Student Museum Musings – Lauren

By Lauren R., Summer Museum Assistant

Hello there! I’d like to start out this blog post by saying how excited I am to be working as a summer student for the second year in a row. I am already at the end of my third week back at work and it feels as though I’ve picked up right where I left off at the end of last summer. This summer I am once again having the pleasure of being involved with numerous projects, including two larger projects that are a constant work in progress. Trust me – it’s keeping me on my toes!

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Lauren assisting with silver polishing earlier this month

The first of the projects that I have undertaken this summer has to do with the Education Kits that the museum offers as resources to schools to enrich the learning experience for students. While these programs are very useful it was put to me that we may be able to do more with them. Specifically, that there may be more of them! With this in mind, I am helping to look at new ways to present the material that we already have and at how to make more of these kits available for teacher use, bridging a vast range of topics. In my first few days back on the job full-time I went through each of the kits, reading all of the information that they had to offer and then examining their complementary artefacts. From there I made it my goal to read several books on programming to see if there was anything that they could offer me to enrich the way that I was looking to construct the programs. After all of this research, I had the pleasure of joining one of my colleagues at a school to see how these outreach kits work in person and the response that they produced from students. Thus far I have come up with 7 new programs that can be introduced to our selection of Education Kits. I am going to endeavour to make each of these 7 kits flexible so that they can be used by both older and younger grades, bringing the count of new education kits to 14!

The second thing that I have been engaged in this summer is research for the new Medical Exhibit being created! For this I have been hard at work reading up on the history of the Oshawa General Hospital and how it came to be. So far I am finding the story fascinating! The original building for the Oshawa Hospital came about as the result of the hard work of a group of determined women. In 1906, the debt of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was cleared with the work of some of the local women’s societies. Seeing that their work had been completed, and that they could focus their attention on a new and worthy cause, Mrs. R.S. McLaughlin gathered a representative from each of the local societies to vote on the next cause that should be attended to. The cause that was chosen was the Oshawa General Hospital. In 1906 the campaigning for the hospital began and it was built soon after and opened in 1910. I have absolutely fallen in love with the story of how the Oshawa General Hospital came to be. It highlights the great things that can be accomplished when a group of strong-minded and determined people come together for the greater good. I look forward to learning more about each bit of Oshawa’s medical history as I strive to construct an interesting and engaging exhibit around it, though it is proving difficult to narrow down what fascinating facts to include when there is so much interesting information at hand!

There have been many more interesting things I have been doing but there will be another blog post for me to talk about those. For now I work diligently at the Medical Exhibit and wait with baited breath to see it come to reality…

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The Scugog Carrying Place

By Melissa Cole, Curator

“Worn smooth like a Buffalo run, caused by the action of countless feet for many generations, many years before white men entered this part of Canada.”
– Samuel Pedlar Manuscript, Frame # 326

In honour of Indigenous Month we are taking a look at an interactive map that is found in our exhibition: A Carrying Place: Oshawa’s Indigenous Story.

From the earliest days the First Nations used pathways and “carrying places,” or portages for hunting and trading. Scugog Carrying Place is one of several routes and carrying places that connected the interior of the Province to Lake Ontario.

This area of Oshawa was an important carrying route for First Nations.  The Oshawa Creek was much larger than it is today and groups would congregate here every spring and fall to fish.

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Let’s take a look at the map featured in our exhibit.  Numerous maps were used to create this map.  We wanted to ensure that we were placing the carrying place trail fairly accurately; it is difficult to be exact since there are very few maps which note its location.  We used the latest Google map of the area, a topographic map, and a map from 1795 called ‘C31 Whitby Township Plan’ created by Augustus Jones and William Chewett, who were early surveyors of the township.   Using these three maps for reference and overlaying them against each other, while noting the changing shoreline along Lake Ontario over the years, we were able to place this early portage route that originally ran through the forest and connected Lake Ontario with Lakes Scugog and Simcoe and Kawartha Lakes.  Many have suggested that is basically follows today’s Simcoe Street.

In an interview with Dave Mowat, Consultant, Membership and Land Supervisor at Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, he stated, “there is the Old Scugog Carrying Place Route that came down from the lakeshore at Oshawa made its way up to Lake Scugog here and eventually to Georgian Bay.  If you can think of how the land was utilized before we had the 401 before we had all the highways and byways when you think about how the land was utilized some of our original roads are on old portage trails and carrying places, Simcoe Street relatively follows the original Scugog Carrying Place.”

The trail can best be described as an inverted “Y”.  From Lake Ontario, one branch went northward by Harmony Creek and the other by the Oshawa Creek. Canoes would have been used as far up the creek as they could go before portaging.  The two footpaths converged near the present Columbus and then united to cross to the location of present day Port Perry.

