John Meyer — by Pat O’Connor — The Legendary Ginger Beer Bottle Guy

John Meyer — by Pat O’Connor — The Legendary Ginger Beer Bottle Guy

I believe that it was the people of the community that builtour history, and not politicians. Pat O’Connor told me a story on Old Ottawa And Bytown Pics and I believe it should be documented. Thank you Pat for telling me this story of people that matter and should not be forgotten.

By Pat O’Connor

My uncle John Meyer dodged railway cops and dug a tunnel 60 ft long by hand into the landfill under the CN tower and mined it for ginger beer bottles while it was being built in the 1970’s.

He drove down from Barrie every night snuck into the site and dug all night. The railway cops even took a shot at him. He was the number one trapper in all of Ontario, they built a monument to him at the Minesing Swamp when he died. He was a hell of a man. He started Scuba diving in the early 1960’s pirating wrecks in Georgian Bay and was probably part of the impetus to ban it. He used to drag me and my uncles out to dig dumps for crocks and bottles when I was 10. He taught me to search with a rod for outhouse holes on abandoned homesteads for bottles. He was a legendary ginger beer bottle guy.

Copy of a newspaper clipping from the Innisfil Scope in 1974 entitled: “Historical Society views antique bottles.” The article details a presentation made by John Meyer, a Barrie scuba diver and bottle collector, to the Innisfil Historical Society to discuss his collection. The article mentions how the members were intrigued to hear that soft drinks were made as early as 1835, often with cork or rubber stoppers. Also included is a photo of Mr. Meyer holding one of the bottles from his collection and talking to Mrs. Robert Kell of Gilford. The photo was taken by Society member Jean Saunter. click here.
Click herePat O’ConnorIt is a typo. His family was invited to the ceremony. The monument should have had the name of his brother Peter Meyer who died in 1962 in a car accident. He was the real legend who opened up the Minesing to trapping. John was his little brother.
Copy of a newspaper clipping from the Barrie Examiner in 1974 entitled: “Innisfil Group Views Display of Old Bottles.” Written by Brian Baker the article outlines a presentation made by John Meyer, a Barrie scuba diver and bottle collector, to the Innisfil Historical Society to discuss his collection of antique bottles recovered from Lake Simcoe. For his collection of more than a thousand bottles, it is noted that each bottle represents at least two or three dive attempts. The bottom of the article is unfortunately missing, but it does include a photo of Mr. Meyer (right) with Roger White, a fellow scuba diver, standing behind a portion of the bottle collection.Click here

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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