rfmcdonald: (obscura)
In memory of the dead of Earlscourt, Toronto


Toronto's Prospect Cemetery extends as far south as St. Clair Avenue, touching Earlscourt. Back when this neighbourhood was a newly-annexed municipality on the northwest fringes of the City of Toronto, Earlscourt was a new communiy, home to many recent British immigrants. These people volunteered by the thousands to serve on the Western Front, and died in the hundreds. After the First World War, this memorial was built in Prospect Cemetery, Earlscourt's local cemetery, in honour of the neighbourhood's dead. Future king Edward VIII lent his presence to the ceremonies surrounding of this cenotaph in 1919.
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Consider this post a consequence of a consolidation of my blogroll, with three posts from older blogs I've added previously and two new posts from new blogs.


  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross shares the strange story of five people who went missing in a winter wilderness in 1978.
  • Roads and Kingdom shares an anecdote by Alessio Perrone about a chat over a drink with a Cornishman, in a Cornwall ever more dependent on tourism.

  • Strange Company shares the story of Kiltie, a Scottish cat who immigrated to the United States in the First World War.

  • Starts With a Bang, a science blog by Ethan Siegel, argues that there is in fact no evidence for periodic mass extinctions caused by bodies external to the Earth.

  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, a group blog by Canadian economists, considers the value placed on Aboriginal language television programming.

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes an image of a wooden model of Babbage's difference engine.

  • James Bow talks about the soundtrack he has made for his new book.

  • Centauri Dreams considers ways astronomers can detect photosynthesis on exoplanets and shares images of Fomalhaut's debris disk.

  • Crooked Timber looks at fidget spinners in the context of discrimination against people with disabilities.

  • D-Brief notes that Boyajian's Star began dimming over the weekend.

  • Far Outliers reports on a 1917 trip by zeppelin to German East Africa.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that there is good reason to be concerned about health issues for older presidential candidates.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on Hungary's official war against Central European University.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the origins of modern immigration to Russia in internal Soviet migration.

  • Savage Minds shares an ethnographer's account of what it is like to look to see her people (the Sherpas of Nepal) described.

  • Strange Maps shares a map speculating as to what the world will look like when it is 4 degrees warmer.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the US Congress does not have authority over immigration.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's population will be concentrated around Moscow, compares Chechnya's position vis-à-vis Russia to Puerto Rico's versus the United States, and looks at new Ukrainian legislation against Russian churches and Russian social networks.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how Evelyn Waugh's writings on the Horn of Africa anticipate the "Friedman unit", the "a measurement of time defined as how long it will take until things are OK in Iraq".

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  • blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children's literature.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.

  • Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.

  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.

  • Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at evidence that Ceres' Occator Crater, an apparent cryovolcano, may have been recently active.

  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin wonders what would have happened had Kerensky accepted the German Reichstag's proposal in 1917.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at some fun that employees at a bookstore in France got up to with book covers.

  • Cody Delistraty describes F. Scott Fitzgerald's utter failure to fit into Hollywood.

  • A Fistful of Euros hosts Alex Harrowell's blog post taking a look at recent history from a perspective of rising populism.

  • io9 reports on a proposal from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to set up a water pipeline connecting it to Siberia's Lake Baikal.

  • Imageo notes a recent expedition by Norwegian scientists aiming at examining the winter ice.

  • Strange Maps links to an amazing graphic mapping the lexical distances between Europe's languages.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is on the verge of a new era of population decline, and shares a perhaps alarming perspective on the growth of Muslim populations in Russia.

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The Globe and Mail features Stephen MacGillavray's interview with Kaye Chapman, a centenarian who at the age of 5 witnessed the Halifax Explosion 99 years ago today.

Nearly a century ago, five-year-old Kaye Chapman said goodbye to her four brothers and sisters as they rushed out the door of their north-end Halifax home. She collected her Bible and hymnbook and was about to play Sunday school, when a deafening boom swept her off her feet.

It was Dec. 6, 1917, toward the end of the First World War, when Halifax was the epicentre of the Canadian war effort.

