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Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway.

Opening of the Line between Woodstock and Port Dover.

(By Telegraph from our own Reporter.)

Woodstock, Oct. 6.—This has been a red-letter day in the history of the railway scheme know as the Port Dover and Lake Huron Road, as to-day it was formally opened for traffic between two of the most important points on the road—Woodstock and Port Dover. This part of the road is now graded, the rails are laid, and it is partly ballasted. It is expected that the line will be opened to Stratford by Dec. 1st, and the intention is thereafter to continue to Colpoy's Bay [Wiarton]. The management claim that when equipped it will be the cheapest line Canada. It has a bonded debt of only $4,000 per mile for construction and partial equipment. On account of the many difficulties which have attended the prosecution of the scheme thus far, and also, of course, by reason of the great convenience which even the partial construction of the road will afford the people of Woodstock, and the country along the route, this has been regarded as a general day of rejoicing from Port Dover to Woodstock. There have been similar demonstrations to the one to-day at various points as the road reached them, but the importance of Woodstock gave a corresponding degree of interest to the celebration of to-day.

About 8:30 this morning the Directors of the road started from Port Dover, and, notwithstanding the very unfavourable weather, reached Woodstock at the time advertised, viz, 11:30 a.m. An excursion to Woodstock was also given to Port Dover and the various intermediate points, which was taken advantage of by a large number of people. This, with the North Oxford fair, which was held here to-day and yesterday, gave Woodstock a livelier appearance than it has worn for many a day. The "John Cook," the engine which drew the train was driven by Mr. Clark; the conductor was Mr. Will. About the time of its arrival, the Great Western train, on which was the Hon. Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario, also arrived, who having come by invitation to take part in the proceedings attending the opening of the line. He was met by several members of the Committee and escorted to Hatches' Grove, where were the Directors of line, a large number of prominent citizens. The amateur brass band of Woodstock was also in attendance here, and at the subsequent proceedings, which they enlivened by choice music. The following

Address to the Directors

was read by the Mayor of Woodstock, Dr. Field:—

Gentlemen,—On behalf of the Corporation and people of the town of Woodstock, we desire to cordially congratulate you on the opening of your railway to this town, and to heartily welcome the arrival of the first train to-day. The construction of a railway is an undertaking of great magnitude and even under the most favourable circumstances is necessarily surrounded by many and serious difficulties, which, to be successfully overcome, demands the exercise of unwearied energy, indominate perseverance, sound judgment, prudence, and economy. To the possession of these requirements by yourself, co-directors, we attribute in a large measure the success which has crowned your efforts in carrying forward thus far toward completion the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway. For the advantages likely to accrue to Woodstock and the country tributary thereto by the realization of this scheme, we look with confidence, crossing as it does all the great trunk lines of railway running east and west through Ontario. The Port Dover and Lake Huron road will be an important feeder and chief carrier for all, and by effecting liberal and mutually advantageous running transport arrangements with these several lines, competitions in rates of traffic will be established at every point of intersection. Woodstock will then virtually be a competing point alike on the Canada Southern, Air Line, Great Western, Credit Valley, and Grand Trunk, and as such will, we strongly hope, then become a chief railway centre in western Ontario. Hoping that the communication to-day established between north and south Oxford and Port Dover may be but he precursor of a more extended and permanent link of communication between the waters of Lakes Erie and Huron, and again congratulating you upon the success of your undertaking, we are, on behalf of the Corporation and citizens,

G.C. Field,
Mayor, Chairman Com.;

G.R. Pattullo?,

Mr. G. Moore, President of the Road, read the following reply:—

Gentlemen,—I accept with grateful pleasure the congratulations tendered to myself and co-workers in the enterprise the success of which we have this day met to celebrate, and in the name and on behalf of the directors, officials, engineers, and contractors, I desire to express our appreciation of this spontaneous outburst of welcome, and for the very kind expressions of confidence and esteem contained in the address just read. I fully concur in the remark that "the construction of a railway, even under the most favourable circumstances, is an undertaking of great magnitude." But when surrounded with difficulties such as have been experience by the Company from the day its charter was obtained until the present time we may, I think, accept without ostentation your expressions of respect for the energy and persevering determination of the directors to attain success. Many of the difficulties to which I allude are well-known to most of you, but few, if any, outside the management can fully realize the extreme peril to which this enterprise has been subjected, and but for the harmonious efforts and united determination of the Board to overcome all obstacles we should long ??? this have lost all hopes of success. Notwithstanding the many discouragements and days of shadow, we have also experienced very great pleasure in witnessing the genuine and hearty co-operation of whole communities in time of need. To no municipality have we so often appealed, and been as often sustained as the corporation of Woodstock. We hope, therefore, that the advantages to be derived from this enterprise will accrue to this town in proportion to the gifts so largely bestowed. That the construction of this railway will be an advantage to the country through which it passes is no longer denied. Crossing as it does all the great avenues of transit from west and east, and bringing all into competition one with the other, it must necessarily create competing points at the intersections. At no point will the advantage be greater than at Woodstock, and when the lines under construction are completed no community will possess greater railway facilities than this. We trust, therefore, that your hopes of Woodstock become a great railway centre will be fully realized, and that as a manufacturing town also the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway will largely contribute in bringing in raw material and fuel, and in distributing its manufactured wares. We fully unite our wishes with yours that the communication with Lake Erie and the intermediate country many be mutually benefited by this bond of union, and trust that the day is not distant when we shall possess a similar communication with the waters of Lake Huron. Then, and not till then, shall we realize the full measure of benefit to be derived from the construction of this road. Again thanking you for this additional token of confidence in the Board of Management.

