Comments from Arleen Chenoll and Cheryl Nicholls. As well, Duncan Campbell of Long Branch remembers Graeme Decarie from high school days in Montreal.

We’ve had some very fine comments recently added to a previous post entitled:

Many changes have occurred in Cartierville where Malcolm Campbell High School was located from 1960s to late 1980s

In order to bring attention to some of them, I’m pleased to share the following recent comments, from the above-noted post. Please note that to read the full set of comments, you will need to access the above-noted post; I have only include some of them.

Arleen Chenoll (June 11, 2018) writes:

Hi Jaan, I came across your blog suddenly when looking at some other information about Montreal. I remember Graeme Decariie not only from MCHS but I believe he also taught earlier at Parkdale. I was surprised to see a copy of the photo I took way back when where a group of my classmates are working in the snow. I am downsizing and have been looking at old photos…..can you believe I was looking at that original photo just yesterday and it is on my desk as I write this. What happened to Graeme Decarie, is he still in Moncton?

Arleen (Smith) Chenoll
June 2018

Cheryl Nicholls writes (June 11, 2018):

Cheryl Nicholls has written the following comment at the MCHS ’60s Reunion Facebook Page; I am pleased to post it below (she’s given me permission to post it; also, I’ve broken the text into shorter paragraphs for ease of online reading):

I was in Montreal in May. We drove by the old MCHS and so many memories came flooding back. I graduated in 1966. We also drove by where we used to live on Guertin Street and on O’Brien to see our old houses. Everything has been so updated. Monkland train station is not there anymore. The train goes from Val Royal to Cote Vertu without stopping. The O’Brien shopping centre where Steinberg’s used to be is completely changed out. Did not recognize any of the stores there.

I also have a photo similar to the old black-and-white one that you show above. It is a picture of my friends and I on the skating rink that used to be beside Filion street across from the Transfiguration Church.

I had an amazing childhood in Cartierville and St Laurent. I have wonderful memories of going to Parkdale and Elmdale elementary schools and MCHS. I feel so lucky to have lived in Montreal during those years. But I guess it’s like what they say – you can never go back.


In a subsequent comment at the above-noted Facebook page, Cheryl Nicholls adds:

It means so much to me to have these memories. Also forgot to mention that I think I remember Graeme Decarie as being the teacher who forbid us from dancing the ‘twist’ at our high school dances LOL. I think it was because it was too controversial a dance at the time?

Duncan Campbell writes (June 13, 2018):

Hi Jaan.

This is certainly a very small world and the following interwoven comment will reveal why. As a native Montrealer I was a classmate of Graeme Decarie, the cousin of previously mentioned Arleen Chenoll [nee Smith], and a resident of Long Branch following a move to Ontario in 1953.

Graeme I admired and never forgot because he was so much smarter than me while in high school. There was no doubt in my mind that Graeme was bound to be an educator while I focused on a career in fine art.

I grew up in an area known as La Petite Patrie, went to Peace Centennial school, later to William Dawson, then graduated The High School of Montreal. While the area around Jean Talon and St. Hubert was predominantly French, there was a good sized Syrian community complete with a Syrian bakery that made for tasty stops coming home from school.

The original St. Hubert BBQ was just above Saint Zotique and Steinbergs just above Belanger, with a Woolworth’s in between. Near Jean Talon and St. Laurent there was a large outdoors farmers market and just north west the enormous undeveloped Jarry Park where one learned hockey, baseball and skiing. I still have my rations book from WW2 when we lined up to buy sugar, butter, meat and other war restricted provisions.

Moving to the Toronto area I lived in all the Lakeshore communities including Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch, and finally Alderwood. My first household items were purchased at Long Branch Furniture. I worked at a large factory on what was then 7th street, now Islington, and our neighbours on Birmingham were Anaconda, Continental Can and Campbell Soup. Just below was Goodyear on Lakeshore Blvd.

In the 1950s steam locomotives still worked the roundhouse on New Toronto Street and the neighbouring community put up with constant ash fallout. The lacrosse bowl was on Kipling and the Long branch Race Track just above. 1954 Hurricane Hazel took its toll on all the communities and was devastating to experience as almost all bridges were wiped out by the force of nature.

Many fond memories of all communities.

Jaan Pill writes (June 13, 2018):

Hi Duncan,

This is most interesting and remarkable – the connection to Graeme Decarie, Arleen Chenoll [nee Smith], and Long Branch!

We are hoping that Graeme, once he moves to Ottawa from Moncton, will be able to travel to Toronto for one of our MCHS luncheon get togethers at the Mandarin restaurant on the Queensway just east of Kipling Ave. in Etobicoke.

