Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments

The Occasion Governs the Length of the Skirt, Montreal, 1930

Montreal Gazette, 15 Jan 1930, page 3


The occasion governs the length of the skirt

This “long-skirt controversy” is “much ado about nothing.” The really smart woman considers the hour and the occasion, and, as the day lengthens, so do her skirts.

For sports and street: Skirts are a hand’s breadth (three to four inches) below the knee.  Sketched – the wool crepe sports ensemble in Casaba (pinky-beige).  Dress has the new cap sleeves and higher waistline.  Size 16.  At $9.50.

For informal afternoons: skirts are twelve to fifteen inches from the ground.  Sketched – the black flat crepe dress far less formal afternoon wear.  Note higher waistline, frilled neckline and skirt length, size 14 at $55.

For dinner or “Sunday Nights”: Ankle length – for very formal afternoons, Sunday night supper, restaurant dining and dancing.  Sketched – beige chiffon gown with the new sleeve fullness and tight inner cuff of lace.  Size 40 at 89.50

For “Grand Occasions” Skirts trail gracefully right down to the toes. Sketched – New York model evening gown in “boy blue” tone of the new brighter than navy tones chiffon.  Size 40 at $115


Fete Dieu, Montreal, 1834

Montreal Gazette 3 Jun 1834

The annual procession of the Fete Dieu took place last Sunday, and was most numerously attended.  From the Parish Church, it proceeded down St Joseph Street, thence along St Paul to McGill Street, and returned by Notre dame Street as far as the Recollet Church which the procession entered, and after passing through Great St James Street and the Place d’Armes terminated at the Parish Church.  A guard of honor of the 24th, under the command of Lieut Riley, with the band of the Regiment, were around the canopy was supported by some of our most respectable citizens.  His honour Mr Justice Rolland and a large portion of the Bar attended in their robes, and Capt de Bleury of the Montreal Volunteer Rifles, with his highly efficient and soldierlike company formed a guard to a great portion of the procession.

In the afternoon a similar procession took place around the Bishop’s Church.  We were not witnesses of the ceremony, but have heard that Capt de Bleury declined attending with his company in consequence of the Bishop having signified his desire that Lieut Leclere should not be present, the pretext for this request being that Mr Leclere had lately been concerned in a duel.  Mr de Bleury replied, we believe, that the reason assigned was an unfortunate one, as he had once been in a similar situation; and concluded by refusing with much spirit to make such a distinction, or to appear there with the company under his command.

Learning to “Conference” – a proposal, 2018

I think that universities have been giving their students a disservice when they are preparing them for their professional life.  Specifically, teaching them how to present an academic paper at a conference.  Conferences are the lifeblood of academia – this is where professionals and students present their research, where ideas are tested, and reputations made.  And even for those students who decide to pursue their careers outside of academia, the skills necessary for presenting research to different audiences is just as important.  Right now, we expect students to instinctively understand what is expected of them in a conference, and that they will be able to present their work without assistance.  A lot of times this means a sink or swim mentality.  Some students are able to succeed, but others do not.

Me – presenting

I remember my first conference – I was so nervous, unsure of what to expect, worried that I had written not enough, or no one would be interested.  Sure, my theatre background made me aware of how to perform, but I was awash with insecurities.  I was very fortunate to be in a session with Susan Mann, who really was able to get me to calm down, and was so welcoming and supportive.  But I have to say it took a number of conferences before I really developed a confidence in my material, and how best to present it.  Now that I am more involved in conference organisation, and have presented in a number of different venues and audiences and on a variety of topics, I feel compelled to make it better for those coming up behind me.

With this in mind, I decided to plan out a course for students to lead them through the process of presenting at a conference, from the proposal to the performance, and the steps in between.  In giving the students the opportunity to explore what goes into the conference, how to research, write and then give the paper they will have the tools in place when they will be required to present their work.  I think that such a course should be team taught – providing the students with a variety of experience, and if possible, a variety of disciplines.

The course should be designed to follow the process of conference presentations from the proposal to the presentation itself, and would lead ultimately to a student conference, with the student given the opportunity to present and to be evaluated on the presentation itself.   The student then would be graded based on their proposal, and then presentation of a 15-minute paper for an academic conference.

Section 1:

An introduction of what is involved in academic conferences, the thinking behind them, the importance to scholarship, research and professional advancement.

