"A window on the past to enrich the future"

Victoria Public School - The Grand Old Lady of Maple Street (June 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
This story contains my reminiscences of being a student at Victoria Public School on Maple St. in the years 1952-1958.  For the “hard” facts of the history of the building(s) I am indebted to .... Click Here


GAYETY THEATRE TOOK ITS NAME FROM A TORONTO BURLESQUE THEATRE IN 1928 (AUGUST 2016)

H. David Vuckson

Collingwood’s historic Gayety Theatre, now a performing arts centre and modern version of the Victorian era Grand Opera House takes its name from a burlesque theatre in Toronto... Read More


Stephen Leacock and the I.O.D.E. at the Grand Opera House (January 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
Many Canadians know of Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), the famous humourist and prolific writer, and those who live in Simcoe County are also probably aware of his former summer home on Old Brewery Bay in Orillia, now a Museum and National Historic Site of Canada. .. Read More


The Craigleith Shale Oil Works (March 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
Unlike the Pretty River Valley Oil Scam of 1941 which was a total flimflam, the Craigleith Shale Oil Works (1859-1863) was a genuine operation that produced barrels of oil that were shipped out of Collingwood by the railway for a few short years before... Click Here


Death Knell On The Hamilton and North Western Railway (August 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
In the 19th Century, railways were the last word in transportation on land when there was nothing faster to compare them to.  The few roads that existed were often impassable... Click Here


The Pretty River Oil Scam (February 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
The definitive eye witness account of this story by Ruth Carmichael Bryan (1923-1975) was published by the Enterprise-Bulletin in 1967 in a collection called “Tales of Collingwood” under the title “Bonanza”.The time was the spring of 1941... Click Here


The Tragic Launching of the Tadoussac (December 2016) -- H. David Vuckson
May 29, 1969 was a black day in Collingwood when what should have been the routine launching of yet another St. Lawrence Seaway-size ship at the Collingwood Shipyard went terribly wrong.  The Tadoussac, Hull No. 192, a self-unloader...... Read More


Town Hall Monuments of the Past (July 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
This story originally appeared in the Enterprise-Bulletin newspaper on July 11, 2014.  This is a much-expanded version of that story for Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation ... Click Here


SHOPPING FOR SHOES WITH X-RAYS (JULY 2016)

—  H. David Vuckson

Anyone who goes shopping for new shoes is familiar with the sliding metal scale that is used to determine your foot size and its width in order to select new shoes that are comfortable.... Read More


The Carnegie Library Revisited (April 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
This story was originally published in the Enterprise-Bulletin newspaper on April 12, 2013 under the title THE CARNEGIE LIBRARY REMEMBERED.  This is an expanded version of that story.   ..... Click Here


David A. Manson, Seller of Pianos and Wallpaper (October 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
In the early 20th Century, one of the major piano dealers in Collingwood was David A. Manson (March 3, 1884-June 18, 1947).  David Alexander Manson was one of three sons of John Manson, a 10th Line Nottawasaga Township farmer, and Jessie Jardine.  Another son, Thomas Malcolm Manson (b. Oct. 1, 1888) would also become a seller of pianos... Click Here


A Depression-Era Collingwood Ship Makes its Final Journey (September 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
The Great Depression of the 1930’s saw little activity at the Collingwood Shipyard other than grass growing on the two building berths as well as some repair work on older ships. The year 1930... Click Here


COLLINGWOOD WAS SPARED FROM A FENIAN RAID 150 YEARS AGO (OCTOBER 2016) -- H. David Vuckson

Excitement was at a high level throughout Canada West (as Ontario was known in the years prior to Confederation) in late 1865 and early 1866 because of fear of the Fenian Brotherhood. ...Read More


Stories of Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD NEVER HAD A PIANO FACTORY (MARCH 2016) — H. David Vuckson

The history of Collingwood from its earliest days in the 1850’s records a multitude of industries that have come and gone.  In its original state, much of Simcoe County was covered in vast stands... Read More


Fred O'Brien Wore Many Hats (November 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
My great-grandfather’s older brother, Fred Weber O’Brien was born in Barrie in May 1845 to parents Frederick O’Brien and Mary Weber from Dublin, Ireland.  Throughout his long life of 81 years, Fred wore a number of different hats in several communities where he lived, including in Collingwood.... Click Here


COLLINGWOOD SHIPYARD DID NOT ALWAYS HAVE CRANES (APRIL 2016) — H. David Vuckson

Question:  “What sort of object dominated the skyline of the Collingwood Shipyard for most of the first half of the 20th Century?”  If you said the cranes, you would be wrong.  It was actually... Read More


The Message of the Bluebird Staged (May 2017) -- H. David Vuckson
In mid-November of 1923 an original Canadian light opera entitled The Message of The Bluebird was presented in the Collingwood Grand Opera House on two evenings plus one afternoon matinee.  The composer, who...... Click Here


ICE CREAM CONES, BOWLING PINS & BICYCLES (NOVEMBER 2016)

-- H. David Vuckson
Near each end of the Collingwood business district on the east side of Hurontario St. in the 1950’s there was a dairy with a dairy bar selling ice cream cones, milkshakes, etc.  ... Read More


David Vuckson is a great-grandson of pioneer Collingwood merchant R. W. O’Brien.  His roots in town go back to 1875.  He and his wife Pamela live in Victoria, B.C .where he works as a piano tuner while maintaining a keen interest in the history of his hometown.

THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE WAS ONCE THE COMMUNITY GATHERING PLACE (JUNE 2016) — H. David Vuckson

In the lengthy Victorian era and the shorter Edwardian one, many towns large and small built a community auditorium that was... Read More


A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT SOME HURONTARIO STREET FIRES (SEPTEMBER 2016)

-- H. David Vuckson

Much has been written about Collingwood’s “Great Fire” of September 25, 1881. The headlines in the Bulletin of Sept. 28, 1881 said, “COLLINGWOOD IN FLAMES”...Read More