Looking Back 100 years in Port McNicoll- Anniversary Edition!

Main Movie theatre.jpgA wonderful volunteer at Huronia Musuem is going through our collection of images of Port McNicoll and digitizing some very interesting photos of this community’s incredible past.   He plans on posting an image a day until the community celebration on the weekend of August 4th, 2017.

Some of the photos are very well known and some will be new to many people.  Check back here often to see what our volunteer has discovered in the Collection at Huronia Museum.

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY ONE
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY TWO
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY THREE
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY FOUR
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY FIVE
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY SIX
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY SEVEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY EIGHT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY NINE
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY TEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY ELEVEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY TWELVE
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY FOURTEEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY FIFTEEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY SIXTEEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY SEVENTEEN
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO DAY EIGHTEEN

DAY ONE

Main Movie theatre.jpg

With about 70 days to go until the Port McNicoll 100th Anniversary Celebrations, I thought I would attempt to post a historical photo every day untill the event. I encourage others to do the same.
This is Main (Talbot) Street c. 1915 as the elevator doesn’t yet have the third leg, which was added in 1920. In the right hand corner of the photo is The Club. Does anyone know what this was? This building also housed the Globe movie Theatre. Scott Garret noted in 2015 that this building also housed the  Lookout Dance Hall, the sign is partially visible on the right hand side of the photo. Across the street is Belanger’s General Store. Further down the street on the same side is Bourie’s Hardware.
Smoke can be seen billowing from the stack of 1 of the CPR ships to the left of the coal pile. The construction of the first stage of the elevator is complete, but the photo shows Maple Island, the island that the elevator is built upon, has not been completely altered by fill and the dock is not yet complete
The handwriting in the lower right hand corner is likely that of J.W Bald.
Photo courtesy of the Huronia Museum
*** I am by no means an expert and would appreciate any corrections of knowledge you can share about this photo and those to follow.

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DAY TWO

Assi stuck in ice Dec 5th 1936 Louis Belanger - wheelsman walking over ice.jpg

This is my second offering in the run up to 100th Anniversary Celebrations.
This photo was taken December 5th, 1936. The Assiniboia is seen returning to Port McNicoll as she tries to maneuver into her winter berth. The figure on the ice is Wheelsman Louis Belanger who decided to walk the last bit.- As written by James McCannell.
All corrections and additional information are welcome.
Photo courtesy of Huronia Museum (McCannell Collection)

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DAY THREE

This is my third attempt at a historical photo every day until the Port McNicoll 100th Anniversary Celebrations.
This is 4tth Ave in 1911. Beaty’s Drug Store is nearest Main (Talbot) Street. The awning above Mr.and Mrs Beaty reads Souvunirs and Tobacos. The ads on the southern wall are for Na-Dru-Co toothpaste, produced by the National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada and Dante’s Inferno, a silent movie made in Italy, which we can assume was playing at the movie theatre in town. Scott Garrett has previously noted that the theatre was called The globe, perhaps this was an earlier incarnation?
I have included a link to Dante’s Inferno below. It is the worlds oldest surviving feature film.
https://youtu.be/iS4We4MDheg
The Elmhurst Shoe Store is seen with Mr. Elmhurst standing in the doorway. A large black boot hangs over the door to help lure those who didn’t read English.
Please don’t hesitate to suggest corrections or additional information.
Photo courtesy of the Huronia
Museum

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DAY FOUR

“The United States Coast Guard ICEBREAKER MACKINAW WAGB-83 is known as the “Queen of the Great Lakes” and “The Largest Icebreaker on the Great Lakes”. She was built as part of the war effort during World War II to meet the heavy demands of war materials and transportation during the winter months.
Decommissioned in 2006, she now resides at her namesake home of Mackinaw City, Michigan, and is open for public tours, educational tours, overnight encampments and group events. Informative displays and tour guides will tell you the story of the Mackinaw’s 62-year career of breaking ice on the Great Lakes and serving as a goodwill ambassador throughout the region.”
Source: http://themackinaw.org/
The USCG Mackinaw WAGB 83 is seen here in March of 1955 breaking ice in the slip. The Mackinaw also visited Midland and other Georgian Bay ports. Note the Helicopter on the stern deck.
Any additional information or corrections are greatly appreciated.
Photos courtesy of Huronia Museum (Free Press Collection)

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DAY FIVE

The first Photo and the caption below appeared on page 1 of the Midland Free Press on March 13th, 1959. The other photos were taken the same day and were not published. A tow truck from Petroff’s garage in Victoria is being used to move the slabs of ice. The ice is incredibly thick for the middle of March. It is unclear whether or not this ice was placed in the CPR Icehouse which can be seen on the opposite side of the slip, nearest the the end. In several of the photos a boat or barge is visible between the end of the slip and Methodist Island. Perhaps a tug or icebreaker.

