Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



Manitoba Scientist finds world’s largest dinosaur – 1925

Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 15 Jan 1925 page 1

Manitoba Scientist finds world’s largest dinosaur

Prof WE Cutler Makes big find in East Africa

Local man leading scientific Expedition for British Museum

Dinosaur located in Tendaguru Field

Prof WE Cutler of the faculty of the University of Manitoba, now leading a research expedition in British East Africa has found the largest dinosaur skeleton ever discovered, according to word received in Winnipeg today.

Prof Cutler’s scientific explorations are being conducted on behalf of the British Museum near Tendaguru, 69 miles north of Lindi, in Africa, where German scientists, before the War, found specimens of skeletons of gigantic pre-historic reptiles.

Prof Cutler left Winnipeg about eight months ago, going first to England, and sailing from there for Africa.  He had as chief assistant Mr. LSR Leakey, a Kenya-born Cambridge student, who preceded him to Africa to handle the transport and make general arrangements for the expedition.

Leakey back in London

Mr. Leakey has now returned to London with specimens, photographs and the story of the results to date.

Prof Cutler’s party took up the exploration work where the German scientists left off, and it is the opinion of members of the group now that the field work at Lindi had only been touched by the earlier efforts.

The dinosaur skeleton, parts of which the party has located, is from eight to 10 million years old, according to Prof Cutler’s opinion.  It has a probably height of 20 feet and an estimated length of 80 feet.  A shoulder blade, the largest bone so far unearthed, measured 74 inches across and needed 16 men to lift it.

Bones found

A femur measuring 65 inches and a tibia of 54 inches are among the other bones reclaimed.

Hundreds of dinosaur bones are being dug up by Prof Cutler, and discoveries of vast importance to the scientific world are expected shortly.

The presence of the giant reptiles at the spot at Tendaguru is attributed to drowning.  The subsoil there is soft clay.  In long forgotten ages it was, Prof Cutler believes, on the shore of the sea beside which the dinosaurs wandered in herds. Now and then one would step into clay too yielding for such a huge animal, sink and smother to death.

Prof Cutler, before he undertook the expedition, was laboratory assistant in the geological branch at Manitoba University.

He first came into prominence through his discoveries of fossil vertebrae in the Red River Valley.

wpg tribune image


Finds skeleton of big reptile

Prof WE Cutler

Prof Cutler, who is conducting the scientific explorations for the British Museum in East Africa, has found the “Largest Dinosaur” skeleton in history, Winnipeg friends learned today.


Considering Pedestrians, 2019

Considering Pedestrians

As I wait at my bus stop dodging the cyclists who have decided that the sidewalk is a great bike path, regardless of what the law states, I think about how marginalized the pedestrian has become. Planners seem to concentrate their interest on how traffic flows – and think of motorized vehicles and bicycles will navigate their roads. I am tired of it.

The Sidewalk

The sidewalk is the specially dedicated area for pedestrians to navigate the city’s streets, but there are many areas in the Ottawa/Gatineau region where there aren’t any at all. A lot of the subdivisions, areas set out with single family homes, near schools and parks that have no sidewalks.  The streets are narrower, and the single or double car garages overflow their parking into them.  Some streets, after their residents have parked on the streets are so narrow that there is only enough room for one car to pass.  In the summer this is not ideal, in the winter with the large snowbanks and parked cars they are outright dangerous.

The cities’ industrial areas never have sidewalks, because the thinking is clearly that no one is expected to use the streets as pedestrians. I especially ‘like’ the areas around bus stops, which either have a small square of concrete around the stop sign, or nothing at all. No thought is given to the embarking or disembarking passenger.  If they don’t think that these people will be walking to any location near the stop, why do they have a bus stop?

Bike Lanes

Both Ottawa and Gatineau have designated bike lanes, and there are more in the works.  They are used, but not by all cyclists.  I have walked next to these lanes on the sidewalk and still have had to dodge the bikes. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of cyclists obey the traffic rules, and bike where they are supposed to.  However, the ones that don’t make being a pedestrian dangerous.

