Category Archives: Documents

Many Pioneers Among Visitors for Home Week,”The Nugget, Aug 9, 1935.

[Transcribed by F. Noël with permission.]

Many Pioneers Among Visitors For Home Week

Former Resident Comes from Wisconsin to Renew Acquaintances


The Old Home Week registration office in the Tourist Information Bureau is an interesting place this week as former residents of North Bay make it their headquarters during their return to the city.
Meeting one another, old-timers enjoy interesting chats of the old days when North Bay was nothing more than a spot in a wilderness touched by the C.P.R. main line.
Among the many who have returned after long departures is Patrick Stone, of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, who is visiting in the city during Old Home Week. Mr. Stone left North Bay more than 25 years ago and is spending his holiday renewing acquaintances.
His two sons, Judge P. Stone and John, who accompanied him, have never before seen the city. Mr. Stone is en route to Ottawa to visit Michael Brennan, a former mayor of North Bay, who is ill.” While in the city he is the guest of Dr. E.J. Brennan.

Pioneer Women

“North Bay wasn’t much of a place when I came to it 50 years ago this month,” Mrs. Harry Washburn, an old-time resident of the city and now a resident of Ottawa, reminisced Thursday.
“A month after Mr. Washburn and
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I came to North Bay we bought a house at the corner of Cassells and Main streets, and that was out in the bush almost, for those days. There was nothing but a little narrow path, lined with stumps and rocks between our home and the C.P.R. station. I can remember going to St. John’s Anglican Church when Rev. Mr. Gilmour was pastor, and carrying wood and oil to light the fires when we got there. We had a lot of fun in those old days, though.” Mrs Washburn smiled.
Leaving here on the death of her husband about 20 years ago, after 30 years residence in the city, Mrs. Washburn has since made her home in Ottawa.

Absent 22 Years

In 1900 Robert Wallace came to North Bay as a C.P.R. railroader, and although he remained in the city only eight years, Mr. Wallace retains a rich store of memories of the old city. In 1906 with the opening of the Parry Sound branch of the C.P.R. Mr. Wallace moved to Mactier, where he still resides, retired on a pension early in 1935. He is paying his first visit to the city in 22 years, and is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Allan, 11 O’Brien street.
A real North Bay native is D.J. Bernard, born 53 years ago in a boarding car in the C.P.R. yards, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bernard. Those were the days when the spot on which is now Main street, in front of the Bank of Nova Scotia, was merely a pool of water. Doyle’s and McFarlane’s boarding houses were the principal gathering places for the pioneers, and Rev. Silas Huntington and Rev. Father Bloem were conducting their early missionary labours in the little settlement.
When North Bay’s first fire department was organized, Mr. Bernard was one of the members, and he made the fighting of fires his work in the intervening years. Joining the Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company’s fire department at Kapuskasing shortly after his return from overseas, Mr. Bernard is present chief of that unit. He has been with it 15 years.
Registration in the official registration book since Wednesday included…

“Birth of Gateway City Initiated Development of Great Importance.” The Nugget, 5 August 1935, 1 and 10

[Transcribed by F. Noël with permission.]

Birth of Gateway City Initiated Development of Great Importance

More than two and a half centuries after the birch bark canoes of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration party slid down the La Vasse River.. glided out on the smooth waters of Lake Nipissing… and swirled on into the sunset, two ribbons of steel penetrated through swamp and virgin forest to reach the spot now known as North Bay, the Gateway City.
In other words, the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived… and its arrival meant the birth of North Bay.
It was in July, 1615, that Champlain passed this way, momentarily drawing aside the curtain of oblivion and mystery which surrounded Nipissing district. When the great French explorer disappeared into the west that curtain dropped back into place again and remained that way for 265 years. The Nipissing Indians watched 1,060 seasons fade into history and gradually the story of the “pale face” who visited the region became a legend, dim in the minds of even the oldest of the tribe.
At the end of that 265-year period the quiet of this wilderness was at last broken. Surveying parties, discouraged when they tried to route the Canadian Pacific Railway around the south shore of Lake Nipissing and ran into unforeseen difficulties, pushed their way north in 1880.
Once again canoes came down the La Vasse… and this time they did not fade into the west. They brought the surveyors and their families.
Two years later the steel came through. Construction work cleared a little space on Lake Nipissing’s shoreline … carved, as it were, a niche in the thick forest, where a few cabins and shanties sprang up haphazardly. It was the beginning of North Bay.

