Collingwood Museum

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Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

July and August Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Admission to the Collingwood Museum is by donation with a suggested $4 donation per person. 


Brightly colourful information on the Collingwood Museum summer programs.Summer Programs

Our popular summer programs are back! Children ages 6-12 are invited to spend active and heritage-inspired mornings with Museum staff all summer long. Our summer programs run between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday for eight weeks beginning July 2.

You can sign up for a single program, or as many as you like! Registration opens on March 26, at 9:00 a.m. Registration is $15 per program, or $12 for museum members. Click the button below to register.

Click Here to Register on PerfectMind


Museum East entrance in the spring with Lilac branches, featuring text info on late night hours.Extended Hours on Wednesdays

Visit us during extended hours on select Wednesdays throughout the summer and enjoy free admission from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Open late June 26, July 10, 17, 24, and August 7.


archive image with people in old fashioned attire. text overlaid "stories from another day"Stories from Another Day - A Collingwood Museum Podcast 

Stories from Another Day travels through Collingwood's past to find the people, events and stories that made this town into the jewel it is today. Join the Collingwood Museum and host Ken Maher to explore over 160 years of tragedies and triumphs, disasters, and determination.  

 Check back for new episodes monthly. 

Click Here to Listen on Spotify

 

 


Black book, three small oval photographic prints, and other archive materials on table top.Collection and Research

The museum houses an archival collection that is accessed by researchers from around the world. Photographs of Great Lakes vessels, Collingwood’s historic homes, downtown, and early industries are amongst the most popular items. 

Click to Search Online Collection

Contact museum staff to learn about more research services and photograph reproductions.

 


Image of the Collingwood Museum East entrance with garden in full bloom

Museum Membership

Not a member yet? Membership to the Collingwood Museum has its privileges. 

Become a member and help support our efforts. In addition to free admission and discounts in the gift shop, members receive monthly e-newsletters that keep you up-to-date on museum projects and events.

To become a member, please fill out the online application linked below. Museum Staff are available to answer any questions you may have in regards to Museum Membership at 705-445-4811.

Online Membership Application


someone swimming laps on the right, text that is repeated in the textbox is on the leftAffordable Recreation Program

The Parks, Recreation & Culture Department is launching its pilot Affordable Recreation Program with the goal of improving access to sport and recreation activities offered in Town facilities. This exciting initiative includes programs offered by the Collingwood Museum.

The Affordable Recreation Program is directed at individuals and households who face financial barriers to participating in sport and recreation programming, by providing fee assistance to Collingwood residents.

To learn more about this program, please read the official media release here.


Museum gift shop featuring "Get Your Ship Together" T-shirt in black, and other items.Gift Shop

No visit is complete without browsing the Museum’s quaint gift shop. You will find a wide selection of books, games, clothing, small gifts, prints, postcards, and more.

Please come in to the Museum to view available items or call staff with any inquiries.


WWWI era photograph of soldiers superimposed over present day image of same spotFirst World War Virtual Walking Tour

We are excited to present our First World War virtual walking tour featuring points of interest on the museum grounds and within Collingwood's historic downtown. Enjoy from the comfort of your home, as a self-guided walking tour, or as a group tour with a museum staff member for a fee. Contact Museum staff to book your tour at 705-445-4811. 

The Google Earth version is best viewed on a computer and has moving components, whereas the Google Maps tour is static and can be viewed on a computer or mobile device. 

Google Earth Virtual Tour , Google Maps Virtual Tour

Interior photograph of World War Two factory
Clyde Aircraft War Workers

More than 700 women and men were employed by the Clyde Aircraft Manufacturing Company during World War II to meet the increased manufacturing needs of the war effort.   While some employees were from the local area, others moved to Collingwood from across the province in search of employment.
 
This photograph shows “Marge” Spencer, and several other women, working inside the facility in 1941. Clyde had at least nine departments that manufactured parts for shipment to Europe. Most parts were made specifically for the Mosquito Bomber; however, records indicate that components for tanks were also manufactured there. Both male and female employees were eligible to take free night classes in blueprint reading, mathematics, and shop work at Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI). Many other insights into the lives of Clyde’s female employees can be gleaned through the company’s newsletter, The Clyde News.
 
Clyde Aircraft was located on Balsam Street at the site that would later become home to Kaufman Furniture.
  

Photograph of woman standing with bicycle
Madeleine (Boucher) Harvie

Madeleine (Boucher) Harvie was born in North Bay in 1907. She married Dr. Douglas Harvie in 1937 and moved to Collingwood where she lived until her death in 2002.   
 
During World War II, Madeleine was appointed commandant of the Collingwood Branch of the Red Cross Corps. She recruited fellow volunteers, organized fundraising initiatives, and took a mechanics course so she could drive the ambulance used to transport blood donations to Base Borden. Following her husband’s return from service overseas, the Harvies purchased one of Collingwood’s heritage homes – “The Birches” at 221 Minnesota Street.
 
