Archive for the ‘Around Oshawa’ Category

December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

Today at sunset, the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah begins.  Because the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar rather than the solar year, the date of Hanukkah moves about on the calendar and can land anywhere between November 25th and December 26th.

Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Greeks in the Maccabean War in 162 BCE.  After the victory, a ritual re-dedication was to take place in temple.  Oil that was only expected to last one night instead lasted eight nights.  This was seen as miraculous, and to celebrate this miracle, Hanukkah began and has been celebrated for over 1500 years.

Iconic of Hanukkah is the menorah, a nine branched candelabrum; on the first evening of Hanukkah one candle is lit and special prayers are said. On the second evening two candles are lit, and so on. The rest of the evening is spent singing songs, playing games, telling Hanukkah stories, and enjoying special holiday foods.

Children may also celebrate Hanukkah by spinning the dreidel, Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”).

Happy Hanukkah!


December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017

Santa Claus parades are held annually in cities and towns all over North America.  These parades often celebrate Christmas, music, culture, and local groups.  One of the largest Santa Claus parades is held closer to home than you may think, being the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.  This parade first began on December 2, 1905 under the name “Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade”, as it was sponsored by the Eaton’s chain of department stores.  This parade consisted of only a single attraction, being Santa Claus arriving at Union Station to meet Mr. and Mrs. Eaton, then travelling together to the Eaton’s Store.  This annual parade soon exploded in popularity, as Canadians from all over would come to watch the parade, or witness it through the many bilingual broadcasts from the 1950s onward.  During these years, Santa has arrived by train, a chariot, a float, and in 1913, Santa travelled through the streets of Toronto in a sleigh drawn by four live reindeer brought in from Labrador.  In 1982, Eaton’s cancelled their sponsorship.  Luckily, a non-profit organization took their place, and the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade was reborn, still continuing to this day.

Much like Toronto, many smaller cities and towns have taken to the tradition of hosting annual Santa Claus parades.  Today Oshawa hosts Santa’s Parade of Lights every November.  Children and adults alike come every year to watch parades of holiday cheer and local culture pass through their towns, just like they have for over a century.


December 5, 2017

December 5, 2017

In 1865 the Murdoch Bros. Exhorted people to “Prepare for 1866” with their choice stock of groceries which included “a splendid lot of layer, Bunch, Valencia and Sultana Raisins – also currants, figs, preserved ginger, preserved peaches, candied lemons and oranges.”

Murdoch Brothers

December 2, 2017

December 2, 2017

A treasured holiday event, Oshawa Museum staff always look forward to our Annual Lamplight Tour.  Held on the first Saturday of December, our historic houses are decorated for the season, and there are activities for all ages.  Lamplight 2017 is today, December 2, from 6-8pm.

Here is a sampling of photographs from last year’s Lamplight.

December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

Photograph of the McLaughlin Carriage Company’s (General Motors of Canada) Christmas Party, 1918. The photograph is of “2nd floor, Mary Street” and the image shows an empty hall with Christmas decorations. From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A985.41.46)


December 30, 2016

December 30, 2016

There is one more day left in 2016.

Today is steeped in history.

On this day: 

1813 – War of 1812: British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York.
1896 – Canadian ice hockey player Ernie McLea scores the first hat-trick in Stanley Cup play, and the Cup-winning goal as the Montreal Victorias defeat the Winnipeg Victorias 6–5.
1903 – A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 605.
1919 – Lincoln’s Inn in London, England, UK admits its first female bar student.
1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.
1936 – The United Auto Workers union stages its first sitdown strike.
1981 – In the 39th game of his third NHL season, Wayne Gretzky scores five goals, giving him 50 on the year and setting a new NHL record previously held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy, who earlier had each scored 50 goals in 50 games.
2005 – Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin.

And if today is your birthday, then you share with these individuals:

1865 – Rudyard Kipling, English author and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)
1869 – Stephen Leacock, English-Canadian political scientist and author (d. 1944)
1928 – Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2008)
1935 – Sandy Koufax, American baseball player and sportscaster
1940 – James Burrows, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
1945 – Davy Jones, English singer-songwriter and actor (d. 2012)
1949 – Jim Flaherty, Canadian lawyer and politician, MP for Oshawa-Whitby, 37th Canadian Minister of Finance (d. 2014)
1953 – Meredith Vieira, American journalist and game show host
1957 – Matt Lauer, American television journalist and anchor
1961 – Douglas Coupland, German-Canadian author and playwright
1975 – Tiger Woods, American golfer
1980 – Eliza Dushku, American actress and producer
1984 – LeBron James, American basketball player and producer
1986 – Ellie Goulding, English singer-songwriter and producer


Douglas Coupland’s Group Portrait 1957, installed at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON. Coupland celebrates a birthday on December 30!

