Happy Birthday Sir John A!

January 11 marks the birthday of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander Macdonald.  He was born in Scotland, raised in Kingston, and made political waves in Ottawa, and throughout the Dominion of Canada.  While Prime Minister, he saw the country grow both in population and in geography.  He was not without scandal, however he remains the second longest serving Prime Minister in Canadian history, second only to William Lyon Mackenzie King.

In honour of his 199th birthday, raise a glass (of whatever your drink of choice might be), to one of our Fathers of Confederation!  Happy Birthday Sir John A!

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, c. 1868, from Library and Archives Canada
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, c. 1868, from Library and Archives Canada
Macdonald's gravesite, Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston.  The simple stone cross marker for Sir John A.  A historical plaque and Canadian flag have been placed in his honour.
Macdonald’s gravesite, Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston. The simple stone cross marker for Sir John A. A historical plaque and Canadian flag have been placed in his honour.
A960.19.4 - Letter in the Oshawa Community Archives Collection, from Macdonald to Thomas N. Gibbs, MP from Oshawa.
A960.19 .4 – Letter in the Oshawa Community Archives Collection, from Macdonald to Thomas N. Gibbs, MP from Oshawa.

The Month That Was – January 1922

An Epochal Event in Ontario’s history

January 3, 1922

Ontario has reason to feel justly proud, when on Wednesday last, the first great generator of the Chippewa canal instillation responded to the water power released by the combined effort of Primer Drury and Miss Marion Beck. It was an even prouder moment for the fearless hydro protagonist, Sir Adam Beck, and the army of young Canadian engineers who conceived the daring development and carried it to completion.


The Railways of Canada draw to your attention the new Railway rates!

January 3, 1922

For passengers
The advance on sleeping and parlor car tickets authorized in 1920 has been cut in half- the advanced made on ordinary fares at that time having been completely taken off many months ago.

For shippers
The percent of advance granted to the Railways in 1920 has been reduced ten points, in addition to a five point drop at the first year.


Making vehicular traffic safe

January 3, 1922

Toronto rate payers emphatically stated on Monday that they desire the city council of that city to pass a by-law providing that all vehicles must show lights at night.


More Births, Infant deaths lowered

January 5, 1922

The numbers of infants who died in 1921 under the age of one year was 69, as compared with 80 the previous year, a substantial and encouraging decrease, due largely to the work being carried on by the baby clinics.


Chevrolet Dealers in annual session

January 7, 1922

Chevrolet Motor Car Company sales and service men from all over Canada particularly the eastern provinces, were in conference in Oshawa this week for three days at the company’s head quarters. The conference was the most successful and most enthusiastic ever held by the men who not only sell Chevrolet cars but who recognize it as their duty to keep them running.


Place New Rails on Simcoe St. In Early Spring

January 12, 1922

The Oshawa Railway Company, Early in the spring, or as soon as the snow goes, will commence laying new rails the entire length of Simcoe Street. The present 60-pound rails in service for many years will be replaced by 80-pound best quality steel rails, found necessary to take care of the heavy and increased traffic of the past few years.


Dancing in high schools

January 17, 1922

Collegiate and High school Boards in several cities and towns have been engaged in discussing in recent weeks, according to press reports, the desirability of allowing dancing in the institutions of learning. In some places the ban has been placed on dancing in high schools. In other places, including Oshawa, dancing is permitted at student gatherings.


Young Ministers must be trained

January 17, 1922

“The most important problem of today is the development of Christian character and in working to this end the most important step is the training of our young men for the ministry” said Rev. Dr. Barber.


No Help yet Given to Unmarried men

January 17, 1922

Although there are quite a number of single men in Oshawa out of work in dire straits, no relief has as yet been extended to them by the Oshawa Community Welfare Association.


Would walk rope over Niagara

January 26, 1922

A young English girl announces that she is coming to Canada to duplicate Bondins feat of walking over Niagara Falls on a tight rope. 

