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W. Harold Minshall

Today's Building Hours

8am - 10pm

All service hours

Graduation Year

1933

College

OAC

Interview Date

Interviewer

E. Brubaker

Call Number

RE1 UOG A1340121

Audio

W. Harold Minshall interview

Transcript

Ed Brubaker (00:00:00):
... is an interview with Dr. Harold Minshall, a 1933 graduate of the OAC. And it's being held in London, Ontario in Harold's home on October 7th, 1999, conducted by Ed Brubaker of the OAC Alumni-In-Action Oral History Committee.

Ed Brubaker (00:00:27):
Harold, uh, you tell me you were born and raised on a farm between, uh, Brantford and the town of Burford.

W. Harold Minshall (00:00:36):
That's right. It's now Highway 53 and it's just east of where Highway 24 crosses 53. Now to me that was Wilson's Corners, but, uh, no longer does, uh, Wilson live there of course and it is now more, likely ... Well it's- it's where 24 crosses, so that's, likely, what it would be called.

Ed Brubaker (00:00:58):
Yeah, uh, what type of farm was it?

W. Harold Minshall (00:01:00):
It was a mixed farm. Dad only had 50 acres, so that meant we did everything by hand. Uh, we didn't have any large machinery or that type of thing. But, uh- uh, we managed and, uh- uh, dad was able, dad and mother, by really the dint of hard work, were able to educate all three of their children, which was something rather unusual.

W. Harold Minshall (00:01:25):
I believe, uh, the time that I went to public school, which was Oak Hill School, a mile and a half east of where we live, that we were the only family that was going beyond high school as far as education was concerned. And it was really by good managements that dad and mother were able to do it and that dad attended the Brantford Market for, oh, over 65 years, so that everything that went off our farm went off retail, not wholesale. It went through the market, the- the butter and eggs went through and was sold at the market in the very early days before health restrictions prevented it. He actually, uh, slaughtered, uh, some pigs, and, uh- uh, small, or at least, uh, young animals too and sold the meat on the market.

W. Harold Minshall (00:02:16):
But, um, times do change and, uh, I- I ... Well we did a lot of gardening, of course. We always had potatoes, and turnips, and carrots, and those types of things for sale on the market. And, uh, dad's turnips were well known but ... And it was always a family joke for the simple reason that he planted them late so that they would be small and then he left them out to harvest because he wanted a frost. Turnips, rutabagas, or whatever you want to call 'em, are sweeter if they've had, uh, a good frost in the fall. So, uh, the family joke was dad couldn't dig his turnips until some snow was out and around-

Ed Brubaker (00:02:59):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:02:59):
... and whoever usually doing it, and (laughs) in- in very bad weather. But it was just one of those things.

Ed Brubaker (00:03:06):
But the people got to know that they were good turnips and they'd-

W. Harold Minshall (00:03:07):
That's right.

Ed Brubaker (00:03:09):
... come back every year.

W. Harold Minshall (00:03:09):
They were good to eat and there was a bag. They were small, and they were sweet, and they were good- good turnips too.

Ed Brubaker (00:03:13):
Where did you go to high school?

W. Harold Minshall (00:03:15):
Well I went to Brantford Collegiate-

Ed Brubaker (00:03:16):
And how did you get there?

W. Harold Minshall (00:03:18):
... and that was five miles. How did I get there? Well, I rode a bicycle the first three miles, the first three years, and, uh, and I got to know the road pretty well. (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:03:28):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:03:28):
Five miles down and five miles back. Of course, I didn't, uh- uh, go home for lunch, that was out of the question. But there was a ... The YMCA in Brantford had a good program what they called the Noon Hour Club. And we used to go to the Y and eat our lunch, and then there'd be a- a 15, 20 minute calisthenics, followed by a basketball game, and a shower, and a swim before we went back to- to the, to collegiate to- to start in again.

Ed Brubaker (00:03:57):
Now it wouldn't be too common to have snow plows go through there early-

W. Harold Minshall (00:04:00):
Mm-mm (negative)-

Ed Brubaker (00:04:00):
... in the morning.

W. Harold Minshall (00:04:01):
... there weren't any, no. Uh, so that in- in the wintertime I wasn't riding a bicycle, I was ... Uh, about, just about that time a Burford bus did start up between Burford and Brantford and- and it was run by people the name of Johnson, and, uh, w- we were able to take advantage of that.

W. Harold Minshall (00:04:20):
Prior to, uh- uh, what I should maybe mention, is that my sister, who was older than I was, she actually walked through the fields and took the train from, uh, people with the name of [inaudible] Station, into Brantford to go to high school when she did that for five years. And then in the wintertime, when snow was on, she would board in Brantford either with an aunt or, uh, my uncle's place one year, and- and do that type of thing.

W. Harold Minshall (00:04:48):
But, uh, wh- when, uh, by the time I got going, uh- uh, that wasn't necessary, the- the bus was there and it went right by, uh, the house and I could take it in the, in the wintertime.

Ed Brubaker (00:05:00):
Harold, what, uh, persuaded you or influenced you to go to the OAC?

W. Harold Minshall (00:05:06):
Well I don't know whether I can answer that because, uh- uh, as long as I can remember I always intended to go there and I always intended to take the botany option. And, uh, as you know, in- in those days the first two years everybody took the same subjects and then you specialized in your third and fourth year.

W. Harold Minshall (00:05:27):
And when I w- went in my second year to say to Howitt, who was head of the Botany Department, that I would like to take the botany option, he did his best to discourage me by saying, "Well, there are no jobs in botany, why and what and ever would you want to take that?" But I had always intended, uh, to take the botany option and so I did.

Ed Brubaker (00:05:48):
You persisted and you found work.

W. Harold Minshall (00:05:50):
(laughs) Well, yes. The, uh, um, uh, that's a good story, because graduation, I think, was on a Friday and I didn't have a job, so I went home to the farm. But on Monday I received a telephone call from Howitt, uh, well asking me if I would be interested in a job in Ottawa. Well I said, "I'll be interested in a job anywhere." And he said, "Well, there's a Mr. Groh coming up from Ottawa on Thursday and he's looking for someone to work for him this summer." I said, "I will be there," and I was there. And Mr. Groh was satisfied so, uh, he said, "Well, you're willin'. I'll go back and discuss this with Dr. Archibald."

W. Harold Minshall (00:06:32):
Now in those days anything that happened on the Central Experimental Farm, in fact there's a whole farm system of the inter-, of, uh, the federal Department of Agriculture, had to go across the desk of Dr. Archibald. So, a couple of weeks later I received a letter, "Report as soon as you can for duty in Ottawa."

W. Harold Minshall (00:06:54):
So early in June I was on the train to Ottawa for a six months job, 10 hour day, from 7:00 in the morning 'til 6:00 at night, 32 cents an hour. And, uh, that was the standard for laboring pay. It didn't matter whether I had a degree or not, they didn't pay any attention to that. And, uh, Mr. Groh, my superior, had, uh, a fond hope of publishing a dictionary of all the weeds in Canada, and I was given a couple of projects which would supply information for this dictionary.

W. Harold Minshall (00:07:34):
Well, now, um, as I mentioned before, it was a six months appointment and, uh, we got success of six months appointment. But usually we were halfway through the next six months before we- we heard that we had a job. And, uh, I don't know how many people have, sort of, uh, lengthened a six month appointment into 42 and half years with the Canada Department of Agriculture, but that was what had happened, uh, what it turned out-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:03):
You-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:03):
... to be-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:03):
... you-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:03):
... at the end.

