2017 – Trailblazers

By: Jamie, Tyson, Eric and Karleigh


Trailblazers forge their own path. They are individuals who have made a positive contribution to their community. They are people who innovated, invented, or have somehow made life easier or better.

To society, the word Trailblazer means a variety of things, from the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, to Trailblazer the video game. To the Dufferin County Museum, Trailblazers are pioneers who have made a positive contribution to Dufferin County. They are often unheralded innovators that have created change within societal norms, and through their innovations they have brought international recognition to small town communities in Dufferin County. Not only have they brought acknowledgement to these communities, they are celebrated by these communities for their inspirational contributions. Summarizing our artifacts, the Trailblazers and the history behind them consists of determined people who demonstrate perseverance. Each artifact can tell you a story of a fight conquered and will change the way you look at these objects.

P-2715  Painting of Doctors Hannah and Minerva Reid, Laurie McGaw, Mulmur, 1994.

The Reid sisters are regarded as Canadian trailblazers since they helped to open the field of medicine, a male dominated field, to other women. This painting was donated to the DCMA when they opened in 1994 by a local artist from Mulmur named Laurie McGaw. Based on her websites biography, she painted this because “The focus of her work is portraiture. Whether in commissioned works, illustrations, or historical paintings, her love is painting people.”1


Image of Laurie McGaw, who created the painting of the Reid sisters. Source: http://www.lauriemcgaw.com

In this painting there is an inscription above Minerva near the top left that reads “125 Rusholme Road”. This is the address of the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, which is the house in the background.

There is also a cross like symbol under Hannah which is the Egyptian symbol “Ankh” meaning eternal life, but also represents males and females “as one” or equal. This could be interpreted as women are equal to men, and can do the same jobs men do. It is also the logo of the Women’s College Hospital. The ankh was added by Laurie as her personal representation about how she feels about these two trailblazing sisters.2

Hannah and Minerva Reid had a devoted relationship, from their childhood days spent growing up outside of Orangeville through their life’s work in the medical field. Their mother raised the sisters and their 10 siblings and took care of the family farm on Lot 11, Con 2, W.H.S., Mono Township.3


They both also “walked two miles each day to public school in Camilla. They then faced the challenge of walking five miles to Orangeville High School. They took their education very seriously”4 as if these sisters weren’t already Trailblazers for Toronto, they were so dedicated to their education in their hometown as well making them Trailblazers for Dufferin too. Through their teaching and medical careers, the two sisters made great contributions to the medical world and to women in general by knocking down barriers.


These women weren’t on their own as becoming trailblazers in the work force. Statistics show that around the time Hannah and Minerva became doctors, females joining the work force in general increased, showing how the Reid sisters were part of a bigger women’s movement.


Because there was no historical data released on doctors specifically, it included all medical careers including nurses and secretary staff, which were typically female jobs. This might explain why females represent a larger composition of the workforce in healthcare than men.

These women were both on the first board of directors for the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. There is a family story told in “Through The Beaver Meadow; Reid History 1778 – 1982” of Minerva arriving at the Dublin Medical School. “Arriving late on a dark night, the house doctor, on answering the knocker, was dumbfounded to find a woman acknowledging that she was the said Minerva Reid, who had applied for tuition in a medical school, which until this moment had granted medical asylum to men only” 5 further proving how Minerva was trailblazer in the medical field for women.

Minerva became the first woman in North America to be chief of surgery in 1915, while in 1926 Hannah became chief of anesthetics. They frequently worked together, Hannah administering the anesthesia while Minerva operated. Despite all her great achievements and recognition, it still was not enough for Minerva. She was active in the Suffragette cause, and led several rallies in 1944 and obtained nearly 20,000 signatures to petition the federal government into replacing the old Christie Street Hospital with the new Sunnybrook Hospital for the care of men wounded in the war.

In 1996 Rose Anthony wrote a one woman play, The League of Notions, based on Minerva’s life.6  A great niece of both women, Dr. Jane Phillips, was inspired by her great aunts’ accomplishments. “Like her aunts before her, she believes in Women’s College Hospital’s founding principles as a hospital created for women by women. She has high hopes for the ground-breaking new direction. “Keeping it thriving while honouring the pioneering people who started it,” she says. “The Hospital is devoted and designed for women and their issues and that is important to what medicine offers society”.7

Through their medical careers, these two sisters made great contributions to the medical world and to women in general by knocking down barriers. They achieved great recognition and are buried side by side in the Mono College Cemetery.


A96-090-1-1  Soda Syphon Bottle, James Crozier, Orangeville, ca. 1895.

This soda bottle bears the name of James Crozier, a trailblazer who manufactured and bottled soda in Orangeville between 1891 and 1898. Lasting almost 10 years, the facility would have provided many jobs and a new luxury for Dufferin County. Because of the abundance of economic and social opportunities he had created for such a small town, Crozier is and was seen as a local trailblazer.

