Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – August 8th to 22nd, 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. 

Free Press Herald headline of Wednesday, August 9th, 1961. This lengthy article describes the conflict at a Tiny Twp. Council meeting with two opposing cottager groups; one wanting the beach road closed the other not. Reeve Maurice had to call for order many times. 

     After hearing presentations of a delegation of approximately a dozen ratepayers, Friday, Tiny Township council reversed their decision on approval of Midland’s request to dump garbage in Tiny Township. With Ed. Copeland as spokesman, the delegation registered a strong complaint against allowing the dump in Tiny. They urged council to turn down all requests from outside municipalities to dump in the township. Chief fear expressed by the delegation was that the dump would contaminate and pollute water in the area. A nearby swamp drains into a creek which eventually flows south and eastward and winds through Brooklea Golf Club property and into Wye Lake. 

25 Years Ago – 1936
The nine-mile stretch of road from Elmvale to Wasaga Beach., known as County Road No. 15, was officially taken over by the government as a provincial highway. * * * The four windows of the Georgian Hotel, Midland, facing on Hugel Avenue, were filled with winter sports togs, skis, hockey outfits and shooting paraphernalia to impress summer tourists with Midland’s winter attractions. * * * Summer cottages at Nottawaga Beach had their first telephones with the completion of a telephone line from Penetang down the 11th Concession. * * * Despite a period of drought Midland’s water supply, secured from the creek and five artesian wells, was still meeting all demands of more than a million gallons of water daily. * * * Bush fires in the Port Severn,  Honey Harbour and Glouster Pool vicinity were brought under control but were only two miles from the Georgian Bay power line which served Coldwater, Waubaushene, Victoria Harbour and Midland. * * * Lloyd Scott, Ray Rivers and Donald Maracle caught the first pickerel in Midland harbor in years. It measured 27 inches and weighed four and a half pounds. The fish was believed to have followed the Letherby and Sons log raft down the lake and into the harbour. * * * Declining attendance at the three Midland public schools coupled with the necessity for economy resulted in the schools’ management committee deciding that the staff could be reduced by the three retiring teachers, committee chairman T. M. McCullough revealed. * * * The Owen Sound Daily Sun-Times donated a trophy for softball competition between all towns, cities and villages bordering on Georgian Bay between Tobermory and Parry Sound. 

    A Bala girl, Miss Judy McAdam, reported this week that part of a shrine, erected more than 30 years ago on a cliff overlooking Georgian Bay, has been damaged. Miss McAdam said that, recently she took a canoe trip down the Macdonald River and stopped at the little shrine. She said the frame which held the story behind the erection of the Madonna of The Bay had been smashed and the story torn. She said if she could obtain a copy of the story, she would replace the broken frame and the story. The shrine was erected by Ted. A. Becker, Sr., of Buffalo. N.Y. in May, 1931, after he had recovered from a critical wound, received in a shooting accident near the Macdonald River outlet to the bay. [Was it ever repaired? I have never climbed up there to see the contents of the frame.] 

    Within two hours of his departure from Ottawa Air Marshal Hugh L. Campbell, Chief of Air Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force, arrived at Edgar Thursday to make an inspection tour of the air defence site. A turbo-prop Cosmopolitan aircraft of Air Transport Command flew the CAS to Camp Borden and the usually one-hour long trip to Edgar was completed by an H34 helicopter in less than 15 minutes. “Station Edgar is an important link in the Radar Control and Warning network which surrounds this continent. The officers, airmen and the airwomen who man this station maintain a 24-hour watch on the skies, 365 days of the year. They are the eyes and ears of our air defence system”, commented CAS Campbell. 

    The Town of Midland received official notification Friday, that it is being sued by W. F. “Bud” Turnbull, former superintendent of the public works department. W. A. Hack, town clerk, said yesterday the notice received indicated Mr. Turnbull was suing for damages on the grounds of wrongful dismissal. The damages sought are for an unstated amount. Midland council at a special session, March 17, asked for and received Mr. Turnbull’s resignation. 

