Seventy Years Ago – The 1941 Toronto Orange Parade
4,300 in Line to Celebrate 251st Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne
On Saturday July 12th, 1941, under blue skies and with 76 degree F. weather, Toronto’s Annual Orange Parade stepped off from Queen’s Park at 9:00 AM. Astride his “snow-white” charger, long-time County Marshall,William “King Billy” Harper, led the marchers for the forty-first consecutive year. The head of the parade reached the City Cenotaph at 9:45 AM, at which time wreaths were laid by County Master Thomas Addyand Mayor, Brother Frederick Conboy.
Commenting on the lower turnout of 4,300, County Master Addy (himself a First-War Veteran) said “we did not expect as many in line today because so many of our men are in their country’s uniform or working on munitions orders.” To show the commitment of Orangemen for the War effort Past County Masters W. W. MacPhee and W. H. Goddard moved that” There must be a vigorous prosecution of the War by Canada and the only way to get this done was by a conscription of men and wealth by the National Government.” This theme was re-iterated at Exhibition Park by guest speaker, Col. C. E. Reynolds, the President of the Canadian Corps Association and a member of Cameron L.O.L.613.
Notables walking with Eglinton L.O.L.269 included former Premier of Ontario George S. Henry and Alderman John Innes. Lining up withMcKinley L.O.L.275 were former mayor, W. D. Robbins, Russell Nesbitt, K.C., Alderman Donald MacGregor and City Assessment Commissioner George Farley. Worshipful Brother Farley noted he had walked in Toronto Parades since 1882 at the age of eight and this was his fifty-ninth Toronto Parade. He reminisced about the great orators he had heard. This list included Sir Mackenzie Bowell, N. C. Wallace and E. F. Clarke. He also recalled “the gangs that would wait along Lombard Street to throw things at us and was glad to say these days had passed” A spectator favourite amongst the thirty-five bands on parade, was the girls in Royal Blue with the Ladies Golden Jubilee Flute Band from Oshawa.
Despite the lower turnout, the parade of 1941 was recorded as “being as colourful and orderly as ever.” Over 100,000 Torontonians had again witnessed the Orange Community uphold the time-honored tradition of the Glorious Twelfth.
Sources Include: The Toronto Star
1941 Toronto Parade Programme
Submitted June 23, 2011 – from 2011 Parade Programme