Just before 9 a.m., the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc was arriving in Halifax to join a convoy across the Atlantic. The Norwegian vessel Imo was leaving, en route to New York to pick up relief supplies for battle-weary troops in Belgium. Both vessels were in the tightest section of the harbour when they collided, igniting a blaze that set off the biggest human-caused explosion prior to the atomic bomb.

The Halifax Explosion devastated the north end of the city, killing nearly 2,000 and injuring 9,000. The blast released an explosive force equal to about 2.9 kilotonnes of TNT. Shock waves were felt as far away as Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The Mont-Blanc was blown to pieces, its half-tonne anchor shaft landing more than three kilometres away.

Today, few survivors are left, likely none with the vivid firsthand recall of 104-year-old Mrs. Chapman, who lived on Clifton Street, about two kilometres from ground zero.

“As young as I was, I can see everything and I can even tell what we were dressed in,” she said at her assisted-living apartment in Saint John. “I had a little white outfit on – a tiny white dress and white stockings.”
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The Toronto Star's Paul Hunter describes how one street in the Annex was devastated by the loss of its young men in the First World War.

They grew up on the same West Annex street, a few doors from each other; boyhood pals, then teenaged running mates. Four of them attended Harbord Collegiate together.

They had names like Billy, Kenny and Cecil, a champion runner who may have been the best athlete of the gang. Though young Eustace, part of a provincial rugby championship, would have argued that.

Life was good on Howland Ave.

There were about 35 red-brick houses, many with impressive gables, on each side of the first block north from Bloor St. to Barton Ave. It was a place where neighbours looked out for neighbours. And a time when the future seemed boundless.

Soon, as what happens with childhood friends, the boys became young men and left their tree-lined street to find their own way.

Soon, most would be dead.

Swept up in patriotic fervour, they signed on to serve King and country in the First World War.


There is much more at the Star.
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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in the gritty 1980s.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the habitable zones of post-main sequence stars.

  • Far Outliers notes the ethnic rivalries among First World War prisoners in the Russian interior, and examines how Czechoslovakia got its independence.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at the mapping technology behind Pokémon Go.

  • pollotenchegg looks at how the populations of Ukrainian cities have evolved.

  • Savage Minds considers anthropology students of colour.

  • Transit Toronto notes
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the post-Soviet states built Soviet-style parodies of capitalism for themselves.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit might drive British migration to Australia, suggests Russia's recession might be coming to an end, looks at carbon emissions from dead trees, and reports on Guiliani's liking for Blackberry.

  • Bloomberg View notes Israel's tightening restrictions on conversions and looks at how Putin has become a US election issue.

  • CBC notes the construction in Turkey for a cemetery for participants in the recent coup.

  • Gizmodo reports on flickering AR Scorpii, an unusual binary.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on urban land tenure for migrants and describes Malawi's recent translocation of elephants.

  • MacLean's describes the Chinese labourers of the First World War.

  • The National Post notes the marginalization of conservative white men in the Democratic Party.

  • Open Democracy looks at politics for the United Kingdom's Remain minority, looks at Scotland's European options, and suggests Hillary needs to learn from the lessons of Britain's Remain campaign to win.

  • The Toronto Star notes the plans of Tim Horton's to expand to Southeast Asia, starting with the Philippines.

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The Waterloo Region Record's Jeff Outhit notes that, exactly one hundred years ago today in the middle of the First World War, the southwest Ontario city of Berlin had its name changed to Kitchener against the will of its inhabitants. (Via James Nicoll.)

Residents voted narrowly to change Berlin's name in the midst of the First World War to prove loyalty and stem the backlash against a city with deep German roots.

Canadian soldiers were battling Germany, dying amid distant thunder on the Western Front in Europe. Canada, consumed by anti-German sentiment, eyed Berlin darkly, uneasy about buying goods stamped Made in Berlin, suspicious of its young men who were reluctant to enlist.

It was the darkest time in the city's history. You can see the city on edge in a new exhibit by that name at the Waterloo Region Museum. It runs through December.