December 29, 2016

December 29, 2016

Valleyview Park, Oshawa, c. 1950


December 27, 2016

December 27, 2016

Have you seen any of the holiday blockbusters this year? If you were a movie-goer in 1927, you might have viewed Clara Bow’s latest film, Get Your Man, which played at the Regent Theatre on December 26, 27, and 28 that year.


What was this movie about? As IMDB describes, “A young American girl in Paris falls in love with a handsome nobleman, but he is about to wed in an arranged marriage. She hatches a plan to overcome that obstacle and get her man.”

Clara Bow was a star of the silent film era, and her appearance in the movie ‘It’ helped solidify her position as, and coin the term, an ‘It Girl’ (I don’t know what It is, but she’s got It!).

December 23, 2016

December 23, 2016

The following appeared in the Ontario Reformer, December 23, 1922 (page 12)

The Christmas Spirit in Northland

To-day I looked upon a world that is fair to see; its virgin-white drapery, is green and grey mottled woodlands, clear skies welcome sunlight, the cheerful song of chickadees and blue-jays, the antics of the scolding squirrels. Underfoot the snow scrunched and squeaked, signifying it was just cold enough for a comfortable ramble, and so I visited the deer “yard” and was glad to see the wolves had not yet molested them, their criss-cross runaways along which I surprised several who peered at one with large, pathetic eyes and then walked into the deeper shade of the cedars. How picturesque the beaver-house looked, miniature like mosques among the tamarac from which a lone Arctic Wood-pecker tapped for its dinner. Along the glare ice I walked and slid a crossing the slithering like trail of three otter and a mink. I had seen and enjoyed nature in her true shape. And now I lean back in the old rocking chair and the flickering spluttering fireplace awakens memories. And my thoughts drift back towards civilization and crowed cities and I remember that on this the 25th day of December, the world that we know of becomes a veritable brotherhood of man, on this day at least the disparity in the class distinction is wiped away in a common emotion of good-will. It stairs up our dormant feelings, it makes us forget our cares and troubles for this one day at least we are happy. Why cannot we live more days in the year in the same spirit, why confine all our goodness, charitable inclinations and good will to one day?  Humanity is strangely ignorant of its simplest emotions. In a vague way we know that happiness and pleasure comes from our consciousness of doing right, but we don’t always live up to this precept, excepting perhaps this one day of the year. Who knows but from the well spring of this most memorable time that brotherhood of man may arise to glorify in truth that old, old saying, “Peace on earth, good will to men”. And here buried as it were in the depths of the Northland woods, far removed from the sound of the church bells and close fellowship of men, one still feels that happy, contented-like infection that Christmas brings. It is good to live and be contented with your lot and look forward to the coming year with the same spirit that this day of days brings to come.

December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016

Christmas Wishes From Overseas

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist
This article originally appeared in the Oshawa Express, Dec 21, 2011

In 2011, the archives acquired four Christmas cards sent from an Oshawa boy serving overseas during WWII.

Pte. Earl Hann was overseas serving as a member of the Canadian Corps, under the 8th Army, as World War II battled throughout Northern Africa and Italy.  This meant that he was away from his young family during the holiday season in 1944.


A011.10.1, Christmas Card sent by Earl Hann

Standardized Christmas cards were made available to the soldiers so that they could let their family back home know that they were thinking of them.  The cards were really a single sheet of paper with a drawing on it meant to represent the area where the soldier was stationed.  Once the soldier had completed personalizing their card in the little space made available to them,  and the card was passed by the censors, the army would  copy the card and reduce the size so that it would be less expensive to send back home.


A011.10.2 – Christmas Card sent by Earl Hann

Pte. Hann made the best of the limited space available to let him family know just how much he was missing them.  Three of the cards are addressed to his wife Irene with the fourth being addressed to his young daughter Joyce.


A011.10.3, Christmas Card sent by Earl Hann

The lengthiest of the notes written by Pte. Hann also lets us know that the holiday season was extra special as his wedding anniversary also fell during that time.  He writes:

“Happy Anniversary My love.  With Best Wishes that this is our last spent apart.
All my love and Millions of Kisses
Forever yours

He chose to send his daughter a card showing where her day was when he wasn’t with her.  The card has a map of the Mediterranean Sea, showing both Italy and North Africa.  This time the card is simply signed from “Daddy with all his love and best wishes for 1945”.

Pte. Hann was happily reunited with his family once the war was over and he went on to become a 50 year member of the Oshawa Historical Society.  It is fitting that these letters have found a home with a museum he loved so much.