Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Sat in Speaker Southerland's Chair

Ottawa - Parliament

Postmarked 26 October 1906
Ottawa, Canada

My dear Edith:--/ This is one of the Buildings we visited yesterday. Western Block is an office bldg. Parliament sits in a bldg. at the east of Western Polk(?). I sat in Speaker Southerland's [sic] chair--House of Commons--for a little while./ With love,/ S. McAvoy/ Ottawa, Oct. 26/06
This original building was constructed from 1859-1865 after the Queen chose Ottawa as the location for Canada's capital. A 1916 fire destroyed a large portion of the building (and killed seven people). "Only the Library survived because of the foresight of librarian Alpheus Todd in insisting on iron fire doors and clerk 'Connie' MacCormac's quick thinking in ordering them to be slammed shut before evacuating the building" (website). The structure was rebuilt in the 1920s, with the Peace Tower completed in 1927.

Robert Franklin Sutherland was first elected to Parliament in 1900, and served as Speaker from 1905 to 1909. Later, he was appointed judge to the High Court Division of the Ontario Supreme Court. He died in 1922.

History of the Parliament Buildings

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