Christened in 1882

The Gateway City was named North Bay in 1882, because of the fact that its first habitations were clustered on a great, sweeping bay on the north shore of Lake Nipissing. A legend that North Bay was named through shipment of a keg of nails has been disproved.
Shortly after the steel of the railway wound its way through the district North Bay was surveyed into lots and subdivisions. By 1885 it was fairly well established. When the C.P.R. got through to British Columbia, cattle and wheat trains rattled through the little settlement heading east. Machinery and other manufactured products were transported west. Trains, trains and more trains puffed their way through North Bay.
In the end, C.P.R. officials established the place as a divisional point. Shops and offices were located here and a population boom resulted.
The next big step forward was North Bay’s incorporation as a town in 1890. John Bourke was first may-
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or, and April 7, 1890 will always remain a red letter day in the city’s history.
Not content with being a mere town, “The Bay” lost no time in entering the county town election in 1895. With Sturgeon Falls and Mattawa as her opponents, North Bay waged a bitter battle for the honor. Two elections were necessary. They were the famous elections in which “dead men and children voted.” Sturgeon Falls did not participate in the second, and North Bay just edged out Mattawa.
That meant another boom, coincident with the establishment of judicial and governmental offices. The election victory brought North Bay a court house, registry office, and jail, two judges, and various other government employees.

Start T.&N.O. Railway

Undoubtedly the biggest jump in the progress of the city occurred in the period 1902 to 1905. This time the ribbons of steel were the rails of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario railway. Flung north to Cochrane in 1902, piercing the very heart of the richest gold and silver mining areas in the world, the T. & N. O. “made” the North country and Northern Ontario. North Bay was and is its headquarters, its southern termininus, and the main settlement along its lines.
Smooth steady progress was temporarily halted by the Great War, but after four trying years the town, like all other Canadian towns, cities and villages, marched forward again.
By 1925 North Bay had become modern in her appearance. She was overdue to become a city. She had become a famous railway and distributing center, and a true gateway to the North. Her business and residential sections were up-to-date and beautiful.
And so, Old Home Week of 1925. With her incorporation as a city, North Bay completed the last step towards 20th century modernity. She was on her way as one of Ontario’s key cities.

Ten-year Eras

North Bay’s progress can be briefly sketched in ten-year periods: 1885, definitely established as a village on the C.P .R.: 1895, made county town; 1905, boom as the T. & N. O. railway hummed with activity; 1925, attainment of modern cityhood; 1935, emerging from depression years in fine condition, ready to face a promising future.
Since 1925, North Bay’s progress has not been slow. A few important events in the past ten years include: Extension of the Ferguson highway 341 miles north of North Bay to Kapuskasing, with branches to Timmins, Kirkland Lake, etc.; extension of the T. & N. O. railway to Moosonee, on the shores of James’ Bay; building of Canadian National Railways divisional offices; building of a new Nipissing Home for the Aged; building of the North Bay College; building of the V ocational School; St. Joseph’s Hospital; new Public and Separate schools; the Masonic Temple; the Empire Hotel; the Capitol Theatre; the Presbyterian Church; the St. Vincent de Paul Church and St. Simon Church; the suburban United churches; Lee Park; Amelia Park; establishment of a provincial laboratory, a provincial mines office; growth of the suburb of West Ferris, including new schools, laying out of two lakeside parks, and erection of thousands of summer cottages along the beach.
Aside from the major improvements, the appearance of North Bay became more attractive year by year, as succeeding city councils and citizens at large co-operated in an effort to beautify their city.

