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W-MCP7-1.269 Newspaper clippings regarding T.B. McQuesten.
Jan 16 1948

Botanical Garden Spurred to Task by Bereavement

While the death of the Hon. T.B. McQuesten, K.C., LL.D., D.C.L., F.R.S.C., founder of the Royal Botanical Garden and president of the Board of Governors, removes from that organization one of its most enthusiastic members, the work of the Garden will be carried forward more diligently than ever to make it a perpetual monument to the memory of this outstanding nature lover.1

"The Hon. Mr. McQuesten was the father of the Royal Botanical Garden, and it will occasion deep regret to many that he did not live to see it develop along the pattern he and the governors plotted," Dr. Norman Radforth, Garden director, said to-day in announcing details of the Gardens' summer program.

"Because the Garden is a young organization, we who are associated with it are pleased to learn that the project is recognized in professional circles, being listed in the recent official publication, Chronica Botanica, under the heading, Arboretums and Botanical Gardens of North America. This is a distinct honour, particularly in view of the very few years the Garden has been active."

In Warmer Zone

The reference in Chronica Botanica indicates the chief functions of the garden as research, education of students, members, children and the public, and recreation. It also refers to the potentialities of the garden as a cultural centre and pays tribute to its board officers "working hard to obtain increased support for its development." It is also interesting to note in the Chronica Botanica that the Gardens in Hamilton are in the same minimum temperature zone as the Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, while Toronto is in a zone of average temperature five to 10 degrees lower, with Ottawa 20 degrees lower than Hamilton.

As for the 1948 Garden program, Dr. Radforth states it is one "to which we may look with considerable pleasure and anticipation." The director stated it was hoped that within a very short time the Garden might embark upon its work in research, and it was proposed to concentrate on a study, which, with the welfare of humanity as its objective, would be carried forward in plant cell research.

Educative Work

The director said the Garden was safely and prominently launched in its work in respect to education - its lecture series, children's garden scheme, and other activities rounding out this phase of its pursuits - while in the field of recreation, its parks, playing fields and vast stretches of woods provided adequate scope for its objective in that direction.

We have, in a small way, touched upon research, and it is proposed to more prominently develop this phase during the coming year," Dr. Radforth said, explaining that if anticipated financial support materialized, a modern centre, combining all activities of the Garden, would be possible.

"Our membership is progressing in a most encouraging manner, and in reviewing 1947, which we may regard as our first active year, the results and progress have been most encouraging," Dr. Radforth concluded.

Canadian Press Clipping Service
481 University Ave., Toronto

The Times Journal,
St. Thomas, Ont.
Jan. 16/48

P.M. Dewan's Tribute to T.B. McQuesten, K.C.

HAMILTON, Jan 16 - Another colleague in the Hepburn Government of the late T.B. McQuesten,2 K.C., LL.D., paid tribute to the former Highways Minister's contribution to the welfare of this city and the Province. He is P.M. Dewan who served in the Liberal Cabinet with Mr. McQuesten from 1937 to 1943 as Minister of Agriculture.

Said Mr. Dewan: "Tom McQuesten has been left his mark upon the Province. A score of public undertakings, the result of his initiative, foresight, and aesthetic taste are monuments to his name.

"To him must go the credit for the restoration of several historical sites in Ontario. As a builder, as a student of trees and shrubs and as a lover of the beautiful in nature, Mr. McQuesten was widely recognized.

"Another side to the man was not so well known. Behind his sometimes gruff manner was a beautiful character. He was a grand friend. Never did he forget to perform the gestures or the little acts which marked him a gentleman.

"Personally I will always cherish the memory of a delightful visit I had with him at the hospital. I feared then that his days were numbered, but had little thought that they were so few.

"A devoted public servant, a man of lofty ideals, a Christian gentleman and a noble soul has gone. His good deeds will live long after him."

Toronto Globe and Mail,
Ont. Jan. 14/48


Built Super-Highways, T.B. McQuesten, 65, Dies

Hamilton, Jan. 13 (Staff). Thomas Baker McQuesten, former Ontario Minister of Highways and Public Works in the Hepburn regime and long prominent in Hamilton and provincial parks improvement programs, died this afternoon in Hamilton General Hospital after an illness of several months. He was 65 years of age.