1892 Assessment Roll for Town of Orangeville

Immigrating from Ireland, James’ parents Richard Crozier and Elizabeth Crozier, settled in Erin Township, Wellington County, Ontario in the 1830s as farmers. 10 years later, in 1840, they gave birth to future “trailblazer”, James Crozier in Erin Township.

James went on to marry Elizabeth Howe, start a family, and took up farming in Dufferin County until 1891. In 1891, while in his fifties and seeking new opportunities, he founded the Orangeville Pop Works on the 1st Concession (West of Hurontario Street), (see map). Located on the Credit River, he most likely used the water in the production of his Soda Water.


At the end of the 19 century, when James had started his business, the soda/ carbonated beverage industry was rapidly gaining popularity through advertisements of new businesses like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper. This industry was among many other industries between 1896 and 1914 in Canada that experienced a huge increase in stock and exports. Through bottling suppliers connections, James received the metal tops, patented by John. J. McLaughlin of Toronto. McLaughlin became a successful soda manufacturer and trailblazer in his own right following his invention of Canada Dry Ginger Ale in 1923.


Lasting 10 great years, James Crozier had an impact on the economy of Dufferin County by providing employment to locals. On the social side, he brought a worldwide luxury to the small community of Dufferin County. Because of these social and economic impacts, James Crozier is seen as a local trailblazer.

The death of James Crozier’s mother and wife in 1898 coincided with the end of his career in the bottling business. Following the sale of the business, he moved West to find work in Manitoba. Eventually, he joined his son John Henry, at his hotel in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. He later died on August 28, 1911 with his son by his side.


A213-392-1  Mobiloil Can, Robert Lougheed, Grand Valley, ca. 1950


Mobiloil is a multi-national American company with a Canadian connection.  MobilOil was formed through the merger of Exxon Standard Oil Company and Socony Vacuum Company in 1879. In the 1940s, companies were no longer focusing their productivity towards WWII and the oil industry began to flourish.


To make themselves stand out from all of the competing oil companies, Mobil Oil sought out an eye catching logo that would appeal to consumers from the store shelves. The artist responsible for creating this logo was Robert Lougheed, from East Luther Grand Valley Ontario. Robert Lougheed was born and raised in the Grand Valley.His parents to Grand Valley in 1909, from Massie, and Robert was born a year later.. Their family farm was located at SW1/4 lot 30, con.3, East Luther.

Source: Mayberry Fine Art, http://www.mayberryfineart.com/artist/robert_lougheed

While attending Grand Valley Public School, Robert, discovered his love and talent for art. When Robert was 19, he moved to Toronto to attend Ontario College of Arts and was able to receive a job for the Toronto Star. Illustrating for the Toronto Star took Robert to New York for proper training. Throughout his time in New York, Robert gained a high ranking title as a commercial artist for his freelance work, including his design of the Mobil Oil Pegasus. Robert has had created over 5000 paintings throughout his career, his work has been featured in Art Exhibits across the nation, and has had his work featured within the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma.

Source: Pegasus Gallery, Robert Laughed 1910-1982. http://www.pegasusgallery.ca/artist/robert_lougheed.html

Robert Lougheed created the logo that forms the identity of MobilOil. His creation could very well have been inspired by his childhood in Dufferin County. As a boy, Robert created doodles featuring the agriculture landscape of Dufferin County. In these doodles, he would incorporate various animals with nature that were a part of his surroundings. With a strong equine presence in Dufferin County, it is no wonder he became adept at drawing horses — with or without wings.

Source: Map, Dufferin County Museum and Archives Collection, A213-392-2.

Through various road maps and oil cans, Mobil Oil bears the emblem of a Canadian artist, which displays the connection the company has to Canada every time it is used. Robert Lougheed’s achievements with commercial art is inspiration for other artists hoping to make it big. His achievements have helped put Canada and Dufferin County on the map. Robert Lougheed is an example of a small town Canadian becoming a trailblazer and transcending borders.


A-212-025  Pocket Watch, W.A. Fenwick, Shelburne, ON

This pocket watch came from the jewellery shop of W. A. Fenwick, in the Town of Shelburne, Dufferin County, Ontario. Fenwick was an entrepreneur from Dufferin County, who overcame personal difficulties in his life.


After studying at the Ontario Optical Institute and Institute of Horology, he opened a jewellery store in Shelburne in 1896. Just one year later, the store was damaged in a fire, and he lost a total of $700 (about $15 000 today). He continued to run his business in Shelburne until 1909. He then sold his shop, and went on to work in the optics department for the T. Eaton Company in Toronto.

Above are two 1900 business directory listings, which include W.A. Fenwick as a jeweler in Shelburne, Ontario. (Retrieved from Ancestry.ca).

Although he eventually left Shelburne, Fenwick was a man dedicated to his local community and business. Despite the setback caused by the fire, he kept his business for a total of 13 years, in a town with a population of only 70 people (1869).