The proceeding here were closed with three rousing cheers for the success of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway.

Address to Hon. Mr. Mowat,

From the grove the party went to the Canadian Literary Institute, where they were met by the faculty and students of the school. In the chief lecture-room of the building the following address was then read by the Principal, Rev. Dr. Fyfe:—

To Hon. Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario—

Sir,—The professors and teachers of the Canadian Literary Institute most cordially welcome you on this your first visit to the Institute, and most sincerely thank you for the honour you have done to the school under their charge. We are here laying the foundations of a good education as broadly and strongly as we are able, and are confidently anticipating, as the demands upon us increase, that the means of carrying the structure yet higher and of perfecting its details will be provided. We depend entirely upon voluntary contributions. We have never asked or received Government aid in any form. As citizens of this great country we simply ask fair play and no favours. We are prompted to make this brief confession of our faith on this occasion by the consideration that we are addressing one who not only strongly sympathizes in our work, but who cordially supports the principles upon which it is conducted. We are enjoying a privilege in being permitted to address a gentleman so highly distinguished, not only by position or by his past general services rendered to this country, but by signal services rendered the cause of education, to which our lives are pledged; and should the Hon. Mr. Crooks become Minister of Education, as currently reported, we are fully persuaded that yet greater services will be rendered to that cause, which lies at the foundation of our country's welfare. In addressing you upon an occasion like this, we cannot forget that our lot is case in old Oxford, which proudly claims to be central in position, to be accessible from all quarters, to be healthy in climate, liberal in sentiment, and progressive in spirit, and which over and above all has covered herself with glory electing two of the foremost men in the Government of Ontario. We are proud of our representatives, and we are proud of old Oxford for standing them so grandly. In conclusion, as teachers of the Institute we strongly sympathize with our fellow-townsmen in their unanimous desire to have the Normal School for the western part of Ontario located in this town, as a permanent source of good to the town and country at large on the one hand, and as a memorial, on the other, that the Government deems a county which has for many years been so liberal and loyal, worthy to watch over and foster at least one of the Institutions of our country. Expressing our highest esteem for and confidence in you as a public man, and again thanking you for the honour you have done us, we subscribe ourselves, on behalf of the Canadian Literary Institute,

Yours very respectively, &c.,

R.A. Fyfe,

J.E. Wells,
Associate Principal.

Hon. Mr. Mowat replied briefly, thanking the faculty on behalf of himself and Mr. Crooks for the honour they had done them in expressing the flattering sentiments contained in the address. He referred to the foundation of the Institute and to the rapid progress which had marked its career. It was not an institution of which Woodstock and old Oxford might well feel proud, conducted as it was by an efficient staff of teachers. He hoped the Institute would continue to progress as it had in the past, and to impart a visible and thorough education to the young men and women who attended it. He concluded by asking for a half holiday to the pupils, which was granted.

After the party had made a short inspection of the building and grounds, three enthusiastic cheers were given by the students for the Premier, three for the railway, and three for the institute.

From the institute the party went to the new fair ground, headed by the band, a distance of one and one-half miles. The grounds consist of about twelve acres, and are situated in the western part of the town. A commodious and elegant exhibition building has been recently erected. The whole is exceedingly creditable to the North Oxford Agricultural Society, who have recently acquired these conveniences. The Premier and a few others had luncheon on the grounds. The intention was that an address on behalf of the Agricultural Society should be presented here, and that the Attorney-General should formally declare the ground opened, but this part of the programme had to be foregone on account of the drenching shower of rain which began to fall.

The Banquet

In the evening a grand banquet was given in the Town Hall by the citizens of Woodstock to the directors of the road. The hall was beautifully decorated for the occasion with flags and bunting. The repast provided was one that reflected great credit on those entrusted with its preparation. The Mayor of Woodstock, Dr. Field, presided. The vice-chairs were occupied by Messrs. John Douglass, A.W. Francis, and G.R. Pattullo? of the Sentinel. Among the guests were Hon. O. Mowat, Senator Alexander, T. Oliver, M.P., W. Wallace, M.P., G. Moore, Present of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway; H. Parker, Vice-President, Messrs. Fuller, Walker, Marshall and Clarke, Directors; A.D. Wright, Chief Engineer and Superintendent; B.B. VanDeusen, and A.B. Atwater, Asst. Engineers; R.W. Sawtell, Secy.-Treasurer; R. Bird, Jr., Solicitor, Messrs. J. & S. Irving, Brown, and Bullock, contractors, F.R. Ball, co-director Credit Valley Railway; John Pennington, Asst. Freight Agent, Great Western Railway, John Barr, Agent New York Central Railway; A.B. Orr, Assistant Freight Agent, Canada Southern Railway; James A. Moore, Agent, Grand Trunk Railway; C.H. Sorely, Mayor of Ingersoll; Jno.? Grott, Reeve of Simcoe; E.K. Routh?, Reeve of Woodhouse; P. Craig, Deputy-reeve, Woodstock; Councilors Schofield?, Peacock, Swan, Bird, Lent, Tisdale, Perry, Thompson, Rippon, and Bayne; W. Carlyle, Inspector of Schools, Oxford; Geo. Struhon?, High School Master, Woodstock; John White, merchant, Woodstock; F.J. Gissing, Woodstock Review, C.J. Beeman, Woodstock Times; T.H. Parker and Sheriff Perry, Trustees Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway; W. Winter, Stratford; and others, the total number being over two hundred.

After the removal of the cloth, the Chairman gave the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, which were appropriately honoured. The toast of the evening, "The President, Officials, and Directors of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway" followed.

Gilbert Moore, President of the road, responded. Her referred to the difficulties which beret the inception and progress of the scheme, especially the heavy debts which Woodstock and other municipalities along the line owed the Old Woodstock and Lake Erie Road. These had hung like a heavy weight upon the shoulders of the people, but the Hon. Oliver Mowat had stepped forward, and removed this inen?us by his Municipal Load Fund scheme. (Loud cheers.) He hoped to see the time when the Grand Trunk, Great Western, and Canada Southern cars would run over the road through the arrangements which his Company hoped to perfect these roads. He expressed his determination that the remainder of the line would be prosecuted to its terminus at the earliest possible day. (Loud cheers)

Mr. Parker, Vice-President, referred to the exceptionally economical manner in which the lined had been constructed, especially as regarded the preliminary expenses. He paid a high compliment to Mr. Moore, the President, for his energy in the prosecution of the scheme. He thanked the citizens of Woodstock for their demonstration as well as for this past kindness in so liberally helping the road. The extension of the line from Stratford northward would, he feared, require more help from the Government than at the rate at which they been aided so far. He referred to the past of Woodstock, in which they had suffered so much from excessive railway rates, but now things were changing. The Great Western Railway, in anticipation of competition, was already reducing its rates for freight. (Cheers.) He had no doubt that the Woodstock and Port Dover line would pay; for while they had only to interest on Bonds for $1,000? per mile, its competitors had had to pay interest on bonds at a rate $30,000 to $60,000 per mile. (Loud Cheers.)

Mr. C.J. Fuller, President of the Stratford and Lake Huron Ry.; A.D. Wright, Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Ry.; and Mr. R.W. Sawtell, Secretary-Treasurer, also briefly replied.

The First Vice-Chairman, in a few well-chosen remarks, proposed the "Senate, the House of Commons, and the Legislature of Ontario." The toast was enthusiastically received.

Senator Alexander, responded, commending the economy and honesty which had characterized the past management of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway. He referred to the present prosperity of the Dominion owing to its natural advantages and its system of Government. He referred to the constitution of the Senate and said that many of its present members had at one time or another been elected by the people, and all were men who honestly sought to do their duty. He considered that their functions were very important and necessary.

Hon. Mr. Mowat, was received with loud cheers. He referred to the remarks which had been made by the President of the road as to the benefits he (Mr. Mowat) had conferred on them, but he would remind that gentleman that it was the Legislature as a body to which they were indebted. They had received nothing more than justice, and to this or any other could he promise no more. He had not expected to hear that they hoped for more help than they had already received, but as he was accustomed to deliberate fully before saying Yes or No, he would only say that the matter should be considered, and justice done according to true Reform principles. He spoke of the great energy which had been displayed by the directors of the road. He hoped it would prove to the country all that its most sanguine promoters wished for it. He referred to the great progress which had been made by the Dominion in its railway and generals interests, especially since Confederation.

Mr. Thomas Oliver, M.P. was received with cheers. He would not refer at any length to political matters, but he would say that both at Ottawa and Toronto they had Governments that showed they were desirous of advancing the interests of the country by the construction of railways and similar means. He pointed out the great advantages that had accrued to Canada by the opening up of its great railways and canals, and referred also to the disadvantages under which noncompeting points had laboured in the past by unfair discrimination in railway rates. He contended that Woodstock as the proper location for the Western Normal School.