The space is laid out like a maze. That's meant to disorient you just as people would have felt in 1916. "We want people to feel confused," said Tom Reitz, museum manager.

The exhibit has what you might expect, relics and artifacts, and what you might not, modern podiums and touch screens to explain how the name change still resonates. There's film and art and sound and conflict.

There's the printing plate from the ballot that produced the new name. There's a napkin ring that might have been crafted out of a stolen, melted bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I, but probably wasn't. The Kaiser's ghost hovers above it all.

Reitz is from German stock. His great-grandfather immigrated as a carpenter and lived on Wilhelm Street in Berlin. He wonders: how did his ancestors feel about abandoning Berlin's name? Did they vote?

"What did they think of this?" he asks. The answer is lost to time.
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  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on speculation that the Fermi paradox can be answered by assuming extraterrestrial civilizations have died already.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at the climate of early Mars.

  • Far Outliers takes a look at ethnic divisions among Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war in Russia.

  • Joe. My. God. reposts his essay on gay pride parades, in all of their diverse and showy glory.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that, in Sweden, lottery winners do not experience improvements in their health.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at the dynamics behind Putin's neo-Soviet nostalgia, and looks at a sketchy prison in North Ossetia.

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  • Antipope's Charlie Stross considers the question of how to build durable space colonies.

  • blogTO notes that the musical Hamilton might be coming to Toronto.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that European populations are descended from Anatolian farmers, not local hunter0-gatherers.

  • Far Outliers notes the plight of Czech and Slovak migrants in Russia following the outbreak of the First World War.

  • Language Log looks at new programs to promote the learning of Cantonese, outside of China proper.

  • Towleroad notes the sad story of a Belgian man who wants euthanasia because he's ashamed of being gay.

  • The Financial Times' The World worries about the possible spread of illiberal democracy to Croatia.

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  • Bad Astronomy notes the proposed names for new superheavy elements.

  • Dangerous Minds examines the lost music of the Human League, neglected unjustly on the charts.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a young hot Jupiter being eroded away after only two million years, and links to a paper suggesting high-metallicity stars preferentially form gas giants.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at the plumes of Europa and Enceladus.

  • Far Outliers notes Czech defections to Russia in the early days of the First World War.

  • Joe. My. God. links to Politico's unflattering portrait of the Bernie Sanders campaign in its final days.

  • Steve Munro reports about different transit plans in Toronto.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the continued findings from Ceres.

  • Progressive Download's John Farrell notes a movement for teleology in understanding the universe.

  • Towleroad notes Bobby Brown's claims that Whitney Houston was bisexual.

  • Transit Toronto notes Ontario support for the Yonge Street extension of the subway.

  • Understanding Society notes LBJ's support for cities.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the Kremlin's use of the last Romanovs, examines Russian fears about Kazakhstan, and notes Ukrainian perspectives on the Donbas war.

  • The World notes the problems Brexit would create in a divided United Kingdom.

  • The Yorkshire Ranter examines efficient, and less efficient, spending by political parties in elections.

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  • Dangerous Minds looks at the oddly sexual imagery of zeppelins entering their births.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a paper looking at ways to detect Earth-like exomoons.

  • Imageo notes unusual melting of the Greenland icecap.

  • Language Log shares an extended argument against Chinese characters.

  • The Map Room Blog notes the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement to partition the Ottoman Empire.

  • The NYRB Daily notes authoritarianism in Uganda.

  • Noel Maurer looks at the problem with San Francisco's real estate markets.

  • Towleroad follows RuPaul's argument that drag can never be mainstreamed, by its very nature.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that a flourishing Ukraine will not be itself restore the Donbas republics to it.

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Katie Daubs wrote for the Toronto Star about the lone Canadian death in the Easter Rising, an Irish-Canadian teenage soldier mysteriously shot on a Dublin street.

While he was on leave in the U.K., Neville Fryday arranged to visit his mother Elizabeth, who was living in Dublin at the time. Fryday was born in Ireland, but the family lived for a time in Canada, where he enlisted. [. . .]

