While there are several, earlier, unverifiable claims to the bicycle invention, the earliest verifiable claim is to a German inventor in the early 1800s. This simple mode of transportation has seen evolution, adaptations, and various safety enhancements through the years.
This post is inspired by photographs in our collection that feature bicycles and, coincidentally, is published a day before World Bicycle Day on June 3. So, in the famous words of Freddy Mercury, “Get on your bikes and ride!” Enjoy the read!
By Karen A., Visitor Host Born in Jackson Township, Stark County, Ohio, on May 28th 1840, Joseph Dick was a machinist in Oshawa from 1863 util 1874, later becoming a proprietor of his own business, Dick’s Agricultural Works, located in Canton, Ohio. What’s really interesting about Joseph is his patent from 1869 for the “improvement…
One of my current projects here in the archives is re-organizing our oversize photograph and document boxes. This will make finding photographs and documents much easier. Of course, going through these boxes sometimes brings about mysteries or excitement, especially when I find something that hasn’t been seen in some time.
One such document that made many of us here at the museum stop and look was a poster from the Jubilee Pavilion, advertising Ozzie Williams and his Orchestra. No one had seen the poster in some time, which led to the question, who was Ozzie Williams and his Orchestra, and what was his connection to the Jubilee Pavilion?
Ozzie Williams, writes the website The Toronto Historical Jukebox, started his career all the way back in the early 1930s. Williams made his name as a band leader leading orchestras at popular dance halls in Toronto, like the Kingsway Club and the Embassy.
The 1930s were the time of the “Big Band,” large orchestra-type bands that played jazz music. Big Bands enjoyed wide success through their radio work and public appearances, like in dance halls.
Thinking of dance halls, the Jubilee Pavilion has a special place amongst many residents of Oshawa. Built in 1927, it has served as the venue for many bands over their almost 100 years in service. Thanks to some sleuthing in the Toronto Star Archives through the Toronto Public Library, I learned that Williams played at the Jube in 1936. In his book, Let’s Dance: A Celebration of Ontario’s Dance Halls and Summer Dance Pavilions, Peter Young writes, “Big Bands were usually hired [at the Jube] for the whole summer, performing six nights per week, and would often stay in cottages very nearby… Some of the popular bands to perform at the Jube included Ozzie Williams, Stan Williams and His Blue Marines, Boyd Valleau, Jack Denton and Pat Riccio.”
From Young’s excerpt, we learn more of Williams’s time here in Oshawa. The fact that bands were hired for an entire summer explains why the poster has June, July, and August on the bottom. Also, that many bands stayed in cottages in Lakeview Park explains why we have a photograph of Williams in our Lowry Collection. The Lowry Lakeview Park Collection contains hundreds of photographs of Lakeview Park, mostly from the 1930s. In this photograph, Williams sitting with an individual named Georgie Robinson. We can assume that this photograph was taken when Williams lived in the Park
Although Williams’s entire life is still a mystery, his time here in Oshawa seemed rather busy, with many nights played at the Jube. I absolutely loved looking in Williams’s time here in Oshawa. All of this really gives us a snapshot at what nights were like at the Jube and the bands that played there.
Located in central Oshawa, there is a modest park named Sunnyside which features greenspace, a playground, a ball diamond, and a clubhouse. Many parks around the city have their names derived from streets they are located on or local people who are influential with the area development. I had never given much thought to the name of Sunnyside Park until summer 2022 when two instances came across my desk.
While digitizing a collection of glass plate negatives, our Registrar Kes came across references to Sunnyside. This collection was related to the Albert Street Church and the Mission associated with it. Established by Alfred Schofield as early as 1907, the mission was named Sunnyside. In a column that appeared in The Christian Guardian, Rev. Henry H. Manning talked about the mission and the people it served who are “living in a section of the town of Oshawa known as Sunnyside.” One thing that is unclear is if the area was known as Sunnyside before the mission, or if the area became known as Sunnyside due to the mission. There was a house on Stacey Street which was used for mission work and a Sunday School, and it was, reportedly, called Sunnyside Hall. Finally, there is one photograph in that collection of glass plate negatives which is identified as “Mission Park, Sunnyside, May 24.”
Shortly after learning about Sunnyside and the Albert Street Church, I came across the second instance of the name Sunnyside.
