WHEN TORONTO GREW UP
COLONEL GEORGE H. HAM
TORONTO is "the Queen City of Canada,” but it was not always thus. Long before my time it was called either “Little York,” or “Muddy York,” and the latter designation was as well deserved as the former, for the town or city— (it became a city with William Lyon Mackenzie’s grandfather as Mayor in ’34)—had much the experience of Winnipeg in its pioneer days owing to the generosity with which mud was lavished upon it. There was an oozy, slippery and sticky quality about the mud of the town of York that made it famous all over Upper Canada.
If, by reason of this peculiarity, the town was none too comfortable under foot, neither was it at all times as agreeable overhead. One hundred and seven years ago the Yankees captured the place and the Stars and Stripes decorated what was left of it when the burning of the public buildings and the looting had been stopped.
Nemesis, however, soon overtook the invaders. The British retaliated by taking Washington. Our neighbors have not yet ceased exulting over the defeat of the little garrison at York, and bewailing the barbarity of the attack upon Washington. I wonder if all this would have happened had Tommy Church ruled in those days.
When the Union Jack returned, as it did the following year, rebuilding proceeded briskly. Our forefathers
were not restrained by union rules or the eight-hour day. But the Toronto of that time is not the Toronto of 1920. As a matter of fact there have been three Torontos on the present site. The first, known as Little York possibly to distinguish it from its namesake New York, was crowded into half a dozen squares just east of Sherbourne Street. Then came the second, with King street up to York street as its principal thoroughfare, and with nothing much north of Queen street. Following this we have the Toronto of to-day, covering a large area and boasting a population of more than half a million.
It was while the city was passing from its second to its third stage that I first knew it. You landed from the Grand Trunk at a little brick building in the centre of a long platform at the foot of York street. This was the predecessor of the new Union Station that is to be opened in the sweet bye and bye. You at once knew you were in a great metropolis for at the slip running into the Bay, which at that time had not been filled in, and came up nearly to Front street, were the carts loading with barrels of water for distribution among the citizens. It was a sort of primitive water works system, with the wells and distilleries to supplement it for drinking purposes.
Up York street and along Front were some of thé old fashioned villas. York to Spadina on Front and Wellington streets had been the fashionable section of the second city of Toronto, with the Parliament Buildings half way along. Here, Sandfield Macdonald, the first premier, ruled the new Province of Ontario. Sandfield’s Government wasnoted foritsunconventionality—from the physical point of view. The Prime Minister was said to have but one lung. The Provincial Treasurer, E. B. Wood, had but one arm, and the Provincial Secretary, M. C. Cameron, had but one foot. No wonder the first Ontario administration did not make a good run.
The Leader’s Drill Shed Story JUST east of the Parliament Buildings was the huge wooden drill shed built during the Trent excitement when every town in Canada was running to drill sheds instead of to good roads or prohibition. One night this far from elegant structure collapsed under the weight of a fall of snow. The old Leader, of which more anon, made a front page sensation of the accident. Multifarious headlines, nearly a column in length, told the harrowing story, and a single sentence stating that the roof of the shed had fallen in formed the body of the report. Jimuel Briggs was then writing the comic Police Court for the Telegraph, a rival paper. He arraigned a suppositious tramp before the “Beak” on the charge of drunkenness and vagrancy. “What was the last piece of work you did?” asked the magistrate. “The Leader's report on the drill shed,” the prisoner replied. “Six months with hard labor,” was the penalty promptly imposed. This was the first rebuke I know of to the headline as a newspaper artifice. King and Yonge were the business and promenade
streets. All the big retail stores were on King, and those of prominence were better known by the trade name given to them than by the names of their proprietors. Thus the Golden Lion, the Golden Griffin, the Mammoth, Flag of all Nations, and China Hall were the popular bargain centres. Yonge street was just beginning to pick up the retail trade. This street was named after an early secretary of war who never saw it. Up Yonge and just around the corner on Queen next to Knox Church, on the site now covered by Simpson’s, was a fashionable undertaking establishment conducted by Luke Sharp, whose name, displayed in huge letters óver an assortment of attractive caskets, seemed to suggest “Safety First” to the passers by. Robert Barr, the famous humorist, who kept Detroit laughing for years, thought so well of the name that he adopted it as his nom de plume. Thus Luke literally leaped from grave to gay.
A more notable example of the coming together of the serious and the not-so-serious was furnished at King and Simcoe streets where St. Andrew’s Church, Government House, Upper Canada College, and an attractive tavern occupied the four comers. It used to be said that salvation, legislation, education and damnation met at this point. Salvation is all that remains of the big four, and the survival is no doubt attributable to the fact that Toronto is Toronto the Good. Nor is this the only evidence of the Goodness of the City. Joe Clark, of the Toronto Star, whose orchard would have seriously affected the fruit market if he had had more than three trees, once told me that his precious heir-apparent some years ago came home from Sunday School triumphantly bearing a Bible—the big prize for the most industrious pupil. The next year he brought home another Bible, but with diminished enthusiasm. The following year he appeared with a third copy of the Holy Scriptures which he meekly laid on the table, and enquiringly remarked:
“Say, Dad, how many Bibles have I got to win before I get anything else?”
Thus was the foundation of Toronto’s goodness firmly and permanently laid.
When “Three Pairs” Won
' I 'HE old Government House at the four corners was supplanted by the new one in Rosedale a few years ago. This building figured in rural politics in the early days of Ontario. Archie McKellar, who was the first U.F.O., though he didn’t know it, used to go up and down the side lines denouncing the extravagance that built such a mansion and put a billiard room in it. His labor with the farmers helped to put Sir Oliver Mowat in power, and oddly enough Sir Oliver lived for years in this very Government House, though I do not think he used the billiard room. Society made Government House its headquarters.
But the Toronto Club, now occupying its palatial quarters at the corner of York and Wellington streets, was the gathering place for the élite of the male persuasion. A story is told of pre-prohibition days when some of the masculine social stars used to meet at the Club for a little
me of draw, or—there being no T.A. to interfere with their convictions on the temperance question— for a little of something else. Late in the night, or early in the morning as the case may be, at one of these assemblies the hand of one of the players was “called.” The hand was thrown down, and it showed three tens. No good; the next man threw down three Queens. Not worth a tinker’s what-do-you-call-it; the next showed three Kings. The same result for three aces followed. The holder of the three aces started to rake in the pot when the last player hiccoughed “Hold on, will you, I’ve got three pair.” And they all admitted that the pot was his.
The Albany Club on King street east was and still is the leading Conservative club, and I guess some of the old members are still voting for Sir
The newspapers of that period had a hard time to make ends meet, owing to the cost of production and the rarity of subscribers. The Globe, the Leader and the Colonist were the dailies. George Brown, Gordon Brown, Dan Morrison and Charles Lindsay were the chief writers. George Brown thought more of the Globe than of any other of his life associations, excepting perhaps Bow Park. They say that, returning from Edinburgh with h» bride, he jumped out of the train when
bride, jumped out of the train when it reached the Toronto station and made for the Globe office, forgetting for the moment that his fair companion required some attention m the strange city to which she had come.
His assaults upon the other side of politics were printed double-leaded on the front page of the paper. People used to think this was because of their importance. But John A. Ewan, who was a boy in theGTo&e office at the time, and was assigned the duty of running up to Mr. Brown’s house for the editorial copy, used to say that m nine cases out of ten the articles had to go on the front page beeause, owing to the labor lavished upon them, they were too late for the page devoted to editorial matter. John A. Ewam began newspaper work on the Globe, and was one of the editors of that paper when he passed away. A staunch Liberal and beloved by all, we were warm friends, for he was a good deal like my other bosom friend, Sam Kydd, at the Montreal Gazette, whose quaint humor gave theeditorial columns of that paper a brightness that made them very pleasant reading.
One evening John unceremoniously but unintentionally dropped in on a little dinner party I was giving to several members of the Women’s Press Club at the King Edward, and after having enjoyed a pleasant time, insisted when we were alone and the affair was over upon asking the amount of the bill because he wanted to share the expense. I firmly refused to entertain such a proposition, and told him it was not the custom in the neck of'Jiie woods I came from to allow anyone else to pay for one’s guests.
“Very well, George, my boy,” said John. “You’ve been very kind to me and I am going to be equally generous to you. Hanged if I don’t get you the Liberal nomination for East Toronto at the next election.”
Funny, wasn’t it? John had just been snowed under in that constituency by a 3,000 Conservative majority.Poor John—dead and gone—his memory is still kept green by all the old timers who, knowing his kindness of heart, his geniality and his amiability, loved him all the
WHILE the Globe was growing in every way some of the other papers were not doing so well. The Telegraph, the first venture in the daily field of my old friend, John Ross Robertson, with Jimmy Cook" as his partner, felt the pinch, and so did the Leader after Charles Belford and George Gregg left to help start the Mail.
The Leader’s last days were marked by some journalistic novelties. If you had subscribed to the paper it.kept on coming whether you renewed your subscription or not. If you advertised for a cook the “ad” was placed at the top of the “wanted” column, and appeared daily although your want had been supplied, working its way down to the bottom of the column as fast as new “ads” arrived to take the top place. Ultimately the appeal for a cook reached the bottom of the column and was retired.
The Colonist, then a Tory organ, during the panic of 1857, startled the political world with a sensational article, headed “Whither Are We Drifting,” arid laid the blame of
the distressing condition of the country on the awful extravagance and culpable incapacity of the Government. As I remember, though only a youth of immature years, the paper was financially in a hole, and John Sheridan Hogan, a brilliant young Irishman, who supported the Conservative party, was its editor. The Colonist’s sensational article brought immediate financial relief, for the Reformers swarmed to its assistance by increasing its advertising patronage and its circulation. Hogan was elected as a Liberal to the Local Legislature for one of the Grey’s, and was shortly afterwards murdered one night while crossing the Don bridge by the notorious Brooks Bush gang, which camped near the scene of the tragedy, and made the locality a veritable hell on earth.
Before I was born or even thought of, the equally notorious Markham gang operated for years on a very large scale. The members of this gang were horse-thieves, counterfeiters, desperadoes, and even murder was committed by its members. While apparently well-to-do, respectable people—farmers, millers, tavern-keepers, etc. —they rivalled the scum of the earth in the darkness of their infamous crimes. Their organization was perfect, an iron-bound oath binding them together, and they adroitly scattered their bogus money, broadcast, and drove scores upon scores of horses to Detroit and other places on the American frontier, which was crossed without the formality of a visit to the customs house.
Toronto naturally was the scene of many of their operations, being a fairly good distance from Markham. Some years after I accompanied my old friend, Col. J. E. Farewell, of Whitby, on a visit to Dawn township in Lambton county, to inspect a property he had acquired there. It was located in the middle of a good-sized swamp, and to his great surprise he found the cellars of a big house and large stables and other buildings and large apple trees — the headquarters of that part of the gang which operated throughout Western Canada. Here the stock rested and was fixed up so as to be unrecognizable by the rightful owners should they happen to come across the animals.
To the East the gang operated as far as the Bay of Quinte, and even had big establishments in Stafford and Dunham townships in Lower Canada, where the “phoney” money was made. Murders were committed by these lawless, desperadoes. After some years, through the exertions of Mr. George Gurnett, police magistrate of Toronto, and Mr. Higgins, high constable of York, and others, several of the leaders of the gang were arrested and punished either by death or imprisonment. The gang was dispersed, and while it is now but a misty memory — it terrorized the country in those primitive days.
J i 'HERE were comic papers as well as serious ones in my early days. The Grumbler was one. It was owned by Erastus Wiman, who afterwards led’in the unrestricted reciprocity movement, and the chief writer was Bill Rattray, who later on wrote the heavy religious articles, combating German agnosticism, in the Mail. Another was the Poker, conducted by Robert A. Harrison, who rose to the position of Chief Justice of Ontario. Then came Grip-, published by my old school-fellow, Johnny Bengough, it succeeded splendidly until Johnny’s two fads—single tax and prohibition, then ahead of the age— lost it the needed patronage. Johnny was a bright cartoonist and an able writer and is credited with the authorship of that celebrated poem,
■“Ontario, Ontario, the tyrant’s hand is on thy throat,” which raised a great ruction in Quebec, and which had been attributed to the late Hon.
The Mail first appeared in 1872 with T. C. Patteson, the father, along with Harry Good, of the sporting page in the Canadian newspaper. The Globe would not go in for horse racing, so the Mail made a specialty of this sport and ultimately the older paper had to come in. The Mail was to have been started on April I ; but the foreman printer drew attention to the danger involved in the selection of that date for the first number. So the paper came out a day earlier than was intended. Yet the Mail did not escape the sort of humor appropriate to the first of April. It had the city laughing soon after it was founded by reason of some curious typographical errors incident to the haste of produc-
One of these arose out of a St. George’s Society service at St. James’ Cathedral. It appears that a boy in the composing room had been entertaining himself by setting up sections of a dime novel relating the adventures of “Cut Throat Dick, the Bold Roamer of the Western Plains,” or of some other celebrity of that type. When the report of the St. George’s sermon was being placed in the form preparatory to printing the paper, the “make-up”
man used instead of the second half of the sermon a selection from the story of “Cut Throat Dick” with the result that the preacher, Rev. Alexander Williams, was represented as using language that was quite unsuited to the pulpit.
In the same paper somebody played a practical joke at the expense of Mr. B. Homer Dixon, the Consul-General for the Netherlands. Mr. Dixon always appeared at state functions wearing the diplomatic uniform of blue cloth and gold lace. A letter appeared in the Mail offering a vigorous defence of this practice and was signed apparently by Mr. Dixon himself. The missive, which was a forgery, set everybody laughing.
A Practical Joke by W. R. Callaway
BUT there was a louder laugh at a practical joke played by my old friend, W. R. Callaway, general passenger agent of the Soo Line, and formerly of the C.P.R. at Toronto. Mr. Callaway is nothing if not a wag. The jobs he has put up are innumerable, and this is one of them. He issued "swell” invitations to the leading citizens of Toronto to visit his office on King street and see the first cycle used in the construction of the C.P.R. which had just been completed. The acceptances were many. Amongst those who came to see the wonderful and historic machine were Sir George Kirkpatrick, the mayor and aldermen of Toronto, and many society ladies and gentlemen. They were escorted to a rear room where they beheld a brand new wheel-barrow, especially borrowed for the occasion from Rice Lewis and Son. The crowd took the “sell” good naturedly, but Mr. Callaway was conveniently absent in London that day.
Returning to the newspapers—in a later day came the Sun, the World, edited by W. F. Maclean, M.P., the Empire, afterwards absorbed............ and the Tele-
gram, the last and highly successful venture of John Ross Robertson. John Ross in this enterprise made municipal politics his specialty, and woe to the man he opposed. One candidate for the mayoralty to whom he objected was Angus Morrison. Mr. Morrison was not a, good or strictly coherent speaker. John Ross went after him by printing verbatim reports of his campaign speeches, and thus did him no end of harm. Toronto’s mayors have been of all types and of all brands of politics. Next to Tommy Church, the most tenacious was Francis H. Metcalfe, “Square Toes” as he was called, who had five terms. Mayor Church has had six. He toes the line with even greater energy than did Mr. Metcalfe. “Square Toes” was a notable member of the Orange order, and the joke was on him when he had to give protection to the Catholic processions that celebrated the Papal Jubilee. E. F. Clarke and Horace Hocken were also chiefs of the Orange Order. Ned Clarke was taken away all too early.
Some of the mayors had a good streak of humor. Mayor McMurrich was one of these. It falls to the lot of the mayor to give names to the foundlings coming under the protection of the city. One newspaper man, Ephraim Roden, had criticised Mr. McMurrich in the course of his
journalistic duties. Shortly afterwards a colored foundling had to be named, and the mayor conferred upon it the full name of his critic. Mayor Withrow had a sense of the comic. But he was more given to business. And it was largely through him that the great Industrial Exhibition was established.
I remember coming to one of the exhibitions which preceded the establishment of the Industrial. It was
held just where the Massey-Harris factories and yardare on King street. King street west then ended at Straehan avenue, and big gates where King stru-! stopped guarded the entrance to the Fair Grounds. The most notable feature of the Fair was the glass structure known as the Crystal Palace. Here al! the best exhibitsthe quilts, the amateur paintings, the cakes by the farmer’s wife, the sewing machines, the pumpkins, the parlor organs ami the stoves were displayed. Outside on the grounds were agricultural implements, animals none too well housed, and mud—for the weather as a rule was hostile to the Fair. Mr. Withrow and some other leading spirits worked for the transfer of the Exhibition to the Garrison Common, and now Toronto has the big show of the country—if not of the continent.
“Ned”—Hon. Edward Farrer
THERE had been no better known newspaper man in Canada than Ned Farrer, and none more popular with those who knew him. He was a brilliant writer, an interesting conversationalist with an unlimited fund of information and humor, and knew so many stories and interesting incidents, which he told so often that he actually believed them himself.
While Ned had been chief editorial editor of the Toronto Mail and the Toronto Globe, he w7as also on the Winnipeg Times, succeeding me as editor-in-chief in 1882, and in later years he became a free lance and wrote for many papers, chief amongst which was the London Economist, and he was employed by large corporations on account of his grasp of subjects and the readiness of his pen. A better writer I never knew who could put a case more clearly and succinctly than he could, and his great mind could see both sides of a question, so that he could reply to his own arguments without any difficulty, and then controvert them to the Queen’s taste. His style was incisive and telling.
Once when Chief Justice Wallbridge, of the Manitoba bench, who had reached a good old age, fiercely denounced the reflections of the Winnipeg Times on the court, Ned made very brief reference to it, and concluded: “Senility has its privileges.” That repartee bas been quoted to me mâfiy a rime since. He had been in earlier years off the New York press, but wandered to Canada where his services were always in demand.
So greatly were his talents appreciated, and so esteemed was he by Sir John Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier that, it is said, he wrote the platforms for both political parties on an occasion. While we were most intimate for more than forty years he never admitted it to me, but what he didn’t tell of himself was monumental. No one except his wife and myself knew that he was the Honorable Edward Farrer, and that he was a nephew of Archbishop O’Donnell, of Cork.
Many is the story he has told me of how he was the intermediary between the Archbishop and the chief of the Irish Constabulary in dealing with the Fenians when they were the disturbing element in Ireland. If the suspect was a pretty decent, harmless fellow the Archbishop would arrange for him to be freed and sent home; if he was a dangerous character -— and an undesirable, he would be shipped to America, with passage paid and sufficient money to give him a fair start in the new world.
How he himself happened to come to America is a queer story and has never before been told in print, for I promised not to tell it until he had passed away. While at college in Rome where he was studying for the priesthood, he, with a brother student, as remarkably clever as Ned, were taking a stroll the afternoon before the day of their ordination.
One asked the other: “Do you want to be a priest?” and both agreed they didn’t. Just then, a little breeze blew a piece of an Italian newspaper against Ned’s leg and picking it up he read an advertisement for two interpreters— English and Italian—applications to be made to the captain of a ship, then in port. They hastened to the vessel, but the captain seeing their student’s garb at first refused to engage them’ on the ground that the college authorities missing them would search for them and find them i>efore they could get away. They, however, persuaded him that they could hide in ( lie forecastle until the ship sailed, which they did. Shortly before the advertised time of departure, the captain saw the searching party heading for the ship, and, although the tide was unfavorable, immediately east off ropes and started landing the two young men in New York almost penniless.
the two young men in New They, however, quickly procured employment, and later Ned became one of the most powerful newspaper writers in Canada, sought after by prominent politicians
sought Continued on page 40
Continued from page 17
of both parties. Beside Sir John and Sir Wilfrid, Sir Richard Cartwright was a close personal friend, and many members of the different cabinets sought his sound advice and pleasant company. At Washington, he had many friends in high political positions, Jas. G. Blaine, Senator Hoar and Congressman Hitt being amongst those most intimate with him.
Using Sifton as the Lure XJED was a good cricketer in his earlier days, and later an enthusiastic baseball fan. He played in cricket matches in England against some noted players, and would travel long distances to see a league baseball game in Canada or the United States. And he dearly loved a game of cards—Black Jack or Catch the Ten, an old Irish game, being his special favorite. He used to wire me Saturday mornings to come up sure—the first one being that Clifford Sifton wanted to see me. When I reached his home in Ottawa that evening, I naturally asked what Sifton wanted to see me about. And he looked apparently amazed, and asked: “What Sifton?”
“Why, the Minister of the Interior.” “Never heard of him,” he replied. “But,” I said, handing him his despatch, “here’s your telegram.” He took it, scrutinized it carefully, and returning it casually remarked:
“Can’t you see that’s not my handwriting—it’s a forgery.”
And then we would play Black Jack until three or four in the morning and important visitors would be told that “Mr. Farrer was very busily engaged, and could not see them.” He was very busytrying to beat me, which he usually did.
I couldn’t tell you all the rich stories about Ned Farrer, but one will suffice. The two of us with Mrs. Farrer were on a west-bound C.P.R. train, and were to change cars early in the morning. Ned was an early riser, so I asked him to awaken me when he got up as I was very tired.
He and Mrs. Farrer were in lower 11 and I was in lower 7. After they had retired a young lady from Yale, B.C., whom I knew, entered the sleeper and after a few minutes’ conversation told me that she didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night. I told her that I did—in lower 7. She said that she had no berth secured, and I explained that lower 7 was hers, although it had been mine but I had another. In the middle of the night Mrs. Farrer had occasion to visit the toilet, and on her return accidentally got into the berth of old Mr. Cambie, of Vancouver. Then trouble commenced. She told him to lie over, and he told her to get out of the berth. “Don’t be a fool, Ned, get over further,” was followed by Mr. Cambie saying, “My name is not Ned.” Then came a half-suppressed shriek, and the flitting of a female form to lower 11. All this I enjoyed from the upper berth in which I was supposed to repose. In the morning, I heard Ned pattering down the aisle, and saw him pull aside the berth curtains and give the poor innocent occupant a well-directed slap in the proper part of her anatomy, accompanied by: “Get up, you old devil, you.” I think I put nearly all of one of the pillows in my mouth to silence the laughter that was racking my body.
"George,” the porter, having been duly instructed, explained to the lady that a lunatic had escaped from the day coach,
but had been recaptured and handcuffed— and for the rest of the day I held Ned in awed subjection by threatening to point him out to the lady as the person who had committed the assault, and in dire fear, the well-known editor spent most of the day and part of the night in the baggage car, occasionally sending to the rear to find out if the female was still vengeful, or if she had got off the train, receiving emphatic assurances of “Yes” and “No” with the necessary verbal frills each time.
I breakfasted with the lady and then afterwards told E. F., who sat at the extreme end of the diner, that she had been informed that “the big florid-faced man at the end table was the guilty party” and that “she was laying for him” when he went into the sleeper. Which he did not do until I finally explained matters and then dove-like peace reigned once
One Good Friday night, while in Toronto, I got a wire from Mrs. Farrer to come to Ottawa at once for Ned was dying. I stayed with him to the end, and when he passed away, one of the brightest minds and one of the greatest journalists of his time was lost to the world.
Theatrical Recollections VISIT to Toronto in my early
’ days was complete unless you had an evening at the Royal or, to give it its full title, the Royal Lyceum, on the south side of King between Bay and York. This theatre was not the first to be built in the city. Its immediate predecessor, if I am rightly informed, was on the north side of King between Bay and Yonge. Here Denman Thompson, McKee Rankin, and Cool Burgess got their start. All became famous on the American stage. Dool, by the way, was one of the best of the earlier burnt cork artists, his Nicodemus Johnson being irresistibly funny. He began as a local song and dance performer, lending added humor to his terpsichorean efforts by reason of the length of his feet which, it is hardly necessary to say, were artificially prolonged. Soon his fame spread throughout the States, and he is said to have literally coined money there.
Report has it that when brother workers adjourned from the theatre to blow in their earnings in liquid refreshments or card games, Cool went to his bed and his money went home. So that, in his advanced years, when the stage had lost its charm for him or vice versa, he was a well-to-do citizen of Toronto, enjoying a life of ease. Denman Thompson created “The Old Homestead,” from which he made a barrel of money. His play was the precursor of “Way Down East,” which is now playing to fine houses in a movie in New York.
The Royal was made famous by the Holmans who managed it and played in it for years. The family was highly talented and exceedingly well balanced from the point of view either of the drama or the opera. -There were two girls, Sally and Julia, who sang like nightingales, and two brothers, Alf and Ben, also singers and actors of more than average ability. The former one was also a rattling snaredrummer. Mrs. Holman, the mother, was an accomplished pianist, and an allround musician. At first the Holmans played the stock dramas with. Sally as leading lady, and Alf as the heavy villain. But ultimately they went into opera and made a success of the venture. A night at the Royal certainly was a treat for the boys. The house was not at all gorgeous, nor was it outrageously clean. The mastication of tobacco, a popular method of enjoyment in those days, gave the floors, particularly in the gallery where the twenty-five centers assembled, a pattern and an odour not to be experienced in the modem theatres, where chewing gum is employed and indiscriminately parked. How the habits of the people have changed!
The beginning of the performance was heralded by the appearance of a “supe” who amidst cheers lighted with a taper the gas jets which provided the footlights. Then, Mrs. Holman, wearing a comfortable white woollen shawl, squeezed through the musicians’ trap door and made the piano lead the modest orchestra in the tunes appropriate to the occasion. Up went the green baize curtain a few minutes later, and the play was on. Applause for Sally and Julia was continuous and well-deserved. Hushed during the intermissions when the male section of the audience adjourned to the near-by bars for the pur-
Eose of acquiring fresh inspiration, it roke out with renewed vigor when the performance was resumed.
Old-timers will remember, too, that the celebrated bass singer. Crane, of Robson and Crane, made his début with the Hoi-
Fire brought the business of the Royal to a standstill and the Holmans gave summer performances, either in the pavilion of the Horticultural Gardens, or in a temporary structure on Front street, just west of the Queen’s. Since then the Royal has been rebuilt and burned again. After the second burning it stayed burned, and the business of catering to the public in a dramatic or operatic way passed to the Grand, which was managed for years by Mrs. Morrison, whose husband, Dan Morrison, had edited the Colonist. They had good bills at the Grand. Once when Sir Henry Irving was there it was given out that the distinguished tragedian required the assistance of a body of young men to play the part of soldiers in one of his Shakesperean plays. The boys volunteered by the hundred. They were going to see Sir Henry at close quarters and on the cheap. When the great night came they were assembled in the basement, uniformed, and provided with pikes—machine guns not having been invented at the period in which they were engaging
After a long wait for Act 3, scene something or other, they were marched upstairs and hustled across the stage a few times, yelling as instructed. Then the door of the basement opened and they descended to disrobe and make for the street without once having cast eyes on Sir Henry, and without seeing a fragment of the play.
The contrast between the theatrical equipment of Toronto in my early days and now is really marvellous. Then there was one struggling theatre. Now there are three devoted to the legitimate, four given up to vaudeville, two to burlesque, fifteen huge picture houses, and a host of small moving picture places too numerous to count. The city certainly loves pleasure.
Bonifaces of the Old Days
THE Queen’s and the Rossin were the swagger hotels. The names of McGaw and Winnet are, and have been for years, intimately connected with the former, and the latter is now the Prince George. There were also the Albion, which John Holderness and James Crocker at different times managed; Lemon’s; Palmer’s; the American; the Walker; Metropolitan; Revere and many others which were comfortable hostelries; and also the Temperance Hotel on Bay street, which was not so comfortable nor so clean as those which had bars attached. Then there was the old Bay Horse and Cherry’s beyond the north end of the city—a popular road house.
Eddie Sullivan’s, Fred Mossop’s, the Merchants on Jordan street (first run by Jewell, then by Morgan and till its close by good old John Cochrane) were favorite places of public resort, not only for leading Torontonians, but for people from all parts of Canada. Eddie’s was at the corner of King street and Leader Lane, and has been demolished to be replaced by an annex to the King Edward. Fred’s was the Dog and Duck on Colborne street, and he afterwards ran the Mossop House on Yonge street, until the O.T.A. put him out of business. When these three disappeared it was a distinct loss to the eating public.
Then there were Carlisle and McConkey’s on King street with a huge terrapin shell on the sidewalk as an inviting sign. Other places were Eddie Clancy’s— he’s now running the Wellington Hotel at Guelph; Gus Thomas’ English Chop House; Sam Richardson’s at the corner of King and Spadina, diagonally opposite which was Joe Power’s Power House. When in Toronto in the early 90's I used to go up to see Sam, and enjoy a good glass of ale, and it was there that a fine body of mechanics nightly gathered. They found pleasure in a glass of bitter, and didn't argue or discuss revolutionary questions, as too many of them, deprived of their harmless tipple, do now. On Yonge street there were the Athlete, run by Johnny Scholes, the champion boxer; the Traders by Douglass and Chambers; the St. Charles, which was managed by James O’Neil, until the O.T.A. came into force; and on King street was Headquarters run by the Persse Bros. They all had their convivial patrons.
Of course, I do not pretend to remember all the places or all the changes that have
taken place In the Queen City—no person could—but I have a vivid recollection of a ride on the upper deck of a horse-drawn street car; of the Great Western Railway Station at the foot of Yonge St., now converted into a fruit market; of the Old St. Lawrence market with its wonderful display of meats, of the lacrosse grounds and of the Queen’s Park where I first played lacrosse with the newly organized Whitby club against the old Ontarios in the early days of that great national game.
I also remember Capt. Kerr of the then wonderful steamboat, Maple Leaf, which was lost when going to New York during the civil war, having been purchased by the American Government, and I have not forgotten Capt. Bob Moodie, of the little Fire Fly, nor the old lake liners, Highlander, Banshee, and Passport, the fastest vessel on the lake, whose engines are still in active service.
In my frequent visits to Toronto nowadays I meet a lot of old friends, and many ,new ones, but I sadly miss Charlie Taylor, of the Globe-, Bob Patterson, of Miller and Richard’s; Josh Johnston, of the Toronto Type Foundry; John Shields, the contractor; Davy Creighton, who was the first manager of the Empire, and Lou Kribbs, his right hand man ; Charlie Ritchie, the lawyer; old Mr. Oates, who lived on Isabel street, and told me ghostly stories until my hair stood on end; ex-Aid. Crocker; Cliff Shears, of the Rossin; exAld. Jack Leslie; Ned Clarke, Jack Evans and Tom Gregg, the newspaper men; Johnny Small, the collector of customs; John Maughan, father of Col. Walter Maughan of the C.P.R.; Lud Cameron, the King’s Printer; Ned Hanlon, Harry Hill, secretary of the Exhibition, Detective Murray and I really don’t know how many other princes of good fellows.
But I occasionally come across T. C. Irving of Bradstreet’s, who can tell two funny stories where there was only one before; Peter Ryan, who has retired into official life; Fred Nichols, then on the Gfo&e, now a senator; Arthur Wallis, formerly of the Mail, now registrar of the Surrogate Court; the Blachfords, who played lacrosse in Winnipeg in the early days; M. J. Haney, the contractor, under whose direction the Crow’s-Nest Pass Ry. was built; Hartley Dewart, the leader of the Liberal party in the local legislature; the Bengoughs; Geo. H. Gooderham; Col. Noel Marshall; Acton Burrows; Col. Grassett, Chief of Police; Col. George T. Denison, the _ police magistrate, whose printed reminiscences make very interesting reading; Arthur Rutter, of Warwick and Rutter; John Littlejohn, the city clerk; and of course, His Worship Mayor Thomas Church, and a big bunch of other live and hospitable citizens.
No matter how large or how small, every city has something or other of which it is pardonably proud. Halifax has its harbor, its citadel and its Point Pleasant Park; St. John has its big fire, its high tides and Reversible Falls; Montreal its splendid situation, Mount Royal and its Royal Victoria Hospital; Ottawa, its Parliament Buildings and Chaudière Falls; Vancouver its Stanley Park; Quebec its romantic history, its citadel, its Dufferin Terrace and its Chateau Frontenac; Moncton its “bore;” Peterboro its big Trent Canal lock lift—the biggest in the world; Kenora, its ten thousand islands; Lake Louise, in the Canadian Rockies, its enchanting beauty; Oshawa and Galt their manufactures; but Toronto’s great boast is that it possesses the biggest Fair on the continent and the tallest building in the British Empire.