It would be wonderful if you could join us on such an occasion, or any other time, as a special – and honoured – guest. I would be pleased to arrange for transportation, in the event such an arrangement is needed.

That is remarkable: A high school classmate of Graeme Decarie.

I am interested to learn about your career in fine art.

It’s wonderful to learn about your Montreal connections. I remember the reference to the Peace Centennial school, in the NFB film about English Montreal, in which Graeme Decarie was interviewed, and which I’ve highlighted at a previous post at this website.

I met Bill Rawson of Long Branch Furniture on Lake Shore Blvd. West just a few days ago. His store closed down just recently. I was walking home from a workout at the Humber Fitness Centre around Twenty Fifth St. and Lake Shore Blvd. West when I saw him walking along Lake Shore.

Bill was on his way to the race track with a buddy of his. I got his phone number (he lives in Oakville) and look forward to continuing my interviews with him. I’ve posted some stories, that he’s shared in interviews with me in recent years, and have many more stories and videos to post.

I look forward to learning more from you, about Montreal and the Lakeshore communities where you have lived – and about your encounters with Graeme Decarie. Graeme wasn’t one of my teachers, at Malcolm Campbell High School, but I had dealings with him when I was on the student council in the 1962-1963 school year.

What stayed in mind, from those encounters, was that here was a teacher who demonstrated a characteristic poise and directness; these were qualities that I recalled years later, when I was helping to organize a Sixties Reunion of Malcolm Campbell High School grads.

As the work on the MCHS Sixties Reunion proceeded, I had the opportunity to speak with Graeme once again. Initially I spoke with him via email and later I met him in person (for an extensive series of interviews) in Moncton, New Brunswick, where he has lived for many years.

Graeme Decarie writes (June 13, 2013)

Wow! Duncan Campbell. You made my day. And you brought back memories of Peace Centennial.

And of St Hubert St. where I used to shoplift at lunch hour.

Great to hear from you.

I can’t remember being smarter than you. But you were certainly better looking than I was.



10 replies
  1. Duncan Campbell
    Duncan Campbell says:

    Hi Jaan

    There is so much to tell and my mind is like my garage…there’s just no more room to store anything!

    Two days following graduation 1951, I joined a wallpaper company as a junior artist and was transferred to Toronto in 1953. Long story-short version, 1960 I became director of Design at the plant in New Toronto, later departing to become a free lance designer providing art to several US and Canadian firms, including several years of licensed Disney art.

    1973 I returned to Sunworthy Wallcoverings as VP of Design and later VP of Marketing. Life was good and I travelled the world in search of outstanding art until my retirement at 65…for one day! Then as a second career became Director of Marketing for Crown Wallcovering & Fabrics of Toronto for a further 9 years.

    My work entailed much licensing and I had the good fortune to collaborate with many famous designers and artists, including; Oleg Cassini, Gloria Vanderbilt, Alexander Julian, Jim Henson & The Muppets, Walt Disney, wildlife artist Glen Loates and so many others. My nine children were never without something new to play with! Life is quieter now living in the small village of Alcona, just south of Barrie where I continue to pursue my art studies which are immediately absconded by my offspring when complete.

    While my early days in Toronto were spent exploring the Lakeshore communities, for many years I lived in East York, then more than 25 years in the rolling hills of rural Inglewood in Caledon. My youngest Daughter is a graduate of OCADU. The rest of my children and their families stretch from Yellowknife and Calgary to all over Ontario.

    Back to Montreal and the lifelong memories – As a child entertainment in the 1940s was limited as cinemas were prohibited from admitting children due to an earlier devastating theatre fire, so, most movies were projected on screens in the basement of churches Saturday afternoons. Later, the Seville theatre on Ste. Catherine showcased live entertainers, mostly American recording artists, where the admitting fee was a few dollars and great for teenagers on limited budgets!

    Leo Dandurand was the owner of the Alouettes who competed at Delormier Stadium and big league football could be enjoyed in the bleachers for the princely sum of $1.00. Similarly, the Montreal Royals baseball team, who were then a farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, played at the same venue and we enjoyed watching future major leaguers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, etc., display their skills prior to becoming Hall of Famers.

    To pay for this I worked as a delivery boy on horse drawn milk vans, sold bread from a P.O.M. bakery truck, and delivered newspapers English & French over 12 blocks in my local neighbourhood. Leftover money bought my way into Belmont Park where numerous rides and games filled an afternoon. To get there the fare on Montreal Tramways, as it was called then, cost pennies and I still have the tickets to prove it!

    The special place to shop was Eaton’s, with Henry Morgan’s on the other side of Christ Church Cathedral on Ste. Catherine. An enterprising business for young people opened on St. Laurent in the north end with The Trainatorium, a place where one could ‘rent’ an electric train for a half hours entertainment.