The call for Proposals – a look at a sample of calls for papers, how to read them, how to approach the themes or topics in them, and a look at the process of proposing.

Homework: Student asked to develop a topic and a research question for the conference at the end of the course.

Section 2:

Writing the proposal – what elements are required for a proposal for a conference, how to integrate themes.

Organising a panel for a conference – grouping people together for a panel, how to organise, how to integrate varying topics – finding the underlying connection in papers.

Writing the introductory email to conference organisers, the art of the short biography and the one page cv.

Homework: Student asked to write out the proposal for the paper they intend to give at the student conference.

Section 3:

Planning the presentation – taking the topic and working out how to proceed; understanding the limits of presentations such as time and content; creating a research plan, and integrating the search for visuals in the research process.

Homework: Student asked to create a research plan for the conference presentation.

Section 4:

The mechanics of Presentation – explaining what is required when presenting a topic – timing, understanding power point – to read or not to read in presentations – gauging audiences, preparing for questions – and preparing for unexpected problems – missing panelists and technological failures.

Homework: Student expected to be researching and starting to write out their presentation.

Section 5:

Practice makes perfect – a workshop with the students on their presentations – testing out the topics, technology, and timing.

Homework: Student expected to be writing the presentation and preparing the visuals for same.

Section 6:

Student conference – presentation of student papers in a conference setting.  Each paper is 15 minutes in length, maximum, and all the students will be expected to answers some questions after their presentation, as they would be in a conference.

Final evaluation is the presentation itself.   Mark determined 50% based on the conference presentation, 30% for the proposal, and 20% for participation.


I send this out there to put the idea forward to have this incorporated into graduate programs – it is a draft, it can change – it should change, but I thought it would be good to get the idea going – send it out to the world and see where it goes.  Since I am currently not teaching I am hopeful someone who is will …….

A Wise Saying by a Wise old Bird, 1906

Montreal Daily Star, 11 June 1906, p 1

A Wise Saying by a Wise Old Bird

“My last word is this – and it requires some little moral courage to say it: I view with positive disfavour, and if it does not cease, with some apprehension, the tendency on the part of what is known as the Labor movement to isolate itself from men who are not manual laborers.  For labor to deliberately, narrowly and foolishly to cut itself off from the best and brightest spirits of mankind, simply because they have not been hewers of wood and drawers of water, is to cut off the path for their own advancement in the near future, and inflict upon themselves disability, which one day they will find the folly and mistake of doing.” John Burns.1ds11june06

