Blog Rewind: Easter Greetings

Happy Easter from the Oshawa Museum!  Here’s a glimpse at Easter in our collection.

From the Oshawa Museum Collection

Postcards in the Archival Collection

An Easter display at Eaton’s in the Oshawa Centre, from the Oshawa Museum photography collection (A999.19.654-658)


This post was originally published on March 30, 2018

Oshawa’s Newspapers, Past and Present

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Preparing for our latest Sunday FUNday event at the Oshawa Museum, our first in person event since February 2020, brought me down the rabbit hole of newspapers. To celebrate Archives Awareness Week, I wanted the Sunday FUNday to be archives related, so newspapers were a good theme. We were able to bring out copies of papers from the education collection and I went Live on Facebook to talk about newspapers. Here’s a little of what I learned while getting ready for the livestream.

According to amateur historian, Samuel Pedlar, there have been newspapers in our community since the 1840s. His unpublished manuscript claimed that the earliest paper in our community was The Luminary, a Christian paper which started around 1844. Following it was a paper called The Literary Newsletter which started around 1848 and published by Oliphant and White. A name change to The Oshawa Reformer took place in 1850. According to Pedlar, “Its motto ‘cheap Government and trustworthy officials’ would indicate its purpose.” It is unknown when both of these papers ceased publishing. The 1877 County of Ontario Atlas made note of The Tribune and The Friendly Moralist, two papers they claimed to have been printed in Oshawa.

Around 1851, a new paper came onto the scene with The Oshawa Freeman, and shareholders in this paper included well known names: Dr. William McGill, Abram Farewell, Thos. N. Gibbs, and G.H. Grierson.

It appears most of these papers were short lived, but the next paper to establish itself in our community was around for decades.

Due to a fire at the Oshawa Times in 1971, the earliest archives of The Oshawa Vindicator were lost. It is unknown exactly when it started, as many sources give a different year, but it is safe to say that in the mid-1850s, James E. McMillan and James Luke purchased interests in The Oshawa Freeman; McMillan’s interests were purchased by WH Orr, and a new enterprise called The Oshawa Vindicator began. All was not lost for the Vindicator, thankfully, as issues through the 1860s were preserved on microfilm. These issues can be read online from our partner, Canadian Community Digital Archives.

The Vindicator operated with a conservative slant and supported conservative candidates and politics. In 1866, Orr was bought out by John S. Larke, and the paper ended up having a number of different owners through the years until it ultimately ceased publishing in 1917.

Offering the opposing liberal viewpoint to Oshawa readers was the Ontario Reformer. Under the direction of Mr. Climie of Bowmanville, the first issue was published in 1871. For a short time, Luke and Larke operated both the Reformer and the Vindicator until Mr. Mundy purchased the Reformer in the late 1870s.

The Reformer went through a number of name changes through the years, most notably when they became the Oshawa Daily Times in 1927. An amalgamation with the Whitby Gazette and Chronicle in 1942 resulted in the name change to The Oshawa Time Gazette, and a number of years later, the name was shortened to simply The Oshawa Times. In 1994, a labour strike impacted the paper, and this, in conjunction with the paper operating at a deficit for a number of years, led to the closure in 1994.

The oldest paper still operating today is This Week. It started in 1970 by Peter Brouwer, and through different mergers and changes, it is published today on a weekly basis by Metroland Durham Region Media Group.

From 2005 to late 2021, there had also been The Oshawa Express, another weekly paper. In late 2020, they shifted from in-print/online to a solely online news source, but there does not appear to be any new updates on their website since Fall 2021.

If you wanted to read through the historic newspapers, our microfilm collection to the 1930s and physical newspapers have been digitized and are available to read online: http://communitydigitalarchives.com/

As well, one of my favourite columns to research is The Month That Was, where we look at what was making the newspapers for a given month and year, and we publish them on this blog – you can read through the past articles by exploring the Month That Was category.


Sources

Samuel Pedlar’s unpublished manuscript

Oshawa: Canada’s Motor City, M. McIntyre Hood, 1967

DurhamRegion.com and Northumberlandnews.com About Us https://www.durhamregion.com/community-static/3839840-durhamregion-com-about-us/

This Week, 16 June 1993 – Obituary Peter Brouwer: Founder of This Week

Oshawa Express website

Archives Awareness Week – The David Dowsley Collection

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist, and Savannah Sewell, Registrar

Along with the exciting promise of summer and warmer weather, the beginning of April also brings an exciting week for the field of archives and the Oshawa Museum. Archives Awareness Week is from April 4-10, a week dedicated to the consciousness and understanding of the archival process and the importance of archival work.

