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THE BANQUET HALL: Sixth Annual Supper Tendered the Employees of the Fonthill Nurseries


[Welland Telegraph, 6 February 1891]

The sixth annual banquet given by Messrs. Morris, Stone & Wellington, of the Fonthill nurseries, to their employees, friends and invited guests, was a most enjoyable event at Fonthill, on Monday evening last. The long D’Everardo hall was filled to its utmost capacity, and its sides fairly bulged out with the pressure of good feeling and kindly sentiment. In these days of strikes and labor agitations, when the columns of every metropolitan and provincial newspaper teams with accounts of distress, riots and destitution- the outcome of ill-advised st rife between capital and labor-it was a relief which stood out like a fertile oasis in the arid desert , to see the perfect harmony, good feeling and affection which exists between employer and employed in connection with the Fonthill nurseries, an institution which enjoys an enviable business reputation form the Atlantic to the Pacific.

These annual banquets have become part of the yearly routine of the institution, and are looked forward to with the same keen interest and joyous anticipation by both the members of the firm and their employees. By the former because it is a genuine pleasure to accord the entertainment to those who so faithfully serve them, and by the latter because it forges another link to the endless chain of true friendship, and gives fresh assurance that faithful service is more fully appreciated than can be demonstrated by the mere payment of wages.

The gathering on Monday evening was the largest which ever did honor to the occasion. The good feeling was very marked and almost affectionate in its character; the bill-of-fare was a culinary triumph; the happy remarks of the “after dinner speakers” touched the chords of sympathy, and the greetings of old friends who met was cordial in the extreme. Evergreens in various designs hung in festoons overhead, and the table was laid with captivating taste the whole of its 100 feet of length, and no one was there who placed their knees beneath the richly laden board, but what enjoyed the banquet in the fullest sense of the word. No awkward restraint prevented an easy flow of conversation or spoiled a good appetite.

From a little after half past six until 10 o’clock, the sharp clatter of knives and forks told how vigorous was the war prosecuted against roast turkey, cold ham, and all the etcetras provided, and as one table was satisfied its occupants fell back and made room for the constant flow of  reinforcements. Messrs. Morris and Wellington were everywhere entertaining their guests and looking after their comfort, while Mr. and Mrs. Harry Buchner, whose residence was thrown open as a reception room were indefatigable in making the waiting time pass pleasantly. It was half past ten when the last detachment had vanquished stewed oysters and roast turkey, and then Mr. E. Morris the chairman proposed “The Queen,” and the inspiring strains of the national anthem which always awakens feelings of patriotism in the heart of every true British subject, echoed through the building, led by an efficient choir of ladies and gentlemen, who were present to further enliven the immense gathering.

Mr. Wellington proposed “The Employees,” which was the toast of the evening, and with a few introductory remarks welcomed the visitors, and spoke in feeling terms of the spirit of harmony which existed between the firm and its help. It had been thought of, he said, that a division of the percentage of the profits of the business among the employees might at some time be established as one of the rules. Some large firms were adopting such a course, and it had worked satisfactorily in one instance he thought it should in others.

The toast was responded to by Messrs. Root, Secord, Macoomb, Mitchell, Kerr, Benson and Clark, all of whom spoke in terms of the highest praise of the firm.

Instrumental selection by the Fonthill orchestra.

Mr. Morris proposed the “Prosperity of the Farmers,” and in introducing it said that although the past year had been full of disappointments to the farming community he could state with every assurance of being correct, that the farmers were better off as a class than their neighbors of the towns and cities. Hearty responses came from Messrs. Jacob Gainer, E.F. Moore and D.W. Page.

The Fonthill Quartette Club then rendered “The Fire Bells,” in which Miss Rines executed the solo part with grace and correctness.

Mr. Wellington proposed the “Canadian Pacific Railway,” making some stirring remarks upon the greatness of the company’s accomplishments, and referring to the line now being surveyed to the Niagara River, said he was glad to know it was coming through Fonthill, the most fertile part of Ontario.

Mr. Lumsden, civil engineer, who is in charge of a staff of engineers running a trial line in the locality, responded.

“The Dominion Government” brought Dr. J. Ferguson, M.P. for Welland, and Arthur Boyle, M.P. for Monck to their feet, both of whom made happy and appropriate remarks, dwelling with much feeling upon the harmony which existed between Messrs. Morris, Stone & Wellington and their employees.

“Dancing o’er the Waves” by the Quartette Club.

“Our Guests” was responded to by Mr. T.D. Cowper, who briefly apologized for the absence of the Hon. Mr. Harcourt, M.P.P. for Monck and Provincial Treasurer; Mr. German, Dr. Emmet, Mr. Dalton and Mr. Hobson.

At this juncture Dr. Ferguson conveyed to the assembly the regrets of Mr. McCleary, M.P.P., who was unable to be present in consequence of the death of his book-keeper, which had occurred the previous evening.

Note: FRANKS-At Thorold, on Monday, Feb. 2nd, Arthur Edwin Franks, aged 24 years.

Mr. Hobson proposed “Messrs. Morris, Stone & Wellington,” to which Messrs. Wellington and Morris responded, the former giving some interesting statistics between Canada and the United States, showing how Canada was invariably on the best side of the fence.

Mr. German proposed “The Ladies,” who were ably championed by Mr. Kinsman.

“The Press” was upheld by representatives of the Tribune and TELEGRAPH.

The singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” cheers for the Queen and the national anthem at 12.30 was the signal for dispersal, and as the vast concourse filed out of the building, the unmistakable signs of satisfaction was clearly depicted upon every countenance, and expressions of enjoyment fell from every lip.

Long may the well known firm of Morris, Stone & Wellington continue to be a benefit to the community.

  1. On 10 June 2015, Anna Said,

    Does anyone have info on who Mr. Clark is that is referred to in this article?

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