    Recreation was always available winter & summer at Mount Royal with Le Chalet at the summit, and a cheap train ride brought you into the ski resorts of St. Sauveur up to Mt. Tremblant, or alternatively, summertime getaways into tiny hamlets with tiny lakes. TV was non existent, although standing on the sidewalks of downtown Montreal and peering through the windows at demonstrations brought a harbinger of what was to come.

    Now a little about Graeme. Life is about studying and learning. One never forgets meeting people who are blessed with the capacity to make an impression on ways to improve life and Graeme left that legacy with me. Many more notables followed in the years to come, yet my memory of Graeme never faded as I wondered what became of my schoolmate.

    I have really enjoyed these exchanges and look forward to hearing of your journey in
    Canada. To get a perspective send me a private message on Facebook [Midnite skulker] with a link to where I can privately share examples of my art studies.

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Hi Duncan

    Most interesting to read your overview!

    I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share some glimpses of my own journey in Canada.

    The text that follows wills serve as an outline for part of talk that I will be giving at a Nordic Meeting in Tallinn, Estonia on Sept. 1, 2018.

    The journey began with my arrival at Halifax harbour in the spring of 1951 when I was five years old. My parents and older brother along with several members of the extended family had left Estonia across the Baltic Sea, heading under perilous conditions toward the coast of Sweden, as refugees in September 1944 during the Second World War, during a period on wartime when the Soviet Army was in the process of occupying Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for the second time – an occupation that lasted for the next half-century.

    English is my third language

    I was born in Sweden after the war and lived there for five years. Estonian was my first language, Swedish was my second, and English my third. When I was 12 years old in about Grade 6, a teacher in Montreal asked me how long I had been in Canada. I said, “Seven years.” She said (and I paraphrase), “That figures. It takes about seven years for a child, who is learning English from scratch, to really master the language. You’ve clearly mastered it. You write really well.”

    That comment warmed my heart. Even now, when I recall her comment, I am at times moved close to tears. Those years were not easy times, for my family, or for me personally. The concept that there was something that I could do really well, aside from drawing, had not occurred to me, up until that point.

    The teacher’s comment – her name at that time, prior to her getting married, was Miss Branchflower – is now among my happiest memories from my childhood years. She took me aside one day and spoke to me about my command of the English language. A small comment, that reverberates in a very positive way, as the years go by. Words have power. Even the smallest, kind, and positive thing, that an adult tells a child can take hold and stay with a person for a lifetime.

    Originally, the plan was to settle in Toronto; instead my parents chose Montreal

    I grew up, after the age of five, in Montreal. The story of how we ended up in Montreal is enjoyable to recount. We were, in the spring of 1951, on our way to from Halifax to Toronto by train. Toronto was our intended destination. However, when the train stopped in Montreal, my mother had enough time to have a look around. She saw the horse-drawn carriages on the downtown streets, and noted the horse poop on the roads.

    She said (and I paraphrase), “What a great city. Look at the horses! This is just like Europe.” She spoke to my father and said (and I paraphrase), “I love this place. It’s just like Europe. Let’s stay here!” My dad said (and, again, I paraphrase), “You’re right. Let’s get off the train right here.”

    And that’s how we ended up living in Montreal. It was not until many, many years later, after attending university on the West coast, that I ended up living in Toronto.

    Graeme Decarie

    In high school, I served as president of the student council at Malcolm Campbell High School in 1962-63. Graeme Decarie was a teacher at the school in those early years. He did not teach any classes I was in, but he was involved with issues that needed to be resolved, from time to time, in activities organized by the student council. That was the context in which I got to know Graeme. I remember him as a person with a sense of poise and directness.

    My sense was that here is a person of intelligence, a person who is willing to listen to what students have to say, a person that a student can work with. Of course, I also noted that he was a person operating within the power structure of the school.

    That was the kind of thing I also readily tuned into, during my elementary and high school years. Graeme’s Banning of the Twist at Malcolm Campbell High School in the early 1960s is an ongoing topic of discussion even after over a half-century. The decision was part of the power relations that are evident in just about any organization including school systems.

    In such systems, teachers and school officials can readily engage in capricious and arbitrary decision-making, because they can. What I observed in my own high school years was helpful when, years later, I became involved in volunteer efforts directed at community self-organizing at the local, national, and international levels.

    In such volunteer work, my focus has been on insuring that input from the grassroots (that is, from a multitude of everyday members – not just from a handful of people at the top of a hierarchy) was a key driving force, in decision-making.

