EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tom Corston becomes ninth Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee

UPDATE... On July 6, 2010: Tom Corston was consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Church today in a ceremony at St. Anthony's Church, Timmins, Ontario, and was later installed as the ninth bishop of Moosonee in a service at St Matthew's Anglican Cathedral in Timmins.

Thomas A. "Tom" Corston, born and raised in Chapleau, Ontario, the son of Frances (Jardine) and the late Henry "Chicken" Corston, has been elected the ninth Bishop of the Anglican Church Diocese of Moosonee at a synod in Timmins.

Tom, who is currently an archdeacon in the Anglican church is also Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, Ontario, in the Diocese of Algoma, is expected to take up his new duties in July, 2010. He succeeds Archbishop Caleb Lawrence, who retired.

Growing up in Chapleau, Tom was active in St. John's Anglican Church, as AYPA president, which is a parish in the Diocese of Moosonee which he will now be leading. Tom becomes the first Chapleau boy to have become an Anglican priest to have been elected a Bishop. Tom was also a president of the Students' Council at Chapleau High School.

He graduated from Lakehead University with the Bachelor of Arts degree and Wycliffe College with a Master of Divinity degree.

In June,1974, Tom was ordained a Deacon in a service at St. John's ina service conducted by Archbishop James A. Watton, then the Bishop of Moosonee. He was ordained to the priesthood a year later.

He started his ministry in the Diocese of Moosonee.

Tom is married with two children.

Tom's grandparents John and Lydia (Swanson) Corston, came from James Bay in the Diocese of Moosonee to Chapleau in 1907 where his grandfather began work with the Canadian Pacific Railway. They established their family home on Grey Street.

Tom is a successor to John Horden, the first Bishop of Moosonee in 1872, who travelled around the vast area by canoe, snowshoe and on foot. Bishop Horden was considered one of the great missionaries of his time.

Here is where Tom has served in his ministry taken from a curriculum vitae prprepared for his nomination for Bishop of Moosonee:

Curate, Church of St. Michael & All Angels, Toronto, ON, 1974-75
Incumbent, Foleyet, Gogama, Mattagami First Nation, 1975-78,
Incumbent, Longlac, Caramat, Hillsport, Nakina, Armstrong, Collins, Allanwater Bridge,
Ogoki Post, 1978-80
Rector, South Porcupine & Schumacher, 1980-83
Regional Dean, Deanery of Cochrane, 1982
Rector, St. Margaret’s Church, Fredericton, NB, 1983-85
Rector, Iroquois Falls, Matheson & Montieth, 1985-87
Rector, Chatham, NB, 1987-92
Regional Dean, Deanery of Chatham, NB, 1990-1992
Rector, Holy Trinity Church, Sault Ste. Marie, 1992-98
Regional Dean, Deanery of Algoma, 1995-1997
Rector, Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, 1998-present
Regional Dean, Deanery of Sudbury/Manitoulin, 1999-2002
Archdeacon of Sudbury/Manitoulin, 2002-present

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Michael McMullen recalls life in Chapleau celebrating hockey victory, earning 'real money' setting pins and listening to popular radio shows

MJM and Michael McMullen, co-authors 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' 2015
UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2015: Michael McMullen is the co-author of 'The Chapleau Boys go To War'.

The book is available in Chapleau at the Chapleau Village Shops, on amazon.ca, amazon.com and Kindle.  Key words: 'chapleau boys war'

Michael McMullen's memories of growing up in Chapleau in the early 1950s won him the first annual Buckwheat Award for most popular story on the blog. The award is named after my beloved cat Buckwheat, who died in November 2009 at 20 years and two months old.. MJM

Michael McMullen lived in Chapleau from 1952-54 when his father Keith came to work for the Austin Lumber company, but his roots in the community go back to 1885 when his great great uncle Patrick Mulligan (and mine) arrived and opened one of the first general stores, called Murrays and Mulligan General Merchants.

After reading Michael's family history of his grandparents, William and May (Mulligan) McMullen, both of whom lived in Chapleau in the early years of the 20th Century, I asked him if I might share some of his recollections of life in Chapleau. He agreed and his recollections capture much of life as it was for us growing up in Chapleau during the early Fifties.
Book presentation to Donald White, 102, World War2 vet from Chapleau

"I have fond memories of that time and still have many friendships that have endured since then," Michael wrote. "More importantly, I met my wife, Alison, during this period. She is the daughter of Leslie and Margaret (Jack) McMillan and sister of David McMillan. Les was a CPR locomotive engineer who operated out of Chapleau for over 25 years, retiring in 1966." Mr. McMillan also served as a member of Chapleau township council.

After arriving in Chapleau, Michael and his parents lived for a time in the offices of Austin Lumber on the second floor of the building at the northwest corner of Birch and Young Streets. Their bedrooms were in two of the separate enclosed offices. "There was a Dominion store on the first floor. (later the Bank of Montreal). Years later I would discover that this was the building that Patrick Mulligan had rebuilt in 1895 following a fire at his original store on this site."

"I remember the good times that a kid could have, particularly in a small town. There was a ball field behind the high school where everyone played ball on a summer evening, the natural ice arena, which was the place to go for skating on a Friday night and to play hockey on a Saturday during the winter.

"We also played road hockey on the snow packed, icy streets, particularly on Aberdeen Street, not with a ball, but with a real puck.

"I remember playing bantam hockey for the Chapleau Huskies team when we won the first Broomhead Trophy in 1953-54... It was an exciting 4-3 victory in overtime over the IOOF team.... We went to celebrate at the Boston Cafe where Harry (Boo Boo) Hong, one of my teammates got his mother to open their family restaurant for our celebration. That game is still mentioned among those of us who played."

(In the photo are in  back row from left Basil Collings, Mike McMullen, Mrs. Broomhead, David McMillan, Richard Pilon, Tim Goodwin. Front row from left Charlie White, Ken Schroeder, Harry 'Boo' Hong  In the ball photo, Michael is at bat and his cousin David Curry  is the catcher.)

He also recalled that it was on an empty lot to the west of the Boston Cafe that he first participated in building an outdoor skating/hockey rink. "Boo Boo Hong asked me, and several others to help him and his brothers (Yen and Jimmy) to do this." This was where the Bridgeview Motel until recently owned by Yen Hong was built. It was also location where Patrick Mulligan had built a warehouse and post office.

Michael noted that when they first arrived in Chapleau they stayed at the Rectory of St. John's Anglican Church where Reverend E. Roy Haddon (the Rector at the time) and family lived at the southwest corner of Pine and Young Street with a tennis court beside it. The Haddons were on vacation at the time. The house was nearly opposite the church... To the right (east) was the Town Hall and then beside it was Chapleau Public School which he would attend. To the left of the church on the west was Chapleau High School.

"I would discover that right beside the high school was where Alison and family lived."

He would learn later that the original Anglican church in Chapleau was built in 1885 on the site where the tennis court was located. "I would also appreciate that my father and most of his siblings, if not all, were baptized at the current St. John's, which was opened in 1908, and went to the same public school I did"

As an aside, it should be noted that Michael's father Keith, and his grandfather, William McMullen, both served as Wardens at St. John's. His father was People's Warden when Mr. Haddon was the Rector and his grandfather was Rector's Warden in the time of Rev. J.N. Blodgett.

In photo are from left Michael, his parents Margret and Keith McMullen and me, taken in 1955

Michael recalled earning "some real money" for the first time in Chapleau. Mrs. Elsie Wilkinson, the widow of Dr. Steve Wilkinson paid him 25 cents to cut the grass on her property on Beech Street with her hand mower once a week.

"I was a pin boy at the bowling alley for probably 15-20 cents an hour. I was down at the end of the alley where the pins were placed. My responsibility was to properly position the pins during each frame, and to put the balls in the track to return to the players. As I recall, I was looking after two lanes at one time. You had to be alert because of where the pin could go after being hit. There was a foot slot at the end of the bowling lane that you stepped on that pushed the pins up from the floor for each of the five bowling pins to be placed on."

The bowling alley was located across on Birch Street across from the Chapleau News Depot store.

Michael also helped Raymond Soucie a number of times to pick worms to sell to fishermen for about 25 cents a container. He noted that in the early 1950s, 25 cents went a long way, as admission to the theatre was only 15-20 cents. Michael and I also delivered flyers for Simpsons order office which had been recently established in Chapleau.

