EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Graham Bertrand retires as Chapleau Fire Chief after more than 40 years of service

Graham Bertrand has retired as Chief of the Chapleau Volunteer Fire Department after serving in various capacities since he joined it on February 15, 1975.

He advised that his retirement was to take effect on November 12, so he would participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11 on parade with fire department members.

He was appointed as a Captain in 1997, then Deputy Chief in 2002, and Chief in 2005.

But, over the past 40 plus years, Graham has not only been contributing as a first responder to make Chapleau a safer place, but a better place for everyone to live, work and play.

My files show that Graham was a member  of the 1973 Chapleau Recreation and Festival Chapleau committees, and by 1978 he was the chair of A Taste of the North, the community's winter carnival. He later served as chair of the Chapleau Recreation Committee.

 As an aside, in 1978, another great Chapleau volunteer was honoured with Jimmy Dillon being named King of the Carnival.

Graham was also trainer in the 1970s of the Chapleau Intermediate 'A' Huskies of the Northland Intermediate Hockey League --- and actively participated in a "donkey baseball" game sponsored by the team.

In 2010, he was fire chief when the fire department celebrated its official 100th anniversary.

In 2005, Graham was honoured by the township for his 30 years of service and presented with a certificate of thanks and congratulations by Mayor Earle Freeborn.

 Jim Prince, the founder of the  Chapleau Express summed up the contribution of Graham and all firefighters in an article noting that they should be recognized for their work and dedication "on the front lines".

Jim's article  added that volunteering as a firefighter is rewarding and life changing experience for those who serve. They are called upon to perform extremely hard and physical work under adverse conditions.

However, Graham's significant contribution to Chapleau has not begun and ended with his service to the volunteer fire department for more than 40 years.

In 2001, when Chapleau celebrated its 100th anniversary of its incorporation as a municipality, with his late wife Rose (Connelly), he co-chaired the celebration.

 It was a huge success. I know!  It was my first trip back home after moving to British Columbia to teach at College of the Rockies. I stayed with Dr. G.E. "Ted" Young, and had a wonderful time.

Graham also headed the committee for the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012, and has advised me that now he has retired as fire chief will "need something to do" so is willing to become involved in a 100th anniversary celebration of the school in 2022.

Graham has also contributed to the life and times of Chapleau as a member of other organizations for many years. I believe that the greatest resource any community has is its people, and Graham C. Bertrand is a shining example of a person who has volunteered his time and talents to the betterment of Chapleau. Congratulations Graham, and I look forward to the 100th anniversary of Chapleau High School.    "Keep smiling Graham!" My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Unveiling of Memorial Walls highlighted Chapleau Remembrance Day service in 1978

The unveiling of Memorial Walls at the Remembrance Day service on November 11, 1978, completed the move of the cenotaph to its new location beside the Royal Canadian Legion Hall.

On June 25, 1978, a rededication ceremony had been held following the relocation of the cenotaph from between the old Town Hall and St. John's Anglican Church on Pine Street. Jack Boucher was the general contractor for the project.

The unveiling ceremony was conducted by Henry Therriault, World War II veteran, and president of Branch 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion. The prayer of dedication was given by Rev. William Ivey, rector of St. John's Anglican Church following the unveilings.

The unveiling of the World War I wall was done by Frank Cranston, Chapleau's last surviving veteran of World War I, and air cadet Bonnie Goheen.

In June at the official opening of the Chapleau Civic Centre, Mr. Cranston, who had also served in World War II, met and chatted with Ontario Lt. Gov. Pauline McGibbon who officially opened the civic centre.

Later the upstairs hall at the Legion was named after Mr. Cranston.

The unveiling of the World War II wall was done by Muriel  (Hunt) Morris, (my mother) and Eric Groulx.

Bernie Morris played the Last Post and Reveille, and the Act of Remembrance was read by Mr. Therriault.

The Chapleau Sentinel reported that a "unique addition" to the service was the singing of an anthem, "I Wonder Why". It was sung by Mary Beacock,  Beth Dunne, Gwen Travis and Charlie Law, accompanied by Russell Dunne on the guitar.

In our book 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' Michael McMullen and I identified 32 Chapleau boys who died in World War I or died soon thereafter , due to their war related wounds/ health conditions.

