Sundridge, Ontario: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards
Welcome to 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.
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Johnstone’s general store is seen in the vintage postcard to the left. The road is still dirt, with a boardwalk across it. If you can help us date this postcard, we’d appreciate it. To the right is a hand-colored c. 1913-1920 postcard of Main St. in Sundridge. The Hotel Sundridge is at right front. In an interesting juxtaposition of the changing times, a horse-drawn vehicle is parked at the hotel’s entrance, while an early automobile is parked beyond the horse-drawn vehicle. Early gas pumps are across the road. We’d like to know more about the other buildings seen in this postcard, which was published by Rumsey & Co. of Toronto.
Glen Bernard Camp
Hotel Bernard (Caswell Resort Hotel)
The Hotel Bernard was built on the site of the Queen’s Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1890. Rebuilt, it burned again in 1919. Rebuilt a third time, the hotel was purchased in the 1940s by Mr. Caswell after WWII, and renamed as the Caswell Resort Hotel.
The real-photo postcard at top left of the Ski Club says on the reverse that the image was taken near the bottom of the hill, showing the hand-hewn log lodge and the tow motor house. It’s described as an excellent hill for both the novice and the good skier, and had a 1,000-foot tow. The sender, Phyllis, writing to Mr. and Mrs. F. Helm of 7334 Anthony in Dearborn, Michigan, said: “Lots of skiing & skating. Really different from Dearborn. Almost tempted to stay another week.”
John C. Faulkner worked in Sundridge between 1889 and 1907, and was also documented there between 1914 and 1920. Postmarked in 1905, this real-photo postcard depicts two men with some cattle and a note written in jest which says: “Sundridge Ont. — at busiest period of the day.” Learn more about Faulkner and his niece, Lilley, on the Northern Ontario Postcard Photographers page. A portional close-up image from the postcard is seen to the right.
Due to unfortunately missing edges of the real-photo postcard seen above, the Faulkner watermark remains but the first name is indiscernible. We therefore don’t know whether John Faulkner or his niece Lilley took his c. 1903-1918 image of a farmer proudly standing by his yoke of oxen, along a dirt path leading to his imposing Gothic Revival style frame farmhouse. A woman and child stand in the front doorway of the home. The Gothic Revival style is closely associated with “century houses” in Canada. Note also the use of a split-rail fence on this farm, in what is a delightful vignette of rural Canadian farm life at the turn of the 20th century.
John Faulkner and his niece Lilley took many pioneer images in the Sundridge area which were used as real-photo postcards (RPPC). Their photographs are particularly revealing in that they show ordinary, day-to-day life rather than sweeping vistas or prosperous businesses. One example is Lilley Faulkner’s vintage postcard (also an RPPC) entitled “Hauling Cord Wood Sundridge.” It shows three young boys hauling wood on sleds, using a goat and a dog to pull the sleds, while three men in the background (to the left) observe the event. The Solio stamp box dates the postcard to 1903 to 1918, although we suspect the image dates to about 1906. To the right is the impressed mark of photographer Lilley Faulkner.
One of the most interesting features of this postcard is the appearance of six posters on the side of the barn. At least two of the posters reference “Kickapoo,” which was a popular traveling medicine man show, similar to a circus in atmosphere but offering “cures” for various maladies. Up to 75 Kickapoo shows traveled at a time, reaching audiences large and small in the United States and Canada.
“The traveling show that Bigelow and Healy put on the road resembled, in many ways, the Wild West shows that later entertained in small towns. At various times, their show offered drama, vaudeville, minstrels, singers, dancers, magicians, and burlesque routines, as well as shooting competitions, dog and pony acts, and the exhibition of various circus animals. A typical show featured Indian songs and dances, rifle shooting demonstrations, a contortionist act, a trapeze artist, and a trained dog act. Their sales efforts extended to producing magazines full of their own advertising, such as The Indian Illustrated Magazine and The Kickapoo Indian Dream Book…One of the Kickapoo advertising slogans was: ‘Genuine Kickapoo Indian Oil: Quick Cure for All Kinds of Pain.’
“The other half of the Kickapoo partnership, Texas Charlie Bigelow [1855-1917], was the ‘doctor’ and primary pitchman. [“Colonel” Bigelow, originally from Worcester, MA, was friends with Buffalo Bill Cody, traveling with Cody in his Wild West shows and gaining useful experience for his own Kickapoo medicine shows. Bigelow also had one of the most extensive collections of Indian relics in the country.] He cultivated the image of a Western hero, with shoulder-length hair and a wide-brimmed hat. He was attracted to the medicine show business at a young age, at which time he let his hair grow and became known as ‘Texas Charlie.’ When pitching in the East, he wore a buckskin outfit to provide a Western image. Performing in the West, he wore the more sedate frock coat of a traditional pitch doctor. He traveled with a Hindu who did a magic act. He also hired two Syrians from a rug store and dressed them as what he thought looked like Hindu priests in order to provide the mystical look of the Far East for his show.”
“The primary products of the Bigelow and Healy company were Kickapoo Indian Sagwa, a vegetable remedy for the stomach and liver; Kickapoo Indian Oil, for nervous and inflammatory diseases; Kickapoo Indian Worm Killer, for expelling any kind of internal worms; and Kickapoo Indian Salve, for skin [ailments].”
Here’s a wonderful Azo Square real-photo postcard of Scott’s service station in Sundridge, Ontario. Although Azo Square stamp boxes were used on the backs of postcards from about 1924 to 1949, this gas station (left) was no doubt in business by about 1934, when the Dionne Quintuplets were born at Corbeil, Ontario. Vintage advertising signs on the building include those for Coca-Cola and Sweet Caporal cigarettes, as well as British Consul, a brand made by the Imperial Tobacco Co. We’d be interested to learn more about the building’s location. Scott’s also offered tiny cabins for tourists. Two of the cabins are seen to the left in this image, partially obscured by the gas station. It’s a great early roadside Canadiana post card. To the right, we see a c. 1960s to 1970s vintage chrome postcard of the Sunset View restaurant and White Rose service station. Located on the Ferguson Highway (Highway 11), two miles north of Sundridge, it was owned and operated by Elsie and Steve Armstrong. The postcard also advertises that Lake Bernard and Eagle Lake are nearby for good fishing.
Tall Tale, or Exaggeration Postcards
Ten Gables Golf Inn, 1795 Highway 11 South, Sundridge — Did the Ten Gables always have a golf course, or was it previously an inn, as seen in the c. 1945-1949 real-photo postcards below?
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.