Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – July 23rd to the 31st, 1957

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Another great photo of children found in the Free Press negative collection. A classic summer picture. The caption reads; “A group of Midland children doing it up right at Little Lake Park  Saturday. Enjoying ice cream and chips are, Peter Contois, Jimmy Dagg, Barbara Ann Merkley, Billy Dagg and Teddy Dagg.” 

That feels better says, Lloyd Ruskin of Toronto, as his wife applies lotion to his sun burn outside their tent in Little Lake tourist park. Scenes like this were common in the area during Saturday’s scorcher. 

Miss Francis Hinks of Bracebridge who last week joined the Midland staff of Simcoe County Health Unit. She replaced Miss Charlotte Benson who has been transferred to Barrie. 

Everybody was looking at the thermometer in North Simcoe Saturday, as Old Sol provided some real tourist weather. Mrs. I. Culner and daughter Francie of Toronto learned it was 88 in the shade on the thermometer at Hartman’s hardware store on King Street, at 10:30 a.m. It climbed several degrees higher during the day. 

Donald Cooke, Baptist George, Hilton Sandy and Robert Whiteye work at handcrafts at the Mohawk Institute Camp on Christian Island. The 48 boys and girls, ranging in age from 7 to 18, all come from broken homes in southern Ontario Indian Reserves. Several bands contributed funds so the youth could have this outing. 



Bottle caps with roofing nails driven through were found scattered on Concession 13, Tiny Twp. Provincial constable Tom Heels picked up 25 of the caps off the road but not before seven motorists had experienced flat tires. Examing the caps are OPP Constables H. R. Banting and George Winter. 


Pete Pettersen shows Marie Raco and Julie Lang, both from Guelph and cottaging at Balm Beach, how he intends to hold an international ski jumping competition here on August 3, 4 and 5. Workmen above are spreading straw on the 300-foot run which will be held down by chicken wire then covered with snow made with an estimated half million pounds of ice. (If you had believed the Toronto papers of the day Midland would have been covered with snow in August,  the Globe and Mail had reported 200,000 tons would be used, the Star reported a million tons.)

Seems like a woman’s work is never done, and a camping trip is no exception. “Doing up” the breakfast dishes in front of their neat tent at Little Lake Park recently were Mrs. R. Madgett and Miss Gail Gimbert, both of Toronto. Tent and trailer space was at a premium in the big tourist park over the weekend, hottest of the season to date.

Building castles in the sand has been a fascinating hobby for many generations of visitors to Midland’s Little Lake Park. Even in last week’s heat little 19-month-old Diane Hoffman with her aunt Gloria Bossin, left, and her mother Mrs. Martin Hoffman enjoyed the game.


Just a sign of how fast things change, in 60 years we have gone from wood and coal furnaces to oil, to electric heat, some generated by nuclear reactors to natural gas pumped all the way from Western Canada, solar and geothermal. 

An Indian pipe bowl uncovered in a longhouse ash pit at the Forget Site held by the discoverer Edward Phelps of Sarnia. Edward is a student of the University of Western Ontario’s Summer School of Archaeology and a graduate of Central Collegiate. 

