The Greatness of the Great Lakes
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The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 23 Apr 1936, p. 381-395


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Rose, William Ganson, Speaker
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Text
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Speeches
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The "Great" Lakes because they constitute the largest body of fresh water in the world. The true greatness of the Lakes perhaps lying in the influence they have had in furthering the industrial and commercial development of the Dominion of Canada and the United States. Some facts and figures concerning the inland waterways to strengthen faith in the future growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario and of the States of the United States bordering upon the Great Lakes. Now the time to look forward to future achievements largely made possible by the land-locked seas. Some history of industry and commerce on the Great Lakes. Lake transportation and some specific examples of ships that used them. A consideration of how the lake cities have grown, particularly Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. Figures to illustrate the industrial influence of the Great Lakes. The part the railroad has played in the development of the Great Lakes area. Tourism between Canada and the United States. Trade between Canada and the United States. Working as a team. Some major events in Great Lakes cities. The Great Lakes Exposition promoting acquaintance and strengthening goodwill between the Dominion and the United States. Weathering the depression. Full recovery dependent on world recovery. Developing harbours for ever-increasing traffic. Joining together in cohesive action through civic bodies to study international conditions affecting the Lakes region and making known the findings to our governments and citizens. Using the Great Lakes to mutual benefit. Building goodwill and good business as a constructive example for the world. The hope that Cleveland and Toronto, sister cities, may lengthen and strengthen the friendship that now exists.
Date of Original:
23 Apr 1936
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English
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The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
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THE GREATNESS OF THE GREAT LAKES
AN ADDRESS BY MR. WILLIAM GANSON ROSE
Thursday, April 23rd, 1936

PRESIDENT: Our guest speaker today is a President of an advertising organization in Cleveland, Ohio. He has for years been active in civic matters in Cleveland. He is on the Chamber of Commerce, Emergency Relief Administration of Community Funds and other worthwhile activities have received his attention and support. During the World War he directed the United States Bureau of Expositions and the Red Cross Campaign in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He is author of numerous books and magazine articles. Today, he comes to speak on a subject that should be of real interest to all of us - "The Greatness of the Great Lakes."

As I came into the room today I was reminded that 'it is St. George's Day and that I should be wearing a rose. Gentlemen, I brought the rose with me. He is at my right hand and I have much pleasure indeed„ in introducing to you, Mr. William Ganson Rose. (Applause.)

MR. WILLIAM GANSON ROSE: Mr. President, Members and Guests of the Empire Club of Canada and friends of the Radio Audience.

I bring to Toronto, the Cleveland of Canada, the greetings of Cleveland, the Toronto of the United States. (Applause.)

These greetings I bring not only from the city but, personally, from President Abram Garfield, Secretary Launcelot Packer and their associates of the English Speaking Union, from the British Commonwealth Club of Cleveland, from the Cleveland Branch of the Canadian Legion, from the British Empire League, made up of the, Daughters of the British Empire, the Sons and Daughters of St. George, St. Andrew's Benevolent Society and all Scottish Organizations in the City. They extend hands across the Lakes to Toronto.

TORONTO

In miles of pleasant homes thy people dwell; A hundred ships within thy harbour lie at ease; Ten thousand chimneys high thy prowess tell; Oh, mighty mart upon the land-locked seas!

It is embarrasing to be asked to discuss the greatness of the Great Lakes in a city that knows that greatness through close relationship.

However, I do not feel any more embarrassed than did the speaker in our Newburgh Insane Asylum. He had talked more than an hour when one of the inmates arose and walked from the hall. The speaker was embarrassed. "I hope I haven't offended anybody," he said. "Oh dear no," replied the superintendent, "you go right on talking; that fellow has been here twenty-five years and that's the first sign of intelligence he has shown."

(Laughter.)

No, I cannot tell you much that is new about the Great Lakes, but I can call to your minds some ideas you have had and possibly crystallize a few of them. In this connection, I call to mind the story of William Dean Howells and the farmer.

When Mr. Howells was Editor of the Jefferson Gazette in Ohio, he loaned a copy of Plato to a farmer. Some time later the farmer returned the book. "Well, how did you like Plato?" asked Howells. "Just rate," replied the farmer, "I see he's used some of my ideals."

And so today, I hope you will find I am using some of your ideas.

"The greatest cities of the future will not be cities of Europe, nor Asia, nor India, nor will they be cities located on the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans." So spoke in 1930, Dr. J. Paul Good, outstanding student of natural resources. Then, he added, "the great cities of the future will be located on the Great Lakes."

