Last Trip: The Death of Alfred Bonenfant / 6: The Phone Call
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Above and below: Two photos showing cabs on the Central Post Office stand where Alfred Bonenfant was parked on the evening of June 11, 1908. He could have driven down either Sparks Street (left) or Wellington on his way to Hull. The space between the two converging bridges over the Rideau Canal (Sapper's Bridge, left, and Dufferin Bridge) was paved over in 1912 and is now part of Ottawa's Confederation Square. The post office was demolished in 1938.


Top: Post Office and bridge from Corry Building (William James Topley/Library and Archives Canada / PA-008918). Bottom: Post Office and Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ont. (Canada. Dept. of Mines & Technical Surveys / Library and Archives Canada / PA-034058). Both photos were taken after a fire in 1904 and subsequent renovations which added a storey and altered the building's roofline.

Last Trip: The Death of Alfred Bonenfant / 6

The Phone Call

At about 9:25 p.m.** on the evening of Thursday, June 11, 1908, Malcolm McMillan telephoned Mederic Landreville's stable on Albert Street and asked for a cab to pick him up right away. The call came from a "well-known resort" across the Ottawa River on the Aylmer Road. The "resort" -- code for a disreputable haven offering liquor and/or sex -- was at Tetreauville (now Val Tetreau), about 2.5 km west of Hull.

When McMillan's call came in Alfred Bonenfant was parked on the cab stand in front of Ottawa's Central Post Office, about two blocks from the stable. There was a telephone on the stand and when Bonenfant answered its ring George Boivin, the night clerk at Landreville's, gave him the trip.

A small, dark, slightly-built man with a cast in one eye, Malcolm McMillan was as mild-mannered as Bonenfant and when drunk inclined to be "jolly" and sociable.

He was "not strong" and had recently returned from the west where he had gone "for his health" -- coded phrases that to the reader of 1908 would have implied a wayward youth leading a life of dissipation.

McMillan's father had been postmaster in his home town of Finch (56 km southeast of Ottawa) and was said to be in good circumstances. This likely accounts for the fact that McMillan stayed at a downtown Ottawa hotel when not sampling the night life across the river.

** The Ottawa Citizen of Monday, June 15, 1908, p. 3, published a timeline of the events of the evening of June 12.

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