Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



A historian and traveller.

12th of July, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Gazette, 6 July 1877, page 2

THE TWELFTH OF JULY – Many rumors have been circulated pro and con during the past few days relative to the Twelfth of July and an Orange parade on that day.  In an interview with Ald Wilson, Chairman of Police, the latter remarked that he did not apprehend any trouble on the day in question; in fact he thought there was much more speculation in than reason for the rumors to the contrary.  The following letters have passed relative to the affair, and were omitted accidentally from the Gazette of yesterday:-

[copy] Orange Hall, no 81 St James Street

Montreal, July 3, 1877

Sir – I have been instructed by the Celebration Committee to write to you, to inform you that the Orangemen of the city intend to celebrate the anniversary of the 12th July by having a peaceable religious ceremony at some place to be hereinafter named, if they are allowed so to do without being molested with on the way.

But having been threatened with violence, we ask and claim the protection of the police.

And we also intend to claim military protection, in order to assist the civil authorities.

I am, sir,

Yours, etc

John Hamilton

Secretary C Committee

To His Worship the Mayor

Mayor’s Office, City Hall

Montreal, 4th July 1877

John Hamilton, Esq, Secretary Orange Celebration Committee:-

Sir, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, in which you inform me that the Orangemen of the city intend celebrating the anniversary of the 12th of July, by a religious ceremony and procession.

I will state in reply, that I am advised that inasmuch as the Association referred to in your letter is not legally constituted, it has no right to claim as a body any further protection from the civic authorities than that which every citizen is individually entitled to under ordinary circumstances.

I may add, that in view of the excitement and ill-feeling which the proposed demonstration is likely to create in our mixed community, and the many threatening rumors which have recently reached me, and anxious as I am that the harmony and good feeling characterized the relations between the different creeds and nationalities, of which our fair city is composed, should be preserved, I would most earnestly and confidently entreat the Orangemen to reconsider their decision, and, as good and loyal citizens, to avoid in their celebration any outside demonstration which may provoke a conflict, the evil consequence of which could not but be most deplorable.

I have the honor to be, Sir

Your most obedient servant,

Jean Louis Beaudry

Mayor of the City of Montreal


Caledonian Games, Montreal, 1873

Alloa Advertiser, 20 Sep 1873 p2

The Caledonian Games at Montreal – the eighteenth annual athletic sports of the Caledonian Society of Montreal were held in Decker’s Park on 21st August, and were a great success.  Over 3000 people were present.  Great interest was taken by the Canadians in the games, more especially those regarded as more exclusively Scotch – putting the stone, Highland dancing, bagpipe playing.  At the dinner held at the close of the gathering, the President, Dr JT Finnie occupied the chair; and the Mayor of Montreal, Col Fletcher, Col Stevenson and a large company were present.  It was suggested that the society should devote its attention more to literary matters, and should bring out some of the most popular lecturers from Scotland; and this, we believe, is to be acted upon.

