02 September 2019

Looking back a century: Labour Day 1919 in Ottawa

As far back as 1919, as reported by the Ottawa Citizen, the city had a reputation at the town that fun forgot. But a century ago the paper reported an exception.

"There has never been in the annals of Ottawa such a memorable holiday as the one yesterday. Statutory and legal holidays in the city are as a rule rather prosy and unexciting, but yesterday was indeed an exception. It was a day crammed full of red letter doings, a day filled with the stuff of which history is made. It was all due to the visit of the Prince of Wales, that popular young heir to the throne, who, by his charm and personality, by his tact, consideration, courtesy and his smile has melted the noted rather adamant exterior of folk hereabout and found beneath it a heart pulsating with warmth and affection, eager to give expression and demonstration to its feelings." 

Did you know that one of the duties the Prince of Wales performed that day was laying the cornerstone of the parliament tower (Peace Tower)? The inscription on the stone included letters with dots underneath that are roman numerals summing to the year 1919.
A plaque with the french translation was added at a later date, but without the coding which is known as a chronogram.

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