Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



Commemoration Stuff – Confessions of a Collector, 2017

It is 2017 and Canadian Confederation turned 150.  There have been parties, books, television specials and commemorative things – tons of commemorative things!  As a historian I can look on these items as representative of a vision of Canadian identity, and recognize that not everyone invests in the celebration and the souvenir items the same values.  And certainly I am aware of the conflict of identity particularly evident in the celebrations of 150, as I feel some of it myself.  But the stuff, people, the stuff.  I am not immune to the draw of the commemorative item.

I was born in 1967, so I have always been drawn to 1967 stuff.  As I was not aware of the significance of the events in that year, so I started to collect items from ’67 a lot later on.

As you can see from the above I have a rather eclectic collection of things – two pins, a Blue Mountain mug, a souvenir brochure and a bunch of the coins taken from circulation.  Of course 1967 was also Expo ’67, and I went there with my parents, in my pram, as a very wee babe.  I don’t remember it, but it was apparently quite wonderful.  Mom and Dad saved the souvenir programme, which I still have.  And, over the years I have added things from Expo to my collection of commemorative stuff (aided and abetted by the fact that I worked at Value Village for a year).

commemorative stuff (5)So what is the attraction?  I guess it is a way to reinforce the fact that the year I was born in was special.  It was special because I was born that year, but it had that extra something – something.  And so having things which speak to that special-ness is important to me.

Fast forward to Canada 125 – and of course my twenty-fifth birthday.  That year I decided to celebrate my birthday with a party with the theme of the “Silver Anniversary” of my birth, and Canada had another party in Ottawa, and the Queen was there.  All good, in my mind.  I was becoming politically aware by this time, and so I was more realistic about what I was celebrating.  I didn’t get many items commemorating the anniversary, but I do remember that I felt I should get something, and the Canadian government actually had a way for you to order official souvenir items.  So I bought some stuff. I also had a pin which was not so official…..

A rather modest haul, but there weren’t that many items actually available in that year.  I don’t think that people were as keen to celebrate, or didn’t recognise the number as being particularly special.  And I was (and still am actually) rather cheap about things so I wasn’t go to be extravagant anyway.

It is now Canada 150 and really this year, the number of items you can purchase is almost obscene.  Really, I am a bit flummoxed by the quantity and variety of items available.  There are a lot of items that have been produced that perhaps are tacky, some which are expensive, some which are both, but then there are also the vanilla items, which I am strangely drawn to.  And those are the ones I have bought.  I have acquired a few pins and the commemorative coins put out by the Canadian mint.  I am not sure why there is a glow in the dark coin in the mint’s collection, but okay.


There is this impulse, I think for people, like myself, who collect things.  Events such as anniversaries are marker moments which we need to physically hold onto.  I have bought things that commemorate Canada 150 in order to remember the significance of the event.  I think that it is a special moment to remember and I am proud to be Canadian (To be  clear though, I am also realistic about Canada, and well aware that there are things that are not praiseworthy). It is also my 50th year.  And it is something that I am both happy and rather freaked out about at the same time.  So these things mark the passage of personal time, and of place and memory.

So I confess, I have commemorative items.  A fair number if taken altogether.  I think I have some pretty neat stuff, and there it is.  I understand not everyone is going to understand my fascination for commemorative Canadian things, and I am alright about that.  I have invested in them a personal history which stands both apart and a part of the event which they commemorate.


Cartier Centenary Fair, Montreal, 1919

Montreal Standard, 2 August 1919, page 33


The Cartier Centenary Fair

The Cartier Centenary Fair which is to be held in this city from August 9th to 17th inclusive on a 12 acre portion of Fletcher’s Field, is of great importance to all of the citizens of Montreal from a commercial and advertising standpoint.

The foremost aim of the promoters of the Cartier Centenary fair is to raise the required sum of money that is necessary to complete the approaches of the Cartier Memorial, which has been erected by the people of Canada to commemorate the memory of Sir George Etienne Cartier.

Canadian history contains the records of many men who have done much for the Dominion, but no man mentioned in those historical chronicles who was more steadfast in his ideals for his native land, than Cartier.

