Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – March 16th to 23rd, 1961

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 enlargeTogged out in new spring finery are Billy Beaton, left, in brown check continental style trousers and green sport shirt; Brenda Hebner, centre, in a mauve check sanforized cotton dress; and Nancy Biggar in an orange ice gingham and plain white dress with gingham appliqués on the skirt, and a straw roller hat. The outfits were modelled at Edwards’ fashion show. 

Crib champs – Les Scott, left, and Charlie Stewart hold trophies they won while representing Branch 80, Midland, at the Canadian Legion Zone E-4 cribbage tournament in Orillia recently. Since then the Midland team also took part in the district tournament in Newmarket, but did not get enough “15 two’s” to win it. 

Dedicated to the memory of Cecil Hopkins, a new worship service center has been termed “a wonderful inspiration to the pupils” by Kenneth Cowan, superintendent of the Sunday School of St. Paul’s United Church. Hand-made by Gunter Freund, a member of the congregation, the new center is located on the stage in the church auditorium during Sunday School services. In a natural oak finish, it has storage space for books at the rear. Dedication services were held some weeks ago, at which time J. W. “Win” Smith recalled the contribution which Mr. Hopkins had made to the Sunday School and to youth generally in Midland. Mr. Smith said Mr. Hopkins had already established himself as a “worker with young people in the community” when he became a member of the congregation of St. Paul’s at the time of church union. He served for more than 30 years as superintendent of the Sunday School. “He dedicated his life to work with young people, especially boys, and many hundreds of them will remember him as one who was ready at all times to help them in every way possible,” said Mr. Smith. “Familiarly known as “Pop” or “Dad,” he was in many cases actually that to a boy, often closer to him than his own dad.” Mr. Smith said Mr. Hopkins was also the one person, more than anyone else, who made the establishment of the work of the YMCA in Midland possible, back in 1919-20. “He kept the minutes of the meetings, so his own part was not played up and this was like him all through his life. He did the work and let the others have the glory,” Mr. Smith declared.

We wanted to find a photo of Mr. Hopkins and this one from 1955 was in the archive with the caption; Ronald McQuaig will represent St. Paul’s United Church Midland at the 35th session of the Ontario Older Boys Parliament which convenes in the Ontario Legislative building in December. Ronald is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Elwood “Red” McQuaig of 234 Manly Street, with him is Cecil Hopkins director of boys work at St. Paul’s. 

Trophy winners in Midland Ladies’ Curling Club 14th annual bonspiel last week, were Mrs. Don Argue’s Midland rink won the Midland Trophy event. Players were Mrs. Bruce Spicer (Dorothy), Mrs. Bill Kennedy, Mrs. Don Argue and Mrs. Clive Park (Mary). 

Latest spring fashions were modelled by this trio at Edwards’ fashion show last week. On the left, Mrs. Tom Henderson wears a red morlaine dressmaker suit, matching red straw hat and black patent leather shoes. Her handbag is also black patent leather. Centre, Mrs. Ross Irwin models a gold basket weave suit, boxy style wild mink stole and green and gold petal hat. On the right, Miss Doris Wainman wears a wool and angora Dior blue coat with dyed fox collar to match, and a blue flowered hat. 

At Edwards Fashion Show, Mrs. Stanley Taralko, left, wore a black barathea cloth suit with a sapphire mink stole. Her accessories included a black straw hat and tapestry bag. Arlene Armstrong, right, chose a wool and angora little boy coat, black lacquered straw hat with flowered trim and a pouch bag. 

There were many styles and fashions for little tots and teenagers as well at Edwards Fashion Show held in the store last week. This dusky pink locket dress of popular was modelled by Geraldine Koenig. Her accessories were a white hat and white gloves. 

A black and white tweed tailored coat with a black straw hat featuring a wide black bow trim would be Mrs. Leonard Parliament’s choice for spring. Mrs. Eric Paul, right, liked a grapefruit knitted Lensee suit with avocado green straw hat and accessories. This dress is completely washable and has a perma-pleat skirt. 

Barbara Spence (left) and Linda Stewart were two of the skaters in the senior group as Midland Figure Skating Association held it’s “Ice Capers of 1961” at Arena Gardens recently. Feature of the evening was two solo exhibitions by Joan Meloche, club professional for several years. 

These Elmvale teams won consolation titles in the Ontario Little NHL tournament for smaller communities held at Bradford recently. They also won the Georgian Bay District title in their divisions earlier. The NHL team includes, left to right — front row, Gary Turner, Carl Edwards, John Brown, Don Beardsall, Stewart McKenzie, Steve Crane; middle row, Jim Gilbert, Al Lambie, Ricky Myers, Bill Playfair, Ted McConnell, John Archer, Bruce Corbett; back row — Bob Ritchie, Bern O’Halloran, Brian Swan, Doug Lambie. 

