Skip to content

From stagecoach to bus line: Dubeau’s livery in Penetanguishene

Penetang-Midland Coach Lines Limited had its beginnings in the 1870s when Joseph Robert Dubeau began operating a livery stable, author notes

We quote liberally from the Dubeau Bus Lines history for the following details.

Joseph Dubeau, his wife Lucie Parent, and seven children, came to the Penetanguishene area in about 1860. Two more children, Joseph Robert and Marie-Emma, were born in Penetanguishene. The Dubeau family of Penetanguishene trace their roots to Joseph Robert.

Penetang-Midland Coach Lines Limited had its beginnings in the 1870s when Joseph Robert Dubeau first began operating a livery stable in Penetanguishene at 15 Robert Street.

It was here that "livery, first-class, single or doubled rigs were always ready for long or short drives."

When needed, Joseph harnessed his horses to a carriage and set himself out for hire to run the daily stage eight-mile return between Penetang and Midland. The stagecoach to Barrie was a voyage that took a full day with a change of horses at Hillsdale.

By 1892, with his business in high demand, Joseph began operating a stagecoach between Penetanguishene and Midland.

These early days often brought about very harsh winters that were challenging to both person and horse.

Joseph’s son Arthur described life under such conditions: "Some of the sleighs seated twenty, and many a night would carry a load of passengers, snugly wrapped in buffalo robes, to parties and festivities.

“Winters were long and hard and often drivers could not tell where the road lay because they were riding on top of twenty-foot snow drifts. To keep the coaches from going off course, pieces of fence rail were used as markers and it  was not usual to drive by a house and look into the upstairs windows.”

Dubeau Bus Lines, Penetang-Midland Bus Lines are gone, but recalled fondly by all who took the bus.

René Hackstetter, May 20, 2022.