News from the Archives v03-2
- Created by: Albert Fulton
- Date: 1994-06-01
- Provenance: Collected by members of Toronto Island Connections group, scanned by Edward English, OCR by Eric Zhelka, PDF by Eric Light
- Notes: v03-2
JUNE 1, 1994
MOVIE NIGHTS, April 16 & 17
Many thanks to Anne Broecker, Ron & Pam Mazza, Lu Schoenborn, and Bruce Weber for lending their excellent films, and especially to the Mazzas for providing their great little 8mm projector with speed control, reverse, and freeze-frame features.
One of the highlights of the show, Island Monday, almost didn’t make it–after pursuing a number of leads, it was Laurie Jones who was successful in digging it out of storage at the Montessori School almost at the last minute! This garden of delights was filmed in 1975 by Ellis Roddick and Walter Delorey of 18 Fifth St, and Coby Stoller composed and performed the background music.
Another interesting film was Islanders, produced by a group from York University in 1978. Among those featured were Alice Aitken, Halina Bregman, Doryne & Andy Peace, Kay Walker, and Percy the Milkman, with Doryne and Kay providing much of the voice-over.
The Violin, with music composed and performed by Maurice Solway (Larry’s father), was filmed on the Island in 1973. The two boys “lived” at 6 Omaha, but we’re not sure about the home of the Solway character–was it 2 Channel or 19 Sixth or some other? Anyone remember? This enchanting film was nominated for an Academy Award.
Al Schoenbom’s A Perfect Day is an Island classic. Not only does it portray a summer day in the life of the Schoenborn family in 1954 when they were living at 622 Lake Shore, but it also calls back the former Island homes nestled among the lush foliage along the lagoons at Centre and HanIan’s, the Clandeboye bridge, and even the QCYC junior fleet, the “Brutal Beasts”!
Also shown were 3 short films of Algonquin people and homes by Bud Burrows (7 Dacotah) c.1960, featuring, among others, the Clarksons and Kirkpatricks (5 Dacotab) and the Riddells (7 Wyandot). The Margaret Roberts Collection (1 Oneida), comprising about 50 short films, was lent by Bruce Weber, and several scenes of QCYC launchings and sailpasts were shown. The old white fireboat, whose dock was next to the fireball at the southwest end o f the Manitou Bridge before the firehall was moved to Ward’s, provided a background water spectacle during one of the launchings.Several of the firemen lived on Algonquin at the time.
Of all the films, my personal favorite was An Ice Odyssey, 1968, produced, directed, filmed and edited (according to the credits) by Algonquin’s own R. F. Mazza of 3 Oneida. The cast included Doug Aitken, Peter Broecker, Peter Jones, and Allan D Rae, and the star was Dave Bell’s huge E Class Skeeter iceboat. A 1968 front page Globe & Mail photo of this 500 pound iceboat being sailed on the harbour by Peter Broecker and Peter Jones is in the Archives. According to Paul McLaughlin, it was built in Detroit during the war and was brought to the Island by RCYC Commodore Ray Engholm, who later sold it to Paul. The McLaughlins sailed it for about 9 years and then passed it on to Norman Wells of the RCYC. According to Ron Mazza, the venerable craft is still in operation, in Belleville. Also appearing in Ron’s film were Silver Heels, owned by Tom Swalwell (11 Ojibway) and Mark Millen’s ice boat. Silver Heels hasbeen carefully restored by the Toronto Historical Board and is exhibited from time to time
ALGONQUIN ISLAND ARCHIVES c/o Albert Fulton 5 Ojibway Ave Toronto M5J 2C9 203-0921 or 537-5006
at the Marine Museum. A Bud Burrows photo of Mark and his iceboat is in the Archives. Several of these films have been transferred to video and can be viewed during the regular Archives hours of 1-5 on Sunday afternoons.
FIDDLERS GREEN & 4 OMAHA
One of the Marg Roberts films showed the launching of Fiddlers Green in 1960. From Len Barnett, as told to Albert the Archivist:
Fiddlers Green is an Elizabethan term for the place where good old sailors go after they die. Alan White used it to name a boat which he built on the front lawn at 4 Omaha in the late 1950s.