St Andrew’s Day, Montreal, 1822

The Scribbler, Montreal – 26 Dec 1822 pgs 4-6


Laprairie, 10th Dec

Mr LL MacCulloch

Saint Andrew, with his wintery robes, has been so ill received by his Mount Royal children [I never before knew St Andrews day pass in Montreal, without two or more public dinners.  It has been said that the chief persons of note of the Scotch nation, being all conspicuous unionists, and having been stigmatised as a Scotch faction, determined on discouraging a meeting on St Andrew’s Day, alleging that it would add to the popular opinion of their caballing together, and confirm that party-designation, by which they are now generally known.  The paltry and vulgar pride that prevented a ball taking place that evening, is exposed in the sequel; and well do such beggarly sentiments deserve exposure. LLM] that he has deigned to honour this place with a visit on his natal day.  A select party of his would-be sons assembled at Mr Campbell’s to indulge in the pleasures of national partiality, and to criticise wiser and better men than themselves, as well as to partake of the comforts of the feast. The room was decorated with numerous transparencies and emblems of the “native soil”.  (I cannot say whether they had a fiddle;) and the whole, the dinner particularly, did great credit to the landlord.  When it was on table, the hoarse tones of a hoarse bagpipe, summoned the party to the gorge. The gathering of the clans, seemed however, rather out of place, when the native countries of the guests are considered, and a Dutch medley might have been better. The gallant Old Buck presided, and filled the chair with the consequential dignity of a feudal chieftain, though he did not seem to be so much at home as when acting the quack-doctor before a dozen squaws in an Indian wigwam. Daddy Dull, who makes his scholars smart, was the nightingale of the day, and, occasionally giving a stave or two of the pathetic, made himself more agreeable, than when reciting his Sunday prayer, with his covenanting whine.  Mr Billytap was also one of the select, and, as usual, put too much brandy in his water: at his earnest request, the pleasure of his company was soon dispensed with, and (as the president did shortly after) he walked into the street, and laid himself comfortably down on a pile of wood near the door, where he slept for two hours, in a heavy rain, until he was as completely drenched without as he was within.  Mr Shortleg Donaldson, shewed his wit by his manners, but, being young and thoughtless, it is not surprising he should behave a little foolishly.  Another genius marshalled the decanters in a truly bacchanalian style, and displayed his soaking qualities so wonderfully, that one would have thought him a sponge. The rest were well Dunn up, and looked as Dow-dy as you please. Another distinguished guest had been invited, but to the great uneasiness of the party, did not make his appearance in due time: it appeared that, having set off in high spirits, the grocer found when he got almost within smell of the haggis, that he had put an old coat on, by mistake, so he thought it behoved Mac to lean towards home again to change it, and crossed the St Lawrence for the purpose.

After dinner, the jovial cup passed and repassed in flowing bumpers, to the numerous toasts which had been prepared for the occasion?  And certainly most of them were the worse for wear, and may easily be traced by looking over old newspapers; that, however is nothing, and is perfectly excusable, as the whole party could not have made them of their own, without pilfering.  But, Mr Scribbler, here comes the rub. I should not have thought it worth my, or your while, to have given you an account of a dinner, attended by eight or nine persons, and those almost entirely insignificant characters; had this party not been puffed in the Montreal Herald, where it occupied full half a column; and why? Because in the plentitude of their folly, these cacklers, wanting to have something to distinguish themselves by, gave amongst their toasts, one in favour of the union of the two provinces, and stigmatising the opposers of that measure as illiberal, designing and ignorant. Ignorant, indeed! But fools always think themselves wise men: the lord have pity upon these uneducated ninnies! But, it is right that every man should have and maintain, his own opinion, but, in social meetings, party questions should never be introduced.  However, without this, these eight or nine blockheads would neither have made a figure in the Herald, nor have been, by reaction, immortalized in the Scribbler.

As to the second part of the fete, suffice it to say that, its etoient tous fous naturellement, and as Sawney says, by the frequent tasting “the joys of the shell,” they were a’ fou. Burns’ much admired song on Bannockburn, was sung by the whole party, but the following parody, will better describe the finish.


Scots let’s nae gang yet to bed,

Till grog has filled each empty head,

Till a’ our senses far hae fled,

Till we nae mair can see.

This is the boozing hour of night;

Drink till a’ our eyes are white

Noise must be when fools unite,

Sae noisy let us be.

Wha wadna’ swill till roarin fou,

The beer that yon mon there doth brew?

And so we’ll a’ be drunk enow,

Then push about the bree.

Wha for Aundra loud wull ca’?

Wha for Bacchus gies hurra?

Like topers sup, like topers fa’

Then tak a dram wi’ me.

By rum, brandy, wine and gin,

By all the liquids, thick and thin,

We will drink till day peeps in,

For we shall not, shall not flee.