In the 100 years since he was gunned down in the first hours of the Easter Rising, Neville Fryday’s death has always been mysterious.

Was he killed defending the city, an Irish-Canadian soldier pressed into service against an uprising in his home country — or had he just been out for a stroll at a dangerous moment in history?

Fryday, who was shot in the stomach, was the first soldier of Toronto’s 75th battalion killed overseas. It was 1916, and he was en route to a battle in France he would never see.

In the Toronto Daily Star, his death made the front page in early May: “Were the Toronto troops, which left the city about six weeks ago, rushed across to Ireland to assist in quelling the Sinn Fein rebellion in Dublin?” it asked.

A few days later, his family in Toronto received a letter, written before his death. Neville and a brother had been granted leave and both brothers had planned to see their mother in Dublin.
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Daniel Panneton's Torontoist post noted how Toronto, famously dominated by the Orange Order and with its biggest minority being Irish Catholics, reacted to the Easter Rising.

The most popular newspapers were quick to try and downplay the situation’s severity, assuring their readerships that the rebellion was being quelled. On April 26 the Toronto Globe prematurely announced “Troops promptly suppress the rising in Dublin,” while four days later the Toronto World declared that “capture of the rebels thought to be just a matter of time.” On May 1 the Star delivered news that “All Irish Rebel Leaders in Dublin Surrender with 450 followers.”

The major papers emphasized the Irish people’s trustworthiness in their coverage. While reporting on the Irish volunteers involved with suppressing the rebellion, the Globe quipped that “the Irish loyalists are not all in the north.” On May 3 the Star reported that Irish troops were victorious, and that they “HATE REBS.” The Globe, World, and Star all reprinted letters from Irish Catholics across the British Empire denouncing the rebels and reaffirming their own commitment to the war effort.

Not forgetting that there was a war on, newspapers were quick to emphasize German connections to the rebels. The Globe asked “Is Hun Rule for Ireland the best substitute for Home Rule the [rebels] can suggest?” while the Star reported that the rebels were “undoubtedly [counting] upon the arrival of a considerable German force.” This was not without merit; a few days before the Rising took place, Irish nationalists attempted unsuccessfully to land a shipment of roughly 20,000 rifles and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition from the German Empire. The Proclamation read by the rebels themselves mentions the aid provided by their “gallant allies in Europe.”

In the Rising’s aftermath, it was briefly rumoured that a Toronto-raised battalion was involved in putting down the fighting when the Star reported that a private from a unit recently sent to England had appeared on the British army’s casualty list. Pvt. Neville Fryday was an Irish-born 16-year-old labourer who lied about his age to serve in the 75th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Ontario Regiment. Fryday was on leave at the time, most likely visiting family. He was killed outside of Trinity College, allegedly while wearing his military uniform. He was buried in Dublin with a Canadian military grave.

The Rising placed Toronto’s Irish Catholics in an uncomfortable position. Although anti-Irish bigotries were nowhere near as intense or widespread as they were in the 19th century, many Irish Catholic Canadians still had to deal with accusations of disloyalty. Toronto in particular was dominated culturally and politically by the Orange Order, a hyper-Protestant association of Irish import that controlled city patronage. The staunch British Imperial milieu and the experience of being a double minority within their own linguistic and religious communities created a strong incentive to keep Irish Catholic toes on the British Imperial line.
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At The Conversation, James McConnel and Peter Stanley describe how a British-Australian dispute over commemorating a battle of the First World War brings contemporaries nationalisms into conflict with the imperial-era reality of a much closer and more complex British-Australian relationship of a century ago.

Although the subject of half a dozen books, including chapters of Australia’s detailed official history of the war, Fromelles has become the subject of misunderstanding and myth in Australia. It is supposed to have been “forgotten” (though it was long remembered as Fleurbaix – the name of the village from which Australian and British troops attacked – rather than Fromelles, which the Germans defended). It has become seen popularly as “the worst night in Australian military history” – a notorious instance in which callous and incompetent British generals sent Australians to their deaths for no purpose.