Alan was an Englishman who used to keep a pub in London. He was an expert cabinetmaker, a real perfectionist, and Fiddlers Green was the best-built wooden boat that I know of. I say this with some authority, as my partner and I were certified to do boat and dock surveys in those days.She had bent oak frames on 6″ centres, 1″x1″ oak planks nailed and glued together, a beautiful long bowsprit, teak decks, and Honduras mahogany panelling inside. All her fittings were solid brass or bronze, and she was heated by a Shipmate coal stove. Her sails were made in Nova Scotia, with the canvas tanned with red ochre and boiled linseed oil. They took 9 months to dry before they could be used, but were then almost indestructible.
After her launching and trials, Alan unfortunately had to let her go as he was made manager of Crown Cork & Seal Co. in Trinidad. [Ray Lye (29 Seneca) tells me that he worked for the same company for 22 years.] Fiddlers Green was sold to a doctor in the OCYC and later to other owners. Presently she is kept at the Toronto Island Marina.
An article on Fiddlers Green with full-page colour photos appeared in Canadian Yachting in January 1981, and a copy is in the Archives. Richard and Tina Sharabura had owned her for 4years at that time.
4 Omaha, where Alan & Joan White spent 4 years building Fiddlers Green, met its demise during the fluff season of 1966. The occupants after the Whites were another boat-building couple, Murray & Donna Seymour, who were off sailing at the time. A fluff fire ignited the oil supply, and the middle part of the long white house was burned out. The Seymours moved to 29Seneca and the house was demolished.
4 Omaha was one of the three “QCYC cottages” built in 1939, the year after the lots were opened up on Algonquin. It was built by Rear Commodore Jim Hunt, owner of the Tumlaren, Minnie D. A spectacular 1939 shot of this boat beating out of the lagoon graces the cover of the QCYC centennial book of 1989. In the background is the Clubhouse with a huge “QCYC” painted on the roof and a patch where the “widow’s walk” had recently been removed from the peak of the roof. 4 Omaha was later occupied by the families of Bill & Irene Bruce, Carlton & Bessie Sandlos, and Ken & Marion Walker. Who will be the next lucky residents of the new 4Omaha??
The other QCYC cottages were 1 Seneca, built by Commodore Harold S Robbins, and 3 Nottawa, built by future Commodore Allan J Rae. Most of the other houses adjacent to the QCYC were not built until almost 10 years later.
One of Anne Broecker’s films showed a huge snow drift in 1977, almost up to the roof of 9 Nottawa. This spring, the last Algonquin snow drift to disappear was in the same location. The snow from the harbour ice gets funnelled between 3 and 5 Seneca by the northwesterlies, and the long west facade of 3 Seneca directs it toward 9 Nottawa. Photos by Doy Pohl and Peter Holt of the huge 1977 drift are in the Archives.
It’s maybe a bit surprising that 9 Nottawa has managed to withstand this windy onslaught for the past 50-odd winters. When the new owners recently removed the skirting, the posts were revealed to be rather unsubstantial pieces of small tree trunks, and the fireplace footing looked like a loose pile of cinder blocks! New posts have been installed, and the lucky new
residents, Mark Zambonelli & Kate Shepherd & baby Shepherd Zambonelli, plan to rebuild the rest of the house in due course.
9Nottawa was built by Fred & Adelaide Stoneburgh in 1942-43, and they sold it to Fred & Mary Woolford in 1950. From 1955 until 1993 it was the Pohlhouse,home to Hal, who died in 1972, Doy, andsons Trevor, Darren, and Kevin. Hal and Doy moved to the Island in 1951, living at 402 Lake Shore, 21 Iroquois, and 5 St Andrew’s before moving to 9 Nottawa. To decorate the long blank interior living room wall in their new home, they had considered installing a photo mural, but their friend Gord Bailey (8 Oneida) offered to paint a realmural instead. He was anexperiencedadvertisingcartoonist whohadworkedwith Gregory Clark and Jimmy Frise at the Star. When Hal and Doy returned from work,they discovered not a large cartoon, but a relaxingseascape with flyingseagulls in the foreground.Photos of the muralare in the Archives.
Unfortunately this masterpiece(?) sufferedconsiderable damage over the years.Kathleen Roe,the artist from across the street,expertly patchedandrepainted a hole in the middle, but the outer regions were in badshape, andsince it had been painted directly on the drywall, it had to be broken up when the house was gutted last December. A foreground piece with a tokenseagull is in the Archives.
From the Owen Sound Sun Times, June 14, 1986, by editor Robert Hull: In a recent column, I expressed distress over the behavior of some fans at Blue Jay ball games. I suggested, “The jackals could be caged in an appropriate location–the Toronto islands.” Well, that struck some raw nerves of those islands. Dorothy Pohl responded on behalf of “perturbed islanders.”
