W7933 TO THE HON. GEORGE DREW from Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Oct 12 1951 Friday
To: The Hon. George Drew House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
From: 'Whitehern,' Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Yesterday I paid a visit to Niagara Falls, after a considerable interval, as I have not had quite the same interest in it since you ousted my younger brother, first from the chairmanship of the Niagara Parks Commission and then from the Rainbow Bridge Commission. For I knew that the bright boys whom you appointed to succeed my brother and his colleagues were not capable of adding anything to the magnificent monuments which stand to my brother's memory in the Oakes Garden Theatre and the splendid approach to the Rainbow Bridge which makes the United States end of the bridge look like the mean corner on a back street, and I was afraid that in their efforts to justify their appointment they might have made some horrible "improvements."
But my most gloomy periods of pessimism never pictured any so disastrous as the spectacle I beheld when I went into the beautiful Garden Theatre (one of Dunington- Grubb's1 noblest creations), eagerly anticipating the spectacle of the glorious panorama of the combined American and Canadian Falls which takes the place of a painted back-drop at the rear of the stage, and found the view of most of the Horse-Shoe Falls blotted out by a blob of an advertising shack housing the Tourist Bureau of the Ontario Government. I was simply horrified.
Was it sheer stupidity for which your administration as Premier of Ontario was so notorious? Or was it malice, a deliberate mutilation of one of the finest artistic achievements promoted by my brother, a sort of defacing of one of the many fine monuments which perpetrate his memory? Perhaps you would enlighten the people of Ontario on this point.
It was very obvious that you disliked my brother; or you would not have seized upon so trivial an excuse to oust him from the chairmanship of the Canadian section of the Rainbow Bridge Commission, a piece of procedure which was not only illegal (as he was appointed for life) but an act of ingratitude which showed an utter lack of any sense of fair play in your substitute for an intelligent mind. For you were in a position to know, even better than I do, that except for him there never would have been a Rainbow Bridge owned by the people of Ontario and New York, so financed that it will soon be toll-free. Instead there would have been another bridge built and operated by the International Railway Company of Buffalo, which previous to the collapse of the Honeymoon bridge, was collecting tolls to the amount of half-a-million dollars a year on a million-dollar investment.
I feel sure that Mr. Leslie Frost, who has rehabilitated the ramshackle Conservative Government of Ontario with such conspicuous success, would never have done so contemptible a trick. But then he is a gentleman and a public servant with sound ethical principles and a sense of fair-play.
Perhaps I should not write in this strain to a poor political hack whose handsome facade gained him a prominence in public life for which he had neither the necessary ability nor the moral stamina essential to a sound statesman, and who is now down and out. The last Federal election left you down, and [you] will be out before the next election.
For according to the rules by which the Progressively Conservative party of Canada plays ball, it is not "three strikes and out." Instead of that, one failure to hit a home-run is sufficient to send a leader to the showers. You know this was what happened to Mr. Bracken and his predecessors.
Do you think you will receive any different treatment, when your defeat was the most sweeping on record? So, "Good-bye"!
Yours without any respect,
1 Dunington-Grubb was the husband and wife team of landscape architects who collaborated with Thomas McQuesten and Noulan Cauchon and others, on many of their parks and "City Beautiful" and "Social Gospel" projects.
Howard Burlingham Grubb (1881-1965) of England, studied at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in the early 1900's. He worked closely with Thomas H. Mawson and was put in charge of the London office. He married Lorrie Alfreda Dunington, "a rising lady landscape architect," shortly after hearing her speak on Garden Design in 1910. In 1911 they emigrated to Canada and formed the team of Dunington-Grubb and were instrumental in the design of Gage Park, The Royal Botanical Gardens and McMaster University including the sunken garden, and many more projects in Hamilton Ontario. They also collaborated with Thomas on the Niagara Parkway gardens, the Oakes Garden Theatre, the Rainbow Bridge gardens, and many more projects throughout Ontario and Canada. The Dunington-Grubbs also formed the Sheridan Nurseries. (See also, W7935, W-MCP1-3b.015, E-2-2, E0-2, W8267, W8703, W7085).
(See Thomas H. Mawson's autobiography: The Life and Work of an English Landscape Architect.)(http://www.artdrysdale.com/howardgrubb.html)