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April 13 2007

Heritage News & Notes


The following are a few items that may be of interest to history buffs. 

North Bay: Exploring Our Community’s Past 

Nipissing University’s history department has a course where students examine and record community history in depth for the experience and for future generations.  The taped interviews, photos, etc. are filed at the University for reference.  Their Second Annual Community History Conference will be held on Saturday and Sunday April 14-15 at the W.K.P. Kennedy Art Gallery in the Capitol Centre, 150 Main Street East, North Bay. 

The Conference is free and open to the public.  The students will report on their projects and Professor John Long will be the Keynote speaker and will talk about Private Fred Moore: A Cree at the Battle of Normandy.  The students will report on such topics as The Milne Family, The Life of John Deegan, Robert Rankin, etc.  Genealogists Barb Moore and Helen Vaillancourt will speak on topics of interest and Vic McClenaghan will speak on the 125 Anniversary of the North Bay Police.  Refreshments will be served.  Both days start at 8:45am.  Copies of the full program are available online at www.nipissingu.ca/history

Doors Open Comes to North Bay 

In 1984 in France the first Doors Open day took place opening various buildings for visitation and discussion.  It spread to other countries and to Canada in 2000.  Many communities in Southern Ontario have had programs but Northern Ontario has been slow to respond.  Over 2 million people visited sites in 2006 and there will be over 40 venues in 2007.  There is a publication available showing all of the locations.  www.doorsopenontario.on.ca  

Chochrane-Dunlop Hardware store – now on Doors Open event as Lefebreves Outdoor Sports.  Nipissing Archives

North Bay will have its first Doors Open on Saturday, May 12, 2007.  A number of fascinating buildings will be open to the public with people on hand to answer questions.  For details including a map log on to www.doorsopennorthbay.com or call 476-2323. 

The following are the venues for 2007.  1) The Museum (Former CPR Station). 2) Capitol Centre – WKP Kennedy Art Gallery. 3) Clothes Encounters 1910 restored building. 4) Empire Living Centre – the original 1927 Empire Hotel. 5) King George V School – built in 1912 – oldest active school in Ontario. 6) Lefebvres Outdoor Sports/Vested Interest – formerly Cochrane-Dunlop Hardware Store, 1911. 7) Ecole Secondaire Catholique Algonquin – built in 1930 as North Bay Collegiate and Vocational Institute. 8) North East Mental Health Centre 9) St. John’s Anglican Church 1907. 10) Trinity United Church – celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2007 11) and possibly the Masonic Temple 1928.  Look for further information before the event. 

Fur Harvest Auction Annual Convention 

Many years ago I spent a day on a trap line and admired the skill and hard work of the trapper.  With this in mind and recognizing that trapping was and is an important part of the Ontario economy with deep roots in native and settler life, I visited the recent Auction (March 30-April 1).  Located at the Fur Harvester’s building on Gormanville Road at Bond Street over 500 trappers from Canada and the U.S. and some 3,000 guests were in town for the 16th annual event.  It was not just the auction of furs but a remarkable educational event.  Many bus loads of school children of all ages were visiting the various exhibits. 

Young Ladies try on furs at Fur Harvesters Convention, North Bay. Doug Mackey photo.

Mark Downey, the Harvesters’ CEO says that industry is growing and that they had their largest sales last year taking in 15.7 million.  They paid off the mortgage early.  Before the current organization was formed the Ontario Trappers Association handled the sales but went into receivership in 1991.  The new organization has made great progress and the three day event brings a lot of money into the city. 

I enjoyed the big room full of taxidermy animals in simulated environments and the many demonstrations of skinning, etc. which fascinated the kids.  One booth had fur hats, coats, mitts, etc and three young girls were on cloud nine trying them on as I walked by.  There were many in-depth talks and demonstrations for the trappers as well at the conference.  All-in-all, it was a fascinating event with a real touch of nostalgia. 

More Postcards from the Area 

I mentioned the www.northbayhistory.com website and Jack de la Vergne’s fine post cards in recent articles and recently enjoyed the  www.vintagepostcards.org site.  The vintage site covers North Bay and area and provides not only excellent photographs but some interesting narrative history.  The history of area photographers was particularly interesting.  I contacted the author who has a professional postcard business and enjoyed her enthusiasm and insight as we shared our mutual interest.  I offered to help her identify some photos and would like your help with the one of the priest shown here.

Father J.N. Duquette, Mattawa (1917-1949) in front of log building that needs location identification.  www.vintagepostcards.org

The person in the post card is Father J.N. Duquette who served at St. Anne’s in Mattawa from 1917 to 1949.  The picture was taken by a Clifford Norton, Cleveland, Ohio.  The card has the title “Wabe Macquaw Club” on it.  The name in Ojibway apparently means White Bear.  Does anyone have any idea where the photo was taken or anything else about the photo? If so contact me as indicted below and I will keep you in the picture. 

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