LONDON LETTER

Cross Country

THE MARITIMES December 15 1947
LONDON LETTER

Cross Country

THE MARITIMES December 15 1947

Cross Country

THE MARITIMES

HALIFAX will be 200 years old in 1949 and Mayor J. E. “Gee” Ahern wants the old port to really splurge for its birthday. His slogan: “We’re no longer a town, we’re a city.” His program: a quarter-million-dollar memorial boulevard through the north end, new schools, a new library, new streets, removal of the poorhouse and prison outside the city and a million-dollar sports stadium.

Ratepayers winced. Half the property in Halifax is civic-, churchor government-owned, and pays no taxes. Property owners agreed Halifax needs a facelifting but shuddered at the expense. It looked as if t he sports stadium, at least, was doomed.

The city’s sure to have one touch of the New Look for its birthday. The battered tramway system is being replaced by trolley buses.

* * *

It was like the old days off the P. E. I. coast. Mounties in a powerboat lay in ambush off Summerside Harbor, gave chase to a rum runner and halted it with shots. They seized bootleggers, boat and 910 pints of rum and whisky, worth $3,600, in the island’s liquor black market.

P. E. I. is the last dry province—liquor can be had only on a doctor’s prescription. Bootleggers on the island do a small but flourishing business in liquor they purchase quite openly and legally in New Brunswick liquor stores just a few miles across the water. They peddle it at four dollars a pint.

* * *

Back from Saint John with bad news came President J. J. Campbell of the Halifax Longshoremen’s Association. First, he said, he’d been reliably informed the CNR planned to give the port of Saint John more than its share of traffic. (The railway denied it.) Second, with

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his own eyes he’d seen that the National Harbors Board, run from Ottawa, was doing more to improve Saint John than Halifax. The prewar sniping between ports was on again.

QUEBEC

Two small phials, accompanied by church documents, dated in 1879, testifying that they contain the blood of St. John the Baptist, have been brought to Montreal from Naples by special permission of Pope Pius, 'they are of special significance to French-Canadian Catholics, whose patron saint is St. Jean Baptiste.

* * *

Meanwhile, St. Jean Baptiste Society, vigilant defender of French-Canadian institutions, has turned its attention to Spencerwood, official residence of the Quebec Lieutenant-Governor. It wants the name changed back to “Bbis Coulogne,” as it was known when occupied by French governor Louis D’Aillebout in 1657. “Spencerwood” dates from 1811, when the owner of that time, Michael Perceval, named it for his relative, Spencer Perceval, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister of Great Britain. Prime Minister Perceval, a strong opponent of Catholic emancipation, was slain by a madman in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.

* * #

Gabrielle Roy’s “Bonheur d’Occasion” (“The Tin Flute” in English translation) was severely criticized by Rev. E. Boileau, parish priest of St. Zotique Church in St. Henry, locale of the best seller. Said he: “St. Henry is not all slums, holes and hovels. Neither are its people disorganized, disoriented and desperate. That little girl who came down here from the plush hills of Westmount has done us all a great disservice. It is nefarious propaganda.”

* * *

Piano prodigy André Campeau, aged five, of Montreal, is exciting the praises of all who have heard him play his interpretation of such Canadian folk songs as “A La Claire Fontaine” and “Le Petit Vin Blanc.” His most cherished possession, a tiny baton given to him by his teacher, seems to mark him as a future conductor.

* * *

Police items from Quebec City: On a recent dark night, thieves stole the plaque from the city’s oldest house, from which Montcalm is reputed to have direoted the defense of the city against Wolfe. And in police court, Judge Achille Pettigrew dismissed a woman’s assault complaint against her spouse, ruled that “a husband has the right to take his wife by the arm and bring her home if she talks too much with a neighbor.”

ONTARIO

The second attempt (o establish a Communist daily newspaper in Toronto has failed after six months of publication and a reported loss of $100,000. The Daily Tribune, a morning tabloid, was never able to get its circulation past 7,000, some 8,000 less than the number needed to break even. Its predecessor, the Clarion, also published in Toronto, tried to go daily before the war, but had to revert te weekly.

Though it had no success in selling news, the Tribune made some itself when the Toronto Board of Control tried to prevent its sale from street boxes by limiting such facilities to

newspapers with a circulation of more than 100,000. All three of Toronto’s established dailies fought the proposal as an attack on the freedom of the press.

* * *

Ontario’s Hydro system is sorely overtaxed and to save power a strict, dim-out was clamped on the province last month. Electric signs and shop windows were darkened, theatre marquees lost their blinding glare. Merchants protested, said the black-out would put a crimp in their Christmas business.

In Hamilton, the dim-out brought immediate relief to traffic jams on business streets— fewer cars were parked there at night. Police explanation: Young blades who’d been parking by the sidewalk to watch the girls go by could no longer see well enough to make it worth while.

THE PRAIRIES

The Alberta Cabinet has been drafting a plan to bring entire British manufacturing plants, including their employees, to the province. One large British factory is reported ready to move to Alberta if satisfactory arrangements can be made.

* * *

Visiting “sportsmen” from the United States have raised the hackles of Albertans with their slaughter of game. There are only 10 full-time game wardens in the whole province and here are some of the things they didn’t catch.

A herd of 40,000 antelope in the south of the province has been reduced to 9,000.

One party, armed with a machine gun, bagged uncounted scores of geese near Tofield. Another American group, equipped with airplane and telescope, took nine moose in one area of Northern Alberta.

Two men slaughtered 154 geese near Coronation, Alta. A party of five near Grande Prairie shot three moose, four sheep, four goats, two bears and five deer. They brought out only the heads.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Canadian nudists recently had their first convention in Vancouver—with a minimum of publicity. Forty-odd “naturists,” one third of them women, attended the meeting of the Canadian Sunbathing Association. Ages ran from 17 to 70, but only those over 21 were entitled to active membership.

The Vancouver chapter of the association has about' 35 members with a fixed ratio of eight men to five women. At its headquarters, a two-and-a-quarter acre estate well beyond the car line, it has a clubhouse, swimming pool and games court. Visitors are not admitted, and married men are barred unless their wives are also members.

* * #

Provincial policemen have been riding the ferry between Vancouver and North Vancouver to try to stop the crap games, which have been going on for 30 years or more. It wasn’t the gambling that brought action—the players had been using language unfit for the ears of women and children riding the ferry.

* * *

A veterans’ housing project of 600 homes, described as one of the finest subdivisions in Canada, is under way in the east end of Vancouver, It will cost three million dollars and will include playgrounds, two churches, a primary school, shopping centre, parking space, picnic spots, parks, swimming pool, athletic fields and community hall. ★