Red River Settlement and the Toronto Board of Trade
Manitoba Pageant, Autumn 1964, Volume 10, Number 1
From The Nor'Wester, 28 March 1860:
At the annual meeting of the Toronto Board of Trade, on the 26th January, The Nor'Wester and the Red River trade formed subjects of remark. We give the following report from a Toronto journal, only observing that the letter addressed to Mr. Vickers was from Mr. Donald Gunn:
Mr. Vickers wished to call the attention of the Board to a newspaper which he had just received from Fort Garry, Red River Territory, published by two gentlemen who had recently left Toronto for that purpose. (The Nor'Wester was left on the table and was scrutinized with much pleasure by the member of the Board). Mr. Vickers read the following letter from a resident of Red River, in answer to some questions he had addressed to him:
Mr. Howland, M.P.P. said that the members of the Board were agreed that the Red River Territory was soon going to be of vast importance to Canada and to Toronto. The whole trade of the North-west country ought to be secured, and not be allowed to pass away beyond our reach. His own ideas correspond precisely with those suggested in the letter, that a depot should be formed for goods at the Lake of the Woods, and the people would certainly prefer going there rather than to St. Paul's for supplies. As to the difficulties which had existed among the members of the North-west Company, he believed they were terminated, and they were now prepared to give their undivided exertions to the carrying out of the enterprise. He thought the whole mercantile community should give their influence to the cause.
Mr. Vickers said he had written to his friend to Red River, and told him that if either he or any other persons chose to order dry goods from Toronto, he would forward them to the Settlement.
The subject then dropped.
We may be permitted to add that, in the meantime, the Toronto merchants take a very poor method of manifesting their interest in this region. They are anxious to have the Red River trade; but do little or nothing to secure it. They are eager to establish intimate intercourse; but particularly careful that it shall cost them nothing. In this regard, our advertising columns exhibit a striking difference between the Torontonians and the enterprising traders of St. Paul. The latter make themselves known, and incur sacrifices to promote ultimate advantages. Our Toronto friends are profuse with good professions, and trust to the chapter of accidents for the result. There are, however, some honourable exceptions.
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