Friday, 24 March 2017

The Shot Heard Round the City

On March 25th, 1880, news quickly spread through the city that George Brown, politician and editor of the Globe had been shot in his office on King Street. A former employee, George Bennett, who was distressed by legal trouble and unemployment and under the influence of alcohol scuffled with Brown when the newspaperman gave an unfavourable reply to his request. When the assailant pulled his pistol, Brown was able to overpower him push his arm down. A shot was fired, and instead of hitting his chest, the bullet passed through Brown's thigh.

The next day, the Globe explained, "The shock to the community was very great. The news spread so rapidly that in a few minutes it had travelled over not merely the whole extent of the city, but - as return telegraphic despatches showed - over the whole Province, and far beyond its confines. Within half an hour from the firing of the shot, urgent messages began to come in from Ottawa and elsewhere asking for a correct statement of the facts, and a trustworthy account of Mr. Brown's condition. Amongst these was one from Rideau Hall, which showed that the perturbation caused by the incident had reached even the vice-regal residence."

Despite their many disagreements, Archbishop Lynch must have sent a message to Brown when he heard the news, because in the Archives we have the reply:

My dear Archbishop,

I have had read to me your very kind note of congratulations on my narrow escape from assassination and I have asked my little daughter to write you a little note expressing my heart-felt appreciation of your Grace's kindly sympathy. Congratulations is indeed the only word applicable to the case, coupled with hearty gratitude to the Almighty for preservation from so imminent a danger. 

The wound caused by the bullet passing through my limb is a very simple affair. I am getting on as comfortably as could be desired and hope to be astir again very soon.

Believe me
my dear Archbishop
Truly Yours 
Geo. Brown
Per G.E.B.

Lambton Lodge
26th March

L AE12.85
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

Despite his hopes, Brown was not soon again astir. At first he seemed to be on the mend, but his wound became infected. Even with the best available care, he died six weeks later on May 9th, 1880. The loss of the prominent statesman and publisher was keenly felt, and funeral was attended by dignitaries from across Canada. The streets were packed for his final walk from his home at the corner of Beverly and Baldwin Streets to the Toronto Necropolis cemetery.

For more information about George Brown and his family, check out the Archives of Ontario's online exhibit, Meet the Browns: A Confederation Family. Using this exhibit we were able to determine that the penmanship in the letter above probably belongs to Margaret, Brown's eldest daughter.

Friday, 17 March 2017

A Real Work of Arch

In December 1841, the diocese of Toronto was created out of the Archdiocese of Kingston. It remained a diocese for over 28 years. During that time, the diocese had three bishops, including John Joseph Lynch, who became the third Bishop of Toronto in April 1860 after the resignation of Bishop de Charbonnel. On March 18, 1870, at Vatican Council I, Pope Pius IX raised the See of Toronto to metropolitan status, making it an archdiocese and thereby elevating Lynch to first Archbishop of Toronto. To celebrate this anniversary, this week's blog features some documents relating to these two special events.

Lynch had written to a couple of cardinals in 1865 about why Toronto should be raised to a metropolitan see. A few years later, he wrote to Pope Pius IX requesting the same:

Letter from (at that time) Bishop Lynch to Pope Pius IX, written in Latin,
September 21, 1868

L RC50.18
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Bishops from a number of dioceses also appealed together to the Holy See for the See of Toronto be raised to metropolitan status:

Copy of a letter from the bishops of Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, [unknown], Toronto, and Sandwich
to the Holy See, written in Latin,
January 29, 1870

L RC52.06
Archbishop Lynch fonds


We thought it would be fun to share the beautiful full-page watermark on the second page of the bishops' letter:

L RC52.06
Archbishop Lynch fonds


It is unclear how much influence, if any, the letters from Bishop Lynch and others had on the pope's decision to raise the See of Toronto to metropolitan dignity, but it became official with this papal bull:

March 18, 1870

L RC52.09
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Here is the papal bull of Lynch's nomination as first Archbishop of Toronto:

