EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Missionary John Sanders travelled by canoe, dog team, snowshoes in 19th century Northern Ontario

Rev John and Mrs Sanders circa 1898
In 1845, John Sanders, one of a family of 20 children, was born to Ojibway parents at Flying Post, at the time a native settlement on Groundhog Lake, about sixty miles north of Biscotasing.

About 1860, Rev. John Horden, a missionary of the Church of England (Anglican) journeyed by canoe from Moose Factory to Missanabie, a distance of more than 500 miles. (As an aside I always wanted to make this trip to Moose Factory by canoe, and on two occasions I started out on it, once from Chapleau and the other time from Missanabie. Both ventures failed but we went) part way which was really an awesome experience.)

Returning to old Brunswick Post which was about 10 miles south of the present Peterbell, and about 60 miles north of Chapleau, Rev. Horden struck overland to Flying Post. There he met John Sanders who was to become one of the first native persons (he may have been the first) ordained as a priest in the Church of England in Canada.

With the consent of his father, Rev. Horden took the young man with him to Moose Factory where he was to live with his grandmother commonly known as 'Old Maggie Sanders'. John Sanders entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, working as a carpenter, and attending the mission school at Moose Factory.

By 1872, John Horden who by then had become the first bishop of Moosonee decided that John Sanders, who was now married, should have training for the ministry.

Follow me on the trip they made to get John Sanders to college in Winnipeg. They set out from Moose Factory by canoe, crossing portages and eventually arrived at Michipicoten Harbour near the present community of Wawa. Then they got on a sailing vessel on Lake Superior to Fort William and then overland to St. John's College in Winnipeg. Apparently a great storm occurred while they were on Lake Superior, bringing fears that the vessel would sink.

Following his studies, John Sanders was ordained deacon in 1876 and priest in the Church of England in 1879 in Moose Factory.

As a missionary, he travelled from his base at Mattagami to Flying Post to Missanabie to Michipicoten. He also travelled by way of Loon (Borden) Lake, the Loon Lake portage, and to the present site of Chapleau.

John Sanders was carrying out missionary work for his church before the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, and he would have travelled by canoe, on foot and dog team and snoe shoes in the winter months across a vast stretch of Northern Ontario. Quite honestly as I adapt the story of John Sanders from my 1984 book 'Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love', the history of St. John's Anglican Church, I am amazed at the travels of people like John Sanders. For sure we shall never see their like again.

Rev. Sanders conducted one of the first Christian services at Chapleau on the banks of the river. After Chapleau was established many early residents recalled the open air services he held at the Indian reserve and at the first St. John's Church. In 1982, Rev. William Ivey, then the rector of St. John's organized the re-enactment of the service conducted by Rev. Sanders one hundred years earlier. Canon Redfern Louttit, who had attended the residential school and graduated from Chapleau High School returned to portray Rev. Sanders. Canon Louttit had been ordained at St. John's in 1940 after graduating from Wycliffe College, and had worked as a missionary in the Diocese of Moosonee. The service held on the banks of the river behind the church was conducted in Cree, Ojibway and English.

After the CPR was completed Rev. Sanders moved his headquarters from Mattagami to Biscotasing. Although my research indicates that Rev. Sanders established one of the first churches in the diocese south of James Bay at the Mulligan Bay Hudson Bay Company Post, there has been considerable discussion on this point as to where it was actually located. Anyone with information please let me know. He was responsible for the building of the Anglican church at Missanabie.

On February 26, 1902, John Sanders died at Biscotasing. Funeral services for him were conducted at Missanabie by Rev. A.O. Cheney, rector of St. John's, Chapleau. He was 57 when he died and is buried in Missanabie. Rev. Sanders had many relatives in Chapleau.

Without doubt, his arduous missionary labours and his travels by canoe, dog team and snowshoes had taken their toll. John Sanders was certainly one of the apostles of love that I wrote about some 26 years ago in my history of St. Johns.