Madeleine was instrumental in the early promotion of skiing as a member of the Blue Mountain Ski Club (today’s Collingwood Ski Club). The Club was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1940 and Madeleine worked tirelessly to ensure that interested children and adults could learn to ski at an affordable cost. Madeleine was elected president of the Blue Mountain Ski Club in 1941 and held this position for seven years.
 
In 1965, Madeleine accepted the monumental task of creating and installing themed exhibitions in the newly purchased CN train station on St. Paul Street for the new Collingwood Museum. The Collingwood Museum opened to much fanfare on May 20, 1966, in the presence of the Minister of the Ontario Department of Tourism and Information.
  

Convalescent Home for British and Canadian Officers in France
Olive "Babette" Gaviller

Olive “Babette” Gaviller was born in England on August 26, 1893, but lived the length of her life in Collingwood in a heritage home, known as “The Hut”, at 217 Minnesota Street.   Babette had an unconventional childhood as she did not attend elementary or high school. Instead, she spent her childhood winters in England and France with her mother. Her early upbringing proved successful as Babette was admitted to the University of Toronto at a time when very few women were accepted.
 
In 1915, Babette volunteered for war-time service at the Canadian Convalescent Home in Dieppe, France. Her time spent in France as a child ensured that Babette was bilingual, making her the perfect recruit. During her service in France, Babette held many responsibilities, but perhaps one of her most difficult tasks was locating and purchasing the necessary food for both patients and staff. Babette received several medals for her service in France and her name is recorded on the Roll of Honour at All Saints’ Anglican Church.
 
Following the war, Babette returned to Collingwood where she lived as an active community member until her death in 1970. She was a dedicated member of All Saints’ Anglican Church and organized the first Brownie troop for girls in Collingwood. Babette is fondly remembered as an extraordinary role model by those who had the pleasure of knowing her as a friend and neighbour.
  

Two women stand together in front of evergreen trees
Mary McKay

Mary McKay was an accomplished artist who lived at 167 Pine Street. Born in Collingwood in 1906, Mary exhibited a talent for painting from an early age and was encouraged to pursue her interest by her family. Despite limited use of her legs, a lasting effect of contracting polio as a child, Mary’s determination   led her to learn to drive a car and move to Toronto in 1926 to study at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) under Arthur Lismer. When Lismer left OCA to create the Art Students League, Mary followed as one of the League’s first members. She studied under the Group of Seven artists, Lismer and A.Y. Jackson, for three years before returning to Collingwood
 
Mary continued to paint throughout her life, often from her log cabin in Craigleith. Many of her well-known paintings are important depictions of spaces and places that no longer exist, such as the shipyard. She found inspiration in both the ordinary and extraordinary buildings and landscapes of Collingwood and its surrounding area.
 
Mary followed her dreams and held her community close to her heart. She taught art classes and led numerous arts and crafts seminars. She was an active volunteer in the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), Collingwood’s Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Society, the Collingwood Historical Society and, in 1977, she was made an Honourary Life Member of the Collingwood Museum Committee.
  

Photograph of a woman sitting at a piano
Muriel Stephenson

Born in Collingwood in 1899, Catherine Muriel Stephenson was a talented pianist. She attended the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and later studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto.    In 1922, she was awarded the highest performance diploma in piano playing granted by the Conservatory at that time. After graduation, she travelled extensively performing in piano concerts and recitals.
 
She was also a dedicated piano teacher who taught generations of students out of her family’s home, the Joseph Lawrence House, at 492 Hurontario Street. Muriel saw her visual impairment as a blessing that contributed to her ability to hear perfect pitch. Her students remember her unerring ability to detect a single wrong note or finger position during practice. Muriel was devoted to her students and believed that financial considerations should not get in the way of learning to play the piano. She charged $1.00 per lesson throughout her teaching career.
 
Muriel was awarded the Order of Collingwood in 1983, the very first year this respected award was established to honour residents who have shown exemplary volunteerism within the community.
  

Photo of Margaret “Madge” Watt wearing pearls. Her hair is done up.
Madge Watt

Margaret “Madge” Watt was born in Collingwood on June 5, 1867, at 63 Maple Street. She was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree.   In 1897, Madge was instrumental in organizing the first Women’s Institute in Canada, an organization that continues to support and promote the voices of rural women.
 
After the death of her husband in 1913, Madge and her sons moved to England where she continued to promote the Women’s Institute movement in Britain, Wales, and other European countries. For her efforts, she was awarded the Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.) by King George V in 1918. The Women’s Institute continued to grow and Madge became the first president of the newly formed Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) in 1929.
 
Madge’s achievements were recognized in Canada, Britain, France, and Belgium and her legacy continues to this day. Presently, the ACWW has 9 million members in over 70 countries. Two books about her life and legacy were published in 2015 and 2021 respectively - A Great Rural Sisterhood: Madge Robertson Watt & the ACWW and Madge Watt and the Power of Women Working Together.
  

