W8176 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his brother Thomas McQuesten
Jul 17 1904
To: Calvin McQuesten Stand-Off, Alberta
From: Mohr Island, Quebec
My dear Cal,
Rec'd your letter on Monday last and was very glad indeed to hear from you. I am having a rather good time up here, now that I know the sort of work there is and am used to it.
I got a little bark canoe from Aylmer that you can lift with one hand. It just holds one nicely. It is a great thing for running around in, although alone in a wind they are useless still they can stand a far larger wave than a Peterboro and are safer in a big sea if not too heavily loaded. The other night we had a rather squeak. Two of us were out on it, a fellow named Wellete and myself. He is as big as I am and it was just a little too much for the canoe. We went round in the evening to his place for raspberries and blueberries and by the time we started back there was quite a wind and a good sea. Still we went ahead, but we made the mistake of paddling so that we shipped water when we cut through a wave. Before we knew it we were pretty nearly half full and with our small canoe it meant that we were close to swamping. I had to stop paddling and bale with my hat for dear life and we finally got in, a fellow learns a lot from a little experience.1
I note what you say re politics. I think the way you suggest is the only way and I will think over it. If I did have the idea of eventually going into politics I would have to consider where to settle down. It would be almost hopeless for a liberal to try and get elected in Toronto. I think I would stand a far better chance in Hamilton, but then I could not afford to be a stranger there.2
I think it is a good idea your getting a camera because the pictorial part forms a larger portion of the excellence of most magazine articles and with a set of pictures I think it would be far easier to have an article accepted. Well must close.
Your loving brother
1 Despite a congenital defect that weakened Calvin's left arm, he, like his brother, was an avid canoer and no stranger to the potential difficulties and dangers of the sport (see his article "Canoeing at Gaspe," Box 08-001). In fact, he had designed and attempted to patent a life-preserver (Box 14-089, IMG200, IMG201).
In the collection of images on this site, you will find several photographs of Calvin canoeing, most notably IMG054 through to IMG059.
2 Thomas had in fact become heavily involved in politics by the 1930's and served as the President of the Ontario Liberal Association circa 1933 to 1943, and was the Commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission (1934-37), the Minister of Public Works (1934-37 and 1942-43) and the Minister of Highways (1934-1943) as well as joining the Hamilton Board of Parks Management in 1922 and serving 25 years as Chairman.