Did You Know? Facts About Opening Day - April 4, 1893

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View of the Legislative Building c. 1900

The Legislative Building was officially opened on April 4th, 1893. Below are some interesting things that happened on that day:

  • According to folk history, Premier Sir Oliver Mowat is said to have ridden towards the new impressive provincial Legislature for the opening, and turning to the Clerk, remarked, "Well, Joe, we built it. How are we going to fill it with people?" Little did he know that within 20 years the building would be filled and would endure as the symbol of provincial government 100 years later.
  • The opening day proceedings began at noon, with the National Flag, a Canadian Red Ensign, hoisted on its 22.5 metre mast. Citizens flocked to the site, and by 2 pm many thousands were gathered.
  • Members of the public rode the new electric elevators up and down all day, until one got stuck, and they were all shut off for the night.
  • The force of the wind was so strong that a window in the west wing shattered and the Union Jack was torn to shreds.
  • When ready to fire the 15 gun salute, the Toronto Field Battery could not find the Honour Guard from Company Two, Royal School of Infantry. With just moments to spare, Company Two appeared on College Street and, urged on by a sweating sergeant-major, quickly marched into position.
  • When visitors to the Legislature left, one horse cab ride home cost 20 cents, and a ride with two horses cost 25 cents.
  • The April 5, 1893 article in The Empire had as its headline "Legislators in Fairyland" and read, "The opening of the Legislature and the new Parliament Buildings yesterday was a notable occasion. The completion of the building marks an epoch in the history of the province."