I received the following from Tom Corston, now an Anglican priest and archdeacon, and of course, a very well known Chapleau boy after my column on telephone operators. Tom wrote: Hi Michael...Great story about the operators. I always laugh at the memory of the operators that worked the telephones in Chapleau. When people would call looking for my father, they would say to the operator, "I don't know his real name, I only know him as 'Chicken'." To which the operator would often respond, "Oh, that's 'Henry', his number is..." A time gone forever. Thanks for the great memories Mike, I enjoy them all."

And from Larry 'Ton' Comte, an old friend from Chapleau High School and member of another pioneer Chapleau family. Ton wrote about first diesel: "My dad "Raoul" or known as "Lulu" was the engineer on the first diesel in Chapleau. My dad was a graduate from Los Angeles as a Diesel Engineer. It was always interesting to hear the train crew mention that is was great to be on the diesel with dad, if it caused problems, he could fix it on the run."

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chapleau High School toboggan slide of 50s part of 'quality of community' Ian Macdonald recalls

With winter here  it seemed like an opportune time to recall the memorable Chapleau toboggan slide project undertaken in 1956. I remembered that Ian Macdonald had been involved in the project and indeed had written about it so this column is based on his article at http://chapleau.com/.

Ian wrote that Chapleau High School students built the toboggan slide on the rock behind the old golf club building which was across from the town beach and Chapleau Public School. For those of you who don't recall the old golf club building was about in the same place as the "new" one. It had been built in about 1927 and was replaced in about 1977.

"It was similar to a sluice that they use in logging. The toboggans went like hell." Ian noted. They sure did! What fun!

The school bought the lumber to make a slide. The crew assembled whatappears to be twelve foot sections of the "sluice section of the slide" . Another group would trundle up the hill with a completed section. Obviously it was all put together at the top, Ian wrote.

In the photo with this column you'll notice the jackets with the big "C" on them with Chapleau High spelled out on the back.

"My recollection was that we got a special deal with these jackets if we only used two colours (blue and white in this case). We (student council) then voted to change the High School colours to blue and white from the previous red, green and white to justify the jacket purchase. I think they changed back to red, green and white the following year," Ian wrote.

Ian added: "It was typical of how young people in those days seemed to be able to get together as a team and make things happen. Other projects included making hockey rinks, a dance floor behind the Anglican Church etc. You don't see as much of this type of thing anymore. This was, of course, a year or so before you had television in Chapleau and similar other distractions for people. I expect it is this 'quality of community' that people remember about the town and why they enjoy being reminded of it."

Some may recall the toboggan slide on Slaughterhouse Hill from the 1930s.

Thanks for your help Ian, and let me just add a few words about him. Ian began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a fireman in 1956 when he was in Grade 11 at CHS and he was one of the last to be trained on steam power. However, he later attended the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1969 as an architect.

After working abroad Ian joined the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in 1978, and was promoted to full professor in 1993 and then served as head of the graduate department of architecture at the university starting in 1999. Ian is officially "retired" now but having worked with him on a chapter for Bill McLeod's new book, he seems to be very busy.

One of his projects is an architecture program for Athabasca University.

See also http://chapleau.com/

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dr. W.R. Pellow, former railroader, on 'reverting to yesterday' and bringing back passenger train travel

By Dr. William R. Pellow
Dr. William R. Pellow once CPR employee no 64865 Twenty year veteran of the rails. Dr. Pellow was born and raised in Chapleau, Ontario, a member of one of the community's pioneer families. Dr. Pellow is the editor and publisher of Chapleau Trails.

Once not so long ago there were fifteen to twenty trains using the CPR transcontinental route from Montreal and Toronto to Vancouver. Many competitive travel modes were introduced to pick away at the border line profit margins of train travel and the airlines won the battle for passenger busines and supremacy.

However there is something that the airlines can not produce for the traveller. Flying five miles in the air the traveller misses the beauty of the most beautiful landscapes in creation, the wonderful detail of nature and its inhabitants is lost to the viewer. The flights bring you from one urban centre to the next in a fraction of the time and the costs are several times those once afforded for train tickets. Travellers are missing Canada and all its beauty lying far below, unseen, unappreciated and unfortunate.