It was at St Antoine on the Richelieu river on September 6th, 1814, that Cartier first saw the light of day.  He did not enter public life until 1848 when he was thirty-four years of age, but the subsequent twenty-five years of his life he devoted entirely to the public welfare of the Dominion, and was active in the affairs of this nation as minister of militia and defence at the time of his death in London, England, in 1873.

Cartier was one of the fathers of Confederation, and during his career succeeded in having many important laws passed.

Confederation originally consisted only of four provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was Cartier’s desire to see Canada established as a united country stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  With the maritime as well as land power of the east and west connected by a great transcontinental railway system.

In a letter to Cartier complimenting him on his achievement, Lord Dufferin wrote as follows:

“The distinction you have won has not been merely personal, for your name is incorporated with the most eventful and most glorious epoch of your country’s history, commencing as it does with your entrance into political life, and culminating in that consolidation of the provinces to which your genius, courage and ability so materially contributed.”

Largely through the efforts of Cartier, the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were secured from the Hudson Bay Company on very advantageous terms and added to the Dominion.  Finally in 1871 Cartier succeeded in passing a bill in Parliament which made British Columbia  the only remaining province needed to round out the link, a portion of the Dominion.

With the admission of British Columbia, Cartier’s dream of a united Canada from sea to sea became a reality. But a trans-continental railway was necessary to bind the provinces closely together. Cartier was the strongest advocate of this immense undertaking and to him belongs the glory of having secured in 1872 the first charter for the Canadian Pacific Railway.  This was the last great triumph of his career.

The first Canadian line of ships that plyed the seas was also another invaluable adjunct to commerce established by Cartier for the Dominion.

From 1861 to 1872, Cartier was one of the representatives of Montreal, first in the parliament of United Canada, and later in the House of Commons.  He represented during a portion of that period, Montreal-East in the Quebec Legislature under the system of dual representation which existed for some time after the establishment of the Confederation.

The interests of Montreal were always dear to the heart of Cartier and throughout his public career he strove to promote greater welfare and development for this city.

One concrete example of this was his promotion of the Grand Trunk Railway which has done much for the development of Eastern Canada and of Montreal in particular.

It is particularly fitting that the celebration, which was to have taken place originally in 1914, should be given at this time, because Cartier took advantage of every public utterance to impress upon his fellow countrymen the necessity of loyalty to Great Britain.

In a speech delivered in London, England, in 1869 he stated the following: “Canadians know, that if they wish to become really great they have only to continue their union with the Mother Country so as to share in her power, her prestige and glory.” What could have been a more prophetic warning than this?

The future too, when Canadians share with Great Britain in the power and prestige, of peace, will prove to the citizens of the Dominion that they owe undying gratitude to the memory of the great patriot of the early days, Sir George Etienne Cartier.

Miss Hortense Cartier, daughter of this illustrious statesman, who is shortly to be guest of the Dominon, is expected to arrive on the SS La France on August 9th the opening day of the celebration that is given in memory of her father.

A day, the date of which has not yet been decided upon is to be set aside in honor Miss Cartier.

No expense was spared in the erection of the magnificent fair grounds, which have been laid out in avenues that are named after the famous heads of the five allied nations.  King George, President Poincare, President Wilson, King Victor Emmanuel, King Albert.

Moorish design has been followed in the construction of the five score buildings which will contain the various exhibits of leading manufacturers.

While the first object of the Cartier Centenary Fair is to secure money for the completion of the Memorial it is also hoped that the exhibition will demonstrate the advantage of our annual exhibition for the city of Montreal.

A project of this sort would be of inestimable value to the city from an advertising angle, a fact the citizens of Montreal should bear in mind. As a yearly attraction of this nature would be of untold benefit to the whole population.

Business, big business in the future for Montreal is the fundamental principle of the Cartier Centenary Fair but amusement of the highest order, also forms a portion of the exhibition.

Nothing has been spared in the constructing of an enchanting white city with many thousands of twinkling lights for the enjoyment of the people of Montreal.  Likewise with the entertainment features, they are the best that can be procured from the wide selection that is offered by New York, Chicago and New Orleans.

The Midway

A huge midway, which will contain every sort of laughter-provoking device that ingenious minds can create is one of the leading features.  There will be booths along its wide avenues and where refreshments can be procured, two bands with well-known able directors will render the best music and a dancing pavilion has been erected.  In fact, nothing that can possibly add to the pleasure of a visitor has been omitted.

