IT was July - and Canada
in July of 1914 was a pleasant land, sweltering in the summer sun but bordered
by two mighty oceans, dotted with big and little lakes to which a great
part of the vacationing public had repaired for the summer, had spent its
two weeks or had annual holidays in prospect.
True, there had been sporadic
labor troubles starting in 1913; there was somewhat of a financial stringency
being faced. It was being said that perhaps this sprawling young giant
of a nation had been too optimistic in its building of vast networks of
railways, in its rapid development of huge areas into which some of Europe's
mightiest nations Could be dropped and be lost to sight. There was some
feeling of unrest - a sense of vast change portending in the world.
But Canada was on the whole
a happy land, offering every contrast in physical features that the mind
could envision - and possessing a sense of freedom of movement for which
there was every scope.
On June 28th in some little
city called Sarajevo, in some little-known province of Bosnia, the Archduke
Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Dual Monarchy, had been assassinated.
The papers were full of the incident and its potentially grave implications.
Young Canada had no thought
of implications in Europe. It was at that moment too engrossed with the
growing dance craze. It had just mastered the tango, which at least had
grace, and then all of a sudden had turned to the Turkey Trot, the Bunny
Hug and other forms of the dance which sent a shudder through Victorian
Young Canada had just more
sensibly restricted its flaring peg-top trousers and loosened the mirth-provoking
restrictions of the hobble skirt.
True, a somewhat older Canada
was thinking of more serious things.
A few years before Canada
had refused to vote money for a navy to protect her own shores or a contribution
to the British navy. In the controversy over naval matters a strong anti-Imperial
trend of thinking was exposed. Signs had been often seen on factories,
"No Englishman Need Apply."
A small group of the Conservative
Government then in power, ...