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Canadian Leaves
History, Art, Science, Literature, Commerce, A Series of New Papers read before the Canadian Club of New York (1887)

he enterprise and patriotism of the Canadians resident in New York belong the credit for having established a Club which to-day proudly rears its head among the great metropolitan social institutions, and whose fame has extended throughout the broad Dominion of Canada.

It has become, under wise and liberal management, a great national institution for the furtherance of a more complete knowledge of the affairs of the Dominion and for the encouragement of her art, literature and commerce. It has knit together, in ties of closer friendship, the many Canadians who have found their home in the great metropolis of the United States. It has become the rendezvous of those of our countrymen who visit New York. It is the neutral ground whereon prominent statesmen of all shades of political complexion have discussed Canada’s great future.

The Club was founded April 30th, 1885, and its first home was at No. 3 North Washington Square. It was formally opened on Dominion Day, upon which occasion its worthy President delivered a memorable speech from which I beg leave to make some extracts :

“When it was first suggested that a club, distinctively Canadian, should be formed in New York, there were some who felt that the attempt might not be attended with complete success, and that the objects which could be accomplished were both vague and uncertain. It was thought— inasmuch as there existed no organization of a similar kind in this city—that a combination of interests peculiarly Canadian would be a vain attempt. There was no Texas or Missouri Club, no Ohio or Pennsylvania Society; and, except the New England Society, which only dined together once a year, there was no organization distinctively geographical and having for its sole object the interests of residents in New York from any special section. Nevertheless, finding that there were about six thousand Canadians in New York, and that a very large proportion of these were almost unknown to each other, it was decided that a club which would bring them together, could not be but productive of most beneficial results, and that a mission of p1 ac2 ca1 usefulness might be worked out of the idea, that would be helpful to all coming within its influence.

“Accordingly, a meeting of the Canadian residents in New York was called at the Hotel Brunswick. The attendance was surprisingly large, and representative in character. The first and subsequent meetings indicated an earnestness and enthusiasm which was a revelation to'those who had originated the idea.

“It is clear to all who are familiar with the position of Canadians in this city, that they are workers. They come here with the avowed purpose of making a fortune, and of becoming useful residents of the great city that so heartily welcomes them.

“This organization has for its purpose the promotion of our common interests, the improvement of our social relations, the cultivation of a more intimate acquaintance with each other; in short, it is called to guide and direct those who hereafter may join us, in the pursuit of a career of usefulness.

“I would commit a great injustice, did I fail to recognize the hearty spirit of good-will with which, in this country, all efforts for efficient service are welcomed. The treatment of Canadians by Americans, so far as my observation extends, has been characterized by the greatest possible liberality and appreciation. The success of Canadians in the United States is the best evidence of it. Another indication of this prevailing sentiment is to be found in the words of .encouragement which have been uttered by the press and leading men with whom we have come in contact.

"It is to be hoped that the Canadian Club will foster intimate intercourse between former residents of Canada and visiting Canadians as it will furnish an effective means of making them better acquainted with each other.

“It will unquestionably bring together men who would otherwise have proceeded in their respective paths without benefitting from an experience which is to be derived only by a closer acquaintance. Suggestions and ideas, which would otherwise have lain dormant, will be given shape and life. The formation of committees, whose special duties shall be to publish facts of material interest upon all matters of importance to Canada, together with a library of reference, will result in diffusing reliable information for the benefit of journalists in this country. Public men, members of Congress, or others who desire to intelligently discuss subjects relating to Canada, will find our Club the fountain-head of information.

“The walls of this beautiful room, should be devoted, during the autumn months, to an exhibition of the works of Canadian artists. If Canadian art could but have a chance to impress itself favorably upon the wealthy picture buyers of this city, and the names of Canadian artists could be made as familiar in New York as they are in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, the Club would have achieved a purpose of the noblest and most beneficial kind.

“The pleasure which such an exhibition of Canadian art would afford Canadians, the gratification which the artists would experience in being thoroughly appreciated by their fellow countrymen in a foreign city, besides its refining influence ought to make the attempt worthy of the effort. There are other exhibitions of Canadian artistic skill which the Club might well encourage. They might take the form of collections from the Societies of Decorative Art, of woman’s work, which, in Toronto and Montreal, have of late years been so successful.

Embroidery, fancy work, sketches, and all those delightful conceits of woman’s leisure and woman’s love, would exemplify the refinement, skill and taste of Canadian women.

“With time, still larger conceptions of the duties of the Club, will suggest themselves. It is sufficient for me to say with what pleasurable anticipation we may look to an enjoyment of each other’s society, and to the conviction that the usefulness of our lives, the completeness and faithfulness of our services, and the growth within us of all that is manly and best, will be promoted by such an association. Mutual forbearance, hearty appreciation, and a better knowledge of each other, may confidently be expected to result from the formation of the Canadian Club.”

How fully the plans for the Club’s usefulness, so well outlined by the President, have been realized, this book in part bears testimony.

The present home of the Canadian Club is at 12 East 29th Street.

The house is one of the few ornate buildings in this part of New York. Remodelled for the Saint Nicholas Club, which occupied it for the several years previous to its removal to Fifth Avenue, it was then leased to the Canadian Club for a term of years, and was completely overhauled and refurnished.

The Canadian Club has a membership of four hundred, which is steadily increasing. Its aims have been high, and probably, outside of the Lotos, no other club has given so brilliant a series of literary entertainments. Many distinguished American and Canadian men of letters and science have read papers from its rostrum. Its art exhibitions have been encouraged by the contributions of almost all prominent American and Canadian artists.

The Club is a great boon to Canadians visiting New York, and that they thoroughly enjoy and appreciate its benefits the large non-resident membership roll attests.


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