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The adventures of Teddy

Teddy visits the abandoned railway town of Depot Harbour, Ontario

Located on Parry Island, Ontario, Depot Harbour was founded in 1892 as a railway company town by John Rudolphus Booth, the owner of the Ottawa, Arnprior and Canadian Atlantic Railway.

Depot Harbour, which served as the western terminus for the railway, featured many of the amenities of any other town, including 110 houses, two large grain elevators, a railway station, roundhouse, a hotel, a bank and stores.

Depot Harbour would go on to become one of the most important Great Lakes shipping ports, along with Collingwood, Midland and Owen Sound, with the best natural harbour on the Great Lakes.  Trains bringing goods were arriving and departing every twenty minutes.

In 1926, the roundhouse and rail yard were closed by then owner Canadian National Railways, something that would lead to the decline of the town, which had 1600 permanent residents, with around double that in the summer.

Several factors lead to the decline of Depot Harbour, such as the abandonment of the railway line through Algonquin Park that led to the town.  A drop in grain prices brought on by the Great Depression further killed Depot Harbour as a shipping port. The CNR decided to close the port facilities in 1933 and transfer operations to its own facility in South Parry. The population gradually moved away in search of jobs and by 1941, ships stopped arriving.

Today the shell of the roundhouse and several house foundations are all that remain of Depot Harbour.

Teddy visits the Tonawanda Fire Department to learn about fire safety

Here are some important fire safety tips to remember:

Make sure your house has working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels in your house, especially outside all sleeping areas, make sure to test it once a month to ensure it is working properly and change the batteries twice a year. Remember: smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives!

If you hear the smoke detector, or carbon monoxide detector go off, get out of the house and call 911.

Make a family escape plan, practice it periodically and have a meeting place if you have to escape from different exits in your house. Remember: Once you are outside the house, don’t go back inside for any reason because you may be quickly overcome by smoke. Most people who die in a house-fire will die from smoke inhalation, not the fire itself. Only the fire-fighters should go inside the house as they have special masks that allow them to breath in a smoke-filled house.

If you can’t get out of your house, get into a in a room away from the fire, put towels at the base of the door, get to a window if you can and stay as low to the floor as you can.
If your clothes catch fire: STOP, DROP AND ROLL. Rolling on the ground or floor will help to smother the fire and prevent you from getting burned.

If you see or smell smoke, Stay Low and Go! Smoke rises, so by staying as low to the floor as possible, you will have a better chance of getting out. Cover your head with a wet towel if you can.

Never cook without an adult present.

Don’t play in the kitchen when someone is cooking.

Keep towels and other flammables away from stove-tops, fire places and heaters.

Never place clothes or other flammables on a lamp.

Do not plug too many items into a single electrical outlet.

Never play with matches or lighters!

Make sure your parents clean out the dryer vent, have the furnace inspected once a year and if your home has a chimney, make sure it is cleaned once a year.

Teddy visits the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The museum was founded in 1983 to celebrate the singers, musicians, songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, record executives, journalists and other industry professionals who have had a major influence on the development of Rock and Roll music. The museum contains hundreds of artifacts and other memorabilia from over 60 years of Rock and Roll.

Artists are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at an annual induction ceremony, immortalizing the names of those who have made modern music so great.

Teddy visits the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario

Housed in this building are and the House of Commons, which is the Lower House of the government, where laws of Canada are made, and the Senate, which is the Upper House of the Government, where the laws are formally approved. The building also houses offices for the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Official Opposition and the other Members of Parliament.

Built in the Gothic Revival style, the present Centre Block is the second building housing Canada’s parliament. The original building was built in 1859, but destroyed by fire in 1916. The only remnants of the original Centre Block is the Library of Parliament. The current Centre Block building was built in front of the library soon after the fire. The Peace Tower, with the Canadian flag perched on its top, was completed in 1927.

Teddy visits Brock’s Monument, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Brock’s Monument marks the site of the famous battle during the War of 1812.

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock was a British Army officer who commanded the 1st Lincoln Militia in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario) during the War of 1812.

Major-General Brock died at the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812, a battle where the British forces defeated the invading American army.