March 18, 1870

L RC52.10
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Archbishop Lynch wrote a pastoral letter while in Rome regarding the erection of the Archiepiscopal See (Archdiocese) of Toronto:

First page of Abp. Lynch's pastoral letter,
April 6, 1870

L AA11.05(a)
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Archbishop Lynch's official induction was in September 1870. He sent a copy of the letter below to the Prime Minister, the Premier of Ontario, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to inform them of the news:

St. Michael's Palace
Sept. 15, 1870

Excellency
I have the honor to inform you that his Holiness Pope Pius IX has been pleased to elevate me to the dignity of Archbishop of the See of Toronto. This however will cause no modification with regard to the Roman C.[atholic] Episcopal Corporation for the diocese.
I have the honor to be
Your Excellencies
Most obt. servt.

Copies of the above were sent to Sir John A. Macdonald, Hon. J. S. Macdonald, Hon. W. P. Howland, Lieut. Gov.

L AH15.07
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Lynch received a reply from Hon. W. P. Howland, congratulating him on his promotion:

Government House
Toronto. 16th September 1870

My Lord Archbishop
I have the honor to acknowledge your Grace's letter of the 15th inst. acquainting me that His Holiness Pope Pius IX has been pleased to elevate you to the dignity of Archbishop of the See of Toronto, upon which event permits me to render to Your Grace my hearty congratulations.
I have the honor to remain Your Grace's most obedient servant
W. P. Howland
Lt. Governor

L AH15.02
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Lynch remained Archbishop until his death on May 12, 1888, and is buried in the garden of St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto.

The Archdiocese of Toronto is having a year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary with many activities. For more information, please see the media release.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.

These days we mostly use our phones for Facebook, Candy Crush, and cat videos, but that wasn't always so. The telephone's development had a profound impact on the way we interact with each other. On March 10th, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell wrote in his journal about the first successful telephone conversation, which took place in Brantford, Ontario.
"Mr. Watson was stationed in one room with the Receiving Instrument. He pressed one ear closely against S and closed his other ear with his hand. The Transmitting Instrument was placed in another room and the doors of both rooms were closed.
"I then shouted into M the following sentence: "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you." To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said. 
"I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, "you said Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you." We then exchanged places and I listened at S while Mr. Watson read a few passages from a book into the mouth piece M. It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from S. The effect was loud but indistinct and muffled. If I had read beforehand the passage given by Mr. Watson I should have recognized every word. As it was I could not make out the sense - but an occasional word here and there was quite distinct. I made out "to" "and" "out" and "further", and finally, the sentence "Mr Bell do you understand what I say? DO -YOU-UNDER-STAND-WHAT-I-SAY" came quite clearly and intelligibly." 

By 1877 private telephone lines were being sold to the public. An August 13th, 1877 ad in the Globe explained,
"The SPEAKING TELEPHONE of Prof. Alexander Graham Bell has now attained to such simplicity and cheapness, as renders it universally available for public, private, social, or business communications. It needs no battery, and has no moving machinery, and no skill is required, except to speak plainly and listen attentively. The instrument is neat and portable, and an ornament to any room or office.
"The Telephone conveys the quality of the voice, so that the person speaking can be recognized at the other end of the line. It enables the manufacturer to talk with his factory superintendent, the main office with the branch office, the house with the store, the country residence with the stables or any part of the grounds, the mouth of the mine with its remotest workings, or, in short, any given point with any other point, although many miles apart
"The yearly cost to the lessee for a set of Telephones - one at each end of his line - is twenty dollars. The Proprietors keep the instruments in repair, without charge, and the lessee has no expense in working them." 

A review of the year 1878 published in the Globe on January 1st, 1879 had this to say:
"Wonderful improvements have been made in the telephone and phonograph, both of them inventions of the year before last, but dating their usefulness from 1878 ... The telephone is coming into extensive use in all the large cities."

