EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bill Groves gets laugh and direction over horseshoe bridge upon arrival in Chapleau 1958

When Bill Groves arrived in Chapleau on the Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train one Fall morning in 1958, he was directed to go over the horseshoe bridge to the hotel.
Bill arrived as a young manager in training for the Stedman Store Company.
After getting off the train Bill says he asked "the gentleman behind the wicket" in the ticket office if there was a cab he could get to take him to a hotel. 
"All I got was a loud laugh and directions over the horseshoe bridge and down the street to the hotel." That would have been the Queen's Hotel, later the Sportsman.
It was closed so off he went looking for another one ending up at the YMCA on Lorne Street where the liquor store is now.
"Sadie, everyone in those days knew Sadie, came out of the back with a cup of coffee. That and a cigarette got me through till the Stedman Store opened at 9am . I was a young manager in training for the Stedman Store Company."
Bill related that in those day Trainees were not allowed to frequent pool halls, beer parlors, own a car, or date staff members.
However, it was at the Chapleau Stedman's store that he  met Barbara Bowland, a part- time high school student who worked at the store.
Despite the rules they started dating, and even after a few months she still called him "Mr. Groves" at the store as staff were not allowed to be called by first names.
"In any case I  received a transfer to Gravenhurst, Parry Sound, Blind River, Simcoe, all the while writing a lengthy letter to each other every day . Didn't use phones much way back then."
 Bill  added that "Eventually I received my first managing postition in Seaforth, Ontario and asked Barb's parents for her hand ."  Barbara's parents were the late  Reginald and Annie (Cochrane) Bowland.
"One week later we were married In the old (Trinity) United Church (in Chapleau) on October 26, 1961 and on our way to a long and wonderful life together !
Fifty-three years later, Bill and Barbara have been " living and loving it  in Chapleau for over 35 years ! There's a lot more to this story but that will be for another day ."
However, although Bill says there is a lot more to his story, let me just add that he has been real busy in retirement.
For example, for some years he coordinated the annual Chapleau Ice Fishing Derby and greatly contributed to having the community named the 2011 World Fishing Network Ultimate Fishing Town in Canada. His volunteerism also included time as chair of the community waterfront committee.
Bill is also a very talented photographer and antler carver.
 Bill responded to a request I made earlier for folks to share their favourite Chapleau Moments, and  I extend my thanks to him for his participation. 

For sure there is much more to Bill and Barbara's story, but as he says "that will be for another day".  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

All photos are from the Bill Groves Collection

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Scenic dome 'Park' car introduced on CPR passenger trains in 1954 arrives in Chapleau

Chapleau citizens who happened to be at the Canadian Pacific Railway station on Sunday July 25, 1954, at 10 a.m. would have seen the first of the scenic dome sleeper lounge cars as it passed through the community heading westbound on train Number 5.

The Chapleau Post reported that it was the first of the 18 scenic dome cars to go into service.

"The new cars mark a new era in rail travel comfort on the railway," the Post story said. Each of the cars would be  named after one of Canada's national or provincial parks.
The CPR through the sponsorship of the Royal Canadian Academy commissioned 18 of Canada's best known artists to depict the natural beauties of each of the parks in mural form for the lounge which is situated under the upper  level dome."
For those who recall  those wonderful days of passenger rail travel to places like Toronto or Montreal or were westward bound, and spent time in the lounge, those murals were beautiful.
The Post story added that the new scenic dome cars would be known as 'Park' cars and were part of an order for 173 stainless steel cars which, when delivery was completed would "revolutionize transcontinental travel in Canada."
As delivery of the Park cars was made, they went into service on the CPR transcontinental line. They soon became a common sight at Chapleau.
Just recently I received a copy of the July 22, 1954 Chapleau Post from Charlie Purich with the story about the dome car arrival on the front page.
I travelled back and forth to Toronto many times, especially when attending university from 1960 to 1964. I made my first trip across Canada from Toronto, with a stopover in Chapleau to see my Mom, family and friends, and then on to Vancouver (and return) to attend a university newspaper editors conference at the University of British Columbia in 1963.
After I become a daily newspaper reporter in 1964, and worked on papers on the Prairies I went back and forth on the CPR and Canadian National.
However, fifty years ago on August 31 when I was starting my newspaper career at the Daily Press in Timmins, I did not arrive there by train but over Highway 101 which had been officially opened in 1962. My uncle, B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt drove me to Timmins and my grandmother, Edythe Hunt came along to make sure I arrived OK at my first full time job.
MJ as young reporter
So, thanks Charlie for sending me a Chapleau Post from 60 years ago, so I could work in a comment about starting my journalism career 50 years ago, plus share the news about the arrival of the dome cars. But as Tom Brokaw, the longtime anchor of NBC Nightly News once said, "It's all storytelling, you know. That's what journalism is all about."  My email is mj.morris@live.ca 

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