EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Life is too short to wake up with regrets..."

Every once in a while words that have a special meaning suddenly appear before my eyes. Today was one of them when my facebook friend Kelly posted a quotation by Catherine Yen, suggesting that we post it on our own wall if we agreed with it. Kelly is really a friend of my best friend Mike, and yes, there is a reason for everything.

Throughout the day I have been receiving messages from friends who like it and many have been posting it. I think a message I got from Darlene sums it up: "Loved that Michael... posted it as well and got a lot of responses...It's so great that facebook can be used to post such positive messages!"

So, I decided to share it with all the visitors to my blog. Thanks Kelly!

"Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

"Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you can't get them back. So I'm gonna tie you to my heart so I never lose you."

Catherine Yen

Chapleau highway to outside world opened on cold winter day in 1949

Earle Sootheran, Tom Godfrey, Oliver Korpela
While it was often referred to as "a turkey trail through the bush," on January 28, 1949, in the midst of winter, Highway 129 was officially completed.

Since 1885 when Chapleau was founded as a divisional point on the Canadian Pacifc Railway, train travel was the only viable way of getting to and from the community. In 1947 the longest drive anyone could take was about 35 milles from town and the motor vehicle was considered a luxury. As a youngster I recall them arriving by rail at the old freight sheds on Lisgar Street.

A highway had been promised for many years and activity would begin around election time but after the votes were counted, it would cease. However, in 1948, a disastrous forest fire changed the dynamics as the provincial government offered opportunities to lumber companies.

Therefore, Highway 129 was completed to Thessalon, and turkey trail it may have been, but a highway was a highway, and it was a first step in improving Chapleau's transportation links with the outside world.

One of the major proponents for a highway over the years was Thomas Godfrey Sr. Mr. Godfrey, who was one of the early builders of Chapleau, played many roles in community life. He was reeve from 1914 to 1916, and at various times owned the pool room, the old as in "old old" arena on Lorne Street, as well as being an insurance agent, Notary Public and Indian Agent. He
was also an inventor and long time member of the Chapleau Town Band where he played the euphonium.

Writing in Chapleau Trails, edited and published by Dr. W.R. "Bill" Pellow, Betty (Good) Godfrey, the wife of Thomas Godfrey Jr.
wrote the following about her father-in-law and the completion of Highway 129.

"Tom Sr. lived to see his beloved Chapleau highway completed in 1949 and he was a member of the party that drove the first automobile across those last one hundred yards to join Chapleau to the outside world bu uniting two primitive bush roads. It was winter. The snow was heavy and deep. It was bitter cold day. The drive had been long and arduous, excitement was high, anticipation of this moment was trying on the healthiest and bravest, however it proved too much for Tom Godfrey and on that day when he was experiencing fulfillment, ultimate pleasure and satisfaction, he had a heart attack and died."

Interestingly the first car that made the trip over the new highway was not one from Chapleau it was a a northbound car from Thessalon owned by Frank Korpela and driven by Tom Carter. The Chapleau group heading south had turned back to Chapleau after the death of Mr. Godfrey. The car was new and was equipped with chains and snow tires.

According to a report in the February 3, 1949 Chapleau Post, there were bad road conditions and it was heavy with snow.

The report said that snow was measured on several occasions and was 8-10 inches on the highway and it was often necessary to stop and clear the snow from the grills of the car. On a few occasions it was necessary to shovel drifts in order to get through.

The two men did not make the trip in one day. They left Thessalon about 9:30 a.m in the morning but stopped at Lessards Camp along the way and finished the drive into Chapleau the next morning.

For some reason after the highway opened, the department of highways paved about a twelve mile stretch in the middle of nowhere near Aubrey Falls. I think they said they wanted to check the durability of pavement ina harsh climate.

Over the years Highway 129 was improved, but to me at least, it was always an adventure to travel it. By the Sixties, Highway 101 had been completed between Chapleau and Timmins and Wawa. However, the Ramsey Road continues to be a project unfulfilled for at least the past 50 years as promises are made and then broken to finally complete it.

However, Tom Godfrey Sr. and all those pioneer community builders deserve much credit, even to this day, on their efforts to open Chapleau to the outside world.

Just a note to express my thanks to all those who have been sending me emails about Chapleau Moments. So much appreciated and I am delighted to hear from all of you.My email is mj.morris@live.ca.

Monday, February 1, 2010

CAPP plans Torch Relay for Democracy while latest poll shows Liberals and Tories in dead heat

As the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament suggests 31 activities to keep reminding Canadians about Stephen Harper, the prime minister's decision to prorogue Parliament until March 3, the latest poll shows the Liberals and Conservatives in a dead heat with voters -- each at 32 percent.

