Sundridge, Ontario Military History: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards
Greetings from the 162nd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces at Sundridge, Ontario! Highlighting in vintage postcards the history of towns and townships in the greater Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami areas of Northern Ontario, Canada, including the Nipissing District and portions of the Parry Sound district which are in the “Blue Sky Region.” These Canadian postcards are shown in digital, virtual museum format for educational purposes. If you have images or historical information which you’d like to share with our virtual museum, feel free to do so. To navigate these pages, mouse over the top navigation bar. Drop-down menus will appear of the areas of interest. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. Close the larger image before opening another thumbnail. The occasional duplicates for sale can be found using the search box on the main (home) page of VintagePostcards.org. This is an ongoing project; comments and questions to the webmaster at webmaster - at sign - vintagepostcards.org are welcome.
The scarce 1916 postcard above offers greetings from the 162nd Battalion, C.E.F. at Sundridge, and bears an interesting message from a soldier named Russ, who sounds somewhat bored. Penned on 25 July 1916, the message reads: “I have not very much to say this time, only that I am still living. I hear there is to be a big day in town on the third of August and you bet I will be up if I can get there at all. Well, I have been soldiering for six months now and we are still in Canada yet, but it is hard to tell where we will be at the end of another six months.”
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This historically significant Azo Tri 1 real-photo postcard, dating to World War I and a 1914-1918 time frame, shows troops from the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) posing at the Queen’s Hotel in Sundridge, Ontario. The two-story hotel seen in this scarce image appears — from its architectural details, including Italianate-style porch post trim — to have been built c. 1880 to 1885. The otherwise unused RPPC (real-photo postcard) bears a handwritten notation on the reverse which says: “162 Battalion at Sundridge.” The Azo Tri 1 stamp box on the reverse was used between 1904 and 1918.
As was noted on the Commanda page, James Arthurs (1866 — 1937), who opened a general store in Commanda in 1885, was instrumental in establishing the 162nd Infantry Battalion of the C.E.F. in 1914. The C.E.F. was created in response to a United Kingdom call for troops after World War I began. Mr. Arthurs’ dignified portrait is seen to the left.
When not in town, the soldiers were at this overseas battalion camp (left), which consisted of dozens of tents and which was photographed on 29 May 1916 by R. Young, whose price for the postcard was 10 cents. There’s also an Azo Tri 1 stamp box on this vintage postcard. The real-photo postcard to the right is a November 1916 view of the camp.
Although it would now be considered politically incorrect and perceived as animal cruelty today, soldiers at Sundridge kept a black bear as a mascot for the camp. The bear no doubt was an amusement intended to alleviate some of the fear and anxiety soldiers must have felt as they awaited their overseas departures to the front lines in Europe.
The country was caught up in a patriotic fervor, with the private post card below (postmarked in 1915) imparting some of the feeling. A gold maple leaf drapes the right corner, while a dramatic and large Union Jack waves boldly behind a real-photo scene of troops marching en masse down a street, with the photo caption reading: “For Empire, King and Flag, Canadian Soldiers Leaving for the Front.” Silver print along the bottom of the card reads: “Canada will do her duty to keep the old flag flying.”
Area Sites: Perhaps the soldiers saw the Sundridge public school and the Baptist Church. Auctioneer J. C. Murray’s Victorian home, Craigowan, had been built by then, as had William Hall’s c. 1903 — 1907 home.
For collectors of vintage postcards, old postcards and the antique postcard. Deltiology, the hobby of collecting vintage postcards, is one of the fastest-growing collectibles hobbies. Old postcard collections interest collectors of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera; collectables such as old vintage postcards are used by museums and historians to document what was.