EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Overcoming ugliness with beauty, meanness with generosity, lies with truth and evil with good" at this Christmas time

Shortly before Christmas in 1948. I attended a service at St. John's Anglican Church where a prayer desk was dedicated in memory of my father Flying Officer James E. Morris, who was killed on active service in the RCAF on July 16, 1943 during World War II.

The prayer desk had been given to the church by the family in memory of my father, and I was seven years old, at an age where I was starting to come to terms with the fact that he was not coming home. 

Yes, I had my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris, my grandparents Edythe and George Hunt and  Lil and Harry Morris, as well as my aunt and uncle Elsie and B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt and my Zufelt cousins, my aunt Marion Morris --- and my friends in Chapleau. All have played a most important role in my life.

But, to this day, whenever I reflect on my own growing up years, somehow I go back to 1948. 
Canon Sims

Let me share some thoughts expressed by Rev. Canon H.A. Sims, the Rector of St. John's at the service. They seem as appropriate today in our troubled world as they were three years after the end of World War II. In part, here is what Canon Sims. a World War I veteran,  said:

"There is not the slightest necessity for civilized men to destroy their civilization in warfare. Nothing is settled by warfare which could not be better settled in some more reasonable, humane and decent way.

"Warfare is caused by men  who have allowed the spirit of the devil rather than the spirit of God to determine their thinking.

"Peace does not come through wishing for it or through praying for it... peace comes only from those who make it; who work harder at making peace than men working at making war.

"We must make peace by working hard at overcoming ugliness with beauty; overcoming meanness with generosity; overcoming lies with truth and by overcoming evil with good."

During World War II. and in the years since, there have been countless families and children. who like me and my family, were affected by war, and acts of terror, and each time, which is almost daily, I shake my head a bit, and wonder why. But, I know, I care and I understand the lasting effect of these events on our lives.

However, here I am, at Christmas 2016, reflecting on the words of Canon Sims, but so thankful that my mother decided we would stay in Chapleau where she rejoined the teaching staff at Chapleau Public School, and my grandparents lived ---- and I had my friends, many of who remain part of my life, even though most of us  are no longer living in Chapleau.
Harry and Brigitte

On December 13, we lost one of our dearest and oldest friends, Harry 'Butch' Pellow, a member of one of Chapleau's pioneer families, who had been my friend since we were about five. Butch died in Toronto, and I will share more about him in the new year. My deepest sympathy to his wife Brigitte and family. Rest in peace my friend.
Chapleau gang at Butch and Brigitte party 2014

Recently,  there were two posts on Facebook sharing thoughts about Christmas I thought were awesome. 

The first from the Society of St John the Evangelist I I paraphrase. It suggested that if we think of someone in our life who is lonely, or hurting --- do something for them. Invite them for coffee, or a meal. Pay them a visit. Phone them. Show them they are not alone!. 

Jim Roberts. my good friend,  who lives in Cranbrook, a founding member of our Friday Morning Coffee Club,  but is originally from the United States, and served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, posted a 'Dear Santa' letter on Facebook.
Jim Roberts

It reads: "I don't want much for Christmas. I just want people to be happy. Friends are the fruit cake of life, some smelly. some cooked in alcohol, some sweet, but mix them together and they are all my friends. At Christmas you always hear people talking about what they want and bought. This is what I want: I want people who are sick with no cure to be able to be cured. I want children with no families to be adopted. I want people to never have to worry about food, shelter and heat. I want peace and love for everyone."
CHS gang at 2012 reunion

Maybe, just maybe, if each of us in our own way, followed the thoughts expressed in the posts  by SSJE and Jim, we could move the world a bit closer to fulfilling the comments made by Canon Sims back in 1948. 

I have included a couple of photos from Chapleau gatherings in recent years --- one from the Chapleau High School reunion in 2012 and another from a party at the home of Harry 'Butch' and Brigitte Pellow in 2014. Chapleau folks have always been super at bringing people together. 

My very best wishes to all of you for Christmas and the holiday season. Every blessing!!!!  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

HARRY ALEXANDER (BUTCH) PELLOW February 8, 1941 - December 13, 2016

After beating the odds for several months, Harry passed away at Princess Margaret Hospital as a result of complications from a brain tumour.

