Chapleau "a real bush city" made three days in January 1939 a public holiday for its annual winter carnival, according to 'The Vacationer', a travel magazine.
The magazine said that the 2800 people who live there will be out to enjoy every minute of the fun as the Carnival Holiday made it possible.
It added: "The men (no mention of women) apparently think the idea of Winter Carnival is a good one. We mean the men of the 'real' north because these particular lads to whom we refer are residents of of a real mining, trapping and lumbering town on the main line of the CPR about 430 miles from Toronto>"
A copy of the article is contained in the Richard Brownlee papers kindly loaned to me by Margaret Rose (Payette) and Bobby Fortin. I believe that Arthur Grout, 'the general manager' of the carnival convinced the magazine to do the story.
"There is no lack of wintry weather in Chapleau." the article contends. " Cold dry weather and lots of snow, often as much as five feet, make the town an ideal place for snow and ice sports. The high dry country frequently has a temperature as low as 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero but because of the absence of dampness in the air there are not many complaints about the cold".
|1940 Ina Robinson Carnival Queen|
Obviously written for city dwellers who may visit Chapleau for the carnival, the unnamed writer captures the type of "men" who will be involved in events.
"They may be men who are quite at home in the lonely woods and who prefer their own company for the great part of the year, but when they come out to celebrate they really know how to have a good time.
"As a matter of fact these very men will likely supply what will probably be the biggest thrill of all for those who don't know their northland pursuits. Did you ever see a log cutting competition where big husky bushmen swing razor sharp, double edged axes to cut through huge logs in a matter of seconds? Did you ever see a pair of husky lumberjacks cut through enough timber to build a good-sized cabin in a few minutes?"
|Jimmy Purich on white horse|
The writer notes that "trappers with their dog teams will compete for prizes before the crowds, and don't those wiry, tough dogs push their shoulders into the harness and tug when they are urged on by a real dog handler.
One of the major features at the carnival was a new 45-foot ski tower and jump that "should provide action enough for anyone who cares to make a leap."
There was also a toboggan slide that finished up with a "shoot out over the ice bound lake (really the Nebskwashi River) that will take away any breath you may have."
There was also a curling bonspiel "just in case you are a follower of the fine old sport of the stones and brooms."
Summing it all up, the writer concludes with a favourable view of Chapleau. "Although you will find Chapleau in the midst of rugged country you will not find it a backward place by any means. The town is well equipped with hotel accommodation and business places and presents a modern enough aspect to suit any sort of visitor."
The writer also noted that the "heavy forest lands" that ran within a few hundred yards of the town "add greatly to the picturesque appearance of the snow covered area. The Kebsquasheshing River which runs past the town and which carries the canoes of trappers and prospectors in the warmer months, is frozen solid now and carries instead the dog sleds and toboggans of these same men."
I have included photos from several different winter carnivals just to give a snapshot of events. most not dealing with The Vacationer article. My email is email@example.com