Heartbeats of a Village: shaken by Quebec earthquake

 In Opinion

Looking back at our village’s history we expect to learn about churches, schools and about municipal affairs, but it is the little incidents that mark our individuality. Here are but a few of Creemore’s little ‘heartbeats’ captured for posterity in print in old Creemore Star newspapers.


New vehicles are almost a dime a dozen now but in 1912 they were as rare as hen’s teeth. Thus the announcement in the paper, perhaps the first one in town. “A beautiful two-passenger 25 hp RCH roadster auto arrived in town for Dr. Bradley. C.W. is the agent and at the date of writing is waiting for the rain to stop pouring down to get it unloaded from the freight car.”

The safety of children is always of paramount with parents and no greater fear strikes their hearts than when a child can’t be found. In 1912, “there was some excitement up at David McCutcheon’s.

“On Thursday night of last week, three of the children were somewhat indisposed. A nurse was engaged to help Mrs. McCutcheon in taking care of them. About midnight as all were composedly sleeping, the nurse lay down for a few moments, and on rising and going to a room where Norman, a 12-year-old boy, was sleeping, she was surprised to

find the bed empty. The house and yard were searched to no avail. By this time the anxiety had naturally become intense and the telephone was made use of to arouse the neighbours, when a general search of the fields and buildings around was instituted. This was kept up until about daylight when the strain was relieved by the boy being found under the table in T.

Coates’ kitchen, nearly half a mile away, with nothing on but his nightshirt. He was put to bed and warmed up and no serious results have developed.”


In 1925 a severe earthquake centred near the mouth of the Saguenay in Quebec sent shock waves across Ontario.

“The earthquake on Saturday last, was felt quite distinctly in Creemore. The tremors, which lasted perhaps for a minute, were violent enough to shake the buildings and most of the citizens. The occurrence, being the first of its kind ever felt distinctly noticed in Creemore, caused quite a sensation.”

“In the business section the clerks and customers, when the buildings commenced quivering, all rushed to the street. Residents, who had retired, reported they felt their bed gently moving to and fro, and one lady got up and looked under her bed, believing someone was concealed underneath.”

The earthquake was “a leading topic of conversation.” It was reported that the pictures on the wall flapped violently and some beds may have shaken their occupants onto the floor.

Four trains a day passed along the CNR line through Creemore. In today’s world farmers must erect strong fences to keep livestock off the highways. Years ago, farmers had to contend with the railway tracks and if they didn’t… well…

“Thirteen young geese and one old gander, the property of Mrs. James Miller, River Road, met with an untimely end last Thursday when they wandered out onto the CNR tracks which run near the Miller farm. The fowl were lying on the roadbed when the afternoon train swept along and with perfect ‘goosishness’ raised their heads to ‘argue’ the matter of right of way with the big mogul. Naturally the outcome was disastrous to the feathered flock, everyone of which succumbed to the injuries, which in practically all cases included the loss of a head with more or less a neck attached. The flock was highly prized by Mrs. Miller, and the birds of the like, which go a long way to put the thanks in Thanksgiving.”

Helen Blackburn is a retired teacher, avid gardener and a long-time contributor to The Creemore Echo. She writes about local history.

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