“I have been a resident of Toronto Islands since 1951; have enjoyed raising three sons in such a healthy, clean atmosphere. W e have a warm, friendly, co-operative community spirit, which includes the blue collar workers, white collar workers, and professional men and women. The majority of us have never had any reason to lock our doors. Can the same be said of Owen Sound?. Y o u see, Mr. Hull, we are quite proud of our islands, so perhaps you ought to bite your tongue (or your typing fingers). Better yet, visit the islands sometime and perhaps you will change your prejudiced opinion. Another suggestion, send the ‘jackals’ to Owen Sound; perhaps you could cage them in Harrison Park or let them wear themselves out running up and down your hills. That would be a much more appropriate location.”
So there! Doy has donated a variety of photos and other Island memorabilia to the Archives. Her new address is RR#2, Walkerton, Ont, NOG 2V0, (519) 364-1489, and she tells me that she would love to hear from her old Island friends.
Carl Bregmandonated a copy of Mike Filey’s ITC book Not a One Horse Town,as wellas 2 pins and other souvenirs of the recent celebration of the 40thanniversary of the opening of the Yonge St subway.(Videotapes of the subway constructionand old streetcar film footage are in the Archives).Joey Gladding addedsome of her photos to the AIA Reconstructionalbum. Gail Labonte-Smith depositedanother of her greatbatches of Islandephemera. Mike Maher brought over a series of spectacular donations which included large maps and other charts, a pile of the excellent Harbour Commission publication Port of Toronto News from the 1970s, a copy of the 120-page Island FishSurvey of 1973 with a detailedsoundings map of all the Island lagoons, and many many other items. Vivian Pitcher donated 2 IFS cookbooks with yummy recipes from Island chefs. Martin ter Woort dropped off a large file of Save Island Homes correspondence from the 1970s,as well as harbour and waterfront planning materials and a copy of the 1972 Harbour Commissionstudy of the Islandbeaches, with excellent photos and maps.Adam Zhelka donatedexamples of his photographic prowess–180degree ice panoramas of the boardwalk and Western Gap taken during the famous winter of 1994, and 16 unique photos of Algonquinhouses (mostly of their underpinnings!)
THE SHAW HOUSE, 108 Lake Shore
In the TIRA NEWS of May 5, Graham Mudge wrote a detailed account of the surprisingly good condition of this house. Sadly there appears to be a vandal in our midst. Shortly after Graham’s article appeared, the house was broken into and many large holes were punched through the drywall in the living room, dining room, and master bedroom. After all the years of Metro’s destruction of Island homes, is it not ironic that an Islander, presumably, would continue the destruction?
Graham’s description of the elegant interior of this fine house has been documented on film, and the photos may be viewed at the Archives. It was the gracious summer home for many years of the Shaw family, Arthur (a denture manufacturer, according to Bill Ward), Jean, and daughter Sandra.Photos of its beautiful gardens and grounds are in the Archives. Alice Aitken, who attended many dinner parties there, dubs it one of the nicest houses on the Island. The underwriters map of 1935 appears to show only the centre part of the house,and judging from the interior appointments, it was probably expanded or completely rebuilt sometime after the war. I have not yet searched the history o f any non-Algonquin houses; any additional information would be appreciated.
Herb Fair, Harbourfront, June 5, 12-6 pm
Once again Sandy Krzyzanowski will be bringing her garden gleanings to this event, with her demonstration scheduled for 3 pm. Also participating will be the long-time friend of the Island, master chef Michael Stadtlander, who grows his organic produce on his farm near Collingwood. Sandyhas been hitting the promotion circuit, both for her herbs and for her natural dyes.She was interviewed on CIUT last Friday, on the CBC lastSunday (to be broadcast in the fall), and is giving a demonstration on CITY-TV Breakfast Television tomorrow (Thursday) sometime between 7 and 9 am. In case you miss it, Sandy’s segment will be videotaped and added to the ongoing Archives video collection of Island events.
Also appearing with Sandy on the CBC was Mai Aru, recently of 14 Dacotah.Sandy and Mai participated in a fashion show last Sunday at the historic Heliconian Hall on Hazleton Ave, and Mai will be continuing her show and sale at her studio this week from Thursday until Sunday. It is located on the 5th floor at 51 Wolseley St (off Bathurst, north of Queen) and is open from 1-8 on Thursday and Friday and 1-5 on Saturday and Sunday.She is also planning an Island show for June 25 (info: 365-0298).
