School Affairs in 1867 – Confederation Year

There was no mention made of any special program that had taken place in the school to honour the day – July 1st 1867. Mr. McCabe, the Headmaster was away in Europe at the time, he had left in May. He had been given special leave of absence and a supply teacher was taking his place.

The late Dr. D.S. Hoig, who promoted the scheme for medical health inspection in the Oshawa schools, was a pupil in the Central School, then. He said he could not recall any mention even having been made of it. He remembered that afterwards the maps had not been changed for some time.

There had been other schemes discussed before Confederation; Quebec and Ontario had joined in 1841. The uniting of the distant provinces seemed like a very uncertain thing and of little importance. Many people took a dim view of it and thought it would not last long. Now we have come to 1967 and we are still wondering about that same thing.

July 1st was declared a public holiday by the Canadian government in June 1869.

Confederation Day

 The first morning of the new dominion was ushered in, in Oshawa with the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon including a salute from the juvenile battery. The chief occupation of all seemed to be to make preparation to leave town. The greater portion of the population went to Whitby, others to Toronto and a few Eastward. The afternoon was one of unusual quietness. The numerous flags from the flagstaff’s and private houses were the only mark of the day. Every store was closed and every work shop was silent and Oshawa was literally “the deserted village.” The few people who had not left town in the morning wended their way to Cedardale to a private picnic where the Ontario Bank and some other buildings were illuminated. The people of Oshawa having agreed to give way to Whitby and join in the celebration there strictly kept her faith.

At Whitby the day was honoured in a manner befitting its importance. Between eleven and twelve the volunteers arrived from different parts of the county. The thirty-fourth mustered in good numbers. The companies present were numbers one and four from Whitby – two and three from Oshawa and the companies of Greenwood, Columbus, Brooklin and Uxbridge. The Cannington and Prince Albert companies remained at home. Major Button’s troop of cavalry was also present. The fine horses and soldierly bearing of the men added much to the appearance of the review.

After lunch the volunteers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Fairbanks marched to a large field north of Mr. Perry’s residence. After the reading of the proclamation by the mayor, the troops fired a “feu de joie.”[1] They were put through several movements and evolutions of a field day. The officers and men deserve great credit for the manner in which these movements were performed. The horses of Major Button’’ Cavalry faced the fire from the squares remarkably well, some of them rushing so closely up to the bayonets as to receive sever thrusts.

Confederation: By the Queen a Proclamation

For uniting the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one Dominion called Canada.

Whereas by an act of Parliament pass on the twenty-ninth day of March eighteen sixty-seven in the thirtieth year of our reign instituted “an act for the union of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the government of Canada thereof and for purposes connected thereof. After divers recitals it is enacted that “It shall be lawful for the Queen by and with the advice of her majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council to declare by Proclamation that on and after a day appointed not being more than six months after the passing of this act the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form and be one dominion under the name of Canada and on and after that day those three provinces shall form and be one dominion under that name accordingly” and it is thereby further enacted “that such purposes shall be first summoned to the senate as the Queen by warrant under her majesty’s royal sign manual thinks fit to approve and their names shall be inserted in The Queen’s Proclamation of Union.” We therefore by and with the advice of our Privy Council have thought fit to issue this royal proclamation and we do ordain, declare and command that on and after the first day of July, eighteen sixty-seven, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada, and we do further ordain and declare that he persons whose names are herein inserted and set forth are the persons of whom we have by warrant under out royal sign manual thought fit to approve as the persons who shall be first summoned to the senate of Canada

Given at our court at Windsor Castle this twenty-second day of May in the year of Our Lord, eighteen sixty-seven in the thirtieth year of our reign. God Save Our Queen.

 There were 27 senators from Ontario, 30 from Quebec, 12 from Nova Scotia and 14 from New Brunswick.


[1] Feu de joie (French: “fire of joy”) is a gun salute, described as a “running fire of guns”, on occasions of public rejoicing of nation and/or ruling dynasty.

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