Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – June 1st to 14th, 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.  

County Herald headline of June 2, 1961 

Penetang dock should provide better accommodation for visiting cruisers and yachts this year, when scheduled improvements are completed. At a luncheon meeting yesterday, Penetang Chamber of Commerce heard that the Department of Transport is ready to call tenders on some requested improvements. 

    Continued interest in the welfare of St. Andrews Hospital by the citizens at large was evidenced at Monday night’s meeting of the hospital board. Alex Craig, hospital administrator, reported that a second food conveyor had been put into operation recently, at a cost of $686 to serve the first floor. “Since the conveyor went into operation we have received an anonymous donation amounting to approximately $560 to assist in defraying the cost of the equipment. I am sure you will agree that this is a gesture that is very much appreciated by all concerned,” said Mr. Craig. Later, board member W. S. Child, who also doubles as chairman of the Boy Scouts Committee for South Georgian Bay, said local Scouts, in looking for a worthwhile project, would like to do something for the hospital. “They are planning to buy a 35 mm projector so they can show films to young patients Saturday afternoons,” Mr. Child reported. Board chairman John Burke said it was a “very commendable idea.” 

    Well known around Great Lakes ports, Capt. R. A Simpell died at his Fourth Street Midland home Wednesday evening. He was in his 67th year. Capt. Simpell, who had been an employee of the Paterson Steamship Lines for 31 years and was master on a number of ships, was also a prominent member of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club and of the Masonic Lodge. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2 P.M. at St. Marks Anglican Church. 

    Sunday will usher in a new era of telephone communications in Port McNicoll and Waubaushene. About 3 a.m. the telephone systems in the two points will be changed from manual to dial operations. The change-over will take less than two minutes to carry out. At that time the dial tone will replace the “number please” of the local telephone operator. The old manual switchboards will cease operation, being replaced by new dial switching equipment. All telephone numbers in Port McNicoll and Waubaushene will change. Telephone subscribers in Port McNicoll will get all-figure numbers, each of which will start with the prefix 534 and will include four other figures. Telephone users in Waubaushene will find their new numbers start with 538. 

One chap who had more than a passing interest in this year’s running of the English derby was Marshall Gouett of Waubaushene. He had a sweepstake ticket on Prince Tudor. Mr. Gouett won $1,500, which will come in handy in extending his new marina, hard-by Highway 103. Mr. Gouett used his 10-month old son’s name as his lucky nom-de-plume.


Free Press Herald headline of June 7, 1961 

Work started this morning on a training program which is expected to develop as many as 60 skilled employees for a new industry locating in Penetang. The announcement was made jointly by members of Penetang council industrial committee and Cyril Larkin of Port McNicoll. The training operation is being conducted in the lounge of the Memorial Community Centre where machines have been Installed during the past week.  Industrial committee members under Councillor Paul Raymond had been successful in securing about a dozen girls and women for commencement of the program. Cyril N. Larkin said he expected a dozen would be kept busy on the training program until permanent quarters are established. “We anticipate a labor force increasing up to approximately 60 persons within the next five years.” he stated.  “Plans are underway for construction of a suitable plant within the very near future.” Mr. Larkin continued. “This, of course, is provided we are satisfied ample labor is available within the town and surrounding area.” Lines to be manufactured in the Penetang operation of Cyril N. Larkin and Sons Ltd., will include baby dresses, rompers,  jodhpurs and play clothes, according to Mr. Larkins. He said his company, during the last six months, has turned away orders for a minimum of 9,000 dozens of children’s garments. 

    Bay Mills Limited, Midland, this week began construction on an 11,000-square-foot extension to its existing building, Steve Cerney, general manager told this newspaper yesterday. Contract for the new building has been awarded to Webster-Smallwood of Midland, Mr. Cerney said.  Mr. Cerney said the new structure would be separate from the main plant but would be connected by a covered passageway. This is the second expansion the firm has undertaken in less than a year. A small addition was completed last year. When completed, the extension will accommodate plant offices, warehousing space and some manufacturing processes, he revealed. 

