Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – December 21st to 31st, 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 enlarge Most popular man in town these days, with personal appearances slated almost nightly, is the fellow with the red suit and white whiskers. Santa visited Midland’s new Greening Wire plant Saturday night. He’s seen with a small portion of the children that crowded around the tree set up in the plant. 

Sorting a stack of the thousands of out-going Christmas cards at the Midland Post office are, left to right, Ed Marchand, Albert Thiffault, Doug Brooks and Fred Grigg. 

Just like Perry Como, Midland post office has letters—stacks and stacks of them at this time of year, not to mention parcels by the bagful. Postmaster William Bourrie and Mrs. Fred Monkton are seen with some of the parcels which arrived Friday. 

There’s plenty of work around any Canadian post office at this time of year, and Midland is no exception. Emptying one of the hundreds of lock-bags that have come into the Midland office during the present Christmas rush are, left to right, Roy Mitchell, Mike Marion and Jim Wallace.

Mail in and out of Midland post office this Christmas season is “running about neck and neck with last year,” according to William Bourrie, postmaster. Biggest day so far was Thursday, when 36,456 out-going Christmas cards were handled, compared with 32,657 on the same date last year. The total as of Dec. 18, however, was about the same both years, Mr. Bourrie said. The same thing applies to incoming lock bags of mail and parcels  “about the same as last year”  according to the postmaster. 

Sponsored by Midland Jaycees, a meeting held at Bourgeois dining room Thursday night heard an address by conservationist Ralph W. Harris, describing the dwindling state of one of Ontario’s most important natural resources — pure water. Above, left to right, are Mervin Grigg, Midland deputy-reeve-elect, E. H. Nicholson, chamber of commerce president, Stewart Holt, PUC secretary-manager, Mr. Harris, Miles Blackhurst, Jaycee president, and Mayor Charles Parker. 

Another season has come to an end for the ships of the Great Lakes, and the men who sail them. Some of the freighters which will winter in Midland are seen above. Pictured are the three Paterson Line ships berthed at Midland – Simcoe elevator, The Paterson, the Quedoc, and the Senator of Canada. 

The Murray Bay and the T. R. McLagan, are two CSL ships tied up for the winter at the Tiffin elevator. 

Work for handicapped persons is the aim of one of this area’s newest industries — Midland Reliable. Manager of the firm, Alf Tuttle, packages some of the electric fence insulators being assembled by Ross Harman in photo 7079. In operation since Oct. 1, the firm, which also includes Stan Vincent, is able to do competent work on a number of assembly and packaging projects awarded them by district firms.

Her bow etched with the silvery lines of ice and water she plowed through to get here, the ice-breaker Alexander Henry pulled into Midland dock last Thursday afternoon. She is now reported to be in Parry Sound but is expected to return to Midland. 

Midland harbour was yielding large crops of minnows just before the freeze-up. Guy Hebner (right) is seen with a helper filling up a bushel basket with the tiny fish, used as bait for better things, fishermen always hope. It was cold work on this particular day. 

Lulled by one of the finest autumns in living memory, North Simcoeans only a few days ago were wondering if there would be snow for Christmas. There will be too much of it, many oldsters feel. The picture is typical of scenes common on any street in Midland during the past week. 

Snow, snow and more snow, there appears to be no end to the white stuff in this part of North Simcoe. This street in Midland was typical of many after weekend storms dumped more than two feet of snow on the town. 

There’s no doubt about it — North Simcoe in general and Midland in particular will enjoy (?) a white Christmas next Sunday. Cars battle their way up the slight grade on Midland’s King Street during the height of a recent storm. 

Although sub-zero temperatures put an end to much of Midland’s winter works program, temporarily at least, it was still possible to give work to some men this week. Above, a group installs a new storm sewer on Quebec Street, linking drains on Fifth and Bay Streets. 

Management and staff of Harrison Metal Works held their first Christmas party at Bourgeois Beach dining hall last week. In the top and lower pictures, the head of the company, Wm. Harrison, and Mrs. Harrison, seated centre front in both photos, are surrounded by members of their staff and guests. 

Youngsters in Victoria Harbour have a much-improved outdoor rink for their use this winter. Only fly in the ointment so far is too much snow, making much shovelling necessary, both for flooding and skating. 