Fromelles was mounted as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme and was the first major engagement on the Western Front involving the recently arrived Australian forces. While modern research has questioned the established view of the battle as a complete military failure, historian Gary Sheffield has argued that it nonetheless “further damaged Australian faith in British generalship, already shaken after Gallipoli”.

[. . .]

The reason for the high profile of Fromelles in Australia’s commemoration is that a mass grave, which had been overlooked in the post-war clean-up, was discovered in 2008 at Pheasant Wood near Fromelles where the Germans had buried 250 Australian and British dead in 1916. The discovery resulted in their remains being interred in the first new Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery opened on the Western Front in decades. Pheasant Wood cemetery soon became a place of pilgrimage for Australians visiting northern France in search of Australia’s Great War.

Awareness of the historical context of the battle has clearly informed some British coverage of the decision by the Australian Department for Veterans Affairs to invite only the families of Australians to the memorial ceremony this year. Coverage in the UK has suggested that “banning” the relatives of the 1,547 British casualties of Fromelles, exclusively focuses on the Australian soldiers lost in light of the smaller, but still significant, British casualties.

In response, an Australian spokesman noted in The Times (paywall) that Britain’s own Somme commemoration of July 1 2016 will only be open to British citizens. It’s clear the war’s centenary is being shaped by modern national and state agendas.

But there is an anachronism at the very heart of this spat because – as the military historian Andrew Robertshaw said: “A surprisingly high proportion of the Australian Imperial Force were not actually born in Australia.”
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Last week, John Quiggin engaged in a bit of alternate history writing at Crooked Timber. There, he imagined a war equivalent to the First World War starting in 1911, one that ended in a v victory of the Central Powers and could even conceivably be blamed on the Entente powers.

Looking back at the Great War raises lots of questions. Was it, as most observers concluded in the aftermath of the war, the inevitable product of a clash of rival imperialisms, or of rising class tensions. Or should we prefer the views of the revisionists who stress the war guilt of the Entente powers, and particularly of France? Or was it, perhaps, a tragic and avoidable accident?

Starting with the now-dominant revisionist case, there’s no doubt that French aggression against Morocco, going back to the first Moroccan crisis of 1905-06, was the proximate cause of the war. Not content with the effective control over Moroccan affairs gained in that episode, France used the rebellion against the Sultan to establish a formal “protectorate”. The contemptuous dismissal of the Algeciras conference agreement as a “scrap of paper” presaged the entire French war strategy. Most notable was Joffre’s invasion of Belgium (doubtfully accepted as necessary by Poincare, who had just displaced Joseph Caillaux as Prime Minister). The postwar emergence of an anti-Semitic dictatorship, headed by Marshal Petain, is seen as representing an inherent French tendency to authoritarianism and aggression, reflected in everything from the Bonapartes to l’affaire Dreyfus

The other Entente powers come off little better on this account. Lloyd George was already the dominant figure in the British government and signalled his aggressive intent with the Mansion House speech. The fall of Herbert Asquith as a result of a sex scandal propelled Lloyd George into the Prime Ministership at a crucial moment. His ascension ensured that there would be no negotiated peace. The Entente with the Czarist empire adds weight to the indictment. The aim of encircling and crushing the nascent democracies of the German-speaking world could scarcely be more obvious.

But it is the documents unearthed from wartime archives that are seen by revisionists as sealing the case. The Sykes-Picot agreement, carving up the Middle East, the Constantinople Agreement handing the centre of the Islamic world to Russia, and the offers to Italy under the Treaty of London make the case for Entente war guilt seem unarguable.


I'm not necessarily convinced by the exercise. As commenters note, you may need deeper reasons for Britain and France to adopt more aggressive policies towards Germany, particularly (on Britain's part) to justify invading Belgium. The explanation as to why the war starts in the first place does not ring true to me. Likewise, it does not make intuitive sense to make that a war waged by Britain and France in 1911, three years before 1914, against a relatively weaker Germany, would end worse for the two powers in any case.

