EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chapleau High a busy place in '72 with Bob Fife, 'Woodwind', basketball champs, 'the Midget Boys', curling champs, cheerleaders and more!

Bob Fife second from right seated
BobChapleau High School was a busy place back in 1972 when Robert "Bob" Fife was president of the Students Council. Now the Ottawa Bureau Chief of CTV News, and one of Canada's best journalists, Bob presided over a very active student body, according to 'Ad Astra' the school's yearbook.

Serving on the Students Council executive with Bob were vice president Tom Tangie, secretary Patsy Desbois and treasurer Jamie Doyle. The editor of Ad Astra was Robert Pellow while Alex Babin was the staff advisor to the Students Council and Tom Riddoch was yearbook advisor.

The Junior Raiders won the eastern division basketball championship of the North Shore Secondary School Athletic Association. Team members included Richard Martel, Paul Tremblay, Allan Laframboise, Robbie Jardine, Robert Doyle, Ron Thibault, Michael Dillon, Keith McAdam, Rene Lafreniere, Richard Desbiens, David Dillon, Tom McCrea, Luc Gauthier and Dave Vandal. Ross Hryhorchuk was the coach.

Peter Elliott was master of ceremonies at a school variety night introducing each act with flair, and building up the spirit of the groups, many of whom had never before appeared on stage. Some of the acts were as follows:

Pierrette Debris and Mary Ellen McKee presented the comedy dance 'A Prison Holiday' while Tina Cappellani and Gilles Babineau performed on the accordion assisted by Janice Robinson.

The 'Midget Boys' Chris Bernier and Rick Linklater turned in a credible performance as singers. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here as Chris and Rick were members of the Midget hockey team I was coaching at the time.

The Woodwind with Robbie Jardine, Ken Lane, Ross Barlow and Murray Midkiff presented several numbers for the enjoyment of the audience and yes, folks, they were great.

Turning to curling, the team skipped by Claude Fortin, earned first place honours for the first time at a bonspiel in Marathon. Other members were Irene Johnson, Maurice Tremblay and Mona Rioux. Pat Bamford was the coach.

The high school posture contest saw Debbie Linklater emerge as the Queen with Cathy Lingenfelter and Hilda Jackson as runners up.

CHS also had an excellent boys' volleyball team with Eleanor Lyttle as the coach. Members included Jamie Doyle, Robert Petrunka, Peter Beaudry, Andre Paquette, Paul Simpson, John McKnight, Frank Rail, Ron Larcher, Keith Marsh and Richard Thibault.

The CHS Winter Carnival King was Richard Rioux and the Queen was Helene Fortin.

Remember the cheerleaders. They were Debbie Pellow, Gail May, Denise Joyal, Rosalyn Jardine, Mary Ann Morris, Doris Delaney and Cathy Lingenfelter on the junior squad while seniors were Cheryl Robinson, Lynda Rose, Pierrette Debris, Mary Emma Morris, Nicole Germain and Mary Ellen McKee.

The new CHS had opened in 1966, and an addition was completed in 1971 to meet the demands of growing enrolment. In the 1972-73 school year, there was a record enrolment of 452 students. The school had also adopted the credit and semester system.

Once again, thanks to all who have been contacting me about Chapleau Moments. After my column on the 1958 Chapleau Winter Carnival, I received several messages paying tribute to J.M. Shoup, the longtime principal of Chapleau Public School, for his work in many Chapleau activities. Thanks for writing. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chapleau boomed and emerged from isolation in the Fifties

For more than 50 years of its history, Chapleau was relatively isolated from the outside world with the Canadian Pacific Railway providing the only means of transportation to and from the community. The longest drive that anyone could take in 1947 was about 35 miles out of town, and owning a vehicle in Chapleau was not common. As a boy I can recall watching the occasional vehicle being unloaded at the CPR freight sheds, but I was very fortunate as my good friends Mr. Brownlee and Mr. Hopper would take me for rides to Bucciarelli Beach, and my uncle, B.W. "Bubs" Zufelt always had a vehicle for his Chapleau Bakery.

