Cheese Poet James McIntyre's celebration of the naming of Victoria Park in his adopted hometown of Ingersoll, Ontario, from his Musings on the Banks of the Canadian Thames (Ingersoll: Tribune, 1884):
VICTORIA PARK AND CALEDONIAN GAMES
Lines on the naming of Victoria Park, on Queen's Birthday, 1881. The ceremony was performed by Thomas Brown, Esq., Mayor of the town.
Come one, come all, to Scottish games
On the banks of Canadian Thames;
You'll find that 'tis most pleasant way
You can enjoy the Queen's Birthday.
In future years it will be famed
The day whereon the park was named,
With its boundry great extended
And nature's charms sweetly blended.
Full worthy of the poet's theme
Is hill and dale, and wood and stream,
And glittering spires, and busy town.
Where mansions' do each mount top crown.
Come, witness the great tug-of-war,
And the great hammer thrown afar,
See running, jumping, highland fling,
At concert hear the sky lark sing.
And the bagpipes will send thrills
Like echoes from the distant hills,
And the bold sound of the pibroch
Which does resound o'er Scottish loch.
Young men and maids, and fine old dames
Will gather on the banks of Thames,
And though we have a tug-of-war
'Twill leave no wound or deadly scar.
The Canadian Illustrated News, 4 June 1881
"In future years it will be famed/The day whereon this park was named", the poet predicts. The day is indeed remembered, but not for the reason described. That very same Victoria Day, not thirty kilometres to the west, along that very same "Canadian Thames", the country suffered one of its worst maritime disasters with the collapse and capsizing of the pleasure steamer Victoria. One-hundred-and-eighty-two souls, most women and children, lost their lives in its sparkling waters.
|THE LONDON DISASTER - SENDING OUT COFFINS THE MORNING AFTER THE WRECK|
The Canadian Illustrated News, 11 June 1881
The poet would later memorialize the disaster in his somber, much more modest 'Disaster to Steamer Victoria in London'.