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

Again we have no original negatives for this week and we will make do with copy and paste. 

More than 1,000 persons Wednesday saw the ”new look” in mental care during open house at Ontario Hospital, Penetang. Dr. C. K. McKnight surveys a stack of iron bars removed recently from the windows of the main building and cottages at Ontario Hospital, part of the new concept in treatment of mental illness.


Free Press headline of May 3rd, 1961.
Eli Contois of R.R. 3, Penetang, yesterday offered a $100 reward for information about his 50-year-old son, Baptiste Contois of Thunder Beach, who has been missing for nearly two weeks. Mr. Contois, Sr., is offering the reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the whereabouts of Baptiste, dead or alive. Provincial police said this week they hold little hope that Baptiste Contois is alive. They believe he drowned when he tried to make the 10-mile trip from Cognashene Point to Honey Harbour, nearly two weeks ago.

    Word was received this week that Midland has been awarded a special citation for completing I960 without a fatal traffic accident. Midland was one of 17 towns, with population between 5,000 and 10,000 receiving the citation made by the 7th conference of the Canadian Highway Safety Council. Mayor Charles Parker, who is expected to accept the citation later this month, said it was gratifying to know that the work of those interested in safety is paying off in Midland and he expressed the hope that the interest would continue.

    A car stolen in Toronto last week was found almost completely submerged in Six-Mile Lake, north of Port Severn, Thursday. The car was found by the superintendent of Six Mile Lake Provincial Park, who reported it to the OPP detachment at Victoria Harbour. Police learned the vehicle had been stolen in Toronto the previous day. A stone was lodged on the gas pedal and the ignition was in the “on” position. 

    Several hundred Northern Ontario citizens will be feasting shortly on maple syrup originating in the Penetang area, according to Bill Stevens, manager of the Dominion Store at Penetang. Mr. Stevens said he had purchased 156 gallons of syrup from local farmers during the last few days. On Monday his staff packed the syrup and shipped it to Timmins, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake and Cochrane. Total weight ran to slightly over one ton, with the delicacy packaged in half-gallon and quart sizes. 

    Rabbits have been pulled out of hats, but few have been found under the hood of a car. This happened in Midland yesterday. Miles Blackhurst told this paper. Sunday, Mr. Blackhurst of Midland discovered his windshield wipers were not operating. Yesterday he took his into Bourgeois Motors to have this, and the oil checked. When Lionel Bourgeois and Jack Colquhoun opened up the hood of the engine, there was a white rabbit staring them in the face. It was perched on the battery. Mr. Blackhurst said, The rabbit, whose fur was grease spattered, apparently had nibbled the rubber hose which provides the vacuum to operate the wipers. 

25 YEARS AGO (1936)
Plans were being made for Midland’s first combined motor and fashion show to be held in the curling rink. * * * Midland’s six-month bread war came to an end when bakers an store managers agreed on an eight-cent loaf. * * * An increase in the relief allowance was refused by Hon. D. A. Croll, Minister of Public Welfare, when a delegation comprised of representatives of council and the Midland Workers Association visited the minister. * * * Midland’s Queens hotel was taken over on a lease from the CPR by Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Kinnie. (The CPR had purchased all the buildings along the south side of the CNR tracks to gain access to their new station in Midland and the Simcoe Elevator. An agreement was eventually reached with the CNR to share the existing track.) * * * Miss Grace McMullen a vice-president of the Midland Hobby Show, was one of the Judges in the literary and oratorical competitions. * * * The plant of the Midland Wood Products was being dismantled and Milton J. Bray and Norman K. Playfair purchased a part of the equipment and planned to operate a small general planing mill and builders’ supply company. (The beginning of the Midland Planing Mill / Buildall) * * * The first ship to enter Midland harbor was the CSL freighter Gleneagles, May 5, with 10,000 tons of coal. * * * A letter to the editor of this newspaper from Joseph Charlebois, of Bowser, Vancouver Island, stated. “I helped to put up the first electric light in Canada and that was in Midland in 1881, the first light showing May 1. The electric light plant came from Scotland for the British Canadian Lumber Company. 