First place winner in the 1957 home decoration contest, sponsored by Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce, was this Midland home of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Birch. Entries in this year’s contest will be judged tonight. The Jaycees also have been responsible for many of the street decorations in Midland’s Business section. They have been assisted by PUC and public works employees. This photo was re-published on December 21, 1960 with this caption; The home of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Birch, Midland, has been a top winner in Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce Christmas lighting contest on several occasions. Judging of this year’s contest will take place Dec. 22. (It won again.) 


Free Press Herald headline December 21st, 1960.
Continue Wing At Manor Under Winter Work Program

Work on construction of the new wing at Georgian Manor, Penetang, which came to a halt recently with the advent of near-zero temperatures and heavy snow, will again be resumed as a winter works project. This was revealed yesterday by construction superintendent Henry Gignac. He said he had received the go-ahead from his firm, W. G. Howe Construction Co. Mr. Gignac said polythene material has been ordered to provide protection from the elements for the workers. The plan calls for covering sections under which walls will be raised, and then moving the ‘shield’ on to complete another section. When the whole thing is covered in, heat will be introduced internally. 

County Herald headline of December 23, 1960.    
Employ Toronto Firm to Complete Town Plan

E. Lawlor, chairman of Midland Planning Board, announced yesterday that an agreement for the preparation of an official plan for the town of Midland, had been entered into with the planning department of Proctor and Redfern, civil and consulting engineers, Toronto. “I am quite pleased that we have been able to get so far this year,” commented Mr. Lawlor, who said he expected it would be between six and eight months before the draft of the official plan would be ready for presentation to town council and the minister of municipal affairs. 

Free Press Herald headline of December 29th, 1960.
Approve Wage Increases for Police in Penetang

With the exception of a change in one clause, plus an additional classification, Penetang council Wednesday night accepted the arbitration report of Judge Donald MacLaren in the wage dispute between itself and the police force. Judge MacLaren recommended that a proper agreement be drawn up between the two parties, and this was ordered completed by council. Included in the judicial recommendations were the following: That wages from July 1st to the end of 1960 be at the rate of $3,900 for sergeant and $3,600 for constable. These two figures to be boosted by $100 each for the entire year 1961; That there should not be an overtime agreement for 1960; That overtime for 1961 be paid at the rate of time-and-a-half, with straight time being paid for court appearances on off shift time. The recommendation included a suggestion that all over-time payments be pooled and distributed among the men at the year’s end; That each man should work one shift per month free of over-time payment when replacing a member who is ill; That there be two weeks vacation with pay after one full year of employment; That there be one and a half days sick leave per month cumulative to 180 days. The accumulated sick leave, up to a maximum of 180 days, to be paid to a man retiring from the force. 

    Despite a loss of several carload shipments because of the threatened rail strike, shipment of Christmas trees by rail from Penetang this year was almost on a par with last year’s record. CNR agent E. Levesque said yesterday. “The threatened strike did cut down on some of our shipments when they went by truck. I am confident if it hadn’t been for that we would have equalled last year’s loadings.” Mr. Levesque said 71 carloads were billed out of Penetang this year compared with 76 cars in 1959. He termed this “very good”, and said the company was quite happy with the results. 

Ten Years Ago

Charles Parker was elected mayor of Midland for 1951 with a majority of more than 21 per cent of the 1,943 votes cast. • • • H. J. “Herb” Beauchamp was requesting council to approve a building permit for a community hall to be erected behind his combined residence and store at 308 King Street. • • • Penetang branch of the Canadian Legion was holding its 24th annual “Ye Olde Tyme Fair” to raise funds for Christmas gifts for veterans’ children. • • • Tenders were being called for the wrecking of the former Woollen mill building at Midland and Hugel Avenues. * * * Tiny Township spent $53,040 on roads and bridges during the year, the annual statement prepared by clerk Michael Asselin revealed. • • • Simcoe County weed inspector C. D. Raikes advised that yellow rocket, a perennial weed not unlike mustard, was making its first appearance in the county particularly in the Coldwater area. * * * Coldwater council accepted with regret the resignation of waterworks superintendent Bruce Sperin and expressed the hope that he would be able to continue in an advisory capacity. * * * Following a number of claims for the $3 bounty on fox skins, from residents outside of Medonte Township, Medonte council passed a motion that only Medonte Township residents could claim the bounty for foxes shot in the township. 

    Editorial – A New Yorker claims to have perfected a machine which, if installed in hospitals, will enable one nurse at a nursing station to take automatic pulse, temperature and other routine medical checks on patients on her floor. Now that, it seems to us, is carrying this automation business too far. No machine ever can replace the healing touch of a pretty nurse. 

