COLUMN: Nelson in November, 1967: the city’s first NHL player and streets closed for sledding

Greg Scott brings us highlights from the Nelson Daily News 50 years ago

Mike Laughton

November 1, 1967

Centennial Year’s Halloween will probably go down on the records as “reasonably peaceful.” Trick and treaters kept the army of Kootenay peace keepers busy last night, but up until press time there had been no serious incidents. Police said that in many cases, the absence of “diabolical deeds” was probably due to the large number of men on patrol. In Nelson pranksters decided to make the witch’s eve a damp one. Throughout the evening, police and firemen had to switch gushing hydrants off. Firemen also caught children armed with a gallon can of gasoline who had tried to start a fire in the school yard of Trafalgar School.

In their “safe Halloween” campaign, Police checked young trick and treaters and confiscated fireworks from some of the older revelers. A late report from a motorist coming into Nelson on Ymir Road said that he came across logs piled across the road and set afire on a “blind” corner. RCMP has been sent to investigate. And it will be the usual morning after Halloween story for the Department of Highways as their first job will be to replace missing road signs.

November 3, 1967

Mike Laughton, a name familiar to Nelson Maple Leaf stalwarts, was recalled by California Seals to play with the club in the expanded NHL circuit. He is the first Nelson product to rate a position on an NHL club. Mike was born here and played most of his hockey on Nelson ice. He is probably best remembered for the smooth way he carried out centre-ice duties with the senior Maple Leafs for three seasons. Laughton spent last season with Victoria Maple Leafs and started this year with Vancouver Canucks in the Western Hockey League. Laughton’s rights were held by Toronto Maple Leafs last season when he played in Victoria but was picked up by California during the draft.

November 10, 1967

The costly new CBC television transmitter tower perched high atop Nelson’s Elephant Mountain may live up to the name of its location. The tower will be a white elephant until additional equipment is installed to boost the signal from the new powerful TV transmitter in Rossland. Microwave reflections from the mountains in the area cause severe ghosting of the signal from the central Rossland transmitter. Because of this, says the CBC, it is not possible to feed a clear picture to the new transmitter and until the problem is overcome, the Nelson area will continue to be served by the original transmitter.

November 15, 1967

The rattle of the roulette wheel; the aroma of cigar smoke; the clinking of liquor glasses……. All this and more will conjure up the atmosphere associated with the Klondike gold rush days just before the turn of the century, Friday and Saturday. It will be the fourth year the Kinsmen Club has organized Klondyke Nites for the purpose of raising funds to support local charities. The badminton hall will be decorated in the theme of the gold rush days and it is hoped that as many people as possible will turn out in costumes of the era. Varied entertainment (including roulette, blackjack and crown and anchor), and dancing to an orchestra will keep the mood gay. Phony money will be the accepted currency at gaming tables and this will be available at “an attractive rate of exchange” at the Klondyke “banks.” See ya there pardners.

November 30, 1967

City officials acted promptly Wednesday and closed several Nelson streets to traffic, so that youngsters can sleigh down them in safety. This move came less than 24 hours after a five-year-old boy was killed under the wheels of a truck when he slid into it on a sleigh on the west side of Nelson Avenue. But already, there have been some complaints from residents, who say that the “sleigh streets” are cutting off access to their homes. “This apparently is going to cause some inconvenience,” said Mayor Louis Maglio. “We have been getting some complaints.” The city still has to finalize whether the streets it closed Wednesday will remain closed all winter. So far, the blocks between Gore and Robson on Fall Street, Fifth and Fourth on Behnsen and from Victoria to Fall Street have been closed. Two more on Hall Street have also been set aside for sleighers only. Despite Tuesday night’s sleighing death, police said that children were still sleighing on the streets and that parents should stress the dangers with them.

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