In 1948 disastrous forest fire struck and the provincial government made available opportunities to lumber companies which brought J.E. Martel and Sons Lumber Ltd. and A and L Lafreniere Lumber Ltd to Chapleau, and others to the area. A highway became essential and Highway 129 essentially a turkey trail through the bush was completed to Thessalon in 1949. But a highway was a highway and it was a first step in improving Chapleau's transportation links with the outside world -- and provided adventure stories for years from those who travelled Highway 129. Maybe it stlll does!

By the Fifties, the "other side of Main Street" between Young and Lorne Streets was being developed led by A.J. Grout, the president of Smith and Chapple Ltd, and by 1958, the downtown had a new look. Smith and Chapple expansion was the major factor but Cecil Smith opened the new Fox Theatre replacing the Regent Theatre which then became the Royal Bank of Canada branch. By 1955 the Bank of Montreal had arrived and was located at Birch and Young Streets across from the Algoma Hotel. Simpson's (now Sears) opened a catalogue store and so did Eaton's. The Dominion store moved down the street after BMO arrived to Birch and Lorne to a relatively new building that had been built by Charles W. Collins first as a car dealership then a bowling alley and pool room.

And Chapleau got its new post office, considered a gift from Lester B. Pearson, our member of parliament for Algoma East later to become prime minister of Canada. The township council was also busy at this time bringing Chapleau a sewage system, paving some of the roads and building the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena. My Uncle Bubs, mentioned above, was the reeve of Chapleau while most of this activity was taking place between 1948 and 1955.

The CPR had built a diesel repair shop at Chapleau, and the economic future looked bright.

Wow! I gave you that glimpse of Main Street Chapleau mostly from my memory and referrals to my 1984 book Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love, the history of St. John's Anglican Church.

Let me return to Smith and Chapple expansion in the fifties to provide one example of the type of economic confidence there was in Chapleau during the Fifties. In the Mid-North News of December 11, 1958 there was a two page spread on the company revealing that it employed an estimated 130 people, making it a large employer.

The original store was founded by A. MacNeice Austin in 1886. In 1958 it housed the pharmacy, jewellery, ladies wear, men's wear, groceries, hardware,restaurant, gifts and general office. Mr. Grout was president while Gene Bernier was assistant general manager, Earle Sootheran was vice president, Ron Serre, credit manager and R.L. "Bob" Warren was the secretary treasurer.

On the other side of the street in the new building a garage and car dealership, furniture, plumbing and heating, electronics, and wholesale hardware were located. And the company was using one of the forerunners of the internet to connect to Toronto wholesalers and its locations in other communities using a teletype machine. Marie Chambers was in charge of this operation.

Some of the managers of the day were Joe Shannon in men's wear, Mel Ennis in furniture and funeral director, Dick Lapp in the ladies wear, Dave Johnson in hardware, Bill Payette in sporting goods, Marion Ennis in the restaurant, Colin Barlow in the garage, Adams Andrews in plumbing and heating, William Walker as advertising manager, Larry Downey as wholesale manager and Norman and Lauretta Veit in meat and groceries. Roy May was managing the store by the CPR station.

Ian Macdonald advised that his father was manager of the hardware department at S and C from 1947 to 1957.

"You may recall Andy Anderson as one of the more affable salesmen in that department who worked alongside him. Another important member of the Smith and Chapple group was Ross Whitney who managed tourist operations including the Nemegosenda Cabins across from the old powerhouse. He also left Chapleau in 1957."

And yes, I am a Smith and Chapple alumnus. I worked in the men's wear, furniture, garage and meat and groceries part-time while attending high school and university.

Smith and Chapple Ltd closed its doors on April 30, 1987.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapleau High student predicts wireless phones in 1932, while Earle Freeborn sang in barbershop quartet in 1952, and we played on 'Murch's' basketball team in '59

In 1932, Donald Boucher, who was in Form1A (Grade 9) at Chapleau High School wrote in the school magazine 'Static' that within 50 years, "it will be possible to phone a person on a wireless phone and to see the person's image reflected on a screen at the same time." He was only a few years off on his fearless prediction as we now take wireless communication with video for granted.