Trains must generate a profit to sustain. Passenger travel could not and did not provide a pleasant bottom line in the annual financial statements for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The major profit margins were found in piggy back full carloads in freight service. When the government permitted, the administration withdrew the non profit lines as quickly as possible. Left in the aftermath of restructuring were the several small towns and villages again isolated from the outside world and deprived of convenience and their respective economies suffered.. The convenience of stepping on a train and arriving at your destination fresh and ready for a full day of productivity vanished.

Roads were pushed through to prevent total isolationism but something still is missing. The choices for travel have dwindled appreciatively. Canada will remain a large country with only a 100 miles of population density adjacent to the US border. The rest of Canada will remain under developed and unsettled. Some of our remaining thirty million population will find homes in the sparse far north but expansion will not be realized in the future. It's a catch 22. Ninety percent of our country will never see development without interconnection that could be assisted in the development of excellent passenger and freight train service. We have forgotten how vital train travel was to our economic growth.

Is there a solution? The alternative is to fly high arrive in a flash and miss it all, or drive on the dirt roads and lose a large portion of your life under stress and tension. Not great choices. So let's revert to yesterday and train travel before all the RR coaches have been torched and cut up for scrap metal. Maybe it is too late. No longer can we live in a dream world, although many of us over 60 can still foster dreams and we can still wish!

Rail executives should be tasked to reinvent passenger travel. Tax their minds with improving safety, speed on the rails and efficiency for improved profit margins. Anything is possible with thought and planning. Bombardier can build faster trains and all we have to do is improve our track bed to accommodate. There is still a place for trains to tie in both loose ends of our country and unite our Canada..

Passenger Rail Service Campaign to Thunder Bay Gains Momentum with House of Commons Motion, Petition and Facebook Group

Efforts to restore passenger train service to Thunder Bay 20 years after a previous Conservative federal government cancelled it seem to be gaining momentum again as Bruce Hyer, NDP MP for Thunder Bay-North Shore plans to introduce a motion in the House of Commons calling for its restoration.

Supporters of the revival of passenger rail service in the area can also sign a petition at http://revivesuperiorrail.com

But it is Alice (Granberg) Herculson, who started a facebook group in support of the restoration of rail service who has really focused on the issue. If you belong to facebook you can join it at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=92835672445

Alice sent me an email sharing the reasons she supports return of rail service. Here are her comments:

"In the mid 1970s before I had even started school, CN Rail sent my dad to work in Northern Ontario as a signal maintainer. We lived in some of the most remote towns of Northern Ontario including Folyet, Caramat, Hornepayne and Longlac. Although my dad didn’t stay with the railroad and eventually ended up working in the forest industry as an accountant, the train continued to be a big part of our lives because it was the train that got us from those remote Towns back to Toronto to see our families.

"I’ve travelled VIA from Longlac to Toronto and from Terrace Bay to Toronto and those were some of my most memorable family vacations. I loved the train and in fact had a nickname as a child "tracks" because I had spent so much time riding not only the passenger train, but living on trains while my dad worked in remote sidings - like at Dunrankin!

"I am not a consultant and I haven’t completed any formal study on this but in my opinion the Government would’ve better served the people of Northern Ontario by helping them market this tremendous mode of transportation to ensure increased usage rather than cut costs and eventually cut the service all together. Companies and government are always quick to cut costs but not so quick to do the harder stuff like market their product to increase revenue. There are two sides to the income statement and adjusting either side can increase profits. You can cut expenses or you can be better at marketing and increase your revenue!

"The VIA Rail through Northern Ontario was a nod to our heritage and definitely had the potential to be a link to a positive economic future. Northern Ontario is not a hard sell to those that have the opportunity to see it first hand. Northern Ontario has the same tourism potential that places like Muskoka and Vancouver Island have, but Ontario has to be progressive and seek opportunities to drive the tourism industry in Northern Ontario and one way to do that is to bring VIA Rail back and provide funding for market studies and tourism studies to ensure that the VIA gets used not only by locals looking to get from Terrace Bay to Thunder Bay but by people living just about anywhere.

