EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jack Shoup named Chapleau Winter Carnival king and Rita Morin won queen contest in 1960 with 'spontaneous jollification' popular at midnight in 1939

Jack Shoup with Queen contestants
 J.M. 'Jack' Shoup was honoured  by being named King of the annual Chapleau Winter Carnival in 1960, two years after he retired as principal and Grade 8 teacher at Chapleau Public School after about 30 years there.

Active in community affairs, Mr. Shoup also served in Canada's armed forces in World War 1 and World War II, and as president of the Chapleau branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and in other executive positions over the years. He also has the distinction to this day of having served on the township council for 16 years -- all one year terms - which gives him the record for longest serving councillor since 1901 when the municipality was incorporated.

Well known for organizing children's races and parade for July 1 and Beach Day celebrations and skating races at the winter carnival, Mr. Shoup did not have to do double duty the year he was King of the Carnival: Foy Wright, his successor as public school principal had taken over responsibility for the skating races.
Mr. Shoup was also a founding member of the Chapleau Rotary Club in 1960, chairman of the Chapleau Recreation Committee for many years, and active in Trinity United Church. In the summer months he was an umpire for the highly competitive Chapleau Fastball League -- a distinction he shared at one time with Vince Crichton and Bunt Burrows.

Buddy Swanson also noted in his stories on the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies that Mr. Shoup was among the earliest supporters to found the team in 1966-67.

Rita Morin, the Chapleau High School contestant for Winter Carnival Queen emerged the winner in 1960, while the others in the contest were Paulette Pilon, Raija Saari and Colette Gilbert.

A news report on the carnival said that it attracted one of the largest crowds in years with people coming from many parts of the district to enjoy the parades, music, games, hockey, skiing and other entertainment. 

Symbolically, the carnival parade in the early years of the winter carnival, started at the CPR station, where everyone arrived, and headed over the old horsehoe bridge to the ice palace located either across from the arena (the "old old" or the "old") on Lorne Street or across from the old pool room and liquor store in the downtown area.

Times sure have changed. When the first carnival was held in 1937, people came from "up and down" the CPR line --- from Biscotasing in the east to Franz in the west -- to enjoy and to participate in the activities. All they had to do was hop on one of the passenger trains and come to town.

As winter hopefully is drawing to a close, I have been reading newspaper clippings and looking at photos from Chapleau's early winter carnivals sent to me by Doug Greig. So I started with Mr. Shoup as carnival king and Rita Morin as queen in 1960 and went back to 1937. Here are some of the discoveries I made about carnivals past. They sure seemed to have a great time, even during the depression.

The idea for a Chapleau winter carnival was apparently first discussed in the office of D.O. Payette, an early Chapleau citizen, with his business partner Arthur Grout taking the more public role in getting it off the ground. For those of us who remember Mr. Grout, he was indeed the person to promote the carnival.

Eric Young, Marguerite Hartley
Winona McAdam was the first winter carnival queen and Fred Depew was king in 1937. Mr Depew was manager of the Chapleau YMCA, which was also conveniently located across from the arena, and could be described as Chapleau's best "hotel" in those early years.

In 1938, it seems like the Sudbury Star must have assigned its fashion writer to cover the carnival as the news reports emphasized "dressing for beauty and warmth" and the winners of "sartorial honours" in the snow parade. Eric Young, the brother of Dr. G.E. Young and Dr. Bill Young, with Marguerite Hartley won the prize for best dressed couple in the parade.

Here is an excerpt from another piece: "What the well dressed feminine skier is wearing for northern sports was certainly on display at last week's winter carnival in Chapleau when the lovely ladies turned out by the hundreds dressed both for beauty and comfort and displaying every colour of the rainbow and many others besides."  Wow!

The crowning of the carnival queen Marie Perpete was described as a "grand spectacle" at the ice palace on Main Street. Miss Perpete, a teacher at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Separate School was also active in the Revellers Ski Club and theatrical productions. The carnival king was C.J. McGregor, the CPR superintendent from Schreiber.

Reeve George Fife, Marie Perpete, Dan Jessup
In 1939, Reeve George Fife, who ended up having a very "Royal" year, turned over the key to the city to Dan Jessup of Sudbury who was the 
 carnival king. Rita Crichton won the carnival queen contest.  Miss Crichton became a pharmacist and later a professor of English at the University of British Columbia after completing a Master's degree in English.

Small world that it is, I met a faculty colleague of Rita's when I was a member of the BC Communications Articulation Committee which approves standards for university courses offered by colleges in British Columbia and are transferable to universities as full credit courses. I represented College of the Rockies on the committee.

Later in 1939, Mr. Fife would welcome King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Chapleau when the Royal Train passed through the community at two a.m. No appearance was scheduled but when the reeve requested that he meet them, it was arranged. Robert Fife, now the Ottawa Bureau Chief of CTV News, is Mr. Fife's grandson.

News reports said that 500 visitors were in Chapleau for the carnival as it seemed the Great Depression did not prevent people from coming together and having a good time. A popular place was the toboggan slide located on the site that came to be known as Dr. Young's Hill in later years. The population of Chapleau was about 2800 in 1939.

Names not known
Another activity at the 1939 carnival that was very popular was midnight serenades and lamppost singing under the heading of "spontaneous jollification." Groups would get together and sing at various locations in the community.  That sounds like such fun, and maybe, just maybe, it might be something some of us might do at the CHS 90th anniversary reunion festival. Just a bit of blue skying an idea but who knows. We had great fun singing lustily on sleigh rides, way back when in the 1950s.

Muriel Hunt, Jim Morris my parents at carnival  before married
In 1940, Ina Robinson won the carnival queen contest as Dr. J.J. Sheahan was named carnival king. Ina married Frank Coulter and they raised their family in Chapleau. 

Yes, hockey, the carnival parade and all the major activities associated with winter carnival were prominent in the early years, but now you know they also enjoyed "spontaneous jollification" with an emphasis on high fashion. Thanks to Doug Greig and Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

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Michael J Morris

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


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