EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, July 21, 2012


When Robert Fife was in Grade 9 at Chapleau High School in 1968-69, Tom Corston was in Grade 13 and president of the Students' Council. During the initiation a photographer captured Bob holding an umbrella over Tom, while also sneaking a smoke at the bottom of the hill at the new CHS.

Over the next 44 years they went their separate ways but they met at the 90th anniversary reunion festival of CHS, where Tom, now the Rt. Rev. Thomas A Corston, the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee, invited Bob, now the Ottawa Bureau Chief of CTV NEWS, to participate in an ecumenical service.
Thomas A. "Tom" Corston, born and raised in Chapleau, Ontario, the son of Frances (Jardine) and the late Henry "Chicken" Corston, was elected the ninth Bishop of the Anglican Church Diocese of Moosonee at a synod in Timmins in July 2010..
He had been serving as an  archdeacon in the Anglican church and also Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, Ontario, in the Diocese of Algoma.

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, he now leads.. 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 CHS.

He graduated from Lakehead University with the Bachelor of Arts degree and Wycliffe College with a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained a deacon in the Anglican church in a service at St. John's Anglican Church, Chapleau, in 1974, and became a priest a year later.
He started his ministry in the Diocese of Moosonee and then served in several parishes in Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

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.
Bob, who was born in Chapleau,  is the son of Margaret and the late Clyde Fife. Bob's grandfather George Fife was manager of the Chapleau Electric Light and Power Company and served as reeve of the Township of Chapleau from 1938 to 1942. Bob's father Clyde was later the manager and then of Chapleau Hydro.
After graduating from CHS. where like Tom,. he had served as president of the Students' Council, Bob attended the University of Toronto where he earned the Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 1978, Bob started his journalism career in the parliamentary bureau of NewsRadio and then he worked for United Press International.  He then became a senior political reporter for the Canadian Press and later spent 10 years as Ottawa Bureau Chief and political columnist for the Sun Media chain. At one point in the 1980s Maclean's magazine called Bob the best investigative reporter in Canada.

After the National Post was founded he joined it in 1998, and he became Ottawa Bureau Chief for CanWest News Services and the National Post in 2002.. He has won the Edward Dunlop Award for Spot News and two National Newspaper Citation of Merit for political reporting.
In 1991, Bob's first book, 'A Capital Scandal' which he wrote with John Warren came out. In 1993, Bob's second book, 'Kim Campbell: The Making of a Politician' was published. She became the first female prime minister of Canada. Both books remain a must read for a better understanding of politics in Canada. 
However, it has been since  Bob became Ottawa Bureau Chief of CTV News in 2005 that he has become a household name in Canada.

At the end of the service, a photo op was arranged where Bob and Tom would pose for a photo, although in so doing, I neglected to let them know that the 1968 photo would  play a role in this column. Thanks to Dr Bill Pellow for arranging for the photos to be taken. My email is mj.morris@live.ca.

Thanks to Dr. W.R. 'Bill' Pellow for arranging the photo shoot and providing the photos from the reunion.. Dr. Bill and Bob are surely discussing the major events of the day. Dr. Bill also attended CHS.

SEE STORY ON ROBERT FIFE: http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2011/01/robert-fife-from-chapleau-winner-of.html

SEE STORY ON TOM CORSTON http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2010/04/tom-corston-elected-ninth-anglican.html

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alcide Small edges out legendary Bill Bryson in pipe smoking contest at Chapleau Railroad Festival in 'uncompromisingly hot' weather in 1975

G. Evans, E. Gilbert, A. Small, MJM, W. Wilson

Although the weather was described as "uncompromisingly hot" in late June 1975, the Chapleau Railroad Festival reached great heights of interest and participation, according to Alcide Small, the CPR Superintendent from Schreiber.

Alcide, a Chapleau boy, was back in Northern Ontario as Superintendent, and a "lively guest and participant" in the three-day festival, according to the Chapleau Sentinel. 

He officially opened the festival by pitching the first ball over home plate to open the softball tournament. After the opening, he and members of Chapleau council donned Festival Chapleau caps and watched the CPR Office staff play the Carbarns and Sectionmen. Festival Chapleau was a creation of the council and Chapleau Recreation Committee to provide overall support to Chapleau winter and summer festivals. 

The softball tournament provided a lot of good moments for the large crowds of spectators at the field behind the old Chapleau High School on Pine Street with the Office Staff emerging as winners. The consolation winners were the Carbarns and Sectionmen. All received caps.

Alcide, who had been a CPR engineer, took out his pipe for the Pipe Smoking Contest, and edged out Bill Bryson to win. Bill  had a legendary reputation for being able to keep his pipe lit from Chapleau to White River with one match. Alcide won a pipe, donated by none other than the CPR. Perhaps Bill let the Boss win??

The CPR Superintendent commented that he "was very pleased with the turnout for the Spike Driving Contest. The weather was hot and against us but the CPR spirit was still there and it pulled through."

There were 14 entries in the Spike Driving Contest. The competition was close with Hans Freistatter emerging as the winner with Salmi Walli as runnerup. Alcide had donated a handsome plaque bearing a silver spike which he presented to the winner.

The Chapleau Memorial Community Arena was packed on Saturday night for the dance featuring Salt Spring Rainbow who provided fast tempo blue grass music.

Recreation Director Terry Bryson, (Bill's son) said overall he felt the festival was "very successful, even though the weather was so hot."

He extended thanks to the CPR Superintendent and the CPR for their assistance, and also to all the other people who volunteered their time and services.

"It is people like these that help make recreation in Chapleau what it is today", he said. "I feel recreation is involving people and Chapleau citizens play an important role in the progress of recreation activities. Thank you for all your assistance in making the Railroad Festival possible."

Aside from his support and participation in the Railroad Festival, Alcide Small was most helpful to his home town in other ways during his time as CPR Superintendent.

The Chapleau General Hospital was in the works and he arranged for quit claim deeds from the CPR for the land occupied by the Lady Minto Hospital, enabling lots to be sold and the revenue derived contributed to the new hospital fundraising campaign. When the Lady Minto Hospital was built in 1913-1914, the CPR owned the land but made it available for a hospital with the proviso that when no longer used for this purpose, the land would revert to the CPR.

This was common practice of the CPR and the same situation applied to the land where the Chapleau Recreation Centre now stands. At first Alcide helped with the construction of Grinton Park, then the recreation centre by obtaining title to the land by the municipality from the CPR. He also arranged a donation to the recreation centre by the CPR.

While he was superintendent the CPR sent a letter to the municipality advising it that it had 30 days to get off CPR land, which was the old road across the trestle to the Planer area as the railroad wanted to expand its tracks. Impossible of course but not to the CPR officials in Montreal who sent the letter. Alcide stepped in and bought time for the municipality to plan and build the road and bridge which are now there.

Alcide, who had attended Chapleau Public School and Chapleau High School, and had served in Canada's forces in World War II, upon his return home at the end of the war, donated an award to a Grade 8 student. 


I am gradually catching up on ideas for Chapleau Moments received when I was home for the high school reunion. However, please email me if I have not been in touch. 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