Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



Lord Nelson’s Monument, Montreal, 1807

The Ipswich Journal 15 August 1807, p 4

A Monument to the memory of Lord Nelson has been erected at Montreal, in Canada.  It is a pillar of solid stone, sixty feet high, surmounted by a figure of the gallant Admiral, in artificial stone, eight feet high, upon the capital.

Alligator peeking out from the snow on Nelson's Column in Montreal, 2015
Alligator peeking out from the snow on Nelson’s Column in Montreal, 2015

For the Bachelor Girl – Montreal, 1919

Montreal Standard, 8 March 1919, page 10


Tested Kitchenette Equipment

For the batchelor girl, especially the one who wants comfort and cleanliness in cooking in her tiny kitchenette, and at the same time wishes to spend very little money, the proper tools are needed. The Standard Institute has tested out scores of appliances of all sorts, sizes and prices adapted for this use, and this service is “At Your Service,” if individual housekeeping is your lot in life. The appliances can be easily adapted for two, and a good meal can be bought for the coin you give the waiter, which leaves a margin on the daily food budget for savings, recreation, or the patronizing of better classes when you are too tired or hurried to be your own chef.

If you have not got an electric coffee pot or urn, then one of the percolating pots that can sit on the small electric heater will be found very suitable, especially if not too large to heat up quickly.

Either an electric chafing dish with an extra pan or too [sic] for its serviceable electric that it might be used, or the three-storied grill shewn in the picture, which permits of toasting, baking, poaching or even frying, all on the one tiny stove.  Even delectable corn pone or muffins may be baked in the little tin when placed over the coil and covered with one of the other pans. The pan can be uncovered and slipped beneath the heat – for browning when the bread is done.

The toaster shown is the king of toasters, because it automatically reverses the bread – no futile dabs be being made at the hot slice with the fingers. On letting down the side the toast accommodatingly slides down and turns itself.

If tea is wanted instead of coffee there is a most convenient tea infuser, which is merely a large teaspoon with a perforated top, and is just the thing for the solitary drinker of tea.

If the bachelor girl aspires to the last word in economy, and is enterprising enough to put up her lunch instead of buying it, there is a scholarly lunch box of distinguished appearance that will collaborate with her.  Besides the tin case for sandwiches, fruit and cake, there is a thermos bottle to keep soup, chocolate, tea or coffee hot, or lemonade, tea or milk cold, as season or taste may dictate. The thermos bottle idea relieves the “carried luncheon” from the usual criticism.  There is nothing dry or unattractive about such a luncheon with an appetizing hot or cold liquid accompaniment. And there is much more relaxation in eating such a meal quietly, with a magazine or book for company, than in seeking it amid the clamor and rush of the average lunch room that a girl with a salary of $15 a week can afford.

News from Montreal, 1866

Ottawa Citizen, 28 December 1866, page 2

From Montreal

Montreal, Dec 27th

One Louis Latour, painter, while engaged in painting the new fire police station at Point St Charles, fell from the roof and broke his leg.

Hon Mr McGee is to deliver an address at the concert of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society on the 3rd of January.  It will be his last prior to his departure for Europe.

A woman was found dead yesterday in an unoccupied house in College street. She was lying on the floor, her face downwards, and frozen dead.  Her name is unknown, but she is believed to be one more unfortunate gone to her rest.

There was a fire last night in the Boot and Shoe store of S Anderson, 601 St Mary Street.  The stock was considerably damaged by water. How the fire originated is a mystery- supposed to be the work of an incendiary.

An attempt was made at rape on the person of a respectable looking young woman, in a field off Dorchester street, west, from whence cries of murder were heard to proceed.  It was at one o’clock am.  Messrs Ritchie and Dorwin, residents in the street, pinned the man, Daniel Mulhorn by name, and gave him into the custody of the police.  The young woman when relieved ran away.

Our police are over officious.  They upset a merry party of ladies and gentlemen who were enjoying Christmas in the home of a friend, a very respectable citizen, whom they dragged to the station without his boots hat or coat.  The Recorder, after hearing the statement of Mr HJ Clarke, Advocate, who appeared for the defence, severely reprimanded the police, and dismissed the case.

