Fall 2016
TBPL Newsletter

On July 9, 1916 a special train transporting over 200 army medical corps troops made its way eastward from military camp Sewell. As the train reached Fort William, medical staff aboard discovered a soldier with the beginning stages of smallpox. Based on the advice of Dr. Cook (Canadian Pacific Railway), the train left for Port Arthur and an existing military camp. Dr. Cook contacted Port Arthur Medical Officer Dr. Laurie and explained the situation. Immediately concerned, Dr. Laurie sent Major J. A. Crozier to meet the train and examine the soldier; he also telephoned the Port Arthur Police Department to ensure no one disembarked the train. Heated negotiations between City, railway, and military officials ensued for hours as they debated exactly how to proceed. Crown Attorney W. F. Langworthy even joined the discussions and threatened to arrest anyone on board the train if they attempted to leave. That night it was decided that the train would return to Fort William to be placed under quarantine. The train parked opposite the railway stockyards and the soldier diagnosed with smallpox was taken to the Fort William Isolation Hospital. On July 12, 1916 the train was moved to Island No.1 where the men could enjoy space outdoors without the possibility of spreading the disease to Lakehead citizens. The quarantined men made the best of the situation by putting on their own sports day which included football, baseball, track & field, and capped off with a bonfire and singing. Thankfully there were no other reported cases of smallpox and the quarantine was lifted on July 25 1916. The men were now free to visit Fort William while the train resupplied and soon after the resumed its journey.