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Streetlights glowed in Collingwood 110 years ago today

The glow of streetlights was new for Collingwood residents in 1913
One of Collingwood's street lights, likely the same as those in the photo from 1913, hanging at the Collingwood Museum. Photo Collingwood Museum Collection.

Editor's note: This story originally ran in October 2019 with information and the photos contributed by the Collingwood Museum. 

It’s quite easy to take for granted the comforts that we enjoy in our daily lives. Running water, indoor washrooms, and electricity are the first items that come to mind. Instant communication with family and friends is another.

In today’s featured photograph, the “advent of hydroelectric” energy in Collingwood is documented along Hurontario Street over 110 years ago. The glowing streetlights reveal numerous hydro lines along both sides of the street. This photograph was taken on March 17, 1913.

The earliest forms of lighting on Hurontario Street are described in The Story of Collingwood: 1858-1958, published by The Enterprise-Bulletin Presses Ltd., and sponsored by the Collingwood Centennial Committee.

“First came the odd coal oil lamp enclosed in a square glass lantern, elevated on posts. Then, the much talked of Evison lamps (named after Henry Evison, a councillor who brought about their installation) after all little more than enlarged and glorified kerosene burners, but accepted as a step ahead of their predecessors.

Now, in the late [1880s], came the age of electricity and waterworks and with it municipal ownership in which Collingwood pioneered…”

The streetlight fixtures in today’s photograph are believed to be similar to one that is presently on display at the Collingwood Museum. The circular metal shade and decorative bracket are much the same as those visible in a parade photograph showing CCI cadets marching north on Hurontario Street in 1914 (Photograph 3).

Since joining the museum’s collection, the fixture has been rewired, thereby sustaining some changes to its original form.

If you have any information to share about today’s featured photograph, please contact Collingwood Museum staff at [email protected].

This was a series of historic photographs submitted by the Collingwood Museum to These photographs were originally collected and documented by the Huron Institute in an historical catalogue entitled Huron Institute Paper and Records: Volume III. Much of Collingwood’s early history has been preserved due to the dedication and foresight of the early museum’s founders, namely its secretary-curator David Williams, upon its establishment in 1904.