    Simon Fraser University

    After high school, I attended McGill University for a few years before transferring to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. At McGill, I had done artwork for the McGill Daily – deftly drawn pen-and-ink portraits of student athletes and the like.

    At Simon Fraser University, I began to write news reports for the The Peak, and in time became editor of the latter student newspaper. I served as editor at a time when Marxist-Leninist oriented student radicals were keen to “democratize” the student newspaper – that is, to take it over. Under my watch, the paper continued to report campus news in a manner that was accurate and balanced. I’ve been working that way ever since.

    When I lived on the West coast, I and my friends noticed that, whenever there was a group of people together, and some young parent had brought along an infant or toddler with them, for whatever reason, the infant or toddler would at once notice my presence – would pick me out from all of the other young people in the group. This would happen all the time.

    Celebrity status among young children

    It turned out that among infants and toddlers, I was a celebrity. I think this was because I had a capacity to read, and act upon, body language in a way that infants would notice at once. That is to say, I knew how to tune into where very young children were coming from: I showed them a level of respect, that in my view, infants always warranted.

    When I had graduated from university I lived for a short time back in Montreal and then moved to Toronto, where I decided that I would build upon my celebrity status among infants and toddlers. I began working as a supply teacher at a parent-cooperative infant-and-toddler day care centre on McCaul Street in downtown Toronto. In time, I became a full-time employee (even though I did not have an Early Childhood Education certificate) and was involved in the hiring of new staff.

    Among the people that we hired was May Jolliffe, then a young Early Childhood Education graduate, who years later was to become my wife. From working in the day care sector, I quickly moved on to supply teaching in the public school system, where the money (particularly in those years) was better. After a few years, I went back to school to get my teaching certificate and in 2006, which is now 12 years ago, I retired from a long career as a teacher – most recently working at an elementary school in Mississauga.

    During the 11 years I taught at Munden Park Public School in Mississauga, one year a Kindergarten class decided that I was a teacher who warranted the status of being a celebrity. That’s among the many things that I remember from my teaching years. Each time the class was walking down the hallway, if they saw me, they would be absolutely delighted that, once again, they were in the presence of a celebrity among the teachers at the school.

    How they had decided I was a celebrity, I do not know. I was always very pleased to run into them in the hallways of the school. Life is good, when a person is a celebrity among the younger generation.

    In my teaching years, I often used drama and role play as a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of topics we were covering in the classroom. The dramas that my students created, on the spot and in consultation with each other, were among the other most memorable things that I recall, from my years as a teacher. I would often say to myself, “What a great job this is. I get paid to watch live drama, day after day. How cool is that?”

    Since my retirement in 2006, I’ve regularly visited elementary classrooms across the Greater Toronto Area, to speak about my life – in particular, about how, in the course of my life I was able to overcome a severe childhood speech disability – and engage in a Q & A with students in the primary and elementary years. I much enjoy such visits, as they enable me to keep in touch, as the years go by, with the thoughts, feelings, and remarkably perceptive worldviews of young children.

    Community self-organizing and media relations

    During my teaching years, I was involved in volunteer work which gave me the opportunity to learn how to set up nonprofit organizations, organize conferences, and develop my skills in media relations – by setting up media interviews, taking part in interviews, and coaching others in how best to prepare for interviews, on topics related to my volunteer work.

    My wife and I bought a house in Long Branch in 1997, and in the 21 years years that have followed, I’ve had the opportunity to apply my skills, in community self-organizing and in media relations, in a variety of contexts. Most recently, that has involved the setting up (in 2012) of the Preserved Stories website.

    We have recently sold our house – it was the first time I had been involved in the staging of a house, in order to sell it, and much enjoyed the process, give my interest in a dramaturgical perspective on life – and will be moving to Stratford, Ontario.

    I have noted, in conversations at this website over the years, that many former Long Branch residents are now living in homes across Canada. I am pleased that former residents (among whose numbers will be included my own family) continue to keep in touch with Long Branch – and the great memories associated with it.

    When I was younger, I often turned to people about 35 years younger than I was, whenever I wanted to get up to speed on some aspect of information technology and computers. More recently, I’ve noticed that I turn to people 50 or more years younger (including our daughter) if I want to get up to speed on details regarding software and hardware. An ongoing theme, in all aspects of my life, has always been that as human beings, we have a lot to learn from each other.

    That will serve, I am hoping, as a brief overview of my travels across Canada over the past half-century and more.

  3. Duncan Campbell
    Duncan Campbell says:

    Hi Jaan

    I thought the links that brought me to this site were remarkable [Arleen,Graeme, Montreal, Long Branch] but your life summary turned up yet more!

