1946 Dominion Woollens Picnic

by Apr 17, 2020Marty Lachance3 comments

At 6:00a.m. on August 23rd, 1946, the ‘banshie’ screamed out in Hespeler. The air horn on the Dominion Woollens & Worsted building was normally used to signal work starts, stop and breaks. This day, it was used to call the citizens of Hespeler to the DWW annual picnic – a trip to Port Dalhousie by train and boat.

The band got everyone down to the station on time. The first train left on schedule and the second one followed twenty minutes later.

The train made stops in Hespeler, Beaverdale, Preston and onwards to Galt. Everyone from the local communities was invited to the DWW picnic.

Those who drove down met those disembarking the Northumberland at Port Dalhousie and were hoping to scrounge a meal before the festivities.

At 1:30p.m. the festivities kicked off when announcements over the loud speaker informed everyone of the sports program beginning. Young  and old were invited to participate in races.

Later in the afternoon, many played an exciting 9-innings of baseball while other enjoyed the motorboats and amusement park rides.

As we sit here in lockdown due to COVID-19, we can appreciate the sense of community they all felt – especially after recently living through their own horrible war.

It truly was an amazing day. It started at 6a.m. and the final train didn’t arrive back home until midnight. A company picnic where the entire community was welcomed. While these things may never happen again, it’s a day that the Hespeler Heritage Centre won’t ever let you forget!

Keywords not in content: Gord Klager (photo), Hespeler Train Station (photo)


  1. Charles Marshall

    My Grandfather had told me of these trips. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  2. Donna Machin McArthur

    I remember the stories my mom (Grace Machin nee Parker) used to tell. Uncle Speck Parker and uncle Mike Parker always had a great time and probably got into dutch with their antics.

  3. Susan Child

    Thanks for this story and the photographs. I can see my grandparents, Fraser and Helen Nightingale, watching the baseball game from the stands. Both were fans of the game and Fraser was considered a good ball player. I still have the hardball, signed by his teammates, with which he scored a winning run!

    Our current lock down referenced in this story reminds me of the steps my grandfather’s family took to survive the Spanish Flu. His father (my great grandfather) moved out of the family home. He would arrive home with boxes of food and other necessities on a regular basis, leaving them on the front porch. He then retreated to the sidewalk and his wife and children would come out onto the porch to visit with him from a safe distance. I have no idea where he lived while he was protecting his family…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Northumberland, 1930

Originally built for the Charlottetown Steam Navigation Company for service between Pictou, Nova Scotia, and Charlottetown. The ship was sold to the Dominion Government in 1916 and entered service on Lake Ontario in 1920.

Built: 1891 by Wigham Richardson and Company Ltd., Newcastle-on-Tyne, England

End of Service:  June 2, 1949 (destroyed by fire)