"Not that long ago, I had made a suggestion while in Schreiber that maybe some sort of public-private partnership including some communities in the United States could be made to develop a passenger rail service that followed the entire Lake Superior perimeter including down on the United States side. I think some kind of train of that nature would attract a lot of business. The VIA that I remember served great food, offered first class service, was super comfortable and relaxing and could get you through the back country on a world class scenic journey. I think a little bit of marketing would encourage thousands and thousands of people to hop on board at Thunder Bay for example to circle the entire Lake Superior! Northern Ontario has something incredible to offer tourists from Ontario, Canada and the world, my belief is that it will take only a little effort and some very solid partnerships to make it happen! I think bringing back the VIA Rail to the North Shore is just a start!!"

Thanks Alice and I invite all readers to send me their comments at mj.morris@live.ca

Bruce Hyer plans to table his Motion to restore local passenger service, cut in the late 1980’s, at the first opportunity when the House of Commons resumes next week. Unlike Government Bills and Private Members’ Bills, Motions die when parliament is prorogued. The Motion to be re-introduced reads:

Mr. Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North) That, in the opinion of the House, the government should commit to re-establishing passenger rail service to Thunder Bay and the North Shore of Lake Superior, and should report back to the House within six months on its progress.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chapleau Jr B Huskies of 66-67 win championships (Part two of Buddy Swanson story)

NOTE: Keith 'Buddy" Swanson died on May 7,2011 in Chapleau. May he rest in peace.

Continuing the story of the champion 1966-67 Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, Keith "Buddy" Swanson told me that the team's "40th reunion in 2007 was very nostalgic for all of us and clearly showed that the bonds we made will never be broken." And so it should be Buddy. You, Lorne Riley, Tom Welch, the executive, the Chapleau hockey fans, and most importantly the players are all part of a great moment, not only in hockey but in the history of Chapleau.

Here is the final part of the story of the first year of the Junior "B" Huskies Buddy takes us through the playoffs -- first the International Junior "B" League series and then on to the Northern Ontario Hockey Association final. Here is the story:

The Wawa Travellers had won four of the six regular season games against us, and we had not beaten them in Wawa. True to form, the Travellers took the first two matches at home and took a commanding 3-0 series lead in Game 3 in Chapleau. The Huskies scraped through to win game 4 at home and headed to Wawa for Game 5 where the never-say-die Huskies upset them for their first win on Wawa ice, then came right back the next day and tied the series at home before a huge crowd. That set the stage for the 7th and deciding game in Wawa on Thursday, March 23rd in front of raucous 1,406 screaming fans, including hundreds from Chapleau.

The deciding game turned out to be a rout after the first period and the Huskies, led by right winger George Swanson’s five goals, won 13-3! There was no time for gloating as we began the final series against the Sault Michigan Indians on Saturday at home and lost 9-5 but came right back in game two and won 8-2. The following week proved to be the most pivotal of all. The Indians won game 3 in overtime. Game 4 was a barn burner that included the Huskies playing with only 3 defencemen (Goldstein,

Laframboise and Ted Swanson) due to injury to Gerry Boucher.

Huskies tied the game with the goalie out in regulation time and then fell behind by two goals in the 10 minute overtime period but again clawed back into it and with the goalie removed a second time and with seconds remaining tied the game 7-7, on a goal by Mickey Jurynec.

There was no provision for sudden-death overtime in the NOHA rules adopted by the League unless it was the deciding match of the series. So we went home down two games to one with one tie. Huskies tied the series at home and back in Pullar Stadium, in front of 1,400 fans, John Loyst completely frustrated the Indians in a spectacular 3-0 shutout win.

The 7th game was set for Saturday, April 15. The NOHA and League Executive stipulated there would be no 8th game and if the Indians won game7 in regular time or 10-minutes overtime, the two teams were to play a 20-minute sudden-death overtime period for the championship. Supported by an arena jam-packed with the largest crowd ever, 1,026 fans, the Huskies never faltered and won 5-2 to capture the series 4-2-1 and earn the Mac Nicholson trophy emblematic of the League champions.

