Hi there, I’m Emily, one of the summer students working at the museum this summer. I am a fourth year English Literature student at Trent University, hoping to go into Archival or Library Science in post graduate studies. I also volunteered here before this summer.
What I’ve spent most of my summer doing is digitizing a Thomas Henry Correspondence Collection. This collection is what you would get if you took Thomas Henry’s desk and poured it all out. In this collection there are correspondence letters, bill of sales, receipts, and a few essays among others. I finally finished digitizing this collection last week and the final count of items in this collection was 525. By digitizing these papers I spent most of my time scanning, so far this summer. While the collection has 525 items, I ended up scanning 1043 scans. And on an average I probably did about 40 scans per day.
Among the letters in this collection there are about 40 family letters, which have begun being transcribed, and being the English student that I am, what I find most interesting about the letters that are in this collection is the lack of uniform punctuation, grammar, and spelling throughout the letters. Within one letter a single word could be spelt different three times, and I really find that fascinating because of how structured language has become in today’s world. I feel like the difference between writing today and writing from say 1863 is a very interesting marker in how different things are today. It seems to me that the evolution of language is equally as important when studying history, as studying the evolution of other aspects of our society, as is more commonly looked at and taught in schools. It seems that both today’s structure of writing and that of 150 years ago have their strengths and weaknesses. And reading these letters on thing that came clear to me is how these letters seem to flow much easier than a letter of today. Whereas in contrast a letter of today do have much more uniform writing, something that the correspondence of this collection more often than not, do not seem to have.
But overall, what I took away from looking at these correspondence letters is that while it changes frequently, writing is extremely important for communication, and while it can change mediums overtime, which is clear as I write this blog post, it still seems to maintain the same weight and importance for a man like Thomas Henry, as it does today.
Since the last time, I told you that I was starting to work on the Robinson Book. So far, so good! The first rough draft has been printed and we have begun the first round of editing – So far everyone seems to enjoy it! Also I told you how I never did tours with my morning co-op and how I was afraid to mess up. I was quite surprised to find how much the information was in my head. Although my first tour was nerve racking, now when I go on a tour my mouth just seems to work on its own!
The book and tours were not only my first here at the museum; last Thursday was the museum’s first summer garden tea. It was also my first tea and it went perfectly. The sky was clear and blue, it was not too hot plus all the guests had really big smiles on their faces! Setting up and taking down all the tables was a bit hard, as I do not exactly have a whole lot of strength, but the food definitely made up for that! Towards the end of the tea when some of the guest left for the tour I was caught a couple times by Laura Suchan stuffing my mouth full of the leftover sandwiches. In all truthfulness, they were absolutely delicious and I just could not help myself (the cucumber and cream cheese is my favourite!) Although I am not the type of girl that likes to wear dresses or skirts and having to wear the costumes is really awkward for me, the amount of fun I am having here is definitely worth it!
Lastly I have begun to transcribe letters we received that the Henry family wrote. One really stood out to me so far. It was written by George to his mother, Lurenda, shortly after Thomas’ death. George talks about how much it hurts to lose a father but it hurts even more to see his mother in pain. George continues on with this beautifully well-written metaphor on life. He says life is like a “great train” that we’re all “stepping off one by one”. That there is no return train and “all alone we walk through the dark vally and shadow of death with the blessed hope of the saviours strong arm to lean upon.” At the end of the letter he writes “I remain as ever your son George”. While reading this letter you just become lost in his words and you could sense his pain he had after losing his father. The letter was absolutely heart breaking to read yet so incredibly beautiful.
As our summer tea season is quickly approaching here at the Oshawa Community Museum, I thought I would take some time and share why I think tea drinking is just so wonderful. Whether you like Earl Grey or English Breakfast or prefer Peppermint or Green, tea is full of health, social and delicious benefits. Here are 12 reasons why drinking tea is wonderful:
1) Tea, when consumed in moderation could have positive health results. According to Time Magazine, along with helping protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, research suggests that the antioxidants in tea might also help ward off certain types of cancer.
