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Home - introductions to the site
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Thesis - essays on the McQuestens and lifewriting by Mary Anderson
Timelines - a chronological list of events in the McQuesten family and corresponding historical events

1915 - 1991

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

Date McQuesten Timeline Historical Events
1915 Jan., Rev. Calvin McQ. becomes the minister at Buckingham, Que.

May, Mary B. McQ. and her WFMS continue to resist the WHMS desire to use the collected funds. They have a "tussle" with the "Home party and [they] baffled them," and continue to keep the funds separate. Mary gradually loses her former zeal for the missionary auxiliary although she continues to be an executive member.

Aug. 6-19, Mary B, McQ. visits Calvin's manse while Calvin took a trip to East Northfield Massachusetts.

Nov., Mary B. McQ. sees a "photoplay" of motion pictures of Cabiria.

Edna McQ. has two vacations with Calvin at his Manse in Buckingham, Que.

Mar. 6, Stephen Leacock visits Hamilton on his tour to raise money for the Belgian Relief Fund. It was "real satire" and the Hamilton audience loved it.

Mar., Lieut. W. Gourlay Colquhoun, with the Princess Patricians in France, is reported missing and several reports follow: that he is dead, that he is a prisoner, that he will receive the Victoria Cross. He comes home a hero. The Colquhoun family live at Barton Lodge, a large farming estate on the Mountain brow. He is the grandson of Col. William Gourlay, who married Emily Esther Hyde Whyte daughter of Isabella Hyde Whyte, reputed to be the daughter of the Duke of Kent. They had 3 children and their daughter married Alexander Colquhoun in 1881, and had 10 children. They are good friends of the McQuestens.

Dr. John McCrae (1872-1918), of Guelph, Ont., writes "In Flanders Fields." It is found on his person. It is composed in 20 minutes at Ypres, and 1st published in Dec. 1915 in the English magazine, Punch. He dies of Pneumonia in 1918 at the hospital where he was in charge. His poem was preserved by Lt. Col. W.R. Marshall who sent it to William Hendrie.

1916 Apr., Mary B. McQ. and Maggie MacKay attend a "Travelogue" in Massey Hall of moving pictures of Europe.

July, Rev. Calvin McQ. leaves the manse at Buckingham abruptly, and goes to Ottawa. His mother wires some money to him there. He is exhausted and in an emotional state. He tries to obtain a chaplaincy position in the war but is not successful.

Aug., Rev. Calvin McQ. resigns and comes home from Buckingham, Quebec, discouraged and exhausted.

Aug. 22, Rev. Calvin McQ.goes to Caucona, Quebec for a vacation.

Jan 27, Manitoba allows women to vote and grants political equality.

Feb. 3, Parliament Buildings. Ottawa, are destroyed by fire.

Mar. 14 The Vote is allowed for women in Saskatchewan.

1917 There are no family letters in the Whitehern archive for 1917. All children were living at home and letter-writing was not necessary.

July 1917, Thomas McQuesten in collaboration with William Francis Tye and Noulan Cauchon presented their first report in the relatively new field of Town Planning: "The Railway Situation in Hamilton, Ontario." Tye had been chief engineer of the C.P.R. and Cauchon, an engineering consultant in town planning. The report was well received but defeated in Dec. 1917. (Best 42-45)

Apr. 4, The Vote is allowed for women in B.C.

Apr. 12, The Vote is allowed for women in Ont.

Sept. 20, The Vote is allowed for women members of armed forces. Women relatives of servicemen were also allowed to vote. The Military Voters' Act passes for all members of the armed forces.

1918   May 24, The Vote for all women for federal elections is established by The Canada Elections Act.

Aug., Noulan Cauchon, (Ottawa), a noted railway engineer and pioneer town planner, collaborates with Thomas McQ. on many of the "City Beautiful" projects in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. They work with the Dunnington-Grubb garden designers. They all share the social reform philosophy that healthy surroundings have a moral effect on the population. Cauchon often visits Whitehern and stays with the family.

Nov., WW1 ends.

The Spanish Flu (Influenza) epidemic kills 50,000 Canadians.

1919   The first federal department of health is established
1920 Oct., Rev. Calvin McQ. requests a room at Knox Coll. in order to write a "war book" which is never published. The title of the manuscript is "The King of Fighting Men."

Rev. Calvin accepts a semi-volunteer position at the Hamilton Mountain Sanatorium until 1950. He takes regular vacations to Quebec and a trip to England in 1931.

Oct. 23, Edna McQ. suffers another breakdown and is admitted to Homewood Retreat, or Homewood Sanatorium in Guelph and remains there until her death in 1935. Her family visits her there regularly. Her father, Isaac, had been treated there also.

1920 Canada joins the League of Nations at its inception.

May 7, The 1st exhibition of the Group of Seven is put on display at the Art Gallery of Toronto-F. Carmichael, L. Harris, A.Y. Jackson, F. Johnston, A. Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, F. H. Varley.

1921 Thomas McQ. is President of the Hamilton Liberal Association until 1923. The first federal election for which women have the vote. Agnes Campbell McPhail (1890-1954), politician, reformer, is elected to Parliament and serves until 1940. She is a feminist and an anti-militarist.