  • The headline July 24th, 1957, the Free Press Herald; “Blame House Fire on TV, Family of Six Left Homeless” Fire which broke out yesterday morning in their Cambridge Street, Penetang, one-storey frame home left Mr. & Mrs. Ted Cadeau and their four children homeless. Mrs. Cadeau said she had been visiting her sister next door when she noticed smoke seeping out of her home. Returning home she discovered the television set blazing and “flames shooting out all over”.
  • The headline July 26th, 1957, the County Herald; “Vandals Puncture Motorists’ Tires, Police Probe Wave of Hoodlumism” Three separate police forces are seeking a person or group of persons, believed to be teenagers, who have been causing damage to motor vehicle tires. Causing the damage are large-headed shingle nails, driven through bottle caps to hold them upright, and placed in travelled portions of roadways around Penetang, Tiny Township and Balm Beach. The nails, apparently, are dropped on the road at dusk, or after dusk, when it is impossible for a car driver to detect them.
  • The headline July 31st, 1957, the Free Press Herald; “Pulls Children From Bay Waters, Valiant Fight Saves Tots’ Lives” Two Midland children, Laurel and Paul Lepage, were saved from almost certain death by drowning in Penetang Bay, early Saturday evening when they were brought out of the water in dying condition by Beverly “Bud” Ingram with a big assist from his daughter Jill. Mr. Ingram first noticed a boy flailing his arms about 100 feet off the shore at Huronia Park. Not certain whether the lad was fooling or really in trouble, he sent his eight-year-old daughter Jill to investigate. When she reached the lad he apparently grabbed her, and she shouted to her father. Mr. Ingram immediately swam out to the boy, three-year-old Paul, who by this time was under water. When he brought him to shore, Jill insisted “Daddy, there was a little girl with him”. Turning the lad over to bystanders, “Bud” went in search of the girl. After diving several times without finding any trace of the girl he again came back to shore and questioned his daughter further. “Jill insisted there was a little girl with the boy.” Several more dives at the spot where he had picked up the boy began to have a telling effect on Mr. Ingram. He started to get a pain in his chest. “I had made up my mind that this was the last dive, when I spotted her red bathing suit among the weeds in about 10 feet of water,” Mr. Ingram said. By the time he got five-year old Laurel to shore, Sgt. Len Robillard of Penetang Police was on hand, and he immediately went to work administering artificial respiration. When the fire department resuscitator arrived a short time later, in charge of Chief Bob Stewart, the girl was starting to recover through the efforts of Sgt. Robillard.
  • Crown Attorney W. M. Thompson intimated Monday an inquest will probably be held into the death by drowning of a 2-year-old child from Toronto off Bourgeois Beach, near Victoria Harbour, Saturday noon.
  • Two Elmvale area children were drowned at Wasaga Beach Monday when they apparently went out too far in the waters of Nottawasaga Bay. Their 10-year-old sister narrowly escaped a similar fate.
  • Lack of knowledge, near the scene, as to how to administer snake-bite serum might have proved fatal to a 12-year-old Toronto girl bitten by a Massassauga rattler at Six-Mile Lake Saturday afternoon. The mother told this newspaper that her daughter Elizabeth had been bitten on the right instep by the snake, about 15 p.m. Although she had been advised by her father to lie still if she was ever bitten by a snake, the little girl ran some 35 yards to her cottage. Arriving at Bob and Georges Store on Six Mile Lake where the cottager’s association kept snake bite serum, the mother said she was unable to find any person who knew how to administer the serum. Arrangements were then made with the OPP detachment at Victoria Harbour for a police escort to St. Andrews Hospital Midland. Despite the rough ride over an unfinished portion of the Trans-Canada highway, and through the heaviest weekend traffic of the season, OPP Constable Tom Heels was able to get Elizabeth to St. Andrews shortly after 4 p.m. She was attended by Dr. James Small and was able to leave with her parents Monday morning. A Toronto woman, bitten by the same kind of snake in the Six-Mile area last year, died several days after from the effects of the poison.
  • Lorne M. Lawson, a paraplegic who had become one of the best known and liked persons in the Balm Beach area, died unexpectedly in St. Andrew’s Hospital, Midland, Monday morning.   Lawson was the proprietor of Lawson’s Amusements situated on the County Road leading into Balm Beach. A native of Elmvale where he was born in 1904, he joined the RCAF in January 1940, and served almost six years in Canada and England as an aero engine mechanic he attained the rank of Sergeant. The accident, which it is believed finally ended in paralysis of the lower part of his body, occurred while he was stationed at Leeming, in Yorkshire, England, with the Canadian Bomber Group.