I was listening to a recorded interview with a man named Howard Stacey, the nephew of builder and Oshawa Mayor John Stacey. The interviewer asked him many questions about the building of Staceyville (the area around Olive Avenue), about the city’s growth through the years, and about his family.
To get more information about the neighbourhood around Olive, the interviewer asked, “Now was there a park in there called Summerside or Sunnyside?” and Mr. Stacey replied,
“Oh, Sunnyside. Sometimes it was called Sunnyside. After Staceyville some people got kind of fed up with Staceyville and… they elevated the name Sunnyside to get away from Staceyville. It was always some that felt they wanted Sunnyside instead of Staceyville, that’s the way it is.”
These seem to be the only two references to a ‘Sunnyside’ neighbourhood in the archives. There is scant information about the park in the Parks subject files, and there appears to be no information about the Sunnyside Neighbourhood Association.
While it might be unclear exactly when the Sunnyside Park began, in 1922, the Ontario Reformer reported “installation of some playground equipment in the new Sunnyside Park” was addressed at the inaugural meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners in 1922.
During the 1940s, there was talk of new playground equipment, courtesy of the Kinsmen Club and also talk of expanding the park, which was “referred to the Town Planning Commission for consideration” (Daily Times-Gazette, 29 Apr 1947, p 1).
In 1967, the Oshawa Times reported that Sunnyside Park was larger around the turn of the century than it was in the Centennial year as church league baseball was played there. It reportedly “extended both north and east of its present boundaries and included the area that is now Stacey Avenue, James Street and the portion of Drew Street, north of the ‘Olive Avenue Terraces.’”
Recently, the City of Oshawa announced plans to refurbish ten city parks, Sunnyside included, and proposed changes include replacement playground equipment, site furnishings, tree plantings, and naturalization areas.
Campbell, George H. “King’s Field, Sunnyside, Prospect, Neighborhood Parks Of Their Day.” Oshawa Times, June 24, 1967. 3G.
“Commission Will Ask Council For Half Mill To Improve The Parks.” Ontario Reformer, February 11, 1922. 1.
Manning, H. M. “A Needy Community—South Oshawa Mission.” The Christian Guardian, February 19, 1913. 28.
Pogue, Barry R. The Church With A Challenge: The Story of the South Oshawa Methodist Mission and Albert Street United Church. 1997.
One of the projects the Archives has been focusing on is digitization of the image collection. The reasons for this is twofold. The first reason is that digitization acts as a method of preservation. Creating a high resolution digital copy means that information will not be lost as the images starts to naturally degrade over time. The second purpose in digitizing the image collection is to allow easier access to the items.
Over the past six months, we have been working to digitize the glass plate collection. This collection is comprised of glass plate negatives, developed as part of early photograph methods which were used with early projection equipment such as “magic lanterns,” the popular term for 19th and early 20th century slide projectors. They are unrefined versions of modern-day slide projectors.
The images held on these glass plate slides are phenomenal in their clarity and their stability. If properly stored in individual enclosures protected from long term light exposure, these images are remarkably stable. They are, however, glass and thus must be handled with care.1
Digitizing the glass plates means that we can provide access to the amazing images while also limiting their handling and exposure to light. As we have been methodically working through each of the different collections, one stood out to me as being exceptionally interesting.
The series of slides, donated in 1996, showcases the Oshawa Creek around 1899, followed up by two images of Prospect Park. Constructed around 1865 by the Gibbs brothers, the estate consisted of a large three storey Victorian mansion with a mansard roof. When their business failed, the property passed through the hands of a Colonel Mulligan of Manitoba before being sold to Eli S. Edmondson, who named it Prospect Park.
Edmondson made the most notable improvements to the site, having the grounds landscaped and the gardens ornamented with fountains and coloured lights. He encouraged the public to visit his “park,” for a small fee, and provided ample entertainment for when they arrived. Guests could engage in lawn bowling, tennis, watch a game of lacrosse, or walk the grounds. It is this era of the estate that is documented on the glass plate slide.
The beautifully clear image on the slide shows the two of the gazebos constructed by Edmondson for the enjoyment of the paying public. The development of city parks boomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s.2 Early city parks were simply privately owned land made available, for a price, to the public. This model began to evolve, particularly in the post WWII period, and eventually became the publicly owned spaces that we enjoy today.
All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer
April 4, 1922, page 1 Albert St. Butcher Robbed of $100 John Hrcio, butcher who conducts a business at Albert and Jackson Streets, was the victim of a daring hold up last night about nine o’clock when a masked bandit calmly walked into his store and looted the cash drawer at the same time levelling a revolver at him.
