EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Huron Carol in Huron, English and French!

What a wonderful surprise it was today to receive an email from Patricia Carroll, the younger sister of Madeleine, who was in the same class as me at Chapleau High School in the Fifties. And she attached an awesome rendtition of The Huron Carol in Huron, English and French. Thanks so much Patricia.

Here is Patricia's email:

You may not know me but I remember you when I was 10 yrs. old living in Chapleau with my sister Monica and brother in law Andre Thibault circa 1955 to 1957. I am Madeleine Carroll's youngest sister, Patricia also aunt to Rick, Ron and Jamie Thibault. When I say I remember you, it means I remember seeing you on the main street as I remember so many faces going and coming from school and knowing the names and nicknames. I live in Windsor and I am retired from Chrysler Canada Ltd. I have many fond memories of Chapleau and its wonderful residents, of which many were my relatives.

My mother's first cousin Father Albert Burns was a Jesuit and parish priest of Sacred Heart church in Chapleau. At this special time of the year I would like to pass this beautiful carol (hymn) which is sung in Huron, French and English. Most importantly it was written by the Jesuit martyr, Jean de Breboeuf and is considered to be the oldest North American Christmas carol.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, Michael and I love reading your report on a regular basis even though I have been away from Chapleau for 53 years.

Here is the beautiful Huron Carol written by Jean de Breboeuf so very long ago!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mona (Alajoki) MacKenzie 'strange feeling' no snow while in United Arab Emirates at Christmas

Mona (Alajoki) MacKenzie, a former student from my days at Chapleau High School has had the opportunity to live in United Arab Emirates, including Christmas away from Canada. Mona kindly shared the experience.

Here is Mona's story:

For ourselves, we tried to find a getaway vacations, anywhere within reasonable flight range, 5 hours or so. We went to the Philippines, Egypt, Kuala Lampor, Oman, India and Malaysia, just to name a few.

While we were in Pakistan, we joined the United Nations Club, they were wonderful. They provided a variety of different cuisines and entertainment from all nationalities.

During our stay in the United Arab Emirates, we joined the Canadian Club, Abu Dhabi, which also has a web presence on Facebook. (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=84165812325)
 The club focused on Canadian Expats, bringing them closer to one another while away from Canada.

It is a very strange feeling, not seeing the snow, hmmm, When I first went to the Middle East, there was very little in the form of recognizing the Christian Holiday. And this last year there, they had many themes in the Malls with Christmas  Trees and decorations. It was nice to see.

Many of the 5 * Hotels always had a Christmas Theme, with banquets to celebrate the season.

I also realize, that this was meant for the tourists from Europe, as there has been an increasing number

LOL, I wish I could have sent you something, a little more exciting; however, we did enjoy scuba diving, sailing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, wind surfing, kayaking and mountain hiking, on our many trips away from the UAE.

Mona Lisa (Alajoki) MacKenzie

Thanks for sharing Mona...mj

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Good King Wenceslas connected to Chapleau with memories of a childhood Christmas Eve as 'snow lay round about...'

When Good King Wenceslas looked out and saw the snow with the moon shining bright in about the year 1000, he could have been describing Chapleau weather on almost any Christmas Eve in its history.

Before I go any further with King Wenceslas and his Chapleau connection as revealed in the popular carol 'Good King Wenceslas', I have only recently discovered that he was not really a king, but the Duke of Bohemia, and he was looking out on the Feast of St Stephen, the day after Christmas. To me it doesn't really matter as the carol brings back fond memories and delivers a message that applies any time.

Some readers will recall that my mother Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris directed many concerts and musicals during the 32 years that she taught at Chapleau Public School, and she was also the choir director at St. John's Anglican Church for years. Music was an important part of our home, and that's how I became acquainted with King Wenceslas as a boy. Mom would sing at home.

It became the carol that to me applied most to Chapleau weather at Christmas time. Looking outside before leaving for Christmas Eve service, "the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel..."

As we headed to St. John's, I would hum the carol and think to myself that all that needed to be added was the smoke going straight up into the skies, the temperature hovering at Fifty degrees below Fahrenheit and the music and wonderful display at Dr. G.E. Young's office building.

The lyrics were published in 1853 by the English hymn writer John Mason Neale.

Now, the carol addresses a subject that I never thought about much as a child growing up in Chapleau. I had my family, friends and a community where people cared about and helped each other in times of need.

Even though there were times when I missed my father James E Morris who was killed while on active service in the RCAF in World War II, I had my mother, my grandparents George and Edith Hunt and Harry and Lil Morris as well as my aunt and uncle, Elsie (Hunt) and B.W. 'Bubs" Zufelt and my cousins, and my aunt Marion (Morris) Kennedy.

But as the King walks with his page, "a poor man came in sight, Gathering winter fuel." The page tells him that this man lives "underneath the mountain."

On Christmas Eve in Chapleau those many years ago, as we greeted people on the street who were going to or coming from their respective churches, I never really thought about those who may be homeless and without food--- living underneath the mountain, so to speak.

The good King took immediate action though telling his page to gather food and wine and pine logs that they would take to the peasant and see him dine, "through the rude wind's wild lament, And the bitter weather."

The page was ready to give up as the night grew darker and wind blew stronger, but the King encouraged him and they made it to their destination.

As I reflected on "Good King Wenceslas" it struck me that one of the most incredible moments when I lived in Chapleau was a telethon broadcast over Dr. Young's cable TV system in the early 1980s to raise funds for those in need, and over $20,000 was raised during the show. I was cohosting the telethon with other local "personalities" , sponsored by the Chapleau Rotary Club, and as the donations poured in, I became more and more amazed at the outpouring of support.

As many of you know, especially my former students, I love metaphor and have been collecting them all my life. I hope I have not mixed them too badly as I have talked about the Good King Wenceslas connection to Chapleau.

At this Christmas time, I extend my very best wishes to my family and friends who have shared moments of their lives with me during the past year. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas.

My thoughts also turn to all the good people of Chapleau, past and present, and I leave all of you wherever you may be with the last words from 'Good King Wenceslas',

"Therefore ... be sure, Wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, Shall yourselves find blessing."

Merry Christmas! my email is mj.morris@live.ca


Good King Wenceslas looked out

On the feast of Stephen

When the snow lay round about

Deep and crisp and even

Brightly shone the moon that night

Though the frost was cruel

When a poor man came in sight

Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me

If thou know'st it, telling

Yonder peasant, who is he?

Where and what his dwelling?"

"Sire, he lives a good league hence

Underneath the mountain

Right against the forest fence

By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine

Bring me pine logs hither

Thou and I will see him dine

When we bear him thither."

Page and monarch forth they went

Forth they went together

Through the rude wind's wild lament

And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now

And the wind blows stronger

Fails my heart, I know not how,

I can go no longer."

"Mark my footsteps, my good page

Tread thou in them boldly

Thou shalt find the winter's rage

Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod

Where the snow lay dinted

Heat was in the very sod

Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Christian men, be sure

Wealth or rank possessing

Ye who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christ Church in Cranbrook BC supports Anglican Silent Night Project for Military Chaplains

Jim Scanland, a veteran of World War II, who is considered a "saint" of Christ Church, with his wife Mary, led the singing of Silent Night, with Jim on his omnichord, all organized by Rev. Dr. Yme Woensdregt, Incumbent, (far right) who organized the event.

The church is located in Cranbrook BC, where I now live.

Yes, I was there, up in the back row behind Jim and Mary.

Jim Scanland died a few months after he participated in this project. May he rest in peace.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz,  asked that donations from the Silent Night Project be directed to support the ministry of Anglican military chaplains, who work among the women and men of the Canadian Forces.

