The Month That Was – March 1926

The Ontario Daily Reformer
Bus Enters Ditch to Avoid Auto
March 4, 1926

Bus Owner Lays Charge Against C. H. Read for Recklessness

A Whitby-Oshawa bus ran into the ditch on the Kingston Road at Gibbons street shortly after seven o’clock this morning, when Harold Dalton, the driver, attempted to avoid striking a car driven by C. H. Read, 96 Gibbons street, when it turned on to the Kingston road off Gibbons street. The bus went on its side in the ditch. There were about 18 passengers in the bubs at the time, but none suffered injuries, outside of one man who sustained a scratched hand.

A charge of reckless driving has been laid against C. H. Read.


The Ontario Daily Reformer
At Local Theatres
March 4, 1926

Meighen in “Irish Luck” Opens at Regent Tonight

The famous Blarney Stone – heralded for many years in song, poem and Irish tale – has been kissed by Thomas Meighen, the Paramount star who went to Erin to make “Irish Luck,” the Emerald Isle romance which opens a three-day engagement at the Regent this evening.

Such an event in of sufficient importance as to have the exact time of its accomplishment recorded. Hence be it noted that the kissing took place at five minutes after two o’clock on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 1925.

The Blarney Stone is located, as everyone should know, at Blarney Castle…

“Irish Luck,” a romantic-drama against a background of modern Erin, has a swift-moving plot, suspense, thirlls and heart-interest – and more – it has Tom Meighan in a duel role. Tom Geraghty adapted the story from Norman Venner’s Saturday Evening Post serial, “An Imperfect Imposter.” Victor Heerman directed the production, which features Lois Wilson at the head of a strong supporting cast.

Arthur Stone in a rollicking comedy creation and “Call of the Game,” a short sports film will be added attractions as will Sam Collis and his Regent orchestra.

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The Ontario Daily Reformer
Second Annual High School Play
March 4, 1926

Those Taking Part Are Working Hard To Make It A Great Success

On Friday evening of this week the students of the Oshawa High School are presenting their second annual play and concert in the auditorium of the school. The first part of the entertainment will consist of selections by the Glee Club of the school. The club have been practicing faithfully and well since early fall and under the able tuition of Mr. Lyonde of the Hambourg Conservatory of Music have developed wonderfully. This part of the programme will be made up of solos, duets, quartets, and choruses and should be highly entertaining.

The second part of the evening’s entertainment will take the form of a play put on by students of the school. In the presenting of plays the local students have won themselves a place in the hearts of Oshawa people by their stellar work in the comedy “Mr. Bob,” which was put on last year. Probably no play given by amateur talent in Oshawa has attracted more favorable criticism and well-deserved applause than this play and on their reputation won last year the students should have a large audience on Friday night.

…The play is being directed by Ms. Adams who was in charge of last year’s production and o whom much of the credit for the excellent showing of the students last year was due. The details regarding costumes and setting are in the hands of Miss Tuttle, MissArmstrong and Mr. Holme, all members of the High School staff who had charge of this work in the presenting of “Mr. Bob.”

The principal parts are being taken as follows: Mr. Pickwick, Maurice Hutchinson; Mrs. Bardell, Miss M. Hart; Mrs. Cluppins, Miss M. Anderson; Mrs. Sanders, Miss L. Mundy; Mr Winkle, Donald Crothers; Sergent Buzzfuzz, Manning Swartz; Sergeant Snubbins, Hartland Callaghan; the Judge, Irwin Deyman, and the Clerk, James Kinnear.

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The Oshawa Junior Reformer
Children Help Children
March 6, 1926

We wish to call the attention of all our readers to the special article (on the front page of this issue by Mr. George Speedie of Toronto, Superintendent of the Missionary Department of the Upper Canada Tracts Society’s Mission to Soldiers, Sailors, and Lighthouse Keepers etc.

I am sure all of young Oshawa feel proud to have had the chance to bring happiness to so many people and to merit the hearty thanks of Mr. Speedie.