Tractor mounted snow blower clears the snow beside the CSL freighter “Hochelaga” in front of Port McNicoll elevator before the ice cutting crew moves in to cut the ice into moveable blocks. Once the ice has been removed the freighter can be freed ready for her first spring trip.

Corrections and additional information is apprciated.

Photos courtesy of Huronia Museum (Free Press Collection) With thanks to Tom Barber.

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DAY SIX

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The above photo was published on page 12 the Midland Free Press September 3rd, 1958.
Van Pypen’s Department Store can be seen in the background as 4th Ave is resurfaced.
This is the caption that accompanied the photo:
“It’s quite a mess right now, but Port McNicoll’s Fourth Ave will be a much improved thoroughfare in a few weeks, when badly-needed new paving is installed. Seventh Ave. and Third Street will also be paved
in a program which also includes ditching, curbing and the laying of some sidewalks.”

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This photo appeared on the front page the same day – September 3rd, 1958 with the following caption:
“These two men, Kenneth Price, left, and Kelvin Ward, are in charge of the paving program now underway at Port McNicoll. Mr. Price of Toronto is an engineer for 0. A. Meadows and Associates Ltd., while Mr. Ward, from Barrie, is foreman for the Disher-Farrand Co. Portions of three village streets are getting new paved surfaces.”

As always your comments and corrections are appreciated. Please feel free to share your information so we all can learn from them.

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DAY SEVEN

Tremendous improvement in Port McNicoll streets following the completion of the paving program is evidenced in the pictures above. In the first photo is a section of Fourth Ave. the main business section. From north to south the following businesses and buildings can be seen: The United Church, Zmuach’s Five and Dime, Dack’s Butcher Shop, Homer Beausloeil’s TV Repair, A fruit Market, Herman Sauvé’s Grocery Store and a Drug Store that may or may not have belonged to John and Ann Kent   The last photo shows 7th Ave. looking north toward the public school. Third Street, running east and west, was also been paved.

These photos appeared in the Midland Free Press on October 22nd, 1958.

All comments and corrections are most welcome.

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DAY EIGHT

2006 0020 2635.JPG

This photo shows diesel locomotives in Port McNicoll to test the trestle. Steam is being replaced by diesel across the CPR, Port will be the last place in Ontario to use regularly assigned steam. Hood unit 4012 is a model FA1 built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1950 and will be retired in 1965, 8598 is a road switcher model RS10 also built by MLW but in 1956 and retired in 1982. The scene is beside the coal trestle & chute in the Port yard. Official were concerned about the weight of the engines affecting the trestle, combined weight was 518,000 pounds.
This photo was taken in the spring of 1956
Caption courtesy of Tom Barber

All comments and questions are welcome.

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DAY NINE

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This photo was taken in the summer of 1956 on Flat Point, also called Paradise Point, at the newly named Patterson Park. The park was named after George Patterson to honour his role as a community leader and volunteer. Mr. Patterson died in March of 1955 and had been the Reeve of Port McNicoll for 14 years.

A large group of swimmers, adults and children, is seen swimming and enjoying the raft. This photo is a one in a series taken for the book “The Story of Simcoe County”, which was produced by the Tourist and Industrial Committee of the County Council of Simcoe.  The author was the former premier of Ontario, the Honourable Ernest C. Drury and was printed by Midland Press Limited. The negatives were held in their possession until they were donated to the Huronia Museum in 2006. This photo was not printed.

Drury was born and raised in Oro where he was Reeve for 13 years and served as the eighth Premier of Ontario from 1919 to 1923.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Charles_Drury

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This a family photo taken in 1946 or 1947. It shows my grandfather, George Burns and his three children swimming at Flat Point, also called Paradise Point. Catherine Burns Micallef is seen to her fathers right. Pat Burns is seen in his fathers arms and my father, Charles Burns, is seen to his fathers left. The background shows children enjoying the raft and the calm water.