The Month That Was – December 1864

During the month of December in 1864, Oshawa’s newspaper would display ads with the word Christmas incorporated as their main attraction. Companies such as Breminer & Urquhart and Murdoch brothers used Christmas as a way to sell their products and to raise their sales. Whether the products are foods or books, in December of 1864 the products became Christmas foods or gifts. Like today people would need to put their summer clothes away and start bundling up. While looking through the 1864 paper it was not hard to come across the companies who were selling cloths best suitable for the fall and winter seasons that would go for about 95 cents per yard. Some companies such as Wood & Bros would accept trades rather than a direct money charge. Not only was the Oshawa newspaper displaying ads on Christmas specials and seasonal cloths, it also displayed skates for sale so people could skate as a winter pass time. Skates were prided on being self adjusted and the companies would often increase the superiority of their skates by referring to them as exclusive. In the winter season the paper began publishing articles related to the season, such as the common cold. An article about the common cold was published in the paper December 7th, 1864. This article explained that colds were caused by one’s own carelessness and a way to explain how to prevent a cold was to stay away from a cool draft. The common cold was not yet identified in the 1860’s so for the people of the time there was still a lot of mystery surrounding this sickness. In conclusion December of 1864 would have been a time for advertising and sales, and a time of discovering the mysteries of effects that the changing of the season has on one’s self.


Here is a sampling of the headlines:


Oshawa December 20th 1864

Hurrah for Murdoch Brothers

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for all!

Murdoch brothers have received a splendid lot of layer, bunch, Valencia and Sultana Raisins.

Currants , Figs, preserved Ginger, preserved Peaches, Quinces, Candid Lemon, Orange, and Citron Peel, Soft Shell Almonds, Pickles, Sauces, Lobsters, Sardines, Chocolate, Cocoa, Choice Teas, Pure Coffee, And everything which can assist in making the Christmas Merry and the New Year Joyous.

Hurrah for Murdoch Brothers
Hurrah for Murdoch Brothers


Oshawa December 21st 1864

Books for Christmas

J.F WIllex, Bookseller,

Opposite the post office, Oshawa, has just received a new and assortment of Photograph Albums, Pew and Pocket Bibles. Also the Poetical works of Milton, Pope, Byron, Rurn Lougfellow, Cowper, Monigomery, Campbell, Coleridge and others in elegant gift bindings.


Oshawa December 21st 1864

Christmas- We hope all our friends will enjoy a merry Christmas. It comes on a Sabbath this year, but we understand that all business places will be closed on Monday, so that all hands may enjoy themselves as usual. Our advertisements columns contain a number of seasonable announcements.


1864 ad

The making of flash back photographs

By Kelley, Winter Term Co-op Student

In life we recognize the big picture when it comes to change. We know the museums were once lived in by families, but we never realize all of the little things that are changing. People are usually fixated on tasks, things that need to get done, and places where they need to be. While looking through the archive photographs of Oshawa’s past I came across several pictures of people who have contributed to the museum, people who have enjoyed the lake, the houses before renovations and renovations in progress.

Guy House, then and now
Guy House, then and now

My task was essentially to take the old and emerge it with the new. The idea was to take a past photograph and present photograph of the same scenery and show the changes by using a bit of each photo and making it into one photograph using an editing software called Adobe Photoshop. Whether it was construction or a couple canoeing on the lake, my job in a sense was showing what once was and showing that how things are today was not always the way it is, because everything has a beginning.

In order to complete this final photograph I first had to take a look through the historical photos of the museums and close by locations. The old photographs all appeared familiar to me, the locations became apparent right away along with the old features that have now been modified. It was almost ghostly seeing people on the lakeshore in the older photographs. I’m at the lake almost every day but who knows where those people’s lives took them.

Once I had finished collecting pictures of locations I could match, I went to each location of the historical photograph displayed and tried to match the angel and direction of the photographer who took the photo. Doing so involved constant looking back and forth from the photograph and the camera lens.

A day at the lake
A day at the lake

After taking the new photographs of the old photographs I then could start emerging them together on Photoshop.  When I opened Photoshop I placed in the new photograph and put it to the appropriate size, I then placed in the old photograph in a new layer which overlapped the new photograph.  For those who have never used Photoshop, a layer allows you to make changes to the photo in that layer without affecting any other photos that you have opened which are in their own separate layers. You can rearrange layers to bring some layers forward and other layers backward.

Matching the photographs was tricky. I had to constantly resize and rotate until everything lined up.  I then could go in and take away parts of the old photograph using the lasso tool. The lasso tool is used for selecting an area of the photograph in your layer. When I used the lasso tool to select the areas which I did not want showing in my final product, I pressed delete which crops out the selected area allowing the backward layer to show threw.

For most of my photos I deleted areas all around a house leaving only the old house left to then place it into position to fit into the new scenery. Taking that as an example, when the house was the only thing left I would then again resize it to match the size of the present picture house. When resizing it is important to hold down on the shift button on your keyboard and then with your mouse move the corner of your photo to enlarge or to make the photo smaller in size. Doing this will ensure that the photograph stays natural to size and the photograph does not appear stretched or elongated making the quality very poor.

