Almost bright lights, big city. This was back before Toronto was the centre of the Universe. In the featured picture above, you can see the intersection of Yonge St. and Carleton St. It looks a little different today, obviously. But this is how Farquhar McLennan and the boys of the 58th would have seen it.
The battalions of the Great Trek were billeted at the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, in tents and in the buildings.
The battalions arrived in Toronto at the beginning of November, 1915 and would stay at the Exhibition site until close to the end of the month. They knew that the day was drawing close for them to be shipped overseas. Make no mistake, they were aware of what they heading for. It was no secret. The time was used for additional training. The city parks, High Park and Riverdale were used for field practice and maneuvers.
While the troops were in Toronto, they were able to do other things, beyond training. They were able to tour, shop and visit friends and family in the area. The COs encouraged their men to get photos taken of them in uniform to give to their families and friends. A bit of a chilling thought, don’t you think? Below is a portrait of Pte. McLennan, probably taken during this November stay in Toronto. This particular picture was given to my Grandmother, Catherine.
Near the end of November, the troops boarded trains, right in the Exhibtion, to head for Halifax and a trip across the cold, grey Atlantic. For some, this would have been their last glimpse of Toronto.