Apr. 18, Ontario votes for the prohibition of the manufacture, importation, and sale of liquor, taking effect July 19.

Dec., Sir Adam Beck No.1 Generating Station, opens at Niagara Falls.

1922 Thomas McQ. is appointed to the Hamilton Parks Board and develops Hamilton Parks system. Gage Park, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) King's Forest Park, Golf Courses, and many more. He also assists in bringing McMaster University to Hamilton in 1931. Diphtheria immunization is being administered in Hamilton schools.

Sir Frederick Grant Banting, and his assistant Charles H. Best working under J.J.R. Macleod, discover the hormone, insulin used in the treatment of diabetes, for which Banting and Macleod receive the Nobel Prize in 1923. Banting shares his prize with Best, and Banting is knighted in 1934.

1923 Apr. 24, Mary B. McQ. opposes "Church Union" in a speech which is reported in The Hamilton Spectator and in which she denounces the Men of the Union.  
1924 Mary McQ., Thomas and Hilda tour England and Scotland with the Canadian Bar delegation to a convention. The United Church of Canada Act is passed in Parliament, uniting the Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, into the largest Protestant Church in Canada. In 1925, a vote is taken and Church Union took place. Some Presbyterian churches such as MacNab St. Church in Hamilton, Ont., votes to remain separate. They declard that the courts of the Church do not have the authority to vote for the extinction of the Church. The Hamilton vote is negative to the union and it is the only Presbytery in Canada which unanimously opposes union. MacNab Church loses only 70 members.
1925 "Church Union." The United Church is formed by union of Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational Churches, after heated debate for many years. Some Presbyterian Churches opt out of union and the Hamilton Presbytery is the only one that unanimously opposes union. MacNab loses only 70 members. The McQuesten family votes against union, except Calvin, who then becomes a United Church Minister but, in later years, he continues to attend MacNab.  
1927   Lindbergh flies from New York to Paris.

First talking movie.

1928 July, Thomas McQ. purchases the McQ.'s first automobile, and obtains his first driver's licence, as do sisters Mary & Hilda. The make of the car is unknown except that it is a "splendid new car," and not a Ford. The family makes many trips to Guelph to visit Edna.

Rev. Calvin McQ. takes a trip to Gaspé Quebec. He loves the wilderness and becomes an avid naturalist, birdwatcher and member of the Audubon society. He is also an avid photographer and many of his photos are extant.

Dec. James Chisholm gives Mary McQ. a gift of money, amount unknown.

Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

Persons Case. The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decide women are not "qualified persons" and therefore ineligible to sit in the Senate. In 1929 the British Privy Council reverses the decision and declares that a Canadian women is legally declared a "person." They called the exclusion of women from public office "a relic of days more barbarous than ours."

1929   The Great Depression strikes, Hamilton as an industrial town is seriously affected.
1930 Thomas McQ. becomes Vice-Pres. & Pres. of the Ontario Liberal Assoc. Tuberculosis treatment is undertaken to collapse the lung to rest it and in the 1950's effective drugs make their appearance. Cairine Reay Wilson (née Mackay) (1885-1962), Liberal, is the 1st woman appointed to the Senate.

July 28, R.B. Bennett, Conservative, defeats the Liberals in the Federal Elections, gaining 137 seats to 88, and 22 seats to other small parties.

Hamilton hosts the British Empire Games - the first time the games were ever held. They later became the Commonwealth Games. Hamilton rightly holds a place in commonwealth history akin to that of Athens in Olympic history. The founder of the games was M.M. (Bobby) Robinson.

1931 Thomas McQ. and family help bring McMaster to Hamilton along with H.P. Whidden, the chancellor of McMaster and others. Contributions in Hamilton reach $500,000. Thomas, through the Parks Board, donates 50 acres and gardens to McMaster. Tom takes his mother on many trips to visit the greenhouses, the Rock Gardens (RBG), Gage Park, and many other projects which are under development with the Parks Board.

Rev. Calvin McQ. makes a trip to England and the continent.

McMaster came to Hamilton from Toronto (formerly Woodstock College). Hamilton citizens collect $500,000. The Hamilton Parks Board and Thomas McQ. gave 50 acres and gardens to McMaster.
1934 Dec. 7, Mary B. McQ. dies. Her will leaves approx. $10,700 to each living child, Mary, Calvin, Hilda, Tom & Edna.

Thomas McQ. is appointed Minister of Highways for Ontario, constructed QE Hwy., Bridges, Northern Hwy. sys., Forts, Niagara Parkway, Horticultural School, and many more.

Dionne Quints are born in Callender, Ont, creating a media sensation.

The Bank of Canada is formed.


1935 Nov. 10, Margaret Edna dies, age 50, at Homewood Retreat or Sanatorium in Guelph, of hemorrhage, duodenal ulcer. Quebec deals with a corrupt Liberal government. Maurice Duplessis, a Quebecois Tory, joins with a splintered group of Liberals to form the Union Nationale.
1936   Duplessis becomes Premier of Quebec
1937   TransCanada Air Lines commences regular flights and becomes the first commercial airline company in Canada to do so.
1938   Franklin D. Roosevelt meets Mackenzie King in Kingston Ontario, becoming the first U.S. President to make an official visit to Canada.
1939   WWII begins, Canada joins Britain in declaring war on Germany.

