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POSTCARD MEMORIES: Soap-box derbies a longtime rite of spring

Children and their parents often worked together to get the car just right for races in Penetanguishene and Midland.

Soap-box derbies  have been a longtime rite of spring for countless youth and their parents over the years.

Children and their parents often worked together to get the car just right for races in Penetanguishene and Midland.

In these photos that come courtesy of the Huronia Museum and Huron Ouendat Village, we explore this time-honoured tradition with photos of days gone by showing soap-box derbies taking place in Midland and Penetanguishenene.

The first photo in this story appeared on the front page of the Free Press Herald on May 26, 1965 with the following caption: “‘The "Chariots’ came in all shapes and sizes for the soap-box derby sponsored by Midland Lions Club as part of the May 24 celebrations at Little Lake Park.

“All looking confident before the big race, the boys are seen lined up prior to the start. Midland Recreational Council organized the evening's events, which included road races and fireworks. [Ricky Graham at left was the winner.]"

But it sets the reader up for the second photo and a rivalry between Midland and Penetanguishne over who has the better hill. While Penetang's offering is longer, Midland’s hill has a curve?

In this Free Press photo, Penetang Legion Branch 68 sponsored a regional soap-box derby on October 14, 1968, with 50 entrants coming from Midland, Port McNicoll, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township.

Danny Light was the winner, taking home a new bike donated by Penetang Bottling while Peter Gignac received $15 for finishing in second place.


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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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