Natural gas ignited home heating battle

Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings
Natural gas ignited home heating battle

On March 6, 1958 Mayor Archie Lavigne lit a flame, signifying that a new way of heating homes and buildings had arrived in the city.

It was called natural gas. And Cornwall was supplied by a Trans-Canada pipe line that transported natural gas from Alberta.

Months earlier, after what the Standard-Freeholder called a “long and stormy” fight, city council voted to award the right to supply the city with natural gas to Lakeland Natural Gas Co.

Up until then, the main source of heating was oil and the local oil dealers association wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

The aggressive anti-natural gas campaign at times played on fears that natural gas was not safe – your house could blow up, nudge-nudge, wink-wink – which played a role in the new source of heat getting off to a slow start.

Residents weren’t exactly beating the door of the Lakeland office on Pitt Street to sign up.

To bait the hook, the natural gas folks offered anyone switching to natural gas $75 for the old furnace, which for many breadwinners was more than a week’s pay cheque.

MARCH 1962 – The annual Counties Jail report showed that the daily cost of keeping a prisoner was $6.02. The jail held 831 inmates during the previous year with 30 of them females. It was noted that 250 of the prisoners took jail time over paying a fine. Such sentences usually ran from a few days to a couple of months. … The public works department’s $56,000 surplus from 1961 was moved to general revenues. Mayor Nick Kaneb said the surplus was the result of good management. There was no increase in the 1962 public works budget. … The public works operation was moved to Ontario Street from Sixth and Adolphus streets. A new building cost $70,000. … Colin Chisholm was re-elected president of the Eastern Lacrosse Association. … Central Public School defeated Vincent Massey 7-1 to win the Cornwall Public School Hockey Championship. Buddy Malyon scored three goals. Doug King had two with Chuck Chin and Brian Landry adding one apiece. Doug Hutcheon scored for Vincent Massey. … Clarence Dumont of the Cornwall Minor Hockey Association peewee champion Emard Lumber team finished the season with 81 goals. He had two seven-goal games. … St. Lawrence High School suffered a 43-41 heartbreaking loss to Fisher Park of Ottawa in the Eastern Ontario sudden-death playoff game to decide a berth in the all-Ontario high school basketball championship tournament. Ian McLeod led the Saints with 14 points. … Paquette Roofing got a goal from Richard Seguin and solid goaltending from Rene Dion for a 1-0 win over Morin Men’s Wear in Centre-City Broomball League play. … Bobby Hull and Andy Bathgate finished the regular NHL season with 84 points but Hull’s 50 goals (to Bathgate’s 28) gave him the title.

Cornwall Cable Vision expanded its coverage in the city: south of the St. Lawrence River, north to 15th Street, east to Dunbar Avenue and west to Nine Mile Road (Power Dam Drive) … Popular cartoon “Jest Around Cornwall”, a weekly feature in the Standard-Freeholder, celebrated its 15th year. It was created by city artist/musician Bob Eadie. … Bank of Montreal opened its third branch in the city on Pitt Street North. It later became the scene of a famous bank robbery. … Canada’s population surpassed 18 million. … St. Columban’s Hall held its official opening. Built at a cost of $425,000 it featured a large auditorium, bowling alley and upstairs offices. Rod Scott was the centre’s director. … Brunet Brothers Building supplies store opened at 1525 Pitt St. … Some members of city council were not in favour of inviting the Queen Mother to Cornwall during her June visit to Upper Canada Village because of the cost of putting out the red carpet. It was noted that the 1959 visit by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip cost the city $4,000. “I am as loyal a British subject as anyone in Cornwall,” said Ald. James Ross, “but I’m against spending that kind of money (on a Royal visit).”

HERE AND THERE – The Alex Murdaugh double murder trial must have had the old southern racists rolling in their graves. A black judge, educated in segregated schools, sentenced a powerful white Southern “gentleman” to two life terms for killing his wife and son. … Population growth is viewed by most municipalities as good. However, Moncton, N.B., has discovered the downside. Its population explosion in the last two years has created a housing nightmare. The city’s population has grown by 9,000 with most arrivals looking to rent. … The economic impact of a spike in car thefts – it has become an epidemic – will show up in car insurance rates. In the United States, some insurers are refusing to cover models without an anti-theft device. … Non-playoff contenders might not be intentionally tanking to get a shot at Connor Bedard, but dumping a handful of key players – Chicago for example – sure helps the cause. … This has to be an embarrassment for the NHL: The “homeless” Arizona Coyotes are playing in a 5,000-seat arena and still not selling out. At least two dozen Canadian junior teams are drawing more fans.

TRIVIA This former ABC television foreign affairs correspondent worked at the fledgling Cornwall television station CJSS-TV before moving to the United States where he had a 30-year career with the American network at one time serving as its Middle East bureau chief. 1) Don McGowan, 2) Art Cameron, 3) Barrie Dunsmore, 4) Lyle Ellis, 5) Peter Jennings.

TRIVIA ANSWER L’Avenir de Cornwall, founded in 1932 by Charles Michaud, was Cornwall’s first French-language newspaper. It published on Wednesdays. It ceased publication in 1934.

QUOTED “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles M. Schultz

ONE FINAL THING – Remember, be good to your kids because they could be deciding on the nursing home.

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