In November 1914, the Toronto Daily Star published a long description of Exhibition Camp, concluding that it was “Trim, plain and wholesome. No luxuries — but luxuries are not in the training of men who are eager for the nearing day, when hardy and hearty, they are off to the front.”(1)
The “bigger and loftier buildings” were used as drill halls, “owing to the difficulty of heating them,” but the brick buildings “of sturdier make” were heated with coal stoves. “Seen stripped of their mattresses and blankets, these bunks look like huge packing cases made of slats.”
When occupied, the bunks presented “a fine sight:”
Blankets neatly folded, garments and kit-bags hanging on rails on the buns, and each man’s rifle neatly racked beside his pillow. … The rooms are scrupulously clean. The wash-rooms are furnished simply with long two-sided troughs, a tap for every two men, and towels numerous.
“So the 2500 men are comfortable and as busy and contented as bees. They are up at 6 a.m., have breakfast at 7:15, drill at 9; lunch at one, supper at six, lights out at 10:15 p.m … And it would do the heart of many a finger-weary knitter good to see a squad of two hundred men drilling, in the cold, fresh wind off the lake, wearing their Balaclava caps.”
(1) Quotations are taken from a post dated November 7, 2014 at backtothepark.wordpress.com
(2) From the CNE’s Heritage Gallery
(3) This image, shown in the blog cited above, is a lantern slide from the City of Toronto Archives.