If the Great Lakes have as great an influence as this, we should become better acquainted with them and learn in what ways we can capitalize upon the many advantages they offer.

Called "Great" because they constitute the largest body of fresh water in the world, their true greatness has a far broader significance. More than any other influence they have furthered the industrial and commercial development of the Dominion of Canada and the United States; their contribution to the ever higher standard of living of these countries is incalculable; their service to the territory bordering upon them has made this district the fastest growing industrial region in the world. The Great Lakes are indeed great!

I invite you to consider facts and figures concerning our inland waterways that should strengthen our faith in the future growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario and of the States of the United States bordering upon the Great Lakes.

Now is the time to look forward look forward to a, future that promises achievements far surpassing any that have gone before-achievements largely made possible by our land-locked seas.

When La Salle sailed his cockleshell ship, "The Griffin," up the lakes in 1679, he little dreamed of the romance and the drama that would accompany the legion of boats to follow, from the canoes of the Indian tribes to the great steel ships that carry iron and coal and grain and lumber and stone and other commodities.

The commerce started by "The Griffin" has developed until the traffic on the Great Lakes is many times greater than that of the Suez Canal, where the trails of the world meet.

To the pioneers whose courage, resourcefulness, persistence and spiritual fervour overcame almost unsurmountable obstacles, we owe a debt of thanks, yes, of reverent appreciation.

La Salle's party saw Niagara Falls when making its famous journey in "The Griffin," and Father Hennepin, who served as historian for the group, gave the following description

"The water is so rapid above this descent that it violently hurls down the wild beasts endeavouring to pass. The waters do foam and boil after the most hideous manner imaginable, making an outrageous noise more terrible than that of thunder."

And so, Father Hennepin was Niagara Falls' first publicity man.

The Lake Cities saw the possibilities of lake transportation seventy-five years ago, but they never dreamed that the bulk cargo movement on the Great Lakes would some day reach the total of 150,000,000 tons. The year of 1936, it is predicted, will witness the largest movement on the Lakes since 1929, and this fact should contribute to better general business in the Lakes region.

What remarkable ships are those of today!

Compare one with the "Queen City" which broke the tonnage record in 1852 with 337 tons of iron, and, in a season of thirteen trips, carried 4500 tons, or one-third of what the "Harry Coulby" carries in a single trip.

Harry Coulby - a great name on the Great Lakes. As a poor immigrant boy from England, with a few dollars in his pocket, he asked in New York the way to Cleveland. "Out Broadway," was the answer, "and just keep on walking 600 miles." Harry Coulby did, and eventually walked into leadership among the men of the lakes.

Do you realize that a train of 285 cars, each containing 50 tons of coal, can be emptied into the hold of one of our modern vessels?

What progress has been made by fertile minds in the loading and unloading of the lake ships! One record was made by the "D. G. Kerr," which received its cargo of 12,508 tons in 16 1/2 minutes. This same cargo was unloaded in three hours and five minutes.

It is interesting to note that the Province of Ontario, which forms the northern boundary of the Great Lakes, bears almost the same relationship to the Dominion of Canada that the Great Lakes States bear to the United States. The facts I will present, clearly indicate that the Great Lakes in both the Dominion and the United States have been the influence that has made the surrounding territory assume outstanding leadership for industry, commerce and general business progress.

The area of Canada is nearly equal to the area of the United States and its possessions, while the area of Ontario is nearly equal to that of the Great Lakes States. In fact, the Great Lakes States and the Province of Ontario each occupy 11 plus per cent of their respective nations, and each has an area more than four time the size of Great Britain and twice the size of France or Germany.

The Province of Ontario has more than three and one-half millions of the 10,800,000 people of Canada or 33 1/10 per cent of the total, while the population of the Great Lakes States is 35 per cent of the population of the United States and its possessions.

Let us consider for a moment how the lake cities have grown. Toronto has doubled in population every fifteen years since 1834, and greater Toronto before long will have a million people. In the Great Lakes States, since 1850 Chicago has jumped from 20th place in the Union to second, Detroit from 26th to fourth and Cleveland from 37th to sixth. Why? - largely because of the influence of the Great Lakes.

Our people in this territory appreciate that a city is not merely a place where 'houses are built and people exist, but a living, pulsing institution with heart and soul and character. We know that everyone can do something for the home town. I heard of an absolutely worthless vagabond who did the best he could do for Toronto - he moved to Buffalo.

Now let us see the industrial influence of the Great Lakes. The gross value of products made in Canada is a little more than two billion dollars; in Ontario fifty-one percent of the total, or more than one billion dollars. One-ninth the territory, one-half the industry.