A022.6.164 – Durham Regional Courthouse, Oshawa Ontario, February 3, 2009. (Dowsley collection, Oshawa Museum archival collection)

Let’s do a quick breakdown of the archival process and the difference between collections and archival work. Here at the Oshawa Museum, we collect both physical and archival collections. The easiest way to separate the collections is that the physical collection is comprised of items and artefacts and the archives are committed to curating information. For example, the collection will have accessions of dresses, while the archives would acquire documents that detail the prices and origination of patterns or fabric sales.

Archival work, in turn, can be separated into two main sections – real-time research and safeguarding for the future. Our archivist, Jennifer, spends most of her day researching through the archival collection to respond to research requests from the community and other institutions. She is also, in conjunction with other museum staff, writing a book about the comprehensive history of Oshawa. On the other hand, collections are coming into the museum consistently and they need to be processed, accessioned, and appropriately homed. The collections, information, and artefacts that come to the museum will experience both the safeguarding process and the research process and a collection that we are most excited about right now is the David Dowsley Photograph Collection.

Inside a large grocery store, looking down upon the aisles.
A016.10.286 – Superstore near Taunton and Harmony, July 2013. (Dowsley collection, Oshawa Museum archival collection)

The Dowsley Collection presents the opportunity to plan for future research by contributing images of Oshawa, taken by Mr. Dowsley, that include captions describing the content and the date the photo was taken. This collection is expansive and includes images dating from the 1980s to this month. Mr. Dowsley continues to contribute to the collection, and the new images are actively being accessioned.

Two women, wearing winter jackets, standing in front of a yellow house, with the windows boarded up. There is yellow caution tape in front of the house. There is snow on the ground
A022.6.167 – “Dec. 19/03 Lakeview Park Oshawa Fire at Guy House Historical Bldg. December 17/03 Historical Soc. Employees L-R Angela Siebarth & Melissa Cole (Dowsley collection, Oshawa Museum archival collection).

The David Dowsley Photograph Collection will address some current gaps in the archives. Many of the most common research requests are individuals asking for photos of their historic homes or of buildings or businesses that no longer exist. Unfortunately, we do not currently possess many of these images and do not have many options to offer community members; however, Mr. Dowsley’s attention to detail, construction, and change in the community will provide solutions for requests like these. Mr. Dowsley takes images of houses and streetscapes including street signs, like image A022.6.13 which shows a view of Cherrydown Street at Grandview Street South on April 6, 1994.

A snowcovered streetscape with several houses and two cars on the road.
A022.6.13 – Cherrydown St., Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. April 6, 1994. (Dowsley collection, Oshawa Museum archival collection

Mr. Dowsley also includes photos of events such as image A022.6.38, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Durham Trust Garage on November 24, 2015. Each of the individuals in this image is named and subsequent photos continue to monitor the construction of the garage until completion. These images will be simple to locate and use as they are being collected on the internal data system and digitized. Each image is given an accession number and a subsection under the collection which will make them easier to find based on the content. The subsections include houses, construction, businesses, schools, sports facilities, transportation, and waterfront, among others.

Seven people wearing hardhats, each with a shovel in hand, for a sod turning ceremony.
A022.6.38 – “Groundbreaking for the new Durham Transit Garage, Farewell Avenue Oshawa, ON, November 24, 2015; included in picture: Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and CEO Durham Region; John Henry, Mayor of Oshawa; Granville Anderson, MPP Durham. (Dowsley collection, Oshawa Museum archival collection

Archives serve as a repository of information and a means to access it. The David Dowsley Photography Collection demonstrates how modern efforts can provide invaluable context and insight into historic events. Archives Awareness Week encourages us to reflect on how archives have influenced historical accuracy and community nostalgia around us. Fortunately,  community members and the Oshawa Museum’s archives have a wealth of information available.

