“Last evening the steamer Florence carried a large excursion party on a moonlight excursion to the Beach.”
Hamilton Spectator June 6, 1876
After much anticipation, the moonlight excursion on the bay finally took place, and was a great success:
“The boat was well filled, and the splendid band of the Caledonian Society enlivened the trip with some choice music. One arrival at the Beach, some strolled off along the sands, a number found their way to the bowling alley and billiards room, but the majority procured tickets for the Music Hall, where they tripped the light fantastic toe till half past eleven to the music of a fine string band. The evening was spent most delightfully, Messrs. Neville and Birely doing all in their power to make the evening enjoyable. At a quarter to twelve the boat moved away, the band playing “Rule Brittannia.” Fortunately the B. B. Glee Club was on board and favoured the company with several beautiful glees and choruses. These young men sing with much taste and keep very good time, and we hope some day to see them before the public. The boat arrived at this port at 12:30.”
While the excursion itself was popular, the participants surely shared the Spectator reporter’s views on the state of the vicinity of the wharves of the pleasures steamers:
“The wharves leading up to the Transit and Florence are often enveloped in a very unpleasant smell. Dead dogs, cats and fish lie rotting on the edge of the water, making it very unpleasant for delicate nerves. The evil should be remedied in some way.”
An extensive article was carried in the Spectator of June 10, 1876 concerning the state of the Crystal Palace and grounds, three months before the 1876 Provincial Exhibition to be held at that location:
“On the 13th of September and the four following days the Provincial Exhibition will be held on the Crystal Palace grounds in this city. The Parks Committee, Ald. Waddell, chairman, are making strenuous efforts to have the grounds and the Palace put in first place order, in anticipation of the event, and no stone will be left unturned to make the Provincial Exhibition of 1876 the most successful ever held. Yesterday afternoon at two o’clock, the Parks Committee, composed of Ald. Foster, Lockman, Waddell, Crawford and Kent, visited the grounds in company with his Worship the Mayor, Messrs. J.M. Williams, M.P.P., John Proctor, Thos. Stock, F.M. Carpenter, Reeve of the County; Dr. Miller, Reeve of West Flamoboro’; A. Brown, Reeve of East Flamboro’; Thos. Lawry, Reeve of Barton; Hon. David Christie, Ira. Morgan, President of the Agricultural and Arts Association; H.C. Thomson, Secretary of the same Association; Stephen White, - Wilmot and John A. Bruce.
The party were driven up in five cabs and were disgorged at the main entrance to the Crystal Palace. The old floor of the building has been completely taken away and a new and substantial one substituted in its place. The posts supporting the roof and galleries has been raised and placed on stone foundations. When originally built they were placed on wooden foundations, and when these decayed the posts sunk as a matter of course; in fact, it is a wonder that no accident happened during the late Central Fair. The four winding stairs leading into the galleries are to be taken away and two immense straight stairs, each twelve feet wide, substituted in their places. Each stair is to be partitioned by a rail at the center, and a policeman will be stationed at the bottom to direct visitors to go up one side and come down the other. This is a great improvement, and will prevent that jostling which is so disagreeable at fairs. The stairs will be quite straight and the decline graduated so that the ascent will not be fatiguing. The winding stairs were altogether too steep, and their shape was not fitted for the purpose. The inside is to be painted, and the roof to be thoroughly repaired so that nothing will suffer from rain should there be unfortunately bad weather at the time of the fair.
The long building north of the Palace, and formerly used as a poultry shed, is to be devoted solely to the display of field roots. The building is 25 x 70 feet, and will hold an enormous quantity of produce.
Carriages and Poultry
The building directly west of the Palace, and formerly used as a sheep pen, is to be used for the display of carriages and poultry. The pens are to be taken out and 150 feet at the south end of the building are to be used for the display of poultry, and 400 new coops have been provided.
This is a new building entirely. It has been put up for the exhibition of machinery in operation. Its extent is 32 x 150 feet. Several members of the committee remarked that the structure looked frail.
Three hundred horse stalls have been fitted up with sound floors, safe mangers and good walls. All the cattle sheds on the east side of the grounds to the left of the main entrance, and where the Durhams were shown last year, have been transformed into horse stalls.
Two hundred cattle stalls have been added on a new and improved plan, and twenty of these have been set apart for bulls.
One hundred and fifty sheep pens, 8 by 8 ft., have been built, and are in a very convenient part of the grounds.
The old pig pens will be used, with a few added to make the number one hundred and forty.
It is thought that the old hay barn will do with the addition of a granary 13 x 16 feet.
Five cattle rings are to be prepared in the back portion of the grounds, and no cattle will be allowed in the main grounds.
The Visiting Committee expressed themselves highly delighted with the way things appeared, and expressed the belief that we now had the best Exhibition Grounds in the Dominion. At half past three, the party returned to the Royal Hotel where, after partaking of lunch and finishing several bottles of champagne, the company separated.”