    Police came to the rescue in Penetang Monday afternoon when a small child became locked In the bathroom of an apartment in the Vimy Inn, Robert Street. The child’s mother had taken it to the bathroom, and on leaving for a moment heard the door shut and lock behind her. Unable to get back in, she contacted police. Constable Art Lizotte, on duty at a nearby corner, responded. After several attempts, he found it impossible to force the door without doing considerable damage. He then noticed an Emery Electric truck pull up in front, and commandered a ladder from it. Once he had the ladder it was a simple matter to force his way through the window by ripping off a screen. The child was unharmed. 

    Drowned in Georgian Bay nearly six weeks ago, the body or Baptiste Contois, 50, of Thunder Bay Beach, 15 miles north of Penetang, was found Friday afternoon. Theodore Robillard of Penetang saw the body washing up against a rock when he pulled his boat into the dock at Whalen’s Island, on the Inside Channel several miles north of Honey Harbour.  Mr. Contois was first reported missing to the OPP detachment at Victoria Harbour April 26. Caretaker of a large cottage at Cognashene, about 10 miles north of Honey Harbour, he had phoned his daughter April 20 to pick him up the following day at Honey Harbour. He was to make the trip by scoot, an aeroplane-motor driven sled commonly used by residents of that remote area during the winter months. 

Rev. Charles Carter, formerly of Penetang was ordained and inducted as minister of Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour and Coldwater Presbyterian churches at a service in St. Andrew’s Church, Coldwater. * * * According to a company announcement in the U.S. the S.S. North American was to make 11  trips to Midland on regularly scheduled passenger cruises that summer. * * * Nearly 20 tons of salvage was collected by the Midland Y’s Men’s Club and the proceeds used for the club’s boys’ and girls’ work program. * * * Chambers of Commerce of Penetang, Midland, Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour and Waubaushene, the Midland Park Commission and the Huronia Historic Sites and Tourist Association sponsored an amateur photography competition with prizes totalling $275. * * *Plans for a new high school at Elmvale were being considered by the Elmvale High School board and the municipal councils of Elmvale and Flos Township. * * * Members of Tay Township council went to Toronto to meet Ontario Municipal Board officials who gave the Tay delegation approval for a township bylaw authorizing the extension of water service to the township area west of Midland. * * * Unemployment had hit a low ebb in North Simcoe. There were fewer workless seeking jobs in the district than at any time since mid-summer 1947, officials stated. 

These scouts from the North Simcoe area have been selected to attend the Canadian Scout Jamboree at Ottawa in July. Pictured left to right, are Bob French (4th Midland), John Allen (1st Midland), Stephen Gatehouse (1st Waubaushene) and Bert Mason (1st Penetang). 

County Herald headline of June 9, 1961 

Threat of a strike in North Simcoe’s largest single resident industry ended Wednesday night with the ratification of a one-year contract between the Textile Workers’ Union of America and Fern Shoe, Penetang, and Midland Footwear. The Union was certified at Fern Shoe under a year ago and at Midland Footwear some six months ago. It was a first contract for the Textile Workers although the CIO Packing House union represented employees at both plants through most of the 1950’s. Negotiations had gone through Department of Labor conciliation proceedings, a conciliation board, and post  conciliation negotiations. 

    Penetang Boat Club has made a good start on cleaning up Whisky Island In the mouth of the Bay, and temporary docks have been Installed to aid in the work, according to President Len Carter. “We are going to continue the work until the Island is entirely cleaned. This week we are spraying the poison ivy.” he said. He also indicated plans are being prepared for a permanent dock. “There’s still plenty of cleaning up for our members to do and we hope they’ll all turn up this weekend.” he said. “Many people have asked how we managed to acquire the lease to this island,” Mr. Carter said yesterday. “I’d like to explain to them that most of the work was carried out through our federal member Dr. P. B. Rynard. 

Dear Editor:
The single-screw wooden tug “Shawanaga,” official No. 83389, was built in 1882 at Penetanguishene by Robert J. Morrill for Charles Beck, lumberman. She was named after the Shawanaga Passage near Parry Sound. Her length was 80 feet, width 17 feet and depth 8 feet 5 inches, gross tons 96. She was used each summer to tow log rafts from various Georgian Bay timber limits to the two Beck sawmills at Penetanguishene until the close of navigation in 1904. Then she was sold to Joseph Ganley of Sault Ste. Marie, because Charles Beck already had the 90-foot tug “Wahnapitae” under construction. In 1908 Joseph Ganley sold her to Alexander G. McKay of Owen Sound. In 1909 the Canadian Dredge and Construction Co.; Ltd., of Midland, purchased a half Interest. In 1910 the Canadian Dredging Co. Ltd., bought all shares. On Sept. 20, 1912, her registry was closed because she had been broken up at Midland.

