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  • Barb McFadzen

The Boyd Papers - Spring 2020

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

This is another sad newsletter. A fine local historian, Harry Van Oudenaren, has died. Harry came to Canada in the early 1950s as a young man from Holland. As many did many after the Second World War to find a better life for themselves and their families. Harry started his new life and upon hearing that a man in Bobcaygeon needed a mechanic for his garage, Harry arrived and quickly learned the skills of a mechanic at Pogue’s Garage on Bolton St. Once established in Bobcaygeon, Harry returned to Holland and met his future wife Johanna and returned to his new home with his new wife to a new life. Harry and Johanna had six children, 3 girls and 3 boys. When Pogue retired Harry purchased the old school house up on North St. in Bobcaygeon – a new school was built on King St. – he then built up his own garage and settled into life in Bobcaygeon. He built his home opposite the garage.

Harry possibly had the most beautiful gardens in town and spent hours working his gardens.


From early childhood Harry collected stamps and perhaps that is where his love of history started. He continued collecting not only written archival material but also items relating to Bobcaygeon history. Items from logging, farming, steamships, railroad history and general history of people and Bobcaygeon. Postcards arrived, photos and family histories and Harry filed everything in his steel filing cabinet in the basement. His family became close to Dorothe Comber who fed Harry’s love of history in the Village. Dorothe also collected information and wrote about Bobcaygeon and gave Harry not only information but left Harry her collection of local history on her death. Harry served on the Bobcaygeon Council and many other groups giving his time and interest. Meanwhile his wife was busy with six children and her church activities.


Harry collected everything to do with local history, met with people and exchanged information. He became the ‘go to guy’ for local information about Bobcaygeon, and this from a chap from Holland. Harry left his collection of early tools and a building to hold them to Settlers Village and anything to do with Bobcaygeon and gave the Boyd Museum his collection of Boyd memorabilia. We appreciated his generosity of his time and knowledge. When someone would come into the Museum and ask about a local family we would call Harry and he would gladly give his time and knowledge and probably be able to show them a photo of their relative.


An amazing historian, author, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, woodworker, gardener and an all round good friend.

Yes, we will all miss Harry!


Back to Museum business, Debbi, our secretary has retired to Vancouver and other points around (as long as its warm!) and we have inherited Ruthann Wilson (formerly of the Chamber or formerly The Chamber!). Its strange how people from either end of the building end up in the middle. Ruthann has all kinds of good ideas to put this Museum on the map and all kinds of energy the rest of us are a little older but it feels good to be shaken up, excited about the coming year. We will let you know in the fall papers what we have up our sleeves, or Ruthann has up her sleeves for us!


Wedding gowns again this summer in the Museum. Most of these lady’s dresses have come from Settlers Village. Ghost Walk again in July. Many book sales, antique show, Fall Fair, Mingle, Jingle and the Kid’s Day on the Kinette Santa Clause parade day. No wonder Debbi ran away. The Kawartha Voyageur has sent us this coming summer’s itinerary and will spend 6 visits to the Museum.


We have been told that the library will be moving out by 2021. That is less than a year and things are a bit jittery here. A bit hard to get our heads around this. It has been coming since 2000 but to have an actual date instead of an idea in the future is a bit scary.

We have a few ideas about the vacated space as does many other organizations about town. The City envisions a community center. A place for meeting and learning something new perhaps, who knows. As long as it is compatible with us and the building. I will keep you informed about that as well. Of course, the big question is who is going to pay for the heat, hydro etc. Questions on questions and there really isn’t answers coming from the City. They probably think I have the solution and will be there 7 days a week as a volunteer. Think again guys! But remember I and the Foundation will be watching you!


Huge snow storm last night and today (Feb. 26 & 27) and spent most of the day shovelling and getting ready for the snowblower to do its job. I am beginning to sound like Willy Boyd writing in his diary about the weather and what is happening locally. I could say the snow was too deep for the horses and sleighs so put up at the Benson until the roads are clear.


Ann Adare has been busy getting an historically correct walking tour, self guided around Bobcaygeon and I have been giving my two bits worth of information. Along with many others in the Village she will be describing what is here and what was in bygone days.


I have been asked to give a little talk at the Dunsford library about early transportation in the area. This will include early road travel in carts and buggies, to steamships on the Trent, the Railway and perhaps Ida Lillian’s and Sheila’s cars. Should keep me busy, that and steaming out the wedding gowns for the summer.

Back row left to right: Larry Weiler, Ruth McIssac, Silvia Green, Kari Kittle, Debbi Smith

Front (on couch) Caroline Warren, Joan Mathew,Joyce Anderson, Joyce Ingram, Barb McFadzen (missing – Joyce Bryon (in Florida), Isobel Oliver (missing, in the kitchen of her home). Thanks Isobel, for hosting Debbi’s farewell party.

All for now – send more after the summer activities – stay healthy.

~Barb McFadzen – don’t forget to wash those hands!

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