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DAY TEN

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This photo was published in the County Herald, June 17th, 1955. it was accompanied by this caption:
“Fire Drill for Mariners” Some 80 employees of the CPR’s steamship service and support employees take their annual fire fighting and safety instruction before the opening of the navigation season. Former Midlander T. C. Howard in the light jacket is now the district supervisor of safety, loss and damage.

With the fire onboard the Noronic, September 17th, 1949, still fresh in travellers minds, The CPR was investing in fire safety and making certain that the travelling public knew of this effort. The fire killed 118 and perhaps as many as 139 people in the early morning hours while Noronic was alongside Pier 9 in Toronto Harbour. In a time before sprinkler systems, public address systems, emergency lighting and effective fire extinguishers, the passengers were awoken in panic and had to find their way off the ship through dark, smoke filled passages that were quickly getting hot. The fire which was likely caused by a dropped cigarette in a linen closet, ravaged the ship and in less than an hour the metal decks were white hot and began to collapse. The victims died of smoke inhalation and severe burns, some died from leaping from the ship to the pier. Many bodies were nearly incinerated and were never identified.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Noronic

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DAY ELEVEN

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This photo appeared in the Midland Free Press January 20th, 1960 and was accompanied with the following caption:

“This tunnel, under the CPR tracks which cross Highway 12, near Victoria Harbour, has been the subject of much controversy following the motor accident which took the lives of two young people in November. A coroner’s jury at an inquest in Midland into their deaths recommended flasher lights be installed. More recently Victoria Harbour council has urged that the tunnel be widened as a winter works project.”

Nothing was ever done until the CPR abandoned their  rail route in the late sixties and the roadway was re-aligned. Many more serious accident and deaths were to occur.

Caption courtesy Tom Barber.

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DAY TWELVE

I’m back after a long weekend hiatus.

This series of photos shows the SS Manitoba leaving Port McNicoll for the last time on June 15th, 1950 – almost exactly 67 years ago today. After the Noronic disaster in 1949 the CPR made the decision to decommission Manitoba as the costs of a retrofit to bring her up to the new standards would have been much too expensive.

These pictures were taken from the roof of the Office/ Dry Goods Storage and former Icehouse building indicating that they were taken by an employee. Unfortunately, we don’t know who.Man Leaving PMman leaving PMman tow

Take note of the Range light on Bergie Point. This light and its partner which can still be seen on William Street, guided ships into Port McNicoll and Victoria Harbour.

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DAY FOURTEEN

I will let this photo speak for itself. This is the senior crew of the SS Manitoba in the summer of 1940.manitoba fmanitoba b

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DAY FIFTEEN

These photos were taken by James (Jamie) McCanell at the Hamilton Steelworks Yard in 1950 as the SS Manitoba was being dismantled for scrap.Manitoba being scraped - cabins torn off 1950Manitoba being scrapped at Hamilton 1950

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DAY SIXTEEN

This picture appeared on page 2 of the Midland Free Press on August 20th, 1958. It appeared with the following caption:

“The CPR cruise ship Keewatin in the background provides a nice setting for pretty Giovanna Baggio of Port McNicoll. The little cannon is one of three which attract much attention from visitors to the CPR gardens at Port McNicoll.”

Miss Baggio may have been the eldest daughter of Celest Baggio who was a fireman on the Keewatin for a number of years.2006 0020 4708.JPG

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DAY SEVENTEEN

Today we’re going to attempt to solve a mystery. The three iconic cannon that were the centrepiece of the CPR gardens have been missing since 1967. Earlier this month I uncovered these photo’s. The inscription on the back states only the date: January 25th, 1967.
Perhaps these men or their families know where the cannon were going? Do any of these men look familiar to you?Port 100th 033Port 100th 034
You should be able to left click on this photo to enlarge it. Another lick will enlarge it again. A third click will reduce it to where you can right click on the black border and select “back” to return to a normal view.

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DAY EIGHTEEN

This view of Port McNicoll appeared in the County Herald, September 4th, 1959, on page 5. It was accompanied by the following caption:2006 0020 5768

“Some breathtaking views can be had from the top of the CPR elevator in Port McNicoll. This is how Port McNicoll looks from more than 100 feet up, with the CPR steamship Assiniboia nestling in the foreground, in front of the freight sheds.”

The first Catholic Church can be seen in the lower left,  The United Church, which is now the Catholic Church, is visible above the small coal pile, and Bonar Presbyterian Church can be seen nearer the middle of the photo. I suspect that there are few photos with all three churches visible.

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