The Month That Was – February 1922

Library Receives Donation of Books
February 2, 1922
Oshawa public library has received from Mr. F. W. Cowan a splendid contribution of about 100 books, and these are being placed on the shelves this week. The books include a complete set of British Classics, 24 volumes, a complete set of the works of Humboldt, eminent scientists, also the works of Alexander Dumas.
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A Real Remedy for Falling Hair
February 2, 1922
Here’s good news for all the men and woman whose hair is falling out, who are growing bald and have scalps covered with dandruff that itch like mad. Any good druggist can now supply you with the genuine Parisian sage (liquid form) whom is guaranteed to quickly, surely and safely abolish every sign of dandruff, stop itching scalp and promote a new growth or money refunded.


Is The Average Life Longer Than It Used To Be?
February 2, 1922
It has been said that due to the efforts and discoveries of modern medical scientists that the average life has been lengthened by four years. If so we can easily realize what great improvements must have been made in medicines.


Healthier Without Liquor
February 11, 1922
The New York Times reports the conclusion of 37 leadings American insurance companies that the year 1921 was the healthiest year in the history of both the United States and Canada. The figures for the first ten months indicate a lowering of the death rate among policy holders from 9.8 in 1920 to 8.24 in 1921. Despite the absence of liquor, pneumonia decreased 50 percent.


The Boy and the Movies
February 11, 1922
A Chicago survey found that the students who attended the movies oftenest were those who stood lowest in their classes, which shows that when the movies meet mathematics in direct competition, it is the latter which suffer most. The blame is less on that of the films than of the fathers. The latter appear to have forgotten that, even in the highly individualistic age among the juniors, discipline and authority are still possible and practical.


For the first time the Canadian Pacific Railway carried snow as freight when it transported several carloads from Lake Louise to Calgary, where it was needed for the ski jumping in connection with the Winter Carnival.

150 Local Men at Work on Sewer
February 14, 1922
There are now 150 men engaged on the Westmount sewer and pipe laying on the Base Line with a weekly pay roll of about $2500. A large number of men have been employed so that the work may progress rapidly during frosty weather which is a help to excavation work, and also to give every unemployed man possible a job.


Beware of Chill Perils of a “Cold”
February 16, 1922
A chill is one of those sudden attacks of illness in which it is most emphatically the first steps that count, says a medical writer in London, England.

Since nobody can say how far the initial shivering fit may develop or how it may end, first aid of an intelligent kind is of as much importance in such a case as it would be I a serious accident. Hence everybody should possess the knowledge that will enable them to nip the bud what might result in a server illness.


Baptist Church Re-Opens After Fire
February 16, 1922

Oshawa’s Baptist Church, archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A010.7.11)

After fifty years of continuous use of their present Church auditorium on King Street East as a place of worship, Oshawa Baptists, a few weeks ago, on account of a fire were deprived the use of the auditorium and were obliged to use the Sunday school rooms for regular Sunday services. With all the trace of fire removed, the auditorium freshly painted and re-decorated, and a new furnace installed, the church was re-opened again on Sunday the last.





Above are the leading figures of the great wedding, which has set the empire talking, and which was solemnized this morning in Westminster Abby. In the center panel is the King and Queen, the officiating clergyman and Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles. The other ladies are the bridesmaids. This is the first time in over one hundred years a King’s daughter has been married.

Oshawa in 1867

What was our community like 150 years ago?


In 1867, the people of Canada were participating in the growth of a new country.  They were concerned with the Confederation Bill, Fenian Raids, as well as George Brown representing reform.  Oshawa was still a village in 1867, and the people in it had a strong interest in the politics and events which happened outside of the community as evidenced by the news stories found in the Oshawa Vindicator.  The newspaper always reported what was happening within the community so that everyone could remain informed about upcoming and past events or notes of interest.


