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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Prince Albert Edward Visited Brockville on September 3 & 4, 1860

[click on any photograph to enlarge it]

Brockville was getting ready for the visit of the Prince of Wales on September 3, 1860. This arch, one of five placed along the route of the planned procession, was built by James Gallena at the intersection of King St. W. and John St. It was designed to resemble an arch in England at an entrance to one of the Royal palaces. Noticeable on the far right is the Commercial Hotel, and just to the left of it, the Clifton House.

It was quite an occasion for the citizens of Brockville who awaited the arrival of their Prince by train from Ottawa on the afternoon of Monday, September 3, 1860. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), Queen Victoria’s eighteen-year-old son was in the middle of a three-month visit to North America on behalf of his mother.

After a quick 12-day voyage on board the battleship HMS Hero from Plymouth, England, the prince and his official party, headed by the Duke of Newcastle, the British Secretary of State, landed at St. John’s, Newfoundland on July 26, 1860. During an intense tour of the Maritime Colonies, and visits to Quebec City and Montreal, “Bertie,” as he was commonly known, had delighted the crowds wherever he traveled, and had enjoyed dancing with numerous women at the many grand balls that had been set up in the larger centres.

His official duties included opening the new Victoria Railway Bridge at Montreal and the Canadian Parliament Buildings at Ottawa, before he boarded a special train to travel to Brockville. This was meant to be a layover before he and his fifteen-member entourage moved up the St. Lawrence River by steamship to Kingston and Toronto.

Here’s a photograph perhaps taken on the same day as the previous one. The location is further east on King Street looking west from near the intersection with Broad St.  Notice all the flags flying on the buildings. In the background after the road turns you might see the Gallena arch as shown in the previous photograph.

[click on any photograph to enlarge it]

Thus it was that Brockville prepared to welcome Prince Albert. For weeks prior, preparations were underway. Elaborate arches were constructed on the various streets along the planned parade route set for the afternoon.

The Grand Trunk Railway Company’s arch built just south of the depot at the head of Buell St. would be the first to be encountered by the Prince and his party. The route would lead down Buell to Church St. where it would turn westerly to Perth St. The second arc, located in front of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, was surmounted by a floral crown, a harp, and an Irish wolfhound.

On the main street, near the intersection of John Street, the third arch was the work of James Gallena and Son, the plaster contractors. This is the one pictured here at the right. The fourth and grandest arch was placed near Court House Ave. Its pinnacles were capped by two barge imitation beavers, the Arms of the Royal Family, and a replica of the Prince of Wales’ feathers.

All along the route, many buildings were decorated with numerous flags, floral crowns, bannerettes, and flowers. In the centre of town a wreath of evergreens was extended across the street with a banner inscribed: “Welcome, Prince of Wales, son of the best of Queens, and a nation’s hope.”

The route led to Park St., down to Water St., and back to the Brockville & Ottawa Railway Depot where the final arch erected by the company led onto the steamboat wharf where the SS Kingston would receive the party.

During the afternoon at the Grand Trunk Station, Brockville’s officials and crowds of citizens waited anxiously, but the train’s arrival was delayed beyond its expected time. It finally arrived hours late, but the sun had set, and makeshift locomotive lamps were set up to light the scene.

Mayor William Fitzsimmons delivered a welcoming speech, to which the Prince replied. Similarly the Warden of the Counties spoke. By this time, the crowd was creating a commotion, and amidst much restlessness and shoving the visitors were escorted to the waiting carriages by the hard-pressed police and special constables. It was said that Governor-General Sir Edmund Head was nearly shoved off the platform.

The procession set off down Buell St. escorted by the Militia Company band. Thousands of those in town to see the Prince were disappointed at not get a good look at His Highness with the limited street lighting then available. At the wharf the Royal group stepped out of their carriages, traveled along the carpeted path, under the last arch, and boarded the steamship Kingston. They stayed on board as it anchored off shore for the night.

In the morning, through the encouragement of a prominent Brockville citizen, the Prince’s party decided to land again, taxied to shore by the pleasure steamer “Queen of the Isles,” and again drove through town, allowing both visitors and Brockvillians a better view. Upon the return of the carriages about noon, the SS Kingston hauled up anchor and departed to the cheers of the crowds on the dock.

This is the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s son, Albert Edward [born 1841], whom the family called “Bertie”. This photograph was taken about the year when he was 18 years old and embarked on his extensive Royal Tour of North America.