CC BY-SA 3.0

Glengarrians in California, 1894

The Glengarrian, 22 Jun 1894

Glengarrians in California

To the Editor of the Glengarrian:-

Sir – Knowing that you like to follow the fortunes of the men of Glengarry, it will interest you to learn that the Caledonia Club proceedings at Stockton, San Joaquin, Co., California, this year were mainly engineered by Glengarry lads.  The Chief of the Club is Malcolm McRae, who with his partner AR McDonald, runs a thriving wholesale and retail grocery business in Stockton.  Both hail from Glengarry, and Mrs McRae too comes from the same airt, where she was formerly known as Miss Mary McDougald.  Another lady who graced the games by her presence is Miss Mary Ann McDonald, from the South Branch.  John D McDougald a prominent contractor here, also takes a keen interest in all that appertains to auld Scotland, and as for his brother Willie A McDougald, the suit of clothes that he wore at the games, was “a sight for sair e’en.” It was the very rig that oor ain Robbie Burns would have work when he went out to visit his bonnie Jean – a donce Ayrshire suit with nae Hielan fall-uls.

In the tug of war, which was the most important event of the day three Glengarrians pulled for Scotland. The contest was between eight Germans and a like number of Scotch.  Of course the Scotch won as is proper and fitting.  In the Scotch were three brothers McLaurin.  Their father was Duncan McLaurin, once a resident of Breadabane, County of Glengarry.  About 1852 he removed to Bruce County and later on his family came to California.  Mrs McLaurin who spent her girlhood days in “fa Lochaber” now lives in Stockton, where she is affectionately and carefully ministered to by an unmarried daughter.  There are six McLaurin lads and three of them pulled for Scotland in the tug of war.  They are all thriving and prosperous ranchers on the tule lands of San Joaquin County.  There are John and Dan, Douglass and Willie, Colin and Archie.  A proud man was Donald Weir when he was awarded first prize as piper, and led the march in the uniform of the gallant 42nd.  The reel in his pipes is as clear and shrill as when it used the resound in Glengarry when Donald was younger, and aiblins keener to dance himself than to pipe for other folk.

Amongst the other Glengarrians connected with the Caledonia Club in San Joaquin county are AC McDonald and William and Duncan McDougald of the well know firm of McDougald, Sangster and Company.  Among Glengarrians there is but little chance of old associations being forgotten.

Were one to ask me, “Saw ye my lad wi’ his tartans and philibeg?” I can truthfully say that I saw nearly every Glengarry lad in San Joaquin county at Goodwater Grove in all his bravery at the Caledonia Club’s holiday.

Yours, etc.

Walter Roberts, Stockton, Cal, June 6th 1894

[I think it would be an interesting study to do, on the presence of Glengarrians in California.  I know from my own family tree that two of my great-grandmother’s brothers [Cashion] settled in California, and also another Grant relative whom they went into business with.  What were the connections, how long did they linger? Was there continued communication?  Were there specific waves of movement?  Was it a family migration or just the single men?]

Battle of Chrysler`s Farm Monument, 1895

The Glengarrian, 27 Sep 1895

The Battle of Chrysler’s Farm

Unveiling of the Monument


The monument was unveiled on Wednesday with most befitting honour and unbounded enthusiasm.  Nearly ten thousand people were present from these United Counties.  Donald McNaughton of Lancaster Village, Warden, occupied the chair of honour, and beside him sat Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Sir James Grant, Hon John Haggart and Hon Mr Dickey, all of whom delivered splendid patriotic speeches.

The distinguished guests arrived from Morrisburg by steam yacht being preceded by a steamboat containing a large number of people, and a Company of Cadets from the High School at Morrisburg. These cadets were composed of the scholars attending the High School, who wore well-fitting dark blue uniforms with white facings, with rifles and bayonets, and were under command of their own officers. Their arrival, and smart soldierlike appearance elicited well merited applause from the crowds of people. It was a fitting tribute to the occasion that these young Canadians could with their ordinary secular education receive instructions in healthy military drill while at school, and the trustees of the High School at Morrisburg deserve no ordinary credit for their patriotic endeavours in this praiseworthy direction.