The Month That Was – April 1871

All articles originally appeared in the Oshawa Vindicator

5 April 1871, page 2

The House of Commons have virtually passed the bill admitting British Columbia into the Confederation. She is to enter with three members in the Senate and six in the commons. The financial arrangement, however, are the important part of the agreement. By these terms it is proposed to allow British Columbia an annual allowance of $35,000; And eighty cents per head of the population until it reaches the maximum of 400,000; an ask the debt of the provinces small, interest will be allowed upon the difference between its actual debt and the proportional indebtedness of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick…. The dominion binds herself to secure the construction of a railway to the Pacific within 10 years; And the province hands over to the dominion about 16 million acres of land, for which she, in turn, will receive $100,000 a year in half yearly installments to be paid in advance. Then it is proposed to guarantee the interest for ten years, at 5% per annum, dating from the completion of the works on a sum not to exceed 100,000 pounds sterling for the construction of a first class graving dock at Esquimault. The railway is not to be constructed by the government, but by companies, who will receive land grants and a cash bonus amounting to about 10 millions. the government have guaranteed that its construction shall not increase the taxation of the country, and are to add a rider to the bill expressive of the manner in which the road is to be built. Without the road the mere Confederation would be a farce. If the construction of the intercolonial is justifiable, the construction of the Pacific is 10 times more so, for it opens up not only a country, but almost a continent to settlement.

5 April 1871, p1

12 April 1871, page 2

The roads this spring have not been as bad at least, but they have been in many places almost impossible. The reach road between Oshawa and Prince Albert, has been very bad in a few places and requires a considerable outlay. We are glad to know that the council of East Whitby intend an outlay of something like $1500 including the county grant upon it. This will make the portion within the limits of the Township very fair. A rich Township like this ought to have every concession line gravelled. The outly would be amply repaid in a year or two by the saving of time, waggons and horseflesh. The council of the Township has paid great attention to this subject, and we hope that as before the ratepayers will approve and support their enlightened policy, even should they be more liberal than of old.

The constable has issued his edict against cattle running at large, and the boys are ready to carry it into effect by impounding all stray livestock.

Stealing horses from the hotel sheds seems to have become an institution here. On Monday evening about half-past six, Mr. W. May drove his horse and wagon into Hines’ shed. At half-past eight he entered the shed and found his property gone. It has probably been taken northward. A full description will be found in our advertising columns.

$25 Reward
The above reward will be paid for the recovery or information leading to the recovery of my mare, light waggon, buffalo robe, and harness, stolen from the shed of Hines’ Hotel, Oshawa, last evening; and the apprehension of the thief. The mare is a light bay, nearly cream color, with dark mane and tail. She is five years old, and interferes in her hind legs. The waggon is a spring democrat, with name of maker (Lavis) on tail board.
WM May
Oshawa, April 11, 1871

newspaper advertisement for good for sale
12 April 1871 page 3

19 April 1871, page 2

Sometime last week the barns of Mr. Petrie, on the base line, and Mr. Phillips, Cedar Dale, were entered. From the former, 10 or 12 bushels of oats and some poultry, and from the latter, a bag of clover seed, were stolen. The farmers of East Whitby will yet have to form a vigilance club to bring to justice these burn robbers. Probably all the thieving is done by one or two residents, and a proper watch on any suspicious characters would put an end to their depredations.

That portion of Moore’s Hill, in the road between Oshawa and Whitby, belonging to West Whitby is in very bad condition. One or two places require to be cross trained an additional gravel placed upon it. We hope the townships will keep up the good work begun buy them on this hill. A road with so much travel ought to be made one of the best, instead of one of the worst roads in the country. If the four municipalities interested would enter into some concerted plan this could be done at no great expense. Great improvements have been made during the last two or three years, but there is much that remains to be done. Let the councils try the union plan. A committee from each council could meet in Whitby or Oshawa and unite upon a scheme to be adopted by their respective councils. The same committee might have power to revive the Union Burial Ground question and suggest a plan for carrying out the two long neglected idea of making a cemetery worthy of the municipalities’ interested.

The horse and waggon belonging to Mr. Wm. May stolen from Hines’ shed on Monday evening last was returned on Wednesday. The horse was found next morning in the shed of Taylor’s tavern, Raglan. The advertisement inserted in the vindicator by Mr. May, identified the property on Wednesday, and the property was at once returned to the owner. Whether it was actually stolen and the thief became afraid, or whether some reckless scoundrel took it to obtain a ride to Raglan is not known. It has been taken from the shed as the altered condition of the harness testified. We regret there is no clue to the thief.