This bold resolution, however, was soon laid aside, when they were informed that it was Sunday morning, and that no singing or drinking would be allowed after twelve on Saturday night.  They then reeled off singing,


Bid McKay na’ longer blow,

Lay the noisy piper low,

To bed let us a’ reeling go,

Nid noddin a’ are we


Your’s faithfully,

Nicodemus Watch-em.

Re-Living the Television Shows of my Youth, 2018


When I was a kid I used to watch Batman.  It was already an old show when I watched, in the afternoons, but for me, and for my brother, it was like new.  I vividly remember the fight scenes with the Kapows, Bams, etc., as Batman and Robin vanquished the evil villains like Joker, Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman.  It was fun to watch.

And now I am watching it again and it is like a whole new series.  Sure there is still the greatly fun fight scenes, but I am an adult now, so I am seeing other things.  I am also placing the faces of the actors, and it is all so new and fresh.

Here are some reflections:

  • First of all I cannot believe that I didn’t think that the costumes for the caped crusaders were so cool – they are just plain odd. I look at them and wonder why they would wear such ugly tights.
  • I marvel at how the commissioner of police and the police chief are always in the commissioner’s office
  • How can Batman finish one conversation off with the commissioner as Bruce Wayne then start another as Batman and the commissioner cannot hear the similarities in the voice?
  • How was it that only at the end of season two Robin got his driver’s license? One episode he actually had to catch a bus from the highway near the batcave to save batman.  How?
  • Why did Batgirl have such a seriously lame theme song when she went on her motorbike?
  • Joan Collins as Siren – too much fun!
  • I love that every episode Batman had a bat-something to detect, prevent, unglue, or something. The prop guys in that show must have had such fun creating the things.  My favourite was the bat-brain analyzer which was really a souped up old over the head hair dryer from a salon.
  • Why did so many villains have underground grottoes?
  • Black Widow was played by Tallulah Bankhead – She was delightful – but so different from Scarlett Johansen.
  • I love that Alfred the Butler had a regular way to get to the batcave, but Batman and Robin always entered and exited the place from Wayne Manor by pole. I think Alfred had the better option.
  • Bruce Wayne was never called Bruce Wayne in the series – he was always “Millionaire Bruce Wayne”


Having a great time reliving old adventures with new eyes.  And while some series from my youth seem to have paled in retrospect (such as the Hardy Boys) Batman still entertains.  Sure it is different from what I remember, but it is still fun, and funny.

How to sell your husband (and yourself) on an electric dishwasher, Toronto, 1965

The Globe Magazine

24 April 1965, pg. 13

How to sell your husband (and yourself) on an electric dishwasher

  1. Tell him it saves time. You can easily prove this.  During one week, record every minute you spend washing and drying dishes.  Multiply that figure by 52.  Then in a cool, logical way, tell your husband how much time an electric dishwasher will save ou in just one year. It will [illegible] you too! If there are four in your family you will spend at least 225 hours a month doing dishes – a whole working month!
  2. Tell him an electric dishwasher sanitizes dishes. While he is still reeling over all the time you can save show him more figures.  This time, you can talk about bacteria.  University medical research has found the bacteria count on hand-washed plates averaged 390.  The average count on dishwasher-washed plates was under 5! (Dishwashers use water much hotter than hands can stand.  And really hot water kills germs.) Ask your husband to think about the number o family colds you could discourage with an electric dishwasher.
  3. Tell him about your hands. Caress his cheek. Then tell him your touch will be even smoother when your hands aren’t in dirty dishwater three times a day, every day of the year. Talk about the electric touch you can have!
  4. Tell him about economy. An electric dishwasher will do a full load of dishes for 3 to 5c.  This includes heating the water and running the machine.  Also point out to your husband that an electric dishwasher saves money on detergent and towels – and it never drops a plate!  You save hot water too.  There’s no need to hand rinse dirty dishes to get them ready for an electric dishwasher.  You can load them right in from the table.
  5. Tell him about convenience. Tell him that any standard-sized dishwasher can take the whole day’s dishes of an average family in one load! Explain that there are three kinds of electric dishwashers: built-in, portable and convertible.  Built-ins go right under the kitchen counter for permanent convenience. Portables go anywhere – to the dining room for direct loading – to the cottage to give you a real summer holiday.  Convertibles are portables that can become built-ins at any time.

