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W-MCP7-1.267 Newspaper clippings about T.B. McQuesten.
Jan 1 1900

Esteemed Citizen

Hamilton, Ontario, has lost one of its most distinguished citizens in the death of Mr. Thomas Baker McQuesten. Though he was born in the town of Hespeler, he spent almost all his mature life in Hamilton. Much as that city owes to his vision and energy, however, his influence extended far beyond its boundaries, to touch in some ways the lives of almost every one in the Province.

After graduating from the University of Toronto and the Osgoode Hall Law School, he became a successful lawyer. His public career began in 1913, with election to the Hamilton City Council. From the first, he strove for the improvement of the amenities of the city, and today its fine parks, the Botanical Gardens, and many other features, remain as a memorial to his achievement. The scenic development of the Niagara Falls district is also owed largely to his initiative and continued interest.

In 1934, Mr. McQuesten entered the Provincial Legislature. A Liberal, he was immediately appointed to Premier Hepburn's Cabinet as Minister of Highways, and from his work evolved the great system of Provincial Highways on the scale they are today. His character and political ability gave him considerable influence, and he gained a wide public respect. Of attractive personality, he made many warm and lasing friendships. Active in church work, his life was a worthy example of his beliefs.

His fellow-citizens in this Province mourn the loss of an able and devoted public servant, a man of wide sympathies and broad idealism. The good work that he did will live for many years.

Certainly Outstanding

This week came recognition of the outstanding public services of Thomas Baker McQuesten, K.C., B.A, LL.B., LL.D. When he was chosen for the gold medal award of the Advertising and Sales Club to the Citizen of the Year it was Mayor Sam Lawrence who aptly described the selection. Said His Worship, Mr. McQuesten is "the most outstanding citizen not only for 1947 but for many years in the history of the city."

Since this award was established the Ad Club has been careful to eliminate those nominees who have been identified prominently with political parties. Had this not been so there can be little doubt that Mr. McQuesten would have been recognized long ago as a pre-eminent candidate for this civic honour.

We can think of no individual who has, over the years, rendered the same measure of public service to this community. And few there are in public life who have contributed as much to the enhancement of this province and, indeed, to this dominion.

Mr. McQuesten is a barrister by profession but he is an engineer by instinct. This is something perhaps, which we doubt ever occurred to him. But his works have been those of men who think in grand terms of parks, highways, bridges, railways, viaducts. It was not a legal mind that developed Hamilton's incomparable parks system, Hamilton's Western Entrance, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Great North Road; conceiving three great international bridges across the St. Lawrence, the St. Clair and Niagara; restored the historic monuments of Fort Henry, Fort St. George and the home in which William Lyon Mackenzie inspired the movement for responsible government in the company of nations which has become the British Empire.

It was McQuesten, the engineer, who devoted a decade to the development of the Niagara Parks System as one of the unique showplaces in this hemisphere. And we can think of no other imagination than his, in this city, which might have encompassed the vision of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Few Hamiltonians yet appreciate what our Royal Botanical Gardens are in reality or what they are to become. Mr. McQuesten had looked for years at the incomparable panorama of the Dundas Valley and determined that some day this would be Hamilton's. He expects it to become second only to Niagara as one of the scenic attractions of Canada. It was by virtue of his efforts that there was a royal charter (and rare they are, today) granted by the King to the Garden's Society.

An appropriate estimate of Mr. McQuesten's services to Hamilton, and far beyond, would more than fill this page. Let this suffice. When historians count the score form the Niagara frontier through the peninsula, over Hamilton and across this province, they will see a dozen impressive and tangible monuments risen in the name of Thomas Baker McQuesten, a great Canadian.

Surely he is an outstanding Hamiltonian.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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