Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – April 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.  

When former Huronia Museum curator Jamie Hunter acquired the Midland Free Press negative collection containing over 75,000 images, he thought we had them all, but as we process and identify them it has become obvious that we only have about half of the photos actually used in the paper each week. Many were submitted by rural correspondents such as Cyril Martin from Coldwater who would have kept his originals. The photos taken from the Penetang office have been lost except for a few hundred. Many photos were submitted by citizens who were on site when events occurred. The negatives from this week in 1961 have also disappeared; there is not one original photo in the collection this week so we have gone to the “copy and paste” option. 


Free Press Herald headline from April 19, 1961.
Midland council at a special meeting Monday night gave third reading and approval to a bylaw regulating the hours of retail gasoline outlets in Midland. Reeve Percy Crawford and Alderman Albert Atkinson  were opposed to the bylaw. Alderman Oliver Lesperance with Mr. Crawford and Mr. Atkinson opposed the third reading of the bylaw. Alderman Wm. Thompson, Walter Woods and Deputy-reeve Grigg were in favor. Mayor Charles Parker cast the deciding vote in favor of the third reading. L. Bosley of Bosley’s Service Station objected to Taylor’s Service station being exempt from the bylaw and said there was discrimination against him (Bosley). The reeve agreed with Mr. Bosley. Reeve Crawford said he was opposed because council would be responsible if a court case arose from the decision. “I hope it doesn’t cause a lawsuit but it probably will,” added Mr. Bosley. The bylaw provides that service stations, Mondays to Fridays, will close at 7 p.m. and open at 7 a.m. the following  morning and on Saturday they will close at 7 p.m. and remain closed until 7 a.m. Monday. Two duty service stations will be permitted to remain open every weekend. [Bosley’s was at the corner of Fifth and Vindin, he operated a service station, drive in restaurant and coin operated car wash.) 


County Herald headline of April 21, 1961
A substantial order for air circulation units of a design and type never before made in Canada has been awarded to Canadian Name Plate Company, Midland, President Gordon Moss told this newspaper earlier this week. Mr. Moss said the Midland firm is at present tooling up for the work. He said production will commence early in May and will continue indefinitely. The Name Plate president said the contract will mean at least 30 new employees will  be employed by the company as production of the units proceeds. He expected the plant would be in full production on the units by mid-summer. He explained that another Midland industry, Midland Industries Limited, also will benefit from the new product. MIL will supply three plastic parts used in the circulation units’ assembly. It is the only major supplier of parts. Mr. Moss said the largest component piece In the assembly is an extruded aluminum shape which will be made from raw aluminum billets on new equipment recently installed in the Name Plate plant. 

    A Penetang girl, Miss Claudia Stewart, has been named superintendent of nurses for the new Ontario Hospital School at Cedar Springs. She is the daughter of Mrs. Jack Stewart and the late Jack Stewart. Claudia is a graduate of the Ontario Hospital School at Orillia. She also completed’ postgraduate courses at University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario. She has had experience in both general and psychiatric nursing in Toronto, London, Orillia and Penetang. Prior to assuming her new duties, she was on the staff at the Ontario Hospital School, Orillia. 

    Midland Police Chief George Wainman said yesterday that, in the last six weeks, 19 bicycles had been reported stolen. All but three have been recovered, the chief noted, added that the majority of those stolen did not have licence plates. “It would be a great help to the police and a protection to the owners if they had bought the licence plates.” Commented the chief, noting that the licences cost only $I. 

    A Midland-owned beagle, Heidi by name, may have set some kind of record when she gave birth to no less than 14 live puppies recently. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Truax, Russell Street, Heidi had 12 of her litter by natural birth and two others arrived only after a Caesarian operation. On Wednesday, 11 of the puppies were still living, and doing well. Heidi, who only weighs around 20 pounds soaking wet, was doing well too. She’s a purebred beagle, one of the smaller type of hounds. Average litter for this breed of dog is around five to seven pups, and the known registered record, as far as we have been able to find out is 12,” Mr. Truax told this paper. The big litter has meant extra work for the Truaxs’ who are helping Heidi with her feeding problems by means of a prepared formula which is fed to the pups via a bottle every six hours. 

     Members of Midland Curling Club, at their annual meeting Wednesday night, instructed the club’s directors to pursue further, and determine the advisability of the installation of a separate ice-making plant for the curling rink. The decision was taken after members  heard the arena board plans to increase the rate it charges the curling club for ice-making services. There were 78 members present at the meeting. 

    Captains and engineers of Great Lakes ships in the Midland area recently tendered a dinner to Allan Dane and Roy Wilson of the government wireless station and John Smith, government steamship inspector. The meeting heard that all three men will be leaving Midland at the end of the month when the wireless station and the steamship inspection office will be closed. Chairman of the dinner, held at the Georgian Hotel, was George Burns superintendent of Canadian Pacific Steamships at Port McNicoll. Percy Eagles of Great Lakes Boat and Machine Co. Ltd., paid tribute to Mr. Smith and expressed regret that the inspector was leaving Midland. Mayor Charles Parker said Midland was disappointed about losing the wireless station and the steamship inspection office and it was hoped they might return to Midland. 