Population Growth

Official statistics reveal North Bay’s growth since 1895. In that year the population was 2,024, the area 500 acres, the property value $431,790, the business and income assessment next to nothing and the taxes $$9,122.
In 1905 the population of 5,204 was residing on the same 500 acres, but property value had increased to more than a million dollars, the sum being $1,636,250. The town had a business assessment of $134,980 and income assessment of $119,770, and taxes amounting to $40,122.
In 1915 the population had jumped to 10,041 and the area to 2,160 acres, the property value to $6,821,613, the business assessment to $400,960, the income assessment was $146,168, and the taxes $167,109.
In 1925 the population was 13,011, the area 2,100 acres, the property value $8,445,300, the business assessment $130,515, and income assessment $438,225, and the taxes $365,773.
Today North Bay has a population of 16,181, an area of 2,100 acres, a property value of $10,991,908, a business assessment of $642,370, an income assessment of $161,576, and taxes amounting to $569,487.30.
North Bay is the capital and judicial seat for the District of Nipissing. It is the focal point of various provincial government branch offices which serve Northern Ontario, including Crown Lands, Game, and Fisheries, Northern Development, Provincial Police, Hydro Electric, Provincial Laboratory, and Provincial Mines Office.
It is Northern Ontario headquarters for Railway Mail Service, office of the District Superintendent of Postal Service, Customs and Excise, Employment Service, Department of Marine, and Department of National Defense, all branches of the Dominion Government.

Hopes of Future

Among the improvements that North Bay is looking forward to are: Completion of the highway to Timiskaming, Quebec; erection of a new bridge over Duchesnay Creek; erection of a new hockey arena, city hall, and district court house, and establishment of a branch of the new provincial bank.
The Gateway City got her start as a railway, distributing, educational, church, government, and tourist center for Northern Ontario. The railroads established North Bay. In later years the highways made their advent. Now the city is connected with good roads leading in all directions, north, east, south and west. She is a true “hub” in the wheel of northern development and progress. Her position is strategic in every way.
Practically all tourists (and there are thousands weekly) who visit Dafoe Hospital to see the Dionne quintuplets make their headquarters at North Bay for two or three days.
The city is the leading educational center of Northern Ontario, and ranks with the best in the southern part of the province. The See of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is located here. Head offices of the T. & N. O. are here, as well as divisional offices of the C.P.R. and C.N.R.
In 1925 North Bay had 27 miles of permanent sidewalks, 16 1⁄2 miles of sanitary sewers, 9 1⁄4 miles of storm sewers, 38 miles of watermains, 6 1⁄4 miles of pavement, and 30 miles of improved streets.
Today it is estimated the city has about 40 miles of permanent sidewalks, 30 miles of sanitary sewers, 15 miles of storm sewers, 50 miles of watermains, 30 miles of pavement, and 50 miles of improved streets. Add modern homes, stores, parks, and buildings, and the description is that of North Bay.
North Bay’s lighting system compares favorably with any in the province. The city is equipped with a waterworks system capable of taking care of the needs of a metropolis with a population of 50,000 souls.
Thus has North Bay has developed, progressed, and prospered since first the C.P.R. reached here more than 50 years ago. Old Home Week of this year marks a half century of growth for the Gateway City, a fitting celebration for such an occasion.

Old Home Week Invitations and Ephemera 1925

The Invitation


The 1925 invitation was in Old English and took the form of a proclamation from George V. It was addressed to all “Olden Boyes and Girles, far and nygh” asking them to assemble in North Bay on August 2nd through 8th for the celebration of Old Home Week. It was signed by John Ferguson as President of OHW. Produced on thick cream paper with decked edges and with a red seal affixed to it, the invitation looked very official. Music, parades, sports and dancing in the street was promised. Everyone who knew anyone who had lived in Norrth Bay in the past was therefore asked to help by providing names and addresses so those people could be personally invited and over 5000 invitations were sent out. If you are a collector, note that a facsimile of this invitation on thin paper and somewhat smaller was printed at a later date.

