AN EXAMPLE of native art that is most arresting may be seen by the tourist in Northern Ontario at the little town of Iron Bridge on the main trunk highway between Sudbury and Thessalon. It shows beyond a doubt that the citizens of the place have a sense of humor. Also it makes one remember Iron Bridge.
It is a homemade dummy policeman that stands at the cross roads in Iron Bridge, directing traffic around a sharp corner through the town. Before his arrival the cars whizzed by too fast for safety, so the village wags rigged up a sort of scarecrow cop that was calculated to attract attention. He did. Clad in ample, if ancient, clothing, he boasts a baton and a beaming hand-painted grin that would make any motorist slow down to gaze and admire. His left arm points the way unmistakably to Sudbury.
You simply could not take that corner on the run or you'd miss the picturesque details. The queer cop makes you take ;
your foot off the gas far more readily than the usual speed restriction sign and it provides no end of fun for the local inhabitants.
Sitting on the steps of the corner store or the hotel, the villagers watch the tourist’s reaction to their little joke with all the eagerness of an artist awaiting the '’ritics' decision on his latest picture. And they are seldom disappointed, for all the world loves a little humor on the ride and even the hurrying motorist will spare the odd minute to stop and enjoy this little pleasantry. In doing so, he helps to avoid accidents. Who will say then, that the Iron Bridge traffic cop is not useful, as well as ornamental?
A Tombstone Pergola
TN 1889, when the historical old St. Andrew’s church -*■ at Galt, Ontario, was demolished, the tombstones in the churchyard adjoining the church were left, and fell into decay. It became a serious question what to do with the place, which was very unsightly. The stones had been originally planned as memorials to pioneers and to destroy them would have been sacrilege. Someone suggested that a pergola should be made of these one hundred and forty-six tombstones, which would serve at once as a permanent memorial and an ornament to the grounds, ar.d the result achieved is shown in the photograph. The pergola was built in 1907.
Some of the tombstones are dated so long ago as 1828 and none of them are of recent date, as may easily be seen from the style, long since out of date.
The pergola measures fourteen by forty-eight feet and in the arrangement of the stones, effort was made to have the outlines as good as possible. The grounds, unsightly covered with tangled weeds, the stones leaning
at every angle, many of them threatening to fall at any time, were made tidy and attractive.
The stones were cleaned and inscriptions which were historic and of great interest to many people living in the vicinity, can be easily read.
After the pergola, which is surely the most unique ever built, with its bare walls speaking of another day, was completed one part of the problem had been successfully solved. The stones were intact and would thus be preserved for years, but the demand was now for ornamentation, and so flowers were planted about the base, and grapevines placed over the stone pillars of the pergola. The effect is artistic and beautiful. Strangers are always attracted to the pergola, which stands in what is now a park, and some often say: “Why did no one think of this idea before?”
The Van of Learning
PERHAPS one of the most unusual sights, to the stranger who happens to walk down second avenue in the town of Roblin, Manitoba, about 3.45 of an afternoon, is to see nineteen vans lined up along the road outside the school.
If that person is of a curious nature, the answer to their: ‘What is this all about?’ would be: ‘This is the largest consolidated school in Canada and probably the largest school district, in square miles, in the world. Roblin consolidated school and collegiate is not only
one of the pioneers of the consolidated school idea, but is the largest and best of its kind. It contains one hundred sections of land in its district or one hundred square miles. The nineteen vans transport the children from the rural parts of this district, to and from school promptly, regularly and without discomfort or a single accident.
Back in 1904, when Roblin was in its infancy, the first school was built. This was a one-roomed school with one teacher. In 1912, the consolidation idea was tried out with a new two-roomed school, five vans and two teachers, with about seventy-five scholars. To-day, four hundred and fifty scholars attend two fine schools where they can get all their education up to and including the first year of university.
The new school, erected in 1920, is sixty-four by one hundred and ten feet, fireproof, and two stories high. It consists of six class rooms, library and district nurse’s room, on the top floor, and large assembly hall, science room, manual training room and furnaces on the lower. The assembly hall is fitted with a stage, piano and curtains and the other rooms are also well equipped. The school has a fresh water system, and electric lights from the town plant.
The staff consists of twelve teachers, four of these being university graduates, thus giving instruction equal to the city schools. Could anything be more unusual, yet more necessary?
Two other unusual features about this school are the fact that the former principal, Mr. H. J. Everall, now principal of Dauphin Collegiate, was principal here for fourteen years, the other that it has been possible to have a uniform dress for the high school girls.
Though the whole thing seems unusual, it is practical; so much so, that those who have come from other parts of the province doubting, have gone away convinced not only of the practicability of the scheme but also of the great advantages which would accrue to education and community building.
THE last spring we drove on the Exploits River, Newfoundland, the water was very high, and despite the frantic efforts of the river men to keep logs moving, many of them were hung up on the river banks after the water had subsided.
