Friday, August 5 2022

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Happy New Year, and all that – let’s hope 2021 is a lot better than 2020 (talk about setting the bar for success to an all-time low) – but whatever – today I’m giving you some articles from the Porcupine Advance Journals of 1925 – just because I want to. Hope you find something interesting on Day 7 of our current lockdown.


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Well, they weren’t locked up for New Years Eve in 1925, so naturally the community was bouncing around with all kinds of celebrations and parties.

The South Porcupine Fire Department went above and beyond with a very successful masked ball. Three of the four costume awards went to Dome Mine staff. Mr. Lindsay Foss won first prize for his performance of “Ivan the Cossack”.

The Ladies Basketball Club also hosted a New Years Ball at Hollinger Hall and the organizers decorated the space to look like a beautiful old house.

The orchestra played from a pine arbor, “their music being the best, each dance being kissed several times”. The room was packed (and beyond) and everyone enjoyed “highest quality” refreshments.

At 10 minutes before midnight, the orchestra stopped playing and the lights were dimmed to allow Father Time to enter the room with his sickle and hourglass (the play was skillfully performed by Ms. Blanchard).

Next, “Miss 1925,” played by Miss Slater, walked into the room (dressed in “appropriate attire” – whatever that means) and danced the Old Year and the New Year. At midnight candy was handed out and the crowd sang “Auld Lang Syne” – this party lasted well past 4 am and all agreed that 1925 has started “in the most auspicious way”.

And it wasn’t just the adults who had a great New Years party, but the kids in town also had fun thanks to the Loyal Order of the Moose. The club held a celebration at the New Empire Theater which was considered a great success by the children. Local talents provided the entertainment while the children received large bags of candy and fruit.


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Well, after all that whoop-of-doo, it was a regular business for the community. Council began deliberations on the creation of a public hospital for Timmins. A delegation from the Porcupine Medical Association, led by Drs Joyal, Porter and Taylor, outlined the reasons why a hospital was needed in the community: it was dangerous not to have a hospital; it was expensive to send people out of the community for care and it was certainly inconvenient for the doctors (and I dare say the patients too).

The council deliberated a bit and decided to invite a representative of the Red Cross Society to visit Timmins to help find a solution. And that couldn’t have happened too soon because Miss Mullin, the public health nurse tendered her resignation (presumably because she was overwhelmed), while Ms Moffat, owner and operator of Cairns Hospital was furious that someone is trying to buy her equipment. and rent his building. The wonderful matron made it clear to everyone that “she intended to continue and had arranged to have two more qualified nurses in the hospital to continue to provide the best service.” So the.

On a less serious but much more frightening note, it was reported that on July 11, during the commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the Great Porcupine Fire, a windstorm arose and flattened the South curling rink. Porcupine, with a few such solid steps. No one was hurt, but the superstitious theorists were suitably frightened. According to someone-who-wishes-to-remain-anonymous, the palm reader who had recently taken up residence at the Empire Hotel predicted the incident to a T-shirt. Obviously, a fire victim who wanted to be heard.


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Never let it be said that the porcupine was immune to scandals and shocking events (I think there should be an exclamation mark there). In the first few weeks of summer, a husband and wife team were arrested and charged with operating a bawdy-house on Cedar Street. Both were put in jail pending trial. The woman involved died in custody (nothing more was said); her husband was quickly sentenced and served a long prison term.

Meanwhile, on the same street, a young man caught his 20-year-old wife “in a compromising situation” with a visiting friend and quickly killed her with an ax.

Emile Barron surrendered to the police. His wife was detained as an important witness and a coroner’s inquest was immediately held (the bond was set at $ 5,000 for the woman and was not posted, so she remained in custody). Donat Champagne was found to have died from three blows to the head. Barron was held for a preliminary trial with Judge Atkinson who carried out the murder case in Cochrane court. This trial took place on October 8. The charge was reduced to manslaughter and the jury returned with a guilty verdict but recommended leniency after hearing the evidence. Barron was sentenced to six months.

I can’t end on this story, so here’s something that tries to prove that we weren’t a debauched community – the headline read, “No Girls Work In Hotels Or Restaurants After 11 PM”

The then city council passed a by-law regulating the hours during which “girls” were allowed to work as waitresses “and otherwise” in hotels and other catering establishments. Women were no longer allowed to work in these places between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Failure to comply resulted in a fine of at least $ 1 and not more than $ 50 plus costs (not specified if the charge was against the employer or the “daughter”).

Police Chief Greer recommended the settlement because many girls had left their morning shift at 2 a.m. and were afraid to go home on their own. He also felt that the late hours observed by women “were not good for morals”. See? We were a beautiful and honest community.

Karen Bachmann is Director / Curator of the Timmins Museum and a local history writer.



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