Mystery at the Aldergrove Museum

Were 1911 Aldergrove hotel guests posing as PM Laurier and Opposition leader Borden?

FILE IMAGE: Page of the Hotel Western Home guest register showing guest names “Sir Wilfrid Laurier” and “R L Borden” signing in on 24 February 1911.

Thursday evening’s Alder Grove Heritage Society community meeting heard discussion regarding the Guest Register for the Western Home Hotel, and that Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then the Prime Minister of Canada, had stayed at the hotel.

On Friday, AGHS secretary Tami Quiring dug out the reproduction copy of the Guest Register to see exactly when Sir Laurier had stayed at the hotel. Finding a date of 24 February 1911, and noting with surprise that the guest immediately after Sir Laurier’s signature was R.L. Borden, Quiring turned to the newspapers of the time to find out why our Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were traveling together through our town.

“I found no articles. None. Not one,” said Quiring.

Next point of research was their respective signatures. The signatures in the guest book do not match with the historically verified signatures of either man. The signature for R. L. Borden could be deemed close, but there are too many differences to allow for verification.

Next point of research was the minute books for the House of Commons on the date in question. Both Sir Laurier and Mr. Borden did indeed attend debates on the afternoon/evening of Friday 24 February 1911.

“Disappointing to say the least, but then that opens the door to the mystery of who was impersonating our Prime Minister and his political rival? Why were they impersonating them? What other frauds were committed upon the residents of our little town by these two grifters?” asked Quiring.

A cluster of mysteries that are not likely to ever be solved, but definitely interesting.

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Authenticated letter from Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden. Source: Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. - Document Dealers

Authenticated letter from Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier. Source: Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. - Document Dealers

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