Harry was a distinguished Architect, having graduated with a B.Arch. (Honours) from the University of Toronto and was a graduate of Ryerson University with a Dipl.of Arch.Tech. He was awarded the RAIC's Gold Medal and was a nominee for the Pilkington Award. Harry become a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1995. He served as a member of the OAA's Conduct and Complaints Committee for several years. His internship was completed in what he frequently described as a postgraduate environment working with some of the finest architects then working on signature buildings for Canada's major institutions and contractors. Prior to graduation,

 Harry worked with John Layng Architect and then Margison, Keith, Sage & Hamlin Architects and Engineers in Toronto as an architectural technologist. In 1970, he joined Parkin Architects Engineers and Planners, where through the firm's eventual transition to NORR, he was an Associate, Manager of Architectural Design, and Partner until 1978 involved in business development, administration and principal in charge of projects. Noteworthy of the projects at Parkin/Searle Wilbee Rowland (SWR)/ NORR were Toronto International Airport's Terminal Two; Four Seasons Sheraton on Queen Street; Westin Hotel on Richmond Street, and a master plan for Toronto Place, a mixed-use development encompassing an entire city block bounded by University, Richmond, York, and Adelaide Streets.

One of Harry's early design achievements, while at NORR, was a design for the National Art Centre (Place Pompidou) in Paris, an international competition judged by Philip Johnson. The firm was one of three Canadian finalists selected from a field of 681 submissions and was a 'premiated award'. Harry's team included Graham Bell, who worked with Harry until his retirement and continues with the company today. In 1978, Harry's restless spirit caused him to embark in a new direction forming Pellow + Associates Architects Inc. Over the course of the next several decades, the breadth of Harry's work and responsibilities included many successful and award winning projects, starting with a national competition for Cornwall Centre in 1978, a mixed-use development in Regina and ending with the design of an 73-storey tower at 50 Bloor West (Harry's dream scheme).

 Harry believed that architecture was a business and a profession and his hands- on creative style was imprinted on the firm's design portfolio. He and his wife, Brigitte built a business around a strong client base that endured for 37 years until a debilitating illness necessitated that he relinquish his role to his partners, David Moore and John Ricci, both of whom contributed significantly to the business' growth and success. Harry valued architecture for its challenges and opportunities and for the many people it brought into his life.

He always asked 'Why' and then 'Why Not' and never took anything for granted. As a consequence of his leadership and steadfast belief in professional and ethical standards, he and his partners garnered the continuing trust of loyal and appreciative clientele. Harry's sense of humour, intuition and fair play served him throughout his business andpersonal life. Harry epitomized the terms 'friend' and 'mentor'. Over the years of practice, people of all ages and nationalities called Pellow + Associates home.

Working with Harry was like being a part of his family. If you were in trouble or needed a hand, he was there for you. Amongst his achievements, Harry led the efforts to enhance the education for current and future students in architectural science at Ryerson University. He was instrumental in getting a team together to raise funds to create the David E. Handley Architectural Science Studios which opened in 2016; completed the Paul H. Cocker Gallery which opened in 2013; and establish a bursary in the name of Stewart Crawford.

As a teenager, Harry worked as a 'meeter and greeter', 'handyman' and 'hunting and fishing guide' at his brother Bill's tourist outfitting business on the Kebsquasheshing River in Chapleau, Ontario and was regularly attired in a jeep hat, jeans and denim shirt along with gum rubber boots and a belt knife. The customers nicknamed him 'the river rat' as they watched him dress the catch of the day. Always loving the North, Harry was a 'bush' guy all his life and enjoyed nothing more than spending time at his camp in Haliburton. Although Harry spent most of his adult life in Toronto,

Harry's home town of Chapleau was ever in his heart and he kept in touch with his childhood friends. He and Brigitte hosted many reunions for the Chapleau 'gang' where the 'remember when' tales and laughter filled the room. Harry is survived by his wife, Brigitte Gee; his two children, Christopher (Tammy) Pellow and Kaylyn (Michael) Bondar; and grandchildren, Christopher (CJ) Pellow, Joshua and Abby Bondar; brother, William Pellow; mother-in-law, Christa Gee; brother-in-law, Michael Gee; and his former wife, Marion Pellow (nee Maycock). He is predeceased by his parents, Aldythe and Clifford (Bill) Pellow and brother, Ross Pellow. If desired, charitable donations in memory of Harry can be directed to the Princess Margaret Hospital or a charity of your choice. There will be no formal funeral services but a 'Harry's Bar' will be scheduled at a future date.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hockey remains great Canadian unifier as nation plans to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017

Tee Chambers, Butch Pellow, Aldee Martel
In 2017, Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday as a nation, and my thoughts turned recently to an anecdote shared in a classroom where I was taking a course in twentieth century European history more than 40 years ago now.It was at Waterloo Lutheran University, now Wilfrid Laurier University.

 Dr Jacques Goutor had arrived in Canada more than 40 years ago now, and the first thing I learned from him was that hockey kept Canada together. Well, he didn't actually come out and say that exactly, but on the first day of class he told us about his arrival in Canada from France.

Dr Goutor told us that upon arriving in Toronto, he went out and bought the newspapers and the headlines were LEAFS WIN STANLEY CUP! It was 1967, our Centennial year as a nation, and the Toronto Maple Leafs had defeated their arch rivals the Montreal Canadiens in six games. It was to be the last time the Leafs would win Lord Stanley's mug.