Tell him now!  Tell him how wonderful he is to take away the sheer monotony of washing, rinsing and drying some 48,000 dishes, glasses, pieces of cutlery, pots and pans each year. (Remind him how often he has helped in this never-ending job.) Explain how your new electric dishwasher will give you (and him) a whole working month of freedom each year.

Better go over all these points with your husband again.  It’s worth it… because when your electric dishwasher arrives, so does your Lifetime Holiday from Dishes!

Take a lifetime holiday from dishes!

Ask your electric dishwasher dealer for a demonstration of one of these leading brands:

Eaton’s Viking, Frigidaire, General Electric, Inglis, Kelvinator, Kitchen Aid, Ling-Temco, RCA, Whirlpool, Tappan-Gurney, Westinghouse.

Get out the tape-measure! Marylike Standards of Dress, California, c1973

Found this pamphlet in my travels in the archives.  It was published in 1973.  I find it amusing to see how they link modesty to morality to the Virgin Mary.  Key thing to note – we have no clue what Mary wore in her day, so these strictures are just made up by people who have nothing better to do than to worry what women wear.

Warning – I do not actually agree with this stuff – so if you take the strictures seriously, sorry.  I cannot.


Pamphlet by the Apostolate of Christian Action in California circa 1973

Marylike Standards of Modesty in Dress

Our Lady of Fatima

“O Mary conceived without sin, pray of us who have recourse to Thee”

“A Dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees.  Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper.” The Cardinal Vicar of Pope Pius XI.

1.       Marylike is modest without compromise, “like Mary,” Christ’s mother.

2.       Marylike dresses have sleeves extending at least to the elbows, and skirts reaching below the knees.  (Note: because of impossible market conditions quarter-length sleeves are temporarily tolerated with Ecclesiastical Approval, until Christian womanhood again turns to Mary as the model of modesty in dress.)

3.       Marylike dresses require full coverage for the bodice, chest, shoulders, and back; except for a cut-out about the neck not exceeding two inches below the neckline in front and in back, and a corresponding two inches on the shoulders.

4.       Marylike dresses do not admit as modest coverage transparent fabrics – laces, nets, organdy, nylons, etc. – unless sufficient backing is added.  However, their moderate use as trimmings is acceptable.

5.       Marylike dresses avoid the improper use of flesh-colored fabrics.

6.       Marylike dresses conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer; they do not emphasize unduly parts of the body.

7.       Marylike dresses provide full coverage, even after jacket, cape or stole are removed.

“Marylike” fashions are designed to conceal as much of the body as possible, rather than reveal.  This would automatically eliminate such fashions such as tight slacks, jeans, sweaters, shorts: shorts which do not reach down to the knees; sheer blouses and sleeveless dresses; etc. the Marylike standards are a guide to instill a “sense of modesty”.  A girl who follows these, and looks up to Mary as her ideal and model, will have no problem of modesty in dress.  She will not be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment or shame to others.

Keep this folder with you at all times to use as a guide when buying clothes.  Make sure that you purchase only garments which meet the Marylike standards.  “Be Marylike by being modest – be modest by being Marylike.”