Most recent recognition of Mr. McQuesten's public service came Jan. 5 where he was chosen as Hamilton's distinguished citizen of the year, and the recipient of the Hamilton Advertising and Sales Club's gold medal of citizenship.

The Man of the Year award was made for McQuesten's lifelong interest and activity in parks improvement both in his home city of Hamilton and throughout the province. He was a member of the Hamilton board of parks management since 1920 and for some years vice-chairman as well as having been founder and chairman of the board of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Born in Hespeler, Mr. McQuesten had lived in Hamilton most of his life. He was a graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall and was called to the Ontario bar in 1907. He started law practice in Hamilton in 1909. Latterly the firm's name was Chisholm, McQuesten and Welby.

Mr. McQuesten was made a king's counsel in 1934, the year he entered the Ontario Cabinet. In 1944 his activity and interest on behalf of McMaster University resulted in that institution honouring him with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

During his term as minister of highways and double works, from 1934 to 1943, a highway improvement program was launched costing upward of $200,000,000. Large projects included the Queen Elizabeth Way.

As Minister of Public Works and in his capacity of chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission, Mr. McQuesten was largely responsible for the beautification of the Canadian side of the Falls and development of Queen Victoria Park. It was his idea which resulted in the Hamilton Parks Board acquiring large acreage of land, much of it undeveloped, for inclusion in a botanical garden.

The Royal Botanical Gardens now cover some 2,300 acres. It is the largest such gardens in Canada. A number of important research projects are being conducted by the gardens in conjunction with McMaster University and the Ontario Research Foundation.

Mr. McQuesten was the moving figure behind formation of the rock gardens, which was created form an abandoned gravel pit.

The former Cabinet Minister started his public career as a member of city council, serving as alderman from 1913 to 1920. In 1934 he was elected a member for Hamilton-Wentworth. Mr. McQuesten was sworn in immediately as Minister of Highways and Public Works. He was re-elected in 1937.

In the Ontario election of 1913 Mr. McQuesten was defeated by Fred Warren, CCF, and in 1945 the Hamilton-Wentworth seat was won by Russell Kelley, now Minister of Health.

Mr. McQuesten was also interested in Ontario history, and it was under his direction that old Fort Henry at Kingston was restored and rebuilt by the highways department at a cost of $800,000. He was responsible, too, for the building of an exact replica of Chief Joseph Brant's house near Burlington and creation of a Brant Museum there.

Mr. McQuesten was a leading member of MacNab St. Presbyterian Church and a member of its board of management.

Surviving are a brother, Rev. Calvin McQuesten, and two sisters, Hilda and Mary, all at home. Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 o'clock, at MacNab St. Church.

1 Leslie Laking of the Royal Botanical Gardens wrote to Thomas's brother Calvin on February 27, 1948 with an excerpt from an RBG Board meeting which reads as follows:

"The death of Dr. T.B. McQuesten, K.C.,LL.D., in January, has removed from this Board the one member whose name has been practically synonymous with its work from the beginning. At this first Board meeting since his death we desire therefore to place on the minutes some formal expression of our sense of loss and of our appreciation of the fact that the Royal Botanical Gardens can never outlive the debt owed to him who was both founder and first president. Our late president's intense love for this city and its surrounding district, and his concern for the protection and enlargement of the Gardens property, are largely responsible for the existence and progress of the Gardens. His personal friendship and personal loyalty have been known to and valued by all who have worked with him. We who were his friends and who now must continue to administer the vast properties accumulated under his leadership wish to pay this tribute of personal affection and corporate gratitude."

See W8703.

2 Thomas's tenure as a member of provincial parliament from 1934 until 1943 was served mostly under Premier Mitchell Hepburn, who admired Tom enough to always ensure he had a position as a cabinet minister; Tom in turn was loyal to Hepburn who had managed to revive the Ontario Liberal Party which had been floundering in previous years. In 1942, Hepburn--a controversial leader--stepped down as leader of the party. In April of 1943 Tom launched a very late bid for the leadership of the party, but despite his success as a minister received only a handful of votes at the leadership convention. See Tom's "platform" (W-MCP7-1.264) and associated footnote for more information.

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