All so typically Canadian for our Centennial year -- a team from the heart of English Canada wins the Stanley Cup but the focus for the celebrations of the centennial is on Montreal, the major French Canadian city which hosted Expo '67, and the cup is named after an Englishman who was Governor General at one time. Trust me on this one! It is such as this that contributes to keeping the country together and safe-- the invisible hand of Canadian compromise!  Of course, the weather is the other great unifier.

Dr Goutor, who at the time had little knowledge of hockey and its importance to Canadians, said he decided to stay here because it had to be a safe place if the headlines were about a sporting event. He was raised in France and lived through the horrors of World War II and its aftermath.

To this day, I watch the headlines in Canadian newspapers, and headline writers are ecstatic on those days they can proclaim victory for their local hockey team when it wins a title or even a key game. 

They are beside themselves with joy when Canada wins internationally. But they know their audience. Hockey keeps it all together in this vast and magnificent land where we will travel great distances for a hockey game, and complain about the other great Canadian unifier, the weather.

In 1972, during the Canada-Russia series, for example, classes were cancelled at Chapleau High School, and students crowded around television sets to watch that key game which Canada won.

Our passion for hockey of course begins at the local level. Growing up in Chapleau, the  Huskies, in various incarnations were  the pride and joy for much longer than I have been around. Growing up there in the 1940s and 50s my hockey heroes were local, especially the late Garth ''Tee" Chambers, who to this day I believe was better than any NHL player who ever donned skates.

When I returned to Chapleau to teach, shortly thereafter I was "hired' by the 1970-71 Midgets to coach them. Yes, they actually "fired" their coach and I took over, and that is a story in itself. 

At that time though, the focus was on the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies who played in the International  Junior "B"  League, and in 1967 won the league title, as well as NOHA title. It was their first year in the league too, and artificial ice had just been installed in the Chapleau Memorial Arena.
Chapleau Trappers 1949

The coaches of the day were the late Keith 'Buddy' Swanson, Lorne Riley, who had been an outstanding goalie, and Earle Freeborn, one real tough defenceman in his playing days who also served as the Mayor of Chapleau. Saturday nights were hockey night in Chapleau, and the great community unifier, especially when the Wawa Travellers were in town. 

A few years later, again after receiving a visit from hockey players, the Chapleau Intermediate "A" Huskies were born and our arch rivals in the Northland Intermediate Hockey league were the Timmins Northstars. 
Jr B Huskies 1966-67 Champions

For three years it was a struggle to beat them in the league semi-finals but in our fourth year we did, and it was like we had won the Stanley Cup. We won in Timmins but soon received reports that back in Chapleau, the celebration had begun with horns honking and a party underway.

And so, from local unheated hockey rinks, many of them called barns,which was surely the case in Chapleau until 1978, where rivalries among communities bring people together to cheer on their own team, to national and international championship series, Dr Goutor was right. It is a safe country in which to live.

At this Christmas time, in what often seems like a deeply troubled world, I hope we reflect on those things bringing Canadians together, yes. like hockey, rather than the things dividing us, and continue to make our nation the best place to live as we celebrate our 150th birthday.

It is likely too much to hope that the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup though. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

The Chapleau Trappers of 1949. a junior team sponsored by Mrs A.W. 'Hockey' Moore. Back from left H. Fortunato, Rev Howard Strapp, B. Collings, M.McAdam, C. McAdam, R. May, T. Godfrey, J. Dillon, F. Lucky, T. Collinson. Front from left R. Longchamps, Daddle Swanson, Tee Chambers, D. Chambers, R. Morin, Y. Morin, R. Burns.

Chapleau Jr B Huskies 1966-67  Back from l: Andre Rioux, Lorne Riley, Merrick Goldstein, John Babin, Ray Larcher, Mickey Jurynec, Greg Vaughan, Robert Morin, Reg Bouillon, Gerry Boucher, Jamie Broomhead; Front: Corky Bucci, Jean- Claude Cyr, George Swanson, Richard Morin, John Loyst, John Laframboise, Ted Swanson, Bud Swanson and missing Bruce Pellow, Bruce Fortin. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bishop Tom Corston spent a 'little different Christmas' in 2010 as he travelled to Chapleau and Foleyet for services through freezing rain, fog and 'beautiful bush'

Rt Rev Thomas A. Corston, who most of us from Chapleau commonly refer to simply as "Tom", spent a "little different Christmas" shortly after he became the ninth Anglican Bishop of Moosonee, in 2010.

At Christmas time in 2010,  Tom left Timmins on an historic trip down Highway 101 to preside at services at St. John's In Foleyet, and at St. John's in Chapleau. 

