Origin: Keith Walden, “Becoming Modern in Toronto: The Industrial Exhibition and the shaping of Late Victorian Culture” (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) pp 314-315.
As historian Keith Walden has pointed out, the most serious deficiency in city services was accommodation.
The luckiest visitors could rely on friends and relatives, though strains in private homes at exhibition time were a constant source of comment.
Light-hearted ditties on the tribulations of hosting, such as “Why Ma is Going Batty” and “The Advantages of Country Cousins” filled the press:
They came from prairies and from thickets,
They swooped on me from near and far;
I bought them ice cream, bought them tickets,
And paid their fares on boat and car.
I gave them all my house afforded,
I even gave them up my bed,
The little stores that I had hoarded
Were yielded that they might be fed.
Images of houses exploding with people, and weary home owners stretched out on sofas or kitchen tables (such as the cartoon above) were standard cartoon fare.