There are more than 85 Anglican military chaplains who serve in the Canadian Forces.

They minister specifically within the Anglican Military Ordinariate (AMO), the grouping of all Anglicans in the Canadian Forces. Yet their work of spiritual support extends to all members of the Forces—Anglicans, other Christians, and people of other faiths.

Chaplains serve wherever the Canadian Forces are stationed. A chaplain may travel overseas on a humanitarian mission, serve the Eucharist aboard navy ships, or counsel women and men who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Karen Smith recalls bringing the band to her house the Sixties for a 'jumping' Christmas party, with furniture pushed aside, and then the phone rang .. plus Ian Macdonald on toyland; Mike McMullen, Ken Schroeder at church

House parties over the Christmas season are always popular but one held in Chapleau during the Sixties still brings back memories as a live band had the place jumping in no time after it arrived at the home of Karen Smith.

Andre Renaud had mentioned the party to me some time ago when I was researching 'Phoenix Rising' a band in which he played drums for a time. The band also went under other names. So, as i was looking for some different Chapleau moments at Christmas, I was able to contact Karen for some information about bringing the band to her home to play for a party.

Karen wrote: "The heroes of this tale are my Mum and Dad. My brother Brian and I were home for Christmas. A bunch of us had gone to the show and were returning to our place when someone mentioned the band was practising in the basement of the town hall. I think it was Ken Braumberger that talked them into playing at our place."

Karen and Brian's parents were Cecil and Ruth Smith and they owned the Fox Theatre in Chapleau. To the real oldtimers, at first they had the Regent Theatre.

"In no time we had the band and their instruments loaded in trucks and cars and and set up in my parents family room," Karen continued. "Carpets in the living room and dining room were rolled up, and furniture pushed aside.

Peter Simpson and Sean Henry
"We did have a piano at our place and Peter Simpson tickled the ivory . That piano never sounded so good. The band had the place was a jumping in no time. Guitars, drums, horn, piano and even Frankie (Bignucolo) singing his heart out. "

Then the phone rang....

"Expecting a noise complaint I answered," Karen said. "It was our neighbour Mrs. Pineault concerned that someone was snooping around our garage. She could see the lights going on and off and was sure someone was sitting in the car. Out we went to investigate.

"There sat my Mum and Dad. They had arrived home to find their house filled with teenagers dancing to the music of a live band and could not hear themselves think. Dad had made a dash into the kitchen poured them both a stiff drink and there they sat, in the car in the garage waiting for the party to end."

"Learning that it was Mum and Dad sitting in the car, Mr. Pineault came over and invited Mum and Dad over to the warmth and peace and quet of their place.

"I have no idea how long the party lasted but by the next morning all the furniture was in place nothing broken and everyone had a great time.

"God Bless Mum and Dad. They had their home invaded by teenagers more than once," Karen added.

(As an aside, on a personal note, I thank Karen for her kind words about my grandfather Gerge Hunt and my family at St. John's Church.)

Andre Renaud picked up the story by recalling that it was Peter Simpson who made the arrangements with Karen " I was fairly new in the band at that time. I remember Peter saying to me," Andre we have a Christmas party to play at..It's at Karen Smith's place..

Peter told him they needed about 20 songs asking if he thought he could do different beats because he knew that in a small area the mistakes stand out and it's hard to keep the drum sound low. "You mostly use brushes or the stick on the rim and use he high hat rather than the big cymbals...."

Andre remembers that the place was packed, and it went over real well."We had a great time and there was no trouble at all..Karen was a great hostess and she paid us real well for those days..I remember $5.00 each..

"My drums were new and they were like a blue sparkle..Peter would alway say when the guys helped me move them around..Watch the bluey guys... watch the bluey.LOL. Peter had a nickname..A lot of people called him Simmy I always called him Pete."

While we were chatting Andre recalled another popular feature at Christmas in Chapleau. "I used to like going downstairs at Smith and Chapple's and look at the toy display..Also the train display they had there every Christmas.Nice place to duck into on the way to school when it was real cold..Warm up for a few minutes and keep going the rest of the way..LOL"

I remembered that Ian Macdonald, now retired as professor and head of the department of architecture at the University of Manitoba, at one time had a connection to the Smith and Chapple train display, so sent him an email for details. As always Ian replied promptly with details.

"My Dad looked after the Smith and Chapple hardware department including "toyland". It was set up in the lower level at the east end of the building under the Grocery department. The toyland display always included two electric train layouts. One was an American Flyer and the other was a Lionel.

"I had the nonsalaried assignment to oversee the operation of both of them which I gladly did. It was the only job I ever had at Smith and Chapple aside from occasionally delivering flyers.

"Several years later I began firing for the CPR and had the opportunity to actually operate full size locomotives hostling at Cartier. Most of my subsequent Christmas holidays were spent in a CPR locomotive cab substituting for running crews who were booking off. It paid a lot better than the Smith and Chapple assignment but I'm not sure it was ever quite as much fun."

Ken and Mike about then!!!
Michael McMullen, my cousin, and Ken Schroeder, my good friend, shared their exchange of emails about their role at the midnight service at St. John's Anglican Church where Michael had to fight an itch.

Michael asked Ken: "Do you remember the Christmas Eve service (midnight I believe) in either 1952 or 1953 that you and I were charged with standing in the middle aisle and determining when people could go up for communion? As I recall the church was packed. One reason that I remember it so vividly is that I had to scratch the back of my leg and was too embarassed to do anything about it while on duty (and display). The relief to do that downstairs afterwards has been etched in my mind ever since!"

Ken replied: "Funny how some things just stick .." Ken advised us that he has now been promoted to stand guard at the foot of the two steps at their church here in Hamilton. "Sigi (his wife) lets them out, one side at a time, and I wait to catch  anybody that falters on the steps .....good job ....."

I think the service was in 1952 when Rev. E. Roy Haddon was at St. John's. I recall the packed church. As an aside, at that time Michael's father Keith, was the People's Warden and my mother Muriel, and Ken's mother, Edith "Teddy" Schroeder, were in the choir.

Ian Macdonald recalled his role: "As an aside, my assignment at St.John's for the Christmas Eve service was operating the chimes. It was a job I inherited from Bob Linklater  who was then studying for the ministry at U of T. You may recall that  the chimes were actually a recording which was played on a set of large speakers in the St.John's belfry connected to a record player and amplifier in the ante room off of the Vestry. There was a real bell in the belfry in addition to the "virtual chimes" which I heard only on very rare occasions. I'm not sure but I think that Miss Herner donated the  sound system. You probably know better than I.

I believe she did along with her sister, Mrs Nettie Grout

Thanks all for the memories. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas at Our Place in Chapleau by Bill and Barbara Groves

Bill and Barbara (Bowland) Groves kindly shared photos of their beautifully decorated home in Chapleau. plus Billand Barb out for a Winter hike in the golf course area.

They also sent along the following message:

"From our place to yours Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

And, the same to you Bill and Barb.  mjm

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chapleau folks share memories of the season from Christmas market in Germany to church pageant and Santa Claus at Smith and Chapple Ltd.

Lorne and Jackie Riley with Erin, Patty, Loreen, Lorne at Christmas
Lorne Riley shares memories of Christmas songs from home countries while June-Marie Charlwood remembers the crisp cold snow and Ken Schroeder plays Santa Claus. It is the Christmas season and time once again to bring you moments from here and there and indeed everywhere.