Many of the villagers of Oshawa played an active role in the January 7th council election in the community.  During Election Day there were a number of close calls for electors who were voting for either S.B. Fairbanks or W.D. Michael, the two candidates for the Reeveship.  A number of electors had to climb over fences and through windows in order to cast their votes for either candidate before the polling booth closed and votes were counted.  Silas Fairbanks won his campaign for Reeve with 175 votes while W.D. Michael became Deputy Reeve with 172 votes.  E.B. Wilcox, J.W. Fowke and D.F Burk were elected as councillors.  D.F. Burk withdrew after being elected and Mr. Wall took his place.


Within the community, people were close knit and participated in numerous socials and activities that were planned by various groups and organizations.  For instance, the Mechanics Cornet Band secured the services of an instructor and leader and then canvassed the village for funds and encouraged honorary members to join for 30 cents per month.  The money would help pay for music, uniforms and instruments.  Not only did the Mechanic Cornet Band begin in 1867, but the Young Men’s Christian Association was also started.  A meeting was called for September 6th, for young men of Protestant denomination to get together for the purpose of organizing the new YMCA in Oshawa.  On one occasion there were so many people at the social held at Mr. Pake’s home that the floor gave way.  Luckily a cellar did not exist below the floor so that it only dropped by a foot.  There were few injuries.  On other occasions there were musical evenings planned.  One such evening was held at the Son’s Hall where solos, duets and quartets were performed.  Vocal and instrumental demonstrations were also performed by Oshawa’s best amateurs.  The highlight of that particular evening was an account of his life given by P. Benson Sr. through the use of illustrated panoramic views.  It must also be noted that throughout the numerous socials and other events held in Oshawa, the 34th Battalion and the volunteer militia were constantly kept ready for active service against the threat of an attack by Fenians.

On August 15, 1867 citizens were able to participate in the excursion of the season.  A boat ride aboard the Corinthian which started in Colborne, picked up passengers in Oshawa at 7:15 a.m., and arrived in Niagara Town at 10:00 a.m.  At this stop the passengers boarded a train to take them to Niagara Falls.  Passengers then had a number of hours to pursue the many entertainments available at the Falls.  At 4:15 p.m. they reboarded the train and were steaming towards Charlotte by 5:00 p.m.  They arrived in Charlotte at 10:00 p.m. and eventually arrived back in Whitby by 5:00 a.m.  This trip was advertised as a moonlight sail on Lake Ontario.  Single tickets were $1.50 and double tickets were $2.50.

Joseph Hall Works, Archival Collection of the Oshawa Museum (A987.25.3)

Oshawa also became renown through the industriousness of members of its manufacturing community.  W.H. Pellow and A.M. Walton, who opened a general hardware business in 1867, also manufactured a cheese vat which won a special prize at the Provincial Exhibition.  The Joseph Hall Works manufactured the Gordon Printing Press, which by the end of 1867 was winning admirers from various community printers outside of Oshawa.  As part of the early closing movement merchants entered into an agreement to close places of business at 7:00 p.m. throughout the year except in June, July and August when the businesses would remain open until 7:30 p.m.

There were a few fires and other accidents in the village.  In December slight tremors were felt from an earthquake that affected the eastern portion of the Dominion and New York.  There was a heavy snow storm at the end of April as well as a lightning storm which destroyed the chimney, stove and some windows in the home of John Sykes.  Mr. Atkinson, the druggist, reported the temperatures everyday from outside his store.  On Saturday August 18, it was 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Simcoe Street Methodist (United) Church, from the Archival Collection of the Oshawa Museum

New businesses such as the general hardware business of W.H. Pellow and A.M. Walton opened.  Buildings such as the new Methodist Church, on Simcoe Street, were built to accommodate the growing population of Oshawa, which in 1867 was 3 500.

Dominion Day in 1867 was a relatively quiet affair in Oshawa, even though it had been designated as a celebration of Confederation for the country.  The day started with the firing of guns and ringing of bells and many houses flew flags.  A picnic was held later in the day at Cedar Dale for those people of the community who did not go elsewhere to places such as the town of Whitby to celebrate.

Above taken from Historical Oshawa Information Sheet

The Oshawa Vindicator, January 2, 1867.  Vol. XII, No. 18 to December 25, 1867.  Vol. XIII, No. 17.