Nearly one thousand people were there from Cornwall, among whom may be mentioned Dr Bergin, MP, John Bergin, AR McLennan, L Ross, JA McDougall, Wm Mack, ex-MPP, Mayor Mulhern, Dr Hamilton, Dr Graveley, DB Maclennan, QC, JG Snetsinger, ex-MP, D Munroe, and a full contingent of the Sons of Scotland in their picturesque dress, RA Pringle, CH Mattice, W Gibbens, CW Young, Wm Chisholm, Rev Father Corbett, JA Chisholm, while from the county of Glengarry we were proud to see James Rayside, ex-MPP, DD Darragh, GH MacGillivray, Thomas McDonald, Ewan Dingwall, Dr Mowat, Wm Macpherson, Farquhar McLennan, Murdoch McLennan, Donald Fraser, Alex J Grant, ex-MPP, John A Grant, JA McDougall (Capt), James McPherson, JB Snyder, AB McLennan, John J McDonnell of Glen Nevis, in full kilts, and many other loyal men.  The day was one long to be remembered by those who had the good luck to be present. The weather was perfect, and pleasant to travel by road, river or rail.  The Citizen’s Band of Cornwall, furnished fine instrumental music, while the school children of Cornwall and the Glee Club of Morrisburg sang the Canadian National Anthem in such a manner as to arouse the patriotic feelings of the immense gathering to fever heat. The military also proved a most indispensible help to the day’s proceedings by their presence. Col Aylmer, the Assit. Adjutant-General was present from Ottawa, and our local regiment, the 59th was under the command of Lieut-Col Bredin and Major Baker, Captian JA Macdonnell (Greenfield) and Lieuts Nichols and Hearnden of Alexandria, being also present; Lieut Hearnden having the honour of taking charge of the Queen’s colors upon this auspicious occasion.  Space will not allow us to reproduce the patriotic speeches, but next week we hope to give our readers a full report of the interesting and historic words uttered upon the battle field of Chrysler’s Farm by the loyal men who on Wednesday unveiled such a substantial memorial to the noble Canadian and British hearts who fought and died for our Canadian homes in 1812-13.

The Maple Leaf our emblem dear,

The Maple Leaf for ever;

God save our Queen and heaven bless,

The Maple Leaf for ever.

[Note that the monument was moved in 1958 when area was flooded for the St Lawrence Seaway.  It now rests near Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, ON]

Armistice Commemorations, Montreal, 1919

Montreal Daily Star, 11 November 1919, page 3

Montreal ceased all activity in honor Armistice

King’s Orders to commemorate termination of war carried out in city today – Factories, railways and street traffic stopped.

Everything stopped.  For two minutes this morning there was practically a cessation of all activities in Montreal.  At 11 o’clock it began and at 11:03 Montreal had properly observed the first anniversary of Armistice Day.

At the appointed hour the power was switched off the tram lines of the Montreal Tramways Company. The cars stopped and this was taken as a sort of standard from which all traffic took its cue.

The police department had not issued any order to the traffic policemen to hold up traffic but several of them of their own accord gave the stop signal. At the busy corners many vehicles were moving along, the drivers being unconscious that the house had struck for observance of the signing of the armistice.  The front rank of cars were held up by the traffic policemen on all sides.  Rapidly moving traffic behind piled up until there was a solid mass of wheeled vehicles.  Motor cars, lorries, light wagons, all were jammed up together like the headwaters of a dam.  It was akin to Macauley’s description of the Tuscan army before Rome:

“For those behind cried “Forward!” And those in front cried “Back.”

Slowly those who had failed to remember immediately the cause of the traffic hold-up caught the shriek of factory whistles and then they realised that this was the observance of Armistice Day.  The horns that had been impatiently ‘tooting’ for a movement of traffic began to sound a new note, a note of exultation in victory and joined with the sound that belched from factory whistles all over the city.

Pedestrians on seeing the traffic jam at the corners stopped to enquire the cause. Some who had kept the occasion in mind reminded those who had not, and then there was a general production of time-pieces from vest pockets.

Montreal go a new time today at 11 o’clock.  She has had the Atlantic standard and the daylight-saving time today she got the Armistice time or what might be called Victory time. Nine out of every ten men in the crowd set their watches anew, and many thousands of watches today are set to Armistice time.

Some of the more impatient pedestrians darted across the streets but they became discouraged on seeing the majority of people stop.  One old gentleman was seen to bare his head during the two minute period. The sudden cessation of traffic at a busy corner in a big city is impressive.  It was impressive this morning.