Lorne Riley writes from Dubai where he is head of corporate communications for Dubai Airports that he lived overseas for 10 years now in three different countries and, "despite this, have managed to more or less maintain a 'Canadian Christmas'. It typically means flying home for two harried weeks jam-packed with dinners, lunches and get-togethers as we struggle to see as many people as possible in a very short time frame."

However, his favourite overseas Christmas experience was in Frankfurt where "we used to have a staff party every year to celebrate Christmas in the German tradition."

Lorne explained that typically it "started in the Christmas market in Hauptwache at the centre of the city with cups of mulled, sweetened gluhwein or beer (the best in the world I might add) and snacks like bratwurst or kartofelpuffer (potato pancakes and apple sauce). It would end with a merry, multi-cultural group primed with Pils, gathered around a heavy wooden table laden with goose, rotkraut (red cabbage) and knoedel (a doughy dumpling the size of a baseball) in a smokey restaurant singing Christmas songs from our home countries."

He also recalled very fond memories of Chapleau Christmases..."ham and perogies were the tradition at Christmas Eve at the Riley household, lovingly prepared by my mother (Jackie Riley who is a great cook...hi Mom!).

"In my teenage years our gang of friends (some of us from the NOHA Midget C Champion Chapleau Huskies...John Bernier, Pat Payette, Randy Carroll, Tim Morin, Donald Swanson, Mario Lapierre, Alain Bouillon and Paul Martel to name a few) would gather at the Payettes for some Christmas cheer and a singalong."

Just to interject a bit on the champion Midget C Huskies, they won the NOHA title in 1979-80 in Blind River in a nail biting series. The coaches were Jamie Doyle and Mike Tangie, and I was there on the bench with them. Also, Lorne's father, Lorne Sr., coached the Chapleau Midgets to an NOHA title in the Sixties which led to the founding of the Chapleau Junior B Huskies. Lorne Sr was the first coach of that team which won championships in 1966-67, its first year. When Lorne became ill, Keith "Buddy" Swanson, the manager took over as coach.

And most importantly Lorne shares: "I still remember waking up Christmas day to the smell of turkey roasting, opening the treats in our Christmas sock which was pinned at the foot of the bed (a clever ploy by my parents to keep us entertained in our rooms so they could catch an extra hour or two of sleep) and looking through a thickly frosted window to see if sliding at Second Rock or on Hospital Hill was in the cards...that is if Santa brought the Krazy Karpet I had asked for....

"While I haven't made it back to Chapleau for Christmas in a very long time, and I rarely get to see my very good friends from back in the day, I'd like to send everyone back home best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and safe, healthy and Happy New Year."\

June-Marie Charlwood, a member of one of Chapleau's pioneer families wrote that the one memory she had of Christmas in Chapleau was the Christmas Pageant by the St. John's Anglican Church Sunday School and singing The Huron Carol.

June-Marie is the daughter of the late Bessie Woodard who was born and raised in Chapleau. Bessie married Maurice Charette and they lived in Chapleau in the early Fifties.

"Then we went to the Zufelts (Elsie (Hunt) and B.W. "Bubs" Zufelt lived on Beech Street at the time) and walking home in the crisp cold snow and watching the beautiful aurora borealis light up the sky....I believe I was 7 which would make it 1952..."

When June Marie mentioned 1952, it rang a bell and I went to my book 'Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love' to see what was happening at St. John's. I noted that at Christmas 1952 when Rev. E. Roy Haddon was the rector, the largest congregation ever recorded at a service to that time in the history of the parish was on Christmas Eve with 267 people in attendance. There were chairs in the aisle on a beautiful Winter evening.

June Marie also recalled getting a book called 'Fifty Famous Fairy Tales' that year which she still has and "read to my children and grandchildren. ....Wow Michael you have brought up some very special memories to my heart..."

When I received an email from my lifelong friend Ken Schroeder with some memories, I actually did recall when he was Santa Claus at Smith and Chapple Ltd.

Ken wrote: "I remember being a Chapleau 'Santa Claus' at Smith and Chapple one year, music was big ..nice and loud ....kids enjoyed... Jingle Bells... etc....Art Grout always was happy about these good times ....people smiling . Good times ...." They sure were great days Ken.


Vivian Edwards wrote about my article on John 'Mac' McClellan. "That article on Mr McClellan was so excellent. When I wanted a job at the Chapleau Telephone Co. I gave Mac as a reference and Mrs Delaney phoned him and he said hire her. It changed my whole life. I Joined his bugle band but he let me be in it but told me not to blow the bugle as I couldn't carry a note. I took the bugle home gees I was proud and was in the marching band but messed up as I swung my arms the same way. Poor guy he was so tolerant. When my brother Tom quit school he called my mom and said this boy was to carry on in school. Over the years I am sure he helped countless students. Great men happen only so often and he was one of them . Good job Michael."

I have been advised that the Queen's University Alumni Review will run a memorial article on Dr. G.E.Young in its Winter issue. Dr. Young graduated from Queen's in medicine in 1942.

Please feel free to send along your Christmas memories and/or photos. My email is mj.morris@live.ca
or see me on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Memories of Mac's bellow, withering words, wiener roasts, field days, cadet inspections, all important part of Chapleau High School life as recalled by Jack Whitney

Phys ed on field behind old CHS in the 60s
On J.L. "Jack" Whitney's first day at Chapleau High School in the late 1920s without warning, the most outstanding noise caused all students, who with no teacher present, were being their usual well behaved selves, caused them to pause in mid whatever they were doing.
John McClellan in front of CHS
They were about to meet John McClellan, the legendary teacher and principal of the school. Mr. Whitney recalled his high school experience in a speech to high school students some years later after he graduated from CHS

First though, let me share how I came to receive a copy of Mr. Whitney's story. James Austin and his daughter Elizabeth recently went to have dinner with Bill and Sheryl McLeod at their home in Sudbury. Mr. Austin brought with him a handwritten copy of the speech signed by "J.L. Whitney" but could not recall how he happened to get it. Bill McLeod agreed to transcribed it , and sent me a copy for use in my column. Thanks all!

Here is Mr. Whitney's story.

He wrote: "How did we like high school 40 years ago?? I believe that it was very much as it is today, most of us liked it very much. I think, looking back from today, many of us would place it with the outstanding events in our lives. Some, of course, found it too difficult, and for a few it was a little too boring. Up to 1929, you know, there was plenty of work and the pay was good … 25 cents per hour … ten hour days with $1.00 a day off for board so higher education wasn’t really necessary."

He explains that in 1924 the new public school was only a few years old and the new high school, which was merely the old public school, enlarged and re-modelled, was about the same age, less a year or so.

"What about the teachers of those days? Well, when you consider that in the late twenties and the early thirties a large percentage of 5th Form (Grade 13 to you) successfully completed their university education and are today holding some rather important and useful positions in the Army, the Electrical, the Medical and the Teaching world … then I feel they compare favourably with teachers anywhere and in any decade."

"I shall never forget my first day in First Form. I was wearing black boots (not shoes) black wool stockings up to the knee and knicker-bocker pants which strapped around just below the knee and flopped over just an inch or so. Above this I had on a long-sleeved V-neck pullover, and this was topped by a grinning face and a shock of unruly light hair. I looked a good deal like most of the other boys except for size, shape and colouring.

"The girls, as I remember wore low-waisted long dresses down to two or three inches above the ankle, with lisle hose and sensible shoes. Most of the hairdos were dutch bobs with a few with long curls and most of the hats were the helmet type, usually of felt, and I believe were patterned after the steel helmets of the previous war."