Mr. Hrcio was preparing parcels to be delivered this morning when the stranger appeared on the scene and ordered him to throw up his hands. The bandit took all the cash, amounting to $100, from the drawer, and 26 cheques, which Mr. Hrcio had cashed for employees of the Ontario Malleable Iron Company, were also missing. The cheques were found this morning by a police officer lying on the floor, but the money had been stolen…
Page 4 Strict Rules to Govern Peddling Ice Cream Here If the decision of the Health Board Thursday night with regard to regulation of ice cream peddlers on the streets of Oshawa is carried out, those open air dispensers of ice cream cones will be few and far between in the town this summer. A communication was received from Mr. A.J. Holland asking for the renewal of his license to peddle ice cream this summer, promising that all sanitary regulations could be strictly lived up to. The inspector spoke very favourably of this application, but put his foot down on a number of foreigners who were in the business last year under conditions far from being conducive to the public health.
Health Reports Show Isolation Hospital Need The splendid work being done by the Public Health nurses was very favourably commented on by the members of the Board of Health at the regular meeting Thursday evening when the following report was presented by Miss B.E. Harris for the month of March:
Communicable diseases reported for March are as follows: Chicken Pox, 26; scarlet fever, 4; diphtheria, 1; erysipelas, 1; whooping cough, 1, making a total of 33…
It is of the scarlet fever cases one feels more concern. We have had 12 cases reported during February and March. This though not approaching an epidemic, has necessitated much concentrated work and strict quarantine to prevent the disease from spreading. We have had repeat cases in two homes, which brings home to us, so closely connected with diseases, the great important of an Isolation Hospital.
April 6, 1922, page 1 Music Assists in School Work In the Assembly Hall of the Oshawa High School Tuesday evening, public school teachers and parents assembled to hear what was perhaps one of the most unique and interesting demonstrations as to the true value of music in schools ever presented in Oshawa. The speakers were Mrs. May Shilling and Ethel McKee, representative of the Columbia graphophone Company, who illustrated their talks with the use of the graphonola.
Bell Telephone Co. Will Spend $31,000 Locally This Year on Extensions The Bell Telephone Company will this spring and summer expend the sum of $31,000 in Oshawa in the construction of new underground and aerial cables, with a view to meeting the telephone needs of the town for the next five years at least. The appropriation for Oshawa was passed recently.
The Bell Telephone Company has always regarded this town as one of promise and has expended much more money here in equipment and service than in many other places of like size and in many cases double the population…
April 8, 1922, page 1 Thornton Co. Send Firemen $789 to Show Appreciation To know that your work is thoroughly appreciated is probably one of the most encouraging experiences which one could have. The members of the Oshawa Fire Department yesterday found themselves in this position when Fire Chief Cameron received a letter from Mr. W.R. Morson, owner of the Thornton Rubber Company factory, at the time the large building was almost totally destroyed by fire, expressing his appreciation of their splendid service in trying to save the structure.
The letter contained three cheques, one for $174 to cover the expenses of Fireman E. Jones, who was severely injured and confined to his home for some weeks through blood poisoning, and a second for $65 covering loss of time through injury to Lieut. W.C. Culling, who was also injured at the fire and had blood poisoning. The third cheque was for the sum of $550, made payable to Fire Chief Cameron with the request that the money be distributed according to his wishes.
April 11, 1922, page 1 Oshawa Creek is Rising Rapidly Oshawa Creek this morning is a raging torrent on account of the heavy rain of last night and today. The water in the creek, it is said, has risen over a foot since eight o’clock this morning, and if it continues to rise will cover the flats before the day is out.
The filling in the new bridge is also giving way in several places…
Storm sewers today are working overtime and several cellars in the business section are already flooded. Of course the rain storm is a particularly heavy one, and would tax the capacity of any storm sewer system.
Page 4 Car Hits a Hole Glass Cuts Driver The sight of high smoke stacks, big buildings and the sign “Welcome to Oshawa” giving travellers along the Provincial Highway approaching Oshawa the impression of a modern metropolis, are deceiving in so far as good roads are concerns. This fact was vividly brought home to a well known official of the General Motors from London, England, who is in town this week. Motoring from Toronto this official as he approached Oshawa expected great things, but, alas, as he gazed up on the sign “Welcome to Oshawa” his car was thrown into a hole of terrible mud just at the end of the pavement. His hat was thrown in the air, his forehead cut, and it was with difficulty that the car was resurrected from the mire. This spot surely requires the attention of the Council forthwith.