R.S. Huntingdon’s Logo for the Envelope


The envelope that was used to send ot the invitations and the letterhead paper that was used by the committee was totally different. The logo on it, a drawing by local artist R.S. Huntingdon, shows two men, explorers, emerging from a thick forest, one of them portaging a canoe. They are approaching a lake with a sunset which proclaims “Prosperity for all”. The trunks of two tall trees are crossed by a banner to form the shape of a gateway. The banner proclaims: “The Gateway to the North .” In the corner is the text ” Back to ‘the Bay ‘ Aug. 2nd. to 8th. -1925.” The image is inviting and bids you to walk into the light and the promised prosperity along with the travelers.


Poetry Competition Winner

“Come back to the lake where you fished and swam,/ And rolled on the sun-drenched sand,…”

(Oneita McEwan)

The Women’s Canadian Club held a competition in 1925 for the best poem on the history of North Bay, Old Home Week, or the incorporation of the city. The winning poem by Miss Oneita McEwan was in the “Call to Old Home Week” category.

List of Old Timers

A large number of Old Timers attended OHW and helped to shape the nature of the celebrations. Veterans were remembered on Soldier’s Day. Old Timers played lacrosse and other sports. Mostly, they must have met old friends and reminisced. Unfortunately these stories were never recorded and the guest books that carefully recorded the names of all the guests that registered were lost with the rest of the Board of Trade records in a fire. The names of those who registered with the OHW committee, however, were published in the paper and a full list of these names could be compiled, although in some cases the microfilm is light and hard to read. The names of Old Timers (with the place they came from) published on August 7th, 1925 have been transcribed. Even from these names alone, one can see that people did come from great distances, but more came from Toronto than anywhere else. For anyone interested in these Old Timers from a genealogical purposes, the list is somewhat limited as women are often referred to only as Mrs. John Smith.

List of Old Timers published in The Nugget August 7 1925

Archival Sources for North Bay History

Local Archival Material

Trinity United Church under construction

This old photograph shows the beginning of construction of the North Bay Methodist Church, now Trinity United. Courtesy of Kevin Reeves.

Researching the history of North Bay has its challenges. There are no city archives and most public documents from the city, the school boards, and the registry office are still held  by those bodies and have not been deposited with the Archives of Ontario. This makes access more difficult as the main mandate of these bodies is to deal with current issues, not historical ones. The city disposed of most, if not all, the historical documents it was not legally required to keep. It therefore has council minutes, bylaws and assessment rolls. The bylaws are online but the earlier ones are not indexed. Discovery North Bay has an important collection of material but there is no online catalogue to date. The Dionne Quint Museum has the Fred Davis collection of images and a collection of scrapbooks but most of its collection consists of actual artifacts and printed sources. A major collection of Orange Order material is available at Nipissing University. Indexes to the census, cemetary records and many other useful sources can be found at the library of the Nipissing Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society housed in the Public Library.

Public Archives

The Archives of Ontario does have some material relating to North Bay, usually in a series created for other purposes such as the theatre files, educational material, or material relating to licensed premises. There is a good online search engine. Some of the collections at the Laurentian University Archives and the Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française in Ottawa also have records relating to North Bay.

Private Collections

There are many private collections of material which can sometimes be accessed. The most important are those belonging to North Bay’s oldest churches, Pro-Cathedral, Trinity, St Andrew’s and St John the Divine. Fraternal groups, service clubs and other social organizations also often have material but there is no central listing of who to contact. Some family collections are also important.


“Citizens Pay Tribute to Newly Crowned Ontario Softball Champions,” The Nugget, 29 October 1929, 12.

[Transcribed with permission by F. Noël.]