But the job wasn’t done. After a couple of weeks off the Huskies then entertained Kapuskasing in a two game goals-to-count series on April 22 and 23. The rust showed in the first game Huskies won in overtime followed by a 7-2 win in game 2 for an aggregate total of 11-5 to capture the Colin Campbell trophy.

In all, the Huskies played 39 games in ’66-67, winning 23, losing 13 and tying 3. They were a high scoring team with 248 goals to their credit and Mickey Jurynec, George Swanson, Richard Morin and Raymond Larcher finishing in the top 10 in league scoring. It was a fabulous season indeed!

At the closing banquet the popular NHLer Eddie Shack was the guest speaker thanks to Gord Wilson of Richmond Hill and former Chapleau boy and well known businessman Roy Steed. Corky Bucci won the Most Valuable Player award.

I asked Buddy if he could pick the player who highlighted the season. Here is his reply:

In closing Michael I can’t pick one player who highlighted the season. They were all so dedicated and hard working and a pleasure to work with. However like a lot of teams that are only as good as their goalie, John Loyst was the most important player acquisition. We also had to overcome several injuries including those to Reg Bouillon, Greg Vaughan, Bruce Fortin and Gerry Boucher. During the year MVP Corky Bucci moved to North Bay, John Babin to Toronto and Bruce Pellow to Sudbury but Bucci never missed a game and Pellow and Babin made the effort and got back when we really needed them.

Trainer Andre Rioux drove John Loyst back to Timmins after every game. The executive did a marvellous job on the financial aspect of it and finished with a small profit for the future. Most of all the Chapleau fans were fantastic right from the start.

Buddy's final comment: "The Huskies tradition must never be lost."

Thanks Buddy for being the person you have been in the life of Chapleau, and for sharing your memories of the first year of the Junior "B" Huskies.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Buddy Swanson shares story of the champion Chapleau Jr. 'B' Huskies of 1966-67 (Part One)

NOTE: Keith 'Buddy" Swanson died on May 7, 2011 in Chapleau. May he rest in peace.

To set the stage for the arrival of the 1966-67 champion Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, let's go back in time to 1929 and the arrival of Mac McAllister in Chapleau to work for Canadian Pacific Communications and play hockey for the Chapleau All Stars Junior team.

Doug Greig recently sent me a note that Mac, who became one of the community's great hockey stars and later a referee, wrote after the death of Mrs. A.W. Moore in 1979. Mac revealed that the Chapleau hockey board of directors was deciding on a uniform and he suggested that since the original Ottawa Senators had just won the Stanley Cup three years in row why not use their barber shop pole stripes. The committee agreed.

Mac also noted that the committee decided to have a Husky dog with the letter C around it, thus the Chapleau Huskies. Mrs. Moore, Chapleau's greatest hockey fan, made the Husky dogs, the letters C and the number for each uniform. She then stitched them on to each uniform. What an incredible lady Mrs. Moore was, and thanks Doug for sending me Mac's note.

Fast forward to 1966 and the arrival of the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, the first major beneficiaries of the artificial ice in the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena, largely made possible by Mrs. Moore's efforts. I am delighted to be able to bring you highlights from the founding year of the Junior "B" Huskies as told to me by Keith "Buddy" Swanson, who devoted much of his life to sports, particularly the Huskies, in Chapleau and until recently was a township councillor. Thanks so much Buddy for taking time to answer questions, and to your sister Sharon for starting it all!

Here is Part one of the story as told to me by Buddy:

Junior B hockey came to Chapleau in 1966 as a result of a chance summer meeting on our golf course between Tom Welch and a visiting director of the Wawa Travellers who were already a part of the NOHA International Jr. B Hockey League that had been formed in the 1965-66 hockey season. It was suggested that since Chapleau and Wawa had already established a fierce rivalry through the Intermediate Wawa Ironmen and the Chapleau Huskies, our participation in the league would be a natural fit.