A directory of Toronto's telephone subscribers was first published on April 1st, 1879.

Here in the archives, the earliest records we have of a telephone line date from 1887. The Bell Telephone Company of Canada charged thirty dollars per year to rent a "telephone apparatus" at St. John's Grove, where Bishop Lynch lived.

Bell Telephone Company telephone apparatus rent receipt.

L AN01b

July 26th, 1887
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

In November of that year, the house paid $1.20 for long distance calls to Peterborough, St. Catharines, Pickering and Bradford.

Long distance bill.

L AN01b

November 1st, 1887
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

You can read more about the development of the telephone in Toronto here, here, here and here.

Bonus: A report of a dinner at the University of Toronto in the June 11th, 1879 issue of the Globe included an eerily accurate speech about the future of universities:
"With the wonderful advancement that science was making, the time would no doubt come when the whole Dominion would be taught by a University located among the Rocky Mountains, with connections by telephone from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton. (Laughter.) ... Then the tranquil professor would quietly sit in his study and teach the classes who sat around their telephones in far distant cities. The student also by means of the phonograph might have the words of the lecturer continually in his ear, even after the worthy old gentleman had passed away."

Friday, 3 March 2017

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

On this date 130 years ago, Anne Sullivan began teaching Helen Keller. Helen was six years old. She had lost her sight and hearing due to a severe illness at just 19 months old. Anne worked with Helen for nearly 50 years. It is a story of perseverance, determination, and friendship. Over time, Helen learned to read, write, and speak. She graduated from college and became an author, public speaker, and activist. Without Anne  and, therefore, without education  it is unlikely that Helen would have flourished as she did. This week's blog features a few items in ARCAT's collection about the religious and academic education of people who are blind and/or deaf in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

The Ontario Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb (renamed Ontario School for the Deaf in 1913 and currently Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf) opened in Belleville in October 1870. Its principal, Wesley "Willie" J. Palmer, was eager to recruit students. He sent Archbishop Lynch a circular about the new school and was hoping to spread the word as far as possible:


Belleville, January 20th, 1871

Rev & Dear Sir.
I beg leave to call your attention to the enclosed circular which I am sending out to many clergymen and prominent citizens of the Province. I would be pleased to send you about 50 copies if you would distribute them among the clergy in your diocese. I am not acquainted with the Bishop of Kingston. Could I take the liberty of sending him some of these circulars? The school is opening quite favorably. I expect to be in Toronto within a month accompanied by some of my pupils to give an exhibition before the members of the Legislature and Citizens showing our method of instruction &c. Do you think the pupils I spoke to you about will be sent to our Institution? I would be glad to have them here as soon as possible. Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience. I have the honor to be 
Your obedient Servant
W. J. Palmer, Principal

L AE10.03
Archbishop Lynch fonds


Circular re: recruitment for the new Ontario Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb
(shortened to Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb on letterhead)

L AE10.02
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Paul Denys, a teacher at the Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, provided Archbishop Lynch with an update on the progress of the Catholic students at the school:

"I take much pleasure every now and then in informing Your Grace of the number of Catholic children in the Institution, of their progress and doings. ... I have now under my care 33 Catholic pupils -- 21 boys and 12 girls -- eight of whom will have the 
happiness of being confirmed tomorrow in the church, along with a number of the speaking children."

January 8, 1879

L AE10.13
Archbishop Lynch fonds

The Ontario School for the Blind (now W. Ross Macdonald School) was founded in March 1872 in Brantford as the Ontario Institution for the Education of the Blind. Over the years, prospective teachers would write to the current archbishop for help in obtaining teaching positions:

