Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914. The City Councils of Port Arthur and Fort William were quick to respond.
In a regular meeting on August 5, 1914, the Port Arthur City Council decided that all City employees who were called for military service would continue to receive full pay, and have their jobs available for them when they returned. This motion would soon be amended.
Two war-related resolutions were made by the Port Arthur City Council on August 10, 1914. In the first, additional security was arranged for the Current River Dam, which was an important source of electricity for the City.
Another resolution formed a committee to arrange for a patriotic send-off for Port Arthur volunteers leaving for the front. The date of this departure was not yet determined.
On August 17, 1914, the Port Arthur City Council amended their previous resolution, to only apply to regular employees of the City who were existing members of the 96th Lake Superior Regiment.
A motion to order the Commissioner of Utilities to prepare a list of eligible employees failed.
At the same meeting, a budget of $500 was allocated for the patriotic send-off of Port Arthur volunteers.
On August 24, 1914, the Port Arthur City Council struck a committee to investigate forming a Frontier Guard in cooperation with the military.
The meeting of Fort William City Council on August 25, 1914, included three significant decisions related to the war. The first item of business addressed by Council this night was the need for additional security for the City’s industrial infrastructure. Council, as well as the Board of Trade and Grain Commission, approved expenditures to have the 96th Regiment guard the grain elevators & terminals which made up so much of Fort William’s economy. The bulk of expenses were expected to be covered by elevator owners.
Two following resolutions declared that soldiers departing for the front should have socks and underwear sponsored by the Industrial Bureau, at an amount of $5, and that any City employee to enlist with the first overseas contingent should have 1 month’s salary paid. This provision is notably much more limited than that for Port Arthur municipal employees.
The Finance Committee of Port Arthur and the heads of its City Departments recommended on August 31 that wages be reduced in order to save funds for the war effort.