In the industrial establishments the observance was wrought with a little more display. The clanging hammers ceased, the whirr of the belts droned off into the silence. Pulsating machinery came to a sudden stop as the power was shut off and the majority of the employees in various establishments rushed to the windows to see how their fellow citizens in street dress were observing the occasion.

Office building windows were crammed with heads as when a unit with fresh scars of war is passing –this time they saw the passing of the first anniversary of Armistice Day.

Every railway in Canada, big and small observed the occasion.  In the railway yards there was a pause of silence at 11 o’clock.  The locomotives seemed to be taking a long breath preparatory to a great shriek.  Then they were let loose and thousands of pounds of pressure of steam upon whistle valves went mad.


No general order had been issued by the Bell Telephone Company to cease activities at 11 o’clock.  The manager stated that they had left this largely to the telephone users, fearing to cut off the service for the two minute period because of emergency calls that come in. Chief operators report, however, that the peak load service, which is carried at this time of the day suddenly slumped and there was little or no activities on the various switch boards during the period observances.


The employees of the Star in common with those in the majority of big office buildings in the city ceased work at 11 o’clock.  Every typesetting machine in the building stopped as did every other mechanical department.  When the silence had settled upon the building the employees of the mechanical department  sang the National Anthem. It was quite impromptu and soon other employees had taken it up until the building rang with it.  This was followed by “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”


The Board of Trade secretary issued the following order this morning:

In order that members may be enabled to fulfil the desire of His Majesty the King, that at the hour when Armistice came into force, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all our normal activities, so that in perfect stillness the thought of every one may be concentrated in reverent remembrance of the glorious dead, they are asked to assemble in this hall shortly before 11 o’clock am and to remain here until two minutes after that hour.

The secretary’s office and the telegraph office will be closed for the same period and no telephone calls at that time will be answered by the office staff or the door keeper.


At five minutes to eleven the president, John Baillie, accompanied by the other members of the executive and the secretary, occupied the platform, behind which hung the Union Jack draped in black. The president then read His Majesty’s message to His people regarding the observance of the day and at eleven o’clock the Exchange Hall doors were closed, and the gathering on change stood in solemn silence for two minutes, the proceeding closing with the National Anthem, led by Mr Coates. During these two minutes, the telegraph offices on ‘change stopped their business and the elevators ceased running.


At the Red Triangle Hut a service was held on the balcony, in which the ladies’ workers in the canteen and the soldiers took part.  Prof McCreary was at the piano and the group sang “Oh God our Help in Ages Past” followed by the National Anthem.

Passerby on Dominion Square heard the voices in the morning air and stopped dumbfounded for a moment and then remembered. Hundreds stood still on the sidewalks while others stood with bared heads.

At the city hall all the employees ceased work, and the same observance was made wherever civic employee were working.

All over the city a fine spirit was evident.  Two minutes observance in a year of feverish work along reconstruction lines.  The observance found Montreal and all Canada making a final clean up in her war efforts in her last Victory Loan Campaign.

For two minutes Canadians went back in their minds to the old days of the war. To the day of strain and stress.  Mothers, wives, sisters and others emerging from the sombre colour of mourning felt again the tug at the heart strings and old wounds hurt. Two minutes later Canada had tossed off her coat and was at work again.

Dominion Day, Montreal, 1871

Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1871, page 2.


Dominion Day

Doings in the City – Inspection of Grand Trunk Brigade – Picnics of Caledonian and St Patrick’s Societies – Inspection of the Fire Brigade – The Camp – Excursions – Fine Weather and much enjoyment