They were: Harry Barber, William Bertrand, Joseph Bolduc, Peter Chappise, John Collings, Willard Daniels, Ambrose Evans, Percy Hall, William Hartley, Walter Haskins, James Hewitt, Albert Jeffries, Harry Kitchen, John Kuskitchu, Jacob McWatch, Simon McWatch, John Moir, Peter Moran, Alex Mortson, Loftus Muske, Lorne Nicholson, Frank Pitts, Roderick Potts, Jacob Redbreast, Alfred Therriault, Edgar Turner, John Turner, William Turner, Harry Unwin, William Unwin, Walter Valentine and Hans Wrangham.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

. 'Loss needs no learning and sorrow needs no schoolmaster' Rev. Murray McBride at Chapleau Remembrance Day 1961

Impressive Remembrance Day services at the Town Hall and cenotaph following a parade of Branch Number 5 (Ontario) Royal Canadian Legion members was held in 1961, according to a Sudbury Star report.

The Star noted that the turnout of Legion members was "higher than for some years and made a fine showing as they marched in step to music from the town band."

The Town Band was a feature at pretty well all community activities from about 1888 on when it was formed. I have included a photo circa 1922 of the band in front of the first cenotaph built after end of World War I.

After the invocation was given by Rev. J.G. M. Doolan of St. John's Anglican Church, Rev. Murray McBride of Trinity United Church delivered an address entitled 'The New War' which in many respects we find ourselves today in 2017.

Mr. McBride noted that there is "little left to be said for those left behind" as a result of war "for loss needs no learning and sorrow needs no schoolmaster."

As I was researching this column and read the above statement by Mr. McBride, I recalled a comment my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris made about Remembrance Day. I don't think she ever missed a Remembrance Day service but commented, "Every day is Remembrance Day". As most readers know, her husband, my father, Flying Officer Jim Morris was killed on active service in the RCAF during World War II.

Mr. McBride presented the argument that war and peace can not be separated in our thinking. He proceeded to outline his thinking on 'The New War'.

He said that over a span of 4000 years, the first wars were nomadic tribal wars in nature characterized by invasion, looting, pillaging and slaughter for immediate gain. These were followed by wars for territorial gain as well where the conqueror took over land an settled there.

Then World War I and World War II were wars for intangibles "for principles of freedom and liberty" as well.

He suggested that the new war is vastly different. It is "a war with an  unseen enemy which can occur without advance warning by an aggressor sitting at home and exploding bombs in his own country and count on fallout to weaken those he wishes to conquer  or destroy."

Given our deeply troubled world today with acts of terrorism globally, it seems like Mr. McBride had a crystal ball back in 1961.

In conclusion he suggested that society had "turned away from God" thus causing alienation and causing fear and mistrust in society. "It is this that would seem to have made us so ready to use discoveries for destruction rather than building a better world".

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Chapleau Curling Club holds Centennial Bonspiel in 1986

The Chapleau Curling Club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Centennial Bonspiel to mark the historic occasion in November 1986.

Reeve Ken Russell was on hand to present incoming club president Wilma Schmidt with a plaque from the Township of Chapleau recognizing 100 years of curling in the community.

Although there appears to be very little information available on the beginnings of curling in Chapleau, in 1886, one sheet of ice enclosed by boards was located on Lorne Street where the "old old rink" was eventually built. Sheets of ice were in that rink until about 1928 when the curling rink was built on Pine Street, and there it remained until 1978 when it relocated to the Chapleau Recreation Centre.

The Chapleau Sentinel reported that 52 rinks from Chapleau, other communities in Ontario and Quebec participated in the centennial bonspiel with additional sheets of ice created in the A.W. Moore Arena.

To launch the bonspiel, two of the oldest members of the club were selected for a ceremonial throwing of the first stone. Olive Card threw it while Syd Roffey swept.

At a banquet Master of Ceremonies Albert Tremblay extended thanks to the bonspiel committee on their efforts to make it a success. Members included Margaret Rose Fortin, Monica Tremblay, Joan Longchamps, John Longchamps, Tina Cappellani, Doug Prusky, Rita Mitchell, Twyla Berry, Jim Hong, Paula Hughes and Lorna Martel. Draw master was Trevor Riley while Roy May and Peter Archambault were the ice committee. Prize committee members were Jean and Carmelle Martel.