Tragic Accident at Saint-Jean Bridge, 1915

La Presse, 6 Aug 1915, page 7


Traitrises de la Mort

Un contremaitre au pont de Saint-Jean a un fin tragique

Il laisse sept jeunes orphelins

Saint-Jean, Que – si cela continue las saison de 1915, sera tristement celebre en morts tragiques dans la riviere a Saint-Jean.  En effet, nous avons a enregistrer aujourd’hui la troisieme survenue depuis une quinzaine de jours.  Cette fois, c’est un père de famille, M Joseph Nolin, contremaitre des travaux du pont libre qu’on est a construire sur le Richelieu, entre Saint-Jean et Iberville.  Il s’est noye en haut du pont du Vermont Central, pres du quai du gouvernment, sur lequel on assemble les sections du pont libre pour transporter ensuite a leur place sur les pilliers.  Cet accident fatal est arrive hier soir.  M Nolin se trouvait sur le remorqueur de MM Laurin et Leitch, les entrepreneurs du pont, qui conduisait un chaland, lorsque on ne sait comment, il glissa du pont du bateau et tomba dans la riviere. Tout indique que dans sa chute il se frappa la tete sur le bord du remorqueur et s’assoma, car il porte un blessure a la tete et apres etre tombe a l’eau il ne fit aucun effort pour se sauver et ne reparut pas a la surface. On repecha son cadavre quelques instants plus tard et son corps fut transporte a la morgue de M O Langlois.  Ce matin, le coroner E N Chevalier a tenu une enquete sur la mort du malheureux Nolin, et le verdict fut celui de mort accidentelle. Le defunt était age de 32 ans.  Il laisse un femme, nee (Anna) Vallieres, et sept enfants demeurent au numero 1018 rue Orleans, a Maisonneuve, ou son corps sera transporte aujourd’hui meme.  C’était un homme tres estime.  Les ouvriers qu’il avait sous sa charge le regretteront sincerement.  M Laurin et Leitch perdent en lui un contremaitre habile et fidele. Sa fin tragique a cause beaucoup d’emoi en notre ville.

Centenarian’s Wealth Comes to the Dominion, 1914

Montreal Daily Star, 15 September 1914, page 9


Centenarian’s Wealth Comes to the Dominion

Robert Crichton, Grand Old Man, Passes Away at Age of 102

Special Cable to the Montreal Star from its own London Correspondent.

London, September 15 – A Remarkable centenarian, Scot Robert Crichton, whose wealth passes largely to Canadians in Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver, died last night at The Marden’s, Catorham, Surrey, aged 102.

Mr Crichton was born at Alyth, in Perthshire, on April 2, 1812, the son of James Crichton, of Thorn Farm, and was descended from the same family that produced “The Admiral Crichton” the Scottish scholar whose fame extended through Europe. Early in life, Mr Crichton studied law in Edinburgh, and after came in contact with Sir Walter Scott.  In 1839 he went to Australia and there made a great fortune in sheep ranching. Twenty years ago, he returned to Britain and finally settled in Surrey, at “The Mardens,” a charming estate of 50 acres.

Lived in Six Reigns

The deceased had lived in six reigns, having been born when George III was king.  He remembered the Battle of Navarino in 1827, when the combined fleets of Great Britain, France and Russia nearly destroyed the Turkish and Egyptian fleet.  Every year, he went home to Scotland for a visit.  He was a non-smoker, but loved snuff. On his 100th birthday he received a congratulatory letter from King George.  He was a handsome old man, keen and bright to the last, and in appearance resembled the great Duke of Wellington.  He can talk of Sir Walter Scott as if he had met him yesterday.

No small part of his wealth will pass to Canada.  Who and where all his relatives are, Mr Crichton himself did not know.  He did know of one however in Montreal, another in Halifax, and a third in Vancouver.


Telephone Girl Becomes Countess, 1913

Leeds Mercury, 18 Jan 1913, page 4

Telephone Girl Becomes Countess

A former telephone girl becomes a British Peeress in consequence of the death of Lord Ashburnham.  The new Countess of Ashburnham is a New Brunswick girl, who as Miss Maria Anderson, was employed as operator by the New Brunswick Telephone Company at Fredericton.  Major the Hon Thomas Ashburnham, who succeeds this brother as sixth Earl of Ashburnham, arrived in New Brunswick twelve years ago.  He married Miss Anderson in 1903. The Earl and Countess of Ashburnham will sail for England immediately.  The new Earl of Ashburnham was formerly a captain in the 7th Hussars, and an aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  He is fifty-eight years of age.

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