Now let us look across the lakes. In 1932, the United States manufactured products totalled in value $20,800,000,000, while the Great Lakes States products totalled in value $13,000,000,000, or 60% of the national production, reflecting the influence of the Lakes upon industry.

Ontario has become the automotive centre of Canada, the Great Lakes States the automotive centre of the United States. You lead Canada in the diversity of your manufacturing establishments; the Great Lakes States similarly lead the United States.

There is no need for exaggeration in describing these two rapidly growing territories. I wouldn't blame you for being suspicious as we across the Lakes are sometimes given to exaggeration; even the children have developed the habit.

A little boy near where I live started out as a prevaricator and he became a regular little liar. His father punished him, his mother washed his mouth with soap. Nothing seemed to do any good and one day the teacher called him to the platform before the school and said, "Willie, do you know what happened to Annanias and Saphira?" "Yes," said Willie, "God struck them dead for lying and I saw them carried into the drug store."

The Great Lakes serve much of the grain territory of Canada and the important grain producing States of the United States. The cheap transportation is largely responsible for the fact that 40% of your export trade is in agricultural products, and that the West and Northwest of the United States have been developed successfully in a short period of years. Reference to the volume of food products of this region reminds me of something Dr. Copeland, Senator from New York told me. He said, "We live on one-third of what we eat; the doctors live on the other two-thirds."

Ontario is exporting its diversified products to all countries of the world and contributing largely to the fact that Canada, with less than 11,000,000 people, ranks fifth among the worlds' trading nations. The Great Lakes States similarly engage in export trade and are credited with nearly one-half the exports of their nation.

It was in Ontario that the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, so it is natural that you should use telephone service in amazing volume, and again, across the lakes, our Great Lakes States have 8,400000 telephones, or one-half the total for the country.

You produce electricity economically and employ it effectively on your side of the lakes, for power, light and heat, while the Lake States use one-half the current produced in their country.

The railroad has played an important part in the development of the Great Lakes area. Yes, the iron horse and the steel boat have proved an invincible team. Your city is the focal point of the world's two largest railway systems and our Great Lakes States, in one-ninth the territory of the country, have one-third of the railway mileage.

Air transportation has grown rapidly in both countries since that first flight across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1919, to my mind one of the most daring and inspiring adventures of all times, was made by those skilled and courageous aviators - Alcock and Brown.

Action is the keynote of this district. Huxley said the chief aim of life is not knowledge but action, or, as some wit has put it, "Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down."

My audiences across the Lakes have found particularly interesting the Toronto Industrial Commission's study-of the buying habits of your people, meaning their willingness to buy, as well as their progressivenes. For purposes of comparison the figures of passenger car registrations, radio sets, domestic telephones and wired homes have been used. In percentages, Ontario with 46 1/10 per cent nearly equals the other four market zones of the Dominion combined. To summarize these market comparisons, Ontario with 11 per cent of the area and 33 per cent of population of Canada has a income of more than 40 per cent, makes 40 per cent of the retail sales, 49 per cent of the industrial purchases, and in buying habits, with 46 1/10 per cent, stands far above the other Canadian markets.

Similarly, the Lake States lead their country in buying habits. With one-third the population, their retail trade is 55 per cent and their wholesale trade 56 per cent of the nation's.

Your mineral output is again increasing, and so is ours, but the Dominion has a great advantage over the United States in the volume and diversity of its minerals. Your mines are not like the definition of many of our mines. That definition is to the effect that a mine is a hole in the ground owned by a liar

The people of the Province of Ontario and the Lakes States are entertainment-loving people. And here let me say that your choruses and bands are favourites in our Cities, and Cleveland looks forward each year to one of the most delightful treats of our entertainment season when the Toronto Skating Club presents its grace, rhythm and charm.

The tourist traffic between Canada and the United States is greater than that between any other two countries in the world. It is estimated that in 1934 the United States tourists spent in the Dominion more than $86, 000,000 and should spend this year $100,000,000. Your tourists expend a substantial amount in the States.

But this traffic means far more than money. It means advertising your advantages, your playgrounds, your resources, your products; it means attracting investments; it means selling goods. Yes, and it means a first hand survey of the benefits that the Dominion can secure from the United States and the benefits the United States can secure from Canada„ through the medium of our mutually owned Great Lakes. There are many ways in which we can capitalize upon each other's resources. We come to your mills for paper, as does much of the world, particularly that paper for daily newspapers, which reminds me of the definition I' recently heard of a journalist. He is the man who knows where hell is going to break out next and sends someone to cover the spot.

