July 1, 1927 marked the sixtieth birthday of the Dominion of Canada. July 2, 1927 marked the opening of the Ferguson Highway, joining the south and the north of the Province of Ontario.
Celebrations were held to celebrate the linking of Toronto to Cochrane by road. In Toronto, one example was the"Oranges to Gold" trip for over 100 motorists from Florida.
In the north, the Temiskiming Motor League and civic groups organized the "Northern Crusade". For this account of the crusade, our thanks go to a participant, Mrs. Eva Killins of Sesekinika and to the Northern Daily News. Mrs. Killins ran the Sesekinika store, was postmistress through the 1960's and 1970's. The many friends of her family can attest to the kindness and thoughtfulness shown all with whom she had contact.
One hundred cars from Cochrane with escorts of motorcycle police were joined by the other members of the Crusade travelling to the rallying point; Richmond Hill on September 6th.
A parade of 400 cars travelledor through streets lined with cheering school children to Toronto City Hall for a welcome given by Premier G.H. Ferguson and Mayor Foster.
The Crusade moved to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, accompanied by the two dignitaries and 15 floats depicting life in the north, developments there and the great riches there.
Day One Activities:(September 6th)
Luncheon at the Georgian Room of the T. Eaton Company followed by dinner at the Crystal Room of the King Edward Hotel. Vehicles were parked in the University of Toronto grounds under police protection
Visit to the CNE where the Crusaders were admitted free and the Mayors of the northern towns were given a luncheon.
Ladies had a Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Robert Simpson Company. Then all had reserved seats for the evening performance at the CNE grandstand.
Time for shopping, followed by a boat trip on Lake Ontario aboard the S.S. Cayuga. The provincial Government entertained at a banquet that evening.
Host for the day was the City of Hamilton who provided a dinner and a tour to view Niagara Falls.
The tours and activities were planned with the CNE with the object of giving the people of Ontario a greater insight and understanding of the opportunities and material wealth of this great Northland. Each Crusader car has a red sticker and people from the north wore buttons and were greeted as a Crusader. It was reported that the people of Toronto were impressed with the 'High Class' of the Crusade cars- a higher standard than that reached by those in the capital city of the province.
The result of the visit has been described as the biggest thing that happened in years in Toronto. It was an awakening, like an ice cold shower, to the members of the south who believed that they were the only Ontarians. The facts were clearly shown to be otherwise. There WAS a Northern Ontario which provided 1200-1500 people travelling in nearly 400 cars who gave of their time, and themselves to travel 500 miles to share the common link of fellow countrymen.