Teddy visits Laura Secord’s Home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Teddy visits the monument to Canadian World War I hero Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow in Parry Sound, Ontario

Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, called Peggy by his friends, was as Canadian Soldier in World War One.  He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in combat 3 times, making him the most highly decorated Aboriginal soldier in Canada.

Upon his return to Canada, he continued to serve in the Algonquin Regiment, eventually rising to the rank of Company Sergeant-Major.  Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, he was elected chief of the Parry Island Band in February 1921 and again in1942, from which he engaged in a new fight for the rights of aboriginals across Canada.  Eventually Pegahmagabow helped to form some of the first national native rights movements in Canada, eventually becoming the Supreme Chief of the Native Independent Government, an early predecessor of the Assembly of First Nations.

Pegahmagabow died on 5 August 1952 at the age of 63 and is buried on the Wasauksing First Nation.

Teddy visits the Allandale Train Station in Barrie, Ontario

Originally built in 1904 as the flagship station of the Grand Trunk Railroad, the station was part of the transportation corridor between Toronto and the GTR’s northern Ontario operations.  Built in the Italianate style, the station was made up of three buildings:  a restaurant portion, a passenger depot and railroad offices.  Historic Places Canada notes these three buildings are “…visually linked through their complimentary massing, uniform roof pitch and common rail-inspired details…Together they create an atypical, visually distinctive station composition.“  The station once sat right on the edge of Kempenfelt Bay, but infilling of the bay was done to create a rail yard.  A roundhouse and a master mechanic and stores building were built just to the west of the station.

Canadian National Railways took over the Allandale Station in 1922, along with all of the GTR’s operations and operated the station until closing it to passenger service in 1980.  The Allandale Station briefly re-opened as a Go Transit passenger station from 1990 – 1993, when the station was permanently shut down.  The rails running north between Allandale and Longford Mills, near Orillia, were removed in 1996.  The roundhouse was also torn down, leaving only the concrete flooring and outline.

The Allandale Station sat abandoned and deteriorating until 2009, when the City of Barrie undertook a $10 million project to restore and preserve the historic station.

Future plans for the station include a restaurant and a railway museum.  The mechanics building also remains as a community centre, now called the Southshore Centre.

Teddy visits the Great War Flying Museum in Brampton, Ontario

The Great War Flying Museum is an aviation museum located at the Brampton Airport in Caledon, Ontario.

The museum builds and maintains authentic flying replicas of World War I aircraft, along with period uniforms, medals and other artifacts from the Great War.

The museum also has a photograph of Baron Manfred von Richthofenm, the legendary Red Baron, that was personally autographed and given to his niece.

Teddy visits the Holland Ghost Canal near Newmarket, Ontario

The 16 km long canal was supposed to connect the Newmarket to the Trent-Severn Waterway using the Holland River and Lake Simcoe as an alternative to increasing rates transporting goods by the Northern Railway of Canada.

Construction started in 1908 and it soon became apparent that there was not enough water for the canal to operate at reasonable rates during the summer.

Along with construction of three Pound locks, a swing bridge south of the third lock and a turning basin.

Following the General Election of 1911, construction on the canal was temporarily halted, but this led to a complete shut-down of all construction in February 1912 and the canal was abandoned.

Today, you can still see all three locks standing silently, not one ship having passed through them.  Two of the locks have water flowing through them.  One was filled in, but you can still see the top of the lock walls sticking out of the ground.

The turning basin was filled in back in the 1980s and makes up the east part of the parking lot for the Tannery Mall and the Newmarket Go Train station.

The swing bridge was used until 2002 when it was replaced by a four-lane bridge.  The turning-wheel remains, silent and rusting, along with the bridge foundations.

Teddy visits Battlefield Park in Stoney Creek, Ontario

The Stoney Creek area of southern Ontario was the site of a pivotal battle in the War of 1812. Called the Battle of Stoney Creek, a battle fought on 6 June 1813, it marked a turning point in the war.

Around 700 British soldiers and Mohawk warriors, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Harvey, successfully attacked a much larger American force of around 3400 soldiers, under command of Brigadier-General William Winder, Brigadier- General John Chandler, whom had set up camp on the farm of Mary Gage.

