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A Happy Holiday

A Happy Holiday: English Canadians and Transatlantic Tourism, 1870-1930

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 416
  • Book Info
    A Happy Holiday
    Book Description:

    A Happy Holidayargues that overseas tourism offered people the chance to explore questions of identity during this period, a time in which issues such as gender, nation, and empire were the subject of much public debate and discussion.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8818-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Prologue. ‘It seems a long time since I have seen anything Canadian’: Mary Leslie’s Transatlantic Travel, 1867– 1868
    (pp. xiii-2)

    ‘The noise was fearful, the children screaming and vomiting and my fellow-sufferers groaning,’ wrote Mary Leslie to her mother at the family’s home in Guelph, Ontario. Leslie herself had been delirious and was unable to retain anything – food, water, or medicine – in her stomach; a visit from a young and, it seems, rather brusque doctor was successful only in sedating her. Her letter described not a hospital ward where all were stricken by some deadly disease but, rather, the cabin of a transatlantic ship bound for Liverpool, England, overbooked with passengers in the throes of violent seasickness. From the moment...

  5. Introduction: Holidays, Happyness, and Transatlantic Tourism
    (pp. 3-30)

    This book began with a diary or, rather, a number of diaries.¹ Sequestered from the mugginess of the southern Ontario summer of 1995 in the University of Western Ontario’s Archives, I was working my way through the papers of Harriett Priddis. As she had been an active member of the London and Middlesex Historical Society, I hoped that Priddis’s writings would give me more insight into the writing of history by English-Canadian middle-class women in late-Victorian and Edwardian Canada.

    In addition to providing information on Priddis’s work as a historian, her papers held something else: a collection of three typescript...

  6. 1 Porters, Guides, and the Middle-Class Tourist: The Practices of Transatlantic Tourism
    (pp. 31-58)

    Fred Martin’s 1881 Atlantic journey began on 21 May with his departure from his home in Woodstock, Ontario, for Toronto and then Montreal, where he took the time to admire the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and Notre Dame Cathedral. He travelled on to Quebec, a city that impressed him as ‘the most peculiar’ he had ever seen. It had ‘narrow streets more like lanes but well paved’ but hills so steep that he could not imagine how heavy loads were transported up them (he was afraid of falling out of his carriage). Next it was on Montmorency Falls,...

  7. 2 The Landscape of History and Empire, Part 1: Scotland
    (pp. 59-77)

    The anonymous author of ‘The Advantages of Travel’ would have been pleased with her fellow Canadians’ understandings of the landscapes through which they travelled. While these travellers conceived of tourism in Britain and Europe as a multifaceted experience, one that ranged from the healthful properties of walking in the Swiss Alps to the no less beneficial effects of shopping in London, Paris, and Venice, perhaps their most commonly reiterated desire was to see the past made manifest in specific sites and landscapes. As chapter 7 will demonstrate, such landscapes were not confined to the British Isles: in Europe, city and...

  8. 3 The Landscape of History and Empire, Part 2: England
    (pp. 78-123)

    If Scotland could inspire and evoke both awe and sadness, what associations and feelings were sparked in England? As chapter 5 will argue, while the landscape and historical sites of London moved these tourists to effusive outpourings of national and imperial sentiment, other areas in England held the key to national and imperial subjectivities, whether through historical sites, various ‘natural’ features of the landscape, or the people who lived there. As with Scotland, tourists’ choice of places such as the southern and western countryside, cathedral towns like York and Canterbury, the Lake District and Stratfordon-Avon, Oxford and Cambridge, and...

  9. 4 ‘Paddy’s Grief and Native Wit’: Canadian Tourists and Ireland
    (pp. 124-160)

    Scotland and England held historical and cultural associations for English-speaking Canadian tourists and evoked reactions that ranged from pathos-tinged remembrances of the past to more celebratory affirmations of their contemporary membership in Empire. ‘Ireland’ – both the notion of the island itself and their encounters with its landscape and people – also induced manifold responses but these differed from those to other parts of the United Kingdom. The lenses through which travellers viewed Ireland and the categories they applied to sort out their reactions to it included history and the scenery, the contemporary political and socioeconomic situation there, and the ‘character’ of...