The Month That Was – January 1967

All news items taken from The Oshawa Times, various dates

Pearson Lights Flame

OTTAWA (CP)- Prime Minister Pearson lit a commemorative flame on  Parliament Hill Saturday night to mark the opening of Confederation Centennial Celebrations while hundreds of Ottawans stood in deep snow, craning their necks to see.

A cheer went up from the crowd when, after a moment’s hesitation, the flame caught fire in a low round foundation featuring the coats of arms of the provinces and northern territories.

The Queen, in an address filmed and recorded several weeks earlier, said the 100th anniversary of the union of the original provinces     by the British North America Act of 1867 should mark the beginning of another century as creative and inspiring as Canada’s first.

In this address, Mr. Pearson said the start of the centennial year is “a time of measure, with grateful hearts, the achievements of our past.”

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The First 100 Years

Fireworks burst in a spectacular display over the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, one of the Fathers of Confederation. A crowd estimated at 12,000 gathered in Queen’s Park in front of the Ontario legislative building New Year’s Eve as Toronto marked the start of the Centennial year.

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Oshawa To Share Fully In Centennial Highlights

Oshawa citizens will have the opportunity of sharing in many of the national extravaganzas of the Centennial celebrations. Late in February the famous Canadian folk ensembles, Les Feux Follets, will perform here. In April the colorful National Military Tatto will be a major attraction at the Civic Auditorium. The National Ballet Company is a Centennial highlight in May. The Confederation Caravan will roll into Oshawa for 10 days in August.

These are but some of the “spectaculars” which will bring home to Canadians the significance of the Centenary and of the achievements of our country in the first 100 years. Locally and throughout the country, a virtual limitless list of programs and projects are taking shape to spotlight the past accomplishments and present the talent of our citizens of this important region in the development of Canada.

The national activity and the speeches of the first few days of Centennial Year have certainly served to spark excitement in even the most conservative of Canadians that this year is something special, indeed extraordinary, in our country. It will be impossible not to become caught up in the enthusiasm of the events.

In the national observance, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is already showing praise worthy inclination of serving the purpose for which its founders planned. In its coverage of Centennial events, in the opportunity it is giving all Canadians a listen to their leaders and catch the thrill and sentiment of their words, the corporation can be a wonderful force for unity and national awareness in this auspicious year.

Unfortunately, the CBC still manages somehow to seek out those Canadians who can’t identify, who continue to ask “who are we?” the best rejoinder cam the other night from a youngster who had spent the day watching Centennial Celebrations and listening to Centennial speeches. He also listened for a moment to a commentator bewailed “our lack of identity”

“What’s the matter with that fellow?” the youngster asked. “Doesn’t he know Canadians are the greatest!”

This is the spirit the Centenary should foster- and show every indication of accomplishing – in Canadians in Oshawa, in Gaspe, in Duke Land and on Vancouver Island.


“Pat Too,” druggist Cliff Cross’ beagle puppy didn’t take long before learning that her master’s soda fountain at Rockland, Maine, was the proper place to get a drink. The pup, which was a Christmas gift replacing another “Pat” manages a straw nicely.


U.K. Press Urges Repeal Of Royal Marriages Act
LONDON (AP) – Three London newspapers today urged Parliament to repeal George III’s royal marriage law so Queen Elizabeth won’t have to decide whether her first cousin can marry the mother of his illegitimate son.

The Royal Marriages Act of 1722 was denounced on all sides as a museum piece of royal spite. It was brought to public attention again by the Earl of Harewood’s announcement Monday that he is being divorced for adultery and wants to marry a former model who bore him a son 2 ½ years ago.

The 43-year-old earl is 18th in line of succession to the throne. His 40-year-old wife is expected to bring her divorce petition before the courts next month.

Under the ancient act, all members of the Royal Family descended from George III must have the monarch’s permission to wed. This means that, technically at least, Harewood must seek the Queen’s consent before marrying Patricia Tuckwell, a 39-year-old divorcee from Australia.