What say you?
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In 2009, I took the below photo of the Old City Hall Cenotaph, sharing it on A Bit More Detail.

Old City Hall Cenotaph


Today, Jamie Bradburn had a feature at Torontoist noting how the memorial to the dead of the First World War came to be.

When a city council special committee contemplated permanent sites for a monument in 1924, its members felt that erecting it in front of Old City Hall would render it inconspicuous due to space limitations and the height of surrounding buildings. While they preferred replacing an old bandstand in Queen’s Park, veterans felt it should remain at Old City Hall, where annual ceremonies had been held since 1920.

A design competition attracted 50 entrants. The $2,500 prize went to architects/First World War veterans William Ferguson and Thomas Canfield Pomphrey (the latter would work on the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant). The cornerstone of the granite cenotaph was laid with a silver trowel by Field Marshal Earl Haig on July 24, 1925. As the unveiling neared, city council ordered a change to the front wording from “To those who served” to a phrase specifically geared to those who fell in battle, “To our glorious dead.”

When city officials arrived at the cenotaph at 6 a.m. on November 11, 1925, they found two memorial wreaths had been left overnight: an anonymous assembly of chrysanthemums and one in memory of Private William Bird from his children. During the ceremony, only wreaths presented by Haig (who, unable to attend, drafted Byng as his stand-in) and the city were allowed to rest on the monument. Dozens of others, representing everything from orphanages to Belgian soldiers in town for the Royal Winter Fair, were banked around Old City Hall’s steps.

“It is true that there is nothing we can do which will add to the honour in which their memory is held,” Mayor Thomas Foster observed during his speech. “But in performing the ceremony arranged for this occasion we follow immemorial usage, and we inaugurate a memorial to the lasting honour of the men of this city who left their homes and the pursuits of peace and gave up their lives for their country.”
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Torontoist's David Wencer reports about an early effort by women in Toronto to form a militia during the First World War.

On August 20, 1915, 100 Toronto women gathered at the home of Jessie McNab, on St. Clair Avenue, near what is now Winona Drive. Jessie McNab was well-known in Toronto women’s social circles at the time, and over the preceding months her home, known as Dundurn Heights, had been the site of numerous social events, including musical performances and fundraising drives for the Red Cross. On this particular Friday evening, the program included something a bit different: the first military drill of the Toronto Women’s Home Guard.

Toronto women were involved with the Canadian war effort right from the beginning; on the day that Britain declared war on Germany, over 300 Toronto women crowded into the downtown armouries for a lecture given by the St. John Ambulance Corps, with a view to being sent to Europe as nurses. The Toronto World reported that demand was so high that another 300 Toronto women were kept away due to space limitations at the venue.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Toronto already boasted a variety of women’s clubs and organizations based around religions, social causes, or common interests. Many of these groups shifted focus during the war towards supporting the war effort, while many new groups were formed specifically to address new needs and causes that wartime conditions created. Newspapers reveal a variety of initiatives undertaken by women during the first year of the war, including raising funds for the Red Cross, caring for the wives and children of those fighting in Europe, and gathering or making supplies for both the men at the front and displaced refugees. Although projects such as knitting socks or making jam may seem quaint or frivolous through twenty-first-century eyes, these efforts were greatly appreciated by the armed forces and vital to the war effort.

In the summer of 1915, women’s groups became increasingly involved with recruitment drives, as the armed forces were in need of new initiatives to help persuade men to enlist. In July, women helped plan and promote a large recruiting rally at Massey Hall. On August 9, women made up around half of a crowd of 200,000 that attended a Riverdale Park recruitment rally. At Riverdale Park, the Star noted “two gay young ladies, each carrying a small sofa cushion, the ends of which they had opened. And to the astonished and outraged young men standing around, the girls [were] joyously doling out the white chicken feathers that stuffed the cushions… Someone would brush past and quietly lay something white on your lapel. It did not dawn at first what the white thing was. Then when you saw, in the dim light, your single violent impulse was to crawl, on hands and knees, out of the crowd and climb a tall tree. It is a deadly method of attack.”

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