Governor General at the Halloween Concert, Montreal, 1893

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 24 November 1893, p 2      

The Governor-General at the Hallowe’en Concert 

The “Gazette” also gives a report of the Hallowe’en concert, which the Caledonian society of Montreal provides every year for the delectation of the general public, and Canadian Scotsmen in particular.  This year the proceedings were of a brilliant character on account of the presence of the Governor-General, Lord Aberdeen and also Lady Aberdeen.  In course of the proceedings, and was a special feature of the evening, was the presentation of an address to Lord Aberdeen by the Caledonian society.  The presentation was made by the president, Mr. James Harper. In reply, Lord Aberdeen said: – Mr. President and members of the Montreal Caledonian Society, or, if I may say so, fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen, I thank you cordially for the welcome which you have extended to us, and for the manner in which, through this handsome and gracefully worded address, you have recorded your loyalty to the Queen and your goodwill towards Her Majesty’s representative.  Such a manifestation of loyalty is no new thing on the part of Scotchmen, and this sentiment and principle is assuredly intensified by the fact that you are now also Canadians; and while I trust Scotchmen are not forgetful to entertain strangers, still less their fellow countrymen, the combination of the genial hospitality of the Canadian with that of the Scot will secure the maintenance and the manifestation of this quality.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Scotch assembly and you know that Scotch people are of a modest and retiring disposition – (laughter) – at least, we claim to be that – strangely enough other people don’t always seem to see it. (Renewed laughter).  We admit, however, that occasionally, for instance on Hallowe’en and St Andrew’s Day we do relax a little and indulge in some allusions to what we consider national characteristics.  But even then the thing should be clearly understood: when we celebrate our attachment to Scotland, it is not with any idea of disparaging other nationalities, which, hand in hand with us, we trust will continue to build up the prosperity of this great Dominion. (Cheers.) Here, in Canada for instance, we ought especially to value, as I am sure we do, the sturdy and robust qualities of the Englishman – qualities which originally built up the grand and free constitution of England, which has spread, like a mighty tree, throughout the world with the extension of the British Empire. (Applause.) I am delighted to hear of St George’s Societies, as well as societies of St Andrew and St Patrick.  Look, too, at the share which the Irish nationality, with its brilliant qualities, has taken in the same work.  (Hear, Hear)  Yes, we need the “triple alliance” of the rose, the thistle and the shamrock, and intertwined with them the maple leaf. (Great applause.) So we hope that neither our English nor our Irish friends will misunderstand the enthusiasm of Scotch people on a Scottish night.  As to England, Scotchmen have in the past shown their appreciation of the older country.  Do we not know of the historic Scot who declared that before he had been two hours in London “bang went sixpence?”  (Great laughter)  It is, perhaps, a little odd that you should be amused by such an observation, for I was taught when young (that is, when I obtained part of my education in England) that Scotchmen do not understand jokes.  I confess I have always wondered why, if that is the case, they are so fond of making jokes, or at least attempting to make them. (Laughter) I have heard it said that a majority of the jokes sent to “Punch” emanate from Scotchmen, but I don’t know if it was a Scotchman who once said to the editor of a comic paper, “I suppose you must get a great many funny things sent to you in the course of a year?” “Oh,” said the editor, “you have no idea, I assure you.”  “Well,” said the other, interrupting him, “why don’t you put them in?” (Much laughter) I believe that joke, at any rate, was not inserted!  His Excellency then made cordial and graceful reference to the bunches of heather which had been presented to himself and Lady Aberdeen, and to their children and party.  In the course of the evening His Excellency referred to the death of Sir John Abbot, remarking that though the gathering was of a social and even festive character, yet it would not be out of harmony with its purpose if they were to remember with sympathy those who were in sorrow.  He suggested that the pipers should be requested to play a pibroch funeral march adding that to Scotchmen, and especially to Highlanders, nothing was more suggestive of solemnity and pathos than the mournful strains of a pibroch lament.

Before their Excellencies left the hall a beautiful bouquet of flowers, draped with the Gordon tartan, was presented to Her Excellency the Countess of Aberdeen.  The vice-regal party left amid the “hip, hip, hurrahs” of the whole assemblage.

Romance of a Summer Girl, Winnipeg, 1919

Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 15 September 1919, page 6

Romance of a Summer Girl, by Zoe Beckley

(Dorothy, aged 26, is spending the summer at Lively Beach, having staked her job and $500 in savings on the chance of winning a suitable husband during the summer.  These are here letters home to Joan, her chum.)

Silversand Lake, Monday

Darling Joan:

So it IS Randy: I am pretty sure now.  All right, dear, I’m honestly glad. May you be as happy as your openness and sweetness entitle you to be.  Tell old Randy not to forget me even when you two have your home together. Set apart a room for me, Joanie – I’m beginning to believe it will be an old maid’s room, so you’d better furnish it primly, and to be sure to have a cat basket. I shall want a cat.

We had a wonderful party at the hotel tonight.  Perhaps your letter made me a little blue and envious.  Anyhow, I put on my nicest frock (they’re getting a shade shabby now) did my hair its prettiest, and fared forth to have as gay a time as I knew how.

Tom Benedict said I looked “more deadly” than Anita Corley. And when I got mad at him for comparing me to that vampire he laughed.

“You wouldn’t want me to tell you you looked perfectly harmless would you?” he asked.  “Because you don’t and you aren’t and you know it.  I think I’d better keep held of you this evening or you’ll polish off that Walsh fellow and break the English lady’s heart.”

So I started off the evening with Tom while Anita Corley glared like a lioness stalking her evening meal.  Later another nice man or two whirled me off into the dancing.  Then came “porching” as they call it – mild flirtations that happen mostly on dance-nights and when the moon is full – and more dancing, a stroll by the lake, a “sit-out” or two in the arbour, refreshments, more “porching” and another frivolous evening was done!

I had a good time.  Yet I kept thinking of your letter with its picture of genuine things – things that are true and lasting and can be built upon.  Long after the music had ended and folks gone to bed, I sat in my room and thought.

I saw you and Randy in a darling bright new home with a shining kitchen and a sunny living room with a garden and a garage out back for the new car.  I can see possessions collecting about you. I can see improvements and additions, a new bit of land bought, an extension added to the house, a sun parlor and nursery – oh, everything that means permanence, creation, growth!

