Monday, January 22, 2018

Memories of the Mimico Fire Department

Firefighter E.J. Moynahan
Mimico Fire Department 1963
Etobicoke Fire Department
Today's blog post is about the Mimico Fire Department and some of the great men who worked there like my father Ernest J. Moynahan.

My father started on the Mimico Fire Department in 1963 after serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and working at the Canadian National Railways and Environment Canada (Toronto airport).

After submitting his application, he was offered an interview in October 1963 and was successful in being hired.

The request for interview; 1963
Mimico Fire Department: Request for Interview

Our family moved to Mimico when my father was working at the Toronto airport for Environment Canada in the early 1960s.

Picture from Chuckman's Postcard Collection
(circa 1966)
At the time of hiring, the Mimico Fire Department was a single-bay fire station located at 13 Superior Avenue (close to the Lakeshore) and our family lived at 61 Superior just up the road! It was wonderfully close and convenient.

The photo below was taken of my father on Christmas day at 61 Superior on his way to work at 13 Superior!

Firefighter E.J. Moynahan; Mimico; Christmas1962
On a recent trip to Toronto, I took a nostalgic drive through my old "Mimico" neighborhood and was surprised to see a condominium where the fire station once stood!

This is what the Mimico Fire Station looked like in 2011
It no longer exists except for the facade which has been incorporated into a condominium

The Mimico Fire Station 
in the Good Old Days (1955)

1946 Fargo / LaFrance pumper (serial B-1791) as seen in 1955. This picture shows the newly added second floor
Source: James V. Salmon photo, Toronto Public Library archives.
Firefighter Working Conditions

The working conditions of firefighters in the 1960s were naturally very different from the working conditions that exist today. It was and still is very dangerous work requiring constant training and firefighters depend upon each other in a way that exists in few other occupations.

There have been many improvements in equipment, wages and some recognition of the special health and safety hazards that exist uniquely for firefighters. But there are also many new hazards (such as fast-burning house fires!)

I was surprised when I read through Bert Mortimer's copy of this four-page collective agreement! (Bert Mortimer joined the Mimico Fire Department in 1952 later becoming Fire Chief)

The Mimico Fire Department Collective Agreement 1961-1962
Here are the salaries and Residence clause from this 1961-1962 collective agreement:

Salaries 1961-1962

In 1964, Fire Chief Wally King wanted to add six more firemen to his 15-man department and buy an aerial truck and renovate the fire hall but rumours of amalgamation were already in the air.

Toronto Star: 24 March 1964
The Provincial Federation of 
Ontario Fire Fighters (PFOFF)

1966 training at the Provincial Federation of Ontario Professional Fire Fighters -Ontario Fire College
(Source: E.J. Moynahan in the photo: far right middle row)
The first provincial organization of fire fighters was created in 1920 and was known as the Provincial Federation of Ontario Fire Fighters (PFOFF). It followed the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) which was formed in 1918.

(The 'new' Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) was formed in October 1997. Read more of the history here: Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association)

The PFOFF photograph above was taken at a 1966 training of executives from fire halls around Ontario. My father is standing in the middle row farthest to the right of the photograph (a dark jacket with the PFOFF crest showing). Beside my father in the same row is fellow Mimico fire fighter Gerry Leduc.

The fire fighters from around Ontario received PFOFF training on labour negotiations.

Source: Fire Watch (Summer 2007) Published on Jun 29, 2007 

Dr Eric Taylor was their discussion leader at this negotiation training session and Dr Taylor is remembered by his participation in the historic Ford strike in Windsor, Ontario as well as the 1957 infamous "Dr. Eric Taylor arbitration" regarding the reduction of working hours from 56 per week to the current 42 per week in the Toronto fire department (a win that forced the city of Toronto to hire 264 more firefighters and a benefit that Toronto firefighters still enjoy today)

Source: Fire Watch (Summer 2007) Published on Jun 29, 2007 
To read more about Dr. Taylor's ideas on negotiation and representation, visit

Upstairs at the Mimico Fire Station
13 Superior Ave., Mimico

The photo above was taken upstairs at the Mimico fire hall after a first aid training session. (Source: E.J. Moynahan)
The firefighters in the photo at the first aid training session (above) are are:

Seated left: Bert Mortimer, Jimmy Henderson, Al Horniblow, Ernie Moynahan, Mel Jones
Seated right: in the suit is Fire Chief Wally King, in the white shirt and tie Gary Lang, the person in between these two is Tom Coulter
Standing left to right: Harold Neuman, the first aid instructor (name unknown), John McLaughlin, Stan Brownley, Bill Dicks, Gerry Leduc and Bernard Walsh.

