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Recruits found a home away from home in Orillia (4 photos)

Maple Leaf Club canteen made $11,000 in 1943 even though nothing was above 10 cents; Recruits left with 'very pleasant' memories of Orillia

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau.

Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia.

This is the fourth in a series of four Postcard Memories feature with a Remembrance Day theme

In June 1943, the first anniversary of the Maple Leaf Club, a report was published outlining the success of the “home away from home” for the recruits at Basic Training Camp No. 26 in Orillia. 

The canteen supervisor, Mrs. E.A. James, reported that the busy canteen had started with 54 workers and now had over 100. An average of 2,500 to 3,000 light meals were served in a month. The canteen sold coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks and sandwiches.

Revenue for the year was over $11,000, a tremendous amount considering nothing was over 10 cents and most items were 5 cents.

A special full-course dinner was served every Saturday and Sunday and coffee and donuts were served after the Sunday evening sing-song.   

Many of the men and women in uniform carried away very pleasant memories of Orillia and the Hostess House. From time to time messages came back from overseas from those who trained at the Orillia camp.

Though far away, they recalled the hours they spent under the hospitable roof of the Maple Leaf Club. Parents too, sent letters expressing their thanks for the splendid place provided for their children while in Orillia.

The Maple Leaf Club closed on Sept. 15, 1945 and those who worked on the shifts formed long-lasting friendships with many gratifying memories.