Archaeology in Oshawa – the MacLeod Site

The MacLeod archaeological site, located at the corners of Thornton and Rossland Roads in Oshawa, is a Lake Ontario Iroquois village dating from 1450 A.D.   It is one of the first known settlements in the Oshawa area.   It was first discovered in the fall of 1967 on the property of Howard MacLeod.  Several groups excavated in different areas of the site until 1972.

The MacLeod excavation, c. 1969, Rossland and Thornton Roads
The MacLeod excavation, c. 1969, Rossland and Thornton Roads

The village was located on 3-4  acres  and  consisted  of  five  longhouses  surrounded by a high protective  wall  or  palisade.   During the excavation, portions of two of the longhouses were uncovered.  The larger of the two, the Alpha house measured 58 metres in length and 8.2 metres in width.  The interior was arranged to allow several families to live together.  A row of hearths was located down the centre of the house and holes in the roof allowed smoke to escape.  Sleeping benches were located down either side of the longhouse.  A replica of one of the longhouses is on display at the Oshawa Community Museum in the Grandview Site Gallery.

Model longhouse, on display in Robinson House
Model longhouse, on display in Robinson House

The inhabitants of the MacLeod site were agriculturists and did not generally hunt large game.  They subsisted on diet of corn, beans, fish, small game and wild plant foods which were gathered.  Charred remnants of corn and beans were discovered at the site.  The women were responsible for planting, tending and harvesting the crops as well as gathering foodstuffs such as nuts and berries.

EX992.35.1 - Rim Shard found at the MacLeod Archaeological site
EX992.35.1 – Rim Shard found at the MacLeod Archaeological site

Over  18 000  artifacts  were  uncovered at  the  MacLeod  site  of  which  the vast majority were ceramics,  lithics  (stone)  and  worked faunal specimens (bone).  A large number of ceramic pipes were found at the MacLeod site.  Pipes were generally made of clay and shaped around a grass core which burned off once the pipe was baked leaving a hole in the middle.  An interesting specimen from the MacLeod site is the reptile effigy pipe bowl.  Lithics or stone tools were prominent amongst the artifact assemblage.  Projectile points were the major hunting tools of the Lake Ontario Iroquois and were roughed out from pieces of chert or flint by striking them with a large stone.  Most of the stone tools found at the MacLeod site were made of chert found on the north shore of Lake Erie or in the Trent Valley.  The natives used bone to make a number of tools and ornaments including beads, awls (used to pierce skins) and scrapers (used to scrape bits of fat from animal hides).

The MacLeod excavation, c. 1969
The MacLeod excavation, c. 1969

Archaeologists believe that MacLeod site was abandoned after a period of twenty years possibly due to the fact that the fields had lost much of their fertility.  In addition, game and trees from the surrounding forest had probably been depleted as well.  The majority of the artifacts from the MacLeod site are housed at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus while some remain a part of the educational collection of the Oshawa Community Museum.

 

The Oshawa Community Museum is proudly hosting Digging Up The Past: International Archaeology Day on October 18, 12-3PM.  Please Join Us!

The Month That Was – October 1932

Only Oshawa Men to Work in City
October 10th, 1932

Mayor Ernie Marks received a report this morning to the effect that eight men, residents of East Whitby, a gang employed on excavation work for the Ontario Shore Gas Company, were employed on Simcoe Street and that men of Oshawa who applied to be employed could not obtain work.

Bearing in mind the fact that Reeve Ross of Easy Whitby complained very vigorously just recently because one lone Oshawa man was found to be employed on similar work in the township, the Mayor immediately referred this report to John T. Milner, general manager of the Ontario Shore Gas Company, who assure the Mayor that while he had no personal knowledge regarding the matter he would immediately make it his business to investigate the circumstances of the case.

Mr. Milner assured the Mayor the policy of the company to employ Oshawa men only within the city limits was being enforced so far as laid in his power, and that id non-residents were being employed he would see that the matter was rectified immediately.

 

New Microscope Shows Electrons
October 16th, 1932

Rome.-Invention of a microscope for observing and measuring the velocity of ‘the infinitesimal electrons was announced recently by Professor A. Millikan, of California, a winner of the Noble prize, at the meeting here of 50 world famous physicist.

How scientists detect the antics of the nuclei of atoms also was demonstrated at the meeting.

The instrument announced by Professor Millikan consists an x-ray microscope, which he termed a multiple crustal spectrometer. He credited its invention to Professors Jesse Dumond and Harry Kirkpatrick of the California institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Dr. Millikan projected photograph made with the machine, and described it as giving the first evidence of the inner workings of the dynamic, instead of the static atom.

 

Wonder Gasoline Developed for Modern Engines
October 17th, 1932

When engineers produced a compact, efficient, high-compression motor to give greater power and high speed to automobiles it was with the idea that there would be developed a super-refined, top-quality gasoline with high anti-knock rating, especially suitable for such engines.