    1] My first ‘home’ 1953 was two rooms rented from an Estonian family in Alderwood where my first Son was born, and, my first house purchase in East York 1954, my adjoining neighbours were also Estonian. Both families had managed to somehow find their way to freedom from Russian domination and their children were fully conversational in English by the time I met them. Surprisingly, both parents were also very well versed in English.

    2] One of my sons developed speech impairment at an early age and with the help of the Clarke Institute managed to help him steer a course in life. With a large family conversations were always entertaining and at their best during the evening meal. Competition for speaking time was particularly difficult for my son and we overcame any exclusion by having him sing his daily reviews and responses…which he accomplished perfectly! In time some speech normality was restored, but not before several heart to heart talks with disinterested school teachers.

    Similarly, my youngest daughter was born with profound deafness in one ear and again annual discussions with school authorities were necessary to highlight ways and means to provide equal learning opportunities. Throughout life’s formative stages my children were encouraged not to think of these as disabilities, but to accept the differences and create and employ means of peer equality. To do so both were fully supported by all family members who provided the team approach to gaining success. Nothing made the family more proud when their sibling walked up to the lectern at OCADU and accepted her BA from the Dean.

    3] While I didn’t write for newspapers, my career was heavily involved with news services and national magazines, Canadian & US. As part of my art and marketing responsibilities my travels introduced me to national interior decorating editors where I was quoted and credited with details on trends and historical references. Many were syndicated articles and wound up in every nook & cranny of the world. National magazines frequently featured photo spreads of the decorating features I wrote about and on occasion was privileged to give presentations in the city of their offices.

    4] Stratford is a wonderful town to live in and is not too unfamiliar to me. My Mother, 2 Brothers & families, Daughter & family all live in St. Marys just down the road. Expect a quieter form of life, the opportunity to take in excellent entertainment, and great places to eat. A very enjoyable choice!

    Now Jaan…I cannot believe how this connection has evolved!

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Hi Duncan

    I read your comments with much interest. I’ve given much thought, to all of the topics that you’ve so evocatively addressed.

    For the current comment, I will focus first of all on stories related to Estonia.

    1) There were indeed many Estonians in Toronto in the early 1950s. Toronto was a major destination for those who managed to flee Estonia in 1944 during the Second World War.

    Log cabin built by Colonel Samuel Smith in 1797

    Among my own stories: I was contacted a few years ago by an Estonian who happened to live for a short time at a house, a one-minute walk from where I currently live in Long Branch, that has a long history. His family – that is, he and his mother – had rented a room at the house for a time, after arriving from Estonia in wartime.

    It was a house that had started as a log cabin, built in 1797 by the first European land owner in the area, Colonel Samuel Smith. Over the years siding and extensions had been added to it. I’ve discussed the house at previous posts including one about the history of Long Branch.

    The building was torn down in 1955. Before it was demolished, the young man (who was living elsewhere in the Lakeshore area by then) had been asked to come over to the house, with the understanding that, somehow, he might come across something that might be worth saving, before the documents and other contents were cleared out.

    For more precise details, related to the story, I will refer in future to my recordings of my conversations with this particular Estonian. I will be transcribing the recordings once I have settled into our new home, which will be in Stratford, Ontario. We have sold our house in Long Branch and will be moving soon.

    Anyway, he saw some documents – letters and other items, related to the James Eastwood family, who became owners of the house after the colonel had passed away. The documents date back well over 100 years. The young man could readily see the items had historical value, and he kept them for safekeeping. He saved them from destruction.

    Over a half-century later, he contacted me through my website. The documents are on their way to a suitable archival storage facility.

    June 14, 1941

    For the current comment, I will focus on stories related to Estonians – that is, on the first item, on the list of most interesting comments that you have shared.

    Thirty years ago, I visited Estonia and will be back soon to speak at a conference, and to visit Estonian friends and relatives. With regard to Estonia, I’ve recently had a Facebook conversation, related to the events that occurred on June 14, 1941, when thousands of Estonians of all ages were rounded up and deported to Siberia.

    The conversation was on Facebook with Jennifer Page Code, a speech-language pathologist whom I had first met in the late 1980s when I gave a talk, in my status as a volunteer, to a group of speech therapists in Peel Region. Jennifer has given me permission to post the conversation at my website; the exchange goes as follows:

    Jaan Hendrik Pill: As I understand, two of my relatives, who were children then [that is, in 1941], managed to escape deportation because their mother got word that a transport truck (taking people away) was arriving at their summer home. The children hid in the woods until the truck had left the scene.

    The children were among those who escaped to Sweden as refugees in September 1944. My parents were among those who took the journey across the Baltic Sea to Sweden at that time. I was born in Stockholm two years later in 1946.