We come to you for the valuable products of your farms and your seemingly limitless mines. We come to you for rest and recreation in your playgrounds that are unsurpassed on either hemisphere.

You come to us for iron and coal and industrial products, and so we are not only good neighbours, but mutually good customers.

Our teamwork is a habit, and the force of habit is a great power. I remember that Lord Dewar told of a retired dairyman who never looks at a pail of water without the irresistible desire to put some milk in it.

Your Canadian National Exhibition, the world's largest annual exposition, and your Royal Winter Fair make Toronto a popular meeting-place for many people on both sides of the Great Lakes. You are to be congratulated upon the high standard that is maintained for these important educational, entertaining and business building institutions. It is a pleasure to refer to your great Exhibitions in the talks we are giving in the Great Lakes States.

Cleveland is celebrating its one hundredth year since becoming a City. Appreciating what the inland seas have contributed to the City's growth and progress,, it was natural that its celebration should take the form of a National Exposition dedicated to the Great Lakes-the Great Lakes Exposition.

It will be held in downtown Cleveland, on the lake share, June 27th to October 4th, this year. Twenty million dollars worth of 'improvements are ready to serve the Exposition, and large buildings are being erected at this time, in the expectation of attracting five million visitors. The Public Hall and Lakeside Exhibition Hall will be the scenes of government, state and city exhibits and of important gatherings.

The auditorium will be "Radio Land," where 15,000 people can watch the famous bands and orchestras and entertainers in their national broadcasts.

In the stadium, seating 80,000, will be held great athletic meets, prize drills, spectacles of stupendous size and other entertainments of impressiveness.. "The Parade of the Years," in a special theatre, is the 1936 edition of the famous "Wings of a Century" at the Century of Progress Exposition, and a Lake Theatre will be the scene of popular concerts arid aquatic events.

Electrical and other scientific displays will be found in the mammoth Hall of Progress nearly 600 feet long. Science, you know, is making wonderful strides. A Canadian newspaper observed that when science found it couldn't pry open the Pullman windows, 'it air-conditioned the trains.

A transportation building will tell the story of rail, lake, bus, air, and automotive transportation, and horticulture will have its building in a fairyland of flowers, with a garden 1,000 feet long to be given to the city. In the "Streets of the World," thirty-two nationalities will be in charge of more than a hundred buildings in a miniature Cosmopolitan City. Last evening the British Commonwealth Club of Cleveland, announced through its President, Harry Coopland, that here will be shown a replica of "The Old Curiosity Shop," immortalized by Charles Dickens, with its rare collection of old silver, pewter, glass and curios, faithfully reproduced.

Many special features are being added to the attractions each week. Among the latest is the famous "Byrd Ship," a large Submarine, a great car ferry that will be transformed into a Club House in the lake, and a two-acre living reproduction of the beauties and products of Florida.

I am asked by Mayor Burton and by the Exposition Officials to extend to you and to all the people of the Dominion a cordial invitation to attend. The Congress of the United States, which has authorized a large and comprehensive exhibit for the Exposition, yesterday requested the President of the United States to invite the Dominion of Canada to participate.

We believe that one of the fine achievements of the Great Lakes Exposition will be promoting acquaintance and strengthening goodwill between the Dominion and the United States. The project will impress the fact that the Province of Ontario and the eight Great Lakes States are neighbours, not separated by these inland seas but rather bound together in trade and relationship by these friendly waters.

The Province of Ontario and the Great Lakes States have weathered the depression and are apparently starting a new era of progress. Our full recovery, of course, depends upon world recovery. However, world recovery cannot be made upon a foundation of distrust. International confidence must again be established in Europe before peace and sound industrial relations are possible. Happily, the districts to the North and South of the Great Lakes are remarkable from the standpoint of being self-supporting, with flood, power, machinery and the important minerals. Our people can live and advance with little outside aid. What either side of the lakes may lack, the other, side provides. Here is a strong reason for developing our friendly relations.

Our business leaders in Ontario and the Lakes States, for the most part, are men who reckon time after the fashion of my old friend, John Kendrick Bangs, who said

I do not count the time of day
As some do by the clock,
Nor by the tolling of a bell
Set on some steepled rock,
But by the progress that I make
In things I have to do;
It's either done-o'clock with me,
Or only half-past-through!

Let us who profit through the land-locked seas, develop our harbours for an ever-increasing traffic.

Let us join in cohesive action through our civic bodies to study international conditions affecting our Lakes region and make known the findings to our governments and citizens.

Let us use the Great Lakes for our mutual benefit and, over the friendliest borderline between any two nations, build goodwill and good business as a constructive example for the world.