"In the days before television, a radio was a great thing to have," Michael recalled. Radio was non existent during the day until the CBC installed repeater stations, but "... as the sun was going down the reception started to come in and after sundown the reception was really good, particularly for powerful stations from cities in the United States, such as Fort Wayne (WOWO), Pittsburgh (KDKA) and Boston (WBZ)."

Michael remembers some of the popular radio shows such as the Lone Ranger, Jack Benny, the Green Hornet and Inner Sanctum with "its scary squeaky door at the beginning of the program. Canadian shows such as Wayne and Shuster, and the Happy Gang were very popular. We got the Saturday night hockey games, usually from Toronto with Foster Hewitt and the Toronto Maple Leafs."

He liked listening to baseball games particularly his favorite team at the time, the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were on WMGM, 1050 on the dial from New York and the sponsors were Lucky Strike and Schaefer beer. Vince Scully was the junior announcer and he is still calling games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. On weekends there were baseball games on the United States Armed Forces Network on short wave radio with Dizzy Dean and Buddy Blattner.

After moving to Toronto in 1954, Michael did not return to Chapleau until the Chapleau High School reunion in 1997. Many changes had taken place in the 43 years since he left. The old Patrick Mulligan store was gone as was the natural ice arena on Lorne Street replaced by the Chapleau Recreation Centre on the other side of town. The movie theatre had closed, and the YMCA was gone as well. The ball field that was behind the high school was still there but the school had moved. The Chapleau Civic Centre was in its place.

But some things had not changed for him. The Boston Cafe, which had become Hongers, was still there and still owned by the Hong family. Chapleau Public School was in the same place and to him it appeared the same inside and out.

Before leaving Chapleau in 1954, Michael remembers going to the old Protestant Cemetery on Birch Street with his friend the late Harry (Boo Boo) Hong.

"(Boo Boo)... asked me to help him do some landscaping at the grave of his father. We got a wheelbarrow, two shovels and went there. The plot had sunk and needed some earth so we went to a nearby field and hauled earth back to do the work.

"While repairing the site, I browsed at the nearby plots and to my surprise, one of the plots close by, at the back fence, was the location of my grandfather William McMullen. It needed the same work as the Hong site. So, we hauled more earth and put both plots in a condition, which pleased us both."

Michael and his parents appear to have been the last of his McMullen line to live in Chapleau. However, some years ago, Dr. Bill McMullen from Sudbury was one of the medical doctors who came to Chapleau on a periodic basis to provide medical services. Bill is the eldest son of Hugh McMullen, his father's older brother. I am the last of the Patrick Mulligan line to have lived in Chapleau. My grandmother, Lil (Mulligan) Morris and Michael and Bill's grandmother May (Mulligan) McMullen were sisters.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ice cracks causing tractor to sink in Chapleau River as Bob Lemieux jumps to safety during Great Depression

The ice cracked and a new five ton Diesel tractor started to slip into the frigid waters of the Kebsquasheshing (Chapleau) River with Bob Lemieux escaping by climbing up a pole on a sleigh behind as it sunk.

Anne (Lemieux) Lacroix believes the year was 1938 and her father had been awarded a contract by the Canadian Pacific Railway to haul blocks of ice from the river to the ice house near the railway station.

A news report at the time said that as the ice cracked and the sleigh started to slip, Mr. Lemieux jumped over the back of the tractor onto a sleigh, climbed a pole and for there he made it to stronger ice as the tractor sunk into about 15 feet of water.

Apparently Mr. Lemieux did not even get wet but a timber frame had to be built to bring his tractor to the surface. The operation was successful.

Ice cutting crews hastened to the scene as they saw the tractor disappear below the ice surface. The temperature was noted as about 50 degrees below zero Fahrenhit

Mr. Lemieux, the owner of the tractor, had been awarded a contract from the CPR to haul ice. At the time of the mishap, he had been crossing ice on his tractor pulling a load of sleighs in preparation to haul a load of ice cut from the river.

A news report said that the ice cutting and hauling was helping to relieve local unemployment with twice as many hired as in the previous year. This was during the Great Depression.

Also they were cutting aboutp 3500 tons of ice compared with 1445 tons in the previous year as more air conditioned cars were being used by the CPR.