No Procession on the 12th, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 11 July 1877, page 1

No Procession on the 12th

The Orangemen Patriotically Accede to the Request of their Fellow Citizens and Abandon the Procession in the Interest of Peace

A great weight has been lifted off the city by the patriotic conduct of the Orange body in acceding to the request of their fellow citizens, and abandoning , for this year, at least, their intention of walking to the church in procession on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.  This resolution was not arrived at until a few minutes before midnight last night, and the deepest anxiety was manifested by large numbers of citizens who congregated in several places to know the result.  At St Patrick’s Hall the largest gathering with [illegible] and the heads of the Irish Societies were in session until a late hour.  The course that has been pursued reflects honor upon all concerned.  The sp[illegible] of wise concession and forbearance showed by the Orangemen deserve the highest recognition, and the Roman Catholics were among the first last night to acknowledge the spirit of conciliation that was manifested in the resolution arrived at.  Every one looked forward to serious trouble, if not loss of life if the procession took place, and the feeling that was prevailed for some time past in this community has been a profoundly painful one.  Much of the happy result accomplished is owing to the wise and moderate con [illegible] pursued by the leaders of the Irish societies, who suggested and succeeded in getting truly representative meeting yesterday [illegible] all our National Societies. The sensible speeches of those gentlemen, who met in the parlour of the St Lawrence Hall, and notably the observations of the chairman, could not fail to have effect in averting what was looked forward to as a civil war. Our city has been spared scenes of riot and disorder that would have fallen upon her like a nightmare.  Good sense has prevailed, and citizens now look forward to a long continuance of that peace, harmony and good will that should always prevail among a people and by the ties of a common Christianity and citizenship.  The matter has been acquitted in such a form that both sides can co[illegible] shake hands over the result, and no feeling of triumph or defeat be felt on either side.

We stated in last evening’s issue that the meeting in the St Lawrence Hall passed a resolution earnestly among the Orangemen to give up the procession.  This result was communicated to the leaders of the Orange Society by a deputation and a copy of the resolution signed by all the representatives of National Societies, [illegible] added to Colonel Smith and Mr Grant the latter County Master and Chairman [illegible] the mass meeting of Orangemen which was being held in the Orange Hall. These gentlemen promised to lay it before the meeting without delay and return as early as possible with an answer. The signers remained in session awaiting an answer, and the reports from time to time that arrive, up to the last kept up the most painful anxiety to know the result. At 11:45 pm all felt as if they could breath freely, as an advance courier armed with the pleasing news that the resolution was carried (although by a narrow majority) to abandon the idea of  having a procession.  Messrs. Grant and Smith followed soon after as the ambassadors of peace and evidently well pleased to come in that capacity.  The meeting to receive the report took place at once, with Mr Devlin in the chair.  The following is the substance of what occurred.

Mr Grant said there had been a large attendance of the membership of the order, who after discussion had come to a resolution, which had been carried by a small majority, not to make a public demonstration.  The committee would be served with an exact copy of the resolution which had been arrived at. The society reserved their right to march when they pleased, but there would be no procession on the 12th of July this year. The members would proceed to church about half past eleven and trusted that there would be no disturbance or endeavour to hinder them in the charge of their privilege and duty of going to church.

Col Smith said that he had only to say that this decision had been arrived at after earnest deliberation upon the requests of the societies. They had determined to give way but reserved their right to go to church. He trusted the societies would now do their duty and see that the Orangemen were not molested. The society had acted in deference to the wishes of their fellow citizens.

Mr Grant said he ought to state that a deputation from the City Council had this day waited on the Orangemen which had tended in a great measure to influence their decision.

Mr Devlin said it was only necessary for him to say that he congratulated the societies on the result which had been arrived at, which was calculated to sustain and continue the friendly feeling which had existed for years.  He regarded the result, not as a triumph of party, but as a triumph of peace, good will and fellowship, and as such he regarded it.  He would announce the result at another meeting this evening.  All might rest assured that the proceedings throughout had been conducted with good will as tending to the prosperity of the Dominion and of the city of Montreal.

Col Smith said that in light of the society had acted in the interest of peace and good will.