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, railways were rapidly expanding in North America. The largest expansion to consider would be the Canadian Pacific Railway, built in the 1880s. This created a connection between the sparse population spread out across Canada. Timekeeping was of great importance to a railway, which is shown by the fact there were high accuracy standards every watch used on a railway must meet.


Sir Sandford Fleming, a renowned Canadian railway technician, saw an issue with the timekeeping methods of the period. Different parts of North America were keeping time out of synchronization with each other, which caused problems for the railways sprawling over the land. Fleming became an advocate for a standard time, in which the entire globe would be separated into time zones, and synchronized with each other. He was instrumental in organizing the International Prime Meridian Conference in 1884, where a standard time was discussed, and settled upon internationally.

Sandford Fleming.jpg



In Conclusion, we hope all of our artifacts have taught you a unique story about some people and places in Dufferin County. We hope these small town achievers will now have even more recognition for their trailblazing efforts and the impact they made.


Painting of Reid Sisters

  1. McGaw, Laurie. “Biography.” Last modified August 2, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2017. http://www.lauriemcgaw.com/bio.htm.
  2. Email interview with Sarah Robinson, Curator, Dufferin County Museum & Archives, March 1st, 2017
  3. DCMA’s internal database, Duffstuff
  4. DCMA’s internal database, Duffstuff
  5. DCMA’s internal database, Duffstuff
  6. Monroe, Dawn E. “Famous Canadian Women Famous Firsts.” Last modified 2004. Accessed March 2, 2017. http://famouscanadianwomen.com/famous%20firsts/medical%20professionals.htm.
  7. “Heart & Soul.” Last modified 2010. Accessed March 2, 2017. http://www.womenscollegehospitalfoundation.com/wchf/media/pdfs/publications/heart-soul_fall_2010.pdf.

Soda Syphon Bottle

  • Alcohol consumption. (n.d.). Retrieved from Statistics Canada database.
  • Death of an aged lady. (n.d.). Retrieved from Duff Stuff database.
  • Economic history. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Canadian Encyclopedia database.
  • Purchased pop works. (n.d.). Retrieved from Duff Stuff website: http://www.dufferinmuseum.com/Research/DuffStuff/StartSearching.aspx#Action=SourceDetails&SourceID=335481
  • Quantity and value of shipments of selected manufactured commodities,1 1917 to 1975 (continued). (n.d.). Retrieved from Statistics Canada database.
  • Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Pastperfect database, Artifact Description, A96-090-1-1, Bottle, 06/02/2017
  • Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Pastperfect database, Artifact Description, LH-0165, Book, Ontario Soda Water Manufacturers, 17/02/2017

MobilOil Can

  • Electricity and energy. (n.d.). Retrieved from Statistics Canada database.
  • Images of lougheed. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from Robert Lougheed website: http://www.robertlougheed.com/
  • Mulliss, K. (2017, February 14). [E-mail interview by J. McNevin].
  • Our history. (n.d.). Retrieved from Exxonmobil website: http://corporate.exxonmobil.com /en/company/about-us/history/overview
  • Robert lougheed. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from Fine Art Dealers Association website: http://www.fada.org/gallery/25/artist/3505/robert-lougheed/&bio=1
  • Robert lougheed. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dufferin County Museum and Archives database.
  • Transportation and communication. (2017, February 3). Retrieved from Statistics Canada database.
  • Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Past Perfect Database,Artifact Description, A213-392-2 Map, updated February 21,2017.
  • Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Past Perfect Database, Artifact Description, A211-004 Drawing, updated February 21,2017.
  • Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Past Perfect Database, Artifact Description, A213-392-1 Can, Oil, updated February 6,2017.
  • Pegasus Gallery, Robert Lougheed 1910-1982. http://www.pegasusgallery.ca/artist/robert_lougheed.html

Pocket Watch

  • A212-025, Dufferin County Museum and Archives Collection.
  • Bonikowsky, Laura. “Invention of Standard Time”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. 18 October, 2013, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/invention-of-standard-time-feature/
  • Heritage Shelburne. “Historic Shelburne Walking Tour”. Town of Shelburne.   www.townofshelburne.on.ca/uploads/pdfs/heritage-walking-tour-brochure-5733851c790f0.pdf
  • Infographic Data Sources:
    • Bank of Canada. Inflation Calculator. Retrieved from http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator
    • The T. Eaton Co. Limited. (1901). The 1901 Editions of The T. Eaton Co. LimitedCatalogues for Spring & Summer Fall & Winter. Toronto, Ont.: The Musson Book Company.
    • The T. Eaton Co. Limited. (1918-19). Eaton’s Fall & Winter Catalogue 1918-19. Toronto, Ont.: T. Eaton
    • The T. Eaton Co. Limited. (1927). Eaton’s Spring and Summer 1927. Toronto, Ont.: The Musson Book Company.