Oshawa Celebrates Civic Day 1898

Article originally appeared in The Globe 8 Aug 1898, p 9.

Oshawa’s Civic Holiday
Successful Demonstration Held in Prospect Park Under the Auspices of the Woodmen of the World
(Special Despatch to the Globe)

Oshawa, Aug 8 – To-day was Oshawa’s Civic Holiday, and a demonstration was held in honor of it in Prospect Park under the auspices of the members of the Woodmen of the World lodges of Toronto and the lodge in Oshawa. The Toronto people came down in large numbers, the steamer Garden City running three round trips from Toronto. The first one which left the city at 8 o’clock in the morning brought down about five hundred of the Woodmen and their friends. They also brought their own band, which proved a great attraction and was very popular.  On arriving at the park the visitors were given a great reception, and Mayor Fowke delivered an address of welcome.  A good programme of sports had been prepared for the afternoon’s entertainment, but owing to a heavy thunderstorm which came up about 3 o’clock only a part of them were pulled off…

Prospect Park copy
Postcard of Prospect Park, from the archival collection of the Oshawa  Museum

A baseball match between the Night Owls of Toronto and the Seniors of Oshawa was commenced, but had to be stopped at the second innings on the account of the rain.  There were also a number of bicycle races on the programme, for which there was a very large number of entries, and which would have been very interesting.  The rain stopped about 5 o’clock, and it cleared up, and the evening was very pleasant.  The Woodmen Band gave a good concert in the evening, assisted by Miss Stella Pedwell, the child cornetist, and Mr. Harry Graham, vocalist.  The day’s enjoyment was greatly marred by the rain.  Nevertheless the visitors were well entertained and from all appearances had a jolly good time.  Arrangements will be made by the committee for the carrying out of the bicycle races to take place either in Toronto or Oshawa at an early date.

How Oshawa Celebrates the Civic Holiday – McLaughlin Day

As the dog days of summer carry on, the long weekend in August comes as a nice break.  The Civic Holiday is known by several names across the country;  British Columbians enjoy British Columbia Day, Saskatchewaners take in Saskatchewan Day, and New Brunswickers celebrate, you guessed it, New Brunswick Day.

Generally, the holiday is known as the Civic Holiday in Ontario, although different regions have their own names for the day, many of them taking the day as an opportunity to recognize important citizens or founders.  Toronto recognizes the day as Simcoe Day, it is Colonel By Day in Ottawa, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough, and John Galt Day in Guelph.  

RS McLaughlin
RS McLaughlin, from the Oshawa Community Archives

Oshawa is no exception.  We honour one of our favourite citizens every Civic Day, where we proclaim the first Monday of August to be McLaughlin Day after Col. RS McLaughlin.  Sam McLaughlin was an automotive pioneer and philanthropist, and he loved this City as much as the City loved him.

A983.39.1 - button created to celebrate McLaughlin Week
A983.39.1 – button created to celebrate McLaughlin Week

McLaughlin Day was first celebrated in 1983, and Oshawans were encouraged to visit the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Parkwood, and the Automotive Museum, and even though it rained, ‘spirits were high,’ and the day ended with fireworks in Lakeview Park!  McLaughlin Day was the beginning of a week long celebration known as McLaughlin Celebration Week.

Parkwood National Historic Site
Parkwood National Historic Site

This McLaughlin Day, visit RS McLaughlin’s former home, Parkwood National Historic Site for special basement tours, or come down to the Oshawa Community Museum and regale in the history of the City that Sam so loved.  We are offering tours from 12-4 on Monday, August 5.

“I love the old town and am always glad to do anything towards its improvement.” 
-Col. RS McLaughlin


Happy McLaughlin Day!


The Canadian Encyclopedia, “Civic Holiday”, from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/civic-holiday

Canada Info, “First Monday in August Holiday,” from http://www.craigmarlatt.com/canada/symbols_facts&lists/august_holiday.html

Oshawa This Week, ‘Hats off to McLaughlin Day,’ August 3, 1983

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