March 11, 1917 German Scare

March 11, 1917

I had a strange visitor today. He didn’t tell me his name, but he knew mine well enough. And he knew that I knew the Park inside and out.

‘You know the Park. That’s good. We might need you there.’

I had no inkling what he was talking about.

He explained he was part of the Canadian Corp of Guides. Never heard of them.

‘A soldier on the home front’ he described himself. He went on. Since the Boer War, the Corps was providing intelligence to the Prime Minister. Borden wanted to know our capabilities, our men and material. He needed to know what to offer to the Brits. He also talked about the Germans south of the Border.


‘There’s talk of a secret airfield near Buffalo, and it’s only a matter of time that a Zeppelin comes sailing across the lake and lays devastation to downtown Toronto. Bennet is convinced that 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans are drilling in Niagara Falls, and plans are afoot to invade from New York State’

It was believable. Last year, Borden ordered a blackout on Parliament Hill when strange lights in the sky were seen heading north near Brockville. The Phantom German Air Raid, the newspapers called it.

‘We’re worried about the Germans. Real worried. Don’t know what they’re up to south of the border. Don’t know what they’re up to here in Canada either. Word is they’ll try to blow up the railways. That’s why we need you on the home front, boy!’

Now I know what he was talking about. Hundreds of trains passed through the Park each day carrying men and munitions. A well-placed bomb on a trestle would shut the entire rail. Germans in the Park. Germans from Buffalo.

That could only mean Martin Blecher.

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