There are numerous archaeological sites found along the carrying place.  Many of these sites are located along the eastern branch of the Scugog Carrying Place.  Two of these sites are located in Oshawa.  Grandview Site, a fifteenth century ancestral Wendat (Huron) village, was located within several hundred yards of the eastern branch of Scugog Carrying Place along Harmony Creek.  MacLeod Site was also a fifteenth century ancestral Wendat (Huron) village that was located further west from Grandview Site.  These villages relocated and migrated north.  There were numerous other sites found along the trail outside of Oshawa.  The oldest sites dating between 1380 and 1450 CE are found at the Grandview and MacLeod Sites.  The ancestral Wendat vacated the area around the Scugog Carrying Place by the end of the sixteenth century and migrated north into Huron-Wendat territory.  This trail most likely fell into disuse until the Mississauga came to Lake Scugog and Lake Ontario.  The Mississaugas used the trail at some point after 1700 and it was in use in 1795 when the first survey was carried out by Augustus Jones.

Let’s take a look at the specific areas noted on this map.  There is the actual Scugog Carrying Place route which generally followed what is now Simcoe Street in Oshawa and Port Perry and connected Lake Scugog and Simcoe, with the Kawartha Lakes and Lake Ontario.

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Scugog Carrying Place – the light just west of the trail is MacLeod; the light along the eastern trail is the Grandview Site.

MacLead and Grandview Sites are highlighted on this map to give our visitors an indication of how close these sites were to this trail.  Also noted on this map is the possible location of Benjamin Wilson’s homestead that as can be seen from this map is now located somewhere in the lake away from the current Lake Ontario shoreline – this is due to the fact that the shoreline has receded over the years.  The last item highlighted on this map is an Ossuary in Uxbridge, that dates to 1490 C.E. consisted of secondary burials. (Every so many years the first burials were dug up and reburied in a communal burial plot, a ceremony and feast would have been held.  The Wendat believe there are two souls with a person, one goes with the person in the ground and the other goes to the Creator.  So every one of the bodies that is laid to rest in this burial have a soul.)  This ossuary was most likely related to the Grandview Population.

If you wish to see this map in person and discover more about our local Indigenous story here in Oshawa, be sure to visit us at the Oshawa Museum.


Sources:

The Archaeological History of the Wendat to A.D. 1651: An Overview. Ronald F. Williamson, 2014

Scugog Carrying Place: A Frontier Pathway. Grant Karcich, 2013

Forgotten Pathways of the Trent. Lesley Frost, 1973

Interview, Dave Mowat, Consultant, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. May 24, 2017

Llewellyn Hall

By Melissa Cole, Curator

“Formerly the residence of Mr. R.S. McLaughlin and became the possession of the Foreign Mission Board in the year 1919.  It was known as Llewellyn Hall and the name continued.  It is a two and a half storey brick building, on one of the best residential streets in the Town.  It has beautiful grounds, magnificent trees and tennis court, and is artistically finished within as well as attractive without.”

~The Second Prospectus, 1924 Llewellyn Hall

Opening in the fall of 2018 at the Oshawa Museum will be an exhibition that looks at Community Health in the 20th Century: An Oshawa Perspective.   What does Llewellyn Hall have to do with community health?  It was utilized for a brief time as Oshawa’s Maternity Ward.

The home was ordered to be built by James Odgers Guy who was a coal dealer in Oshawa.  He resided in this home with his wife Rachel and their children.  The name of the home was Llewellyn Hall, in memory of a son named Llewellyn Harold who had passed away.  They lived in the home until 1897.

James Odgers Guy

James O. Guy

Robert Samuel McLaughlin of Tyrone purchased the home from the Guys.  Robert lived in the home with his wife Adelaide and all five daughters, Eileen, Mildred, Isobel, Hilda and Eleanor were born there.  This was the McLaughlin Family home until 1917, when they moved into Parkwood Estate.

Robert and Adelaide McLaughlin, under the names of the McLaughlin Carriage Company, the McLaughlin Motor Car Company and Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada, gifted their home to the Oshawa General Hospital, for $1, to be used as a maternity hospital.

Adelaide McLaughlin, who was president of the Hospital Auxiliary, stated at the formal opening of the maternity hospital that she hoped “all future mothers in this house may be as happy as I was when here”.  Inspector of Hospitals, Dr. Helen McMurchie of the Ministry of Health for the Province of Ontario stated that “every hospital must have a satisfactory maternity wing and Oshawa has successfully followed this direction”.

Maternity Home

The first baby girl was born the day it formally opened on Wednesday July 12 at 1917, delivered to a Mrs. F. Patfield by Dr. F.J Rundle.  In 1918, the Spanish Flu swept through the Maternity Ward.  It was reported that ninety-five percent of the babies in the Ward passed away.

One of the last babies to be born at the Maternity Ward was in 1919 before it was sold to the Presbyterian Church in Canada to be a home for children in missionary families of the United Church of Canada.  For the next twenty-nine years, Adelaide McLaughlin offered her support through various means, financially, socially and advisory to the residents, Matrons and staff.