Mr Devlin said he considered the best thanks of the committee and of the citizens generally were due to the gentlemen who had waited upon the committee, and also to all who had cooperated towards this good result. The Irish Catholic societies did not desire to triumph over Protestants, but were actuated by desires for the best interests of the whole country.

Mr Kerry, St George’s Society, said before the meeting separated it ought to thank the gentlemen of the Orange Society present for the interest they had taken in the matter.  He thought a vote of thanks should be passed to them for their kind offices.

Mr McMaster, of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, in seconding the motion, said he had no doubt that the gentlemen had made many personal sacrifices for the peace of the city.

Several gentlemen having spoken in this sense.

Col Smith thought that the vote should be passed to the society generally.

Mr Kerry said he should be glad to amend his motion in that sense.

The motion having been carried.

Col Smith, in acknowledging it, said he hoped after all this would be considered brethren.  The meeting adjourned.

Laurin & Leitch Co – Montreal Construction and Conflict of Interest, 1915

Daily Mail, 30 December 1915 page 4

Court Ordered Quo Warranto Issued

Granted petition of Rodrigue Langlois to have Ald Bastien Appear before court

Justice Maclennan yesterday granted the petition of Rodrigue Langlois and ordered the issue of a writ of quo warranto against Ald Treffle Bastien, ordering the latter to appear before the court and show cause why he should not be removed from office.

The petition, which was presented by Antonio LeBlanc, counsel for Mr Langlois after setting forth the qualifications of Mr Langlois as a taxpayer and elector, alleges that Mr Bastien is interested in divers contracts, granted by the city to Laurin, Leitch and Co, particularly for the construction of the Park Avenue subway and the construction of a system culvert, which contracts were executed by the same employees and the same machinery as that of Laurin and Leitch, of which, it is claimed, Mr Bastien is a member.

The petitioner states that see these [illegible] the respondent has no right to sit as an alderman of the city of Montreal, in virtue of articles 28 and 33 of the Charter which prohibits a person doing contract work for the city from sitting as either Mayor or alderman.

JL Perron, KC, is acting for Mr Bastien.  He offered no opposition to the granting of the writ of quo warrante, but stated that he denied the allegations contained in the petition.

Mr Perron stated afterwards that as soon as the writ is served upon his client he would make a motion that the hearing on merits be proceeded with immediately.  His client, he stated had nothing to fear, and wished to have the matter disposed of as soon as possible.  Ordinarily six days are allowed after service for the filing of plea by a respondent, but Mr Perron is not disposed to wait the six days.  It is possible that the motion for immediate  procedure may be presented to the Court on Friday next.

New Year’s Poem, Ottawa, 1867

Ottawa Citizen, 3 January 1867, page 2




Aurora, blushing in the rosy light,

Passed through the eastern portals of the day,

And from the sleeping earth, so still and white,

Fled the dark shadows of the night away.


The golden sunbeams glanced athwart the sun,

The smoke curled upwards, and the sky was clear,

And suddenly arose to busy life

The earliest morning of another year.


The old year, with its manifold delights,

Its slow monotony, its bitter pain,

Has passed away all silently, and we

Welcome a new year to the earth again.


Linger a moment for a tender thought

Of him who greeted us but yester morn,

For while we slept, unconscious of our loss,

The old friend left us, and the new was born.


New Year, that comest with a friendly face,

Standing, half smiling, at the open door.

We love thee, and we dread thee, knowing not

Aught of the good or evil in thy store.


Yet will we use thee well, and welcome thee,

Though what thou bringest us we cannot tell,

So to part with regret, but not remorse,

When the time comes for thee to say farewell.

Important Geographical Discovery, McKenzie, 1794

Northampton Mercury, 18 October 1794 p3

Important Geographical Discovery

We have received advice, by a private letter from Montreal of a discovery which has been recently made of the highest importance to the Commercial world. Mr McKenzie, a partner in the house of Frobisher, McTavish and Co of Montreal, has lately returned to Michilimakinac after an absence of near three years, during which he has been so fortunate as to penetrate across the Continent to the Pacific Ocean, and reach a place between King George’s Island and Nootka Sound.

