“A load of wood stuck in the mud on the corner of King and James streets today, and caused considerable annoyance. A number of gentlemen assisted the little ponies to drag it out, and the obstruction was soon gone.”
Inclement weather, whether rain or snow, was caused both roads in the country and streets in the city to become quagmires.
Down on the Beach Strip, a new and larger filtering basin was being constructed, rotten weather or not. A case at the Police Court indicated that all was not peaceful on the job at that project:
“Yesterday, Thos. MacDonald, the leader of a gang of workmen engaged at the Beach, was tried before the Police Magistrate on the charge of assaulting Mr. Rich, who is building the new filtering basin. Mr. Rich had used his influence to prevent the men getting liquor at taverns on pay day, hence the assault. Macdonald was found guilty and sentenced to nine months in the Central Prison.”
The upcoming testimonial and fundraiser for the Honourable Isaac Buchanan was garnering publicity even beyond Hamilton as indicated in the following article which appeared in the Spectator of March 22, 1876:
“Referring to the Buchanan Testimonial fund, the Detroit Evening News speaks as follows : “The residents of the Dominion of Canada purpose giving the Hon. Isaac Buchanan, of Hamilton, who is about to remove from that city, a substantial testimonial of their appreciation of his successful efforts for the promotion of the interests, not only of Hamilton, but also of the entire province of Ontario. Mr. Buchanan is widely known, and, in sympathy with his brother, was instrumental in the building of the Great Western Railway. He has rendered sufficient aid to almost innumerable enterprises of public character, and has been a man of great liberality. Mr. George Goldie, who is giving his time and energies in the procuring of the testimonial, which is a work of obtaining subscriptions, arrived in this city today, and an opportunity will be given to the friends of Mr. Buchanan in this city to subscribe to this really worthy object.”
A short news item about the staff of life carried more impact than its length would suggest:
“The bakers of this city have banded together to raise the price of bread from ten to twelve cents per loaf, the new arrangement to take effect on Monday. This rise in the price of bread will doubtless cause great consternation.”
As the Hamilton and North Western Railway was about to begin construction operations to connect Hamilton on Lake Ontario with Collingwood on Georgian Bay, two meetings were held Hamilton which were each dominated with a conflicting opinion than the other :
“At 10 o’clock today, a most important meeting of the master mariners of this port was held in Mr. Adam Hope’s office on King street east. About thirty master mariners were present. The object of the meeting was to oppose the bridging of the Burlington Canal by the Hamilton and North Western Railway. Captain Edward Zealand was called to the chair, and Mr. Adam Hope appointed secretary.
After the chairman had explained the object of the meeting, the following petition was read.
To His Excellency the Right Hon. The Earl of Dufferin, etc. etc., the Governor General of Canada in Council etc.
The petition of the undersigned, merchants, ship owners and others, of the city of Hamilton and elsewhere,
HUMBLY SHEWETH, That your petitioners are informed that the promoters of the Hamilton and North Western Railway are applying to Your Excellency for permission to cross Burlington Bay Canal with a swing bridge, and propose narrowing the channel in the erection of said bridge. Burlington Bay Canal is unlike ordinary slack water canals over which railway and other bridges are occasionally erected.
It is an open navigable water communication between Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay, which is the finest natural harbour in all of the great lakes. Vessels sail through it as if in the open lakes with full speed of canvas. In heavy weather, with easterly gales, vessels bound up the lake for Toronto or the Welland Canal, frequently miss the Point on the north shore , or Port Dalhousie on the south, and run for shelter into Burlington Bay as a harbour of refuge. Burlington Bay is not only a harbour of refuge for the shipping on Lake Ontario, but it is the natural habour for the rich and fertile counties to the west and northwest of Hamilton.
Your petitioners consider it a misnomer to call the navigable communication between Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay a “canal.” It is an open water way between the lake and bay, free from the usual obstructions of a canal, either of a lock or bridge, and your petitioners firmly believe and beg most earnestly to represent to Your Excellency that any sort of bridge erected across the navigation water way would seriously interfere with navigation, and to narrow it as it is proposed to do by about forty feet would increase the velocity of the current and prove utterly destructive to the usefulness of this important work so intimately identified with the commerce of Lake Ontario, in the rise and progress of a great city and the trade of the Western peninsula, converging as it does by a network of railways to the head waters of Burlington Bay.
Your petitioners beg further to say that after completion of the enlargement of the Welland Canal at the cost of millions of dollars, Dominion vessels will be constructed of double their present tonnage capacity, and the obstruction by any such bridge as is proposed will intensify the evils of which your petitioners complain.
Your petitioners therefore pray Your Excellency to refuse permission for the erection of said bridge or any other obstruction to this portion of the inland navigation of the Dominion, and your petitioners, etc., etc.