"But what was memorable about this first day, you ask? For a few moments after the classroom had filled up, there was no teacher present, so we were being our usual well behaved selves. Incidentally we were seated with our backs to the door. Without warning a most outstanding noise caused us all to pause in mid whatever we were doing!! Then slowly, relentlessly and in absolute silence the creator of this noise paced down the aisle to the teacher’s desk, turned, swept the now pop-eyed group of children with a glare which would have done justice to any Sgt. Major I have ever known!!

"And bellowed: 'If any of you have been wondering who is going to be in charge around here, please let me advise you that I am'. And to prove it he caught one of the more incautious boys smack in the ear with a piece of chalk about 1” long. Need I tell you that this was my introduction to Mr. McClellan!! For many years this man remained a potent force for law and order in the old C.H.S. and incidentally he was also a very good teacher. He has left his mark, a good mark, on many and many a boy and girl who now fill the niches in life from labourers to engineers, brigadiers and doctors and from housewives to nurses, teachers, matrons in hospitals and, we in our generation are proud to say, even a successful university professor."

"Of course no one person was responsible for this metamorphosis of raw gangling boys and girls into mature, useful men and women. During the years of which I speak we had many fine men and women come to Chapleau to help us along the way. At the risk of omitting some, and I am sure I will, I must name a few who were to me, outstanding. Miss Snyder (now Mrs. Muske), Miss Trays, Miss Waring, Miss Reid, Mr. Cousineau, Mr. Courtenage, Mr. Wylie (now in Sudbury), Mr. Hobbs, Miss Cox and, but not least by any means, Miss S. B. Pallett.

"What kind of a person was Miss Pallett? Well I failed in and carried Latin to 4th Form (grade 12) and along came Miss Pallett!! I passed Latin Authors in Grade 13 with 1st class honors and got nearly 70 in Composition!! This same person, with a few withering well chosen words could make me crawl under the rug on the teachers’ room floor and not even make a wrinkle!! But I think the real worth of Miss S. B. Pallett is shown by the fact that now, 35 years later, most of her former pupils from Chapleau either write to her at least once a year, visit her in Toronto at her home or at the “Oshawa Picnic” or phone her and talk to her for hours when they happen to be in Toronto. She was a wonderful person for a teenager in the grip of change and uncertainty to have known and respected, and she is still today, that same pleasant, understanding person."\

The Oshawa Picnic to which Mr. Whitney refers was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. McClellan at their home in Whitby after he retired in 1956. For years it was a must attend party for former CHS students. Miss Pallett was Mr. McClellan's predecessor as CHS principal.


"I do not have either the space or the time to recount the many anecdotes which come to mind about the teachers and the students of that far off day, but I might recall for you a few of the activities which we carried out, in, through, and in spite of good old C.H.S. and its staff. The Students’ Council was formed when I was in 2nd Form. There may have been one before that time but I have no recollection of it.

"We put on a three act play each year, from long before my time until after I left at any rate. We worked up, set type, edited, published and printed a school year book ”Static” for several years. We had regular school dances played for by school orchestras, annual commencements, wiener roasts, field days, Cadet Inspections, ski parties, ski meets, debating teams and interspersed here and there through this fabric which made up our school life, were a few who liked to pay “hooky” once in a while – smoke a forbidden cigarette in the boys’ or girls’ washrooms and blow the smoke up the ventilators, --- and even the odd one who dared to take a drink now and again!! Times have changed, haven’t they?

"The only thing more I have to say to all you young people is this, - live, really live your high school life. It is a very important part of your life, it should be a very pleasant part of your life and it could be one of the most memorable parts of your life! --- Incidentally, by 'live' I mean “work at'."

Mr. Whitney was married to Mildred Pellow, and their children Joan, Mary and Chris all attended CHS.

If anyone has information on when and where Mr. Whitney may have given this talk, please let me know. Thanks also to Anne (Zufelt) McGoldrick for providing background information. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Also Anne advises that she has information on many Chapleau residents that she is willing to share with those doing research into their families. In return she would appreciate receiving information from you. Please contact me and I will forward your requests to Anne.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dr. G.E. Young remembered as exceptional person who holds a special place in the hearts of those whose lives he touched in more than 50 years as a doctor in Chapleau and his involvement in community life

MJ with Dr Ted 2004 at Creston BC. 

Add caption

Dr Young. New Pics courtesy Bob Lewis, Betty O'Shaughnessy
When I was growing up in Chapleau and had come down with one of the common childhood diseases, after my mother left for school, I would suggest to my grandmother that we call Dr. Young who for sure would come and make me better.
Almost momentarily, or so it seemed, Dr. Young would appear with his black bag, and sit beside my bed. take my pulse and termperature, and my favorite, take out his stethoscope and and have me take deep breaths to make sure I was still alive. Then he would talk with Nanny, my grandmother, Edith Hunt, who assured me she would follow his instructions and in due course, I would be "all better" and head back to school.

When my dog Rex was hit by a car while I was still in public school, I carried him into the house, in tears, shouting at my mother, Muriel E. Morris, "Call Dr. Young." She did and once again, it seemed within moments, he arrived. After examining Rex, he told me to put a blanket near the wood stove as well as food and water, and let him be. Amazingly, Rex recovered and lived another 10 years. Dr. Young had done it again.

With the news on November 14, that Dr. George Edward "Ted" Young, who served Chapleau and area for 50 years as a medical doctor had died at age 95, Chapleauites everywhere I am sure have been sharing Dr. Young stories.

Mr. Cockburn chats with Dr Young, 1976
For almost a century, born in Chapleau on December 2, 1914, to George and Mabel Young, he strode like a colossus through every aspect of community life -- as a young athlete who became famous for swimming to Mulligan's Bay, as an officer in Number 1181 Chapleau High School Cadet Corps, as a medical student at Queen's University who came home to practise for six months and remained 50 years before he retired in 1994, as the builder of the Chapleau beach, as a member of township council, as a cable television pioneer, and as one who was constantly undertaking new projects, many of which were never quite completed.

In his long life, Dr. Young fought for many causes, always in his view to make Chapleau a better place.

When I received the news on November 14 that Dr. Young had died, like so many from whom I have heard, I reflected on his life and times in Chapleau. On a very personal basis, Dr. Young looked after me as a patient, and for all his care I will always be most appreciative. When I was reeve of Chapleau, I recall meeting with Ministry of Health officials in Toronto, and one doctor there remarked, "Dr. Young is considered one of the best diagnosticians in Ontario." No argument from me on that one. I likely would not be writing these words if he had not been.

Over the years I came to know Dr. Young even better when he was a member of council, and then as a dear and close friend. Interestingly, my father, James E. Morris was about three weeks older than Ted Young, and they grew up together in Chapleau. Dr. Young shared many stories with me about life in Chapleau in his growing up years, usually beginning them with, "As I tell you..."

On the occasion of Chapleau's 100th anniversary in 2001, I was so delighted to travel home and stay at Dr. Young's, just enjoying his company and sharing Chapleau tales. In 2004, he travelled across the country in his motor home and visited me in Cranbrook BC. Gordon Woods, my friend, drove the motor home. Many may not be aware that his mother was from Creston, just an hour away from me, and we travelled there one day to visit his grandparents' grave and the church where his parents were married.

Dr Young with other councillors 1976 parade
Upon arrival at the cemetery, I was concerned that we may not find the grave, but he walked directly to it even though he had not been there in many years. We then visited the church. I was so privileged to be able to share these moments in his family history with Dr. Young.

I could go on and on with my own Dr. Young stories but others have their memories of Dr. Young and have shared them with me these past few days. From over 100 email and Facebook messages, here is a sample.

