The Tragic Decline of the Cambridge Times

Cambridge Times Cancelling Local Sports Section Is a Mistake

Newspapers struggle to retain readers who will buy hardcopy or even online subscriptions. With the variety of news sources available just getting people to look at the newspaper can be a struggle.

The Cambridge Times is no exception. The Tuesday paper is so thin questions can be asked if they really do care about reporting local news anymore. The weekend paper is one giant paper mainly because it is jammed with flyers.

Why do people still read the Times? It has to be for the local news and sports. The rationale to cancel the local sports section online and in print is simply ludicrous and will speed up the Cambridge Times demise.

25 years ago when I moved to the community having the team I helped coach with Hespeler Minor Hockey Association get their picture in the Cambridge Times was a big deal and parents and kids were excited when it happened. 

For the last 9 years I have been the President of the Scorpions Volleyball Club. Thanks to excellent reporting from the Times Sports Reporter Bill Doucet  the parents and players have enjoyed seeing their successes shared with the whole city in his articles. Doucet's reporting of our clubs activities are one of the key reasons are club was so successful in it's early days.

Sadly, some executive somewhere at Metroland Media decided local sports does not matter. You can still submit a story but it has to compete with for space with all other local, regional and national news. 

Thanks Bill Doucet for all your coverage of local sports in the past our young athletes appreciated it.

VIA Rail and the High Frequency Rail Myth - 25% Reduced Trip Times

Will the Canadian government spend $4 billion resulting in the same trip times between Toronto and Montreal as in 1973?

One of the biggest unsubstantiated statements by VIA Rail is their proposed high frequency rail line will reduce trip times by 25%.

What data have VIA Rail released to show how this reduced travel time will be accomplished?  The answer is simple. VIA Rail has not even released any data to the public to support that statement or even the exact routing of the line.

Current VIA trains tips between Toronto and Montreal is  about 5hrs and 5hrs 17min on the main line.

Even if VIA Rail could obtain a 20% reduction in trip times it would result in travel times like we had in 1973 around 4hours.(and  this percentage reduction would take a leap of faith).

Travelling along the old Ontario-Quebec (CP) Rail line has many level crossings, a winding route, travelling through small communities and the reduced speed to enter and leave Montreal and Toronto.

In 1973, the CN Turbo train took 3hrs 59min between the same two cities on the main line VIA Rail is now running on. Here is the CN video to demonstrate this fact.

How can the government spend $4 billion where the result of spending that money will be train trip times that we had in 1973? VIA Rail's High Frequency Rail plan continues Canada's reputation as having one of the slowest, outdated, and inefficient passenger rail systems in the modern world.

The Speed River Ranch - Hespeler's Forgotten Rodeo

Former site of Archie McArthur’s ranch where the rodeos were held. 
It is quiet now but Archie McArthur’s place just outside of Hespeler on Roszell Road was a popular place to go see a rodeo. The annual Labour Day rodeo at the Speed River Ranch was a hit.

Archie along with George Hewitt organized these rodeos.

Linda Inglis remembers riding her horse from their farm on CR32 to Archies for the Rodeo on the Labour Day Weekends. She would ride the Grand Entry for him (flag carrier).

The full history of this rodeo needs to be explored. Hopefully this blog inspires someone to step forward to do a more comphrensive look back at this part of Hespeler's history.
The Speed River Ranch Rodeo - Hespeler, Ontario - 1967 -

Passenger Rail Service Returns to Hespeler?

Last Train to Hespeler  CNR no. 174 - 1959

Hamilton to Hespeler to Owen Sound and Return!

Imagine my surprise when I read in the Cambridge Times that they were studying the return of passenger rail to Hespeler! A study is looking at having GO Trains connecting to Guelph then into Toronto from the Hespeler part of Cambridge.

The last passenger train was  June 20th, 1959 at 6:50pm. Legendary rail photographer Harold Kinzie captured this historic event. It is hard to believe that you could travel from Hamilton to Hespeler all the way up to Owen Sound and back. Here is the 1957 schedule.

1957 CNR Schedule

It probably will be single or diesel multiple units (DMU) and not a typical Go Train that connects with Guelph. See example of a unit below.

We are fortunate to have Cambridge's own Kathryn McGarry currently as the provincial Minister of Transport. I hope it stays that way.

An excellent book on the former line is titled, "Two Divisions to Bluewater: The Story of the CNR to the Bruce" by Peter Bowers from 1983. Look for it in your library.

I am more than happy to help educating anyone on the current state of  the line and the benefits of restoring passenger rail from Hespeler for Cambridge. Believe it can happen!

This is an  example of an DMU that could run on the line

Blame Glen Christie Ontario for the Post Boxes

First Post Boxes in Canada were located in Glen Christie, Ontario near Hespeler

Painting the Glen Christie Post Boxes - Source Unknown

For those wondering where the Glen Christie was here is Google Map. The following story is taken from an unknown newspaper article in 1951. For those wanting to learn more about Glen Christie, click on My Books tab to download my free Glen Christie book.

E. J. Kerr, who owns the store has been complaining for some time about the nuisance value and the careless mail system. Ford Termaine, courier for R.R.#1, Hespeler, used to dump the mail on his counter for thirty five families.

Everyone would come in and sort through everyone else’s letters to find their own.

It was a nuisance having letters mixed up with a dozen oranges or a pound of cheese. Emerson wrote in to headquarters in London with some suggestions as to what the post office department could do with their mail. Last week along came a big crate and a post office inspector. This, he was told, was the answer to the problems. Have the mail carrier put the letters in outdoor boxes. Boxholders could come at any time of day or night.

The system could possibly spread to other new areas which are presently served by a general store and post office combined. There has been a move to cut down hours in rural areas. This would be the answer to any inconvenience to boxholders, if the system works at Glen Christie.

Remembering the ROYAL THEATRE in Windsor Ontario

The Royal Theatre in its heyday 1947!

If you pass by Sandwich and Chippewa Street in Windsor and you are old enough, you will remember the Royal Theatre that once stood there. The good news is it is still there!

I want to challenge everyone in Windsor to find the owners of the building and see if we can run a movie there one more time. Even if it is just during the day. It has been over sixty years since the theatre was in operation.

Inside the Royal Theatre

Click on this LINK to see a large version of the outside of the cinema. Click on this LINK to see a large version of the inside of the cinema.

The Royal Theatre as it looks today. Feel free to contact me at brentunespublishing(at) if anyone has the same dream to see a movie at the Royal one more time.!

The Royal today!