2) Tea comes in all sorts of flavours and types. Real tea is derived from the plant Camellia Sinensis and includes only four varieties: black, white, green and oolong. Anything else that is herbal, isn’t technically considered a tea because it’s infused with different plants. Nevertheless, when you visit a tea shop (whether technically tea or not) you are presented with all sorts of flavours, colours and types and there is bound to be one that will suit any taste bud.
3) Tea has little to no calories, but tons of flavour. You can still brew a robust, full flavoured tea without having to consume a lot of calories. What this means? Tea is ideal for those trying to watch their waist line or trying to lose a few pounds.
4) Tea is popular. Now, normally popularity isn’t a good deciding factor on whether or not something is awesome, but the facts about tea’s popularity shouldn’t be ignored. According to the Tea Association of Canada, Canadians drink almost 9 billion cups of tea each year, which in 2012 equals out to about 380 million dollars in hot tea sales. On a global scale, tea is considered the most consumed drink sitting behind water. Why is this important? Simply put, it means you can buy tea almost anywhere. Its popularity means you don’t have to go searching too far to find a cup of tea.
5) You can individualize tea. Whether you take it with sugar and milk, or just milk or just lemon or you prefer iced tea. If you like dishwater tea or prefer a strong tea, one of the reasons tea is so great is that it can cater to your own unique taste.
6) Tea has a long and interesting history. How many beverages can say they have been part of large political protests? Tea is a drink that has been so intertwined into the social and political fabric of many countries that its history makes for an exciting and interesting tale.
7) Tea has procedure, tradition and proper etiquette. For example, it is inappropriate to lift the saucer when drinking tea, this is considered rude and not proper behaviour for a tea. Furthermore, there is a whole meal dedicated to tea, whether it is low-tea or high-tea.
8) Drinking tea means cleaning fewer dishes. Regular tea drinkers will tell you that are never suppose to wash a tea pot. Apparently the tannins in tea stick to the pot and over time will make your tea better and better.
9) It’s cheap! Yes, specialty teas can be disastrous on your wallet, but if you choose to stay with a traditional Orange Pekoe, each cup will cost you literally cents to make.
10) Drinking tea is the perfect social drink. Doctors recommend letting tea cool before consuming, because drinking extremely hot beverages could have negative effects on your oesophagus. This means that you have to let your tea sit before consuming, giving you time to converse, shoot the breeze, and gossip.
11) You can grow your own tea. Here at the Oshawa Museum we take advantage of the space we have behind Henry House and grow our own tea. This allows you to know how fresh the tea is and pick the flavours that you like best.
12) Finally, tea is wonderful because you can enjoy it here in the Oshawa Community Museum’s Victorian gardens during our summer teas!
There you have it 12 reasons why tea is just wonderful. Why do you think tea is a wonderful?
Come visit us and enjoy your cup of tea on July 25 or August 8 or August 22 for our summer Victorian Teas in the garden. Cost is $10 for OHS members and $15 for non-members. Or join us on July 21 for a tea + talk, where Joyce O’Connell will be discussing how quilting has changed since the 1900s. Cost for tea + talk is $20 a person. Please note reservations are required for all teas, call museum for details.
Hamilton, July 2 – Arrested by Inspector Ward of the City of Toronto, and Constable Lyell, of the Hamilton race track, at the Hamilton Jockey Club, yesterday, William Blair, Detroit was remanded on a charge of vagrancy in police court this morning. The officers picked him up after a complaint by a racing man who felt a hand in his pocket and turned to see Blair walking away.
Thursday July 3, 1930
A New York man killed himself in a theatre. This is carrying dramatics too far. – Chatham News
Friday July 4, 1930
“Are there any modern day witches?” asks a writer. We haven’t noticed anybody flying about on vacuum-cleaners in our district. – Punch
Saturday July 5, 1930
Chimney is Trap to Catch Burglar Entering Store
Saint John, July 5 – Tightly wedged 30 feet down inside the chimney of the N.B. liquor store building on Main Street, William C. Stackhouse shouted two hours for aid yesterday, before police located the source of his smothered cries. Firemen and police extricated him by cutting a gap in the wall and removing chimney bricks.