Jamie Thibault: "May God Bless Him and that special place that we all have in our hearts for those people that have touched us in our lives be made extra large for all he has given to Chapleau and its citizens. Today Chapleau has lost a bit of its identitity and I hope something will be done to commemorate this fine Man. R.I.P."

Darlene (St. Denis) Lafontaine whose stepfather Raymond "Rusty" Campbell and other members of her family worked with Dr. Young for years wrote. "My tears for him are of great sadness. He lived a long and fulfilling life and his support towards our family will always be remembered. When I moved to Timmins, he actually came into my new workplace with my brother in 1994 to make sure that things were going well...He will be remembered in an honorable way!! Thanks Michael, he was one of the reasons education became important to me....His support will forever be remembered.

"He was truly a great man....Chapleau was all the better because of him...It was an honor to know him and the time he shared with our family will certainly be remembered. My charm bracelet from him at my grade 8 graduation will always be near and dear to my heart...."

Tom, Bud Welch, Dr Young, Leona McCrea at my barbecue
Gwen MacGillivray: "Chapleau has lost a great man. He was the last of the "town" doctors who knew everyone and their families...who made house calls and truly cared about each of his patients, friends, neighbours...he was a good and kind man who will be remembered fondly by generations of us. RIP Dr. Young."

Dave Doig who lived almost across Pine Street from the Young family home wrote: "Decent, fair, intelligent, generous man. Safely delivered me (and I think most of my siblings as well) to this world. Gave back more than he took from Chapleau. He'll always be one of Chapleau's iconic citizens...missed but not forgotten." Dave also advised that he shovelled the snow for Dr. Young's mother, to earn a few dollars and sometimes he even got a butter tart.

Patty(Riley) Burton "He was always good to our family. When my dad's mom passed away he was the first to call and give sympathies to my father, shortly after that he had to do it again when my father passed away. (Patty's grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Harry Riley and her father, Lorne Riley)

"I remember him most by saving my son's (Wesley) life when he was an infant. No other doctor knew what was wrong with him. Dr Young looked at him and within 2hrs we were flying out in a snow storm to the Soo. He also called the Soo on a daily basis to check on Wes. He later would tell me one more day and we probably would have lost Wes. Wesley was also the last baby Dr. Young delivered...he will always be remembered as a caring, loving doctor and person...I owe him because without him I wouldn't have my son...so thank you Dr Young for everything you have done and given to the Riley family!! Rest in peace!!"

Patty's son Wesley, who happens to be a very good writer, is now in his first year as a student at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Darlene (Bouillon) Ranger wrote that she had many Dr. Young stories but "this one i love.

"I was a nurse's aid at the old Lady Minto. I would of been seventeen and lived in the nurses' residence. Those were the days... Party party party... The director of nursing was Mrs. Crozier who ruled her hospital with a wooden spoon as well as an iron tongue. I can still hear her keys clanging as she made her rounds in the am.

"I /we as I would of never have been alone did party this one time and was so sick and could not go to work. I knew that would not sit well with you know who. I need a good excuse...

"Call the Doctor.... Good thinking... Dr. Young came to residence quickly and checked me over.. He had a bit of a smirk on his face but oh well he is here and will help me....

"Help me? He put me in hospital...Remember, I am not really sick and I know he knew... Off you go my dear. You are too sick to stay here and too dehydrated....i am very worried about you ? Hello.... i am not really sick.... I get admitted not for overnight but for five days... Every day he visits me and states oh Darlene you are still to sick to go home... He kept this up and knew exactly what he was doing... Made me stay in hospital on total bed rest .. Could not get out of bed.... Doctor's orders... He was bound and determined to teach me important life lessons..

"As the years progressed Dr. Young and I had many laughs and this laugh was the one he enjoyed the most....What were you thinking Darlene?...In my mind today as well as yesterday he was my A list Doctor... We will miss him and the lessons he taught me stays with me even today...God bless you my dear friend rest in peace."

Later, Dr. Young delivered both Darlene's sons Derek and Sean.

In the life of Chapleau, George Edward "Ted" Young, singlehandedly at times, through his actions strongly influenced the course of events both as a medical doctor and in many other aspects of community life. He was an exceptional person. Rest in peace my friend, and thank you.
My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dr. G.E. Young, family physician in Chapleau for 50 years, dies at age 95 - Funeral was held Fri. Nov. 19

 UPDATE ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 19:   Pastor Anna Chikoski conducted the funeral service at Trinity United Church, Chapleau, for Dr. Young who died on November 14,

Organist was Betty O'Shaughnessy while Kenneth Russell sang 'How Great Thou Art' at the special request of Dr. Young. Mr. Russell,a former reeve of Chapleau was Technical Director of Radiology at the hospital and worked with Dr. Young for many years.

A multi domination choir, representative of all the churches in Chapleau was present. The hymns, 'Precious Lord Take My Hand' and Psalm 23, 'The Lord is My Shepherd' were sung.

The Bible on the pulpit was once owned by one of Dr. Young's brothers.

Earle Freeborn, the mayor of Chapleau delivered the eulogy while Pastor Anna gave the sermon, both reflecting on Dr. Young's life.

With special thanks to Dennis Barbeiro of Chapleau who provided details on Dr. Young's funeral. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Dr Young at party for him 1987 by Helen Henderson
Dr. G.E. Young, one of Chapleau, Ontario's most beloved and distinguished citizens, who served the community and area as a family physician for 50 years died November 14  at the Bignucolo Residence in Chapleau. Dr. Young was 95.

George Edward Young, the son of the late George and Mabel Young, born on December 2, 1914, graduated from Chapleau Public and Chapleau High Schools, then attended Queen's University to study medicine. Upon graduation in 1942, "Ted" Young interned at the Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City.

In 1944, a Dr. Crozier in Chapleau asked Dr. Young to return home for "six months." In 1994, Dr. Young retired after serving Chapleau and area, sometimes as the only medical doctor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From 1944 to 1992, Dr. Young was the CPR doctor in Chapleau, and was Chief of Staff at Lady Minto Hospital for 20 years. He was also the local Medical Officer of Health for 20 years and also served as Medical Director of Cedar Grove Lodge.

From 1944 to 1982 he served as coroner and was recognized for his service by the Government of Ontario.

On several occasions he was recognized by the people of Chapleau who held an appreciation party for him in 1987 and another in 1992 marking his 50th anniversary of graduation from Queen's in medicine. On March 31, 1994 a retirement party was held.

In the early Sixties, Dr. Young established a cable television system for the community, and was always undertaking projects -- most never quite finished,

He also served on the township council for six years and shortly after returning home, at his own expense, transformed a garbage dump into a beautiful beach for the citizens of Chapleau.

However, Dr. Young will be primarily remembered for his unfailing concern for his patients for 50 years. He was also there when needed no matter the time of day or the weather.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dr. G.E. Young Christmas display important part of Chapleau history

UPDATE: Dr. George Edward "Ted" Young died November 14, 2010 at age 95, in Chapleau. 

UPDATED November 14, 2012

For at least 50 years in Chapleau, Ontario, one of the major highlights at Christmas was the display at the office of Dr. G.E. Young. This year I am delighted to be able to share with you images from the display that Dr. Young created before he converted the original home of G.B. Nicholson into his office and apartment complex at the intersection of Lorne and Beech  streets. Mr. Nicholson was the first reeve of Chapleau.

These photos would likely be from the early Fifties.

These photos are from Dr. Young's personal collection and he made them available some years ago.

Dr. "Ted" Young, born and raised in Chapleau, came home, and practised medicine there for more than 50 years.