Albert also extended thanks to the Air Cadets and the Fitness Club for operating the lunch counter, Carl Nyman and Richard Beaudoin for making the scoreboards, Roger Mizuguchi for selling tickets and the United Church Men's Breakfast Club for catering the meal

The rink travelling the farthest to participate was Paul Richardson, Denise Richardson, Diane Richardson and Harry Richardson from Ottawa and Montreal.

And the winners were!

Top honours in the A Event went to a rink skipped by Ed Rioux. Team members were Freda Rioux, John Young and Debbie Young.

In the B Event the rink of Walter Telik, Oriette Telik, Linda Martel and Denis Martel were the winners.

C Event winners were the rink of Jack O'Connor, Doug Prusky, Tina Cappellani and Monique Landry.

Consolation winners were Paul Antoniazzi, Nadine Antoniazzi, Gordon Welch and Jill Welch.

The Chapleau Town Band, which was also first established circa 1886, was present to march the winners around the ice surface before prizes were awarded.

To conclude the bonspiel incoming club president Wilma congratulated the winners and all who were involved in making it a success.

Bishop Tom Corston was in touch responding to my column on the Algoma Dairy and the Broomhead family. Tom wrote in part: "Great story on the Broomheads. Did you know that prior to the Broomhead dairy business my Grandfather, Jack Corston, had a dairy business delivering milk to much of 'lower town'. My father (Henry 'Chicken') often talked about delivering milk with his brothers."

 I knew There was a Corston's farm but was not aware Mr. Corston had a dairy business.   Thanks Tom.

Also, Ann (Bedford) Midgley reminded me that her grandfather Simon Kruger, after retiring from the CPR worked in the Algoma Dairy convenience story. That I do recall. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Algoma Dairy had enviable record of milk delivery in Chapleau starting with 'pony express' in 1921

From its "pony express" which brought milk to its first customers until it ceased deliveries, the Algoma Dairy in Chapleau had an enviable record of never missing a day, according to newspaper articles about the family business that served the community for just over 75 years.

On July 4, 1921, the first delivery of milk went out to a few customers of the business established by Walter and Emily Broomhead with total assets of one cow, a cart and a Shetland pony.

The steady growth over the years was "not achieved by chance" but by the efforts of Mr. Broomhead, his wife and their three sons, Jim, Walter and Arthur, according to a newspaper report about the family business 35 years later.

In due course they eventually had a herd of 84 cattle,  a farm, where two of their grandchildren still live today, and the pony express delivery gave way to an insulated milk truck. By 1939, they had the Algoma Dairy  building at the intersection of Birch and Young Streets.

As the business had grown they dispensed with the herd of cattle and had milk shipped from the Larchwood area which was processed at the dairy. One newspaper story relates that during a Canadian Pacific Railway strike, they had a truck travel over Highway 129 daily to Blind River to pick up the milk and return to Chapleau same  day.

They kept pace with modernization, and added the latest in equipment. Sons Jim and Walter joined the business and when their younger brother Arthur did a bit later, Margaret Costello asked what he did.

Jokingly, the older brothers replied, "Well he's supposed to do as he's told but generally ends up doing what he pleases." Arthur became the last brother to be actively involved with the family business.

When Mr. Broomhead died in 1940, Mrs. Broomhead and her sons continued the business.

In 1956, Margaret Costello paid tribute to Mrs. Broomhead for her "tremendous vitality and indomitable spirit that pulled her through early struggles (including the death of her husband) -- combined with a lively sense of humour".

The story also noted that in 1956 that Algoma Dairy would be one of the oldest family owned businesses in Chapleau that had never changed hands having been established in 1921.

The Boston Café owned by the Hong family would be another. Charles W. Collins stores celebrates 90 years with the Collins name in 2018, and still operated by family members.

Arriving in Chapleau in 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Broomhead purchased property on King Street which at the time was a "mixture of bush and mud" and built the first house there.

Obtaining milk was a problem for families with young children so they bought a cow to solve it, and their neighbours who faced the same situation became their first customers and their business was started in 1921.

As government regulations increased, the dairy adapted constantly upgrading the business but still never missing a day's delivery.

Like so many Chapleau people I have such fond memories of milk being delivered to our door daily as I was growing up in our home on Grey Street, first by Jim and later by Arthur.

