Saturday, November 05, 2011

Mercy Coles down the Ottawa River Montreal to Ottawa to Kingston, Belleville, Coburg, Toronto

Mercy and the delegates and their families continue after the Quebec conference to tour the 'Canadas' and promote the idea of Confederation. The Parliament Buildings were just under construction in Ottawa, the railways were relatively new to travel between Ottawa and Toronto (though the rail line doesn't extend quite as far as Toronto yet).

“Monday Oct 31
            On board the Prince of Wales on the Ottawa River. We left Montreal this morning at seven o’clock. We came by train to Lachine then came on board this steamer. I have just seen the Rapids mentioned in the Canadian Boat Song

(click for a version of the Boat Song, thanks to my niece and her grade 5 class). ... [Sunday] We walked up to see McGill College. Such magnificent residences are in the university. We went back to the Hotel in a street car. At 3 o’clock we went through the Grand Victoria Bridge [Considered to be the ‘8th wonder of the world’ at the time] ... We stopt in the middle and got out. We saw the [unclear ?] the Prince of Wales drove in, they opened the window and we looked down on a raft just passing under the bridge.

November 2nd Wednesday
            Aboard the Carslet-Prescott [the Prescott railway, the first rail line between Ottawa and south to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the towns along Lake Ontario’s north shore]. We have been travelling ever since 8 o’clock. Yesterday we had such a gala day. We went to see the Parliament Buildings in the morning, they are magnificent, such a splendid example of everything that is good. The Picture Gallery is the only room that is finished, fit to ---[?] and it was there we had the luncheon. We saw the model of the library which will be a most splendid building. It is made of plaster of Paris and is kept in a room to show what the library will be [I'm sure I saw a plaster of paris version of the library too when I toured the Parliament Buildings as a kid - I can't find any reference to say whether this would be the same plaster of p version?]. ... [The luncheon] was a grand affair. Mr. Henry, Mr. Johnston and Papa made speeches. John A was to have made a speech but he was tight or had a palpitation of the heart and could not go on (emphasis mine). Mr Galt got up and excused him very well. We went to the Ball in the evening ... I had to come away with a half dozen gentlemen not danced with.
            ½ past 2 – We have just dined at Kingston such a delicious dinner given by Mr. Bridges. ...
¼ 5 – Just arrived at Belleville. All the voluntary turned out. The Mayor presented an address. They drank the health of the mayor and started the moment after. ...

Toronto Queen’s Hotel
Thursday November 3rd
We arrived at Mr. Cockburn’s last night at 8 o’clock. Such a beautiful place, he gave us a magnificent supper tho only pity was we had such a short time to stay. They had illuminations and all sorts of grandeur. We arrived here at 10 o’clock. Such a grand affair torch light procession. 5,000 people were in front of the hotel. Dr. Tupper, Mr Tilley and Mr. Brown made speeches from a gallery just beneath my bedroom window. We have just had breakfast and are now off sightseeing. ...”
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