Please email me your memories of Christmas in Chapleau and comments on Dr. Young's display. mj.morris@live.ca

Dr. G.E. Young cable television pioneer

Dr. G.E. Young transforms garbage dump into beach

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Hinge students' at Chapleau High School participated in locked door rebellion during exciting days at new school in 1966, Tom Corston recalled, as planning begins for 90th anniversary reunion in 2012

CHS gym class on field 1960s
Tom Corston referrred to those who attended both the "old" and "new" Chapleau High School as "hinge students" as he recalled the exciting days in 1966 as the school moved from Pine Street to its present location on the hill.

Writing in the souvenir newspaper published for the 75th anniversary in 1997, Tom says they were exciting days moving from the old to the new.

"We were leaving behind a venerable building that we were aware held valuable memories for our elders. Their initials were well carved into many an old desk and their portraits hung on every available wall space.

"But the old building had become overcrowded and a firetrap." Tom recalled classes being held in the converted basement gymnasium, "freezing in gym shorts out on the back field on cold autumn days because we had no gym; and learning of all things in the 60s to fox-trot. as part of gym class, in the dusty basement of the old town hall."

Tom reminded me of a decade earlier when we learned to waltz at dances in the old high school basement when Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter was a teacher at the old high school... He had returned as principal for three years just before the new school opened.... and it appears that the fox-trot became the dance of choice.

When I received a message from Graham Bertrand advising that a meeting is planned for November 24 in the council chambers of the civic centre in Chapleau at seven p.m. to start organizing the 90th anniversary celebration of Chapleau High School in 2012, Tom's article came to mind and I contacted him about using parts of it in a column. Tom, who is now the Anglican Bishop of Moosonee, replied quickly, "Just fine."

1967 reunion Margaret Rose, Alex in centre
In 1982 and 1997, CHS marked its 60th and 75th anniversaries respectively with hugely successful celebrations, and if the positive reaction on a Facebook page is any indication, the 90th will be quite a party too. Margaret Rose Fortin and Alex Babin were the co-chairs of both reunions.

Tom wrote that the new school was "indeed, beautiful. We who were among its first residents, were so very proud. It required a bit of a longer walk for most of us, in a day before school buses, but it had fully equipped labs, bright classrooms with big windows, a library, a beautiful gymnasium and shiny floors, kept so diligently by a custodial staff to three from the one elderly janitor who cared for the old school.

"Suddenly a great change for us, as well, was that we were all assigned a locker and no longer just a hook upon which to hang our coats."

Tom outlined some of the rules at the new school, some of which were the usual, but he noted that girls had to wear dresses and boys dress pants and no jeans. That rule was not changed until a vote by students in the 1970s several years after I had returned to teach at CHS, and I recall that although a the dress code was changed the results were closer than I thought they would be.

But the rule that led to a student rebellion was the one where students had to stay outside the school during the lunch hour, except for bus students.

Tom shared the story of the student rebellion at CHS:

"We had become frustrated with a rule and with those who were our masters. As i remember it, it was a cold winter day and we had to wait outside the new building during rhe lunch hour. After all, we could never be let loose to have the run of the new building while the staff was off for lunch.

"We were cold and disgruntled. We pounded on the door but to no avail. Then it started small but the rabble rousers among us began to agitate and and before long we were a crazed mob of unruly demonstrators, the likes that CHS had never seen before

"We rebelled! And when the doors were finally opened we moved as a yelling, unruly mob into the new gym not even taking off our shoes.

"We went on strike. We held a sit-in and we sang and we shouted and refused to return to class.... We were strong . We spoke with one voice. It was heady stuff. No one could control us or change our minds."

But, as Tom reported, things changed quickly. The rebels were doing well until the school principal Bill Mair returned from lunch, walked into the gym, and "with one great yell sent us all scattering. It had all lasted 20 minutes and the rule stood!"

However, there was one very significant change at CHS during Tom's time there in 1968 when he was president of the student council -- the new school colours.

"Students had become disgruntled with the old school colours of green, white amd red. .. The opinion was that a new school needed new colours..."

Although some graduates of the school were a bit disgruntled about changing the colours, finally a decision was made and the chosen colours became dark blue and light blue.

"It was a drastic change and some of our parents disagreed, " Tom wrote. "But we were undaunted in our choice. It was ours -- we liked the new colours , and liked even more the stamp we were able to put on our new building and on the history we were making."

Tom also noted that ot her members of the school colours committee included Joan Whitney, David Stevens, Clem Pilon, Marjorie McCrea, Gordie Welch and Gerry Bowland.

Thanks for the memories Tom of those years over 30 years ago when you were a student at CHS. As plans evolve for the celebration of the 90th anniversary in 2012, out of the mothballs of memory will come more stories from all those who have been part of Chapleau High School. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

As plans evolve and more information on the 90th becomes available, I will post it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Griffin and Charles Mulligan, from a Chapleau pioneer family served in CEF with 13th Canadian Mounted Rifles in World War I, both wounded, returned home and 'disappeared' in post war years as told by Michael McMullen

Griffin and Charles Mulligan, 1916
Griffin Mulligan, and his younger brother Charles, both born in Quyon, Quebec, came to Chapleau in the early years of the 20th century to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway, joining their mother and three sisters who were already living in the emerging important railway divisional point.

About 1900, their oldest sister, May came to Chapleau for the first time, and married William McMullen in 1906. About 1910, her mother Jennie and two sisters Lillian, my grandmother, who married Harry Morris in 1914, and Kathleen. At about the same time, Griffin and Charles arrived to work for the CPR.

Their uncle, Patrick A. Mulligan, was an early Chapleau pioneer, arriving in 1885 as the CPR was establishing Chapleau as a divisional point on its main line in Northern Ontario. By 1886, Patrick Mulligan had established one of the first stores in Chapleau called Murrays and Mulligan, General Merchants, located at the northwest corner of Birch and Young streets.

At this Remembrance Day, the following is the story of Griffin and Charles Mulligan, two men from a Chapleau pioneer family, both of whom served in our armed forces in World War I, both were wounded in action, returned home and in due course more or less just disappeared from their family and friends in the post World War I years.

Their story is told by my cousin Michael McMullen, the grandson of May (Mulligan) McMullen, about his great uncles, and mine. My grandmother and Michael's were sisters. Michael's story is an outstanding example of using Library and Archives Canada to obtain information about those who have served in Canada's armed forces by examining their service records which are available now.

By Michael McMullen

Charles Mulligan and his older brother, Griffin, were living and working in Chapleau, Ontario for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) when Charles went out to Alberta in 1915. He located in the Medicine Hat-Redcliff area to continue working as a brakeman for the CPR. He volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) 175th Battalion in January 31, 1916 in Medicine Hat and was discharged as medically unfit on March 7, 1916.

His service files indicate that he had a Lt. inguinal hernia operation in March 1916 and this is likely the reason that he was discharged. He enlisted again for the CEF on May 31, 1916 in Medicine Hat with the 13th Canadian Mounted Rifles (C.M.R) and this time was accepted. He was 5 feet, six inches, 150 lbs, fair complexion with blue eyes and light coloured hair.

Griffin was working as a Conductor (files also show that he was a switchman) for the CPR out of Chapleau, Ontario when he went to Medicine Hat to volunteer for the CEF in early 1916. He enlisted on February 24, 1916 also with the 13th C.M.R. He was five feet, three inches, medium complexion, with hazel eyes and brown hair. Both Griffin and Charles indicated their next-of-kin as their oldest sister, Mrs. William (May) McMullen, who lived in Chapleau.