Funny story – Ottawa build this lovely, spacious bike lane on Mackenzie Avenue behind the American Embassy.  It cost a couple of million dollars.  A few weeks after it was opened the city had to install signs on the sidewalk across the street which said that the bikes had to use the bike lane, not the sidewalk.  I cannot tell you how many times I saw bikes whiz pass that sign without any problem.  The signs are now gone, but the cyclists are still using the sidewalk.  I guess the city gave up.

My bus stop getting home is located on Wellington Street, just in front of the Parliament buildings.  It is on the sidewalk, and it is busy.  There are tons of pedestrians waiting for the bus, or tourists walking to and from the sites nearby.  And then there are the cyclists who think this is a bike lane and rush up and down the sidewalk, making pedestrians move out of the way.  Some ring their bells warning people to move.  I suppose that is considerate of them, but it does not make what they are doing any more legal. Wellington Street is not the only place that this occurs.

Until by-laws regarding non-pedestrians’ use of sidewalks are enforced, that is the reality – SIDEWALKS ARE CONTROLLED BY THE BIGGER AND THE FASTER – NOT THE BY-LAWS.

Public Transit

Most urban governments talk about public transit as important, but they don’t think about how the people who use it have to move around to access it. There is no door-to-door service.  People have to walk to the nearest stop, safely.  That this is part of the process is rarely considered. Until they drop me off at my door, or at the door of my destination, or develop teleportation, I am going to have to walk some parts of my route. Sometimes it is several minutes at each end.  Shouldn’t there be a sidewalk?

At the heart of every transportation plan there should be the thought that there is a pedestrian.  People will have to get out of their cars, out of the busses, or get off their bicycles to reach their destination.

bike photo
Photo taken in March 2019 – This is not just a summer thing!

St Patrick’s Church Research, 1998

St Patrick’s Basilica – from website:,_Montreal

Recently I gave a presentation on the history of St Patrick’s Church in the church hall – which was wonderful!  I was asked about a petition I cited in my MA Thesis, and about who was on the list.  It was a good question, and of interest to many historians and genealogists. So I decided to go back to my notes from the thesis and get out the documents.  Unfortunately, this was 1998 so my notes were on a 3 1/2 floppy, but I had printouts.  So I am attaching them as PDFs here in this post for people to look at.

donation list 1841

This is a list of those donations made between 1841-1843 to the Fundraising Committee of St Patrick’s Church, which was administered by prominent members of the congregation.  I took the list when I transcribed it and put it in alphabetical order.  There are 370 entries, some donations are in dollars, some in Halifax Pounds.

The source information: St Patrick’s Church Minute Book, 1841-1843, St Patrick’s Basilica Archives.

1833 petition

This is a petition sent to the Rev Quiblier, who was the Superior of the Seminary of St Sulpice, in Montreal.  The congregation of the Recollet Church asked for an enlargement of the said church, and a High Mass every Sunday.  The document was handwritten, and unfortunately I was not able to decipher every signature.

The Source information: Petition, Section 27, voute 2, T-97 #188, Archives du Seminaire de Saint-Sulpice, Montreal.




Grandfather’s cigarette case – questions

I have this cigarette case which belonged to my grandfather and I treasure it.  However, I do have some questions as to why he was presented this item.

First – an image of the item.


The case is a Birks silver case, with cedar lining.  I use it for the ink of my fountain pen – I don’t smoke.

The engraving says “Hugh J Leitch from the Town of Hampstead in appreciation of his services as alderman, 1948-1949”

Not that I doubt that he was a good alderman, but for his work as one for one year?  I believe that was the length of one term.  Why was he presented with a gift at the end of the work?  Did all the aldermen get presentation gifts?  Was this special? Was he elected as alderman?

This is the only evidence I have of him having any kind of political life. He did serve a year as Assistant Director General of Naval Shipbuilding, during the Second World War. Beyond that he was an engineer, then sales manager for Dominion Bridge.

A month ago I did make an inquiry at the archives for the municipality of Hampstead.  Patience is a virtue, so I await news.