LCol Harvey’s soldiers had been garrisoned at a camp approximately eight miles to the west on Burlington Heights, near the current-day site of War of 1812 and Rebellion of 1837 veteran Sir Alan MacNab’s home Dundurn Castle.

The battle lasted less than 45 minutes, with LCol Harvey’s soldiers attacking the American encampment under cover of darkness. By morning, the Americans had retreated toward Forty Mile Creek (present day Grimsby) and the British now occupied the former American camp.

After further battles, the Americans were forced to withdraw back across the Niagara River, and they would never again advance that far into the Niagara Peninsula again.

Teddy visits the Borough of Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia, Pennsylvania, is a coal mining town that is virtually abandoned due to a coal-mine fire that has been burning under the borough since 1962.

The population of Centralia has dwindled from 1,986 residents in 1950 to just 4 in 2017.  Only five homes, a commercial building and the municipal building remain standing in the borough, which was incorporated in 1866.

The first two mines in the Centralia area opened in 1856, the Locust Run Mine and the Coal Ridge Mine. The Hazeldell Colliery Mine opened in 1860, the Centralia Mine in 1862, and then the Continental Mine in 1863.

In May 1962, members of the Centralia Fire Company were sent to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit just outside the eastern edge of Centralia. This was done by setting the garbage in the dump on fire.  An unsealed opening in the pit allowed the fire to enter the labyrinth of abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia.

Due to lethal carbon monoxide spewing out from cracks in the ground and other hazards, the residents of the town were told to leave the town in 1992, as many others had done voluntarily as early as 1984, but some of the residents refused to leave their homes.

After 20 years of court battles, the remaining town residents were allowed to stay in Centralia for the rest of their lives if they choose.

Teddy visits the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oro-Medonte Township, Ontario

The Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church was built between 1846 and 1849 and is one of, if not, the oldest African log church still standing in North America. This small church was erected by a community of Black Settlers on property granted to them for service to the crown during the War of 1812, one of the earliest Black settlements in Upper Canada (present day Ontario).

Many of the early settlers were veterans of Captain Runchey’s Company for Coloured Men, which fought at Stoney Creek, Queenston Heights, Lundy’s Lane and St. David’s, while others were freemen and the formerly enslaved blacks from the United Sates.

The congregation used the church until sometime in the 1920s.  By the 1940s, the church was in disrepair.  A restoration was undertaken between 1947 and 1949 by local school teacher W.R. Best and former Ontario Premier E.C. Drury to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the construction..

The church saw little use and by 1977, the once again abandoned and deteriorating building was taken over by Oro Township.

The church was designated a National Historic Site in 2000, but continued to deteriorate.

In 2015, a major part of the restoration was undertaken and the newly restored church was officially re-opened on 19 August 2016.

Future plans for the church may include turning it into a museum or educational centre, along with weddings and services.

Teddy visits the Minnising Wetlands in Springwater Township, Ontario

Teddy visits Wolseley Barracks in London Ontario, the home station of The Royal Canadian Regiment – Canada’s senior infantry regiment

Established near London in 1884 on farmland belonging to John Carling, son of the founder of the Carling Brewery, as a training camp for “D” Company of the Infantry Corps School, later re-named The Royal Canadian Regiment – Canada’s senior infantry regiment and the oldest Regular Force infantry regiment.  The Militia had used the site for summer training camps since the mid-1860s.

In 1992, Wolseley Barracks was downsized to a detachment of CFB Toronto. 1 RCR departed for CFB Petawawa later that year.  The city had grown up around the base and there was little interest in maintaining a full-size base.

On 1 April 1996 Detachment London closed, but a small portion of the former base was sectioned off and continued to function as a military establishment, as did the nearby Highbury Complex until 2006 when it was abandoned.

The units remaining at Wolseley Barracks were The 1st Hussars (RCAC), 22 Service Battalion (now 31 Service Battalion), 31 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters, 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (Militia), 31 Military Police Platoon, and 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford – London Detachment.

As well, the RCR Regimental Museum remained in “A” Block, otherwise known as Wolseley Hall, as did the Regimental Headquarters Company until 2009, when it joined the rest of the Regiment at Garrison Petawawa. Wolseley Hall had been designated as a national historic site.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-adventures-of-teddy/

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