From "Tadpoles to Teeners" and everyone else in Chapleau, the annual Beach Day held on the first Monday in August ranked as a highlight in the life of the community for many years.
After Dr. G.E. Young returned home to practise medicine, and used his own money created the beach which had been a garbage dump at one time, Beach Day emerged, along with Dominion (Canada) Day celebration as a major summer celebration. It was sponsored by the Chapleau Recreation Committee which was established after B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt became reeve in 1948.
Dr. Young was a great swimmer and became famous as a kid for swimming from town to his family's camp at Mulligan's Bay. To him it was no big deal. When I asked him about it one time, He shrugged, and replied, "I just started swimming and kept on going."
|Beach panorama.. Ian Macdonald collection. CLICK TO ENLARGE|
I was reminded not too long ago that following the parade, all the children who participated received a dime to spend at the beach canteen. A dime may get you a small bag of chips and a pop -- or maybe a hot dog in the early 1950s.
Just to put the spending power of the dime into perspective, in 1966 I was the bureau chief of the Saskatoon Star- Phoenix in North Battleford, and one day the owner of a local restaurant took me aside and whispered strictly off the record, "The price of a cup of coffee is going up to 15 cents." It had been 10 cents "forever." I could use the information but no way could I use the name of my informant.
My story on this shocking news made the front page of the Star-Phoenix.
But, as I often do I digress. Back to Beach Day. Charlie Purich recently sent me a program for the 1954 Beach Day which mentions the tadpoles to teeners swimming races. Tadpoles was a race for "non-swimmers".
Water sports were most popular and cash prizes were awarded to the winners. For example, in diving competitions first prize was $5, second $3 and third $2. Dives included swan, jacknife, backflip, torpedo, somersault and handstand.
|Mr Shoup on far right|
If you won the three lap motor boat race you would receive a $10 prize.
There were canoe races as well as canoe tilting competitions, and although I don't have a list of the winners, William Memegos and his brothers dominated those activities for many years.
In the afternoon, there was always a fastball game at the field behind the Chapleau High School on Pine Street. In fact, the 1954 program says that the "present ambition" of the recreation committee was to install lights on the field. That ambition was realized and for years, fastball was played "under the lights" in Chapleau.
One year, Turk Broda, a famous goaltender with the Toronto Maple Leafs brought his ball team to Chapleau for Beach Day. I don't remember much about the ball game, but I recall getting autographs from the players at the Boston Cafe.
There was also a concert by the town band at the beach.
In the evening, the day ended with a dance in the Town Hall basement, but for at least part of the evening there was a square dance competition. Thanks for the program Charlie. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org