(Source: E.J. Moynahan)

Back Row (Left to Right): John McLaughlin, xxxx xxxxx, Ross Bonner, Stan Brownlee, Ernie Moynahan, Bill Dix
Middle Row (Left to Right): Bob Barker, Don Coulter, Bert Mortimer, Wally King, Gerry Leduc, Mel Jones
Front Row (Left to Right): Harold Neuman, Al Horniblow, Vince Dubec, Bernard Walsh, Gary Lang, Jimmy Lathen

Fire Chief Bert Mortimer (1920-1975)
Joined the Mimico Fire Department in 1952

The Amalgamation of 1967 

On January 1, 1967: Etobicoke, Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto amalgamated and the Mimico Fire Department became the Etobicoke Fire Department.

Below are a number of news articles and photographs from our family scrapbooks that feature my father. (I intend to continually add to this page as  I find new photos and news articles)

Source: Etobicoke Gazette; 31 March 1977

Firefighter Moynahan at scene of fire (far right) (Source: E.J. Moynahan)

Firefighter Moynahan at scene of fire; (Source: E.J. Moynahan)

Firefighter Moynahan attends to accident victim; Source:The Toronto Saturday Sun; 9 Apr, 1988; Page 2
Firefighter Moynahan hosing down the 427 (Source and date unknown; from family scrapbook)
    Duties unrelated to firefighting! (Source: family scrapbook)

The Kimberly-Clark Tragedy of 1978

On December 4, 1978, my father and his fellow firefighters were dispatched to a structural fire at Kimberly-Clark on Disco Road. My father lost three of his fellow firemen at this call. It was a day that we will never forget.

Since 1980 in Ontario, 33 firefighters have died in emergencies, of which 20 were volunteers.
The last multiple firefighter fatality was in 1978 when three firefighters died fighting a blaze when large rolls of sprinkler-soaked paper collapsed and crushed them at Kimberly Clark Paper Co.

Rest in peace:

🌹Lloyd Janes
🌹John Clark
🌹Donald Kerr

Source: Fire Watch (Winter 2008)

Recent Mimico Firefighter Obituaries
  • Gerry Leduc (1932-2015): Born in Ottawa and raised in Field Ontario, Gerry moved to Toronto and worked for CN Rail before becoming a fire fighter. Gerry started with the Mimico Fire Department and then became a captain on the Etobicoke Fire Department. 
  • Gary Lang (1934-2006) Retired District Chief of Etobicoke Fire Department, 
Trick or Treat at the Fire Hall 
My brother and sister visiting the fire hall for some treats

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Talbot Settlement and Survey Maps 1793-1849 Online!

January 2018 has been a GREAT month for genealogists wanting to access early Ontario Land records.

A new project to digitize Ontario land records by Family Search and the announcement of the first phase of the OnLand web portal (in alpha phase) are definitely worth watching as new records will be added throughout 2018.

Genealogists know that land records are a gold mine of information and one of the challenges is locating the property details for our Ontario ancestors.

An Online Ontario Land Records Trifecta!

The good news for folks with ancestors in south-western Ontario is that a third Ontario land record resource is now online!

The Elgin County Archives (in agreement with the Archives of Ontario's Digitization Loan Program), has completed a digitization project and published the following important records:
  • Archives of Ontario's Thomas Talbot fonds, F 501 (45 maps from 1802 to 1832, displaying early settlement grants and dates of occupation in the series of townships where Talbot controlled land allocation.)
  • Ministry of Natural Resources fonds, RG 1-470 (33 maps from 1796 to 1844, displaying early surveying efforts in approximately the same area, alongside names of settlers) 
If your ancestors lived in south-western Ontario between 1796 and 1844, these records would be well worth investigating.

My 3rd Great-Grandfather Denis Moynahan 
Was A Talbot Settler
My Essex county Moynahan ancestors were settled by Thomas Talbot in the early 1800s and I had learned this from a trip to the archives in the early 1980s.

The document below was one of my greatest finds back in those early days! It shows my 3rd great-grandfather Denis Moynahan land petition (spelled Minehan) dated 1847 but with information that Col. Thomas Talbot located him to 6 South Middle Rd., Maidstone (then known as Sandwich) in the year 1830!

One of the very first documents that I found at the Archives of Ontario (c. 1980)
I had several Moynahan ancestors who were part of the Talbot settlement and you can visit my previous posts here:
From my early research, I mapped out where all of the early Essex  county, Ontario Moynahans lived in relation to each other:

My hand drawn map of my early Essex county Moynahan ancestors

The Talbot Fonds

When I explored the Thomas Talbot fonds, F 501 online, I quickly confirmed my Moynahan ancestors in the Talbot Fonds index:
Source: 1824 Plan of the Townships of Maidstone, Rochester and Sandwich, County of Essex - F 501-1-0-0-18
Source: 1824 Plan of the Townships of Maidstone, Rochester and Sandwich, County of Essex - F 501-1-0-0-18
Once I located these Moynahan ancestors on the indexes, I looked for them on the corresponding maps:

