miss Dorothy Bennett and Miss Mary Bennett, who still reside on the “mountain”, Mrs. M. Leatherdale, Midland, Mrs. Annie VanCamp, Balm Beach, and Mrs. Ethel Bateson MacMillan, Midland. 

Truly a family business is the S. Reid and Sons grocery at Victoria Harbour. Founded by the late Samuel Reid 65 years ago, the store is still run by his sons, William, left, and Walter, and daughter Miss Eva J. Reid. The store has been in continuous operation on the same site since April 8, 1895. 

 A year later in September of 1961 the siblings sold the store and retired.

Pupils of Port McNicoll Public School and their teachers held open house for parents Tuesday night in the school. Here Patsy Kelly and Judy Coughlin stand behind a table laden with some of the works of art of student cooks. On the wall behind them are skirts made by girls in the home economics class. 

Mr. & Mrs. Bert Armstrong seem proud of the work done by their son, Bobbie (Bob Armstrong), a pupil at Port McNicoll Public School. The school held open house for parents Tuesday night. The annual event attracted a good crowd. Also on display were articles made by the woodworking class. 

2006 0020 6455Return of more seasonable weather has also meant a return of construction activity in Midland. In the upper photo, a start is being made by Roland Desroches on an “eight unit apartment” building on Yonge Street, West. In the lower photo are some of the six new houses built by Rei Construction near the Leitz factory on Ellen Street. Most of them have been sold.



2006 0020 6426It’s John Thomas, getting an upside-down view of the world during his performance on the rings. Large crowds attended the annual physical fitness demonstrations put on by the ‘Y’ boys and girls during the two nights.


Free Press Herald headline of April 27th, 1960.
North Simcoe tourist promotion associations and resort operators, who were expecting that a permanent  information centre would be erected near Barrie this year, are going to be disappointed. The Georgian Bay Development Association revealed yesterday it had been informed by Travel and Publicity Minister Bryan Cathcart that no action would be taken on the project this year. The GBDA announcement said this information had been obtained in a recent follow-up on plans for the proposed permanent tourist information booth on Highway 400, near Barrie. GBDA officials said they had been given “strong assurances” last fall and throughout the winter months that, the booth would be in operation for the 1960 tourist season. The necessary funds for the building have not been released by the government,” it was stated. Expenditures of $60,000 for this project were contained in the Department of Public Works estimates, but Travel and Publicity Minister Cathcart told the GBDA that, in view of the tight money situation, certain expenditures had to be reconsidered under these new conditions.
County Herald headline of April 29, 1960.
The seven municipalities which support Midland-Penetang District High School will be called on to pay a total of $210,795.13 of a total school budget of $454,207.79, according to figures, released by MPDHS board chairman T. M. McCullough yesterday. Midland’s share of the 1960 high school levy amounts to $90,776.24, an increase of $5,702.93; over last year’s figures. On the basis of the 1959 assessment this would mean about a five-eighths of a mill increase on the 1960 tax rate. But owing to an increase in the town assessment this year, it should amount to about .38 of a mill hike in the rate for high school purposes, Clerk W. A. Hack said. Penetang’s share of, the levy amounts to $28,900.97, an increase of $4,057.22 over the 1959 figure. It is estimated this will mean a little more than a 1.5 mill boost in the 1960 high school rate for that town. Estimated provincial grants amount to $237,172.66 and the balance, approximately $6,200, is made up of the cadet grant, fees from other high schools, marine school fees and other income. 

    Garbage dump troubles hit Tiny Township Monday when council heard a letter from Simcoe County Health Unit, asking the municipality to close a dump near Wyevale. Clerk G. Marchand also informed council he had received complaints from residents about garbage being dumped in the “Mountain” gravel pit, west of Midland. No action was taken on either complaint.

    Gangs of teenagers hanging around restaurants on Penetang’s Main Street caused considerable discussion at Monday night’s meeting of Penetang council. The matter came up when Mayor Jerome Gignac complained of broken bottles on the Main Street. He said he had stopped several times on the way to church Sunday morning to take glass off the street, before he could drive by. At that point, several councilors mentioned the trouble probably originated with gangs of teenagers who hang about in the restaurant area, particularly on weekend nights. 

    As an alternative to locks on the Severn River at Big Chute and Swift Rapids, C. S. Wice, yesterday suggested the possibility of diverting the Trent Waterway through Six Mile Lake, with locks at White’s Falls. He had expressed some concern over a possible heavy drain on water (also used by hydro plants) which might result during a dry period if locks are installed at the Swift and Big Chute. (At this time a lock at Big Chute was still being planned.) 

   Simcoe County council’s grant to Huronia Historic Sites and Tourist Association has been cut $200 this year. This fact was made known to the association at its meeting in Port McNicoll last week. The association had requested $1,200 from the county but is to receive only $1,000. The tourist promotion body was informed that its grant had been cut as a result of Barrie’s withdrawal from the county and the resultant heightening-of-costs-and expenditures and the lowering of revenue. 

    Midland has won its second traffic safety award in about as many years. The Canadian Highway Safety Council announced this week that the North Simcoe town has been awarded a special citation for having, by “united community effort”, completed 1959 without one fatal traffic accident. The awards are being presented to 57 Canadian cities and towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000. Seventeen of these municipalities are in Ontario. 