Writing in his blog in January 2011, he shared the story. I stumbled across his blog while doing some research recently, contacted Tom, the son of the Frances (Jardine) and the late Henry Corston, who were our next door neighbours, and asked if I could quote from it. He gave me permission. 

His little different Christmas started out a bit badly when shortly after leaving Timmins, he realized he had forgotten his wallet so had to return to the Synod office for it. 

Having left early, he had time but on the drive to Foleyet, "I encountered some light freezing rain but made the trip in good time.

"The rain created some beautiful Christmas card scenes on the surrounding trees."

The church was filled for the four p.m service. St. John's in Foleyet had been his first parish 35 years ago, in 1975. so "it was great to see some old friends in the congregation, now with grandchildren. We even had an organist so we enjoyed singing the carols and ended the celebration with everyone holding a candle and singing 'Silent Night'"

Leaving Foleyet he wrote, "I was worried for the drive to Chapleau as it was now dark. The highway was good though and I encountered no more freezing rain. Just outside town I encountered fog and as I entered town with the shops now closed and literally no one present on the main street, it was a surreal experience driving in the heavy fog.  Certainly not what one would expect on Christmas Eve in a northern community."

He noted that Chapleau was his home community and the large St. John's Church had struggled in recent years to keep its doors open. As an aside, St. John's was sold in 2016 to Jason Rioux, and plans for its future are now underway. Also for those who may not know, Tom attended Chapleau Public and Chapleau High Schools and was active in St. John's.

"What a wonderful experience it was that the old church was filled by the time the celebration began," he wrote.

"The full church unnerved the Layreader somewhat as she confessed her nervousness. I assured her that I was far more nervous than she because I recognized so many friends of my youth who came out to meet me, with grandchildren in tow.

"Christmas at home was a wonderful celebration, even with the canned music!!"

"I had not been in my home church for Christmas since 1974 and it was good to see family and friends come out to renew old acquaintances."

Tom was ordained Deacon in 1974 at St. John's, and to the priesthood in 1975.

His son Andrew  met him in Chapleau and they spent Christmas Eve at his sister Margaret's home on Borden Lake.

On the drive to Sudbury the next morning Tom related that he enjoyed "travelling through some beautiful bush, coloured with God's frosty paint brush."

As I read Tom's blog, my mind wandered back to 1885, and the first Church of England (Anglican) service held at Christmas time in Chapleau. It was conducted by Rev Gowan Gillmor, best known as 'The Tramp' who travelled the CPR line in Northern Ontario, as the "railway missionary." The service was likely conducted in a boxcar which was the first station.
Ian Macdonald collection

Rev. Gillmor was known to walk the CPR line, and at times pushed a handcar from place to place. 

Rev. Gillmor was also in Chapleau to  assist with the planning of the building of a church, which was officially opened on the site of the old tennis court on July 1,  1886.

The first service in the present St. John's was held on March 29, 1908 when it was dedicated by Bishop George Holmes.
Rev John Sanders

I also recalled reading about the travels by canoe and dog team of Rev. John Sanders (Saunders), who conducted a service at Chapleau on the banks of the river in 1882. I don't know if Rev. Sanders ever visited Chapleau in the Winter, but like Bishop Tom, am sure he enjoyed travelling through the "beautiful bush..." of Northern Ontario. Rev. Sanders may have been the first Indigenous (Ojibway) priest in the Church of England (Anglican) in Canada. 

Tom made it home safely to Sudbury where he was greeted by wife Ruth, son Stephen, mother Frances, and other family members.

He retired as Bishop of Moosonee on December 31, 2013, and is now Assisting Bishop, as well as interim part time Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Sudbury, where he previously served as Rector.

Thank you Bishop Tom for letting me share parts of your "little different Christmas." It also let me do what I really enjoy -- mixing metaphors with my references to Rev. Gillmor and Rev. Sanders!.. My email is mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tiny population created lively community of Chapleau by beginning of twentieth century

Although isolated the self reliant early inhabitants of Chapleau came together quickly after 1885 to give themselves "a few of the signs of the outward signs of 19th century civilization", George Evans wrote in one of his articles in Snapshots of Chapleau's Past.

George, who so many will recall, was a long time teacher and assistant principal, wrote that "Chapleau became a community with a future because CPR needed places at regular intervals along its tracks where crews could change, locomotives could be refueled and watered and mechanics could do maintenance work."

I am fascinated as most of you know with Chapleau moments, and as I thought about this column, turned to George for help with getting the words right -- something Ernest Hemingway advised us to do!
C A Bill Pellow on delivery circa 1910

In his article 'In the Beginning', George notes that a "basic need for the community was a cemetery which had been provided for in 1885. The CPR deeded land for the "Chapleau Protestant Burying Grounds" to Thomas Nicholson. If my memory serves me right, there is a small plaque at the entrance to the cemetery.

