Opening the International Peace Garden
The Prince Edward Hotel at 100
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/06/2012 (4017 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Up to 30,000 people were expected, along with nine bands and a 300-voice choir. Featured would be games of softball, lacrosse and horseshoe pitching — then an international tug-of-war.
A plane would take off from a brand-new strip, taking visitors on aerial tours. Two special train coaches were delivering guests and special buses would be taking a freshly-graded gravel road from Boissevain. The RCMP would be directing traffic; a dozen nurses were on standby in a first-aid tent.
Several premiers and U.S. state governors were among the dignitaries tapped to give speeches. President Hoover sent greetings, as did the Governor General.
It was 1932, and the International Peace Garden was being dedicated.
And it all kicked off at the Prince Edward Hotel — where an evening banquet the night before the dedication ceremony congratulated the very people who made the Peace Garden happen.
“It was probably the most notable gathering of its kind ever held in in the city of Brandon,” trumpeted the Brandon Daily Sun in a lengthy front-page story. “Representative men of both countries stressed the hope that the establishment of the peace gardens would be a guiding beacon to other nations of the world on the road to permanent peace.”
(And it was all men; women had been relegated to the Cecil Hotel — and coverage of their banquet was well back, on Page 5.)
Ticket sales for the two banquets broke records. The Prince Edward was packed — “cramped” according to the Sun — and the party atmosphere spilled out into the rest of Brandon.
“The city was in gala attire … colored lights and streamers have been strung along the city streets and buildings.” Speeches from the Prince Edward were broadcast city-wide on CKX radio.
The next day, attendance at the Peace Garden dedication itself smashed expectations. Fifty thousand turned up, the RCMP traffic cops were swamped, and a midway was set up for the kids. Five airplanes showed up to give tours at a quarter apiece — “they did a thriving trade.”
Of course, so did pickpockets and snake oil salesman.
Representatives from the United States side managed to win the tug-of-war that first day, but in softball, the Brandon Sheas returned the favour, soundly defeating the Americans by a score of 20–8.