Charged with breaking and entering the liquor store with intent to steal, Stackhouse pleaded guilty and was given two years in Dorchester penitentiary by Acting Magistrate Williams in police court.
Police said Stackhouse tried to enter the liquor store via the skylight. He had fallen into the chimney and had been unable to climb out.
Thursday July 10, 1930
Britain Has Banned Apples From U.S.
Toronto, July 9-A.M. Wiseman, British Trade Commissioner in Canada for Ontario, has received official information from the British Government of an order just issued prohibiting the importation of raw apples from the United States into the United Kingdom, between July 7 and Nov. 15, with the exception of certain fancy grades.
Mr. Wiseman has no information as to why the ban is placed, but it was learned from other sources that it may be due to a fruit fly, known in the United States as the “railroad borer”, which is not believed to be in England.
Thursday July 10, 1930
Cheese makers to Compete
Kingston – A very comprehensive competition for the cheese makers of Frontenac County has been organized and five trophies and over $200 in prize money has been obtained. The object of the competition is to stimulate more interest in the dairy industry.
Thursday July 10, 1930
Kinston – A most unusual book is that owned by Mrs. W. Ashton of 45 King Street West, this city. It is a history of the Bible, printed by H. & E. Phinney, Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1829 and the pages measure only one inch by one and a half inches. The volume is bound in leather and is in remarkably good state of preservation. The print is very clear and the volume is illustrated by small wood cuts. It is believed to be the only book of its kind in existence and Mrs. Ashton has refused some very high offers for it.
Monday July 21, 1930
Young Tree-sitter Injured in Fall
Hamilton, July 21 – Inspired by reports of many and wonderful endurance contests Lionel Clause decided to make a name as a tree sitter for himself.
He started by climbing to the top of a tree in his back yard, but his name now appears in print not because he shattered existing records, but because he slipped. The lad sustained a compound fracture of the skull and is in general hospital in a serious condition.
Thursday July 31, 1930
The next man who suggests having a contest in hot weather should be tapped on the head with a large mallet
Some people seem to have all the luck. Here’s one chap getting his picture in all the the papers just because he is wanted by the police.
On July 1, 1867, The British North America Act came into effect on July 1, 1867, uniting the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as “One Dominion under the name of Canada. “
In Oshawa, the passing of the BNA Act was a relatively quiet affair, even though it had been designated as a celebration of Confederation for the country. The day started with the firing of guns and ringing of bells, and many houses flew flags. There was a parade along King Street and speeches were given in front of Gibb’s Store and Fowke’s. A picnic was held later in the day at Cedar Dale for those people of the community who did not go elsewhere such as the town of Whitby to celebrate. It is estimated that 7,000 were present for the events in Whitby.
On June 20, 1868, a proclamation of Governor General Lord Monck called upon all Canadians to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of Canada on July 1st. The proclamation stated, “Now Know Ye, that I, Charles Stanley Viscount Monck, Governor General of Canada, do hereby proclaim and appoint WEDNESDAY, the FIRST day of JULY next, as the day on which the Anniversary of the formation of the Dominion a Canada be duly celebrated. And I do hereby enjoin and call upon all Her Majesty’s loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the due and proper celebration of the said Anniversary on the said FIRST day of JULY next.”
Oshawa residents observed this proclamation and celebrated the one year anniversary of Confederation. The Oshawa Vindicator reported on July 8, 1868 that the 34th Battalion (later renamed the Ontario Regiment) assembled at 3 o’clock on Dominion Day on the Agricultural grounds in Whitby to receive a flag in the colours of the Queen. The paper reported that “the attendance of spectators was immense, rendering it almost impossible to preserve sufficient space for moving the force.”