  10. 5 ‘The Hot Life of London Is upon Us’: Travel to the Imperial Capital
    (pp. 161-201)

    M.A. Black was not the only Canadian tourist to feel excited, stimulated, and a bit overwhelmed by a trip to the capital and heart of the empire. As they perused A.H. Morrison’s ‘Vignettes from St Pilgrim’s Isle,’ readers of the January 1894 issue of the Canadian Magazine were told that ‘The hot life of London is upon us. Its maze of motion is in the air. The whirl of its wheels, the throb of its myriad hearts, the hum of its converse, the frenzy of its hurried day, the stealthy travel of its never-silent night is everywhere, permeating everything, actuating...

  11. 6 The Street, the Regatta, and the Orphanage: The Public and Social Spaces of Tourism in Britain
    (pp. 202-235)

    Mabel Cameron recorded her impressions of the ‘wee boys and girls’ that she saw while on a visit to London’s Foundling Hospital’s chapel for its morning service, while James Rupert Elliott’s description is of the scene at the Henley Regatta. Although they would appear to be very different phenomena – the benefits of philanthropic institutions versus a major sporting event – happy orphans, ice-drink vendors, and contented holidaymakers were part of the wide spectrum of public and social spaces for late-Victorian and Edwardian tourists. These locations included sporting events, religious services, courtrooms and prisons, and military encampments. And for some tourists, the...

  12. 7 ‘This Sight-Seeing Is a Strenuous Business’: European Sojourns, Part I
    (pp. 236-267)

    Voiced as she prepared to leave Rome for Florence, Mary Bain’s complaint about the ‘strenuous business’ of sightseeing’ would have resonated with many of her fellow tourists.¹ Touring Britain might require bustle and enterprise, but sightseeing in Europe was an even busier undertaking as these anglophone Canadians navigated their way across multiple borders, frequently changing their modes of transportation along with the languages they heard, the landscapes they saw, and the local customs they observed. Gertrude Fleming’s vow that ‘with a fairly cheerful heart I realize my proud position as a tourist and intend to see everything,’ also would have...

  13. 8 Natural Wonders and National Cultures: European Sojourns, Part 2
    (pp. 268-316)

    ‘I don’t care at present if I ever see another altarpiece,’ Thomas Langton confessed to his diary while taking a rest from Florence’s churches, museums, and art galleries.¹ Not all tourists were quite so frank about their exhaustion and their occasional boredom with the wonders of European culture. Moreover, Langton recovered from his surfeit of altarpieces and proceeded to follow Baedeker’s and Ruskin’s cultural directives around Italy and Switzerland. Yet as much as the products of human history and artistic endeavour entranced them, these tourists also consumed Europe’s ‘natural’ scenery, its streetscapes, public institutions and entertainments, and displays of ‘national’...

  14. 9 ‘A big Old Country Car, Speeding around a Winding Road’: Transatlantic Tourism Transatlantic Tourism in the 1920s
    (pp. 317-360)

    It might be logical to think that Canadians’ travel across the Atlantic underwent a fundamental shift in quantity and quality of after the first World War. The 1920s have been characterized by a number of Canadian historians as witnessing the start of a new ‘Canadian’ identity, a period when English-speaking Canadians in particular began to fashion their own cultural references into a nationalism that was increasingly less attached to Britain and empire.¹ Canadians’ experiences in the First World War and changes in international relations in the interwar period also meant that Canada became an increasingly independent player in diplomatic affairs,...

  15. Epilogue
    (pp. 361-370)

    ‘As everyone is familiar with the luxury of a long pull on the Grand Trunk I shall bring this journal to a close,’ Fred Martin wrote as his Toronto-bound train pulled out of the railway station at Quebec City. He was not sorry to do so, admitting that ‘I have had no end of trouble in trying to keep it up, getting way behind lots of times and having to make up from memory so goodbye old journal “what a pest” you have been to take care of for the last four months and if ever I go again I...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 371-444)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 445-454)
  18. Index
    (pp. 455-461)