Creemore in the 1940s: Part 8

 In Opinion

Before I end this series I want to describe to some degree, business, and living conditions in the 1940s in and around Creemore. Eighty years ago most people’s, lifestyle was very different from today.
The automobile had been around for about 25 years, but was still very primitive, compared to today’s cars. As a result, most people didn’t take long trips, and besides during the war years, there was gas rationing. If you couldn’t buy something in Creemore a lot of folks ordered it from Eaton’s catalogue. I remember that we only went to Collingwood three or four times a year, including once to the Collingwood fair. We might get to Barrie a couple of times. Of course in the winter none of the township roads were plowed, so everyone had to use a horse-drawn cutter or sleigh, which made longer trips impossible, accept by train. The poor quality of the roads would extend into the spring, even after the snow went away. There was so little gravel on the roads, that we still had to depend on a horse-drawn buggy to get through the mud.
The other big factor was, at that time most of the farms were 100 acres, with a farmer and his family on every farm. They were almost a captive market for the merchants in Creemore. Today, with modern farming, there are fewer farmers. A lot of these farm homes have been replaced or are now used as seasonal dwellings, and although their occupants are certainly welcome they don’t have to depend on shopping in Creemore, and of course neither does anyone else.
Life was far from rosy in those days. Most farms did not have hydro, as the lines had not been installed until into the late 1940s. We made do with kerosene oil lamps and of course, did not have electric appliances, now taken for granted. There of course was no television or internet. Almost everybody had a battery radio and a telephone, which to small degree was like today’s social media. Almost everybody was on a party line and could listen in. There probably were up to twelve people on the same line. I was always interested in electricity and one time I hooked the telephone up to our radio, so we could all hear the neighbours conversations. My Dad didn’t think that was right so I disconnected it. A very few people had a Delco light plant, that supplied 32-volt direct current for lights. Even in Creemore there certainly was no natural gas or propane available, a number of people had an oil or coal-fired furnaces, but most of the heating was provided by coal or wood stoves. The population in Creemore was primarily retired farmers and the business people. It was a time when everybody in Creemore knew almost everyone else, times were simpler and we had a lot of fun.
This is the end of this series. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as have writing them.
I want to thank Trina and the staff of The Echo, for there great help and cooperation.

Gerry Blackburn is the author of Creemore, as Remembered by Gerry Blackburn, available at The Creemore Echo Newsstand.

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