Kate's blog

Long Days and Short Drives

These days we often take for granted the ease and speed with which we can travel locally and to distant locales. Owning cars is the norm and those without typically have access to public transit in some form or another. Of course, it is easy to forget that this wasn’t always the case!


Josie Reive, 1919

Prior to the advent of cars, people were reliant on horses or their own feet, or trains for longer distances. This remained true well after the arrival of the car thanks to its high cost, both in terms of initial purchase as well as maintenance and fueling. This of course explains the countless photos we have in our collection of men and whole families proudly posed for a photo in front of their cars. Owning a car was an achievement not to be trifled with.

The Srigley Family, 1919 at Crooked Corners

The purchase of a car represented a number of things: it was both a status symbol and a quick method of transport, it could make work easier and it could unite families. Reading through any of the collections of Innisfil stories and anecdotes that have been collected over the years by diligent lovers of local history, it is inevitable that you’ll come across at least one or two that tell of beloved memories of packing the car up with food and the family dog for a picnic, or the telltale sound of a car rumbling down a lane to herald a father’s return from his day’s work.

Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Hodgson and Friends, 1920

It’s no surprise then that we have such romantic associations with cars, and not just for the freedom they represent.  Cars, like the internet of our lifetime, changed the way we saw the world. Like trains before them, they made distant locales suddenly seem accessible. By making the countryside that much smaller, they could make us feel a whole lot closer to one another. For a community like Innisfil that covers large swaths of land, the popularity of owning your own vehicle surely changed daily life. Neighbours and stores were closer, and day trips became a feasible holiday.

The Family of John and Edith Jack of Lefroy, 1924

With that in mind, have a look at a few of our favourite car photos from the collection, and, excusing the pun, allow yourself to be transported back to your own memories of your first family road trip, or maybe your first car. 

Connie Wisker using a crank to start the car, date unknown


Mrs. William Hopkins with her daughters Alice (left) and Hazel (right), 1928


Lemuel Hubbert with his wife Violet, Nancy Boyes, and Jean Hubbert having a picnic, 1929


The Duncan Family of Churchill in front of their Super Six, 1930


Bruce Jackson, Fern Madill, and Stanley Copeland of Bradford, 1946


James and Ethel Reive posing with their new car, won through a Kellogg's Cornflakes jingle writing contest in 1955


Harvey Jefferey of Bradford, date unknown