Refinery on Montreal's riverbank. 1912. These giant buildings were looming large over the landscape, literally and politically.
A hundred years ago, in 1912, it was all about Wheat.
It was the Wheat Boom Era, after all. Canada was suddenly growing a lot of it and they wanted to profit, but how? They were building giant refineries in Montreal and adding more and more railway lines from West to East, but lots of grain still ended up rotting in the silos.
Herbert Nicholson, 26, wrote a lot about wheat and farming from his vantage point, as a salesman for Massey Harris out West. Whether he knew what he was talking about was another thing. All I know, is that Margaret Nicholson, his mother, had to pay a lot for flour for her baking, 5 dollars a barrel. (Records for 1883, when Margaret married, reveal that they paid 1.50 for two bushels of flour, but that couldn't have been wheat flour, could it? There was little inflation between 1883 and 1910. In those early days, Canadian wheat was grown mostly in Ontario. But then they discovered a new hardy type, Marquis.)
You can read about the Wheat Boom on my website Tighsolas.
I've been reading a lot about hundred years ago in Canada as I write my digital trilogy about three Canadian women in the 1910 era. As I write Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, the follow up to Threshold Girl, already published online, I have come upon more info about the Wheat Boom as it influenced the 1911 Free Trade election. It's from an article from a Boston Newspaper, (the Evening Transcript, a defunct elitest? paper, that covered only tennis, sailing, and lawn bowling, etc on the sports page that had a genealogy column) on August 14, 1912. Edith and Marion Nicholson were visiting in Boston at that time.
If they saw this article, they certainly would have paid attention. They were a political family. That is unless they were having too much fun going to Fenway Park and Norumbega Park with their cousin Henry.
The article, called Our Up and Coming Neighbour: Canada claims that Westerners are furious with Ontario for making Laurier lose the Free Trade Election. Westerners want to sell their wheat, tariff free to the States and Ontario is afraid they'll be forced to lower to erase tarifs on their manufacturing products. (In Threshold Girl, I write about this. A leading Richmond Citizen, J. N. Greenshields, is supporting a Conservative Candidate in Richmond Wolfe, for he is President of a cotton mill.)
Premier Borden was in London in 1912. Some suffragettes met up with him and he passed the buck on the subject of woman suffrage by saying it was a provincial domain.
Our Up and Coming Neighbour:
by E.W. Thomson. I'll capture and paste some pics of the article as I have a sore arm.
Herbert's letters suggest that Westerners were Conservative in their voting habits, so I don't quite understand. Anyway.
Herbert Nicholson's July 1911 letter from Saskatchewan.(Ironically, he tried to get the Nicholsons to invest in oil in 1910, but they saw the automobile as a mere fad. And they had no money.