    In 1951 the family travelled on a ship called the Gripsholm to Canada where I have subsequently lived for over a half-century. I remember vividly the journey across the Atlantic. I was five years old at the time.

    Jennifer Page Code: We had an Estonian boy in our class in grade three. As an adult, I have wondered what he experienced.

    Jaan: What he experienced would depend on his age. The Estonian children who were born, say, in Sweden after the war or in Canada still later would have experienced less stressful conditions than children born, for example, in 1943 or thereabouts in Estonia. The children born in Estonia would in some cases have experienced bombing (in Tartu in 1944, for example), which can leave a life-long mark on a person’s psyche.

    Jennifer: He would have been born in 1943 or 1944, I think.

    Jaan: That means he would have escaped from Estonia with his parents around 1944, which was the last opportunity to get out before the borders were sealed. In that case, it’s likely that he would have experienced very stressful conditions. Of course, for some the journey was easier than for others, so we can only speculate, in the absence of details.

    Jennifer: How oblivious we all were. In grade seven we had two German girls join us in the middle of the year. They were older than we were and struggled to speak English. I still remember their hand knit grey stockings.

    Jaan: It’s easily understandable, at least from my perspective, that children, who had not been through wartime experiences, would not have a way to conceptualize the situation of children who had been through such experiences.

    What is very encouraging, I would say, is that there is more awareness of the situation of refugees, in the current era, than perhaps was the case in the past. As well, there is now much more awareness about what occurred, in countries around the world, during the Second World War.

    In the postwar era, starting in the 1950s a major preoccupation was to leave the war behind and get on with life. Again, in retrospect I see that as a natural and understandable response.

    Canada and Sweden has been good to me and to the members of my own extended family. I like to think that there is reason to believe that those who left as refugees, and their descendants, have made a positive contribution to the countries where they settled down.


    I will continue with comments, Duncan. It’s great to have the opportunity to explore the topics that we have begun discussing – so many coincidental events, as you mention!

  5. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    I now proceed with Part 2 of my comments, Duncan.

    2) I’m pleased that your son’s speech challenges were addressed in a way that worked out well. I like your reference to the power of singing. With both your son and youngest daughter, it was most fortunate that you were able to work with teachers, in your role as a caring and knowledgeable parent. Involvement of parents, in a collaborative relationship with school authorities, can make a huge difference – as I’ve learned, regarding the many roles that a person can play, in relation to school systems.

    3) It’s wonderful to know of your work with news services and national magazines. What is also of interest is how much the business model for print magazines, such as national magazines, has been altered by Google and Facebook.

    I follow the current media landscape with much interest.

    Through the recent staging and sale of our house in Long Branch, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about the art and science of staging a house prior to the sale. Interior design and decoration – and an eye for drama and detail – play such a central role, in such a process, as we’ve learned. We have had the good fortune to be working with real estate agents (Paul, Angela, and Laura Giroudy at Royal LePage) who demonstrate a most impressive and inspiring level of skill and dedication, in all aspects of the house-sale process.

    4) We had an enjoyable and informative day on Friday, June 15, 2018 checking out houses in Stratford. We have close friends who live in St. Marys. We are looking forward to the move. We are very pleased with all that we have learned in recent years about Stratford.



  6. Duncan Campbell
    Duncan Campbell says:

    Okay Jaan…don’t want to spook you out but I am a Smith! My mother and family emigrated from Scotland following WW1 and landed in Montreal. My Great Grandad and an uncle were named Samuel…and so the coincidences continue…

    And who could forget the seedy old Eastwood Hotel? When I lived in the Lakeshore communities one had to abide by the temperance laws at the time. Mimico, New Toronto & Long Branch could serve a single type of alcoholic beverage, one may serve beer, another wine, and so on. To have a choice you would have had to travel east to the newly completed Seaway Motel on the east side of the Humber which had a grand dining room. A favourite dining room was The Dutch Sisters which sat at the eastern end of a whole string of tiny motels.

    One of the chaps I worked with on 7th street was a town councillor and along with fellow distinguished public servants, was charged with bootlegging alcohol under the temperance laws. We all had a good chuckle at that slip up!

    At the western end of the communities was Lakeview which had a huge permanent motor home district. Somewhere on the north side of Lakeshore was the Primeau building supply yard which was owned by former Maple Leaf great Joe Primeau.

    In New Toronto near 8th street was Customs Broker Gus Ryder’s offices. Gus coached Marilyn Bell who was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario, and Cliff Lumsden who was one of Canada’s all time great swimmers. Arguably, Lacrosse was more popular than hockey, and the lakeshore was well represented in the Minto and Mann cups.