Collegiate Institute
Barrie, July 3, 1884

Most Rev. J. J. Lynch D.D.
Archbp of Toronto

Your Grace:
I take the liberty in soliciting your kind assistance in procuring for me a position which has become vacant in the Blind Institute of Brantford through the resignation of Mr. Shannon[,] a Catholic teacher of the Inst. The salary being in the neighborhood of five hundred dollars a year with board[,] room and other advantages[,] I consider the situation more lucrative than the average High School position. I enclose Your Grace a copy of my Testimonials. Knowing well the interest Your Grace has always taken in promoting the welfare of Catholic young men, I feel certain that if this request be practically within Your Grace's province[,] you will kindly accede to it.
I Remain
With profound esteem
Your Grace's obt servt--
Thomas O'Hagan

L AE10.10
Archbishop Lynch fonds

Periodically, the archbishop would also recommend individuals for vacancies:

Letter from C. W. James to Abp. McNeil,
September 13, 1916

MN AH05.81
Archbishop McNeil fonds

Groups in the United States provided assistance to the Archdiocese regarding the education of people who are blind and/or deaf:

Letter from Rev. William F. Jenks to Abp. McGuigan,
May 18, 1948

MG DA34.50(a)
Archbishop McGuigan fonds

Letter from M. A. Warnier to Abp. McGuigan,
October 7, 1948

MG SO11.04a
Archbishop McGuigan fonds

The International Catholic Deaf Association was founded in Toronto in 1949. In July 1956, a group of priests at the International Catholic Deaf Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, prepared this statement concerning the religious education of Catholic deaf children:


"The Religious Education of Catholic Deaf Children"

ED SC04.36
Education fonds

St. Bernadette's Family Resource Centre is a member of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto that provides assistance to children, youth, and adults with developmental and/or physical challenges, including blindness.

Silent Voice, also a member agency of Catholic Charities, raises awareness of and addresses the difficulties faced by the Deaf community. Click here for a list of signed or interpreted Catholic masses in Ontario. Click here to see the four masses that are located in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Quest for the Map of Canada

It seems difficult to remember what we did before GPS and Google Maps. We can put the globe in our pockets, but before smartphones and computers, people relied on paper maps to see the world.

The history of the map of Canada starts with Indigenous peoples, but the first known European map of Canada dates to the early 1500s. At the time, cartographers seem to have believed that Eastern Canada and Greenland were part of Asia. Techniques were vastly improved over the next century, and Samuel de Champlain made great strides, mapping as far west as Georgian Bay.

By the time the Diocese of Toronto existed, cartography and publishing were vastly different. Maps were available for common people to own. Here in the archives, we have a great example of a map of Upper and Lower Canada that could have been kept on a bookshelf as a handy reference tool. At first, it looks like any other book:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

But when you look inside, something is a bit different:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

After unfolding several layers, the map is fully opened:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

Though the map is undated, it appears that it was published by Charles Magnus some time after he moved to New York in the 1840s and some time before Canadian confederation in 1867:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

Google Maps might have a lot of useful features, but it doesn't have this kind of flair!

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

A fun decorative detail:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

And here's our own little corner of Upper Canada:

ARCAT Holograph Collection

HO 02.009

Think about these kinds of maps when your GPS voice is telling you to turn right on Bloor! For a great history of the mapping of Canada, check out the Canadian Encyclopedia. To see more maps of Canada, check out McGill University's W. H. Pugsley Collection of Early Canadian Maps.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Remembering Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Canada’s seventh prime minister. His tenure as the first francophone PM – from July 11, 1896, to October 6, 1911 – is currently the longest unbroken term of office for Canada's leader. He still holds the record for the longest-serving leader of a major Canadian political party. During his time as PM, Laurier oversaw the building of another transcontinental railway; added two new provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, to the Dominion; and encouraged immigration to Western Canada. Though he certainly had his opposers (such as the Catholic population during the Manitoba Schools Question in that province), Laurier was known as an energetic orator and a fervent proponent of keeping the French and English parts of the country united.

Laurier served in the House of Commons during the episcopacies of five of Toronto's Archbishops. He was first elected to the House of Commons when Archbishop Lynch was Toronto's ordinary. Laurier became PM while Walsh was Archbishop and continued through both O'Connor and McEvay. He died of a stroke at age 77 on February 17, 1919, during McNeil's time as Archbishop.