Ed Brubaker (00:08:04):
... you did that?

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:05):
Yes. (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:08:06):
Mr. Groh, was that G-R-O-H?

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:08):
G-R-O-H is right.

Ed Brubaker (00:08:10):
And-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:10):
I think his home was near Preston, the early one-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:12):
Oh yes-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:13):
... in that area.

Ed Brubaker (00:08:13):
... yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:14):
Yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:08:14):
Yeah. And, um, yeah, uh, I presume your salary went up by leaps and bounds and everything-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:20):
Oh, uh-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:21):
... six month, so, uh- (laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:23):
The first two, um, increases that I had, they increased the hourly wage and decreased the number of hours, so I ended up just about the same as it was-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:34):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:34):
... before. (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:08:37):
Okay, well let's go back a little bit here to college days. Uh, you started at the OAC in 1929, which-

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:45):
September 1929.

Ed Brubaker (00:08:47):
... things were very prosperous then in the country I understand.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:50):
Well, uh, I-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:50):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:51):
... suppose up until the time of the big ca- crash-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:54):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:55):
... of the, uh, stock market-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:56):
In- in October of that year.

W. Harold Minshall (00:08:57):
... is supposedly where. But, uh-

Ed Brubaker (00:08:59):
So what influenced thi- this early ... You were in it early years, in the depression years. What influence did that have on your college, uh, career, uh, support that you were able to get from your parents and-

W. Harold Minshall (00:09:14):
Well, uh, I- I- I can't say as it really had any. We, uh- uh, we're ... I enjoyed, uh- uh, a type of life, I suppose, in- in that I was protected from the effects. We were on the farm, it didn't affect farming as such. Now it did affect if you had money in the stock market or that type of thing, and we did have, uh- uh, one of our class members by the name of Ed Williams who, uh, had his money in the stock market and he lost it, of course, all, and, uh, he had a difficult time getting through.

W. Harold Minshall (00:09:48):
Now I mention Ed Williams for the simple reason that later on, many years, well, and his death, he gave a great deal of money, I think it totaled over two million all told, which is used for scholarships in the OAC graduate school, so that, uh, there were, there were problems, but there were ways of getting around it no doubt.

Ed Brubaker (00:10:14):
And he graduated in '33 [crosstalk]?

W. Harold Minshall (00:10:15):
No he graduated in '34.

Ed Brubaker (00:10:18):
'34.

W. Harold Minshall (00:10:18):
He as an associate, which meant he spent two years in, uh, with, uh, in- in, uh, the general class and he took what was called the intermediate year. Then the last two years were- were with a degree class, and they do, and they gradu- ... We had, uh, quite a number in our, uh, year that did that. And, also, in, uh, when we graduated in '33, there were a number of '32 associates that graduated with us. They have that extra year to spend, which was called an intermediate year.

Ed Brubaker (00:10:47):
Between the diploma course and the degree-

W. Harold Minshall (00:10:49):
Degree course, that's-

Ed Brubaker (00:10:50):
Yes.

W. Harold Minshall (00:10:50):
... right.

Ed Brubaker (00:10:50):
Uh, what do you recall in your college days? Do you remember what you paid for room and board, or what tuition was?

W. Harold Minshall (00:11:00):
Well, uh, I don't know. I figure that my four years at OAC cost me a total of $1,500. The first three years are about $300 each. I think we paid $25 a month for board and room, and that included laundry of our sheets and, uh, I think tuition was only $25. Much of this was subsidized, of course, by the Ontario Department of Agriculture, so that it made it of a reasonable ... Our last year, our fourth year, was more expensive because we were there longer, and we had exams, and, uh, so on, and other costs with- with graduation and so on. So I think a total of $1,500 would cover my four years at Guelph.

Ed Brubaker (00:11:47):
It's hard to believe today.

W. Harold Minshall (00:11:48):
It is hard-

Ed Brubaker (00:11:49):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:11:49):
... to believe that-

Ed Brubaker (00:11:51):
Uh, did you work while you were at college to-

W. Harold Minshall (00:11:53):
No-

Ed Brubaker (00:11:53):
... to supplement your-

W. Harold Minshall (00:11:55):
... no I didn't. Uh, I went home in the summertime, worked at home in the first two summers. The third summer I was, uh, I, uh, was employed by the Botany Department at you, at Guelph. Uh, it was one of the requirements of the botany option that you worked one or two summers with them, so that, uh, my third summer, which in my third and fourth year, I did. I would stay on campus and I think that was a total sum of $60 a month we were paying then.

Ed Brubaker (00:12:24):
Yeah. (laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:12:24):
(laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:12:27):
And, uh, what kind of work did you do for them?

W. Harold Minshall (00:12:29):
Well, I was assistant to Mac Gammon, who was doing weed control work at the time. And, uh, if, uh, there was nothing else to do I put the basket around my shoulder and went out and collected some plants for their weed collection. Or I, uh, I also collected the material which they pickled and used in the classes for the systematic botany and that type of activity.

Ed Brubaker (00:12:52):
You were very useful to them?

W. Harold Minshall (00:12:54):
Well I hope so.

Ed Brubaker (00:12:55):
Yeah- yeah. Low-priced labor.

W. Harold Minshall (00:12:57):
Yeah, that's-

Ed Brubaker (00:12:57):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:12:58):
... right.

Ed Brubaker (00:12:59):
Um, do you remember any professors that- that, uh, a good influence on you or- or were, uh, good teachers, or any ones that you had problems with?

W. Harold Minshall (00:13:10):
Well, uh, no, uh, I didn't have any big problems with, uh, the professors. Uh, Howitt, of course, with, uh ... He used to have little quizzes every day or so and there were only two of us in the option, and he'd ask us all these embarrassing questions and, of course, that meant you can't get busy and work.

W. Harold Minshall (00:13:28):
And there was Doc Stone, of course. Now, I imagine any student who ever took one of Doc Stone's courses could tell you a definition of a molecule. Doc had a specific way of describing it, as a visible vehicle of character transmission. Now he emphasized the word vehicle, and everybody knew what was coming, and everybody laughed. But I'll bet you today, you ask any of them for the definition of, and they'll tell you.

Ed Brubaker (00:14:04):
And they tell you.

W. Harold Minshall (00:14:06):
A visible vehicle of character transmission.

Ed Brubaker (00:14:09):
[crosstalk]

W. Harold Minshall (00:14:10):
And I remember Henry Dean over in, uh, dairy science, he kept talking about building a milk house. And he kept saying that the roo-, uh, walls must be strong enough to support the roof, which it- it makes sense. But, uh, (laughs) that was a, (laughs) his way of explaining how to build a milk house.

W. Harold Minshall (00:14:32):
But all, most of the people on staff, of course, were good teachers. They didn't have much time for research, not during the year. They ... Some of them did a little bit in the summer, but they were chiefly noted for their teaching ability, so, uh, we had a lot of good teachers there. And O. J. Stevenson, you- you must remember that a lot of the ... Uh, boy, we were off the farm, or we were very rural. We had never heard anything like, uh, classical music, or had we ever seen any, uh- uh, paintings of- of great, uh, stature and so on and so forth.