But the Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests "a seismic political shift" may be underway as the Liberals are pulling ahead of the Tories in Ontario and Quebec, and showing strength in the 905 area code.

Here is the link: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100201/national/tories_poll

In a post on Facebook, CAPP says that The Anti-Prorogation Rallies were an incredible success. "As we draw closer to Parliament's eventual return on March 3rd, it is important that we find new and creative ways to keep the issue alive. Between February 1st and March 3rd, we have 31 days. That's 31 days to get involved, get informed and get out there."

The issue needs to be kept alive at the local level, CAPP says and provides a list of some that can be undertaken.

Christopher White the University of Alberta graduate student, who founded CAPP which now has more than 220,000 members posted that during
the second week of the Olympics, several communities across the country will be taking part in a Torch Relay for Democracy.

The idea is that each community will create its own
symbolic torch and plan a running route, similar to the Olympic torch run. It's a fun way to get engaged and keep the issue of prorogation and democracy alive. It isn't intended to be front page news, but instead help bring the community together."

Quite likely The Torch Relay for Democracy will become front page news.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chapleau Public School from church to tent to home on Pine Street

First School circa 1890s
Elementary school education was made available for children in Chapleau from the earliest days of the community, according to a document prepared by the late J.M. "Jack" Shoup, the longtime principal and Grade 8 teacher at Chapleau Public School.

UPDATED ON August 5, 2014. Chapleau Public School is being demolished. Students were moved to Chapleau High School a couple of years ago.

Mr. Shoup noted that the first school was founded in 1886 in the vestry of the Roman Catholic Church and all children were welcome. Attendance ranged between 15 and 20 students who used home made desks and benches. Slates rather than exercise books were used.

In 1889 a Mr. Hager taught school in tent, but by 1893 the first organized public school was established. Miss Charlotte Weller who became the wife of G.B. Nicholson was the teacher in charge with an enrolment of 100 students. It became a two room school and with it came factory made double desks, and by 1902 a four room school was built when the staff increased to three teachers.

In 1921 a ratepayers meeting empowered a board to select a site for a new public school and it gave the decision to locate the school on the site where it is today on Pine Street.

V.T. Chapple, W.R. McAdam and George Young (the father of Dr. G.E. "Ted" Young) selected plans and a new seven room building was erected with classes beginning in it on February 19, 1923, according to Mr. Shoup's document.

It is interesting that in Chapleau's early years two school principals defined education for so many students who attended Chapleau Public School and Chapleau High School. Mr. Shoup was principal from 1927 to 1939 and then took leave of absence to serve in World War II. He had also served in World War I. He returned in 1945 and retired in 1958. He greatly influenced so many students, as did John "Mac" McClellan, who was at CHS down the street!

Mr. Shoup was also a long serving member of Chapleau council and had a particular interest in the beach area. He was actively involved in July 1 celebrations as a member of Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canaian Legion where he was also one of its presidents, and Beach Day in August as Chair of the Chapleau Recreation Committee. The recreation committee was first established in 1948.

Chapleau Public School 
On a personal basis my mother Muriel E. Morris, worked with Mr. Shoup for many years and he was a close personal friend of our family. In fact he brought the Financial Post and Sudbury Star ((for which he wrote) to our house every day for my grandmother, (Edith Hunt) and mystery novels for my Mom. Mostly Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner and I read them all too!!!! He also helped many of the people on Elgin Street where he lived by shovelling snow and otherwise helping out.

After Mr. Shoup retired and Foy Wright became principal, increased enrolment caused the board to build an additional four rooms which were ready in 1964, and another four rooms including a library and gymnasium were added in 1972.

Fast forward to 1978 when Mansel Robinson was board chair and members included Anne McGoldrick, W.D. Jardine, Scott Thomson and Richad Lapp. Mr Wright was principal.

The teaching staff in 1977-78 was Wilma Schmidt, Dianne Gendron, Opal Simpson, Jeannette Gjoni, Sally Landry, Jane Ritchie, Cheryl Boucher, Mary Campbell, George Swanson, Shane Wright, Lillian Robinson, James Broomhead, Gerry Boucher and Duncan Rogerson. Louise Coulter and Lucy Boucher were the French language teachers. How many do you remember?

I include the staff from 1977-78 because I got some of the material for this column from a feature on Chapleau Public School called Chapleau's People and Places in the Chapleau Sentinel of March 9, 1978.

Just a note to thank everyone who is sending me emails at mj.morris@live.ca and special thanks to former Chapleau resident George Tremblay for sending me a copy of his book “Break at Nine.”

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