    When Hurricane Hazel hit in 1954 it devastated all three communities and sadly we lost neighbours. I remember leaving work at 5pm that day with no streetcars running, lakeshore boulevard was buried under heavy water, and I walked [or waded] from 7th street to Kipling, then up to Horner and west past the Long Branch race track all the way to 30th street. I was soaked through when I arrived at 31st street in Alderwood.

    Next morning the milkman delivered the milk and told me of two homes that were on his delivery route and were washed into the Lake. While several creeks were well above their banks, the worst devastation took its toll on the Humber river where natural loops & curves were overcome with a rushing wall of water that raced straight through on its surge to the lake. Most bridges were wiped out, yet the one across Dundas street survived and was the sole link from Toronto to the western communities.

    And so the stories go….

  7. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Wonderful to read your recent overview, Duncan. Life, I would say, can indeed present itself as a blessed trail of exciting and productive coincidences, and serendipities!

    A few years ago, I interviewed a Mississauga resident named Betty Farenick, who is related to the last owners of the property where the original 1797 Samuel Smith log cabin stood, covered by extensions and siding that had been added to it over the years.

    The building was torn down in 1955. Betty had a family connection to the last people to live at the house; the latter moved out in 1952, as I recall from what I have read in newspaper accounts from the time, and moved to Mimico.

    Photos of the building, and of Betty and the last residents who lived at the building, are available at a post entitled A History of Long Branch.

    Eastwood Hotel

    One of the things Betty (who was then around her late eighties) talked about, in a most interesting and entertaining interview, concerned the sale of an Eastwood building from one faction of the Eastwood family to another.

    I refer to “factions” because, as I recall from the interview, Betty noted that the sale was made by one group of Eastwood family members to another group, and the two groups did not get along.

    The James Eastwood family had bought the Smith property, including the portion where the original log cabin was located, some years after the colonel had passed away. In the years that followed, the land was repeatedly subdivided.

    The group that was selling the building in question, which was located at what is now the corner of Thirty Seventh St. and Lake Shore Blvd. West in Long Branch, stipulated that the group that was buying was required to name the property as the “Eastwood Hotel.”

    Betty noted that to be known as the owner of a property that had the word “hotel” attached to it was considered, in those days, to be truly a step down in the world. The word “hotel,” in turn, was associated with the word “alcohol,” which, in those days, was even more a step down – I’m guessing it was about “as far down as a person can go.”

    That’s my rough version of what Betty explained to me. When I have transcribed that portion of the interview, I will know whether or not my recounting of the tale is close, or is off the mark, so far as the accuracy of my current recounting of the story is concerned. Whenever possible, I like to go with what’s in a recording, or in a document, rather than depending on my memory.

    There are many entertaining rough-and-tumble stories connected with the Eastwood Hotel, which readers of my upcoming book about Long Branch and nearby neighbourhoods will have the opportunity to read.

    The hotel, as longtime local residents are aware, was torn down a few years ago; a Rexall Drug Store now occupies the land where the hotel once stood. A “Hotel” sign, on a building directly to the west of the Rexall store, is still in place, pointing toward where the Eastwood Hotel stood for many years.

    Hurricane Hazel

    Bill Rawson of Long Branch Furniture (which has recently closed down) has shared some gripping stories about houses that were swept in a torrent of water into Lake Ontario during Hurricane Hazel. For my recording of Bill’s stories about Hurricane Hazel, we drove down to Marie Curtis Park, so that Bill could share the stories with me, while we sat at a spot that was close to where the tragic events unfolded.

    I’ve also more recently interviewed Edward Brain, who has lived in Lakeview in Mississauga for many years. In the interview, Edward spoke among other things about the trailer park district in the area that you describe in your comment. I look forward to learning more about the trailer park / motor home district.

    I like your story about the town councillor and fellow distinguished public servants. Fortunately, there are quite a few such stories available. Your story brings to mind something that I mentioned, at a talk I gave in 2017 (I think it was) at the Franklin Horner Community Centre on Horner Ave. in Alderwood.

    My talk was about the history of Long Branch. In the course of my talk, I shared some gossip related to the history of the property where Colonel Samuel Smith’s house once stood. I said that if there isn’t a little gossip thrown in here and there, when a person gives a talk about local history, people are soon going to fall asleep.

    Gus Ryder Pool and Health Club

    I was a member of the Gus Ryder Pool and Health Club in New Toronto for a year or two. I enjoyed seeing the photos, on display in the lobby, featuring Gus Ryder and the great swimmers associated with his coaching career. I also spent a lot of time working out at the gym at the Gus Ryder Club.

    Over a year ago, however, I switched to the newly constructed Humber College Fitness Centre at Twenty Fourth St. and Lake Shore Blvd. West. The new facility has more space and the equipment is newer. I now work out regularly at the latter centre.

