Oshawa Celebrates Canada Day

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. “

From the Oshawa Daily Reformer, 1927
From the Oshawa Daily Reformer, 1927

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.

From the Oshawa Daily Reformer, 1927
From the Oshawa Daily Reformer, 1927

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.

Canada Day at Henry House
Canada Day at Henry House

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!

 

References:

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)

Month That Was … May 1929

Saturday May 4, 1929

Family is Saved as Child Coughs

Guelph, May 4 – Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Johnston, 14th concession of Peel, and their three children narrowly escaped being burned to death in a fire that destroyed their home and all its contents. Mrs. Johnston found the house on fire and aroused her husband. Wrapping the children in comforters, they climbed out a back window onto a kitchen roof and making their way to a woodshed below, dropped to the ground.

 

Human Chess

Ramsgate – Human chess was played here recently as a feature of the Kent Country Chess association meet.

The players sat on top of lawn tennis umpire seats.

Fifty boys, all masters of chess themselves, were used as “pieces” in three great games of chess in which mighty mean of this “moving” pastime took part. One of these players was the world-famous champion, Capablanca himself.

Capablanca on a stool calling out his moves to the living boy pawns and kings and bishops was a sight to which all chess-loving Ramsgate flocked.

The mayor gave a reception to the chess association members, by way of start-off for a week’s congress and living chess was the feature of the meeting.

 

Thursday May 9, 1929

Helped Boy on Way

Kingston, May 9 – Just out in this country six months and suffering from lonesomeness, Frederick George Edwards, aged 15, a bright looking chap, wandered into the office of Mayor W.H. Craig at the City Hall at noon today, and bursting into tears, stated that he wanted to go home to his mother in Liverpool. After making inquiries regarding the lad, Mayor Craig gave him a railway pass as far as Montreal, and upon arrival there the youngster will report at the immigration office and ask to be sent home.

 

Friday May 10, 1929

Chilly Rescue by Girl Swimmer

Ottawa, May 10 – Without so much as removing her gloves or overcoat, Miss Gladys Smirle dived into the chilly waters of the Rideau Canal to save 5-year-old Jack Macdonnell from drowning yesterday. Miss Smirle formerly was a star member of the Ottawa Collegiate Aquatic Team. It took her less than a minute to dive from the Bronson Bridge, clutch the child as he was sinking and safely bring him home to shore.

The boy fell into the water from a pier of the bridge on which he was playing.

 

Saturday May 11, 1929

Kitten shows its Liking for the Prince

London – A kitten Saturday selected, of all the gathering of the “Toch H” was veterans society in Church House, Westminster, the Prince of Wales with which to make friends. Delegates from all Britain present to see the Prince light the lamps of maintenance for new branches let their attention wander when the animal jumped on the arm of the chair of the Prince, and showed lively pleasure at his stroking its head.

Once the Kitten deserted the Prince for a caress from Field Marshal Lord Plumer, but soon returned to the heir to the throne, and slept in his chair for the remainder of the meeting.

 

Monday May 13, 1929

Editor’s Comments:

The Younger Generation

It is odd that of all the critics of youth who go on earning their weekly guineas by tapping out on their typewriters the old tale of cocktails late nights, immodest speech and scanty clothing not one, so far as I am aware, her pointed out the one fundamental failing of the whole of the younger generation – that is their almost complete lack of any qualitative standards. They spend half their lives learning which side of their bread is buttered when they cannot tell the difference between butter and margarine.

 

Monday May 13, 1929

Girl Meets Wolf

Apsley – Miss Amy Lean filled the role of a modern Red Riding Hood on Tuesday afternoon when walking through a fellow close to the house, she came face to face with a large wolf. Only a few yards separated them, but owing probably to the fact that the lady was accompanied by her dog, unlike the wolf of the fairy tale, it evinced no interest for a closer acquaintanceship, but retreated to the woods, much to her relief.

Co-op Student’s Thoughts

HI, my name is Caitlan and I am a co-op student here. I’m in grade 12 and I plan on going to university in September for Social Media. When we had to start applying to universities I had no idea what I wanted to take and how should I know, I’m only 17 and I wanted to make sure the program I was going to take, I would enjoy. After all I would be stuck in it for a year and A LOT of money is involved! I started to research different programs and the only one that stood out for me was Social Media (which is radio, television/film, journalism etc.) So I decided to do co-op that would have, to some degree, of what I would be doing in university, just so I know money is not going to waste. That is how I found my way here.