The interhouse drama is coming to a close as houses Alpha and Delta begin rehearsing their plays. House Delta is presenting a Hillbilly play directed by Mr. Thompson. Play is about a man with three teen-age children who wants to marry a widow with two children. But “Paw” doesn’t think Daisy will want to marry him with such a brood, so he dresses them in short pants and ribbons. The play is hilarious and well played by: Jim McKean, Wendy Feltham, Leila Bower, Robbie Morrison, Nancy Jones, Ede Saelzer, Bill Young, Chris Brinkman and Roger Jackson. House Alpha is rehearsing “This Way to Heaven”, directed Mrs. Mckean. The play is a comedy fantasy about a man who is moving into the room of an elderly lady. The man is a ‘being’ from heaven who has to kill Gram before he can get his wings. He wants to kill her because she is an excellent cook and she is needed in heaven. Alpha is well supported by Richard Wright, Thelma Penhale, Jacques Beauchamp and Bonnie Rourke. 

    Fifty years ago today, April 19, 1911, was the date on which final signatures were placed on a charter of incorporation for Penetanguishene General Hospital. To mark the anniversary, members of the Ladies Auxiliary are holding a tea at the hospital, and the entire building will be open to visitors. W. J. Hanna was provincial secretary when the charter was granted in 1911 to the hospital, which opened in a home originally built for H. H. Thompson and later sold to Wm. Firstbrook. It was sold to the town to be used as a hospital in 1910. Some say the selling price was $4,000, while others maintain its was turned over for a nominal $1 payment. Originally, Penetanguishene General Hospital operated with a nursing school, provision for which was set out in the charter. The last class graduated in 1929. From the beginning to the present date (1961), the hospital has had a total of 21 superintendents. An historical booklet being produced for the anniversary indicates that official records are missing for a considerable portion of the first years of operation. An interesting bit of information contained in it shows that in 1928 ward rate was $1.75 per day, with $2.50 for semi-private and $3 for private ward. Sometime during the late 30’s or early 40’s, the financial situation of the institution became extremely precarious. It was In 1942 that the board finally moved to bring in a religious order to carry on the work. So the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception took over the operation of the hospital. In the booklet, one of the original Sisters to arrive, and still on the staff, writes of some of the difficulties encountered during their first years. She tells of cutting cotton from a bolt, hemming it, and rushing back to make up a bed. There were many gifts of food to the institution, and the sisters spent long hours preserving fruits and vegetables for use during the long winter. One nurse comprised the night duty staff, and she often had to check on the furnace and occasionally shovel in the odd lot of coal to keep the place warm. The laboratory consisted of a microscope and a few fluids to do blood counts. 

Big news from the gossip column, Did You Hear …
Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Sweeting, Tom and Tim motored to St. Catharines for the weekend to visit Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Sweeting. 

25 Years Ago – 1936
Midland tax rate was set at 45 mills the same as the previous year. * * * Amalgamation of Midland’s municipal offices, public utility commission, and education and parks boards was put into effect with R. S. King appointed comptroller. * * * A chorus of Midland High School students, directed by Douglas Major, with representatives of 14 other schools presented a special choir of voices at Massey Hall, Toronto, in connection with the Ontario Educational Association convention. * * * The Canadian Corps’ capture of Vimy Ridge was celebrated by Midland’s branch 80 of the Canadian Legion at a dinner in the Queen s Hotel. * * *  The pickerel run had started in the Black and North Rivers according to Dr. W B Leatherdale, secretary-treasurer of the Gloucester Pool Cottagers’ Association. * * * A L Fitzgerald was elected president of the Penetang Baseball Club at its annual meeting. * * * H. H. McGill was appointed Midland’s municipal park superintendent and clearing of the park ground for another season was started. * * * Supplementary estimates tabled in the federal government intruded $16,000 for dredging and $9,000 for a wharf at Honey Harbour and $21,200 for a wharf at Penetang. * * * Capt. Cecil Clark of Midland was appointed shore captain of the Paterson Steamship Lines at Montreal. * * * A violin made by James Albert Benson of Sixth Street Midland won high praise from a number of Toronto violinists and was shown at the Midland Hobby Show.    

     The Midland 4H Strawberry Club held its organizational  meeting at Evergreen School House recently. New officers elected were, president, Sharon Benson: vice- president, Ronalda Belanger; secretary-treasurer, Donald Foster. The convener of the social committee is Ailene Wilcox, and of the fall fair executive, Wayne McMann. Two new members were welcomed at this meeting and on March 30 three more new members joined the club. Achievement day this year will be held July 4 when exhibits from each member will be judged; a test on this year’s work will be given; and individual members will have a chance to judge sample boxes of berries. The club has been trying out several new types of berries. One of these, Redcoats, put out by the government two years ago, appears very promising. It produces a large, firm, bright-colored berry with prolific runner-growth, and is also a good jam berry with a high yield per acre. Other varieties are being tried.

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