EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Diane Dowsley wins 1958 Chapleau Winter Carnival Queen Contest as crowd roars approval

Margaret Costello told us there was "hardly time to breathe" as the tempo and speed picked up on the second day of the 1958 Chapleau Winter Carnival as crowds gathered from "noon until well after midnight" to enjoy all the activities.

Writing in the Sudbury Star, "Maggie" as she was so affectionately known, said that the activities got started on January 30th, 52 years ago, with the giant parade from the CPR station to the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena.

"Led by the colorful and spirited Chapleau High School Band the procession got underway ... as the floats, clowns, and gaily costumed marchers followed the royal conveyance carrying Carnival King Paul Bedard and the queen contestants.... The sidewalks were jammed." Other bands were the Chapleau Town Band and the Sudbury Sea Cadets.

Parade organizers were Elmore 'Sparky' Leigh and Ron 'Shorty' Morris while James Purich and Jim Dillon organized the Queen Crowning Ceremony. D. O. Payette and Charles Cobb were members of the Queen Contest committee. Mr. Purich, along with Charles Mckee organized the dances. It was interesting to note that Mr. Purich was also an active member of the carnival committee in the 1930s when they were first started in Chapleau.

Upon arriving at the Ice Palace a roar of approval and applause went up when Diane Dowsley, the Chapleau High School candidate was announced as the 1958 Chapleau Winter Carnival Queen. Maggie noted that CHS students were out in force to cheer for Diane, and I can confirm that one for sure. I was there cheering along with almost every CHS student when it was announced that she was the winner.

"The King beamed happily, pleased with the popular selection and watched with a big smile as she donned her royal attire."

The 1958 carnival brings back so many fond memories to me as it marked my first involvement in Chapleau activities. At the time I was president of the CHS Students Council, and carnival chairman Jim Dillon had appointed me to the committee. My major duty was to make sure high school students were involved in activities but I also arranged to bring Leo Fletcher of Sudbury to town to referee the games for the Ernest 'Sonny' Bignucolo Trophy. Leo was one of the top referees at the time in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.

Joan, Elise and Chris Whitney walked off with all three costume prizes while Raymond Roffey, Bruce Pellow, John 'Charlie' White, Gary Brunette and Elizabeth Pellow won the skating races. Winter and summer, J.M. Shoup, the longtime principal of Chapleau Public School was in charge of races.

Ed McCarthy had arranged for Sault Ste. Marie Pipers to make appearances throughout the carnival weekend.

On the opening day of the carnival minor hockey teams, "The Stars of Tomorrow" played games at the arena while in the evening the giant carnival entertainment show featuring local talent was held in the theatre at the Town Hall. Hiram 'Hank' McEachren was the master of ceremonies. Admission was 50 cents. Hank was also the master of ceremonies for arena events. Minor hockey was organized by Garth 'Tee' Chambers, L.D. 'Don' Card, Henry 'Hank' Therriault (also the carnival committee vice chairman), Charlie Cobb, R.J. Morin and Kenneth Hamelin.

The Torch Light Parade and Dance, a Chapleau carnival tradition was held on opening night as well as a Moccasin Dance at the arena on opening night. On Friday night the Grand Carnival ball was held at the Town Hall. "Trot out your best togs and swing and sway, rock 'n roll and have a wonderful time... You might even walk off with one of those spot dance prizes," the carnival program noted. Admission was $1.00 per person.

On Friday night the Chapleau Midgets played the Sudbury Sea Cadets in hockey and defeated them 5-2. If my memory serves me right, I was one of the referees having ended my playing career at Bantam! In those days we wore v-neck white sweaters with white shirt and black tie in a two referee system.

Skiing competitions were on tap Saturday morning at the ski hills and it only cost 75 cents to take a taxi from the taxi stand downtown to the hill. Walter Broomhead and Albert Martin were the directors of the ski events. Later, the always popular outdoor events organized by Bob Mercier and Lawless Cecile were held across from the arena. Figure skating events were held at the arena at various times throughout the carnival under the direction of Mrs. George McCallum.

There was also a midway at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall directed by Ron Morris and George Collinson, who also also one of the carnival treasurers along with Verne Gates. Des Delaney, Gene Bernier and Larry Ribout were responsible for the carnival bingo.

Inside the arena, Mary and Frank Braumberger had a large supply of hot dogs, coffee and refreshments, all good filler uppers and warmer uppers.

The secretary of the carnival committee was Mrs. Kathleen Broomhead while Joseph Shilliday was responsible for trophy presentations and N.W. 'Newt' Pellow was on the prize committee. Decorations were the responsibility of Joseph Shilliday and Dave King.

The major sports feature was the hockey tournament for the 'Sonny' Bignucolo Memorial Trophy and in 1958 the four teams were the Chapleau Huskies, Sudbury Co-Op Dairy, Windsor Flyers and Sacred Heart College (Sudbury). The visiting teams all came to Chapleau by train.

Maggie Costello reported that the first game on Friday night between Sudbury Co-Ops and the Huskies was "fast and furious" from start to finish and ended in a 3-3 tie in regulation time. It took two overtime periods to decide, but finally Sudbury emerged the winner.

In a message in the carnival program the township of Chapleau noted that all revenue derived from the carnival helped to liquidate the debenture and other expenses on the arena thus removing any burden on the ratepayers. Leo Racicot was the reeve, and councillors were Len Green, Alfred Leclerc, D.J. 'Jim' Broomhead and F.A. 'Nick' Card. Jim and Nick also served as reeves of Chapleau.

Those were the days my friends, and honestly I hoped they would never end as I was growing up in Chapleau. We had fantastic times at the winter carnivals which brought us together as a community.My email is mj.morris@live.ca

This article also appears in the Chapleau Express of January 30, 2010.

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Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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