IT IS NOT an ordinary New Year for Canada and a Whitby couple decided to ring in the Centennial year in singular fashion. Mr. and Mrs. Leslie McFarlane invited about 70 persons to a party Sunday which had the atmosphere of the 1800’s. Even the punch was concocted from a 100- year- old recipe and the party was carried on in flickering candlelight to heighted the flavor of the past. The guests had an option to arrive in either costume in the cloths of the past century or to come garbed in the suits of the present Gathered before the Centennial emblem are some quests. (Seated, left) Mrs. Brian McFarlane and Mrs. Leslie McFarlane; (standing left to right) Brian McFarlane, Mr. and Mrs. Desmond Newman, Mrs. Michael Starr and Mr. Starr and host Leslie McFarlane, author of The Hardy Boys books.            -Oshawa Times Photo

Auto Museum Attendance Exceeds 16,000 For Year

More than 16,000 persons visited the Canadian Automotive Museum during 1966.

“There was a big increase of visitors from November of this year over November of last year, which is generally considerably lower,” said assistant manager of the Chamber of Commerce, Herb Brennan.

“From Nov 23 to Dec 23, which is also considered a quiet period, we had around 1,100 persons visit the museum – mostly out-of-towners.”

“There were eight groups touring the cards, four from 26 classes of grade four students and four other tours.” he said.

Coming attractions at the museum for 1967 will include a complete history of ball bearings and a display of spark plugs – sponsored by Champion Spark Plug Co.

“We also have a custom 1932 Chevrolet which was built by the Oshawa Car Club and loaned to us by one of its members,” said Mr. Brennan.

On Dec 31, a film of the museum was shown on Channel 11 television.

Pentalpha Chapter Masons Install New Officers: The annual installation of officers was held last night at the Center Street Masonic Temple for members of Pentalpha Chapter 28, Grand Registry of Canada. Gathered for this picture, left to right, bottom, are: Excellent Companion, Harold Powless, second principal; Russell Flutter, first principle, E.C. Henry Bickle, third principal, left to right, top, George Pidduck, senior sojourner; Robert Temperton, immediate past first principle, E.C. Hack Magee, instilling principle sojourner. -Oshawa Times Photo

Oh Tannenbaum! About the Christmas Tree

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Christmas is just over a week away.  Halls are decked, presents are wrapped, and Saint Nicholas is busy preparing for his busiest day of the year. When he visits the children of the world, he will leave his gifts underneath a Christmas tree, but why a tree? Why is an evergreen tree the prevalent symbol for Christmas?  The history of the tree can be traced back many years.


The use of evergreens and other greenery had been used during the winter months for centuries, with it being a reported custom of  ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews.  The evergreens represent life even through the cold, dark winter months. Through the centuries, the customs included adorning said evergreens with assorted decorations, like fruit, nuts, and paper flowers.

It was during the 18th century when the tradition truly took hold.  While the tradition of the Christmas tree had been in England for a number of years, its popularity and prevalence was cemented in 1848 when an image of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family around a Christmas tree was published.

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their Christmas Tree, 1847

The Royal Family were the ‘celebrities’ of their day.  Once people saw that the Royals had a tree, they too wanted to have a tree as part of their holiday tradition.

Early trees were lit with candles.  This is, of course, before the invent of electricity, and having an open flame by a tree comes with its own inherent problems.  A bucket of water would often be kept close to the tree in case any flames had to be doused. These tree candles are part of the Oshawa Museum’s collection.


Early Christmas trees were decorated with fruits, flowers and candles, which were heavy on the tree branches. In the 1800s German glass blowers began producing glass balls to replace the heavy decorations and called them bulbs.The first Christmas trees in Ontario were decorated with edible products, such as strings of popcorn, nuts and cookies.  During the 1870s the first store-bought ornaments were introduced.  They were made of tin, wax, tinsel, cardboard and glass.  The oldest manufactured ornaments, made of tin, came in various shapes such as stars, crosses and flowers.  Wax ornaments soon followed, the most popular design being an angel floating in the air.  Icicles were introduced in 1878 and still remain a popular decoration.