W. Harold Minshall (00:15:09):
And he used to, he'd lug out a little record player that he had down to the lectures anda he'd put on some of these programs. And it was the first time that many people ever heard that type of music, and it became very- very important to them in later life.

Ed Brubaker (00:15:28):
Very good. Uh, did you get any, involved in any extra-curricular activities, uh, maybe, uh, pranks we might call them?

W. Harold Minshall (00:15:38):
(laughs) Well, yes, I'm afraid I would have to admit that. Uh-

Ed Brubaker (00:15:44):
Can you recall a couple?

W. Harold Minshall (00:15:46):
Well, one of them that I recall, and it was in our first year, that, uh, we lived in, uh ... You see, they- they tore down the old Johnston Hall-

Ed Brubaker (00:15:57):
Hm.

W. Harold Minshall (00:15:57):
... and built the new, what is now called, Johnston Hall at that time. And, uh, we were ... They had left standing one wing of the old Johnston, which consisted of Grub Alley, Lower Hunt, and Upper Hunt.

W. Harold Minshall (00:16:11):
So the- the first year, the freshmen, we were all lodged in that wing of Old Johnston and I happened to be in Upper Hunt. Now the degree class got out this early, and this was in the fall, and it was, uh, quite often snowfall. The first snowfall is very light and, um- um, good for making snowballs.

W. Harold Minshall (00:16:31):
And we were back, the degree group were back and out on the ledge of Old Johnston waiting for the associates to come along, and, of course, we all had three or four snowballs. Just as we were still, uh, sitting there waiting for the associate class to come along, who should come out the door and walk down the walk but Dean Dickie Sands.

W. Harold Minshall (00:16:53):
I don't know why, or what caused me, or what, but as he got by me a fair distance, I let a snowball drift, which hit his hat, knocked it down over his face so he couldn't see what was going on, and by the- the time he got his hat up where he could look, we were all back-

Ed Brubaker (00:17:11):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:17:11):
... inside.

Ed Brubaker (00:17:12):
And he never knew where it came from?

W. Harold Minshall (00:17:12):
And he, you know, he didn't know where it came from at all. But as he looked up, poor Art McNeal, he had got out, he had moved down from where his own room, and he was, uh, (laughs) outside a window that was locked and he couldn't get it open.

Ed Brubaker (00:17:25):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:17:25):
So Dickey looks up and he says, "Well, McNeal, I know you didn't throw it from where you are, but I'm gonna hold you responsible." So that day and, you know, in the dining hall when we went in, that just inside the front, the front door was a bit of a platform and a table, and Dick always sat there, and he said grace before the meals and that type of thing.

W. Harold Minshall (00:17:47):
So on the way out after lunch that day I stopped and I said to- to, uh, Dean Sands, I said, "I understand you'd like to know who threw that snowball at you today." He said, "Yes I would." I said, "Well it was I." Well Dick, kind of, stumbled and stuttered a bit and he says, "Well don't let it happen again."

W. Harold Minshall (00:18:04):
But the difficulty was, that from day, uh, that day on, I, (laughs) uh- uh- uh, I was known, and for getting into trouble, and he always knew who to blame. And he, uh, when he came in he never had to ask me, "Well were you involved in a water fight," or whatever would happen, and he knew, uh, (laughs) actually, that I was one of the participants in it.

Ed Brubaker (00:18:28):
You had some water fights then?

W. Harold Minshall (00:18:30):
Well, yes, there were water fights then, as I expect there still are now, and there was some good ones.

W. Harold Minshall (00:18:38):
But, uh, that all, uh, it wasn't ... Uh, we knew very well that the old Johnston was going to be torn down, so that, uh- uh, there was never any problem of us doing any great damage and that type of thing.

Ed Brubaker (00:18:51):
And how would you conduct these water fights?

W. Harold Minshall (00:18:55):
Well, uh, (laughs) you don't know how they start. Uh, anybody from either of the other floors, that's Lower Hunt or Grub Alley, will come up on third floor, they always took the chance of being tubbed. And that usually started the water fight, because they splashed some water around and, uh, we would throw some water back, and so the first thing you knew there was a full-fledged water fight going on.

Ed Brubaker (00:19:21):
And you would use, uh, buckets of some type?

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:25):
Well, yes, if they were, whatever was available. I expect we all ... See, yeah, I think there was a pail in a room, in each room, uh, for cleaning up purposes. And so I suspect they got used for water fights slightly more than cleaning out the room.

Ed Brubaker (00:19:40):
And you ran water into the bathtubs and then you could just go in and bail it out?

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:44):
Oh, well, yes. But, you know, water was freely available.

Ed Brubaker (00:19:48):
And who was the water fight against?

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:50):
Anybody, it doesn't matter, we weren't particular.

Ed Brubaker (00:19:53):
Yeah, your own-

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:53):
(laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:19:53):
... classmates and that, you know.

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:55):
Oh, well, yeah, sure.

Ed Brubaker (00:19:55):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:19:58):
I mean, uh- uh, very often it's just people on the other floor. I mean they were very, uh- uh, floor conscious. And, uh, Upper Hunt, uh, was I will do, don't send anybody on the, from Lower or, uh- uh, Grub Alley, and- and that made a good excuse to have a good water fight.

W. Harold Minshall (00:20:15):
I remember one especially good water fight and I think, uh- uh, Tiny Gordon. You know, Tiny was a big ... We called him Tiny, but he was a big guy. And there was a water fight going on between Lower Hunt and Upper Hunt and Tiny was the floor dean on the second floor. And he got up on a chair, apparently, and under a transom, and he got his head and shoulders out the transom, but he couldn't get through it, he was too big. And here he was with a pencil and paper and he was saying, "I know you, what's your name?" (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:20:47):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:20:49):
He was tryin' to take a record of people who were engaged in this water fight, so we had a lot of fun with that.

Ed Brubaker (00:20:54):
And, of course, he got hit a bit with the water?

W. Harold Minshall (00:20:57):
Oh yes, no doubt he did.

Ed Brubaker (00:20:58):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:20:58):
Yeah.

Ed Brubaker (00:20:59):
Um, did you make some good friends while you were in residence?

W. Harold Minshall (00:21:03):
Yes, very good friends.

Ed Brubaker (00:21:05):
And-

W. Harold Minshall (00:21:05):
Uh, just last weekend, uh, I, uh, traveled up to Beeton for the 60th, uh, wedding anniversary of Gord and Ruth Wright. Gord was a classmate and, uh, I took, uh, picked up Ralph Ainslee out in St. Marys, and Gordon McNeill came down from, uh- uh, Owen Sound, so there were four of us there, the classmates, the original classmates of, to went back to, for the 60th wedding anniversary of, uh, Gord Wright and his wife, Ruth, who used to be Ruth Baker of [inaudible].

Ed Brubaker (00:21:38):
Oh yes. And Wright, that's W-R-I-G-H-T-

W. Harold Minshall (00:21:43):
That's right, yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:21:44):
... yes. Okay. Now you mentioned your first job and how you got it when you left college, uh, and you stayed with the, uh, Department of Agriculture in Ottawa for 40 plus years.

