Boozy temperance tales [Timmins history] – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – September 28, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a local author.

TIMMINS – Hope you enjoy the quick snapshot of life in Timmins in 1917. To begin with, change seems to have been the order of the day as the Tisdale Council was swept out of office and replaced with an entirely new slate.

Sylvester Kennedy won what was described as a “landslide” – a 37 vote majority, over the incumbent E. Dickson. The campaign was described as “vigourous.” Cards, flyers and “counter-irritants” were freely used by all those running. The public benefited from hearing the politicians’ views at no less than three public debates held in Moneta, Schumacher and South Porcupine.

To everyone’s relief however, after the ballots had been counted and the results were known, both the new mayor and the retiring one celebrated together and pledged to continue to work for the betterment of the community.

That’s what I call a breath of fresh air! As for local politics in Timmins, no election was held as three men running for council positions and one running for mayor pulled out before election day. Apparently, it had been discussed amongst all the candidates that this was the best course of action for the community.

Mayor J.P. Mclaughlin took office with a new council and one vacant seat (which went to Dr. McInnis). So, the new council along with a new mayor were just acclaimed instead of voted in – and we think we have something to complain about with backroom politics today? (By the way, those early elections were held on New Year’s Day – again, something I don’t think would happen today!)

Mystery solved! Councillor Globe read a letter from Fire Chief Dey at a council meeting that stated that the chief would not be returning from Christmas holidays as he had resigned his position. Chief Dey had gone home to Collingwood for the season and decided to accept his old job back in that community.

Everyone was quite taken aback by his decision, but Councillor Globe pointed out that the chief had only purchased a one-way ticket to Collingwood and had packed up all his belongings and brought them with him – a good indicator that he may not be back.

So, while the fire hall was nearly complete, there was no one to man the station and a plan was desperately needed to avoid loosing another chief (the fact that there was no heat in the building and the truck had to be parked outside the station would probably add to any chief’s frustration).

While things were getting organized, cCouncil appointed Mr. Ernest Hill as acting fire chief. He was soon replaced by Arthur King, at a salary of $115 per month. Mr. Hill went on to become the new division court clerk, after having served as not only acting fire chief, but assessor and tax collector for Timmins.

Should the opportunity present itself, residents of the community could go out for a bite to eat at one of the many new establishments in town.

The Tea Party Inn, located at 44 Third Avenue offered “a neat, clean, home-like place for luncheon and for after the theatre or rink. The best of everything, with the best of service.”

If that didn’t catch their fancy, the Central Palm Room, owned by G. Shippam served “tea, coffee or Bovril, this new idea for your benefit.” After lunch, if so inclined, patrons could also enjoy a fragrant smoke from the well stocked cigar cabinet.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website:

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