This newsletter appears quarterly, with the next issue slated for September 1. If you know of any interesting events with an Algonquin flavour, please provide details at least a week in advance, and I’d be delighted to include them.
The article on the back page was written by Harry Bruce, whose cottage was off by itself among the poplars near the Eastern Gap, south o f the concrete path. Photos are in the Archives. He claims that the pseudonym Max MacPherson occurred to him because his winter home was on MacPherson Ave! Mr Bruce wrote extensively about the Island, and many of his clever pieces are i n the Archives. The sketch was drawn by his brother-in-law George Meadows, a high-school art teacher. Do you recognize the houses?
OBITUARY / JohnHerbertPitcher
Globe staffer a keen sailor
TheGlobeandMaH e a –
TORONTO —John Herbert(Herb) 1964, showed a flair for page make Pitcher,who spenta quarter century u p andstayed onasalayout supervi
helping to create the pages readers s o r, responsible for balancing the
2 – 1
found in The Globe and Mail each competing demands of the advertis
/ / f
morning,died at hishome yesterday i n g and editorial departments. ofaheart attack. Hewas69. H e headed The Globe’s employee
d u r i n g
Co-workers recall h i m a s a credit union foranumber of years. cheerful and generous friend. “He’ll H e and his wife, Margaret, whom
t h e
t y p o g r
besadly missed,” said Dan Ford, a h e married in 1947,were also popu
a p h e r s
long-time colleague. l a r members of the Toronto Island
Bill Sinclair, for many years Mr. community. They lived on the island
Pitcher’s assistant in the composing f o r more than 30 years before mov room,described him as “the greatest i n g to Burlington, Ont.
s t r
i k e
guyever. If he had 22 bucks in his I t gave him the opportunity to in pocketand you needed20,he’d give • dulge his passion for sailing out of
you 20.” the Queen City Yacht Club, where
A Toronto native; Mr. Pitcher h e wasapastcommodore.
started his career in advertising and Be s i d e s his wife, M r. Pitcher
joined The Globe’s advertising de- leaves two daughters, Tina and
partmentin 1959. M a g g i e , a son, David, and nine
Hemoved to the composing room grandchildren.
Herb & Marg Pitcher and family lived at 15 Seneca from 1959 to 1962, at 13 Seneca until 1977,and at 3 Nottawa until 1989. Herb served in many capacities at the OCYC, and he was Commodore in 1974-76. He put his newspaper experience to good use as the OCYC editorial representative on GAM magazine, and he was a regular contributor to the QCYC CLIPPER. During his stint as Rear Commodore, his column was titled Rumblings from the Rear! From the OCYC centennial book of 1989:
Queen City didn’t go through the 70s without an incident involving RCYC. Until 1976, Royals had always held its Sailpast in June, late enough for the owners of wooden boats to be ready. So it was with some surprise that two weeks before Sailpast, Commodore Herb Pitcher got a call from RCYC’s Ted Chisholm explaining that the ‘senior club”–meaning RCYC–was planning its Sailpast on the 24th of May weekend and would Herb make the necessary arrangements to move Queen City’s Sailpast so that the events wouldn’t conflict in the harbour.
“I couldn’t believe the idiot was sober and that he couldn’t think of the problem he was creating,” says Herb. “After I cooled down, I explained to him that what he was asking was out of the question as we’d held Sailpast the May long weekend for as long asanyone could remember. He wasn’t too happy, and to this day I don’t think he really understood the names I called him. But he agreed to let his members think in terms of an imaginary line dividing the harbour in half. We made a map and told our members to keep dear, which they did. RCYC members, though, sailed merrily through our Sailpast and it was a mess. The next morning when RCYC Commodore Gord Norton and his club manager came over to apologize, I learned that Chisholm hadn’t said a thing to RCYC members!!”
From the church newsletter, Spring 1986:
POT LUCK SUPPER, April 11. Hardly seen your neighbour since winter set in? Want to trade your wife for new hardware? Wondering what kind of people actually take off for Church everySunday morning? Well, here is your chance to remedy your problem–the second gala Pot Luck Supper hosted by the ladies of St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church. Bring any old pot you have in the cupboard, filled with some silly dish like chocolate oysters or peanut buttered olives, and head for MARG and HERB PITCHER’s place at #3 Nottawa Avenue. You say you don’t want to show up uninvited, then phone any of the organizers listed below and let them know your acoming. Marg Pitcher; Oshkosh Hopp; Wendi Hanger; Patty Henderson.