There was also a picnic held by the employees of the factories at Morris’s Grove on Dominion Day, and the Vindicator stated it was a success. The picnic itself was slightly overshadowed by the presentation of the Colors, but nonetheless, attendance was still large. There were games and a “friendly rivalry” between Foundry and Factory, and the Freeman family band played music throughout the day. In the evening, the events continued in the drill shed where prizes were distributed, addresses were delivered and cheers given to the Queen, Messrs Miall, Glen, Whiting and Cowan, and to members of the committee. Picnic attendees danced to the “late hour” to the music of the Freeman band.
Although not officially recognized as a holiday (it would be recognized as such in 1879), Oshawa residents celebrated Dominion Day in the years following confederation in similar manners. Picnics were held, games were played, fireworks lit up the sky, and dancing continued into the night. The 34th Battalion typically played a role in Dominion Day celebrations.
Canada’s Diamond Jubilee year was 1927, and both Canada and Oshawa celebrated this landmark. The Oshawa Daily Reformer issued a special edition of their paper for June 30, commemorating 60 years since Confederation, particularly highlighting Oshawa’s achievements through the years. In Lakeview Park, the Jubilee Pavilion was open for business on June 30th, 1927, with the official opening on Dominion Day. The pavilion was named in honour of this landmark year. Jubilee celebrations lasted for two days in Oshawa and included parades, sporting events, picnics, the playing of a speech from King George V, dancing, and fireworks. The Ontario Regiment Band played, along with the Salvation Army Band, the Oshawa Kilties Band and the General Motors 75 member choir. Dominion Day also included a commemorative ceremony for those who died during the Great War. Memorial Park and Alexandra Park served as appropriate locales for Jubilee celebrations on Friday July 1, and on July 2, the party continued at Lakeview Park.
In 1967, the year of Canada’s Centennial, Oshawa appropriately celebrated this milestone. The Oshawa Folk Festival had a Centennial Week celebration with events leading up to and including Dominion Day. On July 1, there was a parade through to Alexandra Park and events through the afternoon, as well as events and fireworks at the Civic Auditorium. Oshawa also took part in the “Wild Bells” program, with all church bells, factory whistles and sirens sounding when July 1 came in. Hayward Murdoch, Oshawa’s Centennial Committee Chairman commented, “This seems like an excellent and appropriate way to usher in Canada’s 100th birthday. We want to have as many bells, whistles and sirens sounding as possible.”
Celebrations for East Whitby Township took place in the Village of Columbus with the unveiling of a centennial plaque, a band concert, school choirs, barbeque and fireworks.
Oshawa also had a centennial house constructed at the corner of King Street and Melrose Street (just east of Harmony Road). The project was coordinated by the Oshawa Builders Association, and profits of the sale of the home went to the Oshawa Retarded Children’s Association (now operating today as Oshawa/Clarington Association for Community Living).
In 1982, the name of the holiday was officially changed from “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.” Since 1984, Oshawa’s largest Canada Day celebrations have taken place in Lakeview Park. In 1985, the opening of Guy House coincided with Canada Day festivities, and the opening of the new pier also took place on July 1, 1987. In 1988, an elephant from the Bowmanville Zoo was part of the festivities, participating in a tug of war with city aldermen. Canada’s 125th anniversary was in 1992, and the City organized a big party down at lakefront. Every year, fireworks mark the end of the celebrations.
The City run Canada Day celebrations have been very successful over the years, drawing tens of thousands to Oshawa’s lakeshore. They have also attracted a certain level of prestige, making Festivals and Events Ontario’s list of top 50 (later top 100) celebrations in 2004, 2005 and 2009.
Located in Lakeview Park, the Oshawa Community Museum takes part every year in Canada Day celebrations. Over the years, the museum has had historical re-enactors, special displays, woodworking and blacksmithing demonstrations, and a Strawberry Social in the Henry House Gardens. Currently, the Museum offers costumed tours of Henry House on Canada Day, and our Verna Conant Gallery is open in Guy House.
We will be open from 2-5 on July 1, 2013! Please visit!
The Oshawa Vindicator, 1868-1870, various editions Oshawa Daily Reformer, June 30, 1927 Oshawa Daily Times, July 4, 1927
Oshawa Community Archives (Subject 0012, Box 0001, Files 0003-0006, 0011, 0015)