Upcoming talk….. 2019

If anyone is interested I will be speaking at the BIFHSGO meeting this Saturday.  No admission – all welcome.

Monthly Meeting: June 8

The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

10:00 to 11:30 am


A Dark Chapter in a Successful Life – Nigel Lloyd

Edward Lloyd, was one of the 19th Century’s most successful publishers and newspaper proprietors. His paper, Lloyds Weekly News, became the only newspaper in Britain to have a circulation of more than a million copies in the nineteenth century. This talk focuses on his private life: He had nineteen children by three different women. While sorting out these relationships, a dark chapter is revealed.

A Poor Racine – Mike Jaques

The Times newspaper in 1854 published an article about poverty in Bethnal Green, London, and made mention of “a poor Racine”.  Research to try to identify this Racine and determine whether he was a relative resulted in an unexpected discovery.

Finding Frances – Gillian Leitch

Wife of Jean Victor Baron and then John Inigo Wright, mother to Richard John Baron and John William Wright, daughter of Richard Guise and Elizabeth Windham, younger sister of Sarah Elizabeth Cutler: these have been the only ways of knowing Frances.  She has been an enigma.  Through a lot of research, spots of good luck and great help her identity and her life in late 18th and early 19th century London has become a “Great Moment” in research.

Family Fiction, Facts Found – Roberta (Bobby) Kay

Family stories often suffer the fate of the “telephone game”.  There is usually some truth in the family legends, but they morph and take on a life of their own over the generations until it is sometimes difficult to discern the real truth of the matter.  Unraveling the stories about the Swinn family of Lincolnshire produced just such twisted stories, interesting facts and delightful details.

A New System of Play, Glengarry, 1894

Glengarry News, 15 June 1894, page 4


A new system of Play

Struck by the fact that the present crowding of houses in cities is unfavourable to the free exercise of children in play, such as prevailed when man lived in a more scattered way, Prof AT Skidmore has sketched a scheme for the evolution of a new system of play.  Even under the prevailing conditions the way for the development of proper play is just as open as for anything else while its development requires the genius of thought and well directed business enterprise.  The professor’s plan rests upon the principle that play is the exercise of faculties as such, the doing for the sake of the doing.  It is nature working toward her end in the child by prompting to the free, objectless exercise of those expansive powers which he sees at work in real life. If he sees this way open and he has the needful facilities he will imitate so closely in miniature the activities of the age to which he belongs that his play will not be a nuisance, so discordant as to be intolerable.  The greatest objection to this theory, as it appears to us, is to make the boy a man before his time by “prompting” him to give up all the old-fashioned sports and merely be imitative of his elders in the ways and methods of advanced life.  It remains to ask what is he going to do when he becomes a man.

Highland Games in Canada – CBC Broadcast – Scottish Home Service – 1947

Falkirk Herald, 2 Jul 1947, page 3


Highland Games Canada


On Tuesday, 8th July at 7:45 pm the Scottish Home Service is broadcasting a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation feature on the Highland Games held this year at Hamilton, Ontario.  Scots from all over the Dominion have come from all over the Dominion have come to demonstrate their prowess in tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, piping, Highland dance, fiddling and all the other events of such a gathering as it is held in the land of their forefathers Scotland.  There are very many people of Highland descent in Canada, particularly in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, where Gaelic is spoken.  The exiles have cherished the traditions of their homeland in language, music and song, and events such as the Highland Games.  Highlanders in particular will be interested to hear about the Highland Games in which their brother Scots overseas are taking part.

Murder of Bruce Leitch, Sand Point, ON, 1917

Montreal Gazette, 18 Jul 1917, page 7

Renfrew Crown Attorney on Holidays and Substitute could not attend

Doctor is indignant

Authorities would not allow girl to be brought to Montreal Hospital – Bennett’s parents arrive

(Special to the Gazette]

Arnprior, Ont – July 17 – The Inquest into the death of the late Lieut Bruce M Leitch of Montreal, the returned officer who was shot and killed by William Bennett, former sweetheart of Leitch’s bride, near Sand Point on Monday afternoon, was postponed until tomorrow morning.  It was to have been held here tonight, but the Crown attorney is on his holidays and the substitute appointed could not attend until tomorrow.