W. Harold Minshall (00:21:58):
Well, uh, I was in Ottawa 'til, uh, 1951. And they, the department opened a new lab on the campus of the University of Western Ontario in '51, and, uh, for work, primarily with mode of action studies and, uh, with pesticide chemicals. And, uh, I was interested in that area of that field, so I transferred to London in '51, the family came down in Easter, I came down at the end of January in '51, and, uh, clo-, that closed out the Ottawa experience at the Central Experimental Farm.

W. Harold Minshall (00:22:35):
But I was still with the, uh, Department of Agriculture on campus. The Canada Department of Agriculture built the laboratory and staffed it. Paid for the, all of that. But, uh, the university gave, oh, about a half a dozen of us on staff, uh, they made us honorary lecturers of different department. Mine was in the plant science, Botany Department, at the university, and that gave us full faculty privileges. And we didn't have to worry, anything at all, about faculty politics, which, uh, as you can imagine can be quite something sometimes. But we had no worry on that score, we had all the advantages of faculty members without worrying about the disadvantages.

Ed Brubaker (00:23:19):
Okay, well that's a nice spot to be in isn't it?

W. Harold Minshall (00:23:21):
It was, yes-

Ed Brubaker (00:23:22):
Yes.

W. Harold Minshall (00:23:22):
... it was really was.

Ed Brubaker (00:23:24):
And, uh, you stayed in that job, uh-

W. Harold Minshall (00:23:26):
I stayed in that and, uh, I retired in December of 1975. I put in my ... I could have worked, maybe, another 11 months, but, uh, at, uh, in- in, uh, it's my birthday in December of, uh, 1976, I would have had no choice but to retire.

W. Harold Minshall (00:23:47):
So that, uh, I had 42 and a half years. I have more than my 35 required for, uh, pension purposes, so, uh ... And it was to my advantage, monetarily, to retire in '75, so I did so.

Ed Brubaker (00:24:01):
And have enjoyed retirement.

W. Harold Minshall (00:24:03):
Well yes, I definitely have. Yeah, but if I'm not careful I guess I'm going to be retired almost as long as I worked. (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:24:12):
(laughs) Oh, that's wonderful. Um, uh, what type of work, basically, were you doing here in London?

W. Harold Minshall (00:24:20):
Well, uh, I guess the easiest way of explaining them, uh, they were mode of action studies with pesticide chemicals. Now I was working with herbicides, weed killers, and it was how they killed the weeds that they killed, why they killed some and not others, and, uh, and I was more or less the- the, so what we called mode of action studies.

Ed Brubaker (00:24:44):
And you were able to solve some of those problems?

W. Harold Minshall (00:24:47):
You don't solve a problem. When you find out what happens, as far as any one problem is concerned, you only open up another four or five problems, so that you never (laughs) really solve anything very much.

W. Harold Minshall (00:24:59):
We were to, able to explain some of the things that were going on, I suspect, but, uh, solve, no, I don't think we solved very much.

Ed Brubaker (00:25:08):
And, uh- uh, did you lecture at all while you-

W. Harold Minshall (00:25:12):
A little bit, very little. I mean what lecturing I did was in the Plant Science Department, and I would give courses of some lectures, but I- I didn't do very, I didn't do it on a regular basis.

Ed Brubaker (00:25:23):
So that left lots of time for your research.

W. Harold Minshall (00:25:25):
Well it was full-time research-

Ed Brubaker (00:25:26):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:25:26):
... yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:25:27):
And how big a staff would there be?

W. Harold Minshall (00:25:30):
Well, I don't know, the total staff must have been 50 or 60 I suppose. They, uh ... One of the interesting things of the, uh, my years with the Canada Department of Agriculture is that we started out research, uh, you had no assistants, no technician, no technical help or anything like that.

W. Harold Minshall (00:25:51):
Well when we came to London, practically every research officer had a technician, sometimes two. And, uh, then, of course, later on, when the lid was put on, uh, by the Diefenbaker conservative government, and started to try and save a bit of money, why, uh, they started cutting out some of the technical help.

W. Harold Minshall (00:26:12):
So that I started out in, uh- uh, at- at a time when there was no assistants. What, uh, research work was to be done you did yourself. Then we had lots of assistants. And, uh, you know, there was a time, I must admit, well at, uh, when we first came to London, that, uh, well we had to be careful and had some difficulty in spending all the money that was available after the second world war.

W. Harold Minshall (00:26:39):
And, uh, we never spent it foolishly, but, uh, we would be prepared and we would have a list of equipment that we were intending to buy the following year, and if monies all of a sudden, became available towards the end of the fiscal year, we had things ready to go. Now, they had to be a received and paid for before the 15th of May, but, uh- uh, that was possible.

Ed Brubaker (00:27:05):
Gave you time to do that?

W. Harold Minshall (00:27:06):
Yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:27:07):
Okay. Uh- uh- uh, you did get into administration too?

W. Harold Minshall (00:27:11):
No- no I never did. Uh, no, I steered clear of that. I was happy doing, uh, the, uh, research work and these projects. I usually had, uh, two or three, uh- uh, sort of, subjects, one that I was working on actively and a couple on the back burner. And about every 10 years I'd finish the emphasis on what I was doing. Bring one of the ones on the back burner up and start it in a little more active fashion, so that ... No, I enjoyed the research and, uh- uh, I- I- I had no desire to get over into, uh, administrative type of work.

Ed Brubaker (00:27:46):
Okay. Um, I'm sure you wrote lots of papers?

W. Harold Minshall (00:27:51):
I wrote papers, I wouldn't say lots. Uh-

Ed Brubaker (00:27:54):
Any- any idea how many?

W. Harold Minshall (00:27:56):
Oh, no I don't, I've never counted them up. They, uh ... Mu- much of my publication was about, uh, would be anywhere from eight to 10 years after I'd done the active work for the simple reason that, uh- uh, I, sort of, let it simmer for a while. And, uh, and, you know, after a while it, kind of, writes itself as it were, so that, uh, I was not, uh, one of those people who tried to get my research out immediately.

W. Harold Minshall (00:28:24):
Uh, I did attend scientific meetings and presented my results immediately, so that people knew what I was doing and the results that I was receiving, but as far as publication was concerned, I was rather slow in doing that because, uh, I found it easier to, uh- uh, to let them (laughs) percolate a while and the, and- and then get written up that way.

Ed Brubaker (00:28:49):
Uh, what, uh, societies were you actively involved with then presenting-

W. Harold Minshall (00:28:53):
Oh-

Ed Brubaker (00:28:54):
... papers?

W. Harold Minshall (00:28:55):
... well in presenting papers-

Ed Brubaker (00:28:57):
Well, the results of your research?

W. Harold Minshall (00:28:58):
Yeah, the ... In Canada here there was a Canadian Plant Physiology Society, there was the Agriculture Institute of Canada. In Ontario we had the Ontario Institute of Agrology. As far as, uh, the papers, uh, I presented a paper to the triple AS as we call it. That's the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Then with time the Biological Institute became, uh, to the floor and I presented a paper or two there.

W. Harold Minshall (00:29:27):
Well then in you ... There became specialties and there was the American Plant Physiology Society, there's the American Botanical Society. And, uh, then lately weeds c-, sort of, came along at the end of many of these things in pesticide, uh- uh, things. And, uh, the, uh, American Weed Science Society, uh, met every year in February, and so I was active in it coming on towards the end of my career.