They arrived with their Battalion in England on the S.S. Olympic on July 6, 1916 and on July 13th were transferred to the 11th Reserve, Shorncliffe, for training. They were taken on strength by the 11th Battalion on September 17th and then by the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg) on September 27th (overseas). Arriving in France on September 28th they were shown as being in the field with the 27th on October 10th.

On December 20, 1916, the service files indicate that Griffin was “buried” in a dug-out likely the result of a mortar shell or other type of explosion/incident. He carried on with full duty, but complained of back pain. While repairing trenches about a week later he experienced disabling back pain. In early February 1917, he fell, spraining his back and right ankle. He was bed-ridden for about 8 weeks at three hospital locations in France and subsequently transferred back to England on April 13th. He underwent treatment for the remainder of 1917 and early 1918.

He was returned to Canada, leaving Liverpool on December 23, 1917 on the S.S. Metagama arriving on March 1, 1918, in New Westminster, British Columbia. He had completed 16 months service with seven of these in France. He located in Los Angeles, California, and worked in the film industry as a cameraman and film technician. His service files indicate that he died on October 20, 1934 in California.

Charles, after some 22 months in the field, including at Vimy Ridge, was wounded on August 26, 1918 in the Arras region of France as the Allies were advancing to the east. The medical records indicate that he was hit on his left side (buttock, thigh and knee) with several gunshot wounds, likely machine gun fire as his group was advancing. He had his first operation the next day and a report indicated “ shrapnel ball and many bone fragments removed.”

He would subsequently have at least three more operations and be treated in various hospitals in France and England. By late 1918, he was in a hospital in England. As a result of his wounds, bullet fragments had penetrated to his groin area and he would deal with difficult healing and infections for nearly a year. As well, he had problems being on his feet for extended periods of time. He was sent back to Canada in mid-September 1919, and subsequently discharged in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on November 4th.

Charles had served for three years and 151 days with nearly two years in France. He indicated that he was going to relocate to Schreiber, Ontario (where his sister May had moved to in 1918) and rejoin the CPR, but that he would probably not be able to carry out the job of brakeman for another 12 months because of his wounds. He moved to the United States in the early to mid-1920s and to the Far East in the early 1930s. He was not heard from again.

NOTE: If by chance anyone reading this post about Charles Mulligan and/or Griffin Mulligan, has any information about them,  please email me at mj.morris@live.ca

Friday, November 5, 2010

Memorial Service and Dedication of St. John's Memorial Hall Program, now the Royal Canadian Legion Hall, Chapleau

"Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13

With most sincere  thanks to Councillor Doug Greig of the Township of Chapleau, here is the official program for the Memorial Service and Dedication of St. John's Memorial Hall, Chapleau, held on April 9, 1920. The St. John's Memorial Hall is now the Royal Canadian Legion Hall.

Some of those participating in the program as you will see, are Rev. John Nelson Blodgett, Rector of St. John's Anglican Church; Rev. Dr. Robert John Renison, later Bishop of the Anglican Church diocese of Moosonee; Rt. Rev. John George Anderson, Bishop of Moosonee; Reeve Max Brunette, Township of Chapleau; Rev. George Prewer and Rev. White.

An address was given by G.B. Nicholson, M.P,. the first Reeve of Chapleau who was then a Member of Parliament. The hall was built by Mr, Nicholson and his wife Charlotte. Lt. -Col. C. H. LeP. Jones , thecommanding officer of 227th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force also participated.

Today, 90 years later, Thomas A. Corston, the son of Frances (Jardine) and the late Henry Corston, who was born and raised in Chapleau is the Bishop of Moosonee.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More than ninety years ago Chapleau's Royal Canadian Legion Hall was the parish house of St. John's Anglican Church built in memory of Lt. Lorne Nicholson and the others who gave their lives in the Great War

photo by Pat Purich-Russell
As Remembrance Day draws near, I was reflecting on Chapleau's Royal Canadian Legion Hall, did some research and discovered that it was built in 1919 and officially opened in 1920, but as St. John's Anglican Church Parish House.
Ninety years plus now the present Legion hall has served as a gathering place for all manner and sorts of events in the life of Chapleau. Along with St. John's Anglican Church and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church it is one of the remaining historic landmarks although some houses are older as are the buildings housing some businesses.

In fact, there was no Legion until after a meeting in Winnipeg of World War I veterans in 1925 who established the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League, and the Chapleau branch came into being as Branch Number 5, Ontario in 1926. The Winnipeg meeting was attended by Chapleau delegates, including Harry Searle, after whom the branch came to be named.

Mr. Searle was honoured for his great efforts in getting benefits for veterans from World War I. He continued his work after World War II

In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II approved "Royal" to be added to the name and the branch became Harry Searle (Ontario Number 5) of the Royal Canadian Legion.

photo by Pat Purich-Russell
On November 4, 1918, just a week before World War ended, Lt. Lorne Nicholson of the First Chapleau Platoon of the 227th Battalion (Men O The North) was killed while on active service overseas. His parents, George and Charlotte Nicholson, both members of St. John's Anglican Church, decided to build a parish house. Mr. Nicholson, Chapleau's first reeve was in the lumber business while Mrs. Nicholson was one of the community's first school teachers.

The inscription on the front of the building says, "Saint John's Parish House... In memory of Lt. Lorne W. Nicholson and all those who with him voluntarily gave their lives with him in the Great War. .. Erected by his father and mother, A.D. 1919.. John 15:13."

The parish house was used by St. John's congregation until the Great Depression when it was no longer possible for them to cover the expenses associated with it. In due course, the Legion was permitted to use it for its activities, but it would appear that it assumed full ownership in the Fifties when B.W. Zufelt was reeve. Mr. Zufelt was made an honorary member of Branch 5 for his efforts in enabling the Legion to take over the hall.

However, after World War II, at the time J.M. "Jack" Shoup was branch president, he noted that the hall was being used more and some upgrades had taken place. By the 1950s, Chapleau had hired a recreation director for a time and his office was in the hall, and it was the place where many teen dances were held.

Legion members were actively involved in all aspects of community life -- and had fastball and hockey teams in highly competitive town leagues. I was always a Legion fan and likely never missed one of their ball or hockey games in years.

Until 1978 when the cenotaph was moved to the Legion Hall property, veterans would gather at the hall, and march to the cenotaph which was then located between the old Town Hall and St. John's. As I recall, the route would be along Beech Street to Lorne Street and on Pine Street to the cenotaph. Following the service, led by the Town band, the veterans would parade about town and then spend the rest of the day at social functions in the hall.

At exactly 11 a.m. (the timing has always amazed me), the Last Post was played, followed by two minutes silence then Reveille, as all remembered each in his or her own way. It marked the end of World War I historically -- the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when it officially ended.

In those days, in the afternoon, the social event was open only to veterans and Legion members, followed by an evening banquet to which spouses and some others were invited.

According to a list published in The Chapleau Sentinel in 1995, 28 Chapleau citizens lost their lives while serving in Canada's forces in World War I and 30 in World War II. They shall grow not old. Lest we forget. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Photos by Pat Purich-Russell of Chapleau Remembrance Day 2003

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Rene Hackstetter kindly provided three of the following very interesting historical photos of Chapleau, Ontario, in the early years of the 20th Century. Rene's father, Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter taught at Chapleau High School from 1954 to 1957, and was its principal from 1963 to 1966. Thanks Rene.

The fourth photo, hand coloured, was taken in 1914 and sent to me by a friend.