Across the road on Birch Street and along Grey Street is the Roman Catholic Cemetery but I was unable to find out when it was established --- help someone please?

In no time at all Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, St. John's Anglican Church and Chapleau Methodist Church (later Trinity United Church) had been established.

Sometimes when writing about early Chapleau, it is difficult to get exact dates but it seems that curling and hockey were underway, on outdoor rinks located on Lorne Street near Cedar Street. In fact that is where hockey was played first in the "old old rink" and Chapleau Memorial Arena until 1978 when the A W Moore Arena opened in the Chapleau Recreation Centre.

Vince Crichton wrote that the Chapleau Curling Club was formed and the first sheet of ice was available that winter, but he was unable to confirm who was responsible for making it happen.

Nonetheless by 1929 with a now enclosed curling rink/arena in the same location the Northern Ontario Curling Association bonspiel was held in Chapleau, and again in 1932. A rink comprised of Leo Racicot, Harry Morris (my grandfather), Vince Crichton and A. Kinahan reached the finals in almost all events.

We also know that a Chapleau hockey team made a road trip to Sudbury in 1893, and lost. Have no idea who the players were as I found out about the trip on a Sudbury hockey history site.

The Chapleau Brass Band held its first meeting on December 6, 1888 and as George wrote "thus establishing the tradition of a Town Band that lasted for over a century. No parade or official event was complete without its presence."

By 1890, fraternal organizations made their appearance -- the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in 1886 and the Oddfellows, Missanabie Lodge 266 in 1888.

By the 1890s, the first "pleasure boat" arrived and "going down the lake" became a popular pastime with the Old Fort in Mulligan's Bay being a popular place for gatherings  before camps were built.

From the earliest years, Dominion Day was a major celebration in Chapleau, and by 1900 baseball teams had been formed.

By 1893 a volunteer fire department had been formed but George related that prior to 1901 when Chapleau was incorporated as a municipality, "policing seems to have been a hit and miss thing with a succession of local men being commissioned by the provincial government to keep the Queen's peace." (The Queen being Victoria!)

Fast forward just a bit. I have included a photo of C.A. "Bill" Pellow with his  wagon circa 1910 to show how deliveries were made in the community's early years. As well I have included a photo of the "Pig Pen" from the early 1930s to show the boathouses which dotted the shore of the front river, and a few on the back river as an increasing number of people got boats.
Pig Pen note boathouses

This is just a glimpse at part of what was happening in Chapleau between 1885 and 1901. George summed it up: "In the sixteen years that had passed since the railway had cut its way across the Canadian Shield, the tiny population had created a lively community complete with churches, schools, a Mechanics Institute, a volunteer fire department, and a town band. Finally endowed with its own municipal government, Chapleau was ready to take on the 20th Century".

And it sure did. I deeply appreciate the work of citizens like Vince Crichton, George Evans, Hugh Kuttner and most recently Doug Greig, who have devoted themselves to the history of Chapleau. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Virgin forest, lakes, rivers, thin ribbons of steel in cleared section marked Chapleau as CPR arrived in 1885

Chapleau from present golf course
If you were "suspended" high above Chapleau in early 1885 what would you have seen?

I had never really thought about it until I was rereading parts of 'Pioneering in Northern Ontario' by Vince Crichton recently. 

Vince answers the question: "... all that one would have seen at first glance would have been a virgin forest, many lakes and rivers, and two thin ribbons of steel that had been laid in a cleared section..." which would become Chapleau, a divisional point on the Canadian Pacific Railway. 

You may have seen canoes paddled by First Nation peoples -- Cree and Ojibway -- carrying furs from their trapping grounds to trading posts in the area, the only signs of human habitation. 

In my 1984 book 'Sons of Thunder ... Apostles of Love', I wrote that in 1885, the CPR issued instructions  to put in a spur for a boxcar to be set out at Mileage 615.1 which subsequently would be about the middle of Chapleau. The boxcar would become the first station, office building and train dispatcher's office. A station had been completed by 1886.

I added that Chapleau had become a community made up of surplus boxcars and tents with a population of about 400 people by the end of 1885, 95 percent of them men.

Vince noted that "... a few crude homes were erected on the hill in the vicinity" of where the Lady Minto Hospital was located on Elm Street. This is the area referred to as 'Old Chapleau' and by the Spring of 1886 for example, Richard Brownlee had established his first barber shop in a tent at this location, as was the first Austin store. They had both moved "downtown" by the end of 1886.

I didn't know there had been a huge swamp which extended almost the entire length of Monk Street. Vince wrote that a long board walk from the station was built along Elm Street.

Vince explained that a creek drained the area which flowed across the CPR tracks between the station and th east ice house, across that part of town south of the YMCA, over to Aberdeen Street emptying into the Nebskwashi River in the vicinity of what is now called the Cedar Street bridge.

