As Christmas 1950 arrived, the major immediate challenge facing the community was to complete the Chapleau Memorial Arena, which was under construction replacing the "old rink" which had been located on the same site on Lorne Street across from the CPR Shops, according to the Chapleau Post.
However, the newspaper also contained other news, and after browsing through a digital copy of the December 21, 1950 edition provided to me by Doug Greig, I decided to share some highlights. It brought back fond memories --- I was nine years old at the time. Seems like only yesterday.
Arthur Simpson was publisher and editor and Wilf Simpson, his son, was assistant editor.
To ensure the completion of the new arena, 20 local businessmen each pledged $300 to enable final material to be purchased. An "all out" fundraising drive was being undertaken and Ross Thornton, pharmacist and proprietor of the Model Drug Store said "$1000 could be raised on Main Street alone."
It happened and the offical opening took place on February 3, 1951, and in a later edition, the Chapleau Post reported that 2,200 people attended it, cheering when Reeve B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt crowned Betty Ann Payette, as Queen. That crowd may have been the largest ever in that arena, although some hockey games may have come close.
Other contestants included Olive Collings, Pearl Marchessault, Mary Bignucolo, Gloria Warren, Dorothy Bain, Jean Doyle and Juliette Morin.
The newspaper also reported that the Canadian Pacific Railway had agreed to supply the steam to heat the dressing rooms and lobby in the new arena. It was described as a "handsome donation" which was most appreciated as a "generous gesture" in support of the community.
|Chapleau bit later than 1950 but good shot|
As a matter of historical interest, the memorial arena was officially opened almost 50 years to the day from when Chapleau was incorporated as a municipality on February 1, 1901.
Meanwhile, during the week before Christmas, the Smith and Chapple choir was performing daily at one p.m. for 15 minutes singing Christmas carols. The daily concert was piped onto Main Street through speakers.
Santa Claus had also made a visit and 600 children met him at the Town Hall. Santa arrived at the forestry point and crowds cheered as he made his way to the Town Hall. His visit was sponsored by Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
In other news, the municipality had been advised on December 20 from the Department of Highways that the Chapleau-Thessalon highway had been designated a "King's Highway" (129) and would be maintained by the provincial government. The highway was completed in 1949.
Wilf Simpson's Orchestra would be playing for a Christmas Night dance at the Legion Hall, while a "Monster" Moccasin Dance would be held on the ice at the curling rink on December 27. I had forgotten how popular dances on the ice and on the street were in the winter months.
Fire Chief George Collinson issued a warning about the dangers of Christmas tree fires.
Harold Kennedy had arrived as the new Ontario Provincial Police At the time it was a one officer detachment while the Chapleau police force consisted of the Chief and a part-time night constable.
Rev. H.W. Strapp of Trinity United Church; Father Romeo Gascon of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, and Rev. E. Roy Haddon, of St. John's Anglican Church, all provided Christmas messages.
In the recent municipal election, Mr. Zufelt had been returned for another term as reeve, while councillors were Ernie Lepine, George Young, J.M. Shoup and Arthur Grout.
I extend my most sincere best wishes to all readers for Christmas and the holiday season. Thanks to all, who in any way assisted me with Chapleau Moments during 2015. Very much appreciated. My email is email@example.com