Past Reeves & Mayors
A Reeve is the elected president of a town council. The Municipality of Callander chose to change the title of this position from Reeve to Mayor in June of 2003. This made our then Reeve, Hector D. Lavigne, the first Mayor of Callander.
George Morrison (1887-1899, 1902-1904 & 1907-1914)
George Morrison (1854-1917) was born in the Township of Nissourie, Oxford County, Ontario. He ran the General Store and Post Office at the corner of Main and Lansdowne (currently the Royal Bank). Mr. Morrison was a founding father, community leader, builder and the first Reeve of Callander – a position he held, on and off, for 21 years (1887-1899/1902-1904/1907-1914). He built the Pacific Hotel and soon after, his store and dwelling (currently 55 Main Street North). In 1911, he ran as the federal candidate for the Liberal Party but was unsuccessful.
Thomas Darling (1900-1901)
Thomas Darling (1845-1914) was born in Berwick-on-Tweed, England. He came to Lake Nipissing in the early 1880s and was the General Manager of the J.R. Booth logging operations in the Wisawasa and Nosbonsing areas. From January 1896 to February 1905, he was the Postmaster at the Wisawasa Post Office. He also operated the Thomas Darling & Sons Lumber Mill on Main Street North at the site of present day Centennial Park. He served as a Councillor for North Himsworth Township for nine years and was then Reeve from 1900-1901.
John McBurney (1905-1906)
John McBurney (1863-19??) was North Himsworth’s 3rd Reeve, serving from 1905-1906. Although little is known about him, the Callander Bay Heritage Museum has found that he was born in Ontario and was of Irish descent. In 1892, he and a man named Leacock built a lumber mill in the village of Callander. The last known owners of this mill were Canadian Timber of North Bay. In 1904, McBurney also built the house that would later become known as the home of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, the doctor to the Dionne Quintuplets. In July 2001, the house was designated an Ontario Heritage Building. Presently, it is also the site of the Callander Bay Heritage Museum.
If you know of more information about John McBurney, please contact the Museum Curator at (705)752-2282.
George Lanson Bailey (1915-1919)
George Bailey (1861-1937) was born in Georgetown, Ontario. He was Callander’s Postmaster from April 1903 to January 1937 – the longest serving postmaster in the village. As all the mail came in by train, he had to meet the trains at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. After the birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in 1934, George Bailey saw his workload increase tenfold. In December 1936, he said he had sold more stamps and handled more mail in the last 30 months than he had in the previous 30 years. George was assisted by his wife and two daughters to keep up with the volume. Bailey’s store and post office were at 93 Main Street North where the I.D.A. Pharmacy now stands. He served on council for six years and was Reeve for four years (1915-1919). In 1935, he received the Silver Jubilee Commemorative Medal from King George V for meritorious service with the Post Office.
Thomas Scanlon (1920-1921)
Thomas Scanlon (1879-1957) was born in Bradford, Ontario, at the then family home located on the site of what is now known as the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area. He came to Callander to build a General Store for George Morrison (Callander’s first Reeve). Thomas then settled and started a building business. He served as Clerk of the Township for eight years and Reeve for two years (1920-1921). He was also the Justice of the Peace for the area.
George Kenneth (Ken) Morrison (1922-1933 & 1939-1945)
Ken Morrison (1890-1957) was born in Callander, the fourth of five children of George & Elizabeth Morrison. In 1920, Ken followed in his father’s political footsteps when he was elected Councillor for the township. Two years later, he was elected Reeve. He was dedicated to the community, serving 17 years as Reeve (1922-1933/1939-1945) and 13 years as a Councillor. With Ken’s able and generous leadership, he became the backbone of the community. He gave freely of his time and still managed to run his general store. Ken made an enormous contribution for many years and was known as “Mr. Callander”. He helped many families survive the Depression – for fighting to get relief of $1.25 a week. His friendship and trust with an Executive at DuPont Canada made a significant contribution to the decision of the company to build a plant in the area. Few can boast of a longer and successful period of municipal service. Ken’s contribution to the community was unparalleled.
Percy Jonathan Keeling (1934 & 1936)
Percy Keeling (1890-1967) was born in Birmingham, England. Mr. Keeling started his long career with the railroad in 1912 with the Central Ontario Railway on the Picton and Bannockburn line. He also worked the Grand Trunk Railway at the Allandale division and in Huntsville. He came to Callander in 1922 as a Station Agent for the Canadian National Railway. He served as Councillor for ten years, Reeve for 2 years (1934 and 1936) and was also Secretary for the Callander School Board. After 43 years, he retired from the railroad and soon after was appointed as Justice of the Peace for the District of Parry Sound. The former P.J. Keeling Public School (which closed in 1981) on Highway 654 West was named after him.
Edward Masterson McBeth (1935, 1937-1938 & 1946)
Edward McBeth (1881-1958) was born in Angus, Ontario. His family moved to Callander around 1890, when his father, Duncan McBeth, got a job at the new John B. Smith & Sons Mill. Ed McBeth was then in his late teens and was about to embark on a career that would last 43 years at the Smith Mill and see him rise to the position of Mill Superintendent. He served as Reeve of Callander for four years (1935, 1937 and in 1946) and was Councillor for four years.