The CPR diverted the creek and it flowed into the river across from what is now commonly called the Memegos Property.

Notwithstanding the obstacles, Chapleau was established. From all reports I have seen the winter of 1885 was very strenuous for the early citizens on the fledgling community. It must have been for they had left their old way of life to build a new one far from any comforts they might have known. Apparently it was a bitterly cold winter and disease was rampant, and fire was a constant threat. 

Vince noted that all the houses were kept warm with "a pot-bellied heater with a large gaping mouth through which the fire was banked for the night with a copious amount of good white birch." 

"The kitchen stove on which the lady of the house cooked and was her own pride and joy, also burned wood... There was always a large wood box to the side that was filled each day with split wood to provide heat for those wonderful victuals that were consumed each day".

Actually, as I reflect on growing up in Chapleau, when my mother Muriel (Hunt) Morris, my grandparents Edythe and George Hunt and I moved into the house on Grey Street in 1945, it was primarily heated by a large wood stove on which my grandmother prepared our meals, and my mother used to heat water for washing clothes and Saturday night baths.  The house was also not insulated until about 1950. It also heated the house.

Mr. Fortin would bring us a load of wood each Fall, and then bring his sawing machine to cut it  into stove lengths which we would store in the "back shed" -- that was a job for me and my grandfather. 

Many houses were still using wood stoves when I was a kid.  Our house was never cosier!

It seems to me that rapid changes started circa 1950 in many aspects of our lives. Vince called the chapter from which I have a taken excerpts "It was a good town". Indeed it was, and for that matter still is. 

Yes, you can take the person out of Chapleau, but you can't take Chapleau out of the person! More to come!   My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Bachelors of Chapleau sponsor first dance in Town Hall with Alf Comte and Grand Orchestra providing music

The sign suspended over the centre of the auditorium in the Town Hall was illuminated bearing the word "Bachelors", according to the first edition of the Chapleau Headlight in 1915.

The newspaper was reporting on the first dance in the Town Hall sponsored by an organization called the Bachelors of Chapleau. The town hall was opened in 1914. 

About the banner the Headlight asked, "Original, what?"

The Grand Orchestra under the direction of Alf Comte was in  attendance and the favourite dances were waltzes, two steps, three steps, four steps and barn dances.

The newspaper reported that the bachelors were all in full evening attire while the ladies were "divinely beautifully and gorgeously gowned, some of them wearing new dresses."

Some of the bachelors who organized the dance  included Dr. Steve Wilkinson, (who was the general convenor),  and L.E. Wilkins, Davy Moran, and Lorne Nicholson. 

Some of the patrons for the occasion who received the "bachelors" and their dates were T.J Godfrey (reeve of Chapleau), G.B. Nicholson (reeve from 1901 to 1913), R.J. Anderson, W.R. McNamara, R.W.McEwan, H.C. Mulligan, W.C. Guthrie, V.T. Chapple, G.L. White, William McMullen and R.J. Allan.

There were even ushers to guide the guests to their tables and provide refreshments.

On the program, was printed the following toast:

"Here's to God's first thought -- 'Man'
Here's to God's second thought -- 'Woman'
Second thoughts are always best,
So here's to Women!"  
by Margaret de Valois

This article from the Chapleau Headlight also mentions that Chapleau had its first public library in 1888, first of all in a railway coach, then  in the Mechanics Institute.

The institute was the "centre of the social and intellectual life of the community" until it burned down in 1906. I was astounded to learn that when it burned down its library housed more than 2000 volumes "made up of the best books that could be secured." Apparently Sir William Van Horne of Canadian Pacific Railway fame made many contributions, and at one time donated 50 reference books on scientific and mechanical subjects.

The CPR was very busy through Chapleau in 1915 moving over 450 cars a day with 56 crews handling the work.

Even after more than seven years of writing Chapleau stories weekly, I continue to be fascinated by its life and times from almost the first days the community came into existence, and a review of those days is a story for another day.

Thanks so much to all who commented on the "Because of Her" columns. More to come.  As always, thanks to Bobby and Margaret Rose (Payette) for loaning me the Richard Brownlee Papers. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, November 5, 2016

George Collinson of Chapleau honoured by Royal Canadian Legion in 1971 for his dedication 'beyond the call of duty'

World War I veteran George Collinson, a charter member of  Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion  received the Legion's highest award at a ceremony in 1971.

As part of the Chapleau branch's 45th anniversary dinner in 1971, Mr. Collinson received the Meritorious Service Medal. It was established to show appreciation to members 'who dedicate their time in service to the branch and for outstanding service beyond the call of duty," according to the Legion web site.

Mr. Collinson was one of the founders of the branch in 1926, returning to Chapleau after the end of World War I, where he assumed the position of postmaster, which he held until his retirement in 1958.