Everyone of us knows the pleasure to be gotten from the reading of books. Living, as we do, with well-stocked libraries at hand we cannot realize what it is like to be without books and magazines to read.

To my mind, the most pleasing feature of this donation of books by the girls and boys of Oshawa is that a great many of the books have been given by girls and boys to girls and boys.

This readiness to help others is what we admire. A.S.


The Oshawa Junior Reformer
St. Gregory’s School Rink
March 6, 1926

The boys of St. Gregory’s School made a fine little rink which was enjoyed by not only by our own school but also by others. There were many hockey games played on it. In some of the games, the players looked like professionals. But some of the smartest games were those played by the Primary Classes; in one game the latter won by a close score, after a hard fought game.

The girls also enjoyed the rink. They held a skating party on Feb. 8, and skated until they were tired. Then they went to the hall where they were served a lunch. At last, they returned home tired but happy after their outing.


The Oshawa Junior Reformer
Games to Play and Tricks to Preform
Edition 06, March, 1926

A Magic Trick

This clever mathematical trick, by which you can tell the month and the year of a person’s birth, will startle many of your friends says “The American Boy Magazine” Tell your friend to put down the number of the month in which he was born, multiply it by two, then add five, multiply by fifty, add his age, subtract 365, and then add 115. The two figures on the right will tell you his age, the REMAINDER will be the number of the month of his birth. For example, if the total is 615, he is fifteen years old and was born in June.

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Getting Dressed, the Victorian Way!

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordonator

We recently hosted some grade 2/3 students from a local school to participate in our Day in the Life of a Victorian Child program. This allows kids to experience some of the chores and learn some of the rules that applied to kids in the Victorian Era. This time we were able to change up the program with the implementation of three new activities.


Patty lacing Jill into the corset

Now that we have our loom in the Henry house kitchen set up, the students were able to see how Lurenda and the girls turned fleece into yarn and then yarn into cloth. They also had an imaginary $20 to create an outfit from our reproduction 1901 Eaton’s catalogue and saw what it took to dress a Victorian lady.


Pettycoat #2 being tied

Our in-house Costumer was on hand to dress me up in ten different layers of basic clothing – stockings, knickers, chemise, corset, corset cover, petticoat, overskirt, bustle, undersleeves and bodice and skit. If I were getting dressed to go out in the winter weather, there would have been more layers! I had so much fun doing this. It is definitely something we will be incorporating into more programs!


Jill is ready in her Victorian finest

For more information about educational programs at the Oshawa Museum, please check out our Education Catalogue, or give us a call at the Museum (905-436-7624 x 106)!

Where the Streets Get Their Names – Columbus Road

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Located north of the recently opened 407 East Extension is the Village of Columbus and Columbus Road.  As one might imagine, this east-west artery in north Oshawa takes its name from the Village of Columbus, however, this hasn’t always been its name. The 1877 Atlas of Ontario County refers to this street as Church Street (a name still in use through the 1980s) and the Concession between 6 & 7, and for many years, it was simply known locally as Concession 7.

1895 Atlas - Columbus Detail

1895 County of Ontario Atlas map of Columbus; note the main east-west road is named ‘Church Street’

Understanding the history of this street name and its changes requires an understanding of municipal changes through the years, namely the fact that in 1974, the Township of East Whitby was annexed by the City of Oshawa. In the 1980s, the City was undertaking a review of street names, prompted by the expansion of emergency and 911 services.  During this process, a number of streets were found repeated in the former East Whitby Township and City of Oshawa.  It’s a wee bit problematic when emergency services are needed, and it is unclear if they are needed at Alma Street by the hospital or Alma Street in Raglan.  At this time, the City of Oshawa decided to name previously unnamed concession roads, and it was recommended that these names are consistent with surrounding municipalities (if applicable).  The Town of Whitby was already calling this road Columbus Road, and in the late 1980s, the City of Oshawa officially adopted this name as well.

