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Citizen’s Relief Association raises money for Academy circa 1931

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A vintage advertisement about a benefit night for the Citizen’s Relief Association at the Academy Theatre, Dec. 15th 1931.

This benefit night made $205.93, and featured a variety of talent including Mary Crowley’s orchestra, Prof. Rupert Gliddon’s band, Al Perrin’s band, dancers, and comedians.

The Master of Ceremonies was Art Allin, and theatre manager “Hi” Meehan delighted the crowd with his imitation of the famous American “illustrated song” performer, Eddie Cantor.

Established in the autumn of 1931, the Citizens’ Relief Association was a joint venture between the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and was designed “…to find work, homes, and food for those in want.”

Circumstances had become increasingly dire for many families since the onset of the Depression two years before.

To compound the problem, a steady stream of unemployed men were making their way through town by riding illegally on passing freight trains and lodging overnight in the police lockup.

Often, these “hobos,” or “transients,” would be offered a warm meal by private homeowners in exchange for some work: chopping firewood or cutting weeds, for instance.

Ian McKechnie is a graduate of Trent University (B.A. Hons. '13) and a lifelong resident of Lindsay Ontario. He presently works as an assistant manager at the museum here in town, and is secretary of the Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network.

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