Archive for the ‘Around Oshawa’ Category

December 30, 2017

December 30, 2017

John Henry is dressed and ready for a snowy day.  From the Oshawa Museum’s archival collection (A983.41.3)

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December 29, 2017

December 29, 2017

In 2013, the Oshawa Museum received a phenomenal collection of letters and papers from the Henry Family.  In February 1880, George Henry wrote to his mother Lurenda, the first letter may have sent since the passing of his father Thomas in September 1879.  Within this long letter, he tells his mother how he spent the new year, saying,

We went from there by invitation to John Edgars to take Newyears dinner and assisted in disposing of a fine turkey & goose. I have another invitation to meet with them on honour of the old gentlemans birth day on the 11th  inst when another turkey is to be slaughtered. (all spelling as originally written).

Not many letters touch on the holiday season, but this letter provides a small glimpse at how one Henry child marked the beginning of 1880.

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George and Polly Henry

December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017

On December 22, 1868, Cassius Stone and Clarissa Henry were married.  Clarissa was the 14th child of Rev. Thomas Henry and his wife Lurenda, and Cassius and Clarissa were married in Henry House.

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The home of Clarissa and Cassius Stone in Woodville (west of Lindsay, ON)

It was Cassius and Clarissa’s wish to be married on Christmas Day, but because of Elder Tatton having to serve at the dedication service at the Ringwood Christian Church, they decided to have their ceremony performed on December 22 – in the many years that followed, they always celebrated their wedding day on Christmas.

December 18, 2017

December 18, 2017

Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul.  This happy soul was made popular by the song “Frosty the Snowman”.  This song was written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and performed by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys.  It saw its first public release on December 14, 1950.  The song quickly grew in popularity, reaching a height of 7th place in the US Pop Singles chart of 1950.  The song has been adapted into several other media, including a popular 1969 television special created by Rankin/Bass Productions.

The song tells the story of a snowman who is brought to life by a magical silk hat.  He spends the day playing with the children who created him, until he has to leave, claiming that “I’ll be back again someday.”  Despite not making any mention of Christmas in the original lyrics, Frosty has become a well-known icon as a Christmas character.

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From the Oshawa Museum’s archival collection

December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017

Christmas portrait of unknown fire department associate with children and an unknown individual dressed as Santa.  From the archival collection of the Oshawa Museum (A012.5.38)

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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.

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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)

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