By DON BUDGE (2014)
If you've ever been on the fourth floor of the Drummond Street YMCA Building in Montreal you may have noticed a grandfather clock and wondered how it got there and about the story behind it. The plaque on it says "Presented to Mr. And Mrs. D. A. Budge by members and friends of the Association in grateful recognition of 40 years of service 1874 — 1913." They were my great grandparents and the clock was a gift on the occasion of Daniel Budge's retirement. The clock was left to my grandfather and then to my father and in 1984 he and I decided to return it to the Montreal YMCA.
Who was Daniel Budge? How did he arrive at the Y and what were the highlights of his 40 years of service?
Daniel Budge's parents arrived in Canada from Caithnesshire, in northern Scotland, sometime between 1842 and 1845. His father was a blacksmith. They settled in Ontario. First in Holland Landing and later, not far away, in Newmarket. Daniel was born in 1851.
His schooling was both in Holland Landing and Newmarket where he achieved two years of Grammar School. He then took an apprentice position with a small printing company in Newmarket. Soon he was on to Toronto with another printing company where co workers introduced him to "city life". Not liking this he gladly accepted an invitation from another co worker to a Y meeting. Thus his journey of commitment to the Y movement began.
Not long after that he moved to another printing company in Port Hope and then Oshawa still active in Y meetings and in his spare time learning shorthand — a rare skill in those days. At a Y meeting in Oshawa he learned of a job vacancy for a shorthand writer for the Superintendent of the Canadian Express Company in Montreal. He applied and was accepted and, at the age of 21 in 1872, moved to Montreal. He really liked his new job particularly it's connection to the Railroads and thought of the possibility of a railway career.
He was also increasingly interested in the Y and was asked in 1873 if he would accept the position of assistant to the Secretary. He declined preferring a railway career. Early the next year he applied for the position of secretary to the Superintendent of the Intercolonial Railway. The incumbent was to lose his position due to "intemperate habits" but subsequently was given a second chance. A little later the Y came calling again this time with the offer of Secretary of the Y and he accepted in writing. At the very same time he was offered the railway job as the second chance didn't work out. He rushed to the post office to withdraw his acceptance to the Y but was too late. He really wanted the railway job but in good conscience couldn't renege on his Y commitment.
Had he accepted the railway job, with his business acumen and sound judgement, many believe he could have become the President of a large railway. Maybe a capitalist, a millionaire. It is noteworthy that his confrere, a stenographer, employed in the railway at the time eventually earned $75,000/year to lead an American railroad. But Daniel Budge preferred to devote his life to young men. His wealth was to be measured by the impact he had on a multitude of young people in Montreal, in Canada and beyond.
In 1874 the Montreal Y was a well established organization with a new "state of art" building on Victoria Square. Daniel Budge was the only employee, and the only one of ten in North America, but supported by a very strong group of young businessmen. Initially focus was on membership to take advantage of the facilities offered in the new building. Membership doubled by 1876; fees were $1.00/year. Teaching of shorthand, bookkeeping and French were started as well as a course for assistant secretaries interested in Association work. All this was the beginning of Educational Work. On Friday nights meetings especially for boys began – the start of Boys Work. A little later there were meetings for railway men in Point St. Charles which began a very important connection to the railways. The Association's Employment Committee found jobs for many and the Boarding Committee rooms for others. Many men never forgot the help given to them by the Association.
Bible classes were initiated on Sunday afternoons. Personally led by Daniel Budge and which he continued throughout his Y career believing that this was the best single method to achieve the Associations fundamental purpose. At his funeral it was said "That to lead men to Christ was his hobby – what a hobby!" He thrived on making the initial contact with men coming to the Association not only to join but because of a variety of personal needs. Wisely he conceived his function to be training committee men and other volunteers who could undertake the follow through of contacts he made. He had a genius for linking a young man in need with another in a position to help.
But all was not roses. Montreal and Canada in the 1870's was in a period of serious financial depression. There were many business failures and much personal hardship and it was necessary to establish free public soup kitchens. The Y had a debt of $25,000 due to their new building, and added costs increasing their annual expense budget to $6,000. Payment of bills had to be delayed and salaries ran behind. Daniel Budge, newly married, had great difficulty meeting his living expenses, but despite a tempting job offer, chose "to fight it out hopeful that we would win in the end". They did but it was not until 1882 that the debt was finally paid off. By then, with the popularity of the Y and it's programs ever increasing and the lack of a gym for Physical Work, discussions began on the need for larger facilities.
The preferred destination was up town possibly Dominion Square and a lot which housed the Crystal Rink and now the Sun Life Building at the corner of Metcalfe and Rene Levesque was purchased. And in 1892 after many challenges the Dominion Square YMCA building was opened. This was only possible due to the success of the Montreal Y under Daniel Budge's leadership. He had an obsession for personal contacts with individuals whether they needed help or could offer help. He spent little time in his office preferring to visit others in their office and he made many calls to the most influential people in Montreal. Ultimately the funding challenges were met as was the need for recruiting key volunteers.