Although I never thought of myself has a person really interested about history especially since my brother is a history buff and is getting a degree in history. So naturally, many people thought it was strange to do co-op at a museum. But I have found my co-op experience here is going really well and enjoyable. I have learned quite a bit about Oshawa’s past, and many things that actually surprised me or I found amusing. So what exactly have I been doing here? Well, when I first started I researched a lot about Oshawa’s railway, which is one thing I never even knew Oshawa had. I started to create tweets about the railway to help create awareness about the Railway exhibit (opening May 1st) which started to go out on the first of April. I was able to create 31 tweets, one for each day of April and one for May 1st. I also created two different posters for the Railway Exhibit and the poster for the Summer Lecture & Tour Series which starts June 5th. Since then I have been getting ready the ‘Month that was’ and so far that is one of my favourite things to do here! The reason is some of the things that people thought was news or even just the way that wrote was very opinionated and if some of the things that were printed back then was put in a newspaper today, let’s just say someone would be getting fired or in quite a bit of trouble. Even the advertisements in the papers and comics are written completely different (for example an ad. for a colouring contest, the grand prize winner would receive a pony!). In addition to that, I have also been helping Lisa photograph artifacts over in Henry House and I can now say I officially know how to correctly number an artifact! I have seen some really cool artifacts, some of which I think should have stayed around today and some creepy artifacts but I will not go there!

For the next 3 months I hope to complete a few short videos, a press release for the Downtown Walking Tour and a few more blogs, as well as continuing to photograph artifacts and more of the ‘Month that was’. Overall I am really happy I have co-op here! I know that I will enjoy my program starting in September and I cannot believe I get to start my days off in a new and interesting way, every day with a wonderful and friendly group of people!

As I said above I have been taking some photograph’s and I thought I would share a couple with you! …

This is  a shot form the Henry House desk!
This is a shot form the Henry House desk!

 

Love the pattern of the Henry House Couch!
Love the pattern of the Henry House Couch!

 

 

This picture does not do the these shoes justice! They are actually really tiny!
This picture does not do the these shoes justice! They are actually really tiny!

 

 

The Month That Was: April 1954

Thursday April 1, 1954

For Success in Business

What makes one less successful than he feels he should be?

Surveys at the Illinois Institute of Technology show that laziness is often the cause; if you’re well educated have a good vocabulary and are not applying yourself.

Sailors Friends of Orphans

OTTAWA (CP)-Canadian sailors on destroyers in the Far East have been spending some of their shore leave looking after orphans.

The Crusader recently entertained 70 youngsters from an orphanage on the island of Yang Pyong-Do, the navy said Wednesday and the Huron, on her last patrol before returning to Canada, left $110 and baskets of food and candy for the 30-odd children of Eden orphanage on Paengnyong-Do

The Haida, a navy release said, has taken up where the Huron left off. A recent patrol took her to Paengnyong-Do, and the destroyer’s chief and petty officers visited the one-room hut housing more than 30 children. They donated $20 and quantities of food, candy, nuts, soap, and toothpaste for the homeless young South Koreans.

Star-Gazer 14 years old

MONTREAL (CP)-Morton Fels, 14-years-old amateur astronomer has built a telescope with which he and his father can see the satellites around Jupiter and the craters on the moon.

Morton, a student at Westmount junior high, started 10 months ago to grind the mirror for his telescope. The work had to be done by hand and he estimates he spent 150 hours on the job.

He first learned from the Royal Astronomical Society that it was possible to build the telescope. Now is he is a member of that body.

Morton is no novice at making things. On his basement wall he has a contraption that feeds his guinea pigs automatically.

 

Monday April 5, 1954

Household Hint

To remove food from boiling water without burning the fingers, use a pair of tongs. Tongs are handy utensils to keep in your kitchen, not only fro removing articles from hot water, but getting olives out of bottles, and similar chores.

 

Saturday April 10, 1954

50 Year Promise Kept

CHICAGO (CP)-Fifty years ago, Alfred Arndt, 18, shook his head over the high price of a suit-15. Said the clothier, Max Hyman: “You buy that suit today, and 50 years from now I’ll give you one for nothing.” Friday Arndt, 68, appeared in Hyman’s store. Hyman, now in his 80s remembered the bargain. He invited Arndt to pick his free suit, and Arndt selected a $70 number.

 

Tuesday April 20, 1954

U.S to Probe Comic Books

NEW YORK (AP) – An investigation into “sadistic comic books and their impact upon adolescents” will be launched today by a U.S. Senate judiciary sub-committee on a juvenile delinquency.

Sunday Robert C. Hendrickson (Rep. N.J.) said Monday “we are conducting these hearings in New York, the heart of the comic book industry, because of the thousands of letters we have received in which the writers expressed deepest concern over comic books and other mass media of communication.”

Hendrickson said the sub-committee is “vitally interested n evaluating the impact of horror and crime comics … which glorify graft and corruption and ridicule honesty or produce fantastic pictures of violence, brutality and torture.”