Moved by Capt. Sweet, seconded by J. Lister, Esq., That the petition now read be adopted by this meeting, and that signatures be procured for the same in this city, Toronto, St. Catharines, Kingston and other ports, and thereafter transmitted to His Excellency. Carried.
CONSIDERATION OF THE SCHEME
The meeting was unanimous in the belief that should the bridge be erected, it would be fatal to the best interests of the Canal, not only in narrowing the water way, but in spanning a place of water which they contend should be free of obstructions at all times.
That there are different opinions held in regard to this canal will be seen from the fact that the following petition has been signed by over thirty ship owners and sailing masters of this port : -
To His Excellency the Right Hon. The Earl of Dufferin, K. P. K. C. B., Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada, etc., etc. in Council.
The Petition of the undersigned Vessel Owners, Forwarders, and others interested in the Shipping Trade of the Port of Hamilton,
HUMBLY SHEWETH : - That the Hamilton and North Western Railway, when completed, will largely increase the Shipping Trade of the City of Hamilton, especially in the articles of grain and lumber.
That your Petitioners believe there are serious difficulties to be encountered in constructing the said Railway between the City of Hamilton and Wellington Square, on any other route than via Burlington Beach.
That your Petitioners, while opposed to the erection of a Swing Bridge with a Centre Pier, as they understood was at first proposed by the Hamilton and North Western Railway Company, having seen copies of the plans submitted to the Government, are of opinion that a bridge swung in the manner set forth, from the North Pier, and affording a clear channel of not less than 100 feet, would not be an obstruction to Navigation.
Your Petitioners, therefore, pray that Your Excellency in Council may be pleased to grant the prayer of the Hamilton and North Western Railway Company, for permission to erect such a Swing Bridge across the said Burlington Bay CDanal.
As in duty bound, your Petitioners will ever pray.
“Yesterday an important meeting of the shareholders of the Hamilton and North Western Railway was held in their offices on Main street east.
The following gentlemen were present : - Messrs. John Stuart, K. Gurney, James Turner, William Hendrie, William Copp, Anthony Copp, P. W. Dayfoot, John Field, Mayor Roach, J. Proctor, Edward Martin, Alexander Bruce, Dennis Moore, John Winer, W. P. Moore, Thomas Mitchell, Robert Chisholm, Dr. Billings, Lyman Moore, Chas. Gurney, H. H. Hurd, Joseph Lister and W. A. Robinson.
The meeting was held for the purpose of approving of the contracts for the construction and equipment of the railway.
The President, Mr. John Stuart, took the chair.
The Secretary then read the notice calling the meeting.
The Secretary was called upon to read the contracts, after which a resolution was submitted affirming the same. The scrutineers appointed to take the vote then reported that the resolution was carried by a majority of fifteen hundred and fifty-three votes.
To His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl of Dufferin, K. P. K. C. B., Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada, etc., etc. in Council.
The petition of the undersigned merchants, manufacturers and other residents of the City of Hamilton,
HUMBLY SHEWETH : That your petitioners regard the early construction of the Hamilton and North Western Railway as of vital importance to the trade and commerce of the City of Hamilton,
That in the month of September last, a By-Law was passed by the Municipal Council of the City of Hamilton to aid the said railway6 company by subscription of shares in its capital stock, the same having been first submitted to the ratepayers and approved by a majority of from seven to eight hundred votes.
That the question of the roué of the railway was agitated before the introduction of the said by-law, and a westerly route was rejected by the Company because of the exfessive cost of construction, and by the ratepayers chiefly , because it would necessitate the crossing of upwards of seventeen streets, including the principal thoroughfares between the business of the city and the Great Western Railway amd city wharves.
That in the said bylaw, the easterly route was expressly adopted, and conditions imposed upon the Company as to the location of their line in crossing Burlington Beach, and as to the erection of wharves and elevators, etc.
That your Petitioners understand that the Company have memorialized your Excellency in Council for permission to erect a swing bridge across Burlington Bay Canal, and are in position to proceed with the construction of their railway as soon as such permission is granted, but that delay has arisen in consequence offered by some of the ratepayers who were in the minority of the bylaw above referred to.
That your Petitioners are of opinion that the route via Burlington Beach is the best under the circumstances that can be adopted in the interests of the city, and that it is impossible to bridge the canal as not to obstruct navigation.
Your Petitioners therefore pray that Your Excellency may be pleased to consent to the Hamilton and North Western Railway erecting a Swing Bridge over the Burlington Bay Canal, provided the width of the Canal is not encroached upon to such extent as to interfere with safe navigation.
And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, etc.”