The Unemployment Insurance Commision is introduced.

Idola St. John and other feminists are successful in obtaining the right to vote for women in Quebec.

Canada introduces conscription.


Canadian and British troops are defeated in Hong Kong by the Japanese, many become POWs.

The U.S. declares war on Japan after the Pearl Harbour bombings.


Japanese Canadians are interned.

Canada participates in its first major European campaign in Dieppe, France, which proves to be a disaster.


Colossus 1 is built, the first electronic programmable computer.

Canadian troops participate in the invasion of Italy and help win the battle of Ortona.

The German Wehrmacht loses the battle of Stalingrad, Russia, arguably the most devastating battle of the second world war.

1944   Canadians participate in D-Day, the largest amphibious assault in history.

Under Tommy Douglas, the CCF in Saskatchewan forms the first socialist government in North America.


The Atom bomb is exploded on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. WWII ends.

Canada gets its first nuclear reactor running in Chalk River, Ontario.

1947   The Dead Sea scrolls are discovered.

The first supersonic air flight.

1948 Jan 5, Thomas McQ. is chosen Hamilton "Man of the Year."

Jan. 13, Thomas McQ. dies of throat cancer, age 65yrs. His will leaves $51,219.96.

Louis St. Laurent succeeds Mackenzie King as Prime Minister.

NATO is formed, Canada becomes a member.

Joey Smallwood brings Newfoundland into Confederation.

Canada's Supreme Court replaces Britain's judicial committee as the final court of appeal.

1950   Canadian soldiers join the United Nations in Korean war.
1952   Vincent Massey becomes the first native-born Governor General.

Canada's first television stations begin part-time broadcasts in Montreal and Toronto.

1953   Mount Everest is climbed.

The structure of DNA is discovered.

The National Library is established and the Stratford Festival commences its first year.

The Korean war ends.


Marilyn Bell becomes the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.

The first Canadian subway is opened in Toronto; that winter, Hurricane Hazel kills almost seven dozen Torontonians.

1955   The Canadian Labour Congress is formed.

Hockey Star Rocket Richard is suspended, sparking riots in Montreal.


Sputnik 1 (first orbiting satellite) is launched

John Diefenbaker and the Conservatives form a federal minority government, ending twenty-two years of Liberal reign; Ellen Fairclough becomes the first female cabinet minister in Canada; Lester B. Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to resolve the Suez Crisis.


Diefenbaker's minority becomes the largest majority ever obtained in a federal election.

A coal mining accident at Springhill N.S. kills seventy-four miners.

1959 Calvin, Mary and Hilda McQ. sign an agreement donating Whitehern to the city.

Diefenbaker cancels the Avro Arrow project (CF-104 aircraft) and 14 000 jobs are lost, resulting in a public outcry.

The St Lawrence Seaway opened

1960   A Canadian Bill of Rights is approved; Native Canadians gain the right to vote in Federal elections.
1962   The Trans-Canada Highway opens.

Canada becomes the third nation to go into space with the launch of the Alouette I.

Canada's last execution takes place in Toronto.

1961   Yuri Gagarin is the first man in space.

The Berlin Wall is erected.

1963   U.S. President John Kennedy is assassinated

The Pearson Liberals win a majority government.

The FLQ (Front de Liberation du Quebec) forms and sets off bombs in Montreal.

1964 Sept. 17, Dies, Mary Baldwin McQ., age 90. Canadians get social insurance cards.

Northern Dancer is the first Canadian horse to win a Kentucky Derby.


The Cultural Revolution occurs in China

The new Canadian flag is inaugurated.

Roman Catholic churches begin to celebrate masses in the English language.

1966   The Canadian Pension Plan is established and the CBC introduces some colour broadcasts.
1967 Nov. 15, Dies, Hilda-Belle McQ., age 90. The first successful human heart transplant.
1968 Aug. 2, Dies, Calvin McQ. age 92.

After Calvin's McQuesten's death (the last surviving member) Whitehern reverts to the City of Hamilton intact with all family possessions and becomes a museum. It is operated by the City of Hamilton Department of Culture and Recreation.

Martin Luther King is assassinated.

Pierre Trudeau wins a majority government.

Divorce laws are reformed.

1969   French and English are both recognized as official languages by the Federal Government.

The Breathalyzer comes into use.

Parliament passes amendments to Section 251 of the Criminal Code, decriminalizing contraception, and allowing some abortions under certain conditions.

1970   Two diplomats are kidnapped by the FLQ (one is later murdered). As a result Trudeau invokes the War Measures Act.
1971 Whitehern opens as a museum.  
1987 Roland Barnsley publishes Thomas McQ.'s biography, Thomas B. McQuesten. Jan. 18 Christopher Amis turns 6 years old.
1991 John Best publishes Thomas McQ.'s biography, Thomas Baker McQuesten: Public Works, Politics and Imagination.  

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

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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.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.