May 7: Port Arthur



The campaign to encourage gardening for the war effort in the City of Port Arthur that we saw beginning in February with a plea from Minister of Agriculture, Martin Bunnell, is in full force. The City endorses the Garden Club as the organizing body behind the efforts and promises to co-operate with them “in every way in which we can advisedly do so in order to ensure the success of the club.”


The minutes of the Garden Club meeting established that Alderman Young, who was the chairman of the Market Committee, would also be President of the Garden Club. They also discussed how the judging of club members’ gardens, a usual activity for the club, would be conducted that year, taking into consideration if the land had been under cultivation before, and including new members from the City Council and administration as judges. Some of the ideas proposed by the Club were later put into effect by City Council at the May 7th meeting, which is discussed further below.


As discussed in item No. 2 of the Garden Club’s report, the City Council instructed the Clerk to place an ad asking for donations of manure for the Garden Club.


From item No. 13 of the Garden Club’s report, City Council commits Police time to protect the gardens planted in the City from “the depradations of dogs, cattle, chickens, and mischievous people”. This was especially necessary since those gardens planted in vacant lots would not be as easily monitored by the gardener as one planted in their own backyard would be.


In April, the Market Committee created posters with plans for garden plots and what to plant to be posted in the Market, The City Clerk’s Office and the Agricultural Representative’s Office with a list of plants that grow well in the area. In item No. 4 of the Garden Club’s Report, they asked for these plans to be printed up in “bill” or “poster” form to be more easily and widely distributed. They wanted a list of seeds and the quantity necessary and the time to plant them included on this poster. The cost of this printing was not to exceed $10.



A letter had been received from the Department of Agriculture about the varieties of seed potato available, and City Council gave the Market Superintendent, Mr. Craig, the power to “purchase such quantity and variety of seed potatoes as he finds necessary for Garden Club purposes.” It is unclear how the seed potatoes would be distributed, or to whom. In item No. 3 of the Garden club Report, they authorize Supt. Craig to purchase a variety of early and a variety of late potato, but the exact varieties were left up to him.

May 7: Port Arthur



In the report from the Market Committee, we see that Supt. Craig had been offered seed potatoes from a Mr. Edmonds in Dorion, and City Council later approved this purchase. 120 bags (weight not indicated) at $3.00 a bag were purchased. That price converted to 2017 Canadian Dollars is $51.28 per bag, and $6,153.60 for the entire purchase.

May 7: Port Arthur



In an attempt to find more garden plots, the city Engineer, Mr. Jones, received requests from citizens to use portions of City streets for gardens. These were presumably unpaved road allowances that were currently not in use. City Council did not give their permission to cultivate City streets.

May 7: Port Arthur



In April, City Council had written to the Department of Militia and Defence to find out exactly what aspects of local military support they were supposed to be funding. Council had not yet received a response, so agreed to pay for the light and telephone for the Canadian Forestry Draft with the understanding that this money would be refunded if the Federal Government finally granted the appropriate funds.


May 16: Port Arthur



Garbage collection was not a service offered by the City in 1917: households had to deal with their own refuse and the City had an account for “Scavenging” for removal of refuse from city facilities and removal of things dumped on City lands. Here Lieut. Orr asked the City to remove the refuse  from the Armoury, which Council agreed to do with funds from the Scavenging account.

May 16: Port Arthur


Market Superintendent Craig purchased more potatoes for the Garden Club from farmers in Dorion: it appears he was able to get the same rate of $3.00 per bag from all of them.

May 16: Port Arthur


City employees who enlisted were given a certain amount of money when they left the City, although many of them had been deployed before they could collect it as it required a certificate of proof they had actually enlisted. A former Port Arthur Firefighter, J.A. McGarry, has returned from overseas and is now claiming his money. He is to receive $500 because he joined at the beginning of the war, and the City’s policy at that time was to grant them six months’ salary. This would be $8,546.05 in 2017 dollars.


May 21: Port Arthur




More potatoes were being purchased for the war effort gardening. Also, a Mrs. Florence Hubbard requested that her lot be plowed for free instead of for the usual cost of $1. The City granted her request.


May 28: Port Arthur



The City Engineer, Mr. Jones, informs Council that his employee, Mr. George Plenderleith, has enlisted for overseas service. The City Council grants him $100, the usual amount to a married man who had enlisted, upon the receipt of a certificate proving he had enlisted. As you can see, the amount is greatly reduced from the money awarded to Mr. McGarry (May 21) who had enlisted at the beginning of the war.

May 28: Port Arthur


Since they still had no answer from the Government on who was supposed to pay for the military stationed locally, City Council grants the Recruiting office for the 230th Forestry Battalion $100 to pay for expenses.

There was no war related business in the Fort William City Council for the month of May, 1917.