My thanks to Anne for providing details on this incident.

Monday, April 5, 2010

BUDD Car trip between Sudbury, Chapleau, White River 'a best kept travel secret', Bill McLeod reports

William 'Bill' McLeod says that one of Ontario's best kept travel secrets is the VIA Rail train that runs between Sudbury and White River, Ontario. along the Canadian Pacific Railway main line, which also forms the southwest border of the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve between Chapleau and Franz.

Writing in his 2004 book, 'The Chapleau Game Preserve -- History, Murder and Other Tales', Bill, who was born and raised in Chapleau notes: "Actually the train is not really a train at all. It is a Budd Car which combines a diesel locomotive, baggage car and passenger car into a single unit."

Given the announcement that the cars are going to be refurbished and a renewed interest in passenger train travel, I asked Bill, who has been a friend of mine since childhood, if I could do an article based on the chapter in his book. Bill. and his wife Sheryl, have made the trip on more than one occasion. He agreed.

Bill relates that the "BUDD" as everyone calls it "stops anywhere to pick up and drop off vacationers, trappers, hunters, fishermen, prospectors, cottagers, and anyone else doing business or pleasure along the line. The crew and passengers, most of whom know each other, are one big happy family who are quick to make strangers feel comfortable and at home".

"The little train goes through some of Ontario's most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness. Hundreds of lakes, streams and rivers roll endlessly by. Most of them nameless."

Bill points out many of the points of interest along the route, sharing how many of the places got their names, including a former logging community named after Dr. J.J, Sheahan, a revered physician who served the people of Chapleau for many years.

The train's first scheduled stop is at Cartier, about 35 miles west of Sudbury, once a divisional point on the CPR with an old station and "classic waiting room worth a look."

After passing Metagama, the train reaches Biscotasing, commonly called Bisco which is a very old village. It was an important community during the building of the CPR and was at one time a Hudson's Bay Post. Bill writes that another bonus at Bisco is the general store, owned by his grandfather, William McLeod, some time in the 1920s and in fact Mr. McLeod may have built it.

Next is Ramsey, also a former lumber centre, and then Sultan, which was the second largest community after Chapleau between Sudbury and White River. Between Sultan and Kormak the train crosses the height of land where all the streams now flow north, eventually to James Bay.

The train crew changes at Chapleau, and after crossing the Kebsquasheshing (Chapleau) River and for the next 81 miles, the area on the right of the train will be the Chapleau Game Preserve. About eight miles west of Chapleau, at Esher, the first whistlestop, the train crosses the height of land again where all the streams and rivers now flow west to Lake Superior.

Bill's grandfather, William McLeod, was instrumental in having the game preserve established. The details are in his book.

Next is Nicholson, named after G.B. Nicholson, lumber merchant, first Reeve of Chapleau and Member of Parliament in early part of 20th century. Nicholson is on north shore of Lake Windermere, a huge body of water that once saw millions of logs boomed to the lumber mill in the community.

Bill notes that the "biggest little town" between Chapleau and White River is Missanabie. If you watch carefully you may see the Missanabie Hotel.

Upon reaching Franz the Algoma Central Railway crosses the Canadian Pacific Railway. Other places along the way include Bolkow, Shumka, Dalton, Localsh and Amyot. In his book, Bill provides comments about the claim to fame about each of these places, particularly a number of murders and a strange disappearances that occurred along that portion of the rail line.

The end of the line for the trip is White River which was once considered the coldest place in Canada where it is said the temperature once dropped to 72 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. White River is also the home of the original 'Winnie the Pooh.'

Bill provides much more information about this trip in his book 'The Chapleau Game Preserve -- History, Murder, and Other Tales.' He also wrote "
'Murder in the Schoolhouse', the story of the 1954 slaying of Steve Klapouschak, the teacher in the one-room school in Dalton.

His newest book is headed to the publisher soon. Watch for details.

Having travelled this route so many times many years ago from Chapleau to our family's camp at Healy and to Missanabie where I worked one summer, and the Chapleau to Sudbury portion more times than I can remember, Bill brought back many great memories. His book is a good read and you can contact him at wemcleod@sympatico.ca to order a copy.

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