Posts Tagged ‘local history’

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.

Image177 - Polly Ann & George Henry

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.


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 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 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 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.

December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

From the Ontario Reformer, December 7, 1922

Santa Claus as a Commercial Factor

Santa Claus has become the world’s greatest commercial factor. More business is transacted in connection with the Christmas season than in all the other seasons combined.

To supply the wants of this friend of mankind, factory wheels turn day and night through the year. Armies of men toil long hours. Trains bear carloads of Christmas supplies. Ships are chartered to scour the seven seas for suitable gifts.  The traffic routes of the world are re-made in order to bring gifts to the yuletide tree….

Christmas time started out as a children’s day with Christmas trees, the giving of toys, candies, fruits, and other good things to the little fold.  It has spread to include the whole family and almost the whole of humanity. At Christmas time, hundreds of millions of dollars are spend in jewelry, perfumes, toilet articles, silverware, pianos, Victrolas, furniture, clothing, furs, automobiles, and almost every article manufactured for man.

Months in advance commercial travellers start out on the road selling supplies for Christmas time.  Factories are speeded up to take care of the requirements of Santa Claus, indeed the whole machinery of the universe is keyed up to take care of the requirements of the ruddy faced gentleman with the white whiskers and scarlet coat who brings joy to the hearts of humanity.  Santa Claus is the world’s greatest commercial factor.  Christmas more than any other season has left its impress upon the commerce of the world.

December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

Letters to Santa Claus

Children wishing to write to Santa know to send the letters to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, his official mailing address, according to Canada Post.

However, in 1898, there seemed to be some confusion, but Canada Post made sure letters were delivered!

From the Evening Star, Saturday, December 17, 1898

A new element, that is, new for the present season, has just made its appearance in the postal service – a stream of correspondence to Santa Claus.  A very genial gentleman at the Toronto Post Office acts as a representative of the much adored Santa Claus, and to him the missives are taken daily, an no doubt they reach their intended destination.  The correspondence is not heavy enough to require the Post Master General, Mr. Mulock, to put on a special Santa Claus Staff, but the ardent youngsters of numerous Toronto homes give living evidence of their abiding faith in the Christmas eve visitant to indite their hopes and wishes to Father Christmas, and to confide their missives to the Canadian branch of Her Majesty’s postal department.

Curiously enough many of the letters are addressed to Santa Clause, Union Station, Toronto. Apparently  the children expect that he will come in modern style by train and receive his mail on his arrival there.  In the United States it is said that letters addressed to Santa Claus are not delivered, but are ruthlessly sent to the dead letter office.  I am able to give Toronto correspondents of Santa Claus the most positive assurance that such is not the course of the Canadian postal officials, who, on the contrary, deliver them in the liveliest  fashion.  The children not only have too much faith in the prerogatives of Santa Claus to register their letters, but they have the curious idea that letters with many old stamps will carry his letters; many even show that they assume that his letters travel free as they are not stamped at all.  Some of the writers either through over-anxiety, or a change of desire, write several letters to the old Saint.

While the letters are carefully addressed to the chosen abode of Santa Claus, they seldom bear the address of the sender.

If you write a letter to Santa today, be sure to include your return address so that Santa can write back to you!  Like in 1898, you do not need postage to send your letter along.

From Canada Post:

All letters to Santa should be mailed before December 16 to give Santa enough time to send a letter back. Postage is not required for letters to Santa – but encouraging proper addressing is a good learning experience for all. Santa’s address is:

Santa Claus
North Pole
Canada HOH OHO


So hurry and send those letters!

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

From the Oshawa Community Archives Collection