Petrolia's Early Schools

Some of Petrolia's early schools that are mostly  gone now by the wrecking ball, all except Petrolia LCCVI which has been rebuilt 3 times and stands proudly today. Petrolia High School has a fierce reputation in sports and in scholastic achievements and is it any wonder that all other area highschoolers run and hide when the Petrolia Lancers make an appearance?

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Central grade school was on Greenfeild st.

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Jubilee grade school 

Central school group pic from maybe the ca.1910s I would like to know the names if you have them.
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Petrolia High School {LCCVI} built ca.1884
School website click here

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Here is another view of Maud street school. I just got this post card and here it is.

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Queen Eliz 2nd School ca.1954
School link click here

For an interesting QE yearbook from 1955 click on the pic below

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This booklet was printed during the 1967 Centennial year.
You will see most of the teachers that I mention below.

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                                          Reflections of a Petrolia Boy

                        Growing up in Petrolia through the sixties was not really all that bad. During this time there was house league baseball and hockey, scrub baseball, touch football, and Wellington’s bowling alley on Saturdays. If you had a school project due tomorrow the Library stood much as it does today. Queen E. school where I attended was run by Mr. Monroe, Later, Mr.White and even later Mr. Conway . My teachers during the sixties were Mrs Hibbert , Miss McCall , Miss McPhearson, Betty Keene (nurse), Miss Williams, Mrs. Cooper, Miss Searson, Mr.Churchill, Mrs. Stark, Mr. Lang , Mr. Hoofman, Mr.Casckey ,Mrs Tully, Mr Dew and Mr Carter and of course the amazing .....Miss Wade. Most of us felt at the time that  these teachers simply hated us but in later years, in retrospect you can see that they were truly dedicated to our success and really cared.
                       Beside Queen E  School the Cores always had a rink in their back yard where allot of us learned how to play hockey as well as the Fields rink on Eureka St . Saturday winter mornings found allot of Petrolia guys at the arena with its mesh screen instead of glass. Eric MacKenzie was in charge of the arena and sometimes Coach. We had allot of great coaches, but who cares it was fun just being there.
                                All winter we played hockey and as soon as it warmed up scrub baseball began. There was a baseball game going on at any field or school yard and most guys kept their baseball glove on their bike handle bars at all times just in case you spotted a game. In the fall we played touch football in Crescent Park, at Queen E., or at the High School.
                                   I think it was about ca.1963 that I saw the Salts brothers {Roger & Christopher} play their bagpipes in the Friday morning assembly in the Queeny ii gym. They had the complete piper outfit on and it was the coolest thing that this eight  year old boy had ever seen. I begged my parents to let me take lessons and 'get me some of those pipes.' We made an appointment with Mr. Calender who was a giant of a Scotsman and I started lessons. I didn't realize how hard it would be and how much work it would be and never made it from the chanter to the the pipes. However I still love the pipes and remember Mr. Calender fondly. He lived in the big brick house behind Victoria Hall.                         
                                  Mr. Caskey
had started a track Club in the later sixties {The Petrolia Road Runners} where we ran or hearts out all over town and had a field trip to Maple Leaf Gardens to see the world indoor track meet and we got to stay at the Royal York Hotel which was quite a thing for a group of Petrolia boys. He also wanted to get the club involved in Community events and had us start the first Victoria Hall clean up but early into the project we were evicted for some reason.
                        Sometime in the spring of ca.1965 I saw my first Mustang bicycle. It was a green one with white banana seat , fat back tire and high handle bars. I couldn't believe how cool Stephen Churchill's new bike looked. I needed a new bike and mentioned his new Mustang and thought it would be nice if I got one. My Dad just said "oh". My big old red CCM bike was all done. A few weeks later a new gold 2 speed CCM Mustang bike with a white banana seat and fat rear tire appeared. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it. There was a crowd of kids around it when I brought it to school and parked it in the rack.( didn't need a lock in those days) I drove that bike for many years. A few months later I added a 3 foot sissy bar and gold fleck seat.
 I wasn't the first one in town with a mustang , Stephen Churchill was, but the second one was cooler.
                          One of my least liked events was having to go see Dr.Spence every year for my new pair of glasses, however the good Doctor always made it easy because he was very nice. Across the street I also had to visit Mr. Hastings to get my biweekly haircut. As a small child this Barber Shop was a neat place because to me it seemed that the greatest minds of the world met here to discuss everything from the Leafs to Politics to the Americans  in space.  Mr Hastings always had those plastic birds that bobbed up and down in a glass of water and a real neat Maple Leafs team picture calendar on the wall that I sent away for and never seemed to get.
                           Our family doctor was Dr.Shaw . After his tragic car accident we went to Dr.
Fraileigh who on my first visit sang Johnny Ray's 'If your Sweetheart sends you a Letter" in its entirety.
                                 After a long and enjoyable summer off school , a trip to Hymes Clothing Store, {where George Shabshove was always waiting with a smile and a handshake} was needed. As with most kids I had grown a foot and needed to be totally remeasured  and had to wear all new and stiff clothes for awhile. However this trip to Hymes always coincided with the Fall Fair and we had a super time till the dreaded first day of school. From Friday night to Sunday  a2 dollar bill got you a wild time of rides and games  for the price that wouldn't even get you in the gate today.
