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Do You Remember: “Bee Hives”? Glen Goodhand


ports cards representing all kinds of athletics are not new. As early as 1900, baseball premiums were offered in the USA. But it wasn’t until the 1910-11 season that hockey was enhanced by photos of shinny stars of the day. Imperial Tobacco printed a series of 45 cards, usually referred to by the number C56. These hand-painted images included Vezina (Canadiens), Ross (Wanderers), Taylor (Renfrew), Malone (Quebec), and Lesueur (Ottawa). “Cigarette cards,” or “tobacco cards,” as they were commonly called, were printed three years running. Following that, there was a lull of eleven years, with a glut of productions by Paulin’s Candies, and Champs Cigarettes coming next. In the 1930s, gum companies got into the act, with Canadian, Hamilton, and O-Pee-Chee (OPC) from London, Ontario leading the way. In 1933-34 the St. Lawrence Starch Company of Port Credit, Ontario (now part of Mississauga) vied for the attention of hockey collectors with the first of three series of Bee Hive photos. The moniker was borrowed from perhaps their most popular product, Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup. In fact, it wasn’t long until their images, marketed as 5x7s, were simply referred to as “Bee Hives.” The heavy gauge paper backing was actually 5¼x7¾, and the picture itself, 4¼x6½. That first year the company engaged photographers mainly to zero in on Maple Leaf and Canadien’s well-known skaters—like “King” Clancy, Joe Primeau, Chuck Conacher, “Busher” Jackson, Howie Morenz, Sylvio Mantha, and Aurel Joliat. The Sportsviews program on CFRB Toronto, hosted by Wes McKnight and sponsored by the company, was the main

pipeline of promotion. Increased demand for these premiums prompted expansion so that all eight NHL squads were included by 1937—the Montreal Maroons and New York Americans still being a part of the circuit. When demand for the collectible was at its peak, as many as 2,500 envelopes were mailed in a single day. During World War II, no new photos were taken, although the existing shots were still available. Competition was almost immediate. The Canada Starch Company, with their Crown Brand Corn Syrup, waited only one year before imitating their counterpart’s format and continued to offer images until 1944. They concentrated mainly on the two Montreal sextets, the Canadiens and Maroons. For two years running, commencing in 1939, O-Pee-Chee offered 5x7s as well, featuring the most prominent NHL players. In 1945, the Quaker Oats Company introduced 8x10 glossies of Toronto and Montreal, also procured with box tops, but with a small amount of cash required. The “proof of purchase” required in

Cloyne & District Historical Society Turns 45 Marcella Neely


s Canada wraps up its 150th year, the Cloyne & District Historical Society (C&DHS) turns 45. In 1973, a small group of dedicated residents started the Pioneer Club (which evolved into the C&DHS), and now we have more than 60 members. We brag that we have never disbanded for lack of participation, and continue to focus on local history from Denbigh to Kaladar, and from Harlowe to Flinton, as did the founders. The first accomplishment of the Pioneer Club was to publish a book of interviews and information gathered from local residents, consisting of facts and memories of historical interest. With dedication, hard work, and a New Horizons grant, we produced the book “The Oxen and the Axe.” To this day, it is a best seller in our museum, in other museums, and online, and is now in its fifth printing. To preserve and protect the artifacts that local families were safeguarding without knowing what to do with them, a decision was made to provide a shelter for them. A small cabin was built in the pine grove on Barrie Township property in Cloyne, items were donated, and the museum opened to the public in 1982. Since then, the museum has grown and

currently displays a good collection of local history from the lives of the people that farmed, lumbered, and built roads, schools, and businesses in the area. Members enjoy the fellowship, listening to guest speakers at our meetings, and participating in projects and working with committees. Barbeques and public awareness events provide an opportunity to socialize, and newcomers have a venue for meeting local residents and getting to know the community. We are a welcoming organization of members contributing a wealth of memories, ideas, dedication, and willingness to volunteer. We initiated a semi-annual newsletter in 2003, and in 2005, we launched the Pioneer Museum Patron Program. Also since 2005, we have produced an annual Heritage Calendar exclusively focusing on our coverage area. We have a website and a Flickr site to view and preserve historical photos. These are all excellent sources for genealogy searches and available for everyone to use. Anyone who has never attended an event or meeting of the C&DHS should consider looking in on the third Monday at 1 p.m. We meet at the Cloyne Hall, across from the post office. Please check out our website for information and updates at www.

exchange for these Bee Hive treasures changed little over the years. Basically, the label from a 2-lb tin of syrup, or a box top from Corn Starch, procured a single photo; a label from a 5-lb container brought 2 pictures; and, from a 10-pounder the reward was 3 images. Eventually “stickers” and “collars” were substituted for these bulky premiums. With expansion in 1967, the St. Lawrence Starch Company stopped the offer. The NHLPA and the teams themselves were demanding more and more royalties, postage had increased 25%, and photographing double the number of teams made continuation of this premium too expensive. Collectors estimate between 1,026 and 1,030 Bee Hives were made available over the thirty-three years. As they become rarer commodities, the cost of purchase increases. While some “commons” may be had for as little as $7, photos of skaters who played only a few games, like Bobby Kirk, can demand up to $105. One of Cy Wentworth in a Habs uniform has been valued at $8,000. Like the whirling dervish style of Howie Morenz, the aura of the “Original 6” era, and the dominance of Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky—Bee Hive Hockey Photos are a part of hockey history—the kind of which can never be duplicated!

No Bee Hive photo is considered rarer or is listed in price guides higher than that of Cy Wentworth, pictured in a Montreal Canadiens uniform.

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191 Dundas St. East, Belleville 613-966-9964 KRAFT VILLAGE, IT’S WORTH THE VISIT! February / March 2018 • The SCOOP


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The SCOOP // February / March 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // February / March 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...