Coroner Dr A Armstrong and Chief of Police JW Hunt met tonight and empanelled a jury.   Among the witnesses who will be called will be the mother and the brother of the girl, who are now at her bedside, and the men who were first at the scene of the shooting and who late helped to carry Bennett to the station, and heard him say he was sorry he didn’t make a better job of it, as he couldn’t bear to see them happy together while he was so miserable. That only one verdict is possible under the circumstances is the assumption here, and it is not expected that the enquiry will be long one.

A report brought from the Victoria Hospital, Renfrew, says that Bennett, who attempted suicide after killing Leitch and shooting his bride twice, is in a very critical condition.  Dr James Mann, who is attending him declared his chances for recovery were very poor.  There was a bare possibility that the optic nerve had not been severed, as it was first thought, and that Bennett’s blindness is due to pressure on the nerves cause by the bullet in his head.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, the father and mother of the young man, arrived at Renfrew this evening and were at once taken to their son.  The latter is quite conscious and an affectionate meeting took place.

Removal of girl refused

The coroner and the Crown Attorney refused to sanction the removal of Mrs. Leitch from the hotel at Sand Point to the General Hospital in Montreal.  When a wire was sent to JH Burrill, KC of Pembroke, crown attorney of Renfrew County, asking him to attend the inquest here tonight, it was learned that he was away on holidays at Belleville.  He was reached by telegram there and replied instructing JH Reeves barrister of Pembroke to take his place.  Reeves notified Coroner Armstrong that he would be unable to come to Arnprior until Wednesday morning, and he agreed with the coroner that the girl had better be detained in her room at Young’s Hotel, Sand Point, until after the inquest was held.

Dr WA Cameron of Arnprior who has been attending the girl, expressed considerable indignation when discussing her detention here. He said she was in need of good hospital treatment, and that it was an injustice to keep her here until tomorrow afternoon.  Her mother and brother, who were rushed here as soon as word of the shooting reached Montreal, had intended taking her back to Montreal on the Soo train.  The Doctor said his patient, unless complications get in, would recover.  One of the bullets passed through her right lung, and the other went under the right ear, along the roof of the mouth and lodged below the lobe of the left ear. This morning the girl was rational and bright, and talked a little, though she seemed to be a little deaf and Dr Cameron thinks the bullet may have ruptured the membrane of the ear.

Harry Lauder in Montreal, 1917

Montreal Gazette, 24 November 1917, page 5

Harry Lauder

Who sings tonight at His Majesty’s Theatre makes Victor records exclusively.

A few favorite “Lauder” selections on “His Master’s Voice” records

Breakfast in Bed on Sunday Morn …70063

Wearing Kilts………………………………….60004

We Parted on the Shore………………..70013

Roamin’ in the Gloamin’……………….70061

She’s the Lass for Me…………………….60107

We will be pleased to play these and any other records which you may be interested in, at any of Our three Montreal stores.

Berliner Gram-o-phone Co Montreal Ltd

Don’t forget

The only authorized dealers in “his Master’s Voice” products in Montreal are:

Berliner Gram-o-phone Co Limited 355 St Catherine St W; 417 St Catherine St W; 279 St Catherine St E

JL Danis 295 Centre Street, Point St Charles

Foisy Freres Incorp 201 St Catherine St E

John Ferns 249 Laurier Ave w

JA Jarret 1426 Ontario Street E

S Flanz 792-794 St Lawrence Blvd

George V Kneen 515 St Catherine Street Maisonneuve

Schacther & Hendelman 98 St Louis cor 9th Ave, Lachine Que

WJ Whiteside 588 St Catherine St W

These eleven firms and these ONLY are our authorized dealers to sell Victrolas and Victor Records or any other “His Master’s Voice” products.

Remember there are no others.


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