This gentleman, whose persevering and enterprising mind well suited him for such an undertaking, in his travels through the North West country some time ago, to establish a more extensive intercourse with the Indians, and to traffic for furs, arrived at the banks of the river which took a western direction, and which he observed to rise upwards of two fee, by the influence of the tide.  In prosecuting a second expedition from Michilimackinac, after undergoing the unavoidable hardships attendant on such a journey, which was carried on in canoes along various rivers and lakes, and often through forests where men were obliged to carry the canoes, he attained the utmost bounds of the western continent.  This circumstance will, in the course of time, be of the greatest consequence to this country, as it opens a direct communication with China, and may doubtless yet lead to further discoveries.

The distance from Michilimakinac to the Western Coast is supposed to be 1500 miles, of which the Company had before established huts as far as 1000 miles.

Governor Simcoe’s colonial expedition to Upper Canada, 1792

Caledonian Mercury, 29 November 1792, p3

British America

Upper Canada, Kingston of Catarague, Eastern Extremity of Lake Ontario

August 8

His Excellency Governor Simcoe and Major Littlehales, with the civil and military attendants required in a colonial expedition, arrived at Kingston on the 14th of July.  Of this voyage it will not be uninteresting to relate some particulars.

In a progress of nearly 900 miles up this majesty of rivers, the St Laurence, from Cape Roziere, and the Island of Anticosti to this town, it will naturally be conceived, from the description of this tract of the Continent, that we have seen more various and more stupendous views of nature than can be painted by the most inventive imagination. From the Gulph [sic] of St Laurence to Quebec the scene is in general bold, and displays the lofty mountains of both shores to the admiring eye. For the last 100 miles the river gradually contracts, and becomes insulated with a rich variety of natural ornaments. From Quebec to Montreal, that part of Lower Canada, which is principally inhabited by the French or native Canadians, assumes a more cultivated and domestic appearance, with the most beautiful natural scenery, a little improved by art.  There are many neat small towns in this place of 200 miles, and several rivers dissembling themselves into the St Laurence in various directions; such as the Richelieu, the Ratiscan, Les Trois Rivieres, whose source is supposed to issue near Hudson’s Bay, &c &c.

Montreal is situated in an island of the same name.  It is one of the principal towns in Canada, and is surrounded by regular fortification.  The streets are uniform – the houses well built – and a convent and spiral churches add essentially to its handsome appeal.  I was more struck and pleased with it than with Quebec.

From Montreal to Kingston, the north shore of the Troquois, or St Laurence, is in good site of cultivation, and tolerably well inhabited by loyalists, disbanded officers and soldiers, though there are people of all nations, especially Germans. The South Shore has scarcely any inhabitants, except the Indians of St Regis, and another tribe near Fort Ofwegethie, constituting part of the Six Nations, as they are within the treaty line of 1783, in latitude 45.

This view of more than 200 miles does not possess the sublime, but the beautiful in the extreme.  It forms a continuation of small lakes, islands, woods, rivulets, &c and though there is little relief to the eye by any bold, prominent break, except the Alleghany, mountains afar off, yet it possesses the true Claude Lorraine in more perfection than any territory of such magnitude.  The formidable rapids of Gallete, Long Saut, Plat &c, which the Canadians navigate with wonderful dexterity, strongly interest the attention of the traveller.

Upper Canada seems to contain all the natural advantage of Great Britain, with many additions; but it is an infant state, and requires nutriment and care, and must for a few years, look for assistance, at least in a pecuniary way, from the mother country, or it will never come to years of maturity.  It has evident conveniences for commerce and agriculture. The water communication so easy for trade, the soil so reach, that even without manure, the farmer pays little regard to the succession of crops, yet his crops yield him more in proportion than in England. He uses the same implements of husbandry, the plough, the sickle, the spade and the axe.