    I’m really pleased that many Lakeshore residents are keen about sports and fitness. It’s part of the history of the neighbourhoods and it’s also part of the lifestyle of many of the current residents. I really enjoy being fit and keeping in shape. It makes life that much more enjoyable!

  8. Duncan Campbell
    Duncan Campbell says:

    Continuing…Older history of Long Branch.

    Many years ago my brother and I shopped The Dora Hood Bookroom on Ross St. just off College near the Old Toronto Public library building. Historical books were our target and the rarer the better. On one visit we were taken with an original series of large [24×30] illustrated Ontario Atlases going back to the 1880s, but alas, could not afford the price.

    I went on a search [pre computer days] and found a reproduction company in Belleville, Mika Silk Screen, who reprinted original historical Atlases of old counties in Ontario through Maracle Press in Oshawa. I purchased a limited run [1000] copy of the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of York & County of Simcoe, originally compiled, drawn and surveys, 1878, by Miles & Co., Toronto.

    My brother did likewise of counties in southern Ontario. As an adventurist, artist, canoeist and historical follower, I used the large reproduction Atlas [about 18×24] frequently as a curiosity to discovering ancient land owners. Naturally I turned to my book to examine the land owners that followed Sam Smith’s settling of the Long Branch area and this is what I discovered;

    1] In 1878 the area bound by Etobicoke Creek on the west to Concession 5 [Bloor] on the north, then east to 6th line, [what is now Kipling], and south across the lake front was labeled: Colonel Smith Tract. More specifically, South Fronting The Lake & North Fronting The Lake. 2 Railroads ran across the properties; Credit Valley Railway and Great Western Railway.

    2] J Eastwood owned a large property from the lakefront to Con1 on the north, Etobicoke Creek to Line 8 on the east. His neighbour owners on the lake to the east were Towell, Appleby, Alexander and McNeill. Directly north in Con1 the land owners were; O’Connor, Faulkner, O’Donnell, Kinsbury, Crawford, Newburn, and Whitlam. Con 2 the lots were occupied by; Cutham, Bryans, O’Brien, Sandford, Morton, Harrison, Horner, Lafferty, O’Donnell and Harrison. In 1878 these families were the forefathers of current Long Branch, although the title Long Branch is not recognized on the old Atlas map. The naming of the area must have occurred at a later date.

    3] New Toronto as a title is also not evident, and was mainly farmlands with some government lands. However, Mimico is recognized and appears to have a well established village along with a post office.

    4] Con3 – Con5 were mainly farmlands with a post office at Summerville in the north west corner. Large lots were owned by various members of the Silverthorn families and today the area is known as Markland Wood with a Silverthorn school on Mill Road.

    If you remember John Duck’s Tavern where the motel stretch was, there is an engraving in my atlas of J. Duck’s Hotel and Pleasure Grounds at the Humber mouth in 1887.

    Just another bit of historical trivia.

  9. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    This is remarkable material, Duncan.

    I’ve shared your comment with a number of people, who I think will find your atlas-based overview of much interest!

    All of the illustrated atlases have been scanned and are available from McGill University

    As well, I’m pleased to add this note, which has been forwarded to me from one of my contacts:

    Jaan – all of the illustrated atlases have been scanned and are available from McGill University:

    Online directories and aerial photographs

    I’ve discussed the topic of atlases and related sources in more detail at a recent post entitled:

    We’ve received good information about online directories and aerial photographs

  10. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Duncan Campbell has added an additional comment (June 24, 2018):

    Hi Jaan

    I am far from having expertise in local history… just fortunate and curious enough to have acquired historical info on personal areas of interest. Your references should help steer John Collins in the right direction.

    I was most interested to discover McGill had scanned the old atlas that I discovered a number of years ago. I was fortunate to also acquire a copy of the Guide Book & Atlas of Muskoka and Parry Sound Districts 1879. As I had an old 1860s log cabin near Sundridge that my growing family enjoyed every summer, my curiosity of who the trailblazing families were drove me to investing in a reprint by Richardson, Bond & Wright. Ltd, Owen Sound.

    The original 1879 printing was by H. R. Page & Co., Toronto, who were mentioned in the McGill website as one of several printers that issued old illustrated Atlases in the late 1870-80s. Now if I only had the money to invest in the original atlases that Dora Hood’s Bookroom offered in the 1960s I would be sitting on a treasure!

    Perhaps some of the family names from 1879 have survived in current Long Branch through street names, parks or institutions. I’m most familiar with the Horner family name having directed a design studio just east of Brown’s Line on Horner Avenue in the 1970s. You may be able to identify with others.



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