Category Archives: Exhibits

Fish Tales — Fish travelled by Rail

The Sydenham Sportsmen Association has just finished  hosting another Salmon Spectacular Fishing Derby. The following old photographs are courtesy this group. These photographs are featured in the 2018 feature Exhibit at the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre.

Department of Fisheries train car, fitted with tanks for restocking

cans used for restocking fish, could be carried into the bush,
early 20th century

restocking, 1955

Owen Sound Mill Dam

first concrete fish ladder built in Ontario, at Mill Dam OS, 1952

 

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Fish Tales Exhibit

Have you been in to the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre this summer to see the featured 2018 exhibit? The Centre is open from 10 to 4, seven days a week until Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday. 

Artifacts, photographs and a diorama tell the stories of the commercial and pleasure fishing in Owen Sound and area. 

Two of the photographs in the exhibit are by local photographer, Willy Waterton and were taken in 1980.  Duncan Moulton was a third generation fisherman, and one of the last in Owen Sound. 

Owen Sound commercial fisherman, Duncan Moulton, taken in 1980. copyright Willy Waterton

Owen Sound commercial fisherman, Duncan Moulton, taken in 1980. photo copyright Willy Waterton

There is a gallery guide available to use in the museum when viewing the exhibit panels.

 

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Fish Artifacts at the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre in Owen Sound

By Wendy Tomlinson, Curator/Manager

These taxidermy mounts are of a German Brown Trout, Large Mouth Black Bass, and a Northern Pike. They were all caught in the Grey Bruce area, in the late 1920s. The (female) Brown Trout weighed two pounds, eight ounces, and was seventeen inches long when caught. This mount features a small donors’ plaque listing the donor as the Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce. The large mouth bass weighed three pounds and was eighteen inches long when caught at Chesley Lake by George W. Williams using ‘bait’. Using a trolling rig, the pike was also caught by George W. Williams, in Chesley Lake in 1926. The pike is thirty-three inches long and weighed eight pounds when caught. While it is not known who the taxidermy artist was that created these specimens, they were most probably produced locally, and feature matching glass and oak cases. The fish are in good condition, but have discoloured somewhat, over the years. These specimens make a wonderful addition to the CWHC collection and will be featured in the 2018 summer exhibit, as they are a great example of sport fish that were commonly caught during that period in Grey Bruce.

Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing, mounting and displaying the skins of animals, especially vertebrates. Preserving animal skins is a practice from ancient times and embalmed animals have been found with Egyptian mummies, and throughout many cultures around the world. In the 18th century, hunters began bringing their trophies to upholstery shops, where the upholsterers would stuff tanned animal skins with rags, straw and clay. Eventually more sophisticated lightweight wire frames, wrapped in cotton, supported the sewn skins and advances in preservation techniques produced more lifelike results. The Great Exhibition in London in 1851 included a large display of mounted birds by famed English ornithologist John Hancock, which garnered enormous interest and contributed greatly to the popularity of taxidermy during the Victorian era, when no parlour was complete without taxidermy décor.

 Since then, preservation techniques have greatly improved, allowing for better quality mounts using less toxic materials; however, the traditional method of retaining the original skull and leg bones of a specimen and using them as the basis for a mannequin made of wood continues. Modern taxidermists work with polyester resin, fibreglass cloth, manufactured Styrofoam mounts, factory produced glass eyes, artificial teeth, tongues, claws, beaks and legs are commonly used. Today, creating a trophy mount need not involve preserving the actual body of the animal. Instead, detailed photos and measurements are taken so that the taxidermist can create an exact replica in resin. The benefit of this is that no animals are killed in the process and this has somewhat helped take the pressure off endangered and protected species. In the world of ‘catch & release’ sport fishing, this is a prevalent option.

This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of The Grey County Historian.

Fish Tales Logo Exhibit 2018

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Made in Owen Sound – 2017 Featured Exhibit

 The special exhibit “Made In Owen Sound” will be in the galleries of the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre from May 20th to October 8th from 10 to 4 daily. 

Made in Owen Sound poster

The Beginnings of Industry

Early industries in the village of Sydenham tended to reflect settlers’ needs. The first industry may have been shipping, with the arrival of W.C. Boyd in 1841 aboard his schooner Fly. After setting up a store at 8th Street and 3rd Avenue East, he immediately began importing flour, sugar, butter and other staples.

By the mid 1840s, lumber and furs were the primary exports from the region, but it wasn’t long before tanneries, brickyards and mills began popping up in and around the bustling village. In 1858, George Corbet started the Grey Foundry. That same year, a Scottish immigrant, William Kennedy – who came to Owen Sound to install machinery at the Harrison Mill – liked what he saw and opened a planing mill, sash and wood door factory. By 1864, he had discontinued woodworking altogether, focusing instead on steel at the Sydenham Foundry (which later became Kennedy and Sons).

An 1866 guide to local industry listed 20 businesses:

Harrison’s Flour Mill
Harrison’s Saw Mill
Harrison’s Carding and Fulling Mill
Chatwin’s Cabinet Factory
Riddell and Secord Brewery
Rossiter’s Fanning Mill
Quinn’s Tannery
Lenfesty’s Pearlash Factory
Boyd’s Wharf
Owen Sound Iron Works
Frost’s Tannery
Sloane’s Melodeon Factory
Crawford’s Tannery
Frost Potash Works
Grey Foundry
Sydenham Foundry
Spencer’s Cabinet Factory
Malone’s Brewery
Dowsley Carriage Works
Miller’s Carriage Factory

 Arrival of Train Service

The arrival of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway in 1873 did much to increase the scope of local industries: for the first time the lucrative markets to the south were accessible. Ten years later, the CPR took possession of the rail line and determined Owen Sound would be the terminus for its Great Lakes fleet. That’s when things really took off and products manufactured in Owen Sound began shipping world wide.

The above text is from panel two.

Check out the artefacts highlighting industry in Owen Sound. 

 
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