This is the standing portrait of Bertie taken in Matthew Brady’s photographic studio in New York on October 13, 1860, 10 days after his visit to Brockville ended.

Sources: The street scene photograph has been printed over the years, and was probably taken by the studio of A.C. McIntyre. The Prince of Wales was photographed about the time of his visit to North America. The majority of the details relating the story of Brockville’s welcome to the Prince were taken from an undated article published in the Recorder & Times many years ago. The article related the memories of Charles C. Lyman of 39 Victoria Ave. who was a mere 10 years old when his parents brought him from Toledo to Brockville for the visit of the Prince of Wales.

Reference in WIKIPEDIA about Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII)

Brockville Lacrosse Team – 1886

July 28, 1886

Here are the members of the winning Brockville Lacrosse Club for 1886 who defeated the Ottawa Capitals for the Intermediate Championship of the National Amateur Lacrosse Association, as described by O.K Fraser in the article below.

Back row: Donald Brouse, Jack Bennett, O.K. Fraser (president), Myles Bourke (captain), Jack O’Keefe, Alex. J. Murray.

Second row: George E Smart, Alex. Patterson, Dave Lowe, Mike McBrearty, Frank Bisonette, Charlie Ellard.

Front row: William Anderson (goalie), Jim Lacey.

Oliver K. Fraser of Brockville, the Clerk of the High Court, gave the following interview to a reporter from the Montreal Star in 1907:

That group photo you see hanging on the wall recalls what was to me the most interesting and exciting sporting event I can remember. It is a picture of the Brockville Lacrosse Club of that year, taken on the 28th of July 1886, the Monday following their famous match at Brockville with the all-star Capital team of that day.
The battle was for the intermediate championship which had been won by Brockville from the Young Shamrocks the preceding year, and the winning of it by the Capitals would be followed by their almost immediate admission to senior championship ranks. This meant much to them. That they had reason to expect to take the banner home with them is manifest from a perusal of the names of the men comprising their team, which, starting from goal, were: Aylward, Billy McKay, Burns, Droohan, Kemp, Myles, Ditchburn, O’Brien, Burke, Pete Green, Dailey and Joe Kent, and F.L. Daniels, captain.
Long before the match, the Brockvilles realized the work cut out for them, but determined not to lie down. No team ever did more faithful training, with the result that when the ball was faced that day, in the opinion of those who knew them, there was not in existence a more evenly balanced or better trained team playing the great game.
For three days of the week preceding the match the Cornwall Island Indian team was brought to play matches with the Brockvilles in order that their condition might be perfect.
Commencing again at goal, they were Bill Anderson, Alex. Patterson, Don Brouse, “Fogey” Smart, Jack Bennett, Jim Leacy, Frank Bisonette, Charlie Ellard, Aleck Murray, Jack O’Keefe, Dave Low and Mike McBrearty, with Myles Bourke, captain.
It was a perfect day, and the people gathered from all round — Ottawa sending in carloads of it’s best sports. And they had their money with them — barrels of it — more than our sports could or cared to handle. The odds were two to one on Capitals. They were confident, while we were content with being hopeful.
Best three out of five games was the rule in those days. The favorite referee of that time — John Lewis of Montreal — was in charge. The excitement before and during the game was intense, but the job was not long in the doing of it, for in fourteen minutes actual play, Brockville scored three games and the match.
The pandemonium broke loose. Every Brockville sympathizer, from the toothless old man to the babe in arms, proceeded to yell himself hoarse, and the ladies were not far behind them in the demonstration. Bands played, horns blew, and every ear rending instrument known to the small boy was introduced to swell the tumult, and only the arrival of Sunday morning put an end to the jubilation.
The game was the cleanest I ever witnessed, and there could be no doubt that this cleanliness of play and the success of the Brockville team was due to their faithful training and perfect condition upon entering the field. Those were great days for sport in Brockville.”

Sources: The memories recalled by O.K. Fraser, ex-president of the N.A.L.A., about his team, was found reprinted in The Evening Recorder of January 16, 1907. The next issue showed this team photograph which had originally been printed in the 1906 souvenir magazine, Brockville, Canada, The City of the Thousand Islands printed by the Brockville Recorder for the Old Boys’ Reunion held in Brockville from July 28 to Aug. 3, 1906.

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