The final years of Lewellyn Hall were spent as the location of education and worship, after being purchased in 1948, by the Oshawa Hebrew Congregation, known as the Beth Zion Synagogue.  By 1952 the number Jewish families in Oshawa outgrew the space and the building was torn down to build a new synagogue, which still stands today.

This house nurtured many lives that crossed it’s threshold.  Built for the Guy Family and for fifteen years it was home to Colonel Sam and Adelaide McLaughlin and their five daughters and it was a home for Protestant missionary children and before its end was the core for education and worship.

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)

ArteFACTS – Oshawa’s First Steel Pan

By Melissa Cole, Curator

The Oshawa Museum recently received an incredible donation to our museum collection, a locally made Steel Pan/Drum.  This new artefact is a welcome addition to our collection as it supports our collection plan to encourage the collecting of artefacts that allow OM to engage with communities and cultures that are underrepresented in our existing collection.  Let’s take a look at this newly acquired artefact.

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Steelpans also known as steel drums or pans, when played collectively with other musicians, are known as a Steel Orchestra, also commonly known as a Steel Band.  A person that plays the Steelpan is called a pannist.

The steel drum accurately known as steel pan or pan, is part of the idiophone family of instruments and is actually not a drum, which is a membranophone.  They are the only instrument made to play in the Pythagorean musical cycle of fourths and fifths.  The pans are played with mallets, that have wooden handles and rubber ends.  The larger the size of drum, the larger the mallet head needs to be.

This particular steel pan was made and tuned by Carlyle Julal, who is a long-time member of Oshawa’s Club Carib.

Oshawa Caribs2

Not long after Club Carib got its start in 1966, they made a name for themselves by creating a steel orchestra.  Club Carib’s president at the time, George Kissoondath decided that their club needed something to celebrate Caribbean culture and bring it to Oshawa.  In 1971, Carlyle was approached with the idea of forming a steel band.  Carlyle, a native of Trinidad, West Indies had recently migrated to Canada.  As a steel band tuner, tutor and musical arranger, Carlyle was asked if he would consider forming a steel orchestra for the club.  With assistance from other Club members, they were able to obtain empty steel drums from the city dump.  At his home in Oshawa, Carlyle single handedly turned the empty steel drums from trash to treasure by creating musical instruments.

club_carib 1970s

The orchestra, known then as the “Oshawa Caribs,” had their first gig playing on a float in the 1971 Folk Arts Council parade, known today as the Fiesta Parade.  During the parade they stopped in front of Parkwood Estate to play Happy Birthday to R.S. McLaughlin who turned 100 that year.  After the parade they performed their inaugural performance which won them first prize at the parade!  They went on to other performances which included schools, shopping malls, church events and a formal recital at the Oshawa Public Library.   In 1996 the concept of another steel band for Club Carib re-emerged and the Oshawa Sounds of Steel was formed.  They continue to perform and entertain today at numerous fundraising and community and private events. Their most notable performances are during Fiesta Week at Club Carib’s Caribbean Nights pavilion and in the parade.

Lets take a look at the history and development of the steel pan.

First Pan

The instrument’s invention was a specific cultural response to the conditions present on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.  Steel pan history can be traced back to the enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands during the 1700s.  They carried with them elements of their African culture including the playing of the hand drums.  These drums became the main percussion instruments in the annual carnival festivities.

In 1877, the ruling British Government banned the playing of drums in an effort to suppress aspects of Carnival which were considered offensive.  Bamboo stamping tubes were used to replace the hand drums as they produced sounds comparable to the hand drum when they were pounded on the ground.  These tubes were played in ensembles called Tamboo-Bamboo bands.

Non-traditional instruments like scrap metal, graters and dustbins were also used in Tamboo Bamboo bands.   By the late 1930s these metal instruments dominated the Tamboo Bamboo bands.  During World War II, the British Colonial government banned Tamboo Bamboo bands and forced people to look for other ways to make merry.  During WWII Trinidad was a refueling station for the United States and Britain and readily available were steel drums.  Constant pounding on these drums against the flat end left an indentation and the sound changed.  Through experimentation, coincidence, trial and error and ingenuity on the part of numerous innovators, the metal pan bands evolved into the steel pan family of instruments.

Oshawa Caribs Midtown Mall 1972 Cropped

The steel pan is now the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, which is quite fitting for an instrument that was forged from the resilience of a people that were subjected to suppression and hardship.  If you are interested in discovering more about the Steel Pan, visit the Oshawa Museum’s exhibit: From Trash to Treasure: Oshawa’s First Steel Pan on display from February 27 until July 30 2018.


The steel pan was our featured artefact in January’s Podcast.  Visit our YouTube Channel for this and other video podcasts.