Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Proof for my Central Thesis.

Montreal 1901 Edison Film. Fire people

Hmm. I decided to start reading this giant biography of J.W. McConnell, by William Fong. McConnell was a famous Canadian financier and philantropist.

His story relates to my Flo in the City novel, based on the letters of www.tighsolas.ca in many ways, but mostly because this man hit the big time in those pivotal years I write about, 1908-1912 on the stock market.

This bio is big, but very well written. I just scanned the first chapters and must go back to read them in detail. Something struck me as a little odd. McConnell was in Toronto before he moved to Montreal in 1904 and Fong describes Toronto as a bustling metropolis and Montreal (it seems to me ) as a backwater of sorts, a small provincial town with a smattering of Anglos. Typical. I always thought Toronto was the back water back then. Yes, Montreal grew in population later in the decade, but, for instance, it had the stock exchange.

Anyway, just more proof that 1908-1913 years were pivotal. Ford, D.W. Griffith, Coco Chanel, and now McConnell.

So, I'm reading how this man from poorish rural roots, started out as a bookkeeper and then hit the big time, by dressing well, working hard and associating with bigwigs, including the Forgets, my ancestors. He was tall and good looking, which probably helped.

He is a fine contrast to Herb. In my story, I have Herb say he feels he is misssing out on something big. Well, he was. Herb also started out as a book keeper in a bank. But, well...

I might have caught a mistake. Fong says that Hays, who went down with the Titanic, was the former President of the Grand Trunk. If so, why does that train ticket I have, punched a month before the sinking, still have Charles Hays signed. (Maybe they used old ones.)

Fong writes a lot about Montreal Light and Power. Well, that is the company that got my grandfather, Jules Crepeau into trouble in the late twenties. My grandfather was Director of City Services and a cousin to the Forgets. One of the Forgets was President of the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1910.