Something new has been added to the grounds of Regent Public School, Midland. Being erected by G. O. Maxwell of Balm Beach are two new portable classrooms, designed to take care of over-crowding in some classes at the school next September. Tender for the two cottage-type buildings was $4,120. 

No doubt the marine railway at Big Chute has carried some strange craft during the many years it has served as part of the Trent Canal system. Getting a lift “over the hump” is a new-type house boat, powered by a large outboard motor. It completely hides a fair-sized cruiser at the rear end of the rail car. 


County Herald headline of Friday, August 11th, 1961. There is an immediate need in Midland for off street parking space for 150-200 cars. This was evident at a meeting of the planning Board and a representative group of businessmen held in the municipal building Tuesday night. Land use, said Mr. Lawlor, is one of the biggest items in preparing an official plan, based on an estimated projection of the town’s growth over the next 20 years. By that time, if it follows the population increase curve established in the years 1947-60, the town will have a population of around 14,500. 

    Long a familiar sight on the Midland waterfront, the Georgian Bay buoy tender St. Heliers is now a long way from her familiar haunts, according to newspaper reports originating in Ottawa and the Caribbean area. The story is long and rather involved; but it is definitely known that the St. Heliers was sold last year to a firm in London, Ont., — and later in 1960 resold “to other interests.” Built as she was in 1919, the St. Heliers had a long and honorable career, and might have been thought eligible for an easier life of retirement. Renamed “Tropic -Sea,” the honest old St. Heliers left her workaday life as a buoy tender in the Great Lakes, to sail under the house flag of the Companla de Navigacion Tropicana. The company, so far as can be ascertained, flies the flag of Honduras. [The Toronto Marine Historical Association published a very interesting account of the St. Heliers’ life after Georgian Bay. In their publication she is “Ship of the Month #268” found here with reference to our own Vern Sweeting as a contributor;  

    Possibility that the 17th Concession Road in Tiny Township will be opened on the westerly side of Cook’s lake is seen in a promise made by Tiny Township council to a Mrs. Allport.  Mrs. Allport told council she had purchased a permanent residence located alongside where the concession road allowance intersects with the lake. She said she intends to move there permanently and has a daughter attending school. Council promised to open the road when Mrs. Allport builds a connecting road between her property and the township allowance.  At present, access to the lake from the west is over a trespass road running through a pine patch. 

Willard Perrault, 16, of 48 Fifth Street, Midland, emerged the winner of the cross-lake swim at Midland’s Little Lake Wednesday, finishing well ahead of a field of 20 swimmers. The event was sponsored by the summer playground committee of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club. Perrault covered the distance in 26 minutes, 25 seconds, while Randy Small and Herb Chapman waged a battle for runner-up spot, Small winning out. 

Free Press Herald headline of Wednesday August 16, 1961. Midland Police Chief George Wainman announced yesterday that the new radar speed timer purchased by the town will be in use starting today. Chief Wainman stated that for the balance of this week minor speed violators will be stopped and warned without summonses being issued. 

    Commencing next year cyclists in Penetang will be required to purchase a licence for their bicycles at a cost of $1 each. This decision was reached by Penetang council, Monday night when police chairman, Councillor Ralph White asked council’s approval to purchase the plates. 

    Work is slated to get underway before the end of the month on a major addition to the Canadian Tire Associate Store on Bay Street, East, Midland. Contract for the construction of the building has been awarded to Webster-Smallwood, Midland. Present service department of the Bay Street store is to be converted to a warehouse with additional warehouse space to be built on behind it. A complete new four-car service department of modern design will be erected across the back of the property. Licensed mechanics will be employed when the building is ready for operation, some time in the spring of 1962. Another 2,000 square feet of floor space will be added to the present display area. Complete new lighting will be installed and modern self-service displays will largely replace the present counter set up. This addition and modernization will be the third expansion for Canadian Tire in Midland since 1948, designed to meet the demands of the growing community. 