Then I look about me.  What is my home?  A cubbyhole in a palatial summer hotel. What do I possess? A few rags of clothes, a steamer trunk, a dozen books.  I can shove them all into a taxi and move in half an hour to some new cubbyhole which means no more than the last.

To be sure, there are interesting people about me, and plenty of entertainment, friends even.  But what do they mean to me?  Not one of them is part of my life; not even Eric Wallis or Tom.

As I write, dear, I see Eric and Mrs Kymbal walking beside the lake in the faint glow of the Chinese lanterns. Their arms are linked.  Their heads are close.  They are having their talk.  are they, like you, building something happy and permanent?  I wonder. They look so.  Joan, I have a feeling that I am concerned somewhere in the talk of theirs.  I sense that something is in store for me.  Is it peace or pain or happiness?

I wonder.

Oh, Joan, what has your letter done to me!  For all of the gayety that surrounds me here, I am longing tonight for something simple and true like you and – Bentsville.

I will write you of Mary Kymbal and Eric as soon as I learn.



Give us a Light! Winnipeg, 1902

wpg daily tribune 1902-7-9 p3

Winnipeg Daily Tribune 9 July 1902 -page 3

“Give us a Light”

said the Earth to the sun: “I have caught the aroma of that Lucina Cigar.”

“With pleasure,” says the sun, “Just note that every rosy, sweet flavor as well.”


Marriage of Prince Adolphus of Teck, 1894

Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 12 December 1894, page 4

Royal Wedding Today

London, Dec 12- The marriage of Prince Adolphus of Teck, son of the Duke and Duchess of Teck, cousins to Queen Victoria, and Lady Margaret Grosvenor, daughter of the Duke of Westminster, the richest man in the British Empire,, and who is said to own about half the land upon which London stands, was solemnized today at the regal residence of the Duke, on the outskirts of Chester.  The event was shorn of much of the expected pomp and ceremony by the absence of the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales, the health of the sovereign not permitting her attendance.  The royal family was represented by the Duke and Duchess of York and the Duke of Cambridge.  Among the other witnesses to the ceremony were the father, mother and the brother of the groom and the family of the bride. The ceremony was performed by the Rt Rev Francis John Jayne, Bishop of Chester, and who was assisted by Rev Canon GR Feilden.  Prince Francis of Teck, brother of the groom, officiated as best man, and the bridesmaids were two half-sisters of the bride, Honourable Beatrice Cavendish and Helen Grosvernor and her four nieces. The bridal costume was a magnificent white corded silk robe, decolette with Empire sleeves and elaborately covered with pear lace.  Over it was a bridal veil of lace of the sixteenth century, a gift of the Queen.  The bride wore a coronet of diamonds, the gift of the groom. After the ceremony, the couple departed for Hileshall Hall, the Duke’s residence, near Newport.

At the clubs some spicy gossip is afloat concerning the conditions of the marriage to-day.  The Teck family, as is well known, is almost as poor as the proverbial church-mouse, and he has been spending more money than ever in keeping up appearances since his daughter became the Duchess of York, and hence in all probability a future king’s consort. The Duke’s daughter however wanted a title, and it is said the duke was induced to set up a dowry of three-quarters of a million dollars, to be under the exclusive control of the bride and to allow the young couple $40,000 a year for their joint use.  It is also understood that the Queen has decreed to give them an allowance of $10,000 annually, while the father of the groom has insured his life in their favor for a half-millions dollars. The Prince has been considerable of a young sport in his day, being known as “Dolly” but he is said to have sown all of his wild oats and to have become a fairly dignified citizen.


Christmas doll, Winnipeg, 1911

Winnipeg Tribune, 11 December 1911 page 8

winnipeg tribune 1911-12-11 p8

Daily Christmas Hint

A Wash Doll for the Little Girl You Love


To make this doll take no 4 knitting cotton.  Wind thirty-two times around a nineteen inch book for arms.  Tie at ends with baby ribbon, leaving one and for hands.  For the body wind the cotton around a twenty-two inch book.  Wind it close at one end, where it is knotted with baby ribbons. Cut sixty strands of the cotton about halfway down.  Make of this two plaits.  Cut the other end of cotton to form skirt.  On taking from book tie in two inches from the top to form the head. Slip in the arms.  Add baby ribbons and bells to suit fancy.  Paint the features.

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