News from the Mapleton Township area in 1958, 1983

The following is a re-print of a past column by former Advertiser columnist Stephen Thorning, who passed away on Feb. 23, 2015.
Some text has been updated to reflect changes since the original publication and any images used may not be the same as those that accompanied the original publication.

65 years ago
May 1958

A pleasant spring, with no floods or late storms, allowed farmers onto their fields in good time in 1958. 

Most had their spring ploughing and seeding done by the first week of May. 

Rising markets had farmers in a buoyant mood. Hog prices were up 15% over 1957 levels, and hog farmers were preparing to vote on a marketing scheme later in the year designed to provide an element of price stability. Consumers were complaining that roast beef had become a luxury item as beef prices continued to climb to record levels.

May 1958 saw a couple of changes in Drayton’s business sector. 

George Henderson sold his pool room on Wellington Street, which he had only owned for a year, to Mr. and Mrs. George Waddell of Kitchener. The property had once been John Lunz’s grocery store. 

Ernie Nutt, a native of Atwood who for the past six years had been in Mount Albert, took over the Wellington Creamery from the Potter family. The operation also included an egg grading station and a large freezer with rented lockers.

At their May 6 meeting Drayton Rotarians viewed a film explaining the new provincially-operated hospitalization insurance plan that would come into effect on Jan. 1, 1959. In coming weeks the film made the rounds to other audiences in the area. Premiums at the beginning were $2.10 per person per month, and $4.20 for families.

Burglars seemed to be monthly visitors to the Drayton area in 1958. Cecil Creighton’s store was the latest victim. The after-hours shoppers were unsuccessful that time: an alarm attached to the door spooked them. Creighton, who lived upstairs, called the provincial police, but they could not find the car Creighton had spotted speeding out of the village. The next morning the proprietors of Hesselink’s grocery and Elam Brubacher’s shoe store noticed that efforts had been made to break in through their front doors.

Maryborough’s Horticultural Society staged a successful spring flower show in Moorefield on May 12.

Maryborough’s May council meeting revealed that councillors were still not entirely placated over their long-standing issues with the Grand River Conservation Commission. Councillors complained that dead-end roads into the lake were not properly barricaded and marked, and that there were several near tragedies in recent weeks. The temporary trestles erected across them were frequently moved. On the urging of reeve Phil Rowland, council passed a resolution to take up the matter with MPP John Root.

In other matters, Maryborough council authorized design work for a couple of new municipal drains.

Peel councillors, at their May 5 meeting, had a long discussion with a representative of Frank Cowan and Co., the municipal insurance underwriters. Like many municipalities, Peel was concerned about constantly rising premiums.

A letter from Canadian National Railways advised council of plans to close Goldstone Station. It was the third attempt to close the station, and as usual, council responded with a letter of protest.

Donald Campbell was honoured when he was selected as one of 195 “all round students” to take a trip to Ottawa as part of the “Adventures in Citizenship” program of Canada’s Rotary clubs. The students saw many attractions between May 12 and 15, met Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, and visited Parliament. On his return he spoke of the trip to various local groups.

Royal Bank manager John Fleming took charge of the Rotary Club program on May 12. His guest speaker was Jack Brown of the Galt branch, on the subject of banking as a career. A number of students from the Drayton High School attending the meeting as visitors.

School trustees offered the old Hollen school for sale by tender. Advertisements described it as a desirable one-acre property, with a good brick building, near the shore of the new lake.

Rev. Ralph Vander Pol of the Reformed Church shocked his parishioners when he announced that he had been transferred to Leamington and would be leaving at the end of June. He had been at Drayton for six years and also had charge of the Harriston church. His biggest achievement was guiding the new Drayton church to completion in 1957.

The Channel 13 CKCO television cooking school, featuring Mrs. Scriver, came to the Drayton High School for two nights, May 28 and 29, sponsored by Knox Presbyterian Church. 

“Mrs. S.,” as she was popularly known, had built up a huge following for her afternoon show in the short time that Channel 13 had been on the air, and was the station’s most popular personality. Admission was 50 cents, and that included a gift bag and a chance at several door prizes.

Mrs. Emmerson Walker spent the month rehearsing her music students for a piano recital at the Town Hall on May 30. The Drayton Women’s Institute sponsored the event, and they served an ample lunch to both performers and audience members after the music.