Ed Brubaker (00:29:56):
So that your presentations took you right across Canada and into many U.S. states?

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:01):
Yes, uh-

Ed Brubaker (00:30:02):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:02):
... they were, uh, well imagine they're different, uh, um, s-, big city in the states and each year-

Ed Brubaker (00:30:08):
Right.

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:08):
... and as I say in- in, uh, February, the, uh, I think it was the second week in February.

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:14):
And, uh, my wife always went along. We made this an excuse for a bit of tripping and always went along. And she got to know two or three of the other wives of people who came from such and such, Washington USDA, and Cornell, and other centers, uh, Ohio and so forth in the states, and so she enjoyed them too.

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:34):
And I always jokingly say that our first trip to Hawaii was a shortcut to a meeting that was held in Las Vegas.

Ed Brubaker (00:30:44):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:44):
Now to get to Las Vegas, we had to fly to Los Angeles, and then over the mountain to Las Vegas.

Ed Brubaker (00:30:51):
They-

W. Harold Minshall (00:30:51):
Well, uh, Reta reminded you that, "I always wanted to go to Hawaii." So I said, "Well why don't you see what you can do?" So she found out that we could, from Los Angeles, we could go over to Hawaii for a long weekend, then come back to Los Angeles, and go over to Las Vegas for the meeting. So we did that and enjoyed it very- very much.

Ed Brubaker (00:31:14):
Did you ever go back again-

W. Harold Minshall (00:31:15):
Yeah.

Ed Brubaker (00:31:16):
... to Hawaii?

W. Harold Minshall (00:31:16):
Yes, we were back once or twice.

Ed Brubaker (00:31:20):
Hm, and did you ever take any other off-shore trips?

W. Harold Minshall (00:31:23):
Well, uh- uh, I- I ... See the Botanical Congress is world-wide congress, and it met every four years so that, uh, and they were usually a 10 day period. So we had 10 days in Russia, in Leningrad, so the Botanical Congress. We had 10 days in Edinburgh to a Botanical Congress there, then we had 10 days in Sydney, Australia. And we visited Australia and New Zealand, uh, in connection with that, uh- uh, we were with Congress in, uh, in Australia. So that, yes, we got around a bit.

Ed Brubaker (00:31:58):
And- and you enjoyed those-

W. Harold Minshall (00:32:00):
We certainly-

Ed Brubaker (00:32:00):
... but-

W. Harold Minshall (00:32:01):
... did.

Ed Brubaker (00:32:01):
... the emphasis was still on your botany work.

W. Harold Minshall (00:32:05):
Oh yes- yes. I attended lectures, occasion, most of the time. (laughs) And, uh, well we- we sure took advantage of the, uh, tourist aspect of it all.

Ed Brubaker (00:32:18):
Harold, you are mentioned and given quite a write-up in the 1997 Who's Who. Uh, can you tell us, first of all, where you got your graduate degrees, and when, and in what, and then, uh, why you are recorded in this Who's Who?

W. Harold Minshall (00:32:37):
Well, the graduate degrees ... I soon realized when I joined the Canada Department of Agriculture in 1933, that if I was going to make any advancement, uh, in the- the field of, uh, research, that I needed some, uh, post-graduate degrees.

W. Harold Minshall (00:32:59):
So, uh- uh, at that time it was possible to have what they called transfer of problem by the department. But, uh, you had to show that, uh, you- you wanted to go on for post-graduate work before that was available to you. So in, uh, I guess it would be 1936, I had decided that I would to McGill to take a master's degree and, uh, then, uh, the department more or less said that, uh, if I did that, and it was successful, that, uh, it would be possible for my doctorate's degree, Ph.D, that I could, uh, get a transfer of problem.

W. Harold Minshall (00:33:44):
And, actually, Dr. Gussow, who was head of the Division of Botany of Anthropology in Ottawa under, uh, um, the Experimental Farm, he had suggested the work of the effect of acidity of pH or acid, in soils on, as a weed control factor, that, uh, to see whether it actually was acidity or some other part, because it hadn't published and by in- in connection with golf greens.

W. Harold Minshall (00:34:12):
Uh, where they used ammonium sulfate, or ammonium nitrate, they got better weed, or fewer weeds were present, in other words better weed control, than if they used ammonium nitrate. So that- that, they claimed that it was the a- acidity that developed from the phosphate and, uh, and so forth that was responsible for the weed control properties.

W. Harold Minshall (00:34:38):
And, uh, Dr. Gussow had suggested that maybe you should investigate and see whether that is true or not. So it was a part of my research project for the master's degree and I was successful. I was at McGill and, uh, I graduated in, uh, '37. So that coming up to '39, uh- uh, and you must remember that, um, I paid for my board in Montreal to get my master's degree, and I paid for that out of the colossal, some of the, (laughs) what I was earning from the department, which was less than $100 a month.

W. Harold Minshall (00:35:15):
Well, so that having paid for my master's degree, uh, they did arrange a transfer of problem for the Ph.D., and I earned the colossal sum, I think it was $135 a month by this time, uh, that I went and I was transferred to McGill and eventually, uh, earned my PhD in '41.

Ed Brubaker (00:35:40):
Do you remember what your salary was when you came back after your PhD and boarding?

W. Harold Minshall (00:35:50):
Board was still $130, about $135 a month.

Ed Brubaker (00:35:51):
A month.

W. Harold Minshall (00:35:51):
Yeah.

Ed Brubaker (00:35:52):
Yeah. Okay, so that would work out to 12, about 15, $1,600 a year.

W. Harold Minshall (00:35:55):
Around about that, yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:35:56):
Yeah, and you were able to live on that during that-

W. Harold Minshall (00:35:59):
Oh yes, oh yes, yeah you could. The, uh ... I was married by this time. Uh, we ... It was an interesting year. You may remember '39 was the beginning of the World War II and sometimes '39's been called the phony war year, because, uh, they never quite knew whether there was going to be a war or not. And, uh- uh, the, uh- uh ... Dr. Gussow, you can tell from the name that he was German, uh, [crosstalk]-

Ed Brubaker (00:36:29):
How- how do you spell Gussow?

W. Harold Minshall (00:36:30):
G-U-S-S-O-W. And there's a new mulligan there if I'm not-

Ed Brubaker (00:36:35):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:36:35):
... mistaken. It was a real German name. And he was German and, lo, he was, uh- uh, managed a job in Canada and was Canadian. He still was very German as far as an influence was concerned. And I might s- say, just as an aside here, that had I not been doing the work at McGill, in all probability I would've been taking my PhD in Germany. I went through with Dr. Gussow's, uh, in- influence because he had, uh, ins with universities back there and would've been able to arrange that, uh, type of thing.

W. Harold Minshall (00:37:09):
But, uh, he offered to be, time to show, being a- a Canadian, uh, and, uh, his influence and so on and so forth, he offered to cancel my transfer of problem in '39. Well, we had been married that June, and we were living in a cottage out on the Ottawa River for the summer, had rented an apartment on Second Avenue in Ottawa, that we would be going into in the fall, and, uh, we had also ordered from Murphy Gamble a bedroom suite and, uh, a dining room suite, and that's it right there. (laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:37:44):
And, uh, so, uh, this was this on and off, whether we were going or whether we weren't made it rather difficult. But we were able to, uh ... Well finally I- I- I should say (laughs) that, uh- uh, while he canceled it, I had some good friends down in headquarters downtown, and they re- (laughs) re-brought it back again when the transfer was on. So that, uh- uh, Reta went to Murphy-Gamble and they agreed that they would store the furniture for a year before we would take possession, and we were able to re-rent the apartment so that we were off to Montreal.

