Photo: Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-The Dominion Day Parade in Carleton Place July 1, 1897, when the country was only 30 years old—(LAC C-003820)
Dominion Day 1897- Perth Courier
Nearly 200 persons reached here on Thursday of last week to take in the Dominion Day celebration at Carleton Place; and probably the crowd there altogether equalled from the county adjacent and from Smith’s Falls, Almonte, Arnprior and Renfrew and Pembroke about 4,000 or 5,000 persons.
The day was hot without being unbearable and occasionally passing clouds tempered the heat very pleasantly. The town was fully decorated with flags and evergreen arches, and private dwellings and grounds were gay with bunting and Chinese lanterns. A trade procession headed by the fire department and representing many occupations and exhibiting many phases of taste and originality, accompanied by a long company of lady and gentleman bicyclists with gaily decorated wheels followed the forenoon’s moving display and introductory attraction.
The crowd in the afternoon found their way to the celebration field which was a mile out of town on the Perth road on the grounds owned by Thomas Warren and used as a race track by the local turf club. It was wide and long but the owner in years gone by forgot to leave a few trees standing around for shade purposes and the crowd panted and thirsted in the open unless they had sun shades or canopied carriages to keep off the mid summer sun. But, come to think of it, all race courses have of necessity to be clear of obstructive trees. The arrangement for the celebration had been well devised and were well carried out by a good execution from the head and level brained subordinates and the interest all afternoon was actively kept up.
There were races of all kinds, jumping games, competitions both of skill and physical force and all the time the Carleton Place band and our own splendid musical company the Harmonic Band kept the crowd well supplied with field music. Perth had brought but its little band of sports and athletes and their successes instilled quite a respect for the old county town into the minds of those who looked on. It turned out that in whatever competition they entered the Perth Club or single competitors came out either first or second—generally on top of everything. In some competitions Perth was not represented but in everything they tried they captured first or second money.
Our fire chief D.R. Noonan engineered the fire brigade in his usual quiet but telling manner so that they lost nothing from want of coaching and encouragement. The Lacrosse match between the Crescents of Perth and the Mississippi’s of Carleton Place was a match between two young giants in the national game and though Perth won on an hour time limit two games to one, the home club might well be counted their equal’s and proved themselves worthy competitors in the trial so far. The Harmonic Band delighted the audience in the field but in the evening they gave a special open air concert on the market square which was attended by 3,000 or 4,000 people and whose verdict was one of unequaled pleasure. The following is the published prize list:
Firemen’s Foot Race: First prize A. Wilson, Perth and second prize, R. McTavish.
100 Yard’s Race (Open): First prize A. Wilson, Perth and second prize, R. McTavish
Bicycle Race One Mile: First prize John Dittrick, Perth; second prize John Wilson, Perth.
Girl’s Bicycle Race: First prize, Lizzie Edwards; second prize Edith Strong
Boy’s Bicycle Race (under 16); First prize Clyde McDiarmid; second prize S. Willows; third prize Alexander McGregor.
Half Mile Foot Race (open): First prize Sullivan; second prize Farrell
Putting the Shot: First Prize William McIlquham; second prize E. Reynolds
Hop, Step and Jump: First prize J. Hourigan; second prize Stewart
Fat Man’s Race: First prize William McIlquham; second prize John Griffith, Perth.
Running High Jump: First prize S. McGonigal; second prize W.A.B. Knox
Auction Sale Hotel Property at Watson’s Corners: Robert Sargent