    The Grade 8 pupils of Midland’s Bayview Public School visited Ottawa on the weekend, accompanied by their principal Wm. H. Barnett. On Friday they visited the House of Commons and met Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in his office. At noon they were the guests of Dr. and Mrs. P. B. Rynard for lunch at the Dominion Experimental Farm. During their stay they also visited the mint, city hall, the Dominion Archives and witnessed a memorial ceremony which was attended by Governor General Vanier. “The pupils got a tremendous thrill out of the trip.” Stated Mr. Barnett, yesterday. “The students made it possible through their own systematic saving. They all were very well behaved and I received many compliments about their good manners.” 

    ”We figure it will enhance the main street,” commented Clarke Edwards, president of Edwards Specialty Shop Ltd., Tuesday when questioned about the new metal awning erected on the front of his store. Noting that the total length of the awning was 60 feet, Mr. Edwards said he believed it was the first of its size on a retail store in Midland. “Its main feature is its permanency,” stated Mr. Edwards., pointing out that it was made in steel sections covered with baked enamel in wide stripes of white and light blue. The awning which shades the whole front of the store bears the Edwards name at various spots along its length and was manufactured in Brantford.    

This new tower and vestibule will add greatly to the appearance of the United Church in Waverley. Workmen above are putting the finishing touches to the tower in readiness for special services to be held Sunday morning and evening. 

Getting a good look at the haircuts during the annual inspection of RCSCC “Huron” in Midland Wednesday night is Lieut-Comm. D. Wick of HMCS “York,” Toronto, the inspecting officer. Later, Lieut.-Commander Wick complimented the lads on both their turn-out and drill. 

It’s not often the celebrants of a 50th wedding anniversary are able to have their attendants on their wedding day, present for the festivities. This happened in Midland Saturday night when Mr. and Mrs. John James Ney of Hamilton met old friends at an open house at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eldon Belfry, Dominion Ave. At right are Mrs. Leslie Ney and Mr. Ney of Midland, who acted as bridesmaid and best man back on June 7, 1911. 

Ontario Hydro Transmission Pylon at Waubaushene. 

Members of Tay Township council officially opened the new dial system at Waubaushene Saturday night by placing a call to an old friend, former Deputy-reeve Mrs. Minnie Mayhew. Now living with her sister in Chester, N.S., Mrs. Mayhew told Reeve Fred Kinnear she hopes to revisit her many Waubaushene friends this fall. Seen above left to right are Mrs. Peggy MacPherson, field worker for the Ontario Dept, of Public Welfare, Clerk Ralph Dalton (standing), Mrs. Knechtle and Deputy-reeve Walter Knechtle, Reeve Kinnear and Mrs. Kinnear. Call was placed from the Waubaushene Inn. 

Free Press Herald headline of June 14, 1961

Midland Public Schools Board, at its June meeting Friday night, set the mill rate for educational purposes for 1961 at 18.63 mills commercial and 16.90 mills residential. The single rate last year was 17.92 mills. This year the Department of Education has authorized an additional grant to all school boards of $5 per pupil based on the 1960 average daily attendance. This school tax assistance grant is to apply to the public school residential taxpayers, hence the necessity of two mill rates for public school purposes. “This is the first year that the school board has been faced with two different mill rates, due to this special grant,” Wm. A. Hack, public school board secretary, said yesterday.  

After several months of extensive alterations, the Walker Store in Midland will hold its official re-opening tomorrow. A ten-year employee of the store, Mrs. L. Leitch is seen in the drapery department  arranging the new piece-goods display. in the lower picture. 

In happy mood at the dinner in her honour in St. Paul’s United Church Friday night is Mrs. Frances Bell, who retires this year after 33 years on the staffs of three Midland public schools — Sixth Street (now Bayview), Manley and Regent. Mrs. Bell was the recipient of a number of gifts from Midland Teachers’ Council and the Public Schools Board. 