As you examine the photos, take a moment to jot down buildings and locations you recognize. Send me an email at mj.morris@live.ca The results will be posted. Should be interesting. I have already started.





Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vince Crichton with amazing scenes from boreal forest including a Mulligan's Bay loon

Dr Vince Crichton has kindly provided more photos from his travels in Canada's boreal forest, including one of a Mulligan's Bay loon near Chapleau. Born and raised in Chapleau, Vince received his BSc and MSc at University of Manitoba and PhD at University of Guelph. Thanks Vince. Enjoy. Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reflections on Chapleau councils from George Brecken Nicholson taking office in 1901 to Andre Byham becoming mayor 110 years later

As Chapleau prepares to mark its 110th anniversary of incorporation as a municipality in Ontario in 2011, Andre Byham will become the 22nd mayor (formerly called reeves) when he takes office on December 1.

The newly elected mayor is actually the 20th person to hold the office as Frank Edwards, a CPR engineer, and Kenneth Russell, Technical Director of Radiology at the hospital, each served again after a break in terms.

G.B. Nicholson
On February 15, 1901, George Brecken "G.B." Nicholson, took office as reeve, and served until 1913, never facing an opponent as he was returned by acclamation for one year terms. Looking at the history of Chapleau, Mr. Nicholson and his councils created the basic infrastructure for the community in the 20th century. By the time Mr. Nicholson retired as reeve Chapleau had a water works system, cement sidewalks in some residential areas, two schools with a high school under consideration, and a Town Hall considered most modern at the time. Mr. Nicholson was in the lumber and other businesses and later served as a Member of Parliament.

The railway YMCA with its rooms, restaurant and programs was called one of the best institutions of its kind anywhere in Canada, while the Lady Minto Hospital under the Victorian Order of Nurses opened in 1914. The major employer was the Canadian Pacific Railway while the business section contained a number of special, general and department stores. The population had reached about 2,500 people.

Before I go any further, let me extend my most sincere congratulations to Mr. Byham, and Lisi Crichton. Laurent Lacroix, Doug Greig and Rose Bertrand on their election to Chapleau council. All the best to each of you.

Doug Greig has been researching Chapleau councils and sent me the most recent results of his efforts. Just reading the names is a journey into history, so I decided to share some of the information about those who have served their community on council over the past 110 years, adding a bit here and there mostly from the mothballs of my own memory. This is really just a starting point, and I hope Doug will have time to continue his efforts. Perhaps others will volunteer to help.

Lisi Crichton, who will be serving her first term has a direct family connection to Chapleau council. Her great grandfather Vincent Crichton, who was a plumber and proprietor of the Regent movie theatre, was a Chapleau councillor in 1921. (Full Disclosure: Vincent Crichton was my great uncle)

But, as I reviewed Doug's research, it became apparent that the family of Earle Freeborn, the retiring mayor, has had the most members who served on council. His grandfather, J.D. McAdam, a CPR engineer, was the third reeve of Chapleau, holding office from 1917 to 1919, while his father Earle Freeborn, a CPR freight agent, died in office while serving as the 7th reeve in 1938. Earle's brother Elmer was a councillor for several terms, while Earle, who was a CPR engineer and recreation centre manager, has been in office as mayor since 1998.

During World War I, T.J. Godfrey, who was Indian agent, entrepreneur and major force over the years for the construction of Highway 129, finally opened in 1949, was the second reeve from 1914 to 1916, followed by Mr. McAdam.

Max Brunette, elected in 1920, a CPR conductor, served as reeve until 1929 to be succeeded by Mr. Edwards who was in office until 1936 and then returned from 1943 to 1947. In 1937, Edgar Pellow, the sixth reeve took office, held it for less than two months the resigned to be succeeded by Mr. Freeborn.

It should be noted that elections were held yearly, with the first council to serve a two-year term elected for 1969-70. Later they went to three year and now a four year term.

George Fife, the manager of the Chapleau Electric Light Company became the 8th reeve and was in office until 1942. Mr. Fife is reportedly the only Chapleau reeve to meet a British monarch. When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were on their Canadian tour in 1939, the Royal Train stopped in Chapleau apparently in the night and the King got up to meet Mr. Fife.

While the reeves from Mr. Nicholson to Mr. Edwards saw Chapleau through two World Wars and the Great Depression,all of which presented huge challenges to the community and are stories in themselves, it was the election of 1947 that saw B.W. "Bubs" Zufelt, owner of Chapleau Bakery, as the 10th reeve that marked the emergence of Chapleau from its relative isolation and set the stage for a somewhat different community. Mr. Zufelt (who in the interests of full disclosure was my uncle) served as reeve until 1955.

In 1948, a disastrous forest fire resulted in new lumber companies coming to the Chapleau area providing an expansion of the employment base. By 1949, Highway 129 was finally completed although the celebration was marred by the death of Mr. Godfrey during the official opening just as his dream became a reality. With the end of World War II Chapleau citizens returned from overseas and many stayed to work, gort married and started families. The baby boom was underway.

On the local scene, some of the major projects included a sewage plant and system, the first road paving project and the completion of the new Chapleau Memorial Community Arena. In the early Fifties, Smith and Chapple Ltd. expanded to the "other side of main street". and many may not be aware that Chapleau had two soft drink bottling plants -- Coca Cola and Pepsi.

Residential areas were also expanded in the Fifties and it seemed like Chapleau boom times would continue. A Brewer's Retail store arrived in the Fifties too.

Mr. Zufelt was succeeded by Leo Racicot, a CPR conductor, who served from 1956 to 1959, then James "Jim" Broomhead, of the Algoma Dairy, from 1960 to 1962. Arthur Grout, president of Smith and Chapple Ltd. became the 13th reeve in January 1963 but resigned after two months to be succeeded by Fred A. "Nick" Card, a CPR engineer, who held office until 1966. William J. Card, Mr. Card's father had served as a councillor for eight years between 1922 and 1934.

In 1962 Highway 101 linked Chapleau to Timmins.

T.C. "Terry" Way-White, a CPR conductor, became the 15th reeve serving from 1967 to 1973. Major projects undertaken in those years were the new water plant and new bridge and pedestrian overpass. I succeeded Mr. Way-White in 1974 and major projects included the recreation centre, civic centre and Cedar Grove Lodge.

William Howard , of CPR, became the 17th reeve in 1980 and was in office until 1986 when Kenneth Russell took over. Mr Russell served as reeve until 1997.  However, he resigned and  from December 1990 until December 1991 he was  he was out of office and Claire Charron was reeve. Mr. Russell returned to office.

Earle Freeborn became the 21st holder of the office, and the 19th person to do so.

It has not been my intention to provide a detailed look at projects undertaken over the past 110 years. Those mentioned are simply to provide a context for what was happening at certain times in Chapleau's history.
Just a couple of more mentions of Chapleau people who have served on council.

J.M. "Jack" Shoup, the long time principal of Chapleau Public School, appears to hold the record for longest serving councillor -- 16 years of one year terms - starting in 1946 and ending in 1968.

Before Dr. G.E. "Ted" Young served on council, his father George Young and his brother Dr. William "Bill" Young had been members.

Mrs. Maud Hands, elected in 1947 was the first woman on Chapleau council. It appears that only eight other women have been members in 110 years.

Thanks to Doug Greig for sharing his research. As I put together this column, I could not help but reflect on all those who have sat on Chapleau council. They were also most active in other areas of community life too.

Andre Byham
Now Andre Byham, the newly elected mayor and his council, embark on a journey to take Chapleau into its second 110 years as a progressive community facing the challenges of the 21st Century. Godspeed! My email is mj.morris@live.ca

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