If ever the clerk of the weather was gracious to a perspiring community anxious on the occasion of a holiday to escape from the heat, dust and monotony of everyday life in the city, to fly away from pens and ink, blotters and blotting paper, from the manufactory and the workshop, to breathe the fresh air of the river and witness the green woods of the country, he was gracious to the inhabitants of Montreal on Dominion Day. There was never a holiday in Canada finer; there could hardly be finer weather for a holiday anywhere. All day the blue sky was unclouded, and a cool breeze blew, making the atmosphere balmy and refreshing.  It was Queen’s weather, and the world and his wife, who had made up their minds to make a day of it either in or out of the city, were in the most amiable of humour. Best bonnets and dresses were produced and donned without the slightest hesitation, paterfamilias was seen abroad without his umbrella, and it is averred that the nervous man actually stopped from the threshold of his door without once gazing upwards. The city was gay with bunting and looked as it always done on such occasions, as handsome and inviting as any city on a holiday could be expected to look. The excursions from the city were legion, in number, and every one was attended by immense crowds. The camp at Laprairie was one of the chief attractions and many a well-filled basket was conveyed by loving hands to a brave son or brother in her Majesty’s uniform, and browned by exposure and strengthened by drill, converted into a very warrior. Although a multitude poured out of the city and vicinity, and to witness the inspections of the Grand Trunk Volunteer Brigade in the morning and the Fire Brigade in the afternoon, detailed accounts of which are given in their order below.


A fitting inauguration of the day’s proceedings was the inspection, by the Adjutant General, accompanied by Lieutenant General Sir Hastings Doyle, of the splendid battalions composing the Grand Trunk Brigade.  About half-past nine o’clock the Brigade, composed of six batteries of Garrison Artillery, five companies of Rifles, and one company of Engineers – the whole under command of Lieutenant Colonel Bailey; the Artillery headed by their fine Instrumental band, and the rifles by their five and drum band, marched from the Brigade Armoury, Point St Charles, through the city, on to the Champ de Mars, with a step and bearing that would not have been discreditable to a regular regiment. The Brigade having halted wheeled into line, with bands in rear, and awaited the arrival of the Adjutant-General, Colonel Robertson Ross, who soon made his appearance, accompanied by Lieutenant General Sir Hastings Doyle and his Aide-de-Camp, Captain Black, and was received by his usual general salute. At the saluting base were assembled Hugh Allan Esq., Lieut. Stevenson, and Lieut. Col. McPherson.  A little later and the party were joined by Deputy Adjutant General Colonel Osborne Smith, who arrived from the camp at Laprairie.


The salute over, the Brigade was formed into companies of open column, right in front. Each man in every company was then minutely inspected by the Adjutant General.  At the conclusion of the inspection the Brigade was again wheeled into line, when the command was given to fire a


Which was very creditably done, considering the little practice volunteers have in this kind of firing; the general salute followed, the bands playing the national anthem and after which three rousing cheers were given for the Queen by the troops, and all honor was done the day.


The Brigade was then formed into column of companies right in front, and marched past with rifles at the shoulder. The wheeling of the artillery was magnificent as was their marching past; the rifles were not quite so steady but they also wheeled and marched past more like regulars than a volunteer regiment.  The Brigade then countermarched by ranks and marched past again at quarter distance, with rifles at the trail, in admirable style.


The Brigade again formed out line when a company of the rifles was extended as skirmishers and began a lively fire, but soon retreated loading and firing as they fell back. Meanwhile the line retired down the slope of the Champs de Mars on the Craig Street side where they awaited their turn to be called into action, which soon came, for the skirmishers having succeeded in drawing on the enemy laid down, and the whole line advanced, passed the skirmishers and began by independent file firing, the front rank kneeling, pouring into the enemy a terrific fire.  For a time there was all the smoke and roar of horrid conflict, fortunately without the bullets to make it deadly.  A good idea could be had from the constant roar of rifles from one end of the line to the other of the terribly destructive nature of the Snider-Enfield Rifles. Although in the hands of volunteers, who are not supposed to be able to fire and load with the same coolness and rapidity as regulars, yet the deadly fire from the time it began until the bugle sounded ‘cease-firing’ never flagged; with bullets the fire would have been simply a mass of lead poured into the ranks of an enemy, a murderous butchering fire before which it would be almost impossible for any living thing to stand.

The enemy being annihilated the bands took up their positions and the troops marched off the ground to martial music, and thus concluded one of the most successful military displays there has been since the regular soldiers left the city.

The Adjutant General, accompanied by the Deputy Adjutant General, at the conclusion of the inspection galloped to the Laprairie ferry steamer, en route for the camp.

The fife and drum band of the rifles, it was noticed wore the Glengarry Bonnet, which is the new regulation forage cap soon to be served to all the volunteers.

An immense concourse of people viewed the display with great delight and satisfaction.