When I was a youngster on my way to visit my grandparents Lil (Mulligan) and Harry Morris on Elgin Street (the other side of town), quite often I would meet Jim on the milk truck. He never failed to tell me to say "hello" to my grandparents from him.

All the Broomhead family have made a significant contribution to many aspects of the life and times of Chapleau for over 100 years now. Grandchildren and great grandchildren of Emily and Walter Broomhead still do.  The Algoma Dairy closed in 1997. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chapleau headed for some significant moments in its history of the past 100 years starting in 2018

Chapleau will be marking several significant moments in its history of the past 100 years over the next five years.

 Remembrance Day on November 11, 1918, will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and Chapleau citizens made a significant contribution to the war effort, both on the battlefields of Europe and at home.

In our book, 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War', Michael McMullen and I produced a list of 283 volunteers, 282 men and one woman, with a Chapleau connection, who enlisted in World War I. That was more than 10 percent of the entire population of the community at the time.

We also identified 32  Chapleau boys who died in World War I, or died thereafter, due to their war related wounds/health conditions.

On the home front, citizens contributed to the war effort through the Chapleau branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society and other organizations. 

On November 4, 1918, just a week before World War ended, Lt. Lorne Nicholson of the First Chapleau Platoon of the 227th Battalion (Men O The North) was killed while on active service overseas. His parents, George and Charlotte Nicholson, both members of St. John's Anglican Church, decided to build a parish house. Mr. Nicholson, Chapleau's first reeve from 1901 to 1913, was in the lumber business while Mrs. Nicholson was one of the community's first school teachers.

The inscription on the front of the building says, "Saint John's Parish House... In memory of Lt. Lorne W. Nicholson and all those who with him voluntarily gave their lives in the Great War. Erected by his father and mother A.D. 1919''.

The parish house, which now houses Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion was officially opened on April 19, 1920. It was likely in use as a parish house by late 1919.

The Legion branch was established in 1926, one year after the Canadian Legion was formed at a meeting in Winnipeg with a Chapleau delegation led by Harry Searle in attendance.

Ian Macdonald, retired Head of the Department of Architecture and Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, writing about the building, wrote in part that the Nicholson generosity "has left Chapleau with what is probably the most elegant and distinctive of all Royal Canadian Legion properties in Canada.."

Just as World War I ended, disaster struck the Roman Catholic Church members in Chapleau when just before Christmas, the church burned down.

According to an article by Father Albert Burns SJ, a Chapleau native, the first church was built in 1885, on the site of what is today Collins Hardware. This church had become too small, and a larger one was built in 1891 with its final touch in 1898 on the site of the present church.

Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire on December 18, 1918 just before Christmas. Under the guidance of Father Romeo Gascon, the parish priest,  the good people of the parish came together, and  Midnight Mass  on December 24, 1919 was celebrated in the new church built on the site where it is today. Father Burns was an altar boy at that Christmas Eve Service. The "new" church will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1919.

It struck me as I was researching this column that Chapleau was a busy place for construction in 1919 as the Parish House for the Anglicans and a new church for the Roman Catholics were both under construction about a block away from each other.

Finally, in my musings about some important moments in Chapleau history from 100 years ago, in 1922, Chapleau High School will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The first school was on Pine Street until 1966 when it relocated to a new building where it is today.

If interest in a 100th anniversary reunion can be gauged from a Facebook page established by Janice (Corston) Whitely is any indication of support for the idea, it now has 2,065 members.

 I am told by Graham Bertrand that informal chats about the possibility are underway, and hopefully a decision will be made in early 2018. Graham chaired the 90th anniversary as well as chairing and being actively involved in all major Chapleau celebrations for more than 40 years. If interested maybe chat with Graham!

As an aside, I got thinking about Chapleau houses as I have been writing, and when some of them were built. When I was home for the launch of 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' with Michael McMullen in 2015, Ken Schroeder, my lifelong friend took me on a front street/back lane tour but we didn't establish when houses were built. Story for another day.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Alton Morse received Order of Canada for his contribution to mechanization of lumber industry in Chapleau area

Alton Morse, born in Maine in the United States, came to the Chapleau area where he became involved in the lumber business in 1913, and 70 years later he received the Order of Canada for his contribution to the mechanization of the industry.