                                     Like many boys that grew up on Eureka st. I went to work in the oil fields with Earnest Kells a foreign fields oil well driller that settled back in Petrolia as so many of them did. I started in about ca.1966 for 50 cents an hour. Later I got a raise to a dollar an hour which I thought was a big deal. With Earny I learned important Petrolia terms like 'transference level', 'pull the bit' , 'pump it down', 'saltwater soup' etc.  I should think that my interest in history started here listening to Earnie's many stories of drilling around the world and Petrolia's early history. I was also able to learn much about the basics of drilling and maintaining an oil well.                               
                                 Downtown Petrolia was always full of commerce as it is today, with all the downtown stores alive with action. Almost every day I was sent “up town” for a quart of milk or something and you always got to keep the change. Armed with twenty or thirty cents worth of change a ten or eleven year old boy could get a couple of packs of Hockey or Baseball cards and a small bottle of Coke with a small bag of jube-jubes or my favorite a Coffee Crisp. Of course the usual place for these purchases was Mid Town Variety or the Blue Castle. Along with Hockey and Baseball cards there were Comic books with the ads in the back. Our biggest disappointment of the sixties was finding out that those ex-ray glasses advertised in the back of Dell comic books did not work.  Sometimes{ if I had a list}, a trip to Ramsays Market was the place, with its creaky wooden floors and if nobody was looking you could squeeze the red dots on the Oleo packs.
                                   One particular time on a Saturday morning Fieldsy & I went to the library to work on a school project and on the way in we found a dead Blue Jay just laying there on the sidewalk. I picked it up and while in one of the side rooms of the library we where looking at it and some lady came in and attacked me, and went berserk and gave me a horrible spanking and made me take it outside. I was horrified and Fieldsy laughed. You could imagine how a nine year old boy felt and if that happened today one can only imagine what would have happened to that  mean old lady.
                                   Like most other towns Petrolia had a Baden Powell House where most Petrolia boys attended Cubs and later Boy Scouts. Petrolia was especially blessed with good leaders like Mr.McGee and Mr Sykes and all the others. Sometimes there might be a fight after Scouts and all the boys would gather behind the Baptist Church to see the drama unfold but usually nothing much happened. We had many trips out of town and camping trips at  Hunter Mackenzie's place out in Marthaville, where we always had fun and winter camp outs were most memorable.
                                  Sometime in the sixties the movie "A Hard Days Night" by the Beetles came to the Iroquois Theater and hundreds of girls were screaming so loud that you couldn't hear the movie. I was there with Fieldsy and David Dew and we were amazed at how loud it was. The latest James Bond or Elvis movie was the usual at the Iroquois Theater and even the odd Disney movie wasn't bad.
                                   Throughout most of the sixties Jim Fields and I spent most of our time fishing Bear Creek under the Blind Line bridge and for miles either way. We also found ourselves involved in a major discovery, one time around the old Gilespie Mansion before it was torn down. We were lifting old boards looking for mice and other things when we found ourselves in the old house. The whole one side had caved in years before and area kids often explored the ruins. Fieldsy spotted something shiny in the ruble and we took it outside and it was a diamond ring in an open case. We took it home and showed his mother and she called the police. Sure enough it turned out to be some of the stolen loot from a jewelry store heist. The local constable of the time told us to keep it quiet as the thieves might come after us. However sometime later we received a call from the Jeweler thanking us.
                                      There was a horse farm behind our place owned by Cecil Stone. He trained harness horses on an oval track and, for a quarter John Mavity & I cleaned out horse stalls. In the center of the track was the remains of old wooden oil tanks that had caved in years before and were now large ponds of water full of tadpoles, frogs, turtles and along the edges snakes and everything else. Feildsy and I spent our entire youth around these ponds making rafts to traverse the ponds along with John Mavity. We had underground forts and trails to follow. Every once in a while boys from the West end would find their way into our private domain and we would have a war. Most times they ran home defeated with the Eureka st. boys hot at their heels.                          
                                     During the sixties and into the seventies it always amazed me that whenever there was a fire in Petrolia the big siren on top of Victoria Hall would go off to summon the fire brigade and on every street in town all the people  would walk out to the curb to see which way the trucks were going, and even more amazing sometimes people got into their cars and followed the trucks.This was revealed to us on Eureka St one time when there was a fire down  from us and hundreds of cars just kept rolling by.
                                  As the sixties came to a close I was old enough to go uptown in the evening, and who, during these times can forget a plate of fries with gravy at Mrs. Tobias’s Restaurant or a burger at Bill and Dorothys of Alacott Billiards. It was always a pleasure to watch the older men play Skittles and Golf on the front table, and play a game for a quarter or so of  Boston or Snooker yourself. 
This reflection is provided by the Editor and we will post yours if you like . Notice the plaid shirt with the top button done up and the PF Flyers. Also what is up with Fieldsy's belt?

