The Centennial - the Exhibition

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The Centennial - the Exhibition
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THE CENTENNIAL-THE EXHIBITION. The Historical Society has taken steps towards having trees planted on King and Queen Squares on 4th October; the centennial of the first of the fall arrivals at St John. It proposes to ask the permission of the civic government to that end, and to provide in part a Tree Planting fund. So far, so good. This is something permanent. It is not a great deal, and in the absence of anything more imposing it is well to do it. We are sorry to see the Centennial year slipping by, and so little doing to give it permanence and to make it a red letter year in the history of our city. In the first part of the season there was a general feeling and desire that much should be done to make this year a very great year, to give it up, as far as possible, to rejoicings, and to hospitality. But as the 18th of May approached the people contented themselves with the somewhat humorous display of the morning, and a firemen’s parade. Then, everything was to be put off until Exhibition week. But now as that period draws near it would seem that the arduous duties and responsibilities of that time will be sufficient of themselves, and that it will be very difficult to accomplish much more. Last evening the special Entertainment Committee of the Exhibition Commission met the Manufacturers’ Committee and the matter of a public trade's display was discussed. John H. Parks, Esq., presided over the meeting, and there was an earnest and frank discussion over the situation. It appeared from the statements made by Mr. M. W. Maher from the Special Entertainment Committee that there was every probability that a gene¬ral society and civic procession would take place on the opening day of the Exhibition, but that, in addition to this, it was thought by many persons that there should be a trades procession during the Exhibition. It was sought, therefore, to elicit the opinion of the Manufacturers’ Committee first, whether such a procession was practicable; second, if practicable, whether it should form part of the society and civic procession on the opening day —supposing that were to take place—or whether it would be better to have it on another day. Both points were discussed with much freedom, and with a good deal of earnestness. There was a hearty concurrence in the idea that everything that it was possible to do should be done to make the Exhibition week a great week in the history of St. John. Some of the gentlemen maintained, however, that the expense of preparing for the Exhibition was so great, and would entail such a demand for the time of the workmen who would be required to fit up the exhibits, that a trades’ display was scarcely practicable, except at an outlay of time and money that was hardly justifiable. It was urged, too, that a trades’ display was scarcely necessary as the Exhibition itself would be the display. Some gentlemen recounted the glories of trades’ displays in the past, as, for example, at the laying of the corner stone of the Institute and at the turning of the first sod of the railway; and they held that St. John could do now as well as it had ever done. Some thought public displays of all and every legitimate kind were the right thing in the Exhibition week of the Centennial year. Others that there might not be that harmony and feeling among the workmen as would secure a good public exhibit. Then as to the second point. It was held that as almost every body now belonged to some society the trades pro¬cession could not, with good effect, take place on the civic procession day, as the line would be weakened somewhere. This led other speakers to say that two days in the one week ought not be devoted to processions, which might interfere with the attendance at the Exhibition itself. Finally it was agreed that, if possible, there should be a consultation among the members of each trade; and, to this end it was resolved that Messrs. Parks, Rankine and McAvity be a committee to select conveners of each trade, so that the matter may be talked over in the trades themselves. And, with this result, the meeting broke up. Of course the whole matter turns on the point whether the people are willing, as one of the speaker's said last night, to make this Exhibition and the attendant ceremonies "the biggest thing of the kind St. John ever had"- something to be remembered until the next Centennial.