EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chapleau business community leads way for elevator at Lady Minto Hospital in 1950s

Leaders in the Chapleau business community led the way when it became apparent in the early 1950s that an elevator and renovations were needed at the Lady Minto Hospital.
The hospital which had been opened in 1914, needed renovations but a priority was an elevator.
At the annual meeting in 1952, Charles W. Collins, the chair of the board, and D.O. Payette, secretary, presented plans for the elevator and other renovations which would include a nurses' residence and apartment for the hospital administrator.
Mr. Collins, the owner of Charles W. Collins Stores Ltd. urged the board members to go on record as supporting the project "100 percent" which they did. Mr. Payette was the recently retired president of Smith and Chapple Ltd.
C W Collins
In July 1954, the Chapleau Post reported that it was a great time for the hospital. "After months and months, in fact years and years, of planning and scheming", a contract had been signed for the construction of an elevator.
The story explained that for the past several years "with the facilities taxed often beyond capacity, the burden has been great upon the entire staff without facilities for quick and efficient handling of patients, supplies and food.
"The elevator has been classed as No 1 priority and ... word was received that the Mason Foundation had earmarked the sum of $20,000 for the hospital".
Arthur J. Grout, who was now president of Smith and Chapple, and had succeeded Mr. Collins as board chair, and N.W. 'Newt' Pellow, who operated Pellow Supply Company , and was chair of the hospital building committee, had met in Toronto with the department of health.
A J Grout
"We pointed out to the department the impossibility of the town of Chapleau undertaking any extensive building program when 75 percent of those admitted to the hospital came from unorganized territory which we considered the responsibility of the province. We had a very good meeting and I think we achieved excellent results," Mr. Grout said.
Although it had been originally decided to locate the elevator in an existing stairwell, but after a visit by an elevator company representative, it was decided that it would be a brick structure conforming to the present hospital built outside the building in a separate shaft in the northeast corner of the doctors' parking lot. Dr. G.E. Young was chief of staff.
 The hospital was located at the intersection of Elm and Queen streets.
The Post reported that the location was ideal as the elevator would serve the entire hospital and noted that "radical changes would be coming as the renovation plan was also undertaken.
As a great deal of work was involved in the installation of the elevator and shaft work would be undertaken but final installation was not expected until 1955. Upon  completion it would "save time and energy" on the part of staff. The hospital was four stories and the kitchen was in the basement for example.

Other than a lift in Smith and Chapple to move goods, it was the only passenger elevator in Chapleau until Cedar Grove Lodge opened in 1978.
The elevator was installed and renovations as well as nurses' residence and apartment were completed -- another example of the good people of Chapleau coming together to make a worthwhile project happen. That in large part is a major feature of Chapleau history. Thanks to Charlie Purich for the Chapleau Post.  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Overcoming lies with truth and evil with good before war

Maybe, just maybe, I thought as I mused about the distinct possibility that Stephen Harper will place members of Canada's armed forces in harm's way in foreign lands, I should share a few words about war, spoken in 1948 at a Remembrance Day service. I decided to do so.

And I say Harper will because it seems he is desperate to have Canada involved in a war -- any war, and more scary, it seems he wants us there for potential political gain as the Conservatives plunge in all opinion polls recently. Never before in my life have I thought for a moment that a prime minister would so blatantly pursue such an action. I really hope that is not the case.

The following are not my words as I was only seven years old at the time, but I was at St. John's Anglican Church in Chapleau when they were spoken by the Rev. Canon H.A Sims, the Rector, a veteran of World War I.

It is a message that rings as true today as it did three years after the end of World War II, not just for the prime minister and politicians, but for all who would contemplate war or participate in wars today.

Canon Sims said:

"There is not the slightest necessity for civilized men to destroy their civilization in warfare. Nothing is settled by warfare which could not be better settled in some more reasonable, humane and decent way.

"Warfare is caused by men  who have allowed the spirit of the devil rather than the spirit of God to determine their thinking.

"Peace does not come through wishing for it or through praying for it: peace comes only from those who make it; who work harder at making peace than men working at making war.

"We must make peace by working hard at overcoming ugliness with beauty; overcoming meanness with generosity; overcoming lies with truth and by overcoming evil with good."

I was at the church that night with my family because a memorial prayer desk was being dedicated in memory of my father, Flying Officer James E Morris, who was killed on active service in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 during World War II.

In his incredible book, 'The Ordeal of Total War', Gordon Wright tells us that Sir Winston Churchill once commented that the effects of World War II, will be felt by those affected by it for at least 100 years. Trust me, Churchill was right. I am just shy of 73, and have lived with that war every day of my life.

Every time I hear of the death of one of the member of our armed forces, or for that matter police officers, firefighters, and other first responders, my heart goes out to their family and friends. I know and I understand.

Be careful what you decide prime minister and members of parliament. The consequences of your actions will be felt for a very long time. 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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