THE idea of entertaining ” old boys and girls ” in the home of their youth can scarcely be considered a novelty, but yet it may be justly claimed that no Canadian town has before entered into the project to such an extent and with such a measure of success as Port Hope. The opportunity of revisiting scenes of their youth and meeting old friends was embraced by Port Hope’s sons and daughters from far and wide. For three days the town was crowded with the returned natives, and for many days before and after the special days of the celebration, the ” old boys ” were largely in evidence. This period of reunion at the beginning of a new century will doubtless live long in the memory of those who participated in it and it will accordingly be unnecessary here to relate in detail all that occurred. Suffice it to give a general outline of the celebration which may serve at some future date to recall more clearly the events of the various days.
The first morning was occupied with the arrival and official welcome of the visitors. The Rochester Old Boys with the Knights of St. George and the 54th Regiment Band were the most conspicuous figures in the constantly moving stream of humanity. These Americans with their characteristic enthusiasm had provided themselves with a uniform outfit consisting of long grey dust-coats, yachting caps and red, white and blue sunshades. On the al rival of the Toronto contingent, a procession was formed which marched to the Town Hall where Mayor White in his best style gave the corporation welcome to the visitors. Speeches followed from Dr. Forbes of Chicopee Falls, organizer Joseph Hooper, of Port Hope, Messrs. T. 0. Monaghan of Rochester, W. J. Colvin of Omaha, J. W. Curry, K. C. of Toronto, Robert Clarke of San Francisco, Samuel Lelean of Redlands, California and President Andros of the Organization Committee.
The afternoon witnessed horse races, athletic sports and a baseball match in the Park, while the day was wound up with a band concert, in which participated the Queen’s Own Band of Toronto and the 54th Regiment Band of Rochester.
The second day of the celebration was ushered in with continued fine weather. A large contingent from Peterboro’ with the 57th Regiment Band of that city arrived betimes, much to the gratification of the people of Port Hope. An excellent Kalithumpian procession amused the crowds until noon. More horse races and a lacrosse match (Peterboro’ vs Port Hope in which the home team were the easy winners) succeeded by a magnificent display of fire-works at night, comprised the second day’s programme.
Wednesday and Thursday, the remaining days of the celebration, were spent in a quieter manner and were accordingly enjoyed by all who desired to visit friends. The success of the undertaking was undoubtedly due in a large measure to the indefatigable efforts of Mr. Joseph Hooper, who spent many months previous to the affair in making preparations and working up enthusiasm. The townspeople expressed their welcome in many ways, especially by the lavish decorations, which everywhere graced the town. Prominent among these was a large turreted white arch on Walton street, which was much admired by all who viewed it.