Source: 1824 Plan of the Townships of Maidstone, Rochester and Sandwich, County of Essex - F 501-1-0-0-18

The above map enlarged and showing the location of the Moynahans along the Talbot and Middle roads
Source: 1824 Plan of the Townships of Maidstone, Rochester and Sandwich, County of Essex - F 501-1-0-0-18

Ministry of Natural Resources Fonds

In the Ministry of Natural Resources fonds for Essex county, there are four maps ranging from 1790 to 1824

Source: The Ministry of Natural Resources Fonds, RG 1-470
I was not able to explore these records at the time of this posting. I attempted to open RG 1-470-0-0-225 several times with no success. I'm not sure if this is an issue at their server or on my computer. If you are successful, I would love to hear what you found.

Other Ontario Land Records Links 

Early Irish Settlers - Essex, Ontario

Friday, January 19, 2018

52 Ancestors: Week 3: Longevity

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was created by Amy Johnson Crow and is a series of weekly prompts to inspire genealogists and family historians to think and write about an ancestor and then share it online. The theme for Week 3 is "Longevity".

80 year-old Jane Fonda thinks perhaps the most important revolution happening today is the “longevity revolution”. In her book "Prime Time" Jane Fonda writes,
"... a revolution has occurred within the last century - a longevity revolution. Studies show that, on average, thirty-four years have been added to human life expectancy, moving it from an average of forty-six years to eighty! This addition represents an entire second adult lifetime, and whether we choose to confront it or not, it changes everything, including what it means to be human." (Source: Jane Fonda; "Prime Time" Preface; xi)

I started to review the longevity of my ancestors to see if any of them had lived past 100 years and sadly, I did not find one. The oldest ancestor that I found was my 3rdgreat grandfather Denis Moynahan who lived ninety-eight years followed by his father (my 4th great-grandfather) Matthew Moynahan who lived to ninety years. 

For my female ancestors, my paternal grandmother Rhea (Coughlin) Moynahan had a longevity of ninety-two years followed by my maternal grandmother Dorothy (Moreland) Creighton who lived to be ninety-one years.

In terms of longevity, I stumbled upon a Kerryman who lived to 122 years and I so enjoyed his obituary that I am adding it here:

In Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, died on the 27th Feb, Timothy Sweeny, aged 122 years. 

Mr. Sweeny was born in the year 1737, in Carrhan, parish of Ardfert, county Kerry, Ireland, and emigrated to this country in 1837, being then one hundred years old. The subject of this notice was never known to have had an hours sickness, even up to the very day of his death, but was always remarkably stout and healthy, having the full use of all his faculties to the last, with a delicacy of hearing and a quickness of perception that was really miraculous in one who had journeyed so far beyond the allotted bounds of earthly existence. 

His last day on earth was spent, as usual, at the genial fireside of his daughter, Mrs. Nolan, surrounded by admiring and affectionate grandchildren, and nothing occurred to warn them that in the sleep of the coming night the patriarch was to sink silently and at once into the deeper slumber of the grave. 

To "to sink silently and at once into the deeper slumber of the grave" is exactly how my 2nd great grandfather Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922) passed as well. Jeremiah "was about as usual during the day and did not complain of any ailment and retired at 8 o'clock that night. About 10, when Mr and Mrs Jobin (his daughter and husband) retired, they looked into his room and were surprised that he slept away without making a struggle."

Below is a list of my maternal and paternal grandparents, great-grandparents, 2nd and 3rd great-grandparents and their longevities.

Dennis Moynahan 1787-1888

My 3rd great-grandfather is the longest living ancestor in my family tree. Below is a certified copy of his Certificate of Death that I received from the Detroit Department of Health in 1988.