Leonard Wookey (1947-1954)
Leonard Wookey (1886-1963) was born in Kingston, Jamaica to English parents. His family moved to Toronto around the turn of the century. Leonard worked in the cement trade and became active in promoting cement concrete roads. He joined John Russell to form the J. Russell Company – producers of concrete pipes, tiles and building blocks. Leonard sold his business in 1927 and travelled in Europe for several years where he studied music. An accomplished tenor and pianist, when he returned to Canada, he began to teach vocal music. He built the Red Line Inn in 1934 and during that time became interested in legislative affairs. He served as Reeve for seven years (1947-1954) and as Councillor for two (1959-1960). A very capable politician with a colourful character and a love of children, Leonard was devoted to the community. Wookey Boulevard, off of Highway 654 West, is named after him.
George Leo Kervin (1955-1957 & 1964-1969)
George Kervin (1894-1970) was born in Callander, the son of John Kervin an early pioneer to the Callander area. Leo was a tourist operator along with his brothers Tom and Charley. They ran House Boats from the Kervin Camp on the West Arm of the Lake Nipissing. Leo and his brothers were also in the lumber business with a mill near Temiskaming, in the present day area of Eldee. Leo then moved to the Marten River area and started up a lumber mill on his own. When he was sixty he retired from the lumber business, but the retirement was short lived, for in a few weeks he started to build “Holiday Homes” on the South Shore. From 1939 to 1945 he served on local council as a Councillor and in 1955 he was elected Reeve of the Township, this position he held from 1955-1963 Leo led a very productive life and was an asset to this community.
Raymond Larochelle (1958-1963)
Raymond Larochelle (1925-Present) was born in Callander on November 26, 1925. His father, Jerry Larochelle (who was also on Council during the period of 1946-1956), had worked for the J.B. Smith Lumber Mill as a carriage setter on a double-cut bandmill, but left in the late 1920s and started a trucking business. In 1939 Raymond’s father purchased a saw mill. When Raymond was 16, though still attending school, he spent all of his spare time working for his father, learning the many facets of lumber operations and the workings of a saw mill. In 1942 Jerry formed the Frawley Lake Lumber Co. Ltd. The following year, Raymond finished school in Callander and followed his father in the lumber business, at the Marten River site. When the company moved to the Noble Lake area, Raymond took on a more responsible role in the company. Later the operations moved to the Mud Lake area of North Bay. Here the company was producing millions of board feet per year of White, Red Pine and Yellow Birch. The lumber operations of the company ceased in 1965.
When Raymond was first elected Reeve, he was the youngest Reeve in the district, at the age of 32 and went on to serve the North Himsworh Township well for the following six years.
Albert Edward Baldock-Bullock “Ben” (1970-1987)
Albert Baldock-Bullock (1917-2000) was born in Brighton, England on May 1st, 1917. Like his father, Ben was a master butcher. He served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was posted to Canada in Dec. 1941 for training of the R.C.A.F. personal on secret installations. He returned to England in 1944, and in 1946 he immigrated to Canada. Ben and his wife, Helen, operated the Bullock Grocery & Meats on Lansdowne St., for over 30 years. Ben did much to improve his community. He was a Councillor for six years and the Reeve for 18 years. He also served on many other boards and organizations. In 1974, for his dedicated service to the community, the Province of Ontario recognized him by naming a Township after him near the Agawa Canyon by Lake Superior.
Leonard James McDonald (1988-1990)
Leonard McDonald (1936-present) was born in Callander. His father James Robert McDonald was a Councillor during 1937-38 and 1949. Len worked for Esso Imperial Oil as an agent and also operated two stations, one in North Bay and one in Callander. In 1969 he was appointed to the position of Clerk-Treasurer of the North Himsworth Township. After 12 years he was elected Reeve for the Township of North Himsworth in 1988.
Dave McClatchie (1991-1999)
Dave McClatchie (1941-present) was born in Ottawa, Ontario on November 1st, 1941. He was a teacher of Geography at West Ferris Secondary School and retired after 31 years. Prior to becoming Reeve in 1991, Dave served 2 years as a Councillor and 9 years with the Township Planning Board. During his term of office there were many changes. In June of 1998 the name of the North Himsworth Museum was changed to the Callander Bay Heritage Museum under By-Law 98-693. When Dave became a member of Council, the Township was debt-laden; when he retired as Reeve, North Himsworth was debt free.
Hector (Hec) Lavigne (2000-2003 & 2007-2010 & 2014-2018)
Hec Lavigne (1957-present) was born in North Bay, Ontario on the 5th of February 1957. Hector brought with him a wealth of experience from the business world and his successful operational skills as an Insurance Broker. During his term in office the following changes were made. On July 16th, 2002, the Township of North Himsworth had its name changed to “The Corporation of the Municipality of Callander” under By-Law 2002-822. On May 6th, 2003, the new addition to the Callander Bay Heritage Museum was named “Alex Dufresne Gallery”, under By-Law 2003-849. On May 20th, 2003, the title of the head of Council was changed from “REEVE” to “MAYOR”, under the Municipal Act. During his second term (beginning in 2007) Council started work on a number of major projects including: replacement of the sewer main (and a new pumping station) to the sewage treatment lagoons; construction of a new roof structure (multi-use facility) over the existing outdoor rink; engineering for replacement of the bridges on Hart Road; and engineering work for reconstruction of Lansdowne Street (Hwy. 94 to Main Street).
William “Bill” Dale Brazeau (2004-2006)
William Brazeau (1958-present) was born in North Bay, Ontario, on the 4th of October 1958. Prior to becoming the head of Council, he had served as a Councillor for 8 years. Bill was a member of the Ontario Provincial Police auxiliary for ten years. Bill was employed with Teletech Canada as a Facility Supervisor with over 500 employees, up until his family left Callander in early 2008 to pursue other opportunities.