Members of junior team are: front row, Mike Kelly, Del Frankcom, Gregg Patchell, Pat Grenier, Bruce Burnett, Paul Lambie, Don Columbus, John Crawford; back row — Bill Ritchie, Bob Crane, ‘Butch’ Ritchie, Ross Leonard, Ron Miller and Lyle McClung. 

Tonight’s the big night for young hockey players, both boys and girls, at Sacred Heart Public School, when they hold their ‘‘final night” at Midland Arena Gardens. Mike Robitaille drops the puck to set the gals in action. Three boys’ games, and one for the girls, are on the card for tonight. (Help us name the girls.) 

Joe Huston Jr. lines up some of the boys for their final practice session. Three boys’ games, and one for the girls, are on the card for tonight. 

In a few weeks now members of Midland’s Aqua-Divers Club hope to get out of the living room and into some real water, other than the pool at RCAF Edgar. Looking over some of their equipment are, left to right, Bill Mitchell, Doug Stephens and Don Gray. 

More members of Midland’s Aqua-Divers Club, left to right, Dick Wells, Bill Gallagher, Bob Argue and Gord Brand. 

These girls walked off with most of the silverware in women’s play as Midland Garrison Badminton Club held its championships March 11. Mary-Jo Hargadon, left, won the singles title, Fran Brodeur (center) and Bernice Bridges combined to take the ladies’ doubles crown. 

Mixed doubles was one of the popular events as Midland Garrison Badminton Club held its championships recently. Mr. and Mrs. John Bourgeois (left) won the consolation title but the club title went to Mary-Jo Hargadon (holding trophy) and Carson Brown. 


County Herald headline of March 17, 1961.
Hampered by freezing temperatures, biting winds and dense smoke, Penetang firemen fought a losing battle for several hours yesterday in an attempt to save the home of Mr. and Mrs. Herb Desjardins, Fox Street. The blaze which almost completely gutted the two-storey frame structure, left Mr. and Mrs. Desjardins and four children  homeless, and with only the clothes they were wearing at the time. Mr. Desjardins said he was outside shovelling snow shortly before three o’clock when he noticed something wrong with the curtains on a living room window. As he went toward the house, the plastic curtain fell, and he realized the house was on fire. When he opened the door, he said flames and smoke drove him back, and the whole interior seemed to be ablaze, particularly around an oil heater. He believed the fire started from the heater which he had cleaned earlier in the day. Mrs. Desjardins had gone to Midland only a short while before the fire broke out. It was some time before she could be contacted, and when she returned about 4.30 p.m., part of the roof had fallen in. All that Mr. Desjardins was able to save was the washing machine, clothes dryer, tubs and a few other items from the laundry room at the back of the house. He also managed to grab a few items of clothing from this same room. 


Free Press Herald headline of March 22, 1961.
Some of the transportation difficulties experienced by Indians of Christian Island in the water passage between their reserve and the mainland, during late fall and early spring, will be removed when a new steel-hulled boat goes into service later this year. News of the awarding of a contract for the 50-foot vessel was Friday. The craft will have a beam of 14 feet and a rounded bilge capable of taking the  pounding it will endure breaking through thin ice. Power will be supplied by a single-screw 150 horsepower diesel engine. The lowest tender for the project was submitted by Russel Brothers Ltd. of Owen Sound. Cost of the combined tug and ferry is set at $56,000. This is the  first federal contract the company has received since it was reactivated in January of this year. Running between Christian Island and Cedar Point, the boat will ferry passengers and carry some freight and supplies for the Island. For hauling heavier items such as the annual cut of lumber, the new craft will tow a steel scow. The small wooden vessel now in service will likely be retired when the new boat is delivered, it was stated. It is expected work on the vessel will get under way in about three weeks time. An official of the company said some design work still remains to be completed, and drawings will have to submitted for approval. 

    Dozens of Penetang mothers have been working feverishly for the past two weeks, fashioning costumes for their offspring who will be appearing in the annual figure skating carnival next weekend. Mrs. Lorne Perrault, Chairman of the committee in charge of costumes, said more than 80 outfits are required for this year’s show. Hundreds of yards of net and other materials, as well as countless sequins and decorations have gone into the costumes.  Left to right Pauline Perrault, Judy Ross, Linda Ross, Mrs. Perrault and Loretta Perrault. — Staff photo. 

    There were very few motorists around Penetang and district who failed to meet the March 15 deadline for securing new licence plates, according to Boyd Hollister, Penetang issuer. The last week before the deadline was the busiest since the first of the year, with the final three days bringing out the largest number, be said. One or two vehicles, bearing 1960 markers, were visible around the town Thursday morning, but these quickly disappeared as the owners secured new plates. 

