Big Cheese. Last Duel.
This will be your travelog for the day, courtesy of my son, who visited the Perth Museum in Ontario and brought back this report. It's a museum of gentle proportion.
The flagship display, so to speak, comprises photos and documents related to the creation, display, and eventual disposition of the Mammoth Cheese pictured here. It was made for the 1893 World Expo. It took 207,200 pounds of milk, one day's milk from 10,000 cows. It was six feet high and 28 feet in circumference.When the cheese was fully packed, its shipping weight was 26,000 pounds (13 tons).
Dr. J. A. Ruddick who as a member of the staff of the Commissioner of Dairying and Agriculture, supervised the work of collecting the curd from the various factories and pressing it into the Mammoth Cheese. He wrote:
"The arrival of the cheese at the Exposition caused some surprise and astonishment on the part of officials. It excited other emotions when it crashed through the floor of the building while it was being moved from the car to the space prepared for it. The language of the officials who came around the next morning was rather lurid, to say the least.The cheese was bought and sent to England, but then was declared to have gone bad (after all its travels I'm not surprised).
"Although due to the stupidity of the men in charge of the moving, the crashing of the floor was the very thing which opened the flood gates of publicity, and publicity for the Canadian cheese industry was the only reason for the cheese being there. It was more talked about and more written up in the newspapers than any other single exhibit at the Fair. Accounts of it appeared with illustrations even in European papers. I have a large scrap book filled with newspaper clippings, illustrations, cartoons, etc. all referring to the cheese."
A replica, in concrete, of the cheese was unveiled in 1943 and placed on a pedestal on the grounds of the Canadian Pacific Railway adjacent to the Perth railway station.
Well, after all that - the last remaining piece of the Mammoth Cheese is on exhibit at the Perth Musem in Lanark, Canada. My son took this picture of it. Impressive, eh?
How they made the cheese (in case you want to try); more on the cheese here and here; and here's a site devoted to big things in Ontario.
In addition to all the exciting cheese artifacts at the Perth museum, there is a curling stone on display. My son did not bring me a picture of the Perth curling stone, but this one is, I imagine, somewhat similar.
And finally, they have a collection of artifacts (including fatal love letters) and the pistols used in the "Last Fatal Duel" in Upper Canada (1833).
John Wilson and Robert Lyon fought for the love of Elizabeth Hughes. After being shot twice, Lyon died. Wilson and his second were arrested for murder but were found not guilty by a jury. Wilson married Elizabeth and they had three children together. Wilson went on to become a successful lawyer, judge and Member of Parliament.
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