The Archives has a few documents in its collection about and from Laurier. In this letter to Archbishop O'Connor, typed on Privy Council Canada letterhead, Laurier discusses the claim of one Mr. Moylan:

December 13, 1901
O AB03.28
Archbishop O'Connor fonds

The following is a letter written on Prime Minister's Office letterhead to Archbishop McEvay from Laurier expressing his condolences that he must miss McEvay's installation as Archbishop:

June 16, 1908
ME AA02.22
Archbishop McEvay fonds

This is the cover of the program for Laurier's mass and funeral service held at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa, February 22, 1919:

MN AH08.18
Archbishop McNeil fonds

Library and Archives Canada posted this video of Laurier's funeral procession and burial, which shows just a few of the fifty thousand people who lined the streets of Ottawa that day to pay their respects:



Friday, 10 February 2017

I've Been Working on the Railroad

On this day in 1906, Prince Rupert was chosen as the name of the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. In her book Birth of a City: Prince Rupert to 1914, Sue Harper Rowse explains:
"The name for this proposed city was chosen in a nationwide contest sponsored by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The company offered a cash prize of $250.00 for the best name for this new Pacific Coast city. The contest rules included the consideration that the name must contain less than ten letters and a maximum of three syllables. More than 5,000 entries were received by the contest closing date of December 15, 1905. Miss Eleanor MacDonald of Winnipeg was declared the winner for the name 'Prince Rupert.'
"Prince Rupert (1619-82) had been born in Prague, the son of Frederick, King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England. Rupert grew up in the Netherlands and studied at Leiden ... A man of many artistic and scientific interests, Rupert also took part in colonial and commercial schemes. On May 2, 1670, King Charles II appointed Rupert - 'Our dear and Entirely Beloved Cousin' - first Governor of Hudson's Bay Company. However, somewhat ironically Prince Rupert never set foot in Canada."  
The location was an ideal spot for the railway terminus because it had a deep, ice-free harbour and was a shorter shipping distance to Asia. The activity that accompanied the building of a new town and railways attracted a lot of ambitious men and women to the area, including many Catholics. In 1913, Archbishop McNeil wrote to the Catholic Church Extension Society explaining the need for more services for the workers:

"Until now the railroads of British Columbia have run mostly east and west. At present two main lines are in course of construction north and south. One of these is part of the Canadian Northern from Yellowhead Pass to Kamloops along the Thompson River. The other is a line from Vancouver to Fort George to connect there with the Grand Trunk Pacific and eventually pass on north to the Peace River Valley. It will take some years to construct the latter. In the meantime a large number of Catholics working on these roads, and many Catholics settling on land in that northern country, will need attention, and sites for future churches should be secured."

March 17, 1913

Archbishop McNeil Fonds
MN AD20.003 a

Archbishop McNeil had been Archbishop of Vancouver for two years before being appointed to Toronto, so his experience with the area made him an ideal advocate for soliciting support and funds for the Catholics in that area. Prince Rupert had a church quite early, but the need was growing in other places. McNeil recognized the need for local administration and expansion of services. What had previously been very much a mission area needed an increased presence of the formal structures of the Catholic Church. At the time of the letter, the Prince Rupert area was the centre of the Prefecture Apostolic of the Yukon and Prince Rupert, and by 1917 it became a Vicariate Apostolic. The boundaries shifted over the years, but in 1967 the territory was elevated as a diocese. The next year, the bishop moved the seat of the diocese to Prince George, where it remains today.

Though the Grand Trunk Pacific didn't fare well, the city it founded flourished as a transport hub. With a population of 12,000, it is a centre of natural resource production and a destination for tourists.

You can read more about the history of the Diocese of Prince George here.

Bonus: Check out the British Columbia Archives, which has many interesting digitized photos, including Prince Rupert under construction, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the first Catholic church, and much more.