On the Christmas Trees at the Museum, we also hide a glass pickle among our decorations.  Why a pickle?  Some believe this is an old German tradition (although many people from Germany today do not claim this tradition as their own).  When decorating the Christmas tree, it is traditional to hang the pickle last, hidden among the branches. The first child on Christmas Day to find the Christmas pickle receives an extra gift!


Christmas trees and their official lighting are often seen as a symbolic start to the holiday season.  The City of Oshawa always lights its official Christmas tree in mid-November, and this tree is among the large evergreens by Civic Square at City Hall.  Toronto’s official Christmas tree, on the other hand, is usually a white spruce which is selected a year in advance from the Bancroft, Ontario area. In Boston, their Christmas tree is always from Nova Scotia, a gift from the province to thank them for their support after the Halifax explosion of 1917, the worst human-made explosion until the atomic bomb.  They first sent a tree in 1918, a year after the event, and they have been doing it every year since 1971.

So whether you a have white spruce, douglas fir, or an artificial tree that is used year after year, decorate those boughs, thoughtfully hang those precious ornaments, and enjoy the tradition that has been around for centuries.

Where The Streets Get Their Names – Thomas Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

The community of Cedardale was located in Oshawa along Simcoe Street, south of Bloor Street.  One cannot speak of this village without talking about the Conant family, a long-standing and renowned family in Oshawa’s history.  A number of streets in the Simcoe/Wentworth/Bloor area have been named after this family.  Today, we’ll look at the namesake of Thomas Street, Thomas Conant.


Thomas Conant was born in Oshawa on April 15, 1842.  His father was Daniel Conant, who built the first mill in the Oshawa area and was also involved in the Rebellion of 1837.  Thomas was the great grandson of Roger Conant, one of the first settlers to arrive in the Oshawa area, in 1792.

Thomas Conant was educated at Eddytown Seminary, near New York.  He returned home to administer his father’s property, but shortly after he became involved in the American Civil War.  His father, Daniel, encouraged him to take advantage of the opportunities that could be found in the United States.  Thomas left for New York on June 18, 1864, and later went on to Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore, visiting Northern Armies.  It is reported that as many as 80 000 Canadian men went to the United States during the Civil War, lured by the prospect of money an adventure.  Thomas was horrified by the suffering he saw in the army hospitals, and when asked if he wanted to enlist he declined.

When in the United States, Thomas Conant met with President Abraham Lincoln.  Thomas’ first impression was that Lincoln was a very awkward man.  Although it is unknown what they spoke about, Thomas was granted a pass to go and where ever he wanted in Virginia and the area of Washington.

Eventually, Thomas returned to Oshawa, where he lived until he began to travel.  He travelled around the world twice, visiting many exotic places. At a time when transportation was still fairly primitive, this was quite an achievement.  He regularly contributed articles to several newspapers, including The Oshawa Vindicator and the Toronto Globe.  These newspapers published letters from him, describing the places he visited.

“Assassination of Author’s Grandfather. Canadian Rebellion, 1837-38” Print from Thomas Conant’s Upper Canada Sketches, illustration by E.S. Shrapnel

In addition to his newspaper articles, Thomas Conant also wrote books.  His works include Upper Canada Sketches (1898) and Life in Canada (1903).

The Conant family home, c. 1902

Thomas lived in the Conant family home, known as “Buenavista,”a brick mansion located on the corner of Wentworth and Simcoe Streets in Oshawa.  It was torn down in November 1985 to make way for a 43 unit townhouse development by the Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation.  Thomas was also an avid reader, and his private library, located in his house, consisted of 6000 volumes.

Thomas married Margaret Gifford, and in 1885, a son, Gordon Daniel Conant, was born.  Mr. G. D. Conant was very dedicated to public service and held many prominent positions, including Mayor of Oshawa and Premier of Ontario.  Thomas Conant died in 1905, at the age of 63.  He is still remembered as an outstanding citizen.

Conant Headstone, Union Cemetery, Section C

Above biographical information on Thomas Conant from Historical Oshawa Information Sheets.

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