Queen’s Birthday, Montreal, 1844

Montreal Gazette, 25 May 1844, page 2

Yesterday, being Her Majesty’s birthday, the whole of the military in this garrison, consisting of the Royal Artillery, and the 89th and 93rd Regiments were reviewed on the Old Race Course. The weather was rather unfavourable; but a large concourse of citizens attended, though several, like ourselves, were disappointed, in consequence of the troops having left the ground sooner than was expected.  As we mentioned before, the public offices and and [sic] banks were closed, and all the ships in the harbour were decked out with flags in honour of the day.

Presentation to Elizabeth Ogden, Three Rivers, 1871

Montreal Gazette, 20 April 1871, page 3


A deputation from the congregation and choir of St James Church, Three Rivers, waited on Miss Ogden on Saturday evening last, to present her with, a testimonial in consideration of her long, efficient and arduous services as organist and conductress of the choir.

The testimonial consisted of a valuable gold watch bearing the following inscription:



By the Congregation and Choir of

St James Church

Three Rivers, Easter of 1871

The congregation are much indebted to Miss Torrance and Miss C Jones for their assistance in carrying out their views in relation to the testimonial.

The following address was read by the Rector:


We appear before you as a deputation on behalf of the congregation and choir of St James’ Church.  They have been long solicitous to pay you a tribute of respect for your meritorious services in having so cheerfully and so constantly, (often in the midst of great discouragements) from a love of the work, and to assist the congregation in the inspiring services of the sanctuary.

From the great interest you have always taken in the welfare of the church of which you are a member, we feel assured you have been in some measure paid by the success which has attended your efforts; for there are few churches out of the larger cities that have so well organized a choir; and the Psalmody so properly rendered, which may be attributed to your fostering care, and the unceasing interest you have taken in it.

Appreciating these privileges, enjoying these advantages, we are pleased to have this opportunity of presenting you with this testimony of our good will and appreciation; at the same time we cannot but regret that it is inadequate to your merits. We hope, however, it will be a means, if possible, of strengthening that bond of union which has united us so long one to another as members of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.

J Torrance,

Rec or on behalf of the congregation.


I accept with sincere gratification the valuable and elegant testimonial presented by you on behalf of St James’ Church.

To conduct the Psalmody of our solemn worship, I have ever esteemed a great privilege, yet cannot too highly prize the warm and generous expressions of appreciation emanating from those with whom I have been associated in the Sacred Services of our Holy Church.

Cheered and animated by such kind encouragement for the better performance of my responsible duties and with reiterated thanks, I remain,

Respectfully and faithfully yours,


Three Rivers, April 15, 1871.

Historic Plaque at Rasco’s Hotel, Montreal – Missing


In 1985 the St Andrew’s Society of Montreal was celebrating its 150th anniversary.  In honour of its anniversary and to commemorate its history in Old Montreal the society placed a historic plaque on the corner of the building which was Rasco’s Hotel, 281-295 rue St-Paul.

The plaque says this: [English portion]

The St Andrew’s Society of Montreal was founded in February 1835 to give aid to fellow Scots in distress.  The founding and subsequent regular meetings were held in Rasco’s Hotel.  It was in this building that the first St Andrew’s Day celebrations sponsored by the Society took place on November 30, 1835, under the chairmanship of the Society’s first president, the Hon Peter McGill, who later became Mayor of Montreal.

I was wandering around the streets of Old Montreal yesterday and went to my favourite haunts including Hotel Rasco.  And surprise – the plaque had been removed.



As archivist for the St Andrew’s Society of Montreal I was surprised.  You would imagine that the removal of our plaque would have been preceded by a phone call or email.  We are rather easy to find.  No such contact was made.

Questions, questions, questions. 

The most important of all – where is the plaque?  By fortune, luck, whatever, I was able to find it, while searching out other favourite spots.

I went to 443 St Vincent, which is about 3 blocks away from Rasco’s to the site of the Hotel Richelieu, where Sarah Bernhardt stayed in 1880.  And there it was, placed atop the historic plaque which said the hotel was built in 1861, and the part about Sarah Bernhardt.

It looks most peculiar; the plaque has nothing to do with the location, and the events it commemorated took place 26 years prior to its construction. The Society never met there, nor had events there.  It is completely out of place and context.


Who moved the plaque?  Why?  And why there?

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