EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chapleau Beach Day in 1951 featured town band in concert as well as popular baby, freckles and pigtail contests at annual fundraiser for recreation projects

Chapleau Band, Early 1970s

If you have attended a parade in Chapleau any time since 1887, chances are that it was led by the Town Band first formed two years after the community was established on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

In the beginning it was an all-brass band, and even travelled to other communities along the CPR line to give performances.

In 1951, the band was leading the Beach Day parade, for the community's second big summer celebration held on the first Monday in August. At the time Rev. H.O. Strapp, the minister at Trinity United Church was the bandmaster, a position he had assumed upon his arrival in 1944.

According to John Way-White, who was involved with the band for many years, Mr. Strapp started another class of students for the band, and carried on in this capacity until he was called to another charge in 1952. He was succeeded by D.O. Payette. John was writing in Chapleau Trails, edited and published by Dr. W.R. Pellow.

Following the parades, the band would give concerts at the beach area, but on Beach Day it had to share the space with three very popular contests.

In 1951, it was no different from other years as the Baby, Freckles and Pigtail Contests were held.

Guy Martin was the winner of the Baby Contest for children up to one year old while Lucy Bignucolo placed second, while in the 12 to 18 month category Don Card won with Sharon Holmes second, and in the 18 months to two years D. Boucher placed first and Anne Gionet second.

As I recall, in most years Dr. G.E. 'Ted' Young was in charge of the baby contest assisted by other doctors and of course, nurses from Lady Minto Hospital.

Karen Smith Fortin has advised that Dr. Robert Cline, a pediatrician from Springfield Massacusetts was the Baby Contest judge for many years starting in the early 1950s. Karen says that Dr. Young felt Dr. Cline would be the best judge as he did not know the babies.

Dr. Cline and his wife Del came to fish at the Newcombe camp at Mileage 107 on the CPR line.

Karen also says that her nephew Chad Alison Smith won the contest in 1975. (Thanks Karen)

In large measure Dr. Young had created the beach for the community.

In the girls' Freckles contest, Sadie Doyle and Stella MacDonald tied so both were awarded prizes and John Thornton was "an easy winner in the boys' contest, according to the Chapleau Post.

Jean Donivan was first in the Pigtail contest while Bonnie Babin was second.

Beach Day was organized by the Chapleau Recreation Commission established in 1948 after B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt became reeve, and J.M. 'Jack' Shoup, a long serving councillor became its first chair. In the 1950s, B.W. 'Bordie' McLeod served as chair for a time.

An editorial in the Chapleau Post pointed out the major responsibilities of the recreation commission. At the beach it had responsibility to raise funds for the upkeep and purchase of supplies as well as paying the caretaker and the lifeguard/swimming instructor who taught swimming to all children with no charge to parents.

It also assisted with expenses at the new Chapleau Memorial Community Arena, opened in February 1951, as well as the softball grounds behind the high school on Pine Street and the tennis court then located across from St. John's Anglican Church. It also sponsored minor hockey.

All this was undertaken by a group of community volunteers and Beach Day activities were the big fundraiser.

The Chapleau Post editorial concluded: "All in all they have done an excellent job and the support of everyone in town (on Beach Day) is merited.

"Any organization which teaches youth clean healthy sport is worthy of all the support we can give it".

Chapleau Band circa 1900
In the logsawing contest Roland Paquette was the winner with Osborne Pellow and Vince Crichton as runners up.

Mrs. J.H. Dillabough (nee Rhonda McCuaig) was the winner in the Baby Carriage and Married Women's Races.

Andre Rioux won the one mile bike race with Ken Botcher second and Thane Crozier in third place.

In the five mile bike race, P. Larouche won with Mike Mione second and Jim Hamilton third.

The winner of the Morris-Thomson Five Mile Road Race Trophy was Gregory Lucas with A. Larouche second and Cpl. Edward Bignucolo, third. The trophy, named after my father, James E. Morris and James Thomson, both of whom were killed on active service in Canada's forces in World War II, was won by Greg so many times that the trophy was given to him.

In the 1970s the race was revived and Greg was on hand to present the same trophy to the winner.

As evening arrived on Beach Day, citizens would arrive at the area, wander about and visit with friends, watch children swim and play, and while waiting for the fireworks to begin, listen to a concert by the Chapleau Town Band, an important part of the success of Chapleau community activities since its beginnings.

Thanks to Doug Greig for providing material and Dr. W.R. Pellow for producing Chapleau Trails. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

1 comment:

June-Marie Charlwood said...

any way of finding out names for the people in the picture of the 1900 Chapleau Band Michael???

Michael J Morris

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


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE