Montreal Daily Star, 3 July 1877, page 2
Dominion Day in Town
A Deserted City – How it Looked in the Afternoon – A Quiet and Slow Time
Montreal began to empty very early yesterday morning. The excursions, of which due notice will be found elsewhere, attracted great crowds, and there was a busy time of it at the various places of rendezvous. Steamboats and trains swallowed up their thousands, and by noon all who could possibly get away had gone.
The celebration of the day was general and complete enough to satisfy all who believe in a quiet observance, and a general unbending from the cares of business and avoidance of a set demonstration. Quiet is, perhaps, hardly the term for the state of things yesterday. If Sundays were only as tranquilly kept, Montreal would be a model Sabbatharian city. Sunday was, comparatively speaking, a day of uproar to what yesterday was. Pompeii or Herculaneum could hardly present stiller streets than those of Montreal yesterday.
The newspaper chronicler, that passionless being who is presumed to take no further interest in the doing of mortals save that involved in securing a good report of them, rose from his place yesterday and went out in search of news. He might as well have gone looking for pearls at the market wharf. There was none. Not an item stirred. St James Street hung out bunting, but her highways were deserted. A blind woman sat on the doorstep of the Methodist Church grinding out the conspirator’s chorus in “La Fille de Madame Angot” in long metre, but though the voice of her excruciating instrument lifted itself up in the chief place of concourse, it fared no better than that of Wisdom, for no man regarded her. A child of the sunny south with a red nose and a cage of fortune telling canaries had the run of the Place d’Armes, but there was none anxious to speed into the future. A policeman dragged his frame along Notre Dame Street, looking as if nature had played a “skin game” on him, for verily he seemed like one that had trod alone some banquet well deserted, and indeed that was what was the trouble with most of the banqueting had in the shape of restaurants with which sapient licence commission has so bountifully bestrewed our city. Along the wharf a few “sunfish” browsed cheerlessly. The strawberries in the afternoon took the [illegible] of the wilted concerns which, having lain over since Saturday, were sought to be passed over to a guileless public, but purchasers were not to be had. The strawberry eaters were away sniffing the fresh air of the country. There was an air of respose about the police stations, the charge sheets telling no strikingly new story of human weakness. The fountains in the Viger gardens played not to the accustomed crowds of bairns and nurses or afternoon promenaders, for had they not taken what our French neighbours term the key of the fields and gone where woodbine and other flowers are given to twining. All was desertion and desolation, as the shopkeepers who persisted in keeping open found to their vexation. And so the chronicler toiled along, finding no rest for the sole of his foot, and only relieved from stagnation by the blare of an advertising ba[illegible]. As he got to the door of the office he saw a picture of Dominion Day happiness in the shape of a yellow dog winking one eye to give the other rest in the interval of snapping at flies, and he closed the door upon the world preparatory to moralizing over the empty budget of his note book.
Verily Montreal was “not at home” yesterday.