Donald made some other observations that he said were "commonly heard nowadays" (in 1932) including one that cities would be heated from one huge central heating plant, adding that buildings "will be so high and huge that streets will be necessary at different levels."

Interesting comments from a Grade 9 student. I have been reading the souvenir newspaper published in 1982 to mark the 60th anniversary of CHS, and here are some of my discoveries about the people and events at the school in its earlier years, in no particular order.

In 1931 Olive Vezina told the High School News that "public school boys are much more entertaining than high school boys" while students wondered what would happen if Doug Beacock didn't talk to 'Mr. Mac' (John McClellan, the long time teacher and CHS principal) about professional hockey, while the only comment made by Ted Young was "Oh fudge."

Jumping ahead to 1952, I wonder how many recall that Earle Freeborn, now the mayor, was part of a barber shop quartet that "serenaded" students at one of its productions. Earle was accompanied by Leo Vezina, John Houghton and John Longchamps.

Hundreds of Chapleauites packed the theatre in the old Town Hall in 1956 when John "Mac" McClellan retired as principal after 30 years at the school. Tributes poured in from former students which also recognized his work with Number 1187, Chapleau High School Cadet Corps. "Mac" as he was fondly known likely defined the school more than anyone in its history. The Austin- McClellan Scholarship was named in his honour.

In 1959 CHS was an extremely active place. At the annual commencement Harry Pellow was the valedictorian, while Jimmy Evans and Mary Serre received the top academic awards, having graduated the previous year. A basketball team ahd been formed coached by teacher Richard Murchland which challenged other groups to play it. Players were Louis Fortin, David Mizuguchi, Ron Morris, Michael Morris, Jim Schafer, Bill McLeod, Lawrence Comte and Robert Lemieux. (As an aside, something I just realized is that Robert Lemieux and I later taught at CHS) Nelson Eveline and Bruce Poynter had attended cadet camp and were new instructors.

The wiener roast at Bucciarelli Beach was an annual CHS social event for many years and we will all have our own memories of them. In 1944 Noreen Delaney was the announcer assisted by John Thomson. The "Rhythm Boys", John Thomson, Doug Jardine, Keith McKnight and Neil Dowsley sang the popular hit, 'Ma, she's making eyes at me.' In 1945 the rationing of meat meant a change from wiener roast to bean feed but reports said it did not dampen the enthusiasm, with a trumpet duet by George Tremblay and George Payette a highlight of the evening.

In 1963 CHS was the place to be with John Murray as president of the student council and Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter as principal. Dr Hackstetter first taught at CHS from 1954 to 1957, and returned as principal. James Pullen was editor of Ad Astra and Charlie Purich was referred to as the "catalyst" of the hockey team. Some Grade 9 students listed included Ted Swanson, Bruce McCarthy, Leslie Zufelt, Kathy Fife, John Reid, Gary Coulter, Judy Corston, David Morris, Harvey Brillant and Candy Corston.

The chairpersons of the 1982 60th CHS reunion, the late Alex Babin and Margaret Rose (Payette) Fortin were both grads of the school, who at the time were on the teaching staff. It is believed that Clarence Fiaschetti was the first CHS grad to return and teach there.

In 1964 the yearbook revealed that Jim St. Amand's main interest was hockey while Ian Clegg enjoyed skiing and apparently George Ritchie wanted to beat Howard Higuchi in Physics. Hugh McKechnie (later at teacher at CHS) was instumental in the destruction of many a history class and Ron Doig was a member of the table tennis club.

There are so many great moments in the history of Chapleau High School that I will stop for the moment, and let those of you who attended the school reflect on your time there. I will share more of the people and the times later. For me, who started high school in 1955 in "Mr. Mac's" final year as principal and was greatly influenced by him and Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter, and later returned in 1969 to teach there, Chapleau High School has always been much more than a place to go to school. It has been an integral part of my life, thanks to my friends from school days and my students from teaching days. Email me at 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