He became treasurer of the Chapleau branch, and at age 84 in 1971, he was the oldest active Legion  executive member in Canada, according to an article by Margaret Costello. 
 But his commitment to Chapleau life, went far beyond the Legion, including membership on the Chapleau Volunteer Fire Department, where he was the Fire Chief from 1946 to 1958. His immediate predecessor was D.O. Payette, and he was succeeded by Adam Andrews.
Ad Andrews, Mr Collinson, D.O. Payette
 The award was presented to Mr. Collinson by Provincial Command president Don Wilson, and the citation read by branch president Ed McCarthy. 
 In a "glowing tribute" some of Mr. Collinson's other contributions were mentioned. These included treasurer of the Lady Minto Hospital, the Kebsquasheshing Club and Salvation Army Fund. He had also been the branch welfare officer. He was also active in St. John's Anglican Church and on the public school board.
 Mrs. Costello wrote in the Sault Star that "It was a moving occasion for both Mr. and Mrs. Collinson who are held in high esteem by the entire community," After the formal presentation, the crowd broke into a rousing rendition of 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.'
 Five years later Mr. Collinson was again honoured by the branch on the occasion of its 50th anniversary as  a charter member. 
Toddy Collinson, Mr Collinson, John Rose
In 1916, when Mr. Collinson was serving in Canadian forces overseas, at least two Chapleau boys saw him while they were living in the trenches. In the chapter Letters from Overseas in World War I, in The Chapleau Boys Go To War, Michael McMullen and I included letters from several Chapleau boys including Harry Unwin and Charles Mulligan.
 In a letter to the editor of the Chapleau Headlight, Harry Unwin from "Somewhere in Belgium" in June 1916, mentioned that he had seen "several Chapleau boys" recently including Mr. Collinson. 
 Writing to his sister May (Mulligan) McMullen from "Somewhere in France" in October 1916, Charles Mulligan wrote that he "saw George Collinson the other day. He is fine".  At the time Charles was "living 20 feet underground" in a dugout. 
 Harry Unwin died while on active service on September 22, 1916. Charles Mulligan was wounded during the first day of the Second Battle of Arras on August 26, 1918, in northern France but returned to Canada in 1919 after being hospitalized for more than a year in France and England.  
 Michael and I were able to produce a list of 283 volunteers (282 men and one woman) with a Chapleau connection who served in World War I  We identified 32 Chapleau boys who died in that war or soon thereafter due to war-related wounds/health conditions.
In World War II our research identified 416 with a Chapleau connection (at least 30 were women). There were 29 Chapleau boys who died in that war: either killed in action or died due to war-related causes.
 Given the size of Chapleau, an amazing number of its citizens made an incredible contribution in World War I and World War II -- and to the community after both wars. LEST WE FORGET!  
 Note: In the interests of full disclosure, May (Mulligan) McMullen was Michael's grandmother and my great-aunt, while Charles Mulligan was our great-uncle. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, October 29, 2016

'Because of her, and her, and...', Ladies Auxiliary to Branch 5 of Royal Canadian Legion provided outstanding service to Chapleau

For 65 years, the Ladies Auxiliary to Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion provided outstanding service not only to the Branch, but to the entire community. 

With Remembrance Day approaching and Women's History Month as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau draws  to a close, it seemed very appropriate to include the Ladies Auxiliary among those who "Because of Her" made Chapleau a better place to live for everyone.

Founded in 1935 with Mrs. Mabel Way-White as its first president, the members had family members who served in World War I or World War II, or both -- and some members had themselves served in the armed forces.  Other members included those who had family members who served in Canada's armed forces in Korea, and other places after the two world wars.

By 2000 however, the ladies auxiliary ceased to function as  a separate entity. When Michael McMullen and I were writing "The Chapleau Boys Go To War", Bruce McCarthy, a past president of Branch Number 5 explained to us that the  Chapleau branch is holding the charter but there is no Ladies Auxiliary anymore.

"It began to decline when wives and daughters became qualified for associate membership in the branch. The great majority chose to join the branch rather than the auxiliary. The auxiliary ceased to operate in 2000."

Here is a list of the presidents from 1935 to 2000, but it should be noted that several served more than one term, often after an absence from the position.

They were: Mabel Way-White, Deborah Gawley, Amy Green, Gertrude Therriault, Annie Desson, Emmie Montgomery, Hazel Robinson, Annie Collings, Josie Way-White, Agnes Freeborn, Marian Pellow, Margaret Leigh, Thelma Therriault, Olga (Ollie) Lane, Dorleen Collings, Frances Corston, Eunice Michaud, Janet McCarthy, Olive McAdam, Anne McGoldrick, Winnie Bucciarelli, Elizabeth (Betty) O'Shaughnessy.

