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pictures-r-4814 elections ontario 1908 crowd outside Telegram building Melinda st

Election, Ontario, 1908. Crowd in front of Telegraph Building, Melinda St.  Toronto Public Library photo archive

It’s election night in Ontario, so as I listen to the results come in over the radio, I am thinking a little bit about what elections and voting must have been like in the past. Completely abstracting from the fact that women did not have the franchise in 1908 and were not yet declared persons, I’m still keen on imagining the process of waiting for the newspaper to come out to see the results!

I can understand what is going on in the photo above, but I’m not sure what the crowds were waiting for here, meaning what kind of a presentation they might have expected:

pictures-r-4813elections ontario 1908 looking towards melinda st telegraph building

The photo is apparently from the same location, by the Telegraph Building on Melinda Street. Source: Toronto Public Library.

Incidentally, I had no idea who won the 1908 election before writing this. It turns out that it was the Ontario Conservative Party. Tonight it seems to be going the other way. No comment on politics, however! I will mention though that the Premier-elect is a woman.

Update: If you’re interested in knowing a little bit about when women got the right to vote in Canada here’s a brief article. I hadn’t realized that women had campaigned for suffrage over such a long period in Ontario (the vote was finally gained in 1917 after forty years of struggle). It was 1918 when most women gained the vote federally, although it was many years later that suffrage included some women, including aboriginal women (1960).

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