EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chapleau experiencing 'tremendous power shift' too as societal change in communications takes place globally

More than 20 years  ago now Howard Rheingold, one of the pioneers of virtual communities, said that " a tremendous power shift is underway ... this power shift is about people and our ability to connect with each other in new ways... "

Speaking at the first Writers' Retreat on Interactive Technology and Equipment conference sponsored by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Rheingold noted in 1994 that he was struck by the "citizen-to citizen movement now known as virtual community" popping up everywhere he travelled.

I was at the conference preparing to teach my first Writing for New Media course at College of the Rockies where I was also working on the development of a grad program in New (Social) Media Communications launched a year later. Very few people at the time agreed with Rheingold and other internet pioneers who believed as I did that we were embarking on the biggest societal change in communications since the days of Gutenberg and his printing press.

I spoke on the topic of how the Internet could defeat politicians, or help them win,  at an annual conference of the Canadian Association of Journalists in 1996,  and argued, that in due course, it would be a major contributing factor. Interestingly, the old guard in the room vehemently disagreed with me, while campus journalists supported my position.The old guard, and me, had never heard of Barack Obama in 1995.
in my office at COTR circa 1995

Fast forward to now! You don't hear much about virtual communities now, as all the talk is about social media. The power shift has occurred despite the naysayers then and now, because of our need to connect, one with the other, and we have choices like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, and yes, even email.

Recently, I have been thinking about Chapleau folks and how they are connecting with each other no matter where they may live today as I watch a group of Facebook friends communicate with each other each morning. They share the weather report from where they live, so typically Canadian, and other news. I won't identify them as I did not request permission to use their names but I really enjoy their daily meeting.

I have used three photos with this column to provide examples of three Chapleau pages on Facebook which are in my view at least very successful. 

One is the Chapleau History and Genealogy group launched by Louise (Tremblay) Etter which now has over 1,500 members. Its members provide awesome photos and comments related to the history of Chapleau and its people.

I enjoy "Chapleau Kebsquasheshing" the golf club page because weekly it provides information on club activities, most particularly "Adult Night" winners. Despite my almost 30 years away from Chapleau, I still can identify most of the golfers.

And I selected the Trinity United Church page as a great example of how to keep members informed on church activities.

There are many other Chapleau pages, which I am delighted to see, and should any wish to contact me about them please feel free to do so.

Despite having taught social media, I joined Facebook  some years ago now  at the suggestion of former students, and I extend great thanks to them. I have been able to reconnect with so many people with whom I had lost touch for many years, and catch up on their lives. Facebook is also an example of the success of new media with its convergence of all media to digital forms.

At any given time on Facebook, "friends" are using text, still photos, videos and all kind of cool things to communicate with one another and a broader audience if they wish. One-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many!!! While I have focused on Facebook, others like Twitter and Instagram are also in the mix.

While teaching new media at COTR I made many fearless predictions about where we were headed. At times I really didn't have a clue but knew something big was happening. I am still learning.

In the COTR library where students had access to computers, they were banned by the powers-that-be from accessing chat rooms, which in those days was the main reason the students wanted to use the computers. To me it was a sure sign that big changes could not be far off. The kids were way ahead in social networking, while the established order wanted to ban them from the practice. Now kids are "tweeting" and "facebooking" and so on.

When I think of it though, my generation liked to pass notes around the classroom to our friends, which of course was forbidden. Now they stay in touch by texting each other on cel phones, and using Facebook, Twitter, etc. Plus ca change. Plus c`est la meme chose.

I would love to hear your comments on social media and its place in your life, and how you enjoy staying connected with others. Critics welcome too!

My email is mj.morris@live.ca, or feel free to contact me on Facebook.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cones dropping on roof of tent nestled among pine trees 'great fun' for pupils at early Chapleau school

The first schools established in Chapleau shortly after the community were  established in 1885 was in a tent, according to a handwritten history of life in the fledging community included in the Richard Brownlee papers.

The handwriting is excellent but I can't say for sure if Mr. Brownlee, who arrived in Chapleau in February 1886,  wrote it some years later but it is a great read. Mr. Brownlee's first barbershop was in a tent in "old" Chapleau where the Lady Minto Hospital was built at Elm and Queen streets in 1914. He later in 1886 moved to a leanto attached to the T.A. Austin store in the present downtown area,

As an aside, I wonder if today anyone is keeping "handwritten" notes on Chapleau as it is today. If so I would love to hear from you.

The first school was  in a tent, then in the first Roman Catholic Church at Birch and Lorne where Collins Home Hardware is now for short time, then back to a tent located on Beech Street where the Trinity United Church Manse is located beside the church.

The writer noted that "It was a very pretty spot and the tent nestled among the big pine trees. Great fun was had when the pine cones dropped on the roof making a drumming noise. There were twelve rough hewn seats in the school.

"Another feature of this school was the big stove in the middle, and those who sat near it roasted, while those away froze."

However, by about 1891, a school was located in a small building on Pine beside the Rectory of St. John's Anglican Church.

This was schooling in the community as the 20th century arrived, and Chapleau was incorporated as a municipaility in 1901.

