Always sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women's League, the highlight of the celebration of St. Patrick's Day was a lighthearted three-act Irish play presented in the auditorium of the Town Hall on Pine Street.
Writing in 'Pioneering in Northern Ontario', Vince Crichton wrote that the day started with "charming young ladies selling shamrocks on the street and from house to house. Everyone, regardless of race, colour or creed, wore this emblem of Ireland on that day".
In the afternoon, the ladies of the Catholic Women's League held their annual tea in the Town Hall basement at which baking and articles such as aprons were sold, "every piece having been made and donated by the members."
The dress rehearsal for the play got underway at 4:30 p.m. with a matinee for all school children at a reduced ticket fee -- and I still recall the auditorium was packed for the occasion.
After the matinee, cast members had supper downstairs prepared by the CWL, followed by final preparations for the play which Vince called the "piece de resistance" of the day.
"It began at eight in the evening to a packed house, and always in the front row sat Father Romeo Gascon, that wonderful parish priest." Father Gascon was parish priest at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church for 47 years. He died in 1958.
Vince noted that the play was culmination of many weeks of practice and was a highlight of the year for dramatic productions. There were actually several drama productions in any given year all produced, directed and acted in by local talent.
Following the play, there was a party for all those involved, which included a dance, and if my memory serves me right, Alf Comte and his Orchestra often provided the music. Father Gascon was always present and part of the porgram
From the time it opened in 1914, just as G.B. Nicholson the community's first reeve was retiring the Town Hall was a central place for activities throughout its history. If only the walls could talk!
Vince suggested that the other major celebrations in Chapleau early years were Dominion Day on July 1 and the Orange Lodge activities on July 12. My email is email@example.com