So to recap, the old photograph was placed over the new photograph, the old photographs scenery was taken out using the lasso tool which caused the old photographed house visible and now the new photograph scenery visible, the old photographed house was placed over top of the new photographed house and resized using the shift button to perfectly a line the old photograph and the new photograph.

Henry House, 1960 and 2013
Henry House, 1960 and 2013

Now that everything is in place and the old and new photos are emerged creating a realistic and identical appeal of a unified final piece there are many final options. One of the options is to adjust the brightness, levels, contrast etc of your layers. To adjust your layer, you would click image on the top bar, which will then have a list of other options, from there you will see the option of adjustments, once you click on adjustments there will be yet another list giving the options to change the brightness, levels, contrast etc of your photograph placed in the layer you have currently selected. Changing something such as brightness will make your over all photograph look like one unified photograph. For example, if your 1st layer was very dark and your 2nd layer was very light, then it will look like it’s been copied and pasted. If you change your 1st layer to appear lighter, then both layers will be light so it looks like it fits together a lot better.

Another option is to add a border. One way to make a boarder is to click on your rectangle tool which is on the side bar, and to fill it with a colour of your choice. Once you have customized your options, you will click and drag your rectangle till it fits the width of your layer. After this step, you would then click on rectangle marquee tool, also shown on the side bar, and with that tool select the rectangle that you have just made. Once you have selected your rectangle, right click copy and then right click paste. Doing so will duplicate your rectangle which you can then move to the top width to have an even measurement. Do this 2 more times to get the other 2 sides of your layer.

An option which I selectively chose to do was to add text. To add text, all you have to do is click on the horizontal type tool which is shaped like a T on the side bar and to then click on the area in which you’d like to type. You have many options to change the text, size and placement. If you don’t like the options you chose, all you would have to do is double click what you have typed and then change your options to your liking.

When I had finished my final product and added my last touches of borders, contrast and text I was then ready to click save as, and to select to save my photograph as a JPEG. If I was to save as a Photoshop file, my edited photograph would open in Photoshop every time I would go to view the photo. Saving as a JPEG makes it so that when I double click my photo to view it, it would open in Microsoft Office picture manager so I can view and share it at any time.

Verna Conant; she was originally walking into Robinson House in the mid-1960s, but here she is, walking into Robinson House today
Verna Conant; she was originally walking into Robinson House in the mid-1960s, but here she is, walking into Robinson House today

Making the flash back photos over all was really fun. I was able to use Adobe Photoshop which I really enjoy using to create a way for people to look into the past while also acknowledging the present. I was able to add my own style of a scrapbook feel while also making realistic sceneries. There was a lot of hard work, revising and feedback that went into making the flash back photographs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

‘European War’ Stereographs

The Victorians were ahead of the game when it comes to the latest trend of 3-D entertainment.  Before you needed sill glasses to view all the summer blockbusters, and before the even sillier blue and red eyed glasses, there was the Stereoscope, all the rage in trendy Victorian Parlours.

963.14.1abc - Stereoscope
963.14.1abc – Stereoscope

The stereoscope was a devise that allowed the viewer to see 3-D images.  Stereoscopic cards would have two nearly identical images side by side, and when viewed through the stereoscope, our eyes would view the images as one, and certain elements would become 3-D.  Remember when you were a kid and you had the plastic ViewMaster?  The stereoscope worked the same way.

A998.21.1ab - European War Stereograph Collection
A998.21.1ab – European War Stereograph Collection

In 1998, the Oshawa Community Archives received a fascinating collection of Stereographs.  They were published by Underwood and Underwood in New York, and these 22 cards were housed in a brown case, labeled ‘European War.’  Depicted on the cards are various scenes from World War I, and the images range from stoic to devastating.  A harsh reminder that war is bitter and real.  It does not care for nationality, religion, or status.  War devastates.

A selection from the collection.  Some images may be disturbing to the reader.  Please be advised.

A998.21.2a - Stereoview - Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London
A998.21.2a – Stereoview – Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London
A998.21.2d - Stereoview - Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France
A998.21.2d – Stereoview – Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France
A998.21.2h - Stereoview - Canadian artillery proceeding to the front
A998.21.2h – Stereoview – Canadian artillery proceeding to the front
A998.21.2n - Stereoview - 'And now we lie in Flanders Field', Vallee Foulon, France
A998.21.2n – Stereoview – ‘And now we lie in Flanders Field’, Vallee Foulon, France
A998.21.2t - Stereoview - Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis
A998.21.2t – Stereoview – Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis





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