    Owing to the Christmas Day and Boxing Day statutory holidays Monday and Tuesday, only one issue of this newspaper will be published next week. It will be delivered to book stores and ready for carrier delivery Thursday. 

    Ronald Lawson, 11, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Lawson, Balm Beach, heard recently that he had won a three-day all-expense trip by jet plane to New York. The trip is sponsored by a Toronto newspaper for which Ronald had obtained a prizewinning number of new subscriptions. Ronald, who is an honor student in Grade 5 at the Mountain School (S.S. Tiny 16), will start on his New York trip Dec. 28 with a group of newspaper carrier boys. 

    A serious accident occurred yesterday afternoon. Michael Dragoman, 9, received possible broken ribs and internal injuries, medical authorities said. The lad was hit by a car on Hugel Ave. East. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Dragoman, 289 Third Street. 

       Midland Y’s Men held their annual Christmas party at the YMCA Tuesday evening. More than 100 members, wives and children turned out to greet Santa Claus and join in the program planned under the chairmanship of Harold McAllen. Those who assisted with the program were Gaye Abbott, Debby Yelland, Geraldine Ney, Nancy, Wendy and Sharon Biggar, trio numbers: Wendy and Mary Jane Walton and Sandra and Dennis Nesbitt, sang duets; solos were presented by Mary Tully, Wendy Thompson and Jill Patchell; Tom Thompson and Janie Brasher gave a recitation, and Peggy Bray and Nancy Tully offered piano solos. 


JAMES MACKIE – Former Midland mayor in 1937, ’38 and ‘39 and Ward 3 alderman during 1959 and ’60, James Mackie died at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Dec 16, following a six-months illness. Funeral service was conducted by Rev. J. L. Self at A. Barrie and Sons funeral home Dec. 19. Pallbearers were Reeve H. J. Beauchamp, town solicitor Douglas Haig, alderman Percy Crawford and three members of Branch 80 Canadian Legion, Len Wiles, Charles Stewart and Jack Fitzgerald. Just prior to his illness, Mr. Mackie had visited relatives in Scotland during a two-month vacation. He was accompanied to Scotland by Mr. and Mrs. Colin Mackie. Born, July 20, 1888 at Aberdeen, Scotland where he was educated. Mr. Mackie came to Midland in 1910 after a few months in Toronto. He operated a sign painting and decorating business until his retirement six years ago. On Christmas day 1925 at Toronto, he married the former Elizabeth Kennedy of Midland. Mrs. Mackie predeceased her husband on Nov. 6, 1957. An active member of Knox Presbyterian Church, Mr. Mackie was also active in the work of Branch 80 of the Canadian Legion and Caledonian Lodge AF and AM No 249 Midland. A Masonic service was held on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at the Barrie funeral home. Mr. Mackie is survived by three brothers Peter and Colin of Toronto and Robert of Aberdeen Scotland.

FRANCIS G. REYNOLDS  – A life-long resident of Wyebridge and Waverley, Francis (Frank) George Reynolds died at Penetang General Hospital, Dec 2, in his 82nd year. Funeral service was conducted by Rev. A. G Fairhead and Allan Creaser at Waverley United Church. Pallbearers were Alex Carpenter, Keith Wood, Orval Kitching, Alvin Reynolds, Willis Reynolds and Everett Reynolds. Born and educated at Wyebridge, Mr. Reynolds Married the former Mabel Carpenter at Midland, May 4, 1921. He was a member of the Anglican church and the Wyebridge Orange Lodge and was a Conservative in politics. Besides his widow he is survived by four daughters Mrs. Wm. Leonard (Frances), Wyevale, Mrs. Ralph MacDonald (Audrey), Wyebridge, Mrs. Harold Archer (Phyllis), Midland and Mrs. Donald Irwin (Wilma), Barrie and four sons Eldon and Eric of Waverley, Laurence of Wyevale and a stepson Douglas Holt of Wyevale. Three brothers also survive. Henry of Wyebridge, Fred of Midland and Ernest of Richmond Hill. Twenty grandchildren and two great-grand-children also survive. 

MRS. ALFRED FORGET – A resident of Lafontaine most of her life, and of Penetang for the past 11 years, Mrs. Alfred Forget died Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Georgian Manor following a stroke. She was 97 years old. Born in Quebec, she came to Lafontaine with her parents at a tender age. It was there she met and married Alfred Forget in 1895. She was a Roman Catholic and a member of the Ladies of St. Ann at Lafontaine. Surviving are three sons, Telesphore and Philippe of Lafontaine and Lucien of Midland and three daughters, Mrs. Edmond Roi (Alma) and Mrs. Art Robitaille (Esther) of Lafontaine and Mrs. Earl Therrien (Matilda) of Penetang. Her husband predeceased her in 1930. She also leaves four sisters, Mrs. Fred Dennis, Midland, Mrs. Frank Skelly and Mrs. Edward Sullivan, Barrie, and Mrs. Paul Brisette, Victoria Harbour. There are 43 grandchildren and 59 great-grandchildren. Funeral service was held Friday, Dec. 9, from Beausoleil’s funeral home to Ste. Croix Church, Lafontaine, where Rev. T. Marchildon officiated. Burial was in Ste. Croix mausoleum. Pallbearers were Aurele, Gerard, Martial, Paul and Leo Forget and Fred Robitaille.

ROSE TESSIER – A life-long resident of Penetang and well known there for her charitable work, mainly through the Red Cross organization. Miss Rose Tessier died unexpectedly Friday, Dec. 9, at her work after suffering a coronary thrombosis. Daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Alphonse Tessier, she had worked for many years as a seamstress at the Ontario Hospital, Penetang. She was a Roman Catholic and a member of the Catholic Women’s League. She is survived by one brother, Eddie of Penetang; and three sisters, Mrs. Albert Brasseur (Jennie), Georgetown, PEI, Flora and Alice, both of Penetang. Funeral service was held Tuesday, Dec. 13, from Beausoleil’s funeral home to St. Ann’s Memorial Church where requiem mass was sung by Rev. J. Kelly, assisted by Father J. Marchand and Father L. O’Malley. Pallbearers were Art McKee, Art Dumais, Jim Hamelin, Len O’Leary, Theophile Ladouceur and Walter Spearn.


ADOPTION — Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas Kenning are happy to announce the arrival of their adopted son, Thomas Archer, aged three and one half years.
COUSINEAU — To Mr. andMrs. John Cousineau, Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Monday, December 26, 1960, a daughter.
FLETCHER — To Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Fletcher, 113 Fourth St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, December 27, 1960, a son.
LACROIX — To Mr and Mrs. Leonard Lacroix, 29 Poyntz St., Penetang, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 27, 1960, a son.
LEGAULT — To Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Legault. Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 27, 1960, a son.
MARCHAND — To Mr. and Mrs. Morley Marchand R.R. 1, Wyebridge, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Saturday, December, 24, 1960, a daughter.
MONAGUE — To Mr. and Mrs. Bert Monague, Christian Island, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Tuesday, December 27, 1960, a son.
PATTERSON — To Mr. and Mrs. George Patterson, Port McNicoll, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Wednesday, December 28, 1960, a daughter.
WILFORD — Jack and Beverley Wilford are happy to announce the arrival of their daughter, Karen Lee, at the Civic Hospital, Peterborough, on Tuesday, December 20, 1960.
CRUISE — To Mr. and Mrs. David Cruise, 149 Sixth Street,  Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Sunday, December 18, 1960, a daughter.
DENIS—To Mr. and Mrs Joseph Denis, 389 Hugel Avenue, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, December 13, 1960, a son.
DUNN — To Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Dunn, 293 Dominion Avenue, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Thursday, December 15, 1960, a daughter.
EDWARDS — To Mr. and Mrs. Verne Edwards, 235 Russell Street, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Sunday, December 18, 1960, a son.
LORNE — To Mr. and Mrs. Mathieu Lorne, 292 Dominion Avenue, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, December 20, 1960, a daughter. Stillborn.
NICHOLSON — To Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Nicholson, Honey Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, December 21, 1960, a daughter.
O’CONNOR — To Mr. and Mrs. Frank O’Connor (nee Madeline Lowes), 852 Kirkwood Avenue, Ottawa, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, Sunday, December 18, 1960, a son.
SHEFFIELD – To Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sheffield, 180 Dominion Avenue, Midland, at St. Andrew Hospital, Tuesday, December 20, 1960, a daughter.
WEISSFLOG — To Mr. and Mrs. Armin Weissflog, 165 Ruby Street, Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Tuesday, December 20, 1960, a son.
BALL — To Mr. and Mrs. Grant Ball, R.R. 3, Elmvale, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Wednesday, December 14, I960, a son.
BELL— To Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bell, First Street, Port McNicoll, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Saturday, December 17, 1960, a son.
HARTLEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Hartley, 4 Robert Street, W., Penetang, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Tuesday, December 13, 1960, a son.
KING —  To Mr. and Mrs. Ronald King, Yonge Street, Midland, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Saturday, December 17, a son.
LAURIN — To Mr. and Mrs. Gildore Laurin, 8 Maria Street, Penetang, at
Penetanguishene General Hospital, Thursday, December 15, 1960, a son.
McANENEY — To Mr. and Mrs. Bernard McAneney, R.R. 5, Bolton, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Thursday, December 15, 1960, a son.
MOREAU — To Mr. and Mrs. Justin Moreau, West Street, Penetang, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Thursday, December 15, 1960, a son.
SPARLING — To Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sparling, 3 Queen Street, Elmvale, at Penetanguishene General Hospital, Saturday, December 17, 1960, a son.
25 Years Ago