Events Recalls Stirring Scenes of Old Home Week

Moving Pictures Were Taken of the Entire Demonstration

Memories of Old Home Week were revived on Saturday afternoon when the city was decorated in true celebration fashion and the citizens turned out in large numbers to participate in the civic tribute to the Rinkey Dinks in recognition of their spectacular achievement of winning the Intermediate girls softball title to bring the city its first provincial soft ball title.
It was one of the greatest spectacles seen in the city in years and second only to the displays of Old Home Week in colour and magnitude. As early as one oʼclock an hour before the time the festivities were schedules to commence, Main street was thronged by a gleeful and expectant crowd. In the vicinity of St. Maryʼs Cathedral where the parade formed decorated cars were assembled on all the main and connecting streets anxiously awaiting the call into line. Promptly at 2 p.m. Parade Marshal James A Smith with three bands interspersed in a mile string of floats and decorated cars started the long and colourful file towards Main street. Fire Chief Brady led off with the fire truck second in line and followed by decorated cars bearing Mayor Banner and the city aldermen, city officials, executive members of the various softball organizations, officers of the various civic and service clubs, and others prominent in civic activities.
Next came a string of floats conveying the members of the various city softball teams prominent in the line being the members of the Rinkey Dink team high up on a float […] in the team club colours of purple and white. Following came the Capitol T and N.O. and Kiltie bands at intervals in the parade and with these were a large number of decorated floats […] among which was an elaborate display bearing the name of the Board of Trade. Back of this spectacular array came an almost endless stream of decorated cars to stretch the parade to more than a mile in length. Following down Main street to Sherbrooke the Rinkey Dinks were heralded from all sides and this continued while the parade passed down Sherbrooke street to First avenue west to Ferguson street and on to Wallace Park where the ceremonies of the day took place. Accompanying the parade over the entire length were two motion picture cameras operated by representatives of the Associated Screen News under the direction of John H. Nelson, manager of the capitol theatre.
Arriving at the park the members of the Rinkey Dink club players, coaches, manager and officials were paraded with the Collegiate and Sudbury rugby 
teams, the Collegiate Cadets, the Girl Guides, and three bands for the purpose of taking motion pictures.

Decorated Stand

Following this the members of the victorious team were escorted to a decorated stand in the middle of the field where they were received by Mayor Banner, members of the city council, officials of the various civic organizations, and officers of the committee in charge of the reception.

Mayorʼs Address

In paying testimony to the guests of the day on behalf of the citizens, Mayor Banner said in part. “This gathering and wonderful demonstration is to convey in some manner our appreciation to the Rinkey Dink Ladies Softball Club of the honor they have conferred on our city by bringing home the intermediate softball championship of the province and to congratulate them on their great victory over the Owen Sound team.
This club composed entirely of North Bay girls has always been a factor in the championship race, having won both the local and Northern titles a number of times and last year were only beaten in the provincial championship by a lucky turn for their opponents. To say that any member of the team was directly responsible for the wonderful achievement of this year would be a mistake. The team play and co-ordination throughout the seasonʼs play is necessary to achieve victory. I hope this will be an inspiration to all other sports organizations of our city.
“The victory of our girls over the Owen Sound representatives has in a great measure compensated the fans of North Bay for the defeat the Trappers sustained at the hands of the Owen Sound team in 1924. Evidently the girls took this very much to heart and when the opportunity came to retaliate they went out to win.
“Again I thank the Rinkey Dinks for the great honor brought to the city and desire to assure them that the citizens are behind clean sport in all its branches. I hope this team, will remain intact and next year go out for the Dominion title.
Acknowledging the tributes paid by Mayor Banner, D.J. Saya manager of the Rinkey Dink club said