Later that summer, the manager at the local mill was anxious to get some idea of the number of logs still in the river, so he instructed four of us to take two small boats, and make a trip from Red Indian Lake down the Exploits and make an estimate of the stranded logs. To reach Red Indian Lake, we loaded our boats on a train at Norris’ Arm, and went inland to where the railway winds around a lake called Joe Glode’s Pond. There we put our boats into the lake and paddled down to where it empties into Spruce Creek, which, in turn, empties into Red Indian Lake.
We found very little water in the Creek, not nearly enough to float our boats, so we were obliged to carry them most of the time.
We each had a pack, which we first slung across our shoulders, and then two of us would turn a boat bottom up and carry it on our shoulders with our heads inside of it. All day long and far into the night we traveled, sometimes in the water and sometimes carrying a boat, until Continued on page 71
Continued on page 71
Continued from page 18
we had to stopf frem sheer exhaustion and make cur camp.
; The night was very cold, and about three o’clock in the morning, not being able to either sleep or rest, I got up and started cutting wood to make a fire. In the process, my axe caught in the limb of a tree, and missing the stick, I was cutting, I drove the axe into my foot about half way through the instep.
I soon wakened my friends and they succeeded in stopping the blood and dressed the wound as best they could with the meagre appliances we had with us.
The next great question was: How were they to get me out to the mill where we could get the nearest medical aid?
We estimated we were, at least, twentyfive miles from the railway at Joe Glode’s Pond, which distance they would have to carry me—an almost impossible thing for three men to do—or to go forward to Red Indian Lake, which could not be more than a mile or so farther, then follow the lake to where it empties into the Exploits River, then down to its mouth, where the mill was situated and where a medical man was stationed.
That route was, at least, one hundred miles, and on account of two long portages around falls would take more than a week to cover.
At daybreak, Harry, one of our men took a cruise around to try and find out how far we were from the lake. He soon returned and told us, that we were camped only a short distance from the new railway that was being built from the main line to the proposed mill site at Red Indian Lake.
All summer long a gang of men had been at work, cutting trees and carrying them to the railway, where they laid them lengthwise on the proposed road bed, afterwards cutting ties and laying them across the trees.
This process of construction extended over the whole length of the branch line, it being built through a level, swampy, and boggy country, but up to this time no rails had been laid and no grading done.
This discovery of Harry’s soon decided our plans. A pair of crutches were made for me and I started to walk back to Joe Glode’s Pond on that railway. That was a fearful undertaking. Those ties, thrown loosely across the uneven trees, were not safe for an active man with the full use of both feet to travel on, let alone a man on crutches.
My companions remained behind to pack up the camp and hide the boats, planning to overtake me as soon as possible. My progress was very slow, my crutches were constantly slipping off those loose rolling ties, and I fell several times hitting my wounded foot, which started bleeding again ; in fact, I was leaving a trail of blood behind me on the ties.
At last, from loss of blood and weakness, I fainted. When I regained my senses, I was still lying on the ties, but I was surrounded by a crowd of strange men, each carrying a big pack.
They were greatly astonished to find me there alone, for, as far as they knew there was not a human being in all that great wilderness, within one hundred miles of them, except the occasional section man on the railway. These were the men who had been working all summer on this railway; they had finished the work and were packing out.
My companions soon came up, and it was arranged that four of these fellows should carry me out to Joe Glode’s Pond.
They soon had a good stretcher made from a couple of poles and some blankets, and away we went.
In that twenty-five miles they only set me down four times, once for some lunch and three times to give me a drink of water, when I asked for it.
They could not travel on the railway at all, so carried me through the swamps and bogs, sometimes up to their knees in moss and water.
I wanted them to stop and rest sometimes, but they said they were not tired and they must hurry to reach the railway in time to catch the train, for if we missed it, there would not be another for three days.
We were in time for the train, and a little to spare, and while waiting I expressed my surprise and admiration at their wonderful endurance in carrying a two-hundred-pound man for such a distance, at such speed, and through such a country. They simply said it was nothing at all.
One of them pulled his shirt open at the neck so that I could put my hand on his bare shoulder. It was calloused like a piece of sole leather. “Your weight was nothing compared to those trees we have been packing all summer,” he said. I guess he told the truth.
Later, after the rails had been laid, and the grading started, men loaded flat cars with pick and shovels on the gravel pits and unloaded them after they had been shunted out on to the line; man power for everything.
The owner of that branch road, after it was finished, used to boast that a horse had never been on his railway until they passed over it in a box car.
When the train reached Norris’ Arm, I still had twelve miles to go by boat, but good luck was with me on that trip, for at the wharf was a tug boat waiting for the arrival of the train, and I finished my journey in quick time. Within twenty four hours, after I had cut myself, I had been carried twenty-five miles by these men, rode one hundred miles by train and twelve miles by boat, and had my foot stitched up and dressed by the mill doctor.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.