My 3rd great-grandfather Denis Moynahan's Death Certificate

The Men
(Paternal and Maternal Ancestors)
  • 98 years: Denis Moynahan (1787-1885) My 3rd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 90 years: Matthew Moynahan (1770-1860) My 4th great grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 85 years: Jeremiah Moynahan (1837-1922) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 84 years: Martin Broderick (1831-1915) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 81 years: James Henry Annal (1849-1930) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 79 years: William Henry Coughlin (1872-1952) My great-grandfathe (Blog Link)
  • 74 years: Ernest Moynahan (1900-1974) My grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 72 years: Charles Moreland (1858-1930) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 69 years: Frederick Creighton (1907-1976) My grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 67 years: John Moynahan (1866-1933) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 65 years: Samuel Tomlin (1851-1916) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 63 years: James Annal (1813-1876) My 3rd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 63 years: Charles D. Creighton (1846-1910) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 60 years: John Moreland (1880-1940) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 48 years: William Alfred Curd (1862-1911) My 2nd great-grandfather (Blog Link)
  • 27 years: Charles R. Creighton (1884-1911) My great-grandfather (Blog Link)
The Women 
 (Paternal and Maternal Ancestors)
  • 92 years: Rhea Coughlin (1902-1992) My grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 91 years: Dorothy Moreland (1909-2000) My grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 91 years: Mary Broderick (1869-1960) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 85 years: Mary Brennan (1841-1926) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 79 years: Elizabeth (Betsy) Wylie (1813-1892) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 74 years: Mary Hess (1853-1927) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 71 years: Mary Hussey (1842-1913) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 69 years: Elizabeth Annal (1884-1953) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 66 years: Emily Nickerson (1851-1917) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 61 years: Effie Tomlin (1886-1947) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 57 years: Jane Storey Dewer (1814-1871) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 45 years: Dawn Creighton (1936-1981) My mother (Blog Link)
  • 44 years: Mary Ann Steinbrum (1829- 1873) My 3rd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 43 years: Catherine Power (1856-1899) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 41 years: Jane Ann Wellard (1866-190) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 36 years: Agnes Bell Hind (1852-1888) My 2nd great-grandmother (Blog Link)
  • 29 years: Florence Curd (1886-1915) My great-grandmother (Blog Link)
My Grandparent Tree

Jane Fonda's reminds us that thirty-four years have been added to human life expectancy!  What a gift we have in our hands that the majority of our ancestors did not!
"We have not added decades to life expectancy by simply extending old age; instead, we have opened up a space partway through the life course, a second and different kind of adulthood that precedes old age, and as a result every stage  of life is undergoing change" (Source: Social Anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson; Composing a Further Life", New York: Knopf, 2010 p.12)
How will you make use of this gift?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

OTD: January 18: Prospector Edward Ladouceur (1877-1954) Died

Today's blog post is about my stepmother's family who have roots in Quebec and the early prospecting and mining activities in north-eastern Ontario and northern Quebec. My stepmother has entrusted me with a great deal of her archival material to scan and preserve for future generations and I am enjoying the story of the Ladouceur family immensely.

These are some of the photos of my stepmother's grandparents Edward and Margaret Ladouceur of Rouyn, Quebec from the Landers / Ladouceur family archives.

Edward Ladouceur:
Source: Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Born 1877:  Sheenboro, Quebec,
Died: 18 Jan 1954, Rouyn, Quebec

The Ladouceur Family

The Ladouceur family: (Left to right: Margaret, Florence Eva, Lily, Violet and Edward.
Edward Ladouceur (1877-1954) died on January 18 four days after his wife Margaret Blanck (1880-1954) had died.

1954 Obituary
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

The couple are buried at the Noranda Catholic Cemetery

Ladouceur funeral card
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

Edward Ladouceur: A Pioneer Miner in 
N.E. Ontario and Quebec

The most wonderful part about scanning all of the material from the Landers/Ladouceur Family archives is that Violet (Ladouceur) Landers (1901-1999) wrote on the back of almost every photograph. All of the photos below have her comments quoted from the back of the photograph.

Newsclipping from the
Landers/Ladouceur Family archives

"My Dad (Edward Ladouceur) and George Mulholland" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Melvin Martel and the miners at my father's mine"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"My Father" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"All friends of my fathers at the mine. I'm in it too!" 
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
1901 Marriage in Pembroke, Ontario 

Source: Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007.Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

A Miner's & Prospector's Life in the North

Below are but a few of the many images of the Ladouceur's family life in the north selected from The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives.
From Right to Left: Edward and Margaret Ladouceur, Violet and Frank Landers, Martin Martel (others unknown)
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Violet (Ladouceurs) Landers explains the previous photograph
"Violet (Ladouceur) Landers, Margaret (Blanck) Ladouceur, Jenny McDonald, Adrian and Melvin"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
" Bernie Auger, Violet Ladouceur, Bernice Beauchamps"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Ed Ladouceur"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
"Dog sled - Long ago in Foleyet - Ben Long's house at back"
Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
I thought that I would close today's remembrance of Edward and Margaret Ladouceur on the sixty-fourth anniversary of their passing (January 1954) with two special photographs.

Below is  a photograph of my stepmother with her father, grandparents, aunt and her two sisters 
(taken by her mother on the front porch) with: Frank Landers; Edward and Margaret (Blank) Ladouceur; Lily (Ladouceur) Coutu, Sam Coutu; and sisters Frances, Linda and Joan Landers

Source: The Landers/Ladouceur Family archives
This photograph (taken earlier) on the same porch has "Eva LeBlanc, Melvin Martel; sisters Frances, Joan, and Linda Landers; Edward and Margaret (Blanck ) Ladouceur, Izon Landers and Frank Landers.

Landers - Ladouceur Links