  • Editorial – Our Viewpoint – Golden anniversary of the CPR Great Lakes steamships Keewatin and Assinaboia this year seems almost as though it might pass unnoticed. The Clyde-built lake liners, plying from Port McNicoll to the head of the lakes, have now been in service a full half century and their popularity is still high. True the craft are old-fashioned and a bit conservative in decor, but their more than courteous crews and their smooth operation offer a most attractive contrast in a day filled with jam-packed highways and speeding aeroplanes. If we might make one suggestion, it is that the CPR is consistently underplaying the attractiveness of their lake cruises. Not only are they seldom given sufficient advertising promotion, but a few thousand dollars spent on modernizing the decor of the ships, in providing more comfortable deck chairs, and perhaps by way of installing a small ship’s playroom for younger children, could have a substantial payoff.
  • While the UAW apparently keeps up its strike payments to a small corps of picketers at Canadian Name Plate, it is of interest to note that members of few if any other unions are now respecting the picket line. The plant is working at full capacity and the UAW might be wise to write off this effort at organization as an unhappy and not too successful experiment.
  • Forty-two-year-old George LeBlanc of Midland died in Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Thursday from injuries he received in a 40-foot fall from an apartment house roof last Saturday night. He never regained consciousness. Friends said Mr. LeBlanc elected to sleep on the roof of the Carlton Street building to escape the heat. He apparently rolled over in his sleep and fell to the pavement below, suffering severe head injuries.
  • 25 Years Ago This Week; Canadian National Railway employees had completed the removal of the CNR station at Wyebridge and had taken up the rails of the roadbed. The overhead railway bridge was also to be removed later. * * * Robert King of Central School, Midland, obtained the highest standing in June examinations. Robert amassed 667 marks out of the possible 750. It was the highest aggregate that had been obtained over a 10-year period. * * * In spite of cool, rainy weather, there was an increase of 38.5 per cent in the number of tents at Little Lake Park compared with the same period in 1931. Count for one day showed 187 tents on the camp grounds. * * * Newspapers were predicting that a treaty between Canada and the United States would be signed in the immediate future for the development of the St. Lawrence waterway. It was estimated the cost of providing a seaway to the head of the lakes would be between $500,000,000 and $600,000,000. * * * Simcoe County council presented the Simcoe Foresters Regiment with new regimental colours July 27th. The presentation was made at Orillia during brigade camp. * * * A Detroit syndicate had submitted a proposal to pay for the raising and reconditioning of the U.S. warships Tigress and Scorpion, resting on the bottom of Penetang Bay. The syndicate wanted to take the two ships to the World’s Fair at Chicago and place them on exhibition.
  • Penetang lost one of its senior citizens when Maria Keefer Thompson, wife of the late C. A. Thompson, one of Penetang’s pioneer merchants, died at her Poyntz Street home, July 21. Born February 27, 1871, in Strathroy, where she also received her education, she was married to Chas. A. Thompson in Strathroy, August 26, 1896. The couple observed their golden wedding anniversary in 1946, two years before his death. Following their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson moved to Penetang, where they brought up a family of five boys and one girl, who survive. They are, Dr. A. A. Thompson, Mt. Clemens, Mich., C. C. Thompson, Hamilton; Dr. E. E. Thompson, Lisbon, N.Y.; Dr. F. F. P. Thompson, Port Arthur; Dr. H. H . Thompson, Stratford and Miss G. G. Thompson, Toronto. One child died in infancy and another while still quite young. Mrs. Thompson was an Anglican and an active worker for her church. She was a life member of the Women’s Auxiliary, sang In the choir of All Saints’ Church, and for 35 years was superintendent of the Sunday School. In civic life, she was for a number of years on the board of the Protestant Separate School and had been secretary-treasurer of Penetang General Hospital Board. She was also an officer of the Women’s Institute. Funeral service was conducted by Rev. R. L. McLaren in All Saints’ Church, Tuesday, July 23. Interment was made in St. James’ Cemetery. Pallbearers were A. B. Thompson, Wm. T. Fahey, Alvin Gropp, W. H. Morrison, Dr. Murray Thompson and Dr. Alan Thompson.