Finally the Montreal Y had a gym. Very timely too because a year earlier the game of basketball was invented. By the mid 1880's training of future Y physical education directors was established and promising candidates were encouraged to further their schooling at Springfield College in Massachusetts. In July 1890 Daniel Budge sent a letter of recommendation for James Naismith, a McGill graduate, a Canadian and Y member, for acceptance at the school. The next year Naismith invented the game of basketball requiring speed and accuracy. It was his idea of a winter activity to compliment the summer game of football but played in a gym.
Two noteworthy accomplishments in the twenty year period 1892 - 1912 are worth mentioning. One is the founding of the Railway Y's. The incentive was obviously to spread the Y word but also recognition of the need for railway men for a better alternative to the temptations of "city life". In 1896 Daniel Budge was asked by the Grand Truck Railway to visit divisional points and report on opportunities for Y work. Three years later facilities at Point St. Charles were provided for meetings, games and lectures as well as "lay over" beds for railway men. In time fourteen divisional points in their system had similar facilities. Sir Wm. Van Horne noticed the success of the Y work at the GTR and asked Daniel Budge in 1904 to visit and report on the possibilities at divisional points of the CPR. Soon after the Revelstoke, B.C. location was established, the first of a total of eleven points in their system.
No less noteworthy was his trip in 1904 to Australia and New Zealand with Mrs Budge. This trip was at the request of the International Committee of the YMCA for the purpose of reconstructing the whole work of the Y's in those countries. He found the student movements thriving but the stewardship at higher levels lacking. Both countries lacked a General Secretary. Daniel Budge's extensive Y work experiences were crucial to laying the foundation of the policies and work of the Associations in those countries. He returned in 1906 where, in Wellington N.Z., he wanted to start a building campaign. He had some financial support from the Board but wanted an outsider's gift of 1,000 pounds. With a letter of introduction from John R. Mott of the International Committee he met with Archdeacon Williams of Hawkes Bay, N.Z. They spoke of everything Y except money. The next day he received 1,000 pounds for Wellington and 1,000 pounds for each of Christchurch and Dunedin!
In the late 1890's and early 1900's the work of the Montreal Association progressed rapidly. More space was required and northern and western branches were needed due to the difficulty of young men reaching the central branch in a growing city. So when the Sun Life Insurance Company offered $250,000 for the Dominion Square YMCA Building it was accepted and a residential property on Drummond Street was purchased for $60,000. And in 1912 the original YMCA Building on Drummond Street was opened. Coinciding with this move was the opening of the Westmount Branch and the North End Branch. In total these three branches were valued at $750,000. Now, along with the Point St. Charles and College Branches, The Metropolitan Montreal YMCA was well equipped. Almost no debt too. Quite an accomplishment.
Early in 1913 Daniel Budge resigned as General Secretary. It was time for "a young man to lead". Reluctantly the Board accepted but created the position of Consulting Secretary so that his counsel would be available to the Association and the community. In 1916 he accepted the position of Headquarters Secretary of the Canadian YMCA in London, England to work with Canadian soldiers. He and Mrs Budge lived there for almost three years. Upon their return he continued to work with young men as well as to lend his hand to the organizers of many financial campaigns not only for the Y but for Hospitals, the Presbyterian Church, the Red Cross, McGill and many other good causes.
Daniel Budge died, at age 82, in 1933 leaving seven children and eighteen grandchildren.
When, in 1874, Daniel Budge became Secretary of the Montreal YMCA he was only 23 with little experience. Undoubtedly the Association made Daniel Budge but no less did he help make the Association. For almost two generations the character of the Montreal YMCA was thought in terms of who Daniel Budge was. If there were to be just one picture of Daniel Budge it would be with his hand out greeting a young man and with his arm around the shoulders of another offering encouragement.
Avis de droit d'auteur
Le présent site Web et son contenu sont protégés par la législation canadienne sur le droit d’auteur. À moins d’indication contraire prévue dans la loi canadienne sur le droit d’auteur, ce site Web et son contenu ne peuvent être copiés, publiés, diffusés, téléchargés ou autrement conservés dans un système de recherche, transmis ou convertis, sous quelque forme ou par quelque moyen que ce soit (électronique ou autre) sans l’autorisation écrite du détenteur du droit d’auteur.
Le texte original a été converti au moyen d'un logiciel de reconnaissance de caractères (OCR). De légères erreurs peuvent en découler.
ASSOCIATION DU LAC DES ÎLES D'ENTRELACS
46 chemin du lac Violon
Entrelacs (Québec) J0T 2E0
HISTOIRE DE L'ADLIE
SPORTS ET PASSE TEMPS
NAVIGATION DE PLAISANCE
SUR LE SITE