100 Years Ago: Closures to Save Coal, Ban on Cream of Wheat, Bitter Cold and Little Coal, Heatless Homes, Reaction to Industry and Store Closure, Letter from Exchanged Prisoner Harry Simpson

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 1)

“Coal Saving Days for Ontario and Quebec. Close Industries and Stores. Special Despatch to The Intelligencer, Canadian Press, Limited. Ottawa. An Order-in-Council has been passed that Quebec and Ontario factories, industries and shops, except food shops, must close February 9th, 10th and 11th, to save fuel.

Theatres, poolrooms and other places of amusement must remain closed every Monday from February 18th to March 25th. Munitions plants are not excepted but newspapers and public utilities are. Fines of $5,000 are provided for infringement of order.”

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 1)

“Ban on Cream of Wheat. Ottawa. The Food Controller’s regulations in control of Canadian mills automatically prohibit the manufacture of farina, cream of wheat, or similar products. Additional regulations which have just been announced provide that upon written application the Food Controller may grant permission to mills to manufacture what is known to the trade as farina for children and invalids.”

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 2)

“Thirty Below Zero. Early yesterday afternoon the thermometers commenced to record colder weather, and when the shades of evening had fallen it was extremely cold. …  At several places about the city 25 and 27 degrees below zero were registered, with 30 below at the C. N. R. station. …  A number of water services in various parts of the city were frozen during the night.

To make matters worse the coal situation in the city seems desperate. Fuel of this nature could only be secured in 200 or 300 pound lots, and that is soft coal. It was reported that in some instances in the city it was necessary to place children in bed in order to protect them from the cold. …  Many a home in the city during the night felt the need of more fuel to keep up a proper temperature, but was forced to curtail its use. …  This morning the High School pupils were sent home as the class rooms were too cold.”

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 2)

“Heatless Homes To-Day. At two o’clock this afternoon when a representative of The Intelligencer paid a visit to the office of Mr. T. S. Wills, local fuel controller, no less than 38 women and men were waiting to receive orders from him to obtain some coal. The controller informed the scribe that there were several homes in the city where there is not a pound of coal, and the situation would have been extremely critical if the G.T.R. had not given orders for two cars of soft coal to be used by the city. This was being given out in quarter-ton lots.

The controller and citizens generally appreciate this kind act of the railway authorities. It is reported that some cars laden with hard coal are enroute to the city, but it is with difficulty that the railways are able to handle freight owing to the extremely cold weather.”

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 2)

“Closing of Factories and Stores. Great interest is being taken locally in the order-in-Council passed by the Dominion Government to close all industries and shops in Ontario and Quebec on February 9, 10, and 11, to save fuel, also ordering that theatres, pool rooms, and all places of amusements be closed every Monday from February 18 to March 25. …  Apart from the two-day enforced holiday of a number of workmen it is not thought that much inconvenience will result from the order locally, although a number of factories will be affected.

The order closing theatres, pool rooms, and other places of amusement on Mondays for a stated period, while not received with pleasure by those affected is taken with all good philosophy as a necessary measure and one of the war time sacrifices which all good Canadians are willing to assume when called upon.”

The Intelligencer February 5, 1918 (page 2)

“From Pte. H. Simpson, Royal Scots. Robert Simpson, shoe repairer, 387 Front street, received the following letter from his son, a prisoner in Germany for three years and four months: Hotel, Du Nord, Interlaken, Switzerland, Jan. 10th, 1918.

Dear Father:—I have been exchanged here with the invalids, and we crossed this frontier on the night of the 27th last month. We had a great welcome here at every station, the people loaded us with chocolates and cigarettes, also at Beue, where we got off the train and had breakfast. The English people who were staying there waited on us. We are very comfortable here, and I am sharing a room with a fellow prisoner. The window looks onto the Alps, and it is a beautiful view, just like Paradise after Germany. If it were not for the parcels the boys would be in a terrible condition there.

How is Robert? Is he still at the front? Let Crissie and Jessie know I have been exchanged. Is Maggie’s husband still in France? I have not heard from Willie for quite a time, but heard he was discharged.

Well, father, I will write again soon. I don’t feel just up to writing much yet. Love to all, Your son, Harry.”