40 Years Ago
May 1983

On May 1 about 250 people attended a centennial celebration for Knox Church, held at the Drayton arena. Guests included MP Perrin Beatty and MPP Jack Johnson. 

The moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, Rev. Wayne Smith, delivered the main address. A reception, catered by the Knox Church ladies from Palmerston, rounded out the event.

Bob Thurston headed a new committee of citizens to look after the management of the renovated Town Hall theatre, then still known as the Drayton Opera House. The group received a provincial grant and several donations, and was busy fleshing out the theatre’s first summer schedule. 

The committee was also considering the longer term, planning further improvements and renovations over the coming three or four years. Events planned for 1983 included a drama festival on May 11 with entries from Norwell as well as the Fergus and Elmira high schools, three short plays by the Elmira Theatre Group on May 13, a program of piano music by Tom Hillar on May 14, and a ministerial gospel sing on June 11.

Mothers Day fell on May 8. The Drift-In Restaurant offered a special Mothers Day smorgasbord, with sittings at 4:30 and 6pm.

A happy event was the sod-turning ceremony for the new seniors complex on May 6. The timing was a little late – bulldozers had already scraped the site and there was no sod left to turn. A big part of the ceremony was the announcement of the winner of the contest to name the facility, selected from suggestions submitted by students in the area. The judges preferred “Conestogo Crest Seniors Complex,” submitted by Crystal Maher. Second prize went to David Bowman for “Clearview Seniors Home.” The contractors expected to be finished with the building by late fall of that year. Half the 22 units were already spoken for.

The Ontario Municipal Board and the Environmental Assessment Board issued a joint ruling based on the eight-day hearing held in March to consider the proposed water and sewer systems in Drayton.

The decision approved the construction of sewers, but not a water system. The document agreed that there was a definite need for sewers, but that the numerous contaminated wells in Drayton could be remedied on a case-by-case basis, and that contamination would be much reduced with the elimination of septic systems.

The OMB agreed that it would be desirable to install water and sewer systems at the same time, but that Drayton could not afford both. The decision also agreed with Drayton’s selection of a lagoon system, and that the controversial site selected for it was the best available.

Drayton Reeve John Green and his council were astonished at the decision against a water system.

They were concerned about the widespread contamination problems in Drayton, and agreed that a municipal water system was the only way to solve it and avoid the potential for an epidemic. Council voted unanimously to appeal the decision to the provincial cabinet.

The Wellington County School Board announced that some enrichment courses would be available over the summer, including one titled “Kids and the Computer.” The costs would range from $20 to $60, and most would be offered at the Arthur Public School.

Henry Katerburg spoke to Maryborough council at its May 2 meeting, and presented a petition from himself and several neighbours requesting a municipal drain. Council referred the matter to its engineers for a report, and to the Maitland River Conservation Authority for comments. 

A delegation of Moorefield residents requested that the streetlights in the hamlet be transferred from Ontario Hydro to township jurisdiction. Ed Stanners, one of the Moorefield trustees, was also at the meeting, requesting that some sidewalk work be done that year. Council approved the plans. In financial matters, councillors approved the budget for the Drayton arena. Maryborough’s share of the net cost would be about $14,000.

Some 55 youngsters participated in the Rotary Club’s Cleanathon on May 7. The cleanup of roads and streets yielded seven truckloads of refuse, some of which could be recycled.

The old residence that had been occupied for decades by agents of the Grand Trunk and Canadian National Railways fell to a bulldozer on May 9. Last occupied by Donald Mclsaac, the building had been vacant for some time, and had been condemned by building inspector Art Ott. CN preferred to demolish it rather than refurbish or sell it.

Drayton’s Christian Reformed Church undertook a major overhaul of its pipe organ at a cost of some $25,000. The work involved extensive rebuilding and tuning of the instrument’s 1,100 pipes, and the addition of several new stops.

At its May meeting Peel Township passed a transient pedlars bylaw, with stiff regulations for obtaining a licence. An application by Wayne Grasley of Arthur to set up a fast food stand in Alma prompted the bylaw. Several councillors had strongly opposed the proposal.

*This column was originally published in the Drayton Community News on May 2 and 9, 2008.

Thorning Revisited