EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chapleau a busy community at Christmas time more than 60 years ago with Letters to Santa too

Just over 60 years ago, Chapleau was a busy place as the Christmas season arrived.

Here are some of the highlights.

On December 5, 1949, the first Canadian Pacific Railway train with a diesel engine arrived at  11:50 a.m. It was powering Passenger Train number 3 heading west to Vancouver. We were all let out of school early to go to the station and experience this historic moment. Chapleau was also selected for diesel repair shops.
Ian Macdonald collection

Construction was being completed on the "new" Chapleau Memorial Arena on Lorne Street as 1950 drew to a close. It was officially opened in February 1951.

At the official opening of the memorial arena, Welland S. Gemmell, the MPP for the riding that included Chapleau said, just moments before Reeve B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt led the official opening ceremonies "Chapleau is now well on the way to being on the map. It is now definitely located on the Trans Canada Highway and this should mean a great deal to the community. We in government have tried to give your community as much assistance as possible...". 

More than 60 years later, still waiting for that one to happen.

The sewage plant and system had been completed in the Fall of 1950 just before Winter arrived even though there had been the possibility of a challenge under the Lord's Day Act which prevented working on a Sunday except for essential services in those days. Council had approved the work to get the job done. The citizen did not proceed with the challenge.

In the 1950 municipal election Reeve Zufelt was returned to office for another one year term while the councillors were J.M. Shoup, George Young, Arthur Grout and E.J. Lepine. Clerk-treasurer was J.R. Serre, a member of one of Chapleau's earliest families.

However, it was Christmas time and the Chapleau Post was carrying Letters to Santa.

I have received a positive response to the previous Letters to Santa including one from an old friend asking me when I got my first skates. Well, I don't exactly recall the year but out of the mothballs of memory I remember my mother, Muriel E (Hunt) Morris and my Zufelt cousins (Betty, Anne, Joan) taking me to the old old rink and holding me up. Mom wore something like hockey skates.

Mostly though I joined the kids of all ages in town on a Friday night skating to the "Light of the Silvery Moon" up on the wall at one end while the Town Band provided the music.

Here are some letters:

Merrick Goldstein: "For Christmas I want a hammer and peg set, a top and a car".

Gary Brunette: "Will you please send me a pedal car, a pair of skates, pair of skis, two guns and gun case, Mounty suit, a wagon, a bike, a train and a toboggan. Don't forget to come to my home for dinner. Don't forget now."

Billy Cachagee: "I would like 2 Gene Autry guns. I would like 5 and one half foot skis, and a sleigh. I would like a standard size Ukelele and a hockey game pool table, hockey stick and puck and a Pedro Target game. Thank you Santa".

Judy Tees: "How are you? For Christmas I want a pair of white skates and a white and brown Teddy Bear. Love".

Diane Serre: "I am seven years old. Will you bring me some paints, chalk, crayons, toy piano and slippers".

Dawn Goldstein: "Thank you for the nice Christmas presents you left me last year. Now I will ask you what I want this year. A big Christmas stocking, a doll house and furniture, a Barbara Ann Scott doll and a toy refrigerator. Love".

Linda and Gordon Bolduc: " My sister and I are very glad that you are coming. My sister wants a Barbara Ann Scott doll. I would like a Mountie outfit. Be seeing you".

Wayne Brunette: "Will you send me a toboggan, train, Mountie suit, two guns, a wagon, box of paints, a pedal car, pool game, surprise box, pair of skates, pair of skis".

Lynn Martin: "I am trying to be a good boy and would like you to bring me  a pop-gun, Texas Ranger gun, tracks and shunting train. I will leave you some lunch".

In 1950 Rev. E. Roy Haddon had arrived in Chapleau to become rector of St. John's Anglican Church. While in Chapleau he was active in the Legion as he had been in the British Armed Forces serving as a chaplain. Mr. Haddon was also first president of the Chapleau Rotary Club established in 1951.

Rev. H.W. Strapp was the minister at Trinity United Church and he was also director of the Town Band and president of the Chapleau Hockey Club as well as being involved in other activities.

Here is a Christmas message from  Rev. Msgr. Romeo Gascon D.P. of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church In the Chapleau Post in 1950.

"Que la paix qu’amène la naissance de Jésus à Noel soit avec vous tous les jours de la nouvelle année.
Que la paix soit partagée par tous les peuples et nations.
Un Joyeux Noël et une bonne et heureuse année."

"May the Peace brought in this world by the birth of Christ on Christmas morning be yours every day of the New Year.
May the Peace be given to all the Nations.
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all."

Thanks to Doug Greig and Mario Lafreniere. My very best personal best wishes to all of you for Christmas and the holiday season. Enjoy but stay safe out there. 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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