In 1985, as the auxiliary celebrated its 50th anniversary, Mrs. Amy Green, a charter member and past president was presented with a 50-year pin by Mrs. Gloria Sandford, the Ladies Auxiliary provincial president. Mrs. Green also received a 50-year plaque from provincial command. 

A Chapleau delegation, led by Harry Searle, a veteran of World War I, led the Chapleau delegation to the Winnipeg meeting in 1925 where the Canadian Legion was established. The Chapleau branch received its charter on October 6, 1926.

In her remarks, Mrs. Sandford extended congratulations on the auxiliary's "outstanding community service."

A Chapleau delegation, led by Harry Searle, a veteran of World War I, led the Chapleau delegation to the Winnipeg meeting in 1925 where the Canadian Legion was established. The Chapleau branch received its charter on October 6, 1926.

Throughout its history the members of the Ladies Auxiliary to Branch 5 did provide outstanding community service and "Because of her, and her, and her, and......" Chapleau was a better place to live for all its citizens. Lest We Forget! 

Thanks to Bruce McCarthy.  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chapleau no exception in "Because of Her" campaign as women have played vital and important role in community life since its earliest years

Mrs Hands leaves Chapleau as friends wish her well

In 2016, the prime minister Justin Trudeau, announced the celebration of Women's History Month, but it was not until October 18, 1929, women were declared "persons" under Canadian law. The historic legal victory is due to the persistence of five Alberta women -- Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards.

However, in Chapleau, and across Canada, women had been playing an important and vital role in the life of their communities since the founding of the nation in 1867. Much of their good work was associated with church groups, and Chapleau was no exception. 

Although I am focusing on the ladies of Trinity United Church, which was Chapleau Methodist Church, in the early years as an example -- the ladies at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and St John's Anglican Church also contributed greatly.  I will also touch on the Chapleau Red Cross Society.

On April 25, 1898, ladies at Chapleau Methodist Church discussed the formation of a Ladies Aid Society of the Chapleau Methodist Church, which was subsequently formed, according to a church  history. They immediately launched "two worthy projects"  -- the cleaning of the church and improving the vestry which was a small addition at the rear of the church which also housed the minister.

When the brick church was completed, over the years "the ladies worked diligently by having suppers, teas, sales of works, bazaars and bean suppers" raising a considerable amount of "talent' money for the church.

As an aside, in 2016, I think across Canada it remains "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose"!!!

The church history does pay tribute to the pioneer women including Mrs. Harry Pellow, Mrs. Grout, Mrs. George Young, Mrs. R.J. Allen and Mrs. Halliday.  

Stancil (Pellow) Rose was the church organist for over 40 years.

At Trinity United, the name was eventually changed to Women's Association and it became responsible for furnishings for the parsonage, keeping it in good repair, caring for Sunday school rooms, and cleaning and decorating the church.

In 1947, there were 84 members, and it split into two groups.. They provided finances for the building and equipping the church kitchen, building a garage and sun porch for the parsonage and landscaping the grounds.

A search of the members of the church board of stewards shows that no women served in its  history at least until after 1950. 

However, in Chapleau, Mrs Maud Hands, who was actively involved in the work of St. John's and Trinity United (her husband Fred was a member of Trinity United) was also the only president of the Chapleau Red Cross Society branch throughout World War II. Mrs, Hands also has the distinction of being the first women to be elected to Chapleau council in 1947.

The Red Cross society branch was also active during World War I, but interestingly Rev. Father Romeo Gascon of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church was first vice president, and committee members included Rev. C.S Applegarth of Trinity United, Rev. J.N. Blodgett of St. John's and G.B. Nicholson. Mrs. May McMullen was president.
Red Cross members circa 1945

In The Chapleau Boys Go To War, which I co-wrote with my cousin Michael McMullen (his grandmother was May (Mulligan) Mcmullen noted above) we noted that "fingers were never idle" at the Chapleau Red Cross during World War II.as it was doing its part for the war effort. Led by Mrs. Hands the branch met weekly in the Town Hall throughout the war.

Most assuredly Chapleau women have made a most significant contribution to community life, and I have just scratched the surface. As Prime Minister Trudeau said we need to appreciate the "significant achievements and contributions women have made to our great country."

“While we celebrate the progress made, we remain keenly aware of the important work that still needs to be done to achieve true gender equality. By highlighting stories of how women have shaped our lives, we can inspire both current and future generations to continue to fight for a society in which all people feel empowered, and have the same opportunities to reach their full potential, Mr. Trudeau said.

On a very personal note, the "Because of Her" campaign has let me reflect on the contributions the women members of my own family made to Chapleau life since its earliest years, and most importantly too, I have thought about those remarkable women in the community, who influenced and helped me. They also made  Chapleau a better place to live for all its citizens. Thank you so much.

Thanks also to those who assisted me. 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