Here is a history of the village through which Columbus Road traverses.


In the early 1830s, European settlement began in this area.  Because a large number of these settlers originated from England, the first name for the hamlet was English Corners.  In 1850, when applying for a post office, the community’s name changed to Columbus. Despite knowing the when, we do not know why the name Columbus was chosen.


‘Main Street North, Columbus, ON,’ from the Oshawa Museum postcard collection

Columbus was a thriving and busy rural centre throughout the 1850s, boasting four stores, three blacksmiths shops, two carpenter shops, four shoe shops, two tailor shops, two dressmaking shops, a harness shop, and two cooperages.  Industry was also in the area with a tannery located a quarter mile north of village, a flour mill, two asheries, and the Empire woolen mill, which employed 45 people.  Finally those passing through could find respite at one of the village’s four inns.


Empire Woolen Mills near Columbus, c. 1883 (AX995.169.1)

With the creation of the County of Ontario in the 1850s, Columbus was named the seat of East Whitby Township.  The first council of the Township was established in 1853, and the town hall was constructed in 1859.  Between 1850 and 1870 the population of the Village of Columbus grew from 300 inhabitants to 500.


Columbus Presbyterian (United) Church, which still stands today

Like many other rural hamlets, Columbus was home to four churches, Presbyterian, Bible Christian, Methodist and Anglican, and they were overflowing their doors on Sundays. The Columbus Presbyterian Church became the Columbus United Church in the mid 1920s, and the building which was constructed in 1873, still stands today.  Children of Columbus were at School Section no. 6, or the Columbus school.  It was first built built in 1878, and in 1930, a new school was built in its place.


Columbus School, c. 1910 (A982.45.5)

In the early 1970s, Columbus was annexed to to the City of Oshawa, and the community has continued to adapt and thrive, although it has faced some adversity as well.  In the late 2000s, there was a push by many residents to have boundaries adjusted and become a part of the Town of Whitby, but this ultimately was rejected by both municipalities.  There was further fear to how the Highway 407 extension would impact the rural nature of the community, however, over a year after its opening, Columbus is still a vibrant and valued community in our City.


Columbus Town Hall, built in 1859, restored in 1967 as a Centennial project.  Photo taken at Doors Open Oshawa 2014


Oshawa Museum Archival Collection: Columbus File (0029 / 0001 / 0004).

Oshawa Museum Archival Collection: Streets File (0024 / 0001 / 0023).

Oshawa Historical Society, Historical Oshawa Information Sheet, ‘Columbus’.

“‘English Corners’ At First Columbus Dates to 1850,” Oshawa Times, June 24, 1967.

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.

017.12.1a, b, c, d_3

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.

Student Museum Musings – Nicole and Mary

This semester, we are happy to host two students from Durham College’s Library and Information Technician program who are able to get hands-on experience in the workplace while offering valuable assistance where we need the help.  Read on to meet Nicole and Mary!


Hello, my name is Nicole Bray and I am a second year student in the Library and Information Program at Durham College.  I chose to have a field placement at the Oshawa Museum & Archives after I saw Jennifer’s presentation for one of my classes.  She made working at the archives sound fun and interesting.  And everyone has certainly lived up to my first impression.  At the moment I am working on the Education in Oshawa e-publication.  It’s really interesting to read up about all the different schools that were once in Oshawa.  I look forward to the rest of the time I’ll spend here at the Archives.


Hello all! My name is Mary Sherlock and I am a 2nd year Durham College student in the Library and Information Technician program. This is my last year in the program and I am excited for what the future may bring! I am here as a placement student in the archive and am loving every second of it so far! I have a great love for history, especially Canada’s history, which makes me all the more excited for my time here. This placement will  give me a great opportunity to see if working in an archive or museum setting is something I wish to do after I graduate, also to gather as much educational experience as possible to apply towards school, work, and life.

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Durham LIT Students on a Fall visit to the Oshawa Museum