    Executive of the Huronia Association for Retarded Children has estimated it will require a budget of $7,500 to operate this year. The proposed budget includes a salary of $3,250 for the principal of its school, $250 for her assistant, $2,500 for transportation, $500 for accommodation and transportation, $500 for classroom equipment, and $500 for a reserve. The association anticipates revenue of $2,500 in government grants, and $1600 in grants from nearby municipalities. At present it has $500 in cash on hand. An additional $2,900 is required to meet its proposed budget. 

VESSAIR — To Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Vessair Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, April 26, a son.
DUPUIS — To Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Dupuis, Port McNicoll, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, April 21, 1960, a son.
LATONDRESSE — To Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Latondresse, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 6, 1960, a son.
LAWLER — To Mr. and Mrs. William Lawler, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, April 21, 1960, a daughter.
MALLETTE  – To Mr. and Mrs. Ray Mallette, 150 Sixth Street, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 20, 1960, a son.
MCFARLAND — To Mr. and Mrs. Robert McFarland, Port McNicoll, at St. Andrews Hospital, Monday, April 25, 1960, a daughter.
MOREAU — To Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Moreau, Percy Street, Waubaushene, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 20, 1980, a son.
MORLEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Morley, 84 Hanly Street, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 20, 1960, a son.
St. AMAND — To Mr. and Mrs. Norman St. Amand, 80 Fifth Street, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, April 21, a daughter. (Baby died).
Rt. Rev. J. M. Castex of Penetang flew to Rome and after an audience with Pope Pius XII spent a month at his birthplace, the village of Sacone in the Pyrenees Mountains. * * * Continuing deficit forced St. Andrews Hospital Board to increase the daily rates for patient care. Increases were: public ward from $3.75 to $4.25; semi-private ward rate increases were from 50 cents to $1 and private ward rate hikes ranged from 50 cents to $1.25. * * * The 30,000 Island Navigation Company of Midland announced the inauguration of a freight and passenger service between Midland and Parry Sound using the 112-foot “Coastal Queen”. * * * Penetang council had its first look at the new building and zoning bylaw drawn up by Councillors Bernard St. Amant and Jerome Gignac. * * * Victoria Harbour citizens met to consider the building of a skating rink and recreational centre. * * * Word was received from Ontario Minister of Highways, Hon. George H. Doucett, that Waubaushene would be on the southern loop of the new Trans-Canada Highway. * * * A summer school of archaeology, the first of its kind in Canada was announced by Dr. S. F. Maine, director of the summer school and extension department. University of Western Ontario. Under the direction of Dr. W. W. Jury, the school was to be conducted on the site of Fort Ste. Marie, near Midland. * * * Subscribers and renters of telephones served by the Coldwater Municipal Telephone System were notified by letter that their rates would be more than doubled. 

    Midland’s assessment department will commence the annual town census Monday, assessor Ian McLung said yesterday. Ivan Flynn, a member of the assessment staff, will be the census taker, Mr. McLung said. He explained that the annual census forms the basis for the $3.50 per person grant which the town receives from the government each year. He asked that the public cooperate with the census taker. 

    Penetang citizens had a novel experience Wednesday night. Many were startled when they heard a train whistle blowing in town shortly before midnight. In recent years, trains have come into town three times weekly, but during daylight hours only. E. J. Levesque, the CNR agent, said yesterday the train made a special trip to pick up a rush carload shipment from a Penetang factory. When reminded that Wednesday is one of the scheduled days for the train, Mr. Levesque said the railroad is operating under a new policy whereby the train comes in for full car shipments going either way. “We are how trucking all freight of less than carload quantity,” he said, “thereby providing a generally faster service.” 

   Waubaushene residents had something to beef about the first few days of this week. It was a beef — very dead and equally SMELLY. Maynard Thiffault first saw the animal, which had apparently drowned, floating in the main channel of Georgian Bay Sunday. It was also apparent that the animal had been a valuable one when alive; but no one was able to locate the owner. “Nobody was very anxious to fish it out of the water, either,” said Mr. Thiffault. It was finally hauled out Wednesday by a commercial company that specializes in removal of dead animals. 

   Just about the busiest place in Midland during March was St. Andrews Hospital. At Tuesday night’s board meeting, it was revealed that the hospital had recorded 2,738 patient days during the month, or 20 per cent above the budgeted estimate, according to Alex Craig, business manager. The average patient day, 88, was up by a similar figure. So far, the large influx of patients has not caused any embarrassment to the hospital. “We have been getting terrific co-operation from the nurses,” said Mrs. Jean Sutton, acting director of nursing. Meanwhile the board is proceeding with arrangements to open the first floor of the long idle Playfair Wing. Already on order is $3,500 worth of furniture. 

   I don’t know of a town in Ontario that has placed itself on the map in a historic manner as Penetang has done during recent years.” This was the opening statement of remarks made by Dr. Wilfred Jury at a meeting of directors of Penetang Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday noon. Mr. Jury stated that officials at the University of Western Ontario were extremely well pleased with the co-operation given by the town during the years the university had shown an interest in assisting with the excavation of local history. Speaking particularly of the Officers’ Quarters Museum, Mr. Jury said, “We are expecting the best year ever this season, but again we will be depending on the co-operation of local residents.” He mentioned that a number of improvements have been made since last year, some of which will provide a great deal more space in the museum. “I have arranged to bring six girls from the university to work in this district during the summer,” Mr. Jury said. He went on to explain that two would be working at the museum and four at the Indian village in Midland.

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