Christmas is a time to remember past good times and great people we have met along the way. Let’s remember our good friend the late Nick Hodson and enjoy viewing some of the many, many gifts he gave to the citizens of Collingwood.
I can honestly say Nick Hodson was one of the most gentle, genuine people I have ever met. His smile and sense of humour added warmth to any gathering he attended. Whether you met him in Trott’s Furniture where Nick used to work, bumped into him on the main street or at a special event, the conversation was always up-beat and positive. Even in his final years when his health was a challenge at times, Nick maintained a positive outlook and always took the first step to make any visit most enjoyable.
With Nick, there was no time to talk about negative things, there was too much good stuff going on.
One of my last memories of Nick was a visit I made to Bay Haven Retirement Home. Nick and his good friend Bill Allan were sitting outside, on the bench at the front door. They looked like they had been assigned with the task of being official greeters. Anyone who knew them well would say they were more like the two guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show!
I remember that day well. It was sunny and very warm. I was immediately invited to pull up a chair to join the conversation. I’d sure love to have that opportunity one more time. I listened and laughed and listened some more.
Nick Hodson passed away peacefully on Saturday January 12, 2013 at the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital in his 97th year.
Christmas is a time to remember past gifts, and what better way to remember our good friend Nick Hodson than by having a look at some of his finest gifts to Collingwood.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier shortly after it was launched at the Collingwood Shipyards
Nick would tell you this story and laugh about it, so I know he wouldn’t mind if I told you that shortly after this painting arrived over my father’s fireplace he had to pop by to take it back to his basement studio. He had spelled “Wilfrid” incorrectly. My father, the late John Richards, told Nick to leave it the way it was because some day down the road it might be worth something!
Nick and his friends could always find a way to laugh about anything. I guess that is what living through wartime did to a person. (Nick contracted tuberculosis, which made him ineligible for wartime service. Instead, he went to work for Clyde Aircraft). In times of peace, every day was a good day.
Nick’s black and white sketches are outstanding pieces. Here are just a few:
Nick Hodson’s black-and-white sketch collection captures Collingwood landmarks as they once were, in their glory days. The above sketch is of the former Collingwood Temple building.
If you grew up in Collingwood you will remember this school in many ways, as the former Collingwood Collegiate Institute, the former Collingwood Senior Public School and the former Collingwood Admiral Collingwood Public School.
Here is Nick’s sketch of the former Collingwood General & Marine Hospital
Downtown Collingwood in the 1960’s, with the ship at the end of the main street. The shipyard water tower is clearly visible. Notice the arena sign hanging over the sidewalk under the town clock where the main arena entrance once was. There would have been a good Collingwood Shipbuilder’s hockey game in the Collingwood Community Arena on Friday night!
This was the Agricultural Building as it looked in 1885 at Collingwood’s Exhibition Park, known today as Central Park.
First Baptist Church at Pine and Third Streets
Anglican Church on Ste. Marie Street. The former bell tower was still standing when Nick captured this image in his sketch.
This is what Schoolhouse Lane on Pine Street once looked like
Thank you for the memories Nick. You were one of Collingwood’s brightest lights.
Paul Richards is a retired radio programmer and news reporter.