Last Trip: The Death of Alfred Bonenfant / 25: Rumours
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Cab owners who had the means to do so kept sleighs in addition to wheeled carriages for use as cabs in the winter. Street cabs (like Alfred Bonenfant's) which were licensed to pick up fares from a stand or in the street had to display a license number. The number would be transferred from a carriage to a sleigh and vice versa as the seasons changed.


Jewel & Hinton's Cab Sleigh, Ottawa (Ontario), December 29, 1910 (Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, 995-1-9-27a). Photo by Reginald Symonds Timmis (1884-1968) "Shows Jewell & Hinton sleigh in front of J. Templeman, Centre Town Livery Stables."

Last Trip: The Death of Alfred Bonenfant / 26


As a result of the initial newspaper reports George Duncan and Louis Boileau came forward with the missing piece of the puzzle. Detective O'Meara and Sheriff Wright could now put together an almost minute-by-minute reconstruction of Alfred Bonenfant's movements on Thursday night.

However, as garbled versions of the story began to circulate the mere possibility that Bonenfant might have been murdered came to be accepted as fact. The dispatch printed by the Manitoba Free Press and other newspapers is an example of how the truth was distorted.

The reports also produced a sensational red herring. Alfred Nadon told the police that he had been walking along Rue Principale on Thursday night when he saw a violent argument between a cab driver and two other men.

As he walked by on the opposite side of the street Nadon's view was blocked by the parked cab but he was sure that he saw a raised arm swinging a beer bottle after which one of the men fell to the sidewalk. Not wishing to become involved in a drunken brawl Nadon proceeded on his way.

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