We were very pleased that Marg was able to join her Island friends at the Movie Night on Aril 16.
e Ongtare, which is the it looks vaguely like a it Normandy, and she’s , across the gray harbor
low April mist that op- ✓ t h r o u g h the sounds and the deep split-level ion on the Eastern Gap ndreds of foreign ducks ;ards beautiful, fragrant, anting a nd sometimes Island where hearts are arlost and you, too, may
II a couple of hundred the eastern end of the is- ;people have not mashed indin the winter, or after inights when the last of have boarded the last of lose times when the rest ve turned black and emp elights of Ward’s some orning. re asleep and the cottag it up, drinking, dancing,
another’s wives with dl island people are kind ust talking on and on into how many more nights rthere before the Pai•ks my of occupation decides louses.
their way of life by wan le footpaths they call )eeking in their windows. ;.e that people live there d’s the sweetest walk on indthe fact that I happen athere myself has, of todo with this judgment. good to be back aboard hher axes and hoses and es and her navy smells. crowded. The first young ir are aboard, with plaid
blankets, radios and bags of sandwiches. There’s a kid with all six NHL crests on his jacket, and a fishing pole in his hand. And there’s me, old Max, travelling Lin cognito.
We move out past the G. W. Rogers and the Glen Rover, of the Canadian Dredge and Dock Co. Ltd. The company colors are beige, red, white and black, and, be cause the air and the whole sweep of the bay are dark and wet, both higs look cra zily bright, and their beige is gold. And
the ducks. They are brown and white, and smaller than local ducks, Tourists, I ‘m sure.
The Ongiara plows toward them. They get up, in twos and ,hrees, and dash along the surface and, soon, there’s a great stream of them over the coal yards in the east and swinging southwest towards the lake. They are trying to form a V but they aren’t very good at it and, instead, they look like a huge ribbon, or an adver
tising banner that’s come loose from a helicopter and must float and bend and drift for as longas the wind blows.
We make port at Ward’s and, among the friendly creatures who greet me, is a crazy, skinny, raw-boned dog with teddy bear fur and big feet. I don’t know his real name but my island acquaintances call him The Beast. (Island people are nothing if not direct. They are not univer sally fond of the public toilet and bath- house that the Parks officials erected on
the beach a couple of years ago and, since it was designed by Irving Gross man, they call it The Irving,) The Beast is a local celebrity. He hasn’t greeted any ferry I’ve been aboard since last fall, and I’m very happy to see him. We have a lot in common. His days on the island are alsonumbered.
The island that lies across the lagoon to my right. is Algonquin. I n the winter, when the isolation of the island people
forces many of them to rely on them, Selves for amusement—like some trading town on the Arctic Ocean—Algonquin is a hotbed o f Little Theatre, Polynesian Nights and other communal activity.
Algonquin is also notable for its Indian street names, and I drift over there to in vestigate Dacotah Ave., Wyandot Ave., Omaha, Ojibway, Oneida, and Seneca. I
do a little discreet spying on the houses; see two floppy honkers pumping their way towards the western horizon; ob serve some yellow crocuses; hear the light rain fizzing on the lagoon and the far squawk of a seagull; and I catch, once more, Algonquin ‘.sland’s unparalleled view of all the dark towers of downtown Toronto.
I ignore the Private sign at the Queen City Yacht Club and prowl towards the boats. They are all up on cradles, in rows, under heavy tarpaulins, sleeping, good lit tle boats who’ve gone to bed. But no. They are not asleep, after all.
When I ‘m finally sneaking around in there, under all these bows and sterns, I discover that the whole place is seething. There are noises inside the boats. There are men and women and little children, and they’re all in here scraping and sand ing and caulking and drilling and painting’ and running’ machines that whine. I rec ognize this activity as a sacred rite of spring and, since I haven’t so much as a rusty marlin spike to prove I’m one of the faith, I hustle on out of there. r etr eat from Algonquin Island and head for my ownplace on Ward’s proper. •
She has survived the winter superbly. She is standing here, happy among the trees, brave among the wild rabbits, lis tening to the venerable foghorn in the lake. She is awaiting her own launching, just as she has done for 25 or 30 or 40 years. I ‘m not sure how long. Anyway, since long before anyone ever thought she didn’t belong here.