The Englishmen here are much disliked, and of the Canadians in this town it can only be said that they have “manners none and customs beastly.” […] [Their] ignorance of England is astounding, and the people are always asking you if you don't think Toronto is more up-to-date? They have a lot to learn yet, I can tell you; in all the refinements of life they are years behind us. I am simply longing to be home again, and never more to see this hateful place.
These words, written by an Englishwoman ‘who recently went out to Toronto to be married’, were published in the 14 February 1907 issue of the popular British penny-weekly magazine, Pearson's Weekly.Chosen for publication as her ‘views on the country […] are so different from what one generally hears from Canada’, the editor asked, ‘What have my other Toronto readers to say?’ They had, as it turns out, much to say in response to the Englishwoman's letter. As was explained by the editor in the 7 March issue, the letter had ‘created a great deal of interest. Many letters from P.W.- ites who have been to Toronto have reached me.’ Over the next two months, extracts from 11 readers’ letters were published in the magazine.
Importantly, discussion of the Englishwoman's letter was not limited to the pages of Pearson's Weekly. In the 18 April issue, the editor commented:
A considerable amount of interest has been aroused, not only in England, but in the whole of Canada […] This week's mail has brought me some scores of letters from residents in Toronto, many of which inclose [sic] cuttings from the TORONTO GLOBE containing columns of opinions from their readers on the statements made in Pearson's Weekly.
Indeed, the letters in Pearson's Weekly had caught the attention of the Globe, a prominent Toronto newspaper. It printed some of the letters – including the original – in its 19 March issue, and asked its readers whether ‘these extracts from Pearson's Weekly fairly represent the views of recent English immigrants as to Toronto and Canada generally’.