[Timmins] Mine shops aid war effort – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – January 14, 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.

Second World War impacted everyday life in the Porcupine Camp during 1942

A few local news briefs from 1942, courtesy of the Porcupine Advance newspaper. Jan. 25 was the date that was finally set for the official opening of the brand new United Church in Timmins. Located at the corner of Mountjoy Street and First Avenue, only the basement had been built at the time. Construction of the rest of the church was to move ahead in the spring with the help of both regular and volunteer workers.

Rev. J.C. Cochrane, D.D., superintendent of northern missions was secured as the guest speaker. A newly formed choir under the auspices of Mr. Wallace Young was prepared to sing special anthems and other musical numbers during the dedication service.

At that time, the charter roll of membership was to be presented as the basis of the organization, and the keys were to be turned over to the new church minister.

I must be getting old because I remember these shops (although I must say I remember their later incarnations). The Olive Thomson Shop on Pine Street South held a gigantic savings sale in January.

Fur-trimmed coats could be had for $49.95, while smart hats like pillboxes, toques, turbans with skunk, Persian lamb, silver fox could be purchased for the price of $1.49 per hat. Skirts and blouses were marked down to $2.49, while lingerie was discounted at 20%.

Not to be outdone, the Jen Lang Shop, located next door offered evening gowns (formal gowns of sheers, taffetas, crepes and satins) at $10.95, afternoon dresses at $9.95 and exclusive “Deja dresses” at $17.95.

The Abitibi Power and Paper Company at Iroquois Falls and Smooth Rock Falls placed ads in the paper looking for about 1,000 bushmen for the winter months.

Labour was hard to come by because of the war and companies were growing desperate. Piece workers could earn as much as $6 a day (and were charged 95 cents for their board). Teamsters made $2.95 a day, loaders $2.20 and road workers $2.10 – all of those guys received free board.

Employee perks included bush camps built to the specifications of the Ontario Board of Health regulations. Most had electric light, some had white china dishes, flannelette sheets, and shower baths with hot and cold water. Workers could also look forward to single beds with springs, good mattresses and three double blankets.
Each camp also had a small hospital, which was visited by a doctor weekly, a separate kitchen and dining hall, laundry, recreation room, wash and dry rooms, a small store where tobacco, peanuts, chocolate fruit and bush clothing could be purchased. The camp was supplied with fresh meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, and mail service was regular.

And if that wasn’t enough, workers got carfare in and out of the camp once a year. The company did state in their ad quite clearly that anyone employed in the War Industries would not be considered.

Dr. Henry Hudson, a local dentist (yes, the same Hudson who was involved in the Barilko plane crash) was shot in the leg in Toronto while curling (yes, he was actually on the ice) at the Royal Canadian Club.

The mystery shooter was not caught and no one could provide any motive for the shooting.

Dr. Hudson was rushed to hospital where it was discovered that the bullet was lodged in his thigh. It was later removed and he returned to Timmins within the week.

The Timmins team was granted a special dispensation by the Ontario Curling Association and was allowed to bring in a substitute player, Mr. A. Hill.

It was announced that the machine shops from 14 mines in the Porcupine were completing vital war work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.thedailypress.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3435838

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