Editorial “Wise and Otherwise”
Producers of a new ultra-violet ray machine, soon to be available in Canada, claim their mechanism will provide an even tan to those who use it.  It seems you stand on a turntable that revolves once a minute in front of a sun lamp. No mention was made in the report as to whether the machine had controls for “rare,” “medium rare,” or “well done.” 

    A man and woman from Northern Ontario, who admitted helping themselves to three and a half bottles of Sacramental wine from the Presbyterian Church in Elmvale, were remanded in custody one week for sentence when they appeared before Magistrate K. A. Cameron in Penetang police court Thursday. 



County Herald headline of May 3, 1961.
Residential ratepayers who support Penetang Public School will be paying an additional 5.2 mills on their taxes in 1961, according to a budget bylaw passed by council at a special session Monday evening. The bylaw is subject to revision if permission to sell debenture for a new public schools building is refused by provincial authorities. Rate set for public school supporters entitled to benefit of the unconditional grant is 94.7691 mills. This compares with 89.54 mills last year and 89.883 in 1959. Separate school supporters entitled to benefit of the grant will pay on a rate of 92.4552 mills. Their 1960 rate was 86.92 and was 89.276 in 1959. As recent as yesterday no word had been received from the Ontario Municipal Board approving the debenture issue, for the proposed new public school. It Is understood the board’s levy will be considerably higher if the debenture issue is not approved. 

    Suspension of Wednesday afternoon closing of Midland retail stores during July and August is to be considered. This was decided by the merchants’ committee of the Midland Chamber of Commerce at a meeting Tuesday night, following a special meeting of the chamber’s general membership. The committee decided to have prepared a petition which would be circulated to the retail merchants, requesting their views on the suspension of the half-day Wednesday closing during July and August. 

    Poor aim. Would-be thieves failed in an attempt early Thursday morning, to make off with small appliances displayed in a show window of Webster’s on Robert Street, Penetang. According to Ted Light, who is employed in the store and lives in an apartment above, the incident took place at approximately 12.30 am. He heard a thud on the glass, followed by a second thud. By the time he had contacted police a third bang on the window was accompanied by the sound of broken glass. Ted said the police arrived on the scene quickly, but he believes the culprits had seen the police signal light glowing at the main comer. This light is used to inform police they have a phone call waiting. He said there were two men and they disappeared into a driveway beside the store, a few minutes before the cruiser arrived. The hole broken in the window was too high for anyone to reach in to pick anything up. 

   Twenty six scholarships and two special prizes were awarded to top contestants in Midland Music Festival, at the 15th annual festival concert in Midland – Penetanguishene District High School last Friday night. Winners of the two special awards, hymn books donated by the music teachers’ association and presented by R. C. Ireland, were Louise Parker and Anne Webster. 

      Only a small docket awaited Magistrate K. A. Cameron when he held court in the Canadian Legion Hall at Waubaushene for the first time, Wednesday morning. The extra court is designed to shorten regular courts in Midland and Penetang by taking care of the large volume of OPP traffic cases which usually occur during the summer months. Other OPP cases besides traffic will also be tried at the Waubaushene court, however, Magistrate Cameron said. Traffic cases, almost exclusively formed the docket at the first court in Waubaushene. 

   COLDWATER — While workmen were excavating behind Coldwater Municipal Telephone building on Main Street Wednesday afternoon, a 35 foot by 12 foot section of brick wall on the adjoining Coldwater IGA store (now Coldwater Home Hardware) collapsed into the excavation. Fortunately the contractor for the excavation work, Andrew Evans of Victoria Harbour, had detected earth crumbling at the base of building’s foundation and had ordered two workmen from the 40 by 22 foot section excavated to a six-foot depth. The men who escaped being buried under bricks and mortar were the 34 – year – old pastor of Midland Pentecostal Church, William Stephens of Wyebridge and Gerald Dwinell,  40, of Fesserton.    

  Construction of a $400,000 camp for the blind started recently on Lake Joseph in the Muskoka district. The camp, which will open early this summer, is being built for the Ontario division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. First of its kind in Canada, the summer centre is slated to be a pilot project for other provinces.

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