With the appearance of the new motors there arose an instant widespread demand for a new-type gasoline having satisfactory anti-knock, instant-starting, gum-free and power-developing qualities. Refiners scrambled to produce and deliver as quickly as possible, a motor fuel that would meet the new requirements.

The new type fuel was produced in due time and is now available at all Supertest stations. Naturally, it had to have a name, something descriptive, by which the public could identify it. Many minds were engaged on the problem and much time was spent before a choice was made. “Why not”-finally said on official of the Company- “call it what it really is, Wonder gasoline.”

 

Divorce given as cause of Crime
October 19th, 1932

St. Petersburg, Fla.- Dr. Carleton Simon, criminologist and former deputy chief commissioner of New York, recently told the international association of chiefs of police here one of the fundamental causes of crime is traceable to divorce “and its accompanying evil-alimony.”

 

Warren and Hicks Sent Up for Trial
October 22, 1932

Courts heard the rough evidence against Ewart Warren and Harold Hicks for the murder of Dr. More and five robberies while armed. It is said that Warren, dressed in a dark blue suit with a fedora on top, was looking rather “Cold” in this warm setting, showing his discomfort.

It is also known that Mr. Warren’s father tried to attend the trial but was caught up in the crowd after hiding from the paparazzi and was stuck out in the hall. It is still unknown if Mr. Warren was able to see his son before the officials took him away. The case was heard in the Men’s Police Court in October, 1932.

 

News of the world in a Nutshell (Newspaper segment from October 1932)
October 17, 1932

University of Vienna and Polytechnic were closed October 17, 1932 due to Nazi and socialist students rioting.

Herman F. Rutstein (Age 32), was kidnapped in Boston and brought to a cottage where he was bound to a bed and blindfolded. Three men were in the cottage and all were arrested.

Managua, Nicaragua was menaced by the rebel leader General Augusto Sandino of Mexico.

In Alaska on October 17, 1932, a man named Clyde Hannagen was hunting, and shot a deer. He proceeded to carry the deer out of the hunting grounds when Mickey Wells, another hunter, saw the deer head moving and shot it. The bullet hit Mr. Hannagen and brought down him and the deer.

In Massachusetts Manuel G. Fontes stormed into the Police head quarters on October 17, 1932, and admitted to murdering his wife Julia and Manuel L. Fernandez whilst the children were in the front yard.

The Romanian Cabinet of Premier Vajda-Voevod resigned on October 17, 1932, and the king reserved the decision for the new Member of Parliament.

 

“Gold Mine” Found in Africa
October 22, 1932

A gold mine was found in October 1392 in Johannesburg, South Africa, estimated at weighing 278,000,000 tons. It was found partially by chance, like most mines in Africa, by a German geologist who came to study the rock two years previous to 1932.

Tod’s Bakery

Oshawa’s largest bakery, Tod’s Bread Limited, was established in 1890 by David M. Tod.  Mr. Tod was born in November 1865 in Bowmanville to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tod.  At the age of 13, D.M. Tod quit school and began working in his father’s bakery.  After a few years there, he travelled to the United States but eventually returned to Oshawa.

Tod's Bakery circa 1919 at 37 Church Street
Tod’s Bakery circa 1919 at 37 Church Street

D.M. Tod’s bakery was located at the corner of Bond and Centre Streets.  It was a solid brick, one storey building, sixty-six feet long and sixty feet wide.  In this building was the flour store room, the shipping room, wagon shed and the bread shop proper as well as the latest machinery known to the science of bread making.  The stable, which was located behind the bakery, was large enough to house 10 horses and had a separate harness room.  It was also equipped with running water and electricity.

Interior view of D.M. Tod's Confectionary circa 1895 at 20 King Street West
Interior view of D.M. Tod’s Confectionary circa 1895 at 20 King Street West

In 1895, a confectionery shop was opened by D.M. Tod at 20 King St. W., the old McChesney Bakery property.  Here people were able to purchase some of his bakery products as well as visit the light lunch parlour, where ice cream was served in the summer and hot drinks in the winter.  At the rear of the parlour was the confectionery shop where the “home made” taffies and chocolates were available.

D.M. Tod's Confectionary circa 1895
D.M. Tod’s Confectionary circa 1895

In 1909, the bakery was averaging 1600 loaves of bread daily with an additional 1000 on Saturdays to meet the demand for their fine products.  The bakery employed 5 bread makers, 3 fancy bakers, 5 delivery drivers, a stable hand and several clerks to run the operation.  The delivery wagons were traveling throughout Oshawa, Port Perry, Brooklin, Myrtle, Ashburn, Raglan and Columbus on a daily basis.

In 1915, the confectionery shop located at 20 King St. W. was sold to Mr. J. Welsh.