Education of the children however was on the minds of the first council as the writer says that "the first act of the new council was to float debentures for the erection of a public school."

It was built beside St. John's Anglican Church, and later became Chapleau High School

G.B. Nicholson was the first reeve and he was returned by acclamation in the election held each year until he retired from the office in 1913. Members of the first council were A. Rathwell, D. Royal, P.J. MacFarlane and W. Boswell.

Once again my sincere thanks to Margaret Rose (Payette) and Bobby Fortin who kindly loaned me the Richard Brownlee papers. I am writing this column as a state of emergency was declared for Cranbrook and area because of wildfires. Our heat wave continues too.

ADDENDUM  In my column on Charles W. Collins, in providing the names of family members who have managed the business I failed to include Susan Collins, granddaughter of Mr. Collins and daughter of George Collins. My apologies! Thanks Jordan for the email.

Also, the gremlins were really at work as I wrote in my lead of all places that in 1918, the business would mark 90 years with the Collins name. It should have been 2018, next year.

I started my newspaper career at the Timmins Daily Press 53 years ago on September 1, 1964, and there are still occasions when I don't manage to get the words right!  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Charles W Collins active in Chapleau community life established retail business associated with family name in 1928

In 2018, the Collins name will have been associated with retail business in Chapleau for 90 years, but its founder Charles W. Collins, also played an active role in many other aspects of community life.

Mr. Collins was the son of Mr. and Mrs. P.J. Collins who arrived in Chapleau in 1909. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, soon thereafter many Chapleau boys enlisted in the armed forces, and a plaque in St. John's Anglican Church notes that he was one of 42 church members who were  in the forces by 1916.

Let's go back to 1885, and a few years beyond for a moment. Alexandre Langis arrived at 615.1 on the Canadian Pacific Railway with a contract from the company to clear the land that would become the townsite of Chapleau.

After completing the contract Mr. Langis stayed with the CPR but left to start a business with one E. Jackman at 4 Birch Street West at Young and Birch Street. The building happened to be owned by my great-great uncle Patrick Mulligan. He had established Murrays and Mulligan, General Merchants, on that site in 1887.

An Albert Desjardins came to Chapleau in 1908 from Montreal and bought out Mr. Jackman so the name was changed to Desjardins and Langis.

In 1909 they relocated to the southwest corner of Birch and Lorne streets which for a short time had been the site of the first Roman Catholic church.

Later, Harry Wolfe, who was the son-in-law of Mr. Langis, purchased the interests of Mr. Desjardins, and in 1924 the store became known as Langis and Wolfe.
names below
In 1928, Charles W. Collins bought out Mr. Langis and the store became known as Wolfe and Collins. The Collins name has been associated with ownership of a  store at that location ever since.  In due course Mr. Wolfe left the business and Fred Matters became a partner, and the store became Collins and Matters. When Mr. Matters left it became Charles W. Collins Stores Ltd and now the fourth generation of the family is in the business.

They have been Mr. Collins followed by his son George, his granddaughter Susan,  his grandson Doug, and now his great-grandson Joshua. Over the years other members of the family have also been associated with the store.

No other name has been associated with a locally owned business in Chapleau in its entire history for as long as Collins has.

Charles Collins was also active in the community, and by 1950 he was chair of the board of Lady Minto Hospital and encouraging its members to accept the need for renovations. The hospital had opened in 1914.

 At the annual meeting of 1952, Mr. Collins, and D.O. Payette, secretary, presented plans which would also include a nurses' residence. 

Mr. Collins urged the board members to go on record as supporting the project "100 percent" which they did.

By 1955 the renovations including the nurses' residence had been completed. The sun parlours on the east and west ends of the hospital located on Elm Street, across from Queen Street.

Of all the improvements perhaps the most important was an elevator that became a reality through a generous gift from the W.E. Mason Foundation. Mr. Mason was a great supporter of Northern Ontario and founder of the Sudbury Star newspaper.

The kitchen had been moved to the basement with all new equipment described as 'the last word in cooking convenience for large scale service.
names below

As the 1950s began, Chapleau installed a sewage system while Mr. Collins was president of the Chapleau Board of Trade, (Chamber of Commerce). Mr. Collins was also supportive of the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena opened in 1951. 

Mr. Collins was also a member of Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion, a charter member of the Chapleau Rotary Club, and St. John's Anglican Church where he served on the advisory board for many years.

Over the years renovations were undertaken at the store.

After Mr. Collins retired, and his son George became president, and 30 years ago in 1987, the company bought Pro Hardware, which had been part of the Smith and Chapple Ltd. complex. 

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

1930s Staff of Collins and Matters: Back row left to right: Fred Card, Fred Matters, Charles W. Collins, Herbie Vezina. Front row left to right: Olive Vezina, Beth Inges, Gertrude Currie (Curry)

Launch of Chapleau sewage system project 1950: Dr. D.W. Lougheed, Arthur J. Grout, Cecil A. Smith, Unknown, W. Steed, R. Thrush, B.W. Zufelt, Ernest Lepine, E. Brunette, Jack Shoup, Richard Brownlee, Dr. G. E. Young, Clyde Fife, D.O. Payette, Charles W. Collins.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE