Opening of the Barrie Branch of the Northern Railway.
Grand gala day—Great crowd.
The excursion trains.
The trip north.
A splendid success.
For twelve years the readers of The Globe have been periodically informed of the troublesome question of the "Barrie Switch." When the line of the Northern Railway was first proposed, the people of the then small town of Barrie contended that the main track should be directed into their town, and thence to Collingwood. Natural obstacles made it evident that the wish of these ambitious people could not be entirely compiled with. The conclusion, however, was arrived at by themselves that in lieu of the main track they would have a switch. A station in the meantime to accommodate the busiess of that community was placed at a point known as Allandale, as convenient as possible. For many reasons, it looked to the company desirable in the years have past not to meet the demand made for "the switch." Many obstacles, the greatness of which were only know to practical men, were presented and during the twelve years alluded to variou means were suggested by which an amicable settlement of the vexed question might be come to between the town of Barrie and the Northern Railway Company. There appeared at one time to be no prospect either of a switch or a settlement, it generally appearing to the company that the people of Barrie kept asking too much. It is not more than a year since the most hostile terms existed between the rival interests. In the person of the manager of the railway company—whose zeal for the interests of the road are so well known, and whose determination and perseverance have contributed so much to the success of the road—the people of Barrie had a shrewd man to deal with. On the other hand, the authorities of the town of Barrie have all along been equally zealous in endeavouring to obtain what they considered the rights of their locality. The history of the long fought battle is so well known that it is not necessary to recount in detail the different events which have characterized this trouble. The Barrie people had at last the option, through the interferences of Parliament, of either receiving $20,000 in cash or having a switch built for them by the company. The latter they choose, and in the remarkably short space of a very few months the switch has been constructed, and now courses from the amin line along the edge of the lake into the heart of the town. The structure of the switch, a mile and a quarter in length, is of the most substantial character, and the freight sheds and passenger station are erected and furnished in a manner alike commodious and elegant; and as acknowledged by one of the speakers at the luncheon, the whole affair has been completed in a manner more thorough than the people could have expected.
The happy termination of the switch warface could not properly take place without a celebration, the pleasant associations of which shall long be remembered. With much energy the people of Barrie and Simcoe united their exertions with that object in view, and were warmly seconded by Mr. Cumberland, who place cheap excursion trains from Toronto and Collingwood on the line, in order that, as far as a large concourse of people was concerned, all possible éclat would be given to the event. In addition to this arrangements were made for a grand volunteer review, to be honoured by the presence of Major General Napier; and other attractions and amusements were offered, which altogether, made a grand day's programme.
The day and the trains.
Yesterday morning the weather appeared most propitious, and hundreds of people wonded their way to the Northern Railway Station. At seven o'clock an immense train of twenty-two cars, drawn by two powerful locomotives, carrying the Toronto Volunteers and their friends, started out. An hours afterwards the directors and officers of the road with their guests followed. Among the latter were Messrs. S. Spreull, F.C. Capreol, Jeremiah Carty, S. Platt, G.L. Allen, J.D. Edgar, J.D. Morrick, Aldermen Thompson, Dickey, Thomas Smith, Wm. Strachan, J.E. Smith, James, and Councilmen Beard, Clements, Bell, Greeplees, Dann and Burns. Both trains arrived at Allandale to safety and in good time. A locomotive was then attached to the directors' cars, and under the guidance of Mr. David Lister, Locomotive Superintendent of the Northern, the tain was drawn into the town of Barrie and the switch officially opened for traffic.
On their arrival in Barrie, the officers of the road were met and the manager of the road presented with the following address of congratulation by the Warden of the county of Simcoe and the Reeve of the town of Barrie. The Warden wore his cocked hat and robes of office:—
To Frederick Cumberland, Esq., Managing Director of the Northern Railway of Canada.
Sir,—The Town Council on behalf of the inhabitants of Barrie, offer you and the Company you represent, their best and warmest congratulations on this the first entrance of the authorities of the Northern Railway by rail into the heart of your municipality.
We warmly and fully appreciate the spontaneous kindness that suggested your assisting to give éclat to an event towards which the people of this town have anxiously looked for years, and we are well aware of how greatly indebted for the success of the demonstration taking place to-day we are to your cordial support and evident good-will, and it adds to our assurance that all the advantages we expect in having the Barrie station in the business centre of the town will be secured to us so far as the Company you represent can control them.
These advantages, and they are many, and will steadily increase, the Northern Railway Company will share in, even more largely than the inhabitants of Barrie, and we confidently trust that the happy order of things so auspiciously inaugurated to-day, may foster and increase the good feeling that now subsists between us, and which we desire to cultivate to our common advantage.
Permit me, Sir, on behalf of the people I represent, to offer you, the Directors of the road and the gentlemen who accompany you as visitors to our town, a warm and coridal welcome, and also to which all prosperity to the Northern Railway of Canada, now first in business arrangements, first in the excellent condition of the line, but, above all, first safety to the travelling community, amongst Canadian railways; a state of things which we believe is mainly due to your excellent and carefull management.
We trust that you and those who have honoured us with their presence on the present occasion may carry back a not unpleasant recollection of the event which we are met to celebrate.
W.D. Ardagh, Reeve.
Mr. Cumberland replied as follows:—
Mr. Reeve and Gentlemen of the Corporation of Barrie:
I thank you heartily for myself, and on behalf of my colleagues, for the very kind address of welcome with which you have honoured us. We gratefully appreciate and warmly reciprocate the kindly sentiments you have expressed. We rejoice to recognize an identity of interest between the town Barrie and the Company we represent; and I assure you that no effort on our part shall be wanting to merit continued approval which you have so graciously expressed. We are delighted to inaugurate a closer connection with your beautiful town, and we hope and believe that the agreeable relations now established may minister to mutual advantage.
To Frederick Cumberland, Esq., Managing Director of the Northern Railway of Canada.
Sir,—We, the Warden and members of the Council of the Corporation of the county of Simcoe, have much pleasure in meeting you and the Directors of the Northern Railway on the present auspicious occasion, and it affords us a favourable and gratifying opportunity of congratulating you, Sir, and the gentlemen connected in the management of the road, on the prosperous position it has attained of late years. We are well aware that the growth and prosperity of our important county is greatly dependent upon its present railway facilities, and it is, therefore, a source of great satisfcation to us, and those whom we represent, to know that the undertaking which the county assisted in bringing into operation has attained to the first position amongst Canadian enterprises of a like nature, a circumstance due, we believe, in a great measure to your individual exertions and ability as its Managing Director.
We cannot allow this opportunity to pass without also congratulating you on the successful completion of the branch line into the county town. The manner in which this undertaking, so long a prolific source of unpleasant agitation, has been finally terminated, is alike creditable to the good taste and magnanimity of yourself and the Board of Directors, and we sincerly hope that this switch, the formal opening of which for traffic is to-day being celebrated, will prove a source of profit and advantage to the company and the county town.
Thomas R. Ferguson, Warden.
County Hall, Barrie, June 21st, A.D. 1865.
B.T. Banting, Co. Clk., Co. Simcoe.
Mr. Cumberland replied as follows:—
Mr. Warden and Gentlemen of the County Council of Simoce:
We are as surprised as we are gratified by the very high honour conferred upon us by your address. We recognize in it a perpetuation of the bond of mutual interest and of that agreeable and most valuable co-operation by which our relations have hitherto been so happily characterized.
There can be no question that the railway has essentialy contributed to the prosperity of these noble counties, and it is our earnest desire so to direct its operation as that in the future it shall alike promote the best interests of the district and the community it serves.
The best security that this wish shall be fulfilled will be found in the efficient and liberal maintenance of the property, that, due regard being had to the claims of its proprietors, it shall be the better able to fulfil all its functions as a public commerical work.
We trust you will in no degree relax in in the measure of control in the affairs of the Company which now pertains to your worshipful body, and we earnestly hope that the future management of the road shall be such as to warrant a continuance of the confidence by which you now honour us.
The Day in Barrie
From early morn, the inhabitants of the pretty little town situate at the head Kempenfeldt Bay, were engaged preparing to celebrate the realization of their fondest hope—the completion of "the Switch," in a manner that would show their friends from a distance that they indeed appreciate the sight of "an iron horse"—especially when it ran into their own town. Barrie, for once, was decked in holiday attire, flags and banners were flying gaily to the breeze, and the population turned out each in his "Sunday best."
To the Review Ground
The ground selected for the review was situate about a mile to the north-east of the town, a field of about fifteen acres, known as "Ardagh's Green," and for the purpose of a review was admirably suited, save that the movements of the troops made it rather dusty. To get to this field early was, of course, the ambition of every one, and all sorts and specimens of vehicles were called into requisition, from the nobby drag of some of the Barrie aristocracy—be it know that they are not behind Toronto in style—to the farmer's waggon with its overload of living freight. However, after preambulating a couple of the well laid out streets of the town and ascending a rather steep hill, we reached the spot, across the entrance being drawn a guard of the Barrie Rifle Company to keep "the unwashed" from the "grub" provided in a neighbouring field for the gallant "defenders of our hearths and homes." Headed by the Band of "The Queen's Own," the Volunteers entered the ground, and, "stacking" their arms, proceeded to clear twenty-five tables of a bountiful supply of coffee, buns, bread and cheese, laid out for them under the superintendence of the Review Committe, who were most energetic in their effoects to please, and who had, by their admirable arrangements, provided for the Volunteers so entertainment at least equal to that at any review that has taken place in Canada, and of which all the Volunteers spoke in the highest terms. The order to "fall in" being given, the troops were marched about a distance of a quarter of a mile to the review ground, where the battalions were organized and parade formed. While the various companies were coming on the ground, civilians, including the elite of Barrie and several ladies from Toronto, poured into the grounds by thousands, those who had 50 cents to spare occupying a large grand stand erected by an enterprising individual, who had paid twenty dollars for the privilege on the understanding that the ground in front should be kept clear, and as this condition was not likely to be fulfilled, the proprietor kept cyring out quite energetically, "keep clear, or my agreement's broke." At 1:30 p.m. the troops were forming the parade and probably not less
that8,000 persons on the ground; Major General Napier O.B. with his staff—Capt. Hall, Capt. Bell and Col. Synge?, R.A. have arrived and the troops have formed the parade as follows: commencing from the right of line; 1st Battalion Queen's Own Rifles, 6 companies, commanded by Colonel Ourle?; 2nd Battalion—16th Royals, 4 companies by Major Brunell; 3rd Battalion—Barrie, No. 1, Cookstown, Meaford, Collingwood, Lloydtown and Bradford companies, commanded by Lieut. Col. Stephen, Collingwood; 4th Battalion—Military School company, Toronto; Owen Sound, Barrie No 8, Aurora, Uxbridge, Boulton and Derry West, commanded by Major McKenzie, Barrie. The Military School numbering 85 strong were under the command of Capt. Buchan. The average if each company was fifteen files each, in all 750 men including officers. The officers in command of the troops were Col. George T. Denison; Major of Brigade, B.M. Dennis. The General and staff took up their position to the north of the ground, and the review commenced by the troops receiving the General, marching past in open and quarter distance column, the bridage then forming into line of continuous columns, facing saluting point. The left wing then advanced in direct echelon of battalions from the left, and halting, threw out one company from each battalion as right skirmishers and right flanking parties, under cover of which the left deployed. During development of the left wing, the right took the ground diagonally to the left front, ... After the volunteers had dined they were marched down to the station, where they were dismissed, to await the departure of the trains, while the civilians spread themselves throughout the town and theguests of the Northern Railway Company made their way to the luncheon in the new Freight Depot. Everybody seemed pleased, the volunteers particularly so, and the Barrie committes deserve credit for the way in which they have managed this their first review.
The excursions to Barrie.
Beside the excursion trains from Toronto in the morning, about 400 people from Collingwood came down to visit their Barrie friends, and during Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, waggon loads of persons came in from the coutrny, and a large number from Orillia by the steamer "Emily May." During the day the latter had an excursion on the lake for the enjoyment of those who really desired to be free from the dust and heat of the review ground and town.
Only one accident occured to mar the pleasures of the day, and this after all the amusement was over. It appears that one of the Queen's Own lent a gun to one of the 10th Royals, containing four charnges. He fired the hun, when it burst, cutting his face and one of hands in a frightful manner. He was immediately carried to Dr. Morton's surgery and his woulds dressed, and he was sent down to the city by the last train last night.
At eight o'clock "the assembly" was sounded, and the troops fell in and marched to the train, accompanied by their friends, arriving in the city shortly after midnight.
Was laid out in the new and spacious freight shed of the Company, at the Barrie depot. The place was handsomely decorated with British flags, and the guests were seated at three long ranges of tables, on which all the delicacies of the season were served up in a most stylish manner. The proceedings at the luncheon commenced about half-past four. The Managing Director, F.W. Cumberland, Esq., presided. On his right and left, at the principal table, Major-General Napier and Hon. D.L. Macpherson, M.L.O. P.R. Ferguson, Esq., M.P.P., Warden of the County, T.D. McConkey, Esq., M.P.P., W.D. Ardagh, Esq., Reeve of Barrie, Sherrif Smith, Col Synge, R.A., Capt. Bell, A.D.O., Capt. Hall, Col. Lowry, 17th Regt., Lieut. Col. Durie, Lieut. Col. Denison, Brigade Major Denison, Rev. S.B. Ardagh, T.D. Boulton, Lewis Moffat, Ald. J.E. Smith, Capt. Goodwin, &c.
The other tables were presided over respectively by Messrs. Hamilton, Moberly, Roberts and Lister, prominent officers of the company.
Upwards of a hundred gentlemen sat down to lunch, and the general appearance of the banquet was much improved by the presence also of a number of ladies, who had accompanied the invited guests. Full justice having been done to the dainties provided, the proposing of tasts commenced.
The Chairman said—Throughout the length and breadth of Canada, no less than over the whole expanse of the British Empire, the first toast on all occasions like? the present, and that which is received with the warmest greetings of all British subjects, is that of Her Majesty the Queen. I am sure that in this truly loyal county of Simcoe, we shall hear, if it be possible, even a louder cheer than is usual, when I propose a bumper to the best of sovereigns, the most virtuous of women, and an exmaple to all her subjects. (Loud cheers)
The Chairman then, after remarking on the necessity under present circumstances for short speeches, proposed "The Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family." (Cheers) He alluded to the peculiar interest taken in the heir to the throne by the people of this country, on account of the visit he paid of Canada, and said that at any rate, having regard to his exalted position and due to the House of which he was the heir, he was sure they would all unite in drinking right loyally the health of His Royal Highness and the rest of the Royal Family. (Cheers)
The Chairman next proposed the health of His Excellency the Governor General, of whom he only wished we in Upper Canada could see a little more than we did. He wished his Excellency had been her to-day, to see not only the picturesque Bay of Kempendfeldt, but the lolay yeomen of Simcoe. (Cheers) On this occassion they should join the more heartily in doing honour to this toast, because his Excellency had always shown the greatest possible interest in the growth of the volunteer movement, and in every question appertaining to the defences of this country. He trusted his Excellency would have the honour and the glory of consummating that great measure, how hanging in the balance, by which these colonies shall become a sort of subordinate employee?, in every way worthy of its parentage. (Cheers)
The Chairman then called for a bumper. It was not ever day they had a General of the British army amongst them. (Cheers) He knew well now cordially the people of Canada were ever ready to welcome the British soldiery of all ranks amongst them, but if anything were wanting to induce them to give the most hearty welcome in their power to the gallant and distinguished officer on his right, the very fact that he represented the first ingreee of a British General to their territory should certainly impel their voices and their hands. (Cheers) He himself as a volunteer, and those who belonged to that service, ahd reason indeed to be grateful to the gallant General for the consideration and encouragement he had always given to the force. He never seemed to tire of encouraging volunteers and miltiamen. (Cheers) He proposed "The Army and Navy and the health of Major-General Napier." (Loud Cheers)
Major-Gen. Napier, on rising to respond, was received with great cheering. He said:—I hardly know now to express myself in a proper way in returning thanks for the very kind way in which you have just been pleased to drink my health. My friend, Mr. Cumberland—I call him so because he does not to-day wear the red coat—has really sold too much of me; but it is true to this extent, that anything in my power to advance the volunteer movement I am ready to do, amd that no trouble would I spare in going anywhere to see such a Volunteer force as I have seen to-day. (Cheers) We regulars are always paid, take the shilling, and are prepared to do our duty. The Volunteers are not paid. They freely give their time to their country without compensation, and they are entitled to all honour for the gallant way in which they have come forward, and I must say that the way in whcih the thousand men upon the ground to-day went through their manoeuvres, and the steady way in which they performed the whole evolutions of the day, was a credit to them and to the officers in command. Several of the officers have passed through the military school, and to the Col. Commandant, Col. Durie, and the officers at the head of the Tenth Royals, I say without flattery that I consider the way in which your regiment acquitted themselves to-day was very creditable indeed. (Cheers)
The Chairman said that, in giving the next toast, he was treading upon what three or six months ago would have been regarded as very tender ground. But since that time the company had made a good, stout and strong embankment in front of Barrie. (Cheers) They had ballasted the front of Barrie, and he sincerely hoped that the ballast and that embankment, sound and stable as it was, was the representative of a long fraternity of excellent and amicable relations between the town and the company he represented. (Cheers) It was rather a joke that all the hard knocks he and the gentlemen of Barrie had long been giving one another shuld be wound up by a sham-fight. (Laughter) Let that sham-fight tell them that whatever their little jandlings hereafter might be, they whould be so conducted that nobody would be hurst. (Hear, hear) It gave himself and his colleagues in the direction unmixed pleasure to meet the people of Barrie here to-day. They rejoiced to get inside this that used to a citadel against them. He felt an extension of chest and freedom of breath such as some time ago he had never contemplated feeling in Barrie. (Laughter) There was a time when his officers used to say, "Mr. Cumberland, don't, pary don't stay to sleep there to-night, you will be tarred and feathered." (Great Laughter) He believed, however, that the issue of their quarrels was now acceptable to all parties. It was entirely so to the Company, and they desired to make it so to the town of Barrie. Mr. Cumberland then referred to the graceful reception given by the Corporation to the officers of the Company that morning, and concluded by asking a bumper and a hearty cheer for the Reeve and Corporation of the Town of Barrie. (Cheers)
Mr. Ardagh, Reeve of Barrie, responded. He said he should not make a speech, as he had already presented Mr. Cumberland with an address, which expressed in few words, as nearly as he could, the exact feelings entertained by himself and his fellow members of the Corporation of Barrie, and he believed by the people of Barrie, towards Mr. Cumberland, as Managing Director, amd the other authorities of the Northern Railway. He proceeded, however, to speak briefly, remarking that the present gathering reminded him of the issue of the faction-ights in his native Tipperary, where frequently those engaged in them, after endeavouring to knock out each other's brains, sat down afterwards to wash away ill-nature in a stoup of good whiskey. That spectacle they had here to-day, only that in place of whiskey they had good champagne. (Cheers and laughter) He wen on to say that, in the contest between the town and the Company, the town had finally conquered, but he must say this for the Company and its Managing Director, that when did at last succumb, they had acted in a most creditable manner, and done everything in their power to show that they would fairly carry out the present state of things. The town of Barrie, he believed, was perfectly satisfied with the manner in which the Railway Company had acted towards them since the settlement of their unhappy differences about the switch. (Cheers)
In consequence of the lateness of the hour at which the report of the speeches reached us, and the pressure of other matter, the balance must be reserved till to-morrow.
The following toasts were afterwards proposed:—
By the Chairman—"The Warden and County Council of Simcoe," responded to by J.B. Ferguson, Esq., M.P.P.
"The Legislature," responded to by Hon. D.L. Macpherson, M.L.O., and T.D. McConkey, Esq., M.P.P.
By Hon. Mr. Macpherson—"The Managing Director and his colleagues"— responded to by Mr. Cumberland, who the proposed "The Ladies," as the final toast. The proceedings terminated shortly after seven o'clock.
Definitions [Webster's II New College Dictionary (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995)]