Officials of Midland and Penetang chambers of commerce met to facilitate the exchange of tourist accommodation information between the two towns. * * * For the third time in two weeks, S.S. City of Dover, sailing from Midland, was unable to accommodate all passengers who sought to board the vessel. * * * The Canadian Bandmasters’ Association 20th annual convention was held in Midland with approximately 170 bandmasters and their wives attending. * * * A soap-box derby and children’s costume parade was held on Penetang’s Main Street. Ron Ladouceur was the derby winner. * * * J. J. Macksey, Midland relief administrator, noted that the government’s new old- age pension would save Midland taxpayers approximately $4,000 annually after Jan. I. * * * Midland Junior Chamber of Commerce was making plans to host the Jaycee Region 5 conference at the Delawana Inn, Honey Harbour. * * * Kiwanian Ben Gardiner warned his fellow Midland Kiwanians that Midland was in danger of losing its CNR passenger service. * * * Midland – Orillia Combines ended a lacrosse campaign at Arena Gardens by losing to Orangeville Dufferins 15-9 in an OLA intermediate playdown series. * * * Midland’s “Mr. Hockey”, George S. Dudley was off to Yugoslavia to attend the annual meeting of the International Ice Hockey Federation. * * * Coldwater council was starting expropriation proceedings to erect a new hydro power line. The council also decided that those in arrears on water accounts would have that service cut off if the accounts were not paid.   


Editorial page picture entitled “Rails and River at the Big Chute”. [Rails are the marine railway.] 

 An interested visitor at the Indian Village in Midland’s Little Lake Park is Dr. G. E. Hall, president of the University of Western Ontario (second from right), seen talking with members of the Midland Y’s Men’s Club, sponsors of the Village. From left to right are Dr. Wilfrid Jury, noted archaeologist under whose direction the Village was erected, Clarke Edwards, Frank Bray, John Bridges, Dr. Hall, and Douglas Haig. 

Another project which is providing employment for a number of workmen and tradesmen in this area this summer is the addition to Bay Mills Ltd., on Fourth Street, Midland. Steel for the new building was put in place last week. Contractors are Webster – Smallwood Ltd., Midland. 

Midland Indians had to settle for a 5-5 tie in the opening game of the South Simcoe Baseball League playoffs with Thornton at Town Park Saturday night. Here Murray Yorke sends a fly ball to centre field for the first out of the second inning. Thornton catcher is Joe Timmons and umpire is Bill McGill of Orillia. 

County Herald headline of Friday, August 18, 1961. Hon. Michael Starr, federal minister of labor, in a letter to Dr. P. B. Rynard, M.P. for Simcoe East, advised he had approved the federal government’s grant for the addition to Midland – Penetang District High School. In the original plan the cost of the nine room addition was to be borne on the basis of 75 per cent by the federal government and 25 per cent by the provincial government. “This addition will provide classrooms, laboratory, shops, and auxiliary areas necessary for an additional 220 vocational students. The estimated total cost of this vocational addition, including furniture and equipment is $787,360. The federal government’s share of this amount will be approximately $590,520.C. Gauthier, MPDHS principal, commenting on Mr. Starr’s letter said, “I am pleased that it has passed Ottawa.” 

    Unveiling of an historical plaque, commemorating the founding of Midland, will be held on the Post Office grounds, August 22, at 2.30 p.m. Mayor Charles Parker will unveil the plaque in a ceremony to which the public is invited. This plaque is one of a series being erected throughout the province by the Department of Travel and Publicity, acting on the advice of the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario. Tuesday’s ceremony is being arranged and sponsored by the Midland Chamber of Commerce, whose President, William R. Orr, will be chairman. 

    Wednesday night members of Midland council expressed concern about the garbage disposal situation. Mayor Charles Parker and most members of council had just completed an hour’s inspection of the dump. It was decided that the area to the north of the present dumping site would be under brushed and cleared immediately.  A large section of the westerly end of the dump will be filled in and closed to dumping, council decided and they hope that this work can be completed in the next two weeks. The area to be closed will be fenced and signs posted prohibiting dumping in that section. Dumping will be allowed only in the south-east section of the dump site. It was agreed.  Mayor Parker stressed that the steps being taken were only temporary until a new disposal site is found.

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