Sayaʼs Address

“On behalf of the Rinkey Dinks I desire to express to you their most heartfelt thanks for the wonderful reception you have given them and the many nice things that have been said about them today on their notable achievement in bringing to North Bay itʼs first club provincial championship, and now that the girls have broken the ice I only hope that many more championships of the same nature will come to North Bay in the various other lines of sport.
The road to the championship has been no easy one for the Dinks for they have had to make many sacrifices during their quest for this coveted honor.
“In looking around I see before me many good friends of the Rinkey Dinks who I know have helped them out in many ways during the past few seasons and those of you who have helped along from time to time since the club was first organized right to the present moment, the girls deem this a fitting occasion to express to you their sincere appreciation your many kindnesses on their behalf for great good will shows by all the fans present here today to the girls in their hour of victory greater still has been the loyalty shown to them by those who helped them out and cheered them along when every thing was not sunshine and roses for you have proven yourselves to have been friends in need indeed.
To the Ontario Womenʼs Softball Association and to Miss Mabel Ray their secretary in particular the Rinkeys owe much and I am only sorry that Miss Ray could not be present with us today. This association generously gave the Rinkeys a bye last year so the Rinkeys could compete in the finals against the strong Oshawa and National teams and this year they gave Northern Ontario permission to form the Northern Ontario Ladies Softball Association of which our good friend Mrs. W. Larden is the first president. Miss Ray as some of you know was the first woman to put ladies softball in the province on an organized footing and from a small beginning ladies softball has increased by leaps and bounds until now hundreds of teams are affiliated with the parent body of the O W S A and right now ladies softball is on a very high plane.

Thanks Press

“The girls also desire to thank the press and particularly so The Nugget for the wonderful publicity they have so generously given in the interest of ladies softball.
“As one who has traveled around the province with the Rinkeys during the past two seasons I want to state that at all times the girls have conducted themselves like real sportsmen and always remembered that they were out there representing North Bay. On the diamond they have always played the game and off the diamond they have been perfect ladies. They have made many friends for North Bay during the course of their journey. “Everywhere the girls went in Orillia, Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Cochrane, Owen Sound, and other centres, you could hear it said what a wonderful bunch of girls the North Bay Rinkeys were and I venture to say that North Bay could not have chosen a better bunch of good will ambassadors for the occasion than the same Rinkeys.
“In addition I just want in mention one incident that occurred that will show you the courageous make up of the player in question a makeup that is typical of every member of the team.
Shortly after “Jackie Fellmanʼs” accident at Chalk River the girls called at Jackieʼs home to see how she was progressing and although “Jackie” was suffering intense pain at the time they found her singing the following words of a popular song.
Happiness comes double after a little pain if you want the rainbow you must have the rain. And ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to know that the girls have found the rainbow!”

Presents Trophy

Representing the Ontario Womenʼs Softball Association Mrs W Larden president of the N O W A S presented the intermediate trophy to the team at the same time congratulating them on behalf of the provincial and Northern Ontario Associations. Mrs Larden took occasion to commend the various units of the N O W S A for their activities this season, particularly the North Bay city league and expressed the hope that next year would bring about greater achievements.
Individual awards of medals were then presented to the following by Mrs Larden. Mary Mckee, V. Wilson, M Fellman, Sybil Carr, Zita McManus, Frances Larden, Vada Lee, Eleanor Johnston, Greta Finlay, Gwen Edwards, Sadie Buckley, Flo Johnston, Dot Gore, and Margaret Johnston. Wib Harris Mort Fellman and Fred Ball who were associated in coaching the team were introduced to the gathering.
In accepting the trophy award Frances Larden, team captain said the members of the team, were grateful to the people for their support during the season and more particularly for the reception and tribute tendered them on the occasion of their winning the championship.

Other Addresses

Senator Gideon Robertson, J H McDonald president of the Board of Trade and H Morel also delivered addresses commending the girls on their worthy achievement.
Congratulatory messages and letters were read by Mayor Banner from the following, Freda McGill, captain of the Owen Sound team, Charles Robinson, coach of the Owen Sound ladies, Miss Mabel Ray, secretary of the Ontario Womenʼs Softball Association, Mayor Bibby, Sudbury, W J DʼAlesandro, Toronto, Mrs. W J DʼAlesandro, president of the Ontario Womenʼs Softball Association, and Miss Tony Conacher, captain of the Canadian Ladies Softball Club, Toronto.
Preceding the program the Capitol band rendered O Canada and at the conclusion the T and N O band played God Save the King.
During the course of the program motion pictures were taken of the entire proceedings by two cameramen. These pictures will be shown in the capitol centre at a midnight show Friday and again Saturday afternoon.