W-MCP1-3b.015 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother Mary Baker McQuesten
Aug 19 1918
In care of (c/o)
To: Calvin McQuesten Foote's Bay Ontario
My dear Calvin,
I was sorry not to have managed my letter to you on Saturday, but it was first of all put out of my head by a phone from Tom, that he would be down for dinner as he had to be back before six. It turned out Cauchon is to visit him for a few days1. He brought us down a lot of pink and yellow tomatoes, very acceptable, as we have none here yet or to buy, tho' they are selling in Hamilton Market quite reasonably. We have been getting excellent blueberries, which all the family like. As usual you seem to be very busy; you certainly did well to get some berries and raise money for bottles and [?]. The berries have been so dear do not know how fruit is going to be managed for soldiers.
The heat was terrible in the city at that time, but did not last, fortunately, and has been very pleasant since. The Blacks went home2, but left the chair with the Rutherfords for use of invalid sister and for me when wanted. So Friday being a cool day, H.[Hilda] and E.[Edna] took me up in it to Mrs. Munro's for it is quite a distance, and we had quite a pleasant time. As to my health, am just as well as usual. To-day H., E. and I are going up to Hamilton to see what Glassco will make a coat for. They advertise reduced prices for Aug. and Edna has to have a warm coat, she is quite decided herself, which is a great help. It is a lovely day and I am glad of a change. Wind being Easterly, lake has been quite grand for some days. Have just had card from Mrs. Mullin, she had finished up her packing and taken up her final abode at Y.W.C.A. and will visit us this week3.
Tom made a rather distressing discovery in the garden. Alick told him melons were no good near cucumbers so he had to pull up cucumbers. Ours here have done well, have had all we could use. Had a lovely cabbage on Saturday, and have plenty to come, tho' there's a general complaint that they are not heading. Edna has found a companion for a short time, called Francis Carroll, a cousin of the Pentecosts, Catholics [sic], but she is a nice gentle girl. The family took a cottage near by & have a motor. Cool weather again, had to build coal fire yesterday. Am sending you the papers, when everyone has read it put it in your trunk. Alice asked us to save them. This year Mrs. Wm. Woods at Rockton is getting my eggs for me, but I have to hunt round for butter. Mrs. Clarke is not able to be of help to make it, as usual. Had a letter from Maggie White with sad news. Her fine brother of the Salvation Army has been taken to Gravenhurst. Between his own work and serving as a Chaplain at Base Hospital in Toronto has been utterly worn out; he is at Military Hospital, Gravenhurst. But what seemed an almost more tragic happening was the death of their "dear" wee doggie, Tip, killed Aug. 2 on the R.R.--he was the idol of the Lake Shore--Mr. MacKay cried like a child4. I have not space for further vapourings and must close as we are to have early dinner and take 1:30 car. So very sorry to see in Thursday's Globe, the death of "Bob" Henderson's wife, Tom's friend in whose office he was, the first child was born few days ago5. So hard. Take care of yourself, with much love from all.
Your affectionate Mother,
1 Noulan Cauchon (1872-1935) of Ottawa, noted railway engineer and pioneer of town planning, collaborated with Tom on many of his public works and "City Beautiful" projects in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. Theirs was a renaissance movement influenced by Cauchon's experience in Classical design and reconstruction in Greece. Tom was appointed to the Hamilton Town Planning Commission in January 1916, to the Board of Parks Management in 1922, to the provincial Highways portfolio in 1934, and he and Cauchon worked closely together to build many Hamilton Parks: the Rock Garden (RBG), Desjardins Canal, Cootes Paradise, High Level bridge (now named for McQuesten), McMaster University and park grounds, Scott Park, Gage Park, and many more. Within ten years Hamilton "had the largest acreage of developed parkland in any Canadian city." The provincial projects include: The Niagara Parks system and School for Apprentice Gardeners, the Queen Elizabeth Highway, The Rainbow Bridge, and many more. They worked with the team of Dunington-Grubb garden designers, sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, and architect John Lyle (Best 51-68, 113-18; Barnsley 26; W6053). This group subscribed to the social reform, "Social Gospel," philosophy that healthy surroundings will have a moral effect on the population, and they envisioned and implemented it with a missionary zeal. Cauchon presented A Book Of Bridges (1915) to Tom with the inscription: "To my friend T.B. McQuesten 'Enthusiast' Hoping that the spans of Hamilton may rank with the noblest of these, September 1918." Cauchon often stayed at Whitehern when he was in Hamilton. Cauchon was Tom's visionary, and his mother's passion for beauty was his inspiration, see W7085. (See also, W7933). Cauchon was ten years older than Tom and he died in 1935 so he was unable to participate in the provincial building that Tom accomplished.
2 For the Black family, see W6063.
3 For the Mullin family, see W4521.
4 For Maggie (MacKay) White and the MacKay family, see W4297. Mr. Donald MacKay died in 1909, so this Mr. MacKay is likely one of Maggie's brothers.
5 Tom worked for Royce and Henderson in 1906-07. Henderson was married on July 20, 1907 (W5868, W5912).