Butler's Blog — Canadian history

May Contest...Win the t-shirt of your choice!!

Adventures in Rainbow Country Bay of Islands Canadian history contest Fire Tower Jon Butler La Cloche McGregor Bay Northern Ontario real and surreal Whitefish Falls Willisville Mountain

May Contest...Win the t-shirt of your choice!!

It's May, the weather is beautiful and the black flies are heading south! It's time to win a t-shirt inspired by La Cloche. Win your choice of any one 'Wearable Art' from Surreal Apparel or 'Ludicrous La Cloche' t-shirts...here's how to enter!! 1. Simply go to www.paperboy.ca and pick the t-shirt that you would like to win. 2. Send an email to lacloche@gmail.com with the subject 'La Cloche in May' and include which t-shirt, size and colour you would like to win. 3. On June 1, 2021 a winner will be randomly selected from all of the email entries and they win...

Read more →


A. j. Casson & La Cloche

A J Casson art Canadian history Group of Seven La Cloche

A. j. Casson & La Cloche

Born on this day, Alfred Joseph Casson (May 17, 1898 - February 20, 1992) was the youngest member of the Group of Seven.Happy Birthday! I visited and talked to A. J. Casson (1898-1992) numerous times between 1985 and 1990 about the La Cloche area and the Group of Seven. The following article by Jon Charles Butler was printed in The Standard, Elliot Lake, Ontario on September 1, 1985.Quotes from this article were used by Kevin Callan in his book ‘Killarney’ published by Boston Mills Press in 1990.Photo – Joachim Gauthier and A. J. Casson in 1986 courtesy of Paul Gauthier.Dream...

Read more →


'Old Agony' or 'The Blueberry Express'

1930s Algoma Eastern Railway Birch Island Canadian Canadian history Canadian Pacific CNR CPR Group of Seven Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario train Whitefish Falls Willisville

'Old Agony' or 'The Blueberry Express'

The Train The Algoma Eastern Railway connected Sudbury and Little Current in October of 1913. The train carried passengers and mixed freight on the 87 mile long line.  It was nicknamed the ‘Old Agony’ because it took  4 hours to travel from Sudbury to Little Current.  The McKerrow to Little Current stretch , however, is fondly remembered as the ‘Blueberry Express’.  On April 4, 1919, Ernie Willis became the first Postmaster of Willisville. Everyone now had another reason to wait for the train and there was usually quite a gathering at Mile 64, the Willisville Station. From 1914 to 1918,...

Read more →


La Cloche Whiskey Smugglers & American Prohibition

1930s Al Capone Big Bill Thompson Canadian history Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche liquor smuggling McGregor Bay prohibition The Pool whiskey smugglers

La Cloche Whiskey Smugglers & American Prohibition

Americans and Prohibition The Prohibition years in the United States lasted from 1920 until 1933 and as well as giving rise to the American gangster it became the law that was disregarded by the majority of American citizens. Al Capone and Chicago’s gangster mayor “Big Bill Thompson’ were two memorable figures both associated with prohibition and gangsters running alcohol from Canada into the United States. ‘Big Bill Thompson’ and many of his friends enjoyed their frequent visits to La Cloche so much so that ‘Big Bill’ built a lodge at Three Narrows Lake. He accessed the lodge from the Pool...

Read more →


A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake Describing His Painting Style

A. Y. jackson art Canadian Canadian history Grace Lake Group of Seven Jon Butler Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche Northern Ontario

A. Y. Jackson at Grace Lake Describing His Painting Style

A wonderful 1941 documentary about A. Y. Jackson by the Academy Award winner Radford Crawley. Watch Jackson and prospector Keith McIver leave Willisville to canoe and portage to Grace Lake. He climbs the Grace Lake ridges to paint the beauty of La Cloche. Jackson explains his art as he paints various Grace Lake scenes in what is now Killarney Provincial Park.  Click here to view Canadian Landscape.

Read more →