April 13, 1922, page 1 Hebrews Locally Observe Feast of Unleavened Bread Began at Sunset Last Night and Continues Until Friday Services in Oshawa Are Being Held at Home of Rev. Rabbi Halpern Oshawa followers of the Jewish faith, in common with those throughout the world, began yesterday to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, known as the Passover, during which time they abstain from eating leaven in any form and in its stead use the Matzoth. Special services are being held at the home of Rev. Rabbi Halpern, 182 Simcoe Street South. The first were held yesterday, and today, and tomorrow morning and evening services are being held…
Candy Easter Eggs in Great Demand Chocolate Soldiers Introduced This Year – Use of Dyes Falling Off Stores in Oshawa, confectionery emporiums in particular, are looking unusually attractive for the Easter season. Easter eggs are to be found in large quantities, chocolate eggs being the most popular.
Some years ago, it was a custom for citizens of this country to boil eggs and paint them various colors for use at Easter by during the past 10 years, the candy egg has become more and more popular until the old custom has almost entirely disappeared.
April 18, 1922, page 4 Many People See Selves in Movies Local Factories, Schools, Workmen, Etc., Are Shown on the Screen Oshawa, its varied industries, business thoroughfares, public officials and prominent buildings, fire department, schools and many other activities, were shown in the movies at the New Martin Theatre Thursday, Friday and Saturday last in a film prepared by a moving picture company from Sydney, Nova Scotia. Hundreds saw the film and were delighted with it.
Every department of civic, industrial and educational life was shown as well. The factories included the General Motors, Pedlars, Fittings Limited, Williams Piano Company. All the schools with hundreds of children leaving them were thrown on the screen… The film showed the fire department in action, the religious side of the community in the people coming from Simcoe Street Methodist Church, the Rotary Club, lined up in front of Welsh’s parlors, the Mayor and members of the Council in front of the Town Hall, the news boys leaving the Reformer office with their papers, and many other scenes. The film can be utilized for advertising the town and will no doubt serve this purpose well.
The bad condition of the streets was the only regrettable feature of the whole film.
April 20, 1922, page 6 News of Nearby Places Columbus Reeve Ellins and Deputy Reeve Nesbitt and PG Purvis, clerk, attended the annexation meeting at Cedar Dale on Tuesday evening. The Reeve says if the terms laid down by East Whitby and Cedar Dale will be accepted by Oshawa, annexation will be possible in the near future.
Council Had Laugh On Mayor Stacey When members of the Town Council assembled for a meeting last night they found a rehearsal of the show “Jack’s Wife” in full progress in the legislative chamber. Someone pulled a good pun on the mayor. It was intimated to His Worship that the Council meeting was held up by Jack’s wife who was holding forth in the Town Hall. “What in the mischief is she doing up there?” he asked, thinking it to be his partner in life, and not knowing of the rehearsal of the show that is being put on for the Hospital benefit. His Worship’s colleagues had a good laugh on him.
April 25, 1922, page 3 Oshawa and District Big Garage Under Way TB Mothersill has under way the large garage being erected by Phillip Smith, of the Oshawa Iron and Metal Company. The excavation work is almost competed and brick and cement are on the ground. The garage will be used for the hosing of trucks used by the nompany (sic) on the road.
April 27, 1922, page 1 Only Ten Per Cent of Trees Failed to Survive the Winter Only ten per cent of the 2,500 trees planted last spring by Mr. GD Conant on his lakeside property, “Bonniebrae Point,” as part of a reforestation scheme, did not survive the summer and winter. This percentage is very low and demonstrates fully that reforestation in this county can be successfully carried out, as strongly advocated before the County Council by Reeve Owen Davies, of Uxbridge Township. Mr. Conant is planting another 1,000 trees this spring, and will continue the scheme. Water, light and telephone are also being constructed at Bonniebrae this spring and road improvement are being made.
Page 6 Those Income Tax Returns All those who are required to make out income tax papers are reminded that the returns must be filled out and filed not later than the end of the present month. A large number have called at the Post Office for the forms and many have been already sent in but it is expected that there will be a heavy last minute demand as there was last year.