  • Latest issue or the Ontario Gazette reveals that, on an order dated June 14, the provincial secretary has accepted the surrender of the charters of Collingwood Shipyards Limited, Midland Shipyards Limited and Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company Limited. The three corporations were officially dissolved July They are now operated by Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited,
  • After a little less than a quarter-century of operation. Port McNicoll Continuation School has gone out of business. Starting in September, some 40 students will be transported daily by bus to Midland – Penetanguishene District High School. The Port school had provided classes for Grades 9 to 12, inclusive, shop work and home economics. The principal of the school and one of its two teachers, Mrs. E. C. Creighton will accompany the Port pupils to Midland as a new member of the MPDHS staff. Mr. Belanger said the original school building was built about 40 years ago. The continuation school addition was built 24 years ago. It provided three class rooms, shop work and home economics rooms, and an auditorium. Of solid red brick construction, the building is still in excellent condition.
  • A lifetime, resident of the Wyebridge and Waverley district, Mrs. Robert Grigg died July 17 in St. Andrews Hospital after a lengthy illness. Funeral service was held July 19 from Nicholls funeral home. Rev. W. R. Auld and Rev. N. B. McLeod conducted the service. Interment was in Lakeview Cemetery. Pallbearers were six nephews, Orval Kitching, Norman Reynolds, Eric Reynolds, Alvin Reynolds, Armour Reynolds and Willis Reynolds. Mrs. Grigg, the former Emma A. Reynolds, was born in 1877 in Tiny Township and educated at Wyebridge Public School. On March 28, 1900, she married Robert James Grigg in Coldwater. A member of the Ebenezer United Church, Mrs. Grigg had lived in the community all her life. She enjoyed quilting and rug making. Besides her husband, she is survived by one son, Mervin of Midland; one daughter, Mrs. Walter Carpenter (Mary) of Wyebridge; one sister, Hannah, Mrs. William Charles of Wyebridge; and four brothers, Henry Reynolds of Wyebridge, Frank of Waverley, Fred of Midland and Ernest of Richmond Hill.
  • At the Roxy, the Kettles on “Old MacDonald’s Farm” and Debbie Reynolds in “Tammy and the Bachelor”.
  • The marriage of Patricia Anne Jones, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl H. Jones of R.R. 1, Midland, to Ronald Earle Graham, Elmvale, youngest son of Mrs. Cecil Graham of R.R. 1, Elmvale, and the late Mr. Graham, took place June 15 in the Vasey United Church.
  • Under The Companies Act (Ontario) Aberdeen Elevator Company Limited hereby gives notice that it will make application to his Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for the acceptance of the surrender of its charter on and after the date to be fixed by the Lieutenant Governor. Dated the 18th day of July, A.D. 1957.
  • Ten Years Ago This Week –  Some 200 passengers aboard the CPR’s S. S. Assinaboia had an unscheduled stop when the 3,900-ton ship ran aground in shallow water about 250 feet from the dock at Port Arthur. * * * Penetang council had approved a bylaw authorizing the widening of Fox Street and paving the road to a 20-foot width. It was the first paving project in the town in 15 years. * * * Dignitaries from the provincial government, University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum attended the official opening of Huronia Museum in Midland (Huronia House Museum in the former Playfair residence at Edgehill). Prior to the ceremonies, a dinner was held in Huronia Tea Room. * * * Victoria Harbour ratepayers were being asked to vote a second time on a proposal to install a community waterworks. The second vote had been ordered by the Ontario Municipal Board. * * * Francis St. Amand of Waubaushene had celebrated her 104th birthday. She attributed her longevity to hard work and a quiet life. * * * Midland and district veterans, who had purchased property in the VLA sub-division west of Midland, had hit a major snag in their building plans. The big problem was the provision of water. * * * Ontario Provincial Police had “taken over” the town of Penetang. Four OPP officers arrive July 18 and commenced policing the town at 8 p.m. that same day. * * * Construction had started on Midland’s new 207,000-gallon water tower on Wireless Hill. The structure, when completed, was to be 114 feet high.
  • “Near beer” is here. The beverage with a low alcohol content showed up over the weekend in several North Simcoe locations. It has been reported sold in a store at Little Lake Park, Port McNicoll and Wasaga Beach.

Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years in North Simcoe – May 16th to the 23rd 1955

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  •  Penetang is advertising for police constables; state age, qualifications and experience, reply to W. H. Hewson, Clerk Treasurer.
  • Penetang Council refuses request to extend the time that juke boxes can be played in local restaurants beyond the current by-law of twelve o’clock
  • Mrs. Lawrence Reynolds died Monday of injuries received in a head on collision on Cty Rd 6 south of Wyevale
  • More than 20 MDHS students will receive medals & crests for their marksmanship in rifle competition during the school term
  • Rev. Don Noseworthy of the Midland Pentecostal Church complained of young children playing in the garbage at the town dump (Tiffin Park)
  • S. S. Scott Misener sets record for fastest turnaround between Port Arthur and Port McNicoll; left 6:30 AM Thursday returned 6:30 AM Monday. Also set a record by moving 2,126,000 bushels of wheat from the Lakehead to Port McNicoll between May 6th and 16th

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 Members of the Georgian Bay Insurance Agents Association hold a business meeting at the Midtown Motel Friday. William Shaver, Midland; B. J. Brownell, Port McNicoll; Mervin Corbett, Elmvale; Fred Helson, C.F. Moreton, Willard Bacon and L. H. Taylor all of Midland.
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 Last week we pictured the Non Commissioned Officers, meet the Midland and District High School Cadet Corps officers. Back row, Bob McIntyre, Jim Lemieux, Bob Wilson, Lloyd Scott, Gary Baker, Joe Huston and Gary MacMillan. Front row; Ken McFarland, John Hilliard, Jack Jones, Blake Ball, Ray Dwinnell, Bob Megaw, Dean Nicholls, Wayne Parker and Dennis Murphy.

  •  High school athletes set 5 new records at the 34th annual Tudhope Meet in Collingwood. MDHS students set records, Ron Larmand cleared 9′ 11 1/2″ in the junior pole vault and Ralph Asselin vaulted 10′ 4 1/2″ to set a new intermediate mark. Jim Lemieux was the outstanding athlete of the meet with four firsts and a second in the intermediate events.
  • Twelve sewing machine operators wanted at once by Glen Mawr Frocks (became Fabulous Formals), experience desirable but not necessary, steady work under ideal conditions, good starting wage.
  • Birth – Mr. & Mrs. Fred Grigg wish to announce the arrival of a son, a brother for Peter and Jane on May 15th.
  • Midland Arena now open for roller skating, Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat evenings, skates provided
  • Expect 700 pupils at MPDHS next fall and 28 teachers
  • Plastic boats (Fiberglas) made by Midland Reinforced Plastics Ltd. will weigh about two-thirds that of a comparable wooden craft
  • Local Entertainment – Gone With The Wind – at the Odeon, full version 3 hours & 40 minutes. Opening dance at the Wagon Wheel Saturday May 21st. Holiday dancing at Mel`s, Honey Harbour, featuring Bob Stanway and Bill Jivcoff. Harness Races Wasaga Beach, five big events, wagering, refreshments and grandstand
  • Public Notice – a salesman offering Veteran`s Calendars for sale in the local area is not being sponsored by Branch 80 RCL or by Provincial Command
  • Prominent local grocer dies at 65, H. J. Kettle was born in Suffolk, England, coming to Canada at 17, worked for Dunlop Tire, Guerney Foundry and Sissman Shoes before coming to Midland in 1913. Forty two years ago he opened his own grocery store where Gianetto`s is now located, later moving to Yonge St. E. Survived by his wife Montalena Skinner and five sons, William, Harold & Bruce of Midland, Doug, Barrie and Tom in Bracebridge.

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 A stone used in the original construction of Fort Ste. Marie more than 300 years ago is being donated by the Midland Lions Club with the cooperation of the Martyrs Shrine to the Waco Texas Lions Club to be used in the construction of an ornamental gate. Stones from every country in the world where Lions operate will be used. President Bill Orr and R. B. Moffatt of the Midland Club are pictured.
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 Each of the girls pictured completed six units in the 4-H home making club work this season winning County honours. Shown during “Achievement Day” in Elmvale on Saturday are Marlene Strath, Sondra Robinson, Patsy Jones and Norma Cowden all of Vasey; Mildred Marcellus, Wyevale, Lorna Strath, Crossland and Margaret Goodfellow, Edenvale.