Railway celebration in Stratford.
Opening of the P.D.&L.H. Railway, a new foundry, and the Gas-works.
Stratford, Feb. 3.
The opening of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway, the Thomson & Williams Manufacturing Company's works, and the Stratford Gas-works, was celebrated today with great éclat. A large committee of citizens had been for some days perfecting arrangements, and everything was done that could be thought of to insure the success of the celebration. A large number of people from the neighbouring towns and surrounding country visited the town, and by noon it wore a very animated appearance. The train from Woodstock on the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway was timed to arrive at two o'clock, at which time a large number of citizens in sleighs proceeded to the Stratford terminus of the railway, and soon afterwards the visitors arrived to the number of over five hundred in two special trains of seven cars. All the engines in the Grand Trunk yard gave a royal salute, the deep bass of the whistle at the workshops making an accompaniment, and the crowd cheered lustily. On stepping from the cars the Directors were received by the Reception Committee, headed by the Mayor, who on behalf of the citizens read the following address:—
To the President and Directors of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway Company:—
Gentlemen,—On behalf of the people of Stratford I have great pleasure in congratulating you on the fact of your railway being so far completed as to permit a train reaching this town, and in extending to you personally, on behalf of the citizens, a hearty welcome. For many years railway connection with the South has been anxiously desired by us, and the progress of your undertaking from its inception until now has been regarded with the warmest interest and the strongest hopes for its ultimate success. Though very favourably situated geographically, and supplied with communication to the east and west, we have long felt the railway connection with the lake on the south and also with that on the north of us was still necessary to ensure for us the important position to which we expect our town to attain, and also to the surrounding country the great advantage of competition in carrying of freight. We are fully aware of the great difficulties with which you have had to contend in bringing the enterprise to its present position, and we earnestly trust that the Government will feel justified in granting your Company such further aid as will relieve it from all financial embarrassment and enable you to fully complete it and open it for regular traffic. We feel that we owe you all a deep debt of gratitude for your untiring efforts on behalf of the undertaking. Were it not for your indomitable energy and perseverance, and your cheerfully assisting with your own means and influence in the promotion of the project, we would not be engaged in the pleasant duties of this day's celebration.
Mr. Gilbert Moore, President, replied briefly as follows:—
To the Mayor and Citizens of Stratford.
Gentlemen,—In behalf of the Directors of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway allow me to return my sincere thanks for the kind reception and kind welcome which you have extended to us. I can cordially reciprocate your anxiety for connection with the southern counties, through which our line passes, and I can assure you that those in the south have been just as anxious to reach the northern end, particularly to reach your enterprising town, and I trust that at a day not long in the future we may be able to celebrate the opening of the Stratford and Huron Railway to the line of the Wellington, Grey, and Bruce Railway, and finally reach the beautiful waters of the Georgian Bay. As you have kindly referred to the difficulties which have surrounded the enterprise that has been entrusted to the Directors, I regret to inform you that the Government have not seen proper to extend to us further aid, which we so much required, but we trust this loss will be made up by the friends of the road purchasing the balance of our bonds, and that those municipalities that have not aided us by way of bonus will no longer hesitate to do so, in order that the road may be completed and opened for regular traffic as soon as possible. I am pleased to notice that the untiring efforts of the directors are so highly appreciated by the citizens of Stratford, and I trust the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway will meet the expectations of your citizens, and the county of Perth generally, who have so liberally aided the same.
The Mayor then proposed three cheers to the Directors of the Railway Company and the visitors, which were given with a will.
The guests then were escorted to the sleighs which were in waiting, and proceeded through the town, visiting the Thompson & Williams foundry and the gas works. At the market square an arch had been erected, which was illuminated with gas. The fire brigade was out in force, and gave an exhibition of the working of their apparatus and of the steam engine.
Took place in the Town Hall at six o'clock. Four long tables were set in the hall, which presented a handsome ensemble. The viands provided for the delectation of the guests were of the choicest description, the caterer, Mr. W.S. Robinson, having fairly outdone himself. The full band was stationed on the platform, and filled up the pauses with appropriate music. The chair was taken by the Mayor, Mr. T.M. Daly; Mr. S.R. Henson?, Mr. P.R. Jarvis, Mr. James Corcoran, and Mr. Wm. Mowat, acting as Vice Chairmen. The Chairman was supported on the right and left by Mr. Gilbert Moore, President of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway; Mr. Parker, Vice-President; Mr. R.W. Sawtell, Secretary; Mr. S.S. Fuller, President of the Stratford and Huron Railway; Col. D. Tisdale, Vice President; Rev. E. Patterson, M.A.; Rev. Manly Benson, Mr. Thomas Oliver, M.P., Woodstock; Mr. D.D. Hay, M.P.P.; Mr. D. McDougall, Centennial Commissioner; Mr. W.H. Fraser, Secretary Advisory Board; Sheriff Perry, Woodstock; Sheriff Possie, Stratford; Mr. R. Thomson, President of Thomson & Williams Manufacturing Company; Mr. J.P. Woods, President of the Stratford Gas Company; and Mr. W. Davidson, Warden of Perth; &c.
Speeches were delivered by Mr. A. Oliver, M.P.; Mr. G. Moore, or Norwich; J.E. Tisdale, S.S. Fuller, W.P. Fraser, Centennial Committee—Sheriff Perry, Woodstock; P. Clark, Woodstock; Mayor Livingston, Simcoe; Major Larmon, G.T.R.; and others.
The excursion train left Stratford for Woodstock at 12:30 a.m.
Ref: Stratford; Otterville Subdivision