W. Harold Minshall (00:38:21):
And where we boarded in a bachelor apartment, lived on $5 a week, as far as our food was concerned, and, uh- uh, Reta, of course, had been a Comptometer operator. But in those days, the day that you were married your wife was out a job. And, uh, she had a couple of interviews when we went to Montreal and they, uh, were quite satisfied, and were looking for workers, and- and the last question they asked, however, "Are you married?" She, of course, said, "Yes." So they said, "Well I'm very sorry, but we can't, uh, we can't hire you."

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:00):
So the dozen, after a couple of these turned down, Reta really became my technician. And she used to come up to the university every afternoon and tested the pH or the acidity of the solutions that I was growing the plants in each afternoon, then I would make what adjustments are required. But she was with me every afternoon doing work in public.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:22):
Good for her.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:23):
That's when I-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:24):
That's a very attractive dining room set. I think I can see one, two, three, four, five, six chairs.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:32):
Yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:32):
And, uh, a table and-

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:33):
Table and, uh, yes, and there's a buffet over there, and there's a whatever they call these down here.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:37):
Oh yes-

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:37):
That's a china-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:38):
... a china cabinet.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:38):
... china cabinet-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:38):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:38):
... that's all part of it.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:40):
And I presume the table stretches out here.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:42):
Yes it does. Yes, it-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:43):
[crosstalk]

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:43):
... stretches out each end and then-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:44):
Yeah- yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:44):
... yes, we-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:45):
Is it cherry wood?

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:47):
Don't ask me.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:48):
Uh, it, kind of, looks like it.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:50):
Well it ... Uh, I- I suspect more likely to be darker mahogany or something-

Ed Brubaker (00:39:54):
Mahogany.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:55):
.... like that.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:56):
But after 60 years it still looks good.

W. Harold Minshall (00:39:58):
Yes it does.

Ed Brubaker (00:39:59):
That would be a good buy.

Ed Brubaker (00:40:02):
Um, also, in 1977 or '79 you received, uh, an Alumnus of Honor from the University of Guelph. And, uh, can you tell us what that was about?

W. Harold Minshall (00:40:19):
Not very much, no. Uh, I- I have no idea who nominated, uh, or put my name in nomination for that honor. But, uh, it was very much appreciated and- and, uh, there's a fair lu-, list of people who have been successful in a different, each year. I think the last year was, uh, Rick, uh, Rick Richards-

Ed Brubaker (00:40:46):
Hm.

W. Harold Minshall (00:40:47):
... the, uh, first dean of a OAC, and I think he was the Alumnus of Honor in this past, uh, 1999 in June.

Ed Brubaker (00:40:55):
Yeah. Can I, uh ... I was at his, uh, ceremony where he was-

W. Harold Minshall (00:41:01):
Oh yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:41:01):
... uh, installed. Could I read a couple things here?

W. Harold Minshall (00:41:02):
Sure.

Ed Brubaker (00:41:03):
It said, "Harold has given dedicated service to his alma mater. He was elected to two three-year terms as an alumni member of senate. A founding member of the Century Club, he annually offers a scholarship in the plant protection major. He was president of the OAC Alumni Association in '69, '70, and has served as a director of the University of Guelph Alumni Association and the OAC Alumni Foundation, as well as chairman of many committees. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Weed Science Society of America, and the Agriculture Institute of Canada. You're a fellow in each of those-

W. Harold Minshall (00:41:47):
That's right-

Ed Brubaker (00:41:47):
... three.

W. Harold Minshall (00:41:47):
... yes I'm.

Ed Brubaker (00:41:49):
He was awarded an OAC Centennial Medal in 1974.

W. Harold Minshall (00:41:53):
I think that should read plaque, a centennial plaque rather than centennial medal. The medals are limited to 100 as I recall and, uh, um, I did receive a plaque, but, uh, not the medal.

Ed Brubaker (00:42:06):
Not the medal, okay. And, uh, here's something for about 40 years. Harold played an active role in the Agricultural Institute of Canada serving on a long list of committees, including one which led to the chartering of- of the Ontario Professional Organization, which we call the, uh, the OIA today.

W. Harold Minshall (00:42:27):
That's right, yes-

Ed Brubaker (00:42:28):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:42:28):
... yeah.

Ed Brubaker (00:42:29):
He served as chairman of the Ontario Provincial Council and has been there both, Eastern Ontario, Western Ontario branches, and the Ontario Institute of Agrologists.

W. Harold Minshall (00:42:39):
Agrologist. And if you go back to the, uh, to the act, where it brought in the Ontario Institute of Agrology, you'll find my name on it. Yeah, there's a list of about a half a dozen names of when the first group presented and my name was there.

Ed Brubaker (00:42:51):
Very good. So I think thi- this is good cause of why you were selected as Alumnus of Honor.

W. Harold Minshall (00:42:57):
Well I wouldn't argue with that. But, uh, these honors come, you know, and you appreciate them when you come. Sometimes you never quite know or realize why they come along, but they do.

Ed Brubaker (00:43:08):
Very good. Um, Harold, uh, can you tell us a bit about your family. You've mentioned Reta several times and- and that. But, tell us more about her, and your children, and what they're doing.

W. Harold Minshall (00:43:22):
Well, if you look up on the mantel, you'll see my two grandchildren. Uh, the, my daughter, Gaye Carol, uh, is married of course. Uh, she married a Sinclair, Murray Sinclair and, uh, they had two children. And they have both graduated in engineering from the University of Western Ontario.

W. Harold Minshall (00:43:42):
Uh, Daryl, my grandson, is, uh- uh, working in the Detroit area in, uh, car parts manufacture. Sara just graduated, uh, last June. And, uh, at the moment she's enjoying herself out in Vancouver, supposedly looking for work. I'm not too sure just how hard she's work, looking, but, uh, in fact, uh, she's there and she'll be-

Ed Brubaker (00:44:04):
Yeah, she'll get into it before-

W. Harold Minshall (00:44:05):
No, that's right.

Ed Brubaker (00:44:08):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:44:09):
Now our son, Bruce, who also graduated from Guelph in 1970, uh, unfortunately died of cancer in 1975. Um, Wilms' Tumor it was called, a c-, a very vicious cancer of the kidney. And, uh, it wasn't, it was a misdiagnosis, they didn't diagnose it early enough. If it's caught in the very early stages and removal of the kidney, that's, uh, bring about a cure, but his was not caught.

W. Harold Minshall (00:44:42):
And when I tackled the doctor as to why they may have missed it, he said, "You never expect to find cancer in a 20 year old," and they weren't looking for it, so they didn't find it. But, uh, Bruce was, uh, married twice. He had no children though, so, uh, unfortunately he is no longer with us.

Ed Brubaker (00:45:03):
That's too bad. And your wife?

W. Harold Minshall (00:45:06):
Well Reta, uh, she, uh, died in August of '96, which is a few ... We had 57 y- years of married life. The last six or seven years, though, she had Alzheimer's and was in a nursing home. I used to bring her home once a week and, of course, when she came in she, her first thing that she looked around to make sure what I had changed and what was still and, uh, but after three or four years she was no longer interested.