Fieldsy & your editor ca.1966 (left) and your editor (right) on the CCM 1966 2 speed gold mustang. Note the baseball glove on the handle bars that was always there when not in use. This bike was even faster than it looks and I could 'pop a wheelee' for as long and as far as required.

This is a pic ca.1966 with your editor on the right and John Mavity on the left. John lived next-door to us on Eureka street and he was a computer whiz when nobody even knew what they were. John told me at the time that someday soon everyone would have a personal computer in their homes and we would communicate through them to one another. John was ahead of his time and was extraordinarily smart  in everything I don't know what he ever ended up doing , but I am sure it is something with electronics and computers. On the right is a pic of your editor ca.1967 with Seymore the raccoon. There was a mother raccoon killed in front of Bradley's Funeral Home and they got me to take an orphaned baby and raise it as a pet. I had this raccoon for 2 years until her boyfriends started visiting her a night and helped free her. However I was paid allot of money and all the popcorn and coffee crisps that I could eat to stand in front of the Capital Theater with Seymore (for a week) on a leash. This was to promote a movie called 'My Side Of the Mountain'. It is about a 12 year old boy that runs away from home with his pet raccoon and lives in the wilderness. They thought it was a good promotion and I had fun. I don't know who that little kid is, he just walked into the pic.

All of these pics and more are from my own collection and am always looking for vintage Petrolia pics of anything to buy or borrow for copying. If you have pictures that I can borrow I only need a few minutes to scan them.

Email Martin of Petrolia Ontario Canada at