  “Everyone agrees that something is wrong with the divorce laws,” said Robert J. McCleave, to the members of Midland Canadian Club last week. “The reform will likely not be sponsored by any particular party, but by interested supporters which will cut across party lines,” he said. Mr. McCleave is the Progressive-Conservative member for Halifax and the chairman of the Commons private bills committee. A commission to study divorce reform was set up in Britain in 1920 and it was not until 1937 that a bill was passed, he said. Under the British North America Act, marriage and divorce became a federal responsibility, and in 1867 the grounds became that of the English law — adultery. Nova Scotia alone has cruelty, which is not set forth in the BNA, but was in effect in the province before 1867. In Sir John A. MacDonald’s time it was quite fashionable to have parliamentary divorce, and up to 1925 men could sue their wives for adultery, but a wife could only sue if the adultery grounds were coupled with bigamy, desertion for two years, incest or cruelty, the speaker said. In 1951-52 the Supreme Court made a very important decision which effected divorce — it was a rule of evidence. Up until then the evidence had to show beyond a reasonable doubt there had been adultery. The new decision found that when the balance of evidence was towards adultery having been committed, under circumstances that made it more probable, the grounds were established by inference. 

    Midland’s newest business, Georgian Bay Hardware, opened yesterday in the former Jeffery block at King Street and Dominion Avenue. Owners of the business are Ian Bowman, a lifetime resident of Midland, and Wm Crippin, a native and resident of Penetang. “This is our first venture in the complete hardware business,” stated Mr. Bowman. “We are carrying a full line of all hardware, electrical and plumbing supplies, housewear, paints and wallpaper.” Stating that they now had 3,000 square feet of floor space, Mr. Bowman said he and Mr. Crippin had purchased the entire Jeffery block for an undisclosed amount. He emphasized that their former painting and contracting business had “just moved across the street”. Eric Rankin will be in charge of the sporting goods, scaffolding and paints. Mr. Bowman said, noting that Ray Dilworth will be in charge of the painting and decorating contract department. Mr. Crippin will be managing the hardware departments and my job will be overall supervision, Mr. Bowman added. Mr. Bowman and Mr. Crippin have been in the painting and decorating contracting business for more than 14 years in this district. Mr. Bowman added that he expected two or three additional employees would be added to the new store staff in the not too distant future.

Five men employed by Bowman and Crippin on a tall scaffold painting the screen of the Midland drive-in theatre located on Angela Schmidt Foster Road west of Highway 93, Midland, May, 1954. 

    Made desirable by the rapidly expanding size of the congregation, 11 new elders were ordained at St. Paul’s United Church, Midland, Sunday, bringing their number to 45 in all. Rev W. L. Morden said the membership of the church now stands at close to 900, compared with less than 700 only a few years ago. New elders are Chesley Scovill, Ross Jones, Elwood Marcellus, James Short, Gunter Freund, Sills Denholm, Ira Rumney, A. J. Gardhouse, Keith Smith, Bryson McQuirter and Norman Shill. 

    A long-unused hotel in Hillsdale is again serving a useful purpose in that community. It’s now the home of a newly-formed branch of the YMCA-YWCA. Started largely through the enthusiasm of Tony  Eccleshall, a constable with the OPP detachment at Elmvale who makes his home in Hillsdale. It now serves some 35 young people of the village and surrounding area, along with some adults who are taking part in square dancing classes. 

    Fire Monday night caused an estimated $5,000 damage to the building and contents of a house at 188 Fourth Street. Midland, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert McLeod. When the fire broke out, around 10 p.m., the McLeod’s two sons, aged 7 and 4 and their eight-week-old daughter were sleeping. They were quickly removed to safety. At present the family is staying with Mrs. McLeod’s sister, Mrs. Donaldson and Capt. Norman Donaldson, Manley Street. Fire Chief Arnold Tippin said the fire is believed to have been caused by a rusted chimney stopper in an unused stove-pipe hole in the chimney between a workshop and the kitchen of the house. The fire ate its way through the ceiling and into the main portion of the house. 

The Midland Workers’ Association, representing the unemployed at Midland called a special meeting in protest against the cuts in relief announced by council. The action most likely to be taken by relief recipients was to refuse to send children to school, (illegible first name) Gauthier, association president stated. Midland prospector Archie Cameron flew 900 miles north to the Great Slave and Great Bear Lake country.  • • • The Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario West was in session in Midland, with approximately 1,800 visiting delegates. • • •Danny VanClief a former hockey star of Midland British Consols turned professional and signed to play with London in the International League. * * * One of Midland’s earliest citizens, Capt. R. Smith retired from command of the S. S. St. Heliers after 49 years sailing on the Great Lakes, 24 years of which he spent on Department of Marine ships. * * * A play entitled “Wild Ginger” was put on by a group of Elmvale young people under the auspices of the Young People’s Society of St. John’s United Church, Victoria Harbour. * * * W. H. Keller, was elected president of the Midland Curling Club. * * * Midland’s Ladies’ Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Douglas Major made its first public appearance before an audience at Knox Presbyterian Church.

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