February 4 - 1925 All Blacks travel across Canada
On their way home, and with two matches in British Columbia to play, the 1924-5 All Blacks travelled across Canada by rail. Lock forward Read Masters diligently recorded something of the sights they saw and the receptions they received.
From “With the All Blacks in Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia 1924-25” by Read Masters. Pub. 1928 by Christchurch Press Co. Ltd p.138-139.
During the afternoon we travelled for some distance along the shores of Lake Ontario, which was completely frozen over, and arrived at Toronto, the capital of the Province of Ontario, at 4.30 p.m. here we were met by prominent citizens and students of the University of Toronto, with whom we had afternoon tea at the Cans Rite Hotel. We were later motored to, and shown over the magnificent University, said to be the most up-to-date in the world. At 7 p.m. Professor McKenzie (Chairman of the University’s Athletic Committee) presided over a fine banquet, which had been arranged for us in the Great Hall of the University. He, Sir Robert Falconer, and the Rev. Slater all made fine speeches, and declared how pleased they were, as sportsmen, to have the opportunity of entertaining us. Mr. Dean suitably responded. After a splendid evening we returned to the train, and left at 8.45 p.m. Toronto is beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, and has immense manufacturing establishments, to the number of considerably over a thousand, and some of the largest business houses and banks in the Dominion. The city has a magnificent harbour, in addition to which a thousand acres was being reclaimed adjacent to the harbour front. Electric power for its industries is obtained from Niagara Falls, over eighty miles distant.
On Wednesday we travelled round the shores of Georgian Bay (Lake Huron), which was frozen over, and for the rest of the day we journeyed through beautifully wooded, snow covered country, until a wonderful view was obtained of Lake Superior, with its frozen edges, from the village of Jack Fish, just before darkness fell. When our train stopped at the “Twin Cities” of Port Arthur and Fort William, at midnight, we were awakened by a number of local footballers, who wanted to have a chat with us.
Upon our arrival at Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. at 10 a.m. on Thursday 5th, we were met by Mayor Webb, the city councillors, and other enthusiatic sportsmen. Crowds cheered as we took our places in the waiting cars. After a trip round the north end of the city, we drew up at the City Hall, where Mr. J. C. Brown (City Treasurer) welcomed us, and gave us each a badge bearing the arms of Winnipeg. Embarking again in the cars we made a cursory inspection of Winnipeg South. Whilst proceeding to the Granite Curling Rink, where a tournament was in progress, a great view was obtained of the largest railway yard in the world—possessing 70 tracks with a total mileage of 165 miles. An inspection of the Provincial Parliament Buildings—a very handsome structure—completed our itinerary, and we were deposited again at the Canadian Pacific Railway Station, and left at one o’clock. The Red and Assiniboine Rivers, at the junction of which Winnipeg is situated, were frozen over, and the beautiful boulevards and parks were covered in snow.
We passed through Regina, the capital of the Province of Saskatchewan, and Moose Jaw (which derives its unusual name from an Indian word meaning “The-creek-where-the-white-man-mended-the-cart-with-a-moose-jaw-bone, “ an illuminating sidelight of pioneering days). We arrived at Medicine Hat, in the Province of Alberta, at 9.40 a.m. This town is famous for its natural gas wells; some 22 wells have been bored, averaging from 1,000 to 1,200 feet deep, and each produces from two to three million cubic feet of gas per day. This gas is used for power by the town’s many factories, and by the inhabitants for heating and lighting, etc.”