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Dec 23 1947

newspaper unknown


They say that just before he went to hospital Tom McQuesten had a last look at the things he had made possible for the people of his city.

He took a taxi and went the rounds and he must have known it was his sunset. There was the fine expanse of Gage Park now white in winter. And under the snow where people enter Hamilton from the west was the Rock Garden, which would again burst into gay summer bloom. Further along near McMaster he could think of the Botanical Gardens with all their classic beauty and peace--next summer would know them too.

He might have thought further of the great Way that stretched to the rushing Niagara--a Queen of England had given her name to it, and at the end of it the Rainbow Bridge, where Canadian and American voices would stir long memories of holiday hours and peace.

All his work--the work of a politician, a stern partisan, if you like, but of a politician with an iron will and a heart as big as the happiness of people in his parks. All his work: with those many battles through a Legislature as Ontario's Minister of Highways, defence on the hustings, bitterness, rebukes and worry. But in the end triumph; above all for his city, Hamilton.

To Tom McQuesten it was not a case of sectionalism or local pride. He loved Hamilton and the people in it. Surrounded by countless pictures and relics and reminders of its growth he stood for all that was best in the old and all that could be promised by the new. He wanted the best for his town, and that was one of the driving motives of his life.

In his last look around that day Tom McQuesten might well have said goodbye not to monuments, but to old friends. Echoes would come from far back, from loved and familiar places and landscapes. Then ahead there would be new and younger voices, picking up the threads of a city's proud and human growth; out of winter into summer. Just a little better for what Tom McQuesten had done for it.

[written along the side of clipping by Hilda B. McQuesten]:
"Imaginary, he was in his bed. H. B. McQ."1

1 John Best states that Tom had arranged to be driven to the Rock Garden, but was very weak. He then returned to the hospital on December 24, and died on January 13, 1948. "On the 5th of January as he lay in bed gravely ill, Calvin accepted Hamilton's Citizen of the Year award on Tom's behalf"(Best 189). Just before Tom's funeral, Calvin also accepted, on Tom's behalf, a certificate of honorary membership in the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners for "outstanding service rendered the cause of landscape architecture," presented by Carl O. Borgstrom and H. B. Dunington-Grubb (Minnes 9, see also W7933 for more on the Dunington-Grubbs).

See also Box 14-129 for Jessie Yorston's Biography of T.B. McQuesten and other writings. See Also 8265a which is similar to this article.

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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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