W. Harold Minshall (00:45:37):
This was no different then any other building or room and so on and so forth. So there seemed no point in putting her through all the problem of getting into the car, she was in a wheelchair by this time, and out of a car, and into the house, and so on, and so I stopped bringing her home. And, uh, she, uh, she died in August of '96.

Ed Brubaker (00:45:56):
But you had over 50 years of good marriage.

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:00):
Yeah, we had 57 years.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:01):
Right, 50 years-

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:03):
And all 50 years of good marriage.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:03):
... of a good marriage.

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:04):
Yes, indeed. She certainly was a very- very good wife and, uh, and mother of- of our children. And, uh, and she also was interested in bell, that bell collection over along the window. And if you look under that, uh, coffee table over there you'll see quite a few.

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:20):
Every place we went in our travels she would look for a bell that, uh, gave some idea of the place, if she ever could, and also the date and time, and as a memento. And so the, those bells are part of her collection.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:37):
And they would remind her of that trip, uh, that-

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:39):
That's right.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:39):
... that you had done.

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:41):
Yes that's true.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:41):
Yeah. Harold, you, uh, told me that there were 62 graduates in your year, all men, no women.

W. Harold Minshall (00:46:52):
Oh, that's right, all men, yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:46:53):
And no women. And, uh, you have had a reunion every year since, including your 67th reunion last, uh, June, uh, 12th.

W. Harold Minshall (00:47:02):
Last year, that's right.

Ed Brubaker (00:47:04):
And how many came to that reunion?

W. Harold Minshall (00:47:06):
Well I'd have to ... I- I have a record of it. There were ... Actually we had about 15 all told, but there were a- a wife or two, and there were some grandchildren, because after all some of our members are getting up there and no longer driving cars and, uh, they fall back on the grandchildren to drive them to occasions such as this. So, at- at all told, we had about 15 out and, uh- uh, of that group I would say five or six were '33 members.

Ed Brubaker (00:47:34):
That's a good record isn't it?

W. Harold Minshall (00:47:35):
Well, it's a ... Well I, I'd-

Ed Brubaker (00:47:35):
After 67 years-

W. Harold Minshall (00:47:35):
... imagine it's a record.

Ed Brubaker (00:47:36):
Yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:47:39):
Actually, the first ... Quite a few years we met at the time of the Royal Winter Fair in November in Toronto. And, uh, for the first, uh, quite a few years, the year actually sponsored a dance for all graduates or students, senior students of the OAC. And, uh- uh what we found was that, uh, (laughs) after a while, uh, not too many people were coming to the dance. And so, uh, it was turned over to the senior students and the Alumni Association of OAC, but it only continued for two or three years. And I'm told that the last year that it held, was held, there were more people in the band then there were on the floor, so it seemed about the time to call a halt to that activity.

Ed Brubaker (00:48:31):
Okay. Now there's two other things that, uh, you have, uh, brought to my attention. One is this award for Aggie Spirit. Can you tell us about that?

W. Harold Minshall (00:48:42):
Yes, well I believe the students call it the, uh- uh, whoa, Legacy Award. Well, uh, this, I- I would have to go way back, gotta get to mention history in here. This goes back to November of 1932. It was an inter, uh, senior intercollegiate soccer game between the University of Toronto and the Ontario Agricultural College.

W. Harold Minshall (00:49:12):
Now there had a been a snow storm the day before and, uh, so often it happens in the fall, these snow storms, it's a light fluffy snow, and they had whisked snow plows and other means, they had pretty well cleared the field. But around part of the field there was a snow bank, oh, two or three feet high there where the snow had been plowed up.

W. Harold Minshall (00:49:32):
Well at this- this being on the campus, the front campus, and it being an OAC home game, they were playing with an OAC ball. But the University of Toronto spare had the University of Toronto ball in the crook of his arm, and he was walking up and down the field as if he owned the damn place. In fact, uh, from the look of him, he was almost thinking he owned heaven and had a lease on hell as it were, goes, type of thing.

W. Harold Minshall (00:50:01):
Well this was just too much for three Aggies who happened to be watching the game, and they, sort of, conspired a bit and they agreed that one person was gonna punch the ball out of his arm, another one would retrieve it, and the third one, if necessary would do a block or run interference.

W. Harold Minshall (00:50:19):
And so we waited until everything was in the right direction and so on and so forth, and the ball was punched, and as it rolled towards Mill Hall, the second person just scooped it up and he kept goin' right into the side door of Mill Hall. Well, of course, when the Toronto, uh, spare realized what was happening, he took two or three steps to g-, to go after him. And the third member of our crew threw the most beautiful block I have ever seen, as a result of which the Toronto man went head-first into the snow bank, right up to his shoulders.

W. Harold Minshall (00:50:53):
Well when time he got out of the snow bank and got the snow out of his eyes, there was no sign of any ball, there was no sign of anybody as a matter-

Ed Brubaker (00:51:02):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:51:02):
... of fact. It had completely disappeared.

W. Harold Minshall (00:51:05):
Well to, sort of, add to the story, following the game the Toronto spare and the dean did do a search of Mills Hall. They searched the first floor and they searched into the cupboards and did a real- real thorough job. But while they were working on the second floor, by some means the ball was transferred from the third to the first floor, it had already been covered, so they didn't find it.

W. Harold Minshall (00:51:31):
Well, when we came ... And then, uh, oh I should say, the University of Toronto Athletic Department submitted a bill to Dr. Christie, who was the president of OAC, for one soccer ball and the price of it. Well, Dr. Christie, there were times when we had some doubts about the way he handled things, but this time he was on the ball. He turned it over to the Students' Council and the Students' Council paid it.

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:00):
Now I've often thought that apparent ... And why didn't the Students' Council do some inquiring around as to whether the ball was actually taken and whether this had happened. But, no, they didn't, they just paid for it. But I find out lately that the treasurer of the Students' Council was actually one of the three people who liberated the ball, and so he wrote out the check for (laughs) the- the soccer ball. (laughs).

Ed Brubaker (00:52:29):
And where were you all, when all of this going- going on? Were you number two or number one?

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:33):
I was number one.

Ed Brubaker (00:52:34):
You were number one?

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:37):
Yeah. (laughs)

Ed Brubaker (00:52:37):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:37):
Well- well, uh- uh, we come to the end of the year and, uh, we had the soccer ball-

Ed Brubaker (00:52:42):
(laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:42):
... in our hands, what we're gonna do? Well we drew straws and drawing the short straw the ball went to Ottawa with me.

W. Harold Minshall (00:52:49):
And, uh, I was active in promoting and leading in social recreation games of those days and so I made good use of the ball all that time. But in '51, when I moved to London, I took the ball with me, of course. And, uh, but, uh, I wasn't doing social recreation anymore, so the ball went up into the attic into a box with the rest of my game equipment. And it stayed there until we had our 50th anniversary at the, uh- uh, Alumni weekend when I pulled it out and asked the year if any of them recognized it, and told them that they should because their fees had paid for it. (laughs)

W. Harold Minshall (00:53:29):
Well, in writing up this story, the, uh, the students, sort of, have taken a- a liking to it and, uh- uh, they've called, they call it the Legacy Award. And each year it's given ... Well, uh, I should mention I- I suppose that, uh- uh, back, uh, it'd be five or six years ago at an OAC Alumni Foundation meeting, Dean McLaughlin was talking about how he planned and hoped to get what was called the, uh, Community House in Johnston as a lounge or a place for OAC students to meet. And he thought this would have a good effect on Aggie Spirit.

