U.S. President Taft Visits Owen Sound Ontario

U.S. President Taft Visited Owen Sound Ontario, a Georgian Bay port in a momentous winter of events in 1920 as Owen Sound celebrated its incorporation as a city.

In 1920, Owen Sound celebrated becoming incorporated as a city. In my local history column, 75 years later, I published several articles about events covered in the pages of the Owen Sound Sun Times that year. What follows is one of those columns featuring selections of news items from the  

Owen Sound Featured in Theatres Across North America

In the late winter, curling news took a prominent place in the Sun TimesOn the front page of the January 20, 1920 edition, it was reported that the Fox Weekly Film News Service would be coming to Owen Sound to film action at the curling bonspiel which was slated to begin next week.

Initially, Fox had attempted to film curling action at the London Curling Club, but that location had inadequate lighting facilities. Therefore, the Sun Times reported, "The Owen Sound rink has been chosen for this purpose on account of the excellent daylight available which permits playing during the day time without the usual electric lights." 

The Sun Times enthused that the favourable attitude toward the Owen Sound Curling Rink will increase in scope as Fox intended to show the footage taken here in theatres throughout North America. 

Also, in January 1920, local curlers participated in a unique curling event at the local rink The District 11 playdowns for the Governor General's Tankard was held here. Due to virtually impassable roads in and out of Owen Sound, only the Chatsworth and Shelbourne teams were able to take part in the competition. With only three teams competing, a round-robin series started at 11 a.m. At midnight the same day, two weary teams from Chatsworth and Owen Sound entered into the championship. At 5 a.m. on Thursday, the Owen Sound team was declared the winner. 

Although A.A. "Dad" Merriam's Chatsworth rink had defeated Dr. Holmes' of Owen Sound, the Moffat rink from Owen Sound had defeated their Chatsworth counterparts, skipped by Mr. Currie, by the incredible score of 31-2. Therefore, when the results of the two games were tallied, Owren Sound was the District 11 champions

The front page of the February 10 edition of the Sun Times reported that Mr. J.W. Rutherford had brought a motion of a motion to the recent Board of Trade meeting that he would make a presentation to the next Town Council meeting to apply for the incorporation of Owen Sound as a city. 

President W.H. Taft
Speaks at Owen Sound Church

In February it was also announced that Owen Sound would be the host to a very distinguished guest. The local Board of Trade released news that they had secured the former president of the United States, W.H. Taft, to deliver a lecture on March 20 at Westside Methodist Church. 

The Sun Times reported that 1,000 people attended former President Taft's lecture on the League of Nations at the church in Owen Sound. The newspaper detailed all the events of this momentous visit: 

"Mr. Taft arrived in Owen Sound via CPR in Supt. Purvis' private car which was kindly loaned to Mr. Taft from Streetsville Junction. He was met at the station by Mr. E.W. McQuary, president of the Board of Trade, Mr. J.M. Kilbourn, and a number of prominent citizens. He was driven to Mr. Kilbourn's home where he and his secretary were entertained during their stay in town. In the afternoon, he was driven about the town, upon the hills and through the business and residential streets. He also paid a to the Collegiate Institute where he addressed over 200 students." 

Mr. Taft was quoted about his enthusiasm for this town and his desire to visit here during the summer months when the weather was a little more desirable. 

So, as you can see, Owen Sound was an exciting place to be in the winter of 1920.

A version of this article originally appeared in my Local History column in the Owen Sound Sun Times on June 10, 1995.

More Great Information Pages
About Owen Sound

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Black History in Owen Sound: Who was the First Black Citizen in the community is a cause for debate.

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Owen Sound's First Newspaper: The Comet came into existence a mere 10 years after the first settlers braved the wilderness that would become the Grey and Bruce region.

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Owen Sound's 1857 Bylaw: Dog Control illustrated how a pioneer town controlled dogs in the community, sometimes even using harsh measures.

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Owen Sound CPR Link began with a bang, suffered a setback, and ended with a whimper.

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Owen Sound 1920 Stories provide an interesting look at the community as it was about to become a city.

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O.S.C.V.I.: the History of an Owen Sound High School details from the very beginning the establishment of a high school in the community.

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U.S. President Taft Visited Owen Sound Ontario, a Georgian Bay port in a momentous winter of events in 1920 as Owen Sound celebrated its incorporation as a ci

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  3. President Taft Visits Owen Sound