Steele Collection, Harwood Steele sketch


Steele Collection, Harwood Steele sketch


Harwood Steele's sketch of his father's stand on the bridge during the CPR riot (date unknown)


Bruce Peel Special Collections


Sketch illustrates the CPR strike scene from Forty Years in Canada that is transcribed below:

I rushed out, calling upon Mr. Johnston to get the Riot Act and come with me. Seizing the Winchester rifle from the constable on guard at the gaol, I ran to the bridge, and as the crowd was on the point of making a rush on to it, I covered them with the rifle and called upon them to halt or I would fire. They answered with curses and cries of ‘Look at the _____ ; his  own death-bed makes no difference to him!” but they halted. In the meantime the prisoner was struggling fiercely with the men who had him, but half-way across Walters raised his huge fist and struck him over the temple, and with Craig trailed him by the collar, as insensible as a rag. As the woman passed screaming, “You read coated ----------!” I said “Take her in too!” and went forward over the bridge to the crowd.

By this time Johnston had joined me with the Riot Act, which he had to get to by kicking the orderly-room door open, the key being with Constable Fane, who was busy in the riot, and we stood together before the rioters. Johnston opened the book, ad I said, “Listen to this, and keep your hands off your guns, or I will shoot the first man of you who makes a hostile movement.” Johnston then read the Riot Act, and when he had finished I said, “You have taken advantage of the fact that a rebellion has broken out in the north west and that I have only a handful of men, but, as desperate diseases require desperate remedies, and both disease and remedy are here, I warn you that if I find more than twelve of you standing together or any large crowd assembled I will open fire upon you and mow you down! By this time a considerable number of engineers, respectable merchants and contractors, all well armed, had assembled at the barracks to back me up. The eight Mounted Police stood at the head of the bridge under Fury with magazines charged, ready to act when needed. Johnston and I remained where we were until the rioters had dispersed and then sent the man whom Fury had wounded to the hospital for treatmentfrom the C.P.R. doctors. Mr. Ross was very kind to him.

Forty Years in Canada, 199-200

Original Format

Pencil sketch on paper





“Steele Collection, Harwood Steele sketch,” Bruce Peel Special Collections Library Online Exhibits, accessed September 26, 2023,

Output Formats