Group photograph of nursing graduates
Ethel Mae Dawson

Ethel May Dawson was one of the first nurses to graduate from the General and Marine Hospital’s nurse’s training school in 1900 and she devoted her life to looking after the most vulnerable members of our community.   Over the course of her 48-year career as Town Nurse, she delivered more than 2,000 babies in Collingwood and the surrounding area. Many of these deliveries were performed in the homes of families that could not afford to pay a doctor.
 
During the 1918 influenza pandemic, Nurse Dawson not only cared for the ill, but also collected community donations of cots, blankets, and furnishings which she stored in her apartment above the Empire Theatre (today’s Gayety Theatre) at 161 Hurontario Street.
 
Her caring spirit was perhaps best exemplified by the burial plot she personally purchased at All Saints’ Cemetery. This plot was for infants whose families could not afford a proper burial, and approximately 55 children are interred there. Though the wooden crosses that once marked each grave are now gone, a plaque at the site reads: “Nurse Dawson’s Babies: 1900-1953.”
  

Group photograph of women welders from World War Two
Shipyard Welders

During World War II, the Collingwood Shipyards hired roughly 60 women to fill positions left vacant by local men who enlisted for overseas service.   Women of all ages found employment in various buildings and departments, including the stores, machine shop, and offices. Women were also hired and trained as welders to construct the ships needed for war service.
 
Those chosen to work as welders travelled to take courses that included basic welding skills and how to distinguish different welds and rods. Upon returning to the shipyard, these women helped to build 34 ships constructed for the war effort. The welders pictured here worked long hours, from 7 AM to 6 PM, six days per week. Frequently, they were asked to return to work after dinner and would continue welding until midnight, with no overtime pay. To protect themselves from toxic fumes, they were required to drink a pint of milk each day. Despite the difficult work and long hours, they were paid less than their male counterparts.
  

Women's Hockey Team 1890s
Ladies Hockey Club

Collingwood women began playing competitive hockey as early as 1897 and are recorded to have travelled with the men’s team to neighbouring communities.   The women also hosted visiting teams in the wooden arena that once stood on Pine Steet, in the present location of the Pine Villa Retirement Home.
 
The members of the 1898-1899 Ladies Hockey Club are pictured in front of the Pine Street arena. Unlike the men’s teams, the women did not have an official uniform. Instead, they played in long dresses. If they fell during a game, the official rules from this time required them to be assisted to their skates by the referee. This informal and overexposed photograph is the only photograph of a women’s hockey team in the Collingwood Museum’s collection. This stands in stark contrast to the many professionally produced photographs of the men’s teams from this era.
  

Brick buildings in downtown Collingwood
Elizabeth Fair

Elizabeth Fair took control of the ownership and management of the general mercantile company, Fair & Co, following the death of her husband in 1885. With a public reputation for honesty and fair dealing, Elizabeth grew the business with the help of her sons and renamed the business E. Fair & Co.   By 1898, she owned 12 acres of property, including two prosperous Hurontario Street stores - a grocery store located at 43 Hurontario Street and a clothing store at 35 Hurontario Street. Her successful stores were well-known for quality products and her clothing business won numerous provincial medals and awards. The handsome carriage at the photograph’s centre bears her name.   

Colour photograph or woman inside a house
Ildia (Thomas) Sheffield

Ildia (Thomas) Sheffield was born on February 1, 1899 and passed away on March 7, 1980. She was 2nd cook to her husband, Wilfred, on several Great Lakes ships during the 1930s-40s and also prepared meals in local hotels.   When the Collingwood couple finished sailing in 1945, they took over the family business with their children working alongside them. The Sheffield’s Cedar Inn Restaurant was a popular dining destination for town residents until 1971 and was located on Hwy 26 in the present-day location of Admiral’s Gate Condominiums. The Cedar Inn held special significance to visiting tourists. During a time of racial segregation in both the United States and Canada, Ildia and her family welcomed African American tourists but cautioned them that, while signs of segregation were not highly visible, there were still some subtle attitudes of discrimination. However, the majority of White businesses were very accommodating and visiting guests could enjoy the recreational amenities to their fullest.
 
Photo and information courtesy of The Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum.
  

Photo of woman wearing a pink blouse and a pearl necklace
Yvonne (Sheffield) Wilson

Race isn’t genetic. It’s learned. Born and raised in Collingwood, Yvonne (Sheffield) Wilson was a gifted track and field athlete at Collingwood Collegiate Institute. Despite excelling in sports, she was denied access to larger area competitions because she was Black.   
 
In her high school years, Yvonne and her brothers were subject to the classroom singing of “ole darkey” songs. After the death of her husband, Herbert Wilson in 1955 under suspicious circumstances while working for the town, Yvonne became the primary advocate for her children and all the neighbourhood youth. When the singing of similar songs and reading books such as "Little Black Sambo" became part of her children's classroom curriculum, Yvonne personally addressed the educators and questioned their motives. She was told the coloured children could stand in the hallways while the remaining class continued with the music and stories. Yvonne championed the cause. In 1956, the school board banned the book, "Little Black Sambo".
 
In 2021 the Town of Collingwood Council voted to name a park after the Wilsons, recognizing their contributions to Collingwood.
 
Photo and information courtesy of The Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum.