Wednesday, February 5, 1879 The Globe (Toronto) Page 4, col. 5

Stratford and Lake Huron Railway

Large delegation to the government.

Aid asked for the extension of the line.

A large and influential delegation from the municipalities interested in the proposed extension of the Stratford and Lake Huron Railway, and from those situated on the portion of the line already built, waited on the Government in the Parliament buildings yesterday afternoon, to solicit aid for the portion of the road proposed to be laid down from Listowel, the present terminus, to Wiarton, on the Georgian Bay. The members of the Government present were Messrs. Mowat, Wood, Crooks, Fraser and Hardy. The names of those composing the delegation were as follows:—

T. L. Gillis, Reeve, Dover; John Wilson, Mayor, Simcoe; Wm. Wilson, Reeve, Simcoe; W. W. Livingston, Simcoe; John Alexander, Deputy Reeve, Woodhouse; Charles Roberston, Reeve, Windham; John Jull, 1st Deputy Reeve, Windham; Nelson Green, Reeve, Waterford; H. J. Barber, Reeve, Townsend; L. Lewis, 1st Deputy Reeve, Townsend; T. J. Wyckoff, 2nd Deputy Reeve, Townsend; Oliver Mabee, 1st Deputy Reeve, Charlottesville; Wm. Morgan, Reeve, Walsingham; Albert Chrysler, Deputy Reeve, Middleton; R. A. Titus, Deputy Reeve, South Norwich; S. Pitcher, Deputy Reeve, Norwich Village; A. Mums, 1st Deputy Reeve, Blenheim; A. Oliver, 2nd Deputy Reeve, Blenheim; William Dunn, Reeve, North Oxford; W. Peers, Reeve and Warden, East Oxford; J. Peers, Deputy Reeve, East Oxford; G. H. Cook, Reeve, West Oxford; F. Cody, Deputy Reeve, West Oxford; T. H. Parker, Mayor, Woodstock; Jas Sutherland, Reeve, Woodstock; W. Totten, 2nd Deputy Reeve; Woodstock; H. Parker, Vice-President Port Dover Railway, Woodstock; A. D. Wright, General Manager, Port Dover Railway, Woodstock; O. N. Scott, General Freight Manager, Port Dover Railway, Woodstock; T. J. Clarke, Director, Port Dover and L. H. Railway, Woodstock; Col. Skinner, M.P., South Oxford, Woodstock; G. R. Pntullo, Sentinel-Review, Woodstock, Mr. Laidlaw, Sentinel-Review, Woodstock; A. . Frances, Times, Woodstock; Buchannan, Reeve, Ingersoll; James Noxon, of Ingersoll; W. Stewart, Reeve, East Zorra; J. Monroe, Reeve, West Zorra; A. Grand, Mayor, Stratford; T. M. Daly, ex-Mayor, Stratford; W. Roberts, Reeve, Stratford; A. W. Robb, 1st Deputy Reeve, Stratford; John Gibson, 2nd Deputy Reeve, Stratford; Alex Scrimgeour, 3rd Deputy Reeve, Stratford; James Weir, Councillor, Stratford; S. R. Hesson, M. P., North Perth, Stratford; Jas. Fisher, Stratford; Wm. Buckingham, Stratford; S. S. Fuller, Stratford; P. Watson, Stratford; V. Kertcher, Reeve, Mornington; E. F. Rurtherford, ex-Reeve, Mornington; R. L. Alexander, Reeve, Elma; S. Roe, Deputy-Reeve, Elma; J. W. Scott, Mayor, Listowel; H. Boulton, W. G. Hay, Listowel; James Sills, Reeve, Mitchell; Thos. McDonald, Deputy Reeve, Mitchell; John McDermott, Reeve and Warden Co. Perth, Wallance; George Davidsonm do; Thomas McDowell, Mayor, Palmerston; A Campbell, Reeve, do; John Prain, Reeve and Warden County Wellington, Minto; A. McEwen, do; Alex Micklejohn, Mayor, Harriston; Mr. Wait, Reeve, do; S. Robertson, do; John Robertson, Tribune, do; John Koenig, Reeve, Normanby; Henry McMahon, Deputy Reeve, do; George Schneck, do, do; W. H. Ryan, do; Noah Wenger, ex-Deputy Reeve, do; Chas. Reckie, do; C. Kabel, so; A. Clarke, Councillor, Brant; A. Wilson, Deputy Reeve, do; E. A. Goodeve, Hanover; Geo. Hollinger, do; Dr. Landerkin, ex-MP, do; N. P. Adams, do; Duncan Campbell, Bentinck; John Korr, John Delrstone, Elmwood; David Nichol, Reeve, W. Laidlaw, Deputy Reeve, Bentinck; John H. Elliott, ex-Deputy Reeve, John Herriot, Councillor, Elderslie; Alex, Hunter, Deputy Reeve; John Bearman, Sullivan; Thomas Smith, Deputy Reeve, I. M. Kilbourn, Arran; James Allen, Reeve, D. Dinsmore, Deputy Reeve, Amable; Archibald Brown, Reeve, William Flairty, Deputy Reeve, Keppel; B. B. Miller, Wiarton; Andrew Kyle, do,; John Shackelton, Reeve, Albemurle; L. Spragge, ex-Reeve, do; Geo. McGilvrey, Deputy Reeve, do; John Scott, Reeve, Eastnor, Lindsay, and St. Edmonds; Wm. Bull, do. The deputation was also accompanied by the following members of the Ontario Legislature:—Mr. Richardson (S. Norfolk), Dr. Clarke (N. Norfolk), Mr. Ballantyne (S. Perth), Mr. Hay (N. Perth), Mr. Sinclair (N. Bruce), Mr. Parkhill (S. South), Mr. Lyon (Algoma) and Mr. Lyon (Halton). The following petition was presented to the Government, signed by the County Councils of Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, and Bruce, by twenty-seven township Councils, by ten town and village Councils, by the chiefs and Council or Cape Croker Band of Indians, and by 5,166 ratepayers of localities through which the line will pass:— The Petition of the undersigned Ratepayers, interested in the completion of the Stratford and Huron Railway to Wiarton, on the Georgian Bay, humbly sheweth:—

  1. That under the charters of the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway and the Stratford and Huron Railway Companies, a continuous line of railway has been constructed from Port Dover, on Lake Erie, to the town of Listowel, in the county of Perth, a distance of ninety-one miles, leaving seventy-six miles yet to be constructed before reaching the waters of Georgian Bay.
  2. That the scheme as a whole always contemplated connecting not only Lake Erie, but all the various towns, village, and localities north of it, with the Georgian Bay, and this was one of the principal objects and inducements hold out to and which the various Municipalities had in view when granting aid to the said railways.
  3. That this system of railway, as a leading and independent cross-road, will not only facilitate intercourse and commerce between all sections of the country from Lake Erie to the Georgian Bay, but greatly lessen the distance, delays, and expense reaching all Western, Southern and South-Eastern points, while not increasing the distance or cost of reaching our Eastern markets. That the line as operated practically secures to every locality it reaches the advantages of access to and competition on equal terms for all our East and West lines of railway either now or likely in the future to be constructed. That so far as the road has been built this system of operation has been found to work advantageously in developing and improving the country, and your petitioners feel satisfied that the continuation of the railway northwards will not only confer like advantages to the districts and communities when reached, but confirm and enhance the value of those advantages to all the counties and communities between Lake Erie and the waters of the Georgian Bay.
  4. That a large of sum of municipal and Government aid has been expended in the construction of the line from Port Dover to Listowel, and that the liberal municipal bonuses have been voted in aid of the line from Listowel to Wiarton on the Georgian Bay, no less than from 50 to 40 municipalities having granted aid in support thereof.
  5. That unless the line of the said railway is extended and complete to the Georgian Bay, neither the municipalities which have already paid their subsidies, nor the Province generally, will receive anything like the benefit which will accrue to them by such extension and completion.
  6. The Indian Peninsula, hitherto destitute of railway facilities, has now a population of about 12,000 with a capacity of sustaining more than double that number. The line, when constructed to Wiarton, and in the not distant future to Tobermory Harbour, will not only secure the rapid settlement and development of this backward section of the Province, but effectually supply railway facilities to its present and prospective population. At Wiarton the line reaches the safest and most capacious harbour in the Province, if not in the Dominion. This point, with the road in operation, would at once become a collecting and distributing centre for a large number trade with the counties to the south, as well as a basis of a northern and western trade with Manitoulin Island and the North-West Territories,. Tobermory Harbour, the objective point of the road, at the head of the Peninsula, is distant from the Great Manitoulin some 15 or 20 miles by water open, or capable of being kept open, the entire year. At this point the road, by means of a steam ferry, would be of incalculable value to our fellow-subjects in that section of the Province, and effectually facilitate the rapid development and colonization of the Island.
  7. This system of railway when completed to Wiarton will form a direct nearly central line from North to South, across the whole width of the finest agricultural and most fertile and populous part of the Western Peninsula of Ontario. It will pass through seven large counties, over thirty townships, and serve and connect over fifty towns and villages, and give to those and many other adjacent localities all the benefits of direct communication with all the great trunk lines of railway, the Hamilton and North-Western, the Credit Valley, the Wellington Grey and Bruce Railways and the navigation of the great northern and southern chain of lakes for the North-West and Montréal, and also direct water communication with the great coal district of Pennsylvania at the city of Erie.
  8. The completion of this railway system is a great local necessity, as evidenced by the amount of municipal aid which has been given to it.
  9. At no time in the history of this country could the balance of this railway be constructed as cheaply as now, nor could the expenditure of the money necessary for such purpose ever confer more local benefit.
  10. The present depressed and unsettled state of financial affairs in Great Britain renders the obtaining of money there upon railway bonds next to impossible, which necessitates the giving of larger aid by municipalities and Government to enable desirable railway enterprises to be successfully completed. This at the same time benefits the localities and Province generally by keeping down the amount of bonded debt, thus ensuring their maintenance and operation at low rates of charges.

Your petitioners, therefore, pray that you will be pleased to grant a subsidy to the Stratford and Huron Railway Company to the extent of $3,000 per mile from Listowel to the southern boundary of the townships of Amabel and Keppel, and $4,000 per mile from there to the village of Wiarton.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.

A petition from the Company was also presented, setting forth in fuller detail the requirements of the road, and the advantages expected to be derived from its completion.

Mr. D. D. Hay, M.P.P., in introducing the delegation, said that it was composed of the leading men along the line of the Stratford and Lake Huron Railway, from Port Dover to the head of the peninsula, and of adjacent municipalities interested in the project. He had been requested to state a few points in connection with the scheme. By looking at the line, as laid down on the map, it would be seem that it was a cross road from lake to lake, crossing all the lines running east and west. In consequence, not only between towns and villages along the line itself, but also to all points south and west, and very much lessened the time and expense in reaching them. Any one travelling south on this road would, in going to London, Woodstock, or Ingersoll, require to travel from fifty or seventy-five to one hundred miles less than by any other road. Instead of going to Guelph or Harrisburg, as he was now forced to do, he would go direct to his destination, thus saving the detour of fifty or a hundred miles which he would have to make if travelling either by the Great Western or the Grand Trunk. And no only would such facilities be afforded to the country north and south of the line, but to all eastern points the distance would not be increased. For instance, Chesley, a point on the located line, was about twelve miles north of Paisley, a station on the W. G. and B. Railway, and would be twelve miles nearer Toronto, and about the same distance nearer Hamilton, than at the present time Paisley was. He also called the attention of the Government to the relations which the existing line had with other lines running east and west—the Grand Trunk, the Canada Southern, and the Credit Valley. The aid given to the Company was given on the condition that it afforded freight facilities or running powers to all the lines that crossed it, and at all points where it touched the eastern and western lines the Company had been able to make such arrangements. The connections of the Company were such as to give people living on the line freight rates over all the lending lines. The result of that was to given shippers to Buffalo and other points the choice of three lines—the Great Western, the Grand Trunk, and the Canada Southern. A great reduction in rates was thus made, and a large increase in available accommodation, and the courtesy shown by other lines. The experience the people had had along the completed portion of the line, from Port Dover to Listowel, a distance of 91 miles, was that they had made a good investment of the money they had voted in way of bonuses. He described the proposed route from Listowel, showing that with the exception of the town of Durham, the line touched every trade centre in the section of the country through which it would run. In the village of Chesely they had one of the most extensive flouring mills in the Province, and great water-power in the neighbourhood running waste. After the line left Invermay and Tam it became more of a colonization road than anything else, and while the country through which it then passed was in some places rough and rocky, it also contained a great deal of valuable land. The population of the peninsula was about 12,000, and he was satisfied that it had a capacity of at least 25,000. At Colpoy's Bay there was one of the finest natural harbours in the whole Province. The Company were seeking to extend their line to Tobermory and to put on a steam ferry between that point and Manitoulin Island. It was a matter of great importance that that portion of the road should be completed. Manitoulin had a population of 12,000; with a capacity for 100,000, and unless this line were pushed through there was very little prospect for the inhabitants of the island to get any other railroad. The Company had bonused their line up to Colpoy's Bay to the extent of nearly $6,000 per mile, and they would soon be able to complete it up to that point. The fact that the delegation represented three-quarters of the population of the western part of the Province was sufficient to demonstrate that aid should be given to the scheme. He urged that the cheapness of labour and material rendered the present time peculiarly favourable for building railroads. No improper means had been used to induce municipalities to vote the bonuses they had so freely given, but they were granted entirely upon the merits of the scheme. He thought that the expenditure of public money upon the construction of the road would be of immense service to the country at the present time. He hope that the Attorney-General and his colleagues would see it to be their duty and in the public interest to deal with the matter, and whatever they might be prepared to granted, that they would grant it this session. If the matter were delayed some of the bonus by-laws would lapse, and their was danger that the scheme might ultimately fall through. (Cheers.)

Col Tisdale said that Mr. Hay had so well explained the whole scheme that he would confine himself principally to reading a couple of petitions. He then read the petition given above, and also some extracts from the Company's petition, setting forth the advantages which might be expected to accrue from the extension of the line, and the importance of the country through which it would pass. The length of road to be built was seventy-six miles, from Listowel to Wiarton, on the Georgian Bay. Bonuses had already been voted to the amount of $375,000, and there were under the consideration of municipalities and yet to be voted on bonuses amounting to $90,000. The Government was asked to grant $3,000 a mile for sixty and $4,000 for sixteen miles—that portion in the peninsula—making a total of $244,000. The balance that would be required to build the road would be raised by bond at $7,500 per mile, which at the rate of 7 cents on the dollar would make $427,500. The total cost of the undertaking would thus be about $1,130,500, including $2,000 for rolling stock. The tract which it would immediately benefit had an area of 2,101,371 acres, and in 1878 was assessed at $53,028,829, had an actual value of not less than $74,000,000, and supported a population of 340,000. He believed that the greater portion of the material required for the construction of the road could be obtained at the present low prices without difficulty if the aid they asked for were granted. The bonds to be floated for the proposed extension would, he thought, like the bonds that had been floated for the portion now completed, be held almost entirely within the Province. He believed the system which the Government had pursued of aiding railways had been beneficial to the country and universally approved of and in his opinion it would be unsafe for any party to adopt a course in regard to the surplus different from theirs.

Mr. Mowat—Don't you know it has been said we have no surplus? (Laughter.)

Col. Tisdale said if had held that idea he would not be applying for a portion of it. (Laughter.) He concluded by saying that if the Government aid were granted the road would be built. (Loud applause.)

Mr. Lyon, M.P.P. (Halton), said that having at one time considered the subject of railway communications for the part of the country the Stratford and Lake Huron Railway would serve, he had laid out a line following almost exactly the route which that road would follow. The Island of Manitoulin was a most important island, and its importance would soon be very largely increased, and its development would be greatly aided by the proposed railway. He hoped the Government would give it not only the ordinary bonus, but one much larger than usual, as the road partook of much of the nature of a colonization road.

Mr. Lyon, M.P.P. (Algoma), also testified as to the importance of Manitoulin Island, and the advantages that would result to it from the building of the proposed line.

Mr. Sinclair, M.P.P., thought that the Government would be justified in granting aid to the road through his riding, as that part of the country would be greatly benefitted by it.

Mr. Hunter, M.P.P., also urged upon the Government the necessity for granting aid to the line.

Mr. Richardson, M.P.P., said that if the Government followed up in this instance their practice of granting aid to railways they would deserve well of the country. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. James Noxon, of Ingersoll, said that, although he did not live upon the direct line of the road, it was because he had, as a business man, an interest in it that he appeared with the delegation. The Government had done good work in aiding the part of the line already built, and they should not there stop short. It was not the intention of the promoters of the road at the time it was projected that Listowel should be the terminus, but they intended that it should have an outlet on the shore of Lake Huron. He believed the partial distribution of the surplus that had already taken place had had a good effect in alleviating the commercial depression, and held that if the Government were to aid the people in the completion of the work the results could not but be beneficial to the country.

Mr. Kilburn, Arran, said that the part of the country through which the line was proposed to built had as yet received only a small amount in Government aid, and their lack of railroad communications was evident from the fact that in North Bruce there were only fifteen miles of railway. The eastern townships of Bruce and the western townships of Grey contained some of the best farming land in the Province, and they would be entirely tributary to the railway. The line would furnish the inhabitants of those townships a sure means of making themselves prosperous.

Mr. Mowat was extremely glad to have met the delegation, and to know what it was composed of Conservatives as well as Reformers. He was also happy to know that the Government were constantly doing good to Conservatives in spite of themselves (laughter), and through the support which the Reformers gave them. He had no doubt that a great many of them were politicians, and they would know that it would not be fitting for him to express any decided opinion on that occasion, and before the Government had had the matter under consideration. The question was one which they must and would consider, but it was very difficult to resist the influence of the facts and figures they had listened to tonight. (Applause.) The enthusiasm of the moment was so great that even his friend Mr. Richardson had been so excited as to say that the Government deserved well of the country—a sort of thing which he was not in the habit of saying, and which he was not in the habit of upholding by the votes he gave in the House. (Laughter.) He believed the deputation to the largest, and that it represented also a larger section of the country, than any other he had ever had the honour of receiving. (Hear, hear.) He was quite alive to the importance of that section of the country, and could sympathize with every effort and every desire for its advancement. A satisfactory feature about the part of the road which had already been built was, that it had been cheaply and economically, and that the people had got full value for their money. There was no jobbing about it. And that went to the heart of a Reformer. (Laughter and applause.) That was an element which would not be forgotten when the Government came to consider the matter. The conclusion which they would finally come to, however, did not depend entirely upon themselves. They would have to consult their masters—the members of the House. There were also difficulties in the way of opening up so large a question during this, the last session of the present Parliament. The Government had from the first adopted the policy of aiding railways, and during the time they had been in power upwards of a thousand miles had been built with their assistance, very little of which would have been built without that aid. The future of a country very largely depended upon its railways. The Government would consider what the deputation had asked, and would give their very best attention to everything that had been urged. They could not expect him then and there to say more than that. (Cheers.)

The deputation then withdrew.

Railways: S. & H.Ry.