W. Harold Minshall (00:54:11):
And during his talk, on several occasions, he mentioned this business of Aggie Spirit. And when he did that a light went on in my attic and I thought, I told him afterwards, I said, "I've got a soccer ball at home that, uh, I'm quite willing to present as a trophy, as an Aggie Spirit Award."

W. Harold Minshall (00:54:30):
Well, uh, it didn't get very far and, uh ... But each year when I would meet Dean I'd s-, give him a little dig and I'd say, "Well how's the Aggie Spirit Award coming along?" Nothing much happened. But, finally, some of the students picked it up, and especially here in '96 they became interested. And they said that, uh, they would set up a means by selecting, the Aggie's do it, uh, the student who would be awarded the Aggie steward or this Aggie Spirit Award, and, uh- uh, they've done that.

W. Harold Minshall (00:55:04):
Now each year of OAC, each club of OAC can nominate, of course. And the year '96 has a committee which, uh, more or less assesses all these, and they, then they actually hold an interview, and from that they pick the one they think is best suited for the Aggie Spirit Award. And it's presented each January at the Aggie, the GoodTimes Banquet.

W. Harold Minshall (00:55:33):
Now the- the award does have, as a focal point, the old soccer ball, which, of course, is just, uh, the bladder is all gone, disintegrated, but it's still inside if you rattle it. It's a good pigskin cover though, and that's, and that's, uh, right in the center of the Aggie Spirit Award.

W. Harold Minshall (00:55:54):
And since I've told the students that the fact that it was paid for out of Student Council fees, that it belongs to all of graduates and, uh, all students of OAC. And so (laughs) as a result, the, uh- uh, the- the more or less they, uh- uh, Scie-, the Student Federation of OAC, they call it the, uh, the award, the, uh- uh- uh, yeah-

Ed Brubaker (00:56:21):
The Aggie Spirit-

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:21):
... their-

Ed Brubaker (00:56:24):
... the Legacy Award.

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:24):
... legacy. Well they call it the Legacy Award.

Ed Brubaker (00:56:25):
And this award is roughly on a base about 12 inches square and four or five inches high.

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:32):
Yeah.

Ed Brubaker (00:56:32):
And then there's four wooden columns at the four corners, uh, that would be more than 12 inches long, 14 inches maybe, and the s-, this deflated soccer ball is mounted in the center. And on top there are some, um-

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:50):
Oh-

Ed Brubaker (00:56:50):
... figurines of- of, uh-

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:52):
Well the, um-

Ed Brubaker (00:56:52):
... soccer players, I guess.

W. Harold Minshall (00:56:54):
... they could present, uh ... Well, yes, they can, uh- uh, it can be physical activity or some of them are debating. Well they're actually, uh, I think there's some dancers in there. It's some of the activities that, uh, the students, uh, have been noted for.

Ed Brubaker (00:57:07):
So the whole awards then, maybe 15, 16 inches high-

W. Harold Minshall (00:57:11):
It's a soccer-

Ed Brubaker (00:57:12):
... maybe a little more-

W. Harold Minshall (00:57:14):
... but that-

Ed Brubaker (00:57:15):
... yeah.

W. Harold Minshall (00:57:15):
... yes.

Ed Brubaker (00:57:16):
Okay, well that's very good. Now, Harold, you also, uh, it- it, yeah, have given a scholarship, uh, for weed control I think.

W. Harold Minshall (00:57:28):
Well it was, uh, in the plant protection, uh, option of the environmental science biology. And, uh, it, uh, I- I've given it for a long- long time. Uh, I would say, I don't, uh ... Oh, I could tell from the file downstairs, uh, the years, but I'm not going to, uh, you know, bother looking that up.

W. Harold Minshall (00:57:51):
But when they changed the courses here four or five years ago, the plant protection option was done away with, so that the, uh- uh, scholarship went into abeyance. But I have, sort of, resurrected it this year and, uh, funded it with the, uh, OAC Alumni Foundation. And, uh, there are two scholarships that will be in the calendar for next year and will be given in November of 2000, uh, of $1,000 each.

W. Harold Minshall (00:58:22):
And, uh, one, uh, carries Bruce's name, uh, and the other, uh, i- is, uh, in, uh, my name. And, uh, it's, uh- uh, two ... Well still primarily two people who've, who have worked in the field of- of weed control, weed life history, weed, uh, with weeds and so forth that the type of work that I was engaged in all of my life.

Ed Brubaker (00:58:47):
And, uh, who chooses the-

W. Harold Minshall (00:58:49):
Well that-

Ed Brubaker (00:58:49):
... the winners?

W. Harold Minshall (00:58:50):
It's the, uh, Scholarship Committee of the OAC.

Ed Brubaker (00:58:54):
Right. And do you go and present the, select-

W. Harold Minshall (00:58:57):
Well, yes, usually they, um, they invite you down into November of each year and, uh- uh, I will be doing that. And-

Ed Brubaker (00:59:05):
And I hope you're able to do it for many more years.

W. Harold Minshall (00:59:07):
Well I hope so too.

Ed Brubaker (00:59:08):
Yeah, very good indeed.

Ed Brubaker (00:59:13):
Harold, uh, since 1948, your year, OAC '90, it's OAC '33, has given a graduate scholarship. Can you tell us something about this scholarship?

W. Harold Minshall (00:59:25):
Yes, uh, as you say, this was established in 1948. Now it wasn't for a very large sum at the time, I think it was $250 if I remember correctly. And it was paid for by the dance at the Royal York in November of, uh, the, at the time of the Royal Winter Fair where OAC and so forth left. Uh, the proceeds from that not only covered this scholarship in the early years, but it also sent care packages to any OAC student or graduate who, uh, was overseas during this in, uh, World War II.

W. Harold Minshall (01:00:03):
Now this scholarship is still being given and, uh, it's for $5,000 now. Uh, in, uh, last year, in '98, we capped the fund for the scholarship at $100,000, and everything that was in the fund over that we put over into a bursary fund so that this scholarship will continue, as long as there, uh, well, as long as OAC is in existence, because it's for $5,000, it's ... The person is to go off campus and take the graduate work elsewhere, or they could do it on campus now today since, uh, University of Guelph does give Ph.D. degrees. But in the early years they had to leave the campus to go elsewhere, to the states and so on.

W. Harold Minshall (01:00:53):
And one of the interesting things of this, so then you take the first 10 to 12 years of it, I think something, like, five or six of the people returned to the college staff and, uh- uh, were able to, uh- uh, sort of, benefit the college from the work that they had carried out. And you've got such people as Bruce Stone, and Ernie Gamble, and, uh, W. G. Fulton, Bert Christie, they were some of the people who took advantage of the early days of the '33 scholarship.

Ed Brubaker (01:01:23):
Harold, uh, this has been a wonderful opportunity to review your life with you, and you've enjoyed your career, and you, uh, enjoyed life, and still do. Thank you.

W. Harold Minshall (01:01:33):
Abs-

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