“Sweetest music this side of heaven” for Mrs. Frances Bell (far right), retiring after 33 years on the staffs of Midland public schools, was undoubtedly the music provided by these pipers from Stayner at the dinner in her honour held Friday night in St. Paul’s United Church. Others in the picture, left to right, are Thomas Sweet, Mrs. Davidson and Leslie Davidson, president of the Midland’s Teachers Council, who acted as chairman for the dinner. 

Last Wednesday night marked the annual inspection of RCSCC “Huron” cadets at Midland Armory. A couple of young tars show model boats to two pretty visitors. Left to right are; Paul Charlebois, Ray Moreau, Donna Copeland and Sandra Moreau. 

   Most classes of Midland retail merchants will be permitted to have their stores open Wednesday afternoons during July and August. As the result of a petition from the Midland merchants, Midland council at its meeting Monday night gave three readings and approval to a bylaw amending bylaw 2200 which governed the closing of certain classes of retail stores Wednesday afternoons. The amending bylaw now permits these retail stores to remain open Wednesday afternoons, if they wish, during July and August. Optometrists were excluded from the amended bylaw. 

    A severe electrical storm, accompanied by high winds and driving rain, swept across the northern part of the North Simcoe district around 1 p.m. yesterday, leaving a trail of toppled trees, tree limbs, severed power lines and building damage in its wake. It was the second major storm to sweep through the area in a little more than a week. 

    Fire of undetermined origin did an estimated $2,000 damage to the home of John Lepage Jr., 310 Princess Street, Midland, early Tuesday morning. Midland Fire Chief Arnold Tippin reported yesterday. Mrs. Lepage was alone with her seven children when the fire broke out at 4.30 a.m. Chief Tippin stated and said he was unable at present to determine the cause of the fire which started in a clothes hamper in the bathroom. Mr. Lepage was away at the time and none of the rest of the family smoke, Chief Tippin said. He noted that the loss was covered by insurance.  The Lepages will be staying with relatives for a week or so, the Fire Chief said. 

Switches were swung and power for the first time flowed through the  new rural hydro extension from Sunnyside to Midland Point. * * * After hearing a deputation from the Midland Chamber of Commerce. Midland council agreed to a special day and night police patrol of the town docks in an effort to stop petty thieving from pleasure craft. * * * Rev G S. Lloyd of Knox Presbyterian Church, Midland, was elected a member of the senate and Board of Knox College, University of Toronto. * * * Members of the Midland Curling Club met to make arrangements for a cruise to Owen Sound on the S. S. Keewatin. * * * Victoria Harbour council set its tax role at 45 mills. * * * Truckers from Midland, Penetang, Waubaushene, Port McNicoll and Lafontaine organized and agreed on a price schedule. President of the new organization was Charles Stewart of Midland. * * * Conrad Hewson, publisher of the Penetang Herald, after announcing his intention to suspend publication of his paper, sold it to the owners of the Midland Free Press. * * * Rev. W R. Auld, minister of St. Paul’s United Church, Midland, was chosen one of the commissioners to the general council of the United Church. * * * For the second year in succession, Midland was the first municipality in Simcoe County to pay the county levy. D. H. Coleman, county treasurer announced. * * * Midland Mayor S. W. McKinley gave council a notice of motion which would reduce the number of aldermen from eight to four and limit the number of members on the Public School Board, Public Utilities Commission and the Parks Board.

4 thoughts on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – June 1st to 14th, 1961

  1. I love your looking back! Any chance over doing a looking back at something a little more recent, say 50 years…? I might be dead by the time you get into the 1970s which are the years in Midland I remember the most! LOL

    • Viktor, the museum is cataloging the Free Press negatives and this weekly blog is being used to share them with the public. We were basically blogging as we catalogued and as of now we have scanned the photos up to 1968 and identified them to 1966. We use the digitized newspapers to identify the negatives and that process is complete up to 1976. The short answer is we could only advance to 1966 but once we get up to 1970 we may well switch to 50 years, there would be a larger audience.

  2. Can you tell me the year the present Midland Legion on Queen St. opened? Thanks Chester GrahamSent from my Huawei phone

    • SILVER CROSS MOTHER — To Mrs. Charles Melville, who lost two sons in World War II went the honor of laying the cornerstone for Midland’s new Canadian Legion Hall, Nov. 11. Mrs. Melville was also a guest at the Remembrance Day dinner in the evening. — Staff photo
      Chester we have this photo and a few others taken during the building. It seems the building was being used as early as October. This is 1961.

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