We can do much through concentrated efforts. Speaking of concentration, I call to mind Arnold Bennett's last visit to the United States when they gave him a large reception in Chicago. An effusive young woman of that City rushed up to him and said, "Mr. Bennett, I want to thank you for your wonderful books, but particulary far your article on "Concentration." Oh, it has done me ever so much good."

Mr. Bennett naturally was pleased, and he said, "May I ask upon what are you concentrating?"

"Oh," she replied effusively, "upon lots and lots and lots of things."

That, I fear, is the way that many are concentrating today.

A few years ago, I asked Thomas A. Edison why there are so few real leaders in the world today. He smiled and replied by pointing at a framed epigram by Sir Joshua Reynolds. It still hangs on the wall of the famous laboratory, and it reads: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the labour of thinking."

Or, as the humorist, Strickland Gillilan, puts it: "The district north of the human ears continues to be the greatest of all homes for the unemployed."

Ontario and the Lakes States are the homes of unsurpassed educational and cultural institutions, making for a citizenship of high character. And today constructive character is seriously needed in a world of distrust. Our neighbouring countries should imbue the business of this region with a true spiritual quality so that high ideals may be blended with commercial ambitions.

Due largely to the influence of the Great Lakes, Toronto has become an important industrial and commercial headquarters, but, more than that, an unsurpassed city of homes.

HOME

I heard a man from old New York Express a thought this way "I've travelled all around the world And now I want to say,

That while old London's mighty big, And Paris leads in style,

And Canton, Cairo, Tokio, Are all well worth the while, I cannot find its equal, though Through every land I roam; New York is sure the best town why? It's home!"

I asked a man from Kankakee To tell me if he could

What is the finest town on earth; He smiled and said he would. "I've never travelled anywhere," He told me with a wink,

"But that ain't any reason Why a feller cannot think; Though some folks like Chicagy, and Others praise old Rome,
There ain't no place like Kankakee - Thats home!"

There's just a trifle of

A moral in this verse;

Let's have it clearly understood And put it straight and terse. When anybody asks you where The best of towns can be,

The answer is an easy one, As you will all agree; Some towns are great, and yet you'll find No matter where you roam,

Toronto is beyond compare - It's home!

In concluding, may I express the hope that our sister cities may lengthen and strengthen the friendship that now exists.

Toronto and our Cleveland A Lake between them rolls,

But space and tide can ne'er divide Our kindred civic souls. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT: We owe to our guest speaker our very sincere thanks, particularly since two hours ago when I went up to his room, I found him with a Doctor on one side and a nurse holding his hand on the other. He dismissed not only the Doctor but also the nurse to come down and talk to us at this luncheon. I think Mr. Rose has given us a picture of the importance of that territory surrounding the Great Lakes, such as has not been presented to our minds before, and he has surely made a fascinating story of it.

To Mr. Rose and those who are with him in planning this Expositions in Cleveland, I know you will agree with me that we hope they have not five million but ten million at that Exposition because we know definitely, that most of the people that go there will also want to go up to see that Exposition on the banks of Lake Nipissing and in so doing we all know in travelling, the first day will be spent coming to Toronto and the second day going to Callander. We will see them all, and we will be glad they visited us. On your behalf I extend to Mr. Rose our very sincere appreciation for a most able address.

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The Greatness of the Great Lakes


The "Great" Lakes because they constitute the largest body of fresh water in the world. The true greatness of the Lakes perhaps lying in the influence they have had in furthering the industrial and commercial development of the Dominion of Canada and the United States. Some facts and figures concerning the inland waterways to strengthen faith in the future growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario and of the States of the United States bordering upon the Great Lakes. Now the time to look forward to future achievements largely made possible by the land-locked seas. Some history of industry and commerce on the Great Lakes. Lake transportation and some specific examples of ships that used them. A consideration of how the lake cities have grown, particularly Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. Figures to illustrate the industrial influence of the Great Lakes. The part the railroad has played in the development of the Great Lakes area. Tourism between Canada and the United States. Trade between Canada and the United States. Working as a team. Some major events in Great Lakes cities. The Great Lakes Exposition promoting acquaintance and strengthening goodwill between the Dominion and the United States. Weathering the depression. Full recovery dependent on world recovery. Developing harbours for ever-increasing traffic. Joining together in cohesive action through civic bodies to study international conditions affecting the Lakes region and making known the findings to our governments and citizens. Using the Great Lakes to mutual benefit. Building goodwill and good business as a constructive example for the world. The hope that Cleveland and Toronto, sister cities, may lengthen and strengthen the friendship that now exists.