 

Wednesday April 21, 1954

(Advertisement) Boys and Girls in Ontario This Pony could be yours

Now today … Enter the Little Joe Colouring Book Contest Open to all Ontario Children Under 12!

One pony for Ontario Girl – Grand Prize winner

One pony for Ontario Boy – Grand Prize winner

… Also as Ontario Regional Runner-up prizes, there are 12 brand new C.C.M. Bicycles

Entry form tells you all about it. If YOU are under 13, get your FREE entry form and Little Joe Colouring Book from your Langmuir Paints dealer … TODAY! Nothing to buy!

It’s easy! It’s fun! All you have to do is colour the LITTLE JOE COLOURING BOOK!

Every eligible child has a good chance to win!

And judges will consider ability according to age

There are six regions in Ontario … each with its own contest, for two brand new C.C.M. Bikes … and a chance to win Ontario Grand Prize of a pony.  Contest closes June 11th 1954. Winners announced June 26th 1954. Think how wonderful it would be to have your own PONY … or a brand new C.C.M. Bicycle!

And just think how much fun you could have this summer with a real little Shetland Pony all your very own … or a brand new Bicycle to go on picnics or a fishing trip with the gang.

The Month That Was… March 1922

From the Oshawa Daily Reformer

Thursday March 2, 1922:

Daughter Had to help Mother

-Now can do all her housework alone because Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable compound helped her.

Jasper, Minn, – “I saw in the paper about Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound and took it because I was having such pains in my stomach and through my back that I could not do my work. I had tried other medicines, but none did me the good that your Vegetable Compound did. Now I am able to do all my work alone while before I had my daughter staying at home to do it. I have told a number of friends what it has done for me and give you permission to use my letter as a testimonial.” – Mrs. Jesse Patterson

There is no better reason for your trying Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound than this- it has helped other women. So if you suffer from displacements, irregularities, backache, nervousness or are passing through the Changes of Life remember this splendid medicine. What it did for Mrs. Patterson it may do for you.

Good time For Walking

Providence Journal: Spring and the late autumn are undoubtedly the most popular seasons for walking. But at this time of the year when the snow crunches with weird sounds under the heel and the winter wind has a vigor-stirring sting in it, the walker may experience joys that have a meaning all their own. The man who walks the trodden and untrodden paths these days for the love of it need not worry much about his health.

Women are Against Travelling Carnivals

The Local Council of Women in a letter to the town Council Tuesday evening at the special meeting, heartily endorsed the stand taken by Chief of Police Friend a few weeks ago regarding the banning from the town of travelling carnivals.

The ladies asked the Town Council to endorse the stand taken by the chief, pointing out that not only did these carnivals take away a lot of money from the town and leave very little behind, but they also had an evil influence. The letter was referred by the council to the License Committee.

Saturday March 4, 1922:

Train Derailed At Whitby Today

Passengers from Oshawa intending to take the 2.50 G.T.R train points east had a long wait this afternoon.

A freight train was derailed at Whitby early in the afternoon, and the cars blocked all east bound traffic. At 4.30 o’clock this afternoon local G.T.R officials ‘had no idea when the track would be cleared, or when the passenger train would arrive. The non-arrival of the train also caused inconvenience to The reformer and delayed publication of the paper, as cuts intended for today’s paper were expected in the Toronto mail.

 

Editorial Comment

Even in the age of the women citizen one of the surest approaches to the male heart is the “line” that begins : “Oh, Mr. Jones, I don’t know a thing about politics, so won’t you please tell me what you think?”

Tuesday March 7, 1922:

Coming events

-Irish Concert March 17, Regent Theatre

-Engel’s Bargain Basement, opens Thursday morning with sensational bargains

-The Adanac Orchestra are holding a dance next Friday night in the Engel’s Assembly Hall

-Scientific Palmist – has read the hands of hundreds of distinguished people. Here all this week. Central Hotel, Room 6, hours 10 to 9: terms $1.00

Tuesday March 14, 1922:

 Presented Bride With Casserole

Gathered together at the home of Mrs. William Questard, Whiting Ave., last Wednesday evening, and presented her with a beautiful casserole on the occasion of her marriage to Mr. Questard on March 4.

Wednesday evening was most enjoyable spent, whist being played part of the evening, for which prizes were given for the highest and lowest scores and the prize winners were Mrs. Chas. Holder, ladies first, and Mr. H. Carter, gentlemen’s first, and the ladies lowest prize was won by Mrs. Lottie Thompson and the gentlemen’s lowest went to Mr. Chas. Tuson. Afterwards a nice lunch was served by Mrs. Questard and the evening finished up with a few songs.