Governor Simcoe, on his arrival here, assembled his Executive Council, and after opening his commission, solemnly proclaimed the British Constitution to this province.  The boundary had been previously determined, commencing at the Cove west of Point-au-Bauder, in Lake St Francis, the division line about 50 miles from Montreal, and 150 east of Kingston.  After concluding other colonial matters of importance, he issued a proclamation, dividing the province into counties, with the following names: Glengarry, Stormont, Dundas, Grenville, Leeds, Frontenac, Ontario, Addington, Prince Edward, Lennox, Hastings, Northumberland, Durham, York, Lincoln, Norfork, Suffolk, Essex and Kent, which last county is to comprehend all the territory not already described, and not belonging to the Indians, from the northernmost line of Hudson’s Bay, to the foremost limits of the country generally known by the name of Canada. These 19 counties are to send on the 12th of September to Niagara sixteen members for the House of Assembly.  When the people are more numerous, and the country becomes more flourishing, I presume subdivisions will be made, and the representation encreased.[sic]

Governor Simcoe is going to Niagara, across the Ontario, one of the wonderful fresh waters of this continent.  He may, probably, this autumn, visit Detroit, and the river La Franche, hereafter to be called the Thames, parallel with the north side of Lake Erie, communicating with Lakes St Clair, Huron, Superior on the W and NW by various branches, and Ontario on the SE where several people imagine the metropolis of Upper Canada will be built.  Prince Edward is expected here from Quebec to the Falls.

The Indians of the Western Territory, and the Six Nations of this part of Upper Canada, are collecting in the Miami Kingdoms, their chiefs and warriors, to prepare against that active American General Wayne, who is assembling a powerful army on the frontiers, and on the Ohio and Mississippi, to revenge the cause of St Clair, and to endeavour to extirpate the Indians, who are greatly elated with their victory last year.

All the ceded forts still remain in our possession well garrisoned.

I have visited some of the Indian towns, and encampments belonging to the Messissages, Onondagas, Oneidas, Cackowaukas, Mohawks, Senekas, &c.  An account of their manners and customs I shall reserve for another occasion; observing only at present that I cannot suppose it possible that any object, within the range of existence, can strike the eye of a stranger so forcibly as these savages, who are, in every particular, the reverse of civilization.

The Turkey Shot – Our Family Tradition, 2016

Christmas is almost upon us, and it brings with it a time to reflect on traditions that we continue, and memories of Christmases past.  Looking at my collection of family photos I am struck by the abundance of pictures of the Christmas turkey (and also the Thanksgiving Turkey).  Seriously, we take a lot of pictures of our turkeys.  So what is the fascination?

I first went online to find out about when people started eating turkey at Christmas.  After consulting ‘Dr. Google’ it seems that the turkey has been enjoyed since the time of Henry VIII when a Yorkshireman named William Strickland brought six birds from the new world.  [Felipe Araujo, Express, 25 Dec 2015 ] But it seems that it was only in the late 1800s that the beast started being enjoyed by people for Christmas.  When Dickens used the turkey in his story A Christmas Carol as for Christmas dinner with the Cratchits, it was clear that the turkey meal was a special dish.  One source says that the turkey became the dish for the the middle class by the beginning of the 20th century [].  Another source places its popularity at a later time : “Indeed, up until the 1950s it was widely considered a luxury, as only then refrigerators became commonplace. Back in the 1930s the average person had to work for a week to be able to buy a turkey. Now it only takes 1.7 hours of labour.” And it was only in the last 60 years that it has become more widely used for Christmas dinner. [Felipe Araujo, Express, 25 Dec 2015 ]

I know that when Mom moved to Canada from England turkey was an unusual thing.  She normally had goose at Christmas. Dad, Canadian-born, seems to have done the turkey feast with his parents.  I think that after Mom married she decided to opt for the turkey meal, but with a number of English sides and deserts such as sausage rolls, mincemeat pies, trifle and the like. I should also mention that at the time of her marriage, she didn’t know how to cook, so it was all a learning curve anyway.  Growing up it was turkey all the way, with stuffing, corn, potatoes and cranberry sauce.  Maybe it was the sense of accomplishment – the perfect turkey, the delicious sides, the festive decorations, crackers ready to be pulled, and the joy of the season – but every year we took a picture of the turkey.  I have shared a few of the more interesting turkey shots below.

Really, the meal is only part of the tradition, it is the picture of the turkey which makes it feel like Christmas!

Dad and the turkey in 1989
Early 1970s



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