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Park at Niagra With Carillon Tower (construction owing to efforts of Thomas B. McQuesten, Chairman of Niagara Parks Commission, 1934-1943)W-MCP7-1.146 TO THE HON. T.B. MCQUESTEN K.C. from Premier George A. Drew
Nov 5 1943
To: Hon. T. B. McQuesten, K.C. 41 Jackson St. W., Hamilton, Ontario.
From: George Drew. Toronto 2., Ontario


Office of
The Prime Minister & President of the Council

Toronto 2,
November 5th, 1943

Hon. T. B. McQuesten, K.C.
41 Jackson St. W.,
Hamilton Ontario.

Dear Mr. McQuesten,

I have been intending for some time to have a talk with you about the Niagara Parks Commission and at your convenience would like to discuss the general situation there. In the meantime I thought I would convey my own views in regard to new construction.

When I was in Niagara Falls not long ago I noticed some work being done which I was told was for the purpose of putting in stone curbs in the park. It seems to me that anything but absolutely essential construction should be held in abeyance until the manpower situation eases. In fact, the holding back of such construction would seem to me to be part of our preparation for absorbing employment. I would ask that everything except actual maintenance construction should be stopped until we have a clear understanding of the necessity for the work and the part it will play in the general reconstruction programme.

While I am writing to you in regard to this matter I also want to explain that I have decided to have an independent audit of the various Commissions and I have arranged with Price Waterhouse and Company to conduct the audit of the Niagara Parks Commission. I believe this will help to start with a clear picture of the situation, and I would therefore ask that you give instructions to those in charge of the books of the Commission so that all the necessary records may be made available for this purpose.

Looking forward to seeing you at your early convenience, I am, Yours Sincerely,
George A. Drew1 2

1 George A. Drew, 14th Premier of Ontario, In office August 17, 1943 to October 19, 1948. Preceded by Harry Nixon. Succeeded by Thomas Kennedy

George Drew Born: May 7, 1894(1894-05-07). Guelph, Ontario. Died: January 04, 1973 (aged 78), Toronto, Ontario. Political party: Ontario PC Party. Spouse: Fiorenza Johnson (died 1965). Religion: Anglican.

Drew ran for and won the leadership of the near moribund Conservative Party of Ontario at the 1938 Conservative leadership convention. At this time, the province was in the firm grip of Liberal Premier Mitch Hepburn. Drew entered the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1939 as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Simcoe East. In the 1943 provincial election, he was elected in the Toronto riding of High Park. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

The Liberal government went through a series of crises during World War II due to Hepburn's feud with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and the federal Liberals. These crises led to Hepburn's resignation.

In this letter Premier George Alexander Drew, a newly-elected Conservative is obviously putting pressure on T. B. McQuesten, who has been head of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission since 1934. Thomas had a clear agenda to build and beautify under the previous Liberal administration. He provided many jobs and increased property values for many years. Hepburn was swept to power in 1934, and T.B. along with him.

Tom finally resigned in 1947 following a political controversy over an inscription on the "Churchill" Bell. He died in 1948.


This letter is best understood within the context of several other documents and letters and within the context of the political climate of the time which led to Chairman, T.B. McQuesten's, resignation from the Niagara Parks Commission: McQuesten was a Liberal and George Drew was the newly elected Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario.

Nov 5 1943, W-MCP7-1.146, George Drew, attempts to force T.B. McQuesten to resign as Chairman of the Parks Commission with various threats, one of which criticizes T.B. for the handling of the work at Niagara without considering the labour that will be needed in the post war era. He also threatens an audit of all of the Commissioners.

Feb 19 1944, W-MCP7-1.170 Two months later, a report on Post War Work is drawn up by Maxim Gray, General Manager It is a very thorough document about the work being planned for post war work at Niagara. It appears to have been compiled combining the details of several discussions underway at the Niagara Parks Commission. Its presentation at this time and its thoroughness may have been prompted by George Drew's letter to T.B. McQuesten questioning his handling of the work at Niagara on several counts and in view of consideration of the post war work that will be necessary. The report also notes in several places that these items have been under discussion for some time which suggests that T.B. McQuesten has already planned for this problem.

May 4 1944, W-MCP7-1.148. Drew asks for the resignation of the Chairman and the Commissioners because they are not members of the govt.

May 20 1944, W-MCP7-1.150, T.B. McQuesten resigns as Chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission.

Aug 11 1944, W-MCP7-1.151. Drew accepts McQuesten's resignation but also suggests that T.B. might be willing to share his experience with the new commission.

For more about T.B. McQuesten's issues with politics, search on the "Carillon Controversy."

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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