The Randolph Macdonald Dredging Company, which was dredging the harbour at King Street, Tiffin and Aberdeen docks, stopped dredging operations until spring. * * * Miss Betty Brown, Jack Tippin and Frank Smitham attended a meeting in Midland of the 1st Midland Wolf Cubs prior to starting a park in Coldwater. * * * H. L. Cumming’s Deputy Minister of municipal affairs, in a letter to Simcoe County Warden, H.  L. Crawford advised that the debenture debts of both Midland and Penetang were likely to be refunded in 1936 and both towns re-established on a pay-your-debts basis. * * * “A Brown Picture”, an oil  study in that colour by W. J. Woods of First Street, Midland, was sold for $100 to the University of Toronto where it was to hang in the music room of Hart House. * * * Bylaws were passed by Midland council appointing R. S. King the town’s acting clerk-treasurer and Wm. Hack deputy clerk. * * * W. S. McKinley and J. B. Roebuck were mayoralty candidates for the municipal elections which were held Jan. 6. Eighty-six persons were nominated for 16 offices. * * * Midland’s hockey executive vetoed a proposal for an Intermediate “B” entry from Midland. The executive felt that, with two intermediate and junior entries, there would be too much hockey even for Midland. * * * Midland voters were to decide on election day whether or not they wished the inauguration of daylight saving time. * * * Midland police reported an epidemic of chicken thieving on the west side of town and they advised residents who kept chickens “to sleep with one eye open.” 

Dear Editor
The single-screw wooden tug Fred A. Hodgson was built in 1890 by Collingwood Shipyard as Hull No 11, and registered there in the names of James Noble and Charles Noble. Official No. 94688. Her length was 83.8 feet, width 16.9 and depth 6.8 feet, gross tons 62.78. There were several changes in ownership until 1912 when she was burned and abandoned near Wiarton. She was salvaged by Capt. Alex. Clark who sold the hull to Dobson Shipbuilders of Midland. She was rebuilt, re-surveyed and re-registered in Collingwood as No. 3 in 1912, with Manley Chew of Midland as the registered owner. Her dimensions were: length 97.1 feet, width 17.8 depth 8.2 feet, gross tons 172.94 Registered tons 105.95. She had one single cylinder high pressure engine made by Sutton Brothers of Buffalo, N.Y. in 1876. Diameter of cylinder was 14 inches and length of stroke 16 inches. Her boiler was made by John Doty Iron Works of Toronto in 1877 with N.H.P. 6.5. There were no further changes in ownership. Her registry was closed Dec. 5, 1927 on information that she had foundered somewhere in Georgian Bay about twelve years previous.
(If Mr. Williams has his dates correct the tug was lost only two years after being acquired and rebuilt by Manley Chew.) 

    One change was made necessary on the Penetang Protestant Separate School, commencing with the first of the year, when Miss Ruth Lawson tendered her resignation because of ill health. Board chairman Ed Webster said Mrs. Bob Murday of Midland has been hired to replace Miss Lawson, and will start her duties next week.

Below is a sampling of the many corporate seasons greetings printed annually in the Free Press, these examples will never appear again.

From the volunteers, staff and board of directors of the Huronia Museum we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, New Year!!

One thought on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – December 21st to 31st, 1960

  1. What is so very interesting is the quality of the water being investigated and still is happening- 1960

    And the other is a woman passes away but her obituary is in her name. She never becomes the unique person with her first name but is mentioned Mrs. Alfred Forget..not Mrs……..Forget wife of mr. Alfred Forget. Terrible

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