Newspaper advertisement for tailoring
19 April 1871 page 2

26 April 1871, page 2

The street in front of Hines’ hotel, was the scene of a most disgraceful breach of the peace on Saturday evening. It appears that a feud has existed between a number of disorderly characters in Oshawa, known as the Herring Gang, and a number of similar characters residing to the east of the town. The consequences is, that if one of them falls under after dark among his opponents, he receives a sound beating. On Saturday night, both sides mustered in force to fight it out. Constable Gurley having received notice appeared on the scene and with some aid of peaceable citizens broke up the intended fight, for which however, the belligerence appeared to have no great stomach. The Oshawa rowdies afterward marched up and down street shouting until midnight. On Monday, warrants were issued for Thos. Law, Jas. Dovey, Michael Caulfield, W. O’Driscoll, Richard Richens, Geo. Wilson, farmer, Willard Vanderhodd and J. Bladwin, who were charged with being present and aiding and abetting in the row. O’Driscoll, Wilson and Baldwin, put in an appearance before the magistrate, WH Gibbs, Esq., yesterday. The case against Wilson broke down, and he was discharged. O’Driscoll denied a longing to the Herring Gang, but was fined $2 for not leaving the crowd when ordered to by Constable Gurley, and afterwards parading the streets with the gang. Baldwin was charged with inciting the parties to fight. He was fined $5 for his share in the riot. Baldwin appears not to be a member of the gang. Of those who did not appear, Richens was fined $2 and the others $5 each. The Herring Gang are so called from wearing a fish shaped badge on their breast. They are regularly organized and some of them carry firearms and loaded bludgeons. The village authorities are determined to break them up, and anyone arrested with a weapon will at once be committed for trial. It is absolutely necessary for the peace and safety of the town that this organization shall be destroyed. Already a counter organization is said to be forming and a nice lot of faction brawls will follow.

newspaper advertisement for furniture and undertaking business
26 April 1871 page 4

Street Name Stories – the ‘Knitting’ Streets

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Those who know me know that I’m an avid knitter. In fact, in the past I’ve written a blog post about a WWI Sock knitting pattern, I’ve examined some of Oshawa’s early woolen industries, and I’ve done a deep dive into one of those industries, the Empire Woolen Mills, available to read on our Discover Historic Oshawa site.

A woman, dressed in historic clothing, is knitting outside
Knitting at an Culture Squared in 2016; thanks to Carla from the RMG for the photo!

As well, I really enjoy this blog series, examining the stories behind many of the street names in Oshawa. Many have local connections, such as Ritson, Adelaide, and Skae, while others’ roots have a larger scope, like the streets names for WWI or WWII battle sites, Simcoe Street, explorers, or royalty.

As I was looking at the Oshawa map, looking for inspiration for a new post, I found quite a few names that are woven into the fabric of the fibre work world (I’m sorry, I was really stretching for that pun!).

I’ve previously written about Kitchener Avenue. His name has been given to a common grafting technique for finishing a pair of socks. In my original post, I made only passing mention of the more controversial aspects of Kitchener as a person – I should have delved further into him and why he is seen, rightfully, as extremely problematic. I know of quite a few knitters who avoid calling this technique by his name because of his actions during the Boer War and the creation of internment camps, atrocities that would be repeated over 40 years later by Nazi Germany.

While we’re talking about knitting and their namesakes, the community of Raglan, and in turn Raglan Road, was named in honour of Lord Raglan, a British commander in the Crimean War. These sleeves continue into the collar of a sweater as opposed to having armhole seams. Having made quite a few cardigans with raglan sleeves, I can say I’m a fan of the technique.

A woman is standing beside a brick building, wearing a t-shirt that says Oshawa
Lisa, standing outside of Robinson House – the cardigan I’m wearing has raglan sleeves

Speaking of cardigans (see what I did there), there is a Cardigan Court can be found northeast of Beatrice and Ritson, just off Trowbridge Road. Cardigans were named for another officer of the Crimean War.  James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, was a British Army major general who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War.

Of course, there is Oshawa’s Mill Street. This street is deserving of a post of its own, and I’m sure one will come in due time. Mill Street is located at a run in the Oshawa Creek, and many industries had harnessed the creek’s power for their mills, including Gorham’s woolen mill.

A street sign for Mill Street and Capreol Cr., Oshawa
Mill Street and Capreol Cr., Oshawa

On my ‘bucket list’ of vacation destinations are the Shetland Islands, home to the Shetland sheep, and one of the isles is Fair Isle whose name is lent to a popular and, let’s be honest, stunning, knitting style. Shetland Court can be found southeast of Thornton and Rossland, amongst other Scottish inspired streets.

These are the streets I could find with a few quick searches of Oshawa’s maps that relate to my beloved pastime. Have I missed any? Please let me know!

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