Advertisement for Tod's Bread
Advertisement for Tod’s Bread

By 1927, the bakery had prospered.  D.M. Tod now had his son-in-law, R.L. Gray working as Assistant General Manager of the business.  The bakery was equipped with more state of the art machinery that allowed for the output of 800 loaves of bread every 45 minutes.  There were 20 employees whose combined wages totaled $30,000.  The bakery had 10 delivery wagons on the road daily as well as delivery trucks for long distance hauls.  The delivery trucks would travel 30 to 50 miles from Oshawa to reach the ever growing demand for their popular products.  The bakery was the second largest industry in Oshawa to provide group insurance for its employees.

On October 26, 1930, there was an explosion of an oil furnace at the bakery resulted in an excess of $1,000 damage.  However, due to the use of another oven, the bakery was still able to take care of business as usual and get their products out to the many patrons that came to expect the excellent service of Tod’s Bread Limited.

At the time of D.M. Tod’s death on December 26, 1949, his grandson, R.T. Gray was President and Managing director of Tod’s Bread Limited.

It is unknown when the bakery went out of business; however, the 1954 City Directory lists the property at Bond and Centre as vacant.  In 1966 the building was demolished and today in 1998, the Bond Towers stands at this particular site.

Tod's Bakery display in Guy House, with a bread basket used by the business, along with a scale.
Tod’s Bakery display in Guy House, with a bread basket used by the business, along with a scale.

Student Museum Musings – Caitlan

By Caitlan Madden, Summer Student and Visitor Host

Over the summer Lisa and some volunteers have sat down with citizens of Oshawa to gather their memories of Oshawa. These past few days I have had the pleasure to go through all the memories and got a glimpse of peoples love for Oshawa.

The Four Corners, June 2013
The Four Corners, June 2013

Although being born and growing up in Oshawa, I never thought of it being this special place, and never knew it had history until coming to this museum. To me Oshawa was just a place I lived and nothing special at all. Once I started to learn about the history I grew an appreciation for this city, but going through all these memories made me feel a bit bad because you can just see the love people have for Oshawa. For many people Oshawa is just not a place they live, it’s a place that they call home and their community they call friends and family. One similar aspect they all had was how as kids they would just be with their friends exploring Oshawa on their bikes made me think of a memory I have as a child.

My Grandma lived not even a 10 minute walk away from us and pretty much every day we would go to her house. Her street mostly consisted of people her age with Grandchildren of similar ages to me and my brother, which meant there were always kids to play with. A typically day was about 10 children outside playing hide and seek on the street. We could wonder in the neighbours backyards to hide and if they were outside they would even help hide us. A lot of the neighbours also had vegetable gardens so sometimes we would pick a few and eat while we were hiding.

The other day I was at my Grandmas and on the street all I saw were these kids playing outside doing a similar thing I did. It is strange that whenever I thought of Oshawa it was just a place I lived but thinking back to my memories as a kid, it really has been a place I called home and truly is a special place.

Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen
Caitlan in the Henry House Kitchen

 

Thank you Caitlan for your hard work this summer, and good luck with your future studies!

Student’s Museum Musings – Emily

By Emily Dafoe, Visitor Host

Over the past few months I was able to spend my time working on the upcoming Guy House book, the next book in the If This House Could Talk collection. Similar to the Henry House and Robinson House books, this upcoming book focuses on the various stages that Guy House has gone through over its lifetime. Through the time I’ve spent designing this book, I have been able to take a look at the history of Guy House as told through photographs held here at the OCM. I have truly enjoyed the experience that working on this book has provided me with. The history of Guy House differs greatly from that of Henry and Robinson House, which can be seen throughout the book.

Some of the most interesting aspects of Guy House’s history that I have discovered while working on this book, are the many different stages that this building has gone through in its time. For instance, during the mid 1900s Guy House was used as a triplex, and contained three separate apartments. While mapping out where the apartments were located can get quite confusing, I find it fascinating that this building was once used in such a way.

Guy House, May 1965
Guy House, May 1965

My favourite photograph that I came across this summer was the one pictured above. I really enjoy this photograph because it paints an atmosphere of Guy House for the audience that is so vastly different from Guy House as I came to know it when I was first introduced to this house. The combination of the house, street sign, and vehicles that are present in the photograph, it is clear that there is such a rich history to, not only Guy House, but the park as well. While this is not the oldest photograph of Guy House being featured in the book, this photograph creates such a different of the park and area than what I grew to know it as today.

By reflecting on my time spent working at the OCM these past two summers, it is clear that the time here has provided me with immeasurable experience within the information field. I have gained so much through my experience at the OCM, whether it be my speaking and interpretation skills that I have gained through the numerous tours I have given, or the software skills I’ve gained through my time spent on the Guy House book and in the database, or even the skills I’ve have gained for the information field in general. These are skills that I will be able to take with me into my future in this field, and the value in that is immeasurable. I never truly understood how important and interesting the concept of local history was prior to my time here, but I can now say that I will take my new-found appreciation for this type of history into my future.

 

On behalf of the OCM, thank you Emily for your hard work! Best of luck with your new school year!