The citation to his award reads: "His solution to the problem of' hauling logs over the rough country of northern Ontario, the use of gasoline tractors, heralded the mechanization of the lumber industry and made possible its future development. Later, he and partner (Leigh Sheppard) formed new companies in which they set an example to others of the proper care and housing of workers."

As Mr. Morse was unable to travel to Ottawa to accept his Order of Canada, his grandson Eric accepted it on his behalf in June 1983.

The Chapleau Sentinel reported that "the community was very proud to have in our midst a recipient of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest distinction".

Heather Conn, writing in the Human History of Wakami Lake noted that Mr. Morse had a Linn tractor brought to Devon in 1917 which revolutionized logging operations.

The Chapleau Sentinel article explained that before this time logging in the Chapleau area was localized and confined to stands of timber within horse drawing distance to a waterway used for moving the logs to a mill.

Mr. Morse saw what a tractor could do and one was purchased. It proved to be a great success and as a result mechanized logging became a hallmark of every lumber operation with which he was associated, the story said.

It added that Mr. Morse made a "distinguished contribution to the economic growth of the country".

Upon his arrival in Chapleau, his first job was as the secretary to the Canadian Pacific Railway superintendent but soon thereafter in 1913 he became the manager of Devon Lumber Co.

After the United States entered World War I he attempted to join its armed forces but his application was denied on the grounds that lumber business was an "essential service".

His later positions included general manager of Austin and Nicholson Lumber Co, the McNaught Lumber Co., the Wakami Lumber Co., and then Vice President and General Manager of Sheppard and Morse Ltd.

With Mr. Sheppard, he created what was described as "model village" for employees --- both at Sultan and Pineal Lake. The Order of Canada citation recognizes this effort too. 

Dr. G. E. 'Ted' Young, who was a close friend of Mr. and Mrs. Morse noted that compared to other lumber communities Sultan was the most lively. Dr. Young was the company doctor too. In fact Mr. and Mrs. Morse lived in an apartment in his building for years. He had retired in 1969.

I am the first to admit that I don't know much about the lumber industry but now having written about the Martel family, Lucien Lafreniere, Oliver Korpela and now Alton Morse, I am fascinated with it. More to come.

 I did spend time visiting with Bob and Queenie (Matheson) Halliday at both Sultan and Pineal Lake with my mother Muriel (Hunt) Morris as a kid --- and I partied at Racine Lake.   My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Adelard Lafrance born in Chapleau played for Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League

Adelard Lafrance, born in Chapleau in 1912, was given a five game "look" by the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League in the 1933-34 season, according to Joe Pelletier writing on his blog 'Greatest Hockey Legends.com, the Hockey History Blog'.

He was the first Chapleau born player to make the NHL. The others are: Ron Schock, Floyd Curry and Jason Ward.

Although it would not appear that the community had an official minor hockey program when he was growing up, hockey was played starting in the winter of 1885-86 on a rink on Lorne Street where the first two arenas were located until 1978 when  the Mrs. A.W. Moore Arena was opened at the Chapleau Recreation Centre.

Adelard, also called 'Adie' must have been playing on local teams to start his career as Mr. Pelletier wrote he was a "key member of the Sudbury Wolves team that won the Memorial Cup as Canada's national junior champions in 1932. He scored the overtime game winning goal against the Winnipeg Monarchs.

In  1933-34 season Adelard was given a try out by the Montreal Canadiens late in the year, according to Mr. Pelletier. He played three games in regular season and two in the Stanley Cup playoffs. No points, one minor penalty.

Interestingly, Mr. Pelletier adds that the Canadiens paid his train fare to Montreal. I recall Garth "Tee" Chambers, who was my hero as a hockey player, telling me that players wanting tryouts with professional teams usually had to pay their own expenses. As a result, many potential players never made the NHL. After the Great Depression and World War II, they simply could not afford to travel.

Here are more details on his hockey career taken from Wikipedia: He joined "Sudbury St. Louis of the Nickel Belt Hockey League in 1929-30. The following season he moved to the Sudbury Wolves in time for the playoffs and Memorial Cup play. The following season he split between the St. Louis and the Wolves and played in the Memorial Cup and Allan Cup playoffs.".. In 1933-34 he joined the professional Falconbridge team

After his tryout with the Canadiens late in that 1933-34 season, Adelard played one year with the Quebec Astors of the Can-Am league before joining the Springfield Indians for four seasons.

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