In 1965-66 Lorne Riley and I had coached and managed a very good Midget team and with the other overage midgets in town we discussed the proposition and knew we probably had a pretty good nucleus of players to start with. Lorne and I travelled to our first meeting of the League in Wawa in the summer of 1966 on Highway 101 West which was being completed that year. We were well received and tentatively approved for entry in the League by Wawa Travellers, Sault Michigan Indians, Soo Ontario Rapids and the Elliot Lake Vikings. With no arena in Elliot Lake at the time, the Vikings played their home games in Thessalon and a few on their outdoor rink in Elliot Lake.

Our next challenge was where would we find the money to operate a Junior “B” hockey club with a budget of approximately $15,000.00? First we needed to find and hold an election from a group of people to form an organization. Three meetings were called and only Tom, Lorne and myself showed up and Jack Shoup at the third meeting. It did not look good but on the urging of Tom Welch, who was the owner of the Chapleau Sentinel weekly newspaper at the time it was decided to go ahead anyhow, and we would all solicit people to be on the executive. Tom was on board from the start and was elected President of the Club.

Bob St. Pierre became the Treasurer later replaced by Sonja Vaughan. I was the Secretary and team Manager. Lorne Riley was appointed Coach. Andre Rioux accepted the Trainer’s job. Directors of the club included Art Grout, Earle Freeborn, Ross Perrigard, Albert Tremblay, Jack Shoup, Ken Stevenson. Roger Mizuguchi handled the advertising and Public relations position. The executive was tasked with the responsibility to fundraise and find sponsors for the Club. As always, the businesses and people of the Town of Chapleau came through in grand style. Tom Welch and I attended the next League meeting in Sault Ste. Marie where the Huskies were officially accepted into the League. We were ready to roll.

Practices started and our roster was quickly set. Richard Morin was appointed team Captain. Richard had already played a pivotal role with the Intermediate B Huskies and had scored the winning goal the season before in Wawa to eliminate the Ironmen and pave the way for the Huskies to go on to the win the NOHA Intermediate B crown in a tense series with Espanola. Merrick Goldstein and Reg Bouillon would be the anchors of our defence having played in the Wawa series with Goldstein recovered from a broken leg suffered in the Int. B playoffs in Wawa. Ted Swanson and John Laframboise were also available. The versatile Gerry Boucher played both forward and defence.

Up front J. C. Cyr, George Swanson and Richard Morin formed an experienced line. Midget grads Corky Bucci, Greg Vaughan and Mickey Jurynec formed a formidable trio and Raymond Larcher, Robert Morin, John Babin, and Bruce Pellow rounded out the forwards. The only Junior aged goaltender available at the time was Jamie Broomhead to start the season. Freddie Coreau of White River was signed after our first two games and became the starter. We started the season with a decisive win over the Elliot Lake on November 5 in Chapleau.

The turning point in our season took place in the 10th game of the schedule against the 1965-66 champion Sault Ont. Rapids team which was the debut for new no. 1 goalie John Loyst from Timmins. Loyst was outstanding all year and was the only out-of town player we had. He was a winner in his first game as Mickey Jurynec scored in overtime to give the Huskies a hard-fought 4-3 win.

Unfortunately it was after that game that Coach Lorne Riley became ill and on Doctor’s advice could not carry on behind the bench. Secretly, I was at first reluctant to take over the coaching reins because we had my two brothers in the lineup, Ted and George Swanson but I quickly became Manager-Coach for the remainder of the season and the playoffs without regret. Lorne and I confided in each other throughout the season and he attended all the games as a spectator while I handled all the practices and ran the bench. The Huskies committed themselves well and finished the season in 3rd place with a 14 win, 8 loss and 2 ties record and had to meet the first place Wawa Travellers in the playoffs first round.

In Part Two, Buddy shares the exciting playoffs that led to tremendous success for the first year team. I will post during this week.

Thanks Buddy. This article first appeared as my Chapleau Moments column in the Chapleau Express.

Comments welcome.. my email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

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


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE