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1 2 3 








: -3 


Toronto of Old.- 





\^E CAi'liWi- OK O.VTARId, 



(.AMON OF :vr. Jamkh-, Toronto, 

T OK ON T O ; 

WILLING & VV i L L I .\ Mjs X. 

1 8-/8. 


: ^M' 



Toronto of Old: 


% ; ^Mt 



By henry SCADDING, D.D., 

Canon of St. James', Toronto. 

, 1878. 


Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year One Thou- 
sand Eight Hundred and Seventy-three, by Aoam, Stevenson & Co i„ 
the office of the Minister of Agriculture. 


Hunter, Rose & Co.,' 
Printers, Stereotypers and Bookbinders, 

One Thou- 
^ 8c Co., in 



^t dEarl of iufferin, i.C-i-, 





C^is ^ohmt, 


(bv permission graciously given,) 



Chid Justice Osgoode. (Steel Engravini:) ProntJpS 

Russell Abbey 


York in ISC'? 

Fish Market, i8io 

^ 50 

Site of old Fort, Toronto 

York in 1813 

Upper Canada College in 1830 

First Methodist Church . . 


King Street in 18-14 .... 

•^ lOI 

William Lyon Mackenzie 


Governor Simcoe 

- 237 

Right Hon. Henry Dundas . . 


Sir George Yonge ^ 

Toronto Harbour in 1793 „ 

'^ ■ .544 

Map of Toronto in 1878 


i^pmom 9f m (Bn0»k ^^xm. 

From the " Saturdav Review," London.,on regarding the early history and actual monuments of a place which 
has r sen within a century, from the rank of a French tradin-^-post to that of a 

?C"he first T '■ r^y,''^--*--*- "f ^'o'""-! Hfe in its various stages 
I'nll; ^"'.:;^7r*' V"° "^^^ ""'*'™''" '•""" *° '^' combination of old world 
,^v.hzat.on with the abundance and the roominess of a new country, which 
characterizes Canada and Australia at present. 

From "The Aoauemy," London, 

it ha," ^^^Tl ^ ^'1 ^"'" '^" "^' °^ '^'' flourishing Canadian City (Toronto.) 
It has afforded ample material for a very interesting book, by one who is evi- 
dently possessed m a high degree with a love of historical research. To the 
true student of history it makes little difference whether the events in which 
he 18 interested took place in far remote or in recent times. The methods by 
which truth 18 to be picked out from falsehood are the same, whether he is 
dealing with Greek Republics, medieval countships, or the cities of the New 
Worid. Ihe same plodding industry is required, the same temptations against 
vapid generahzation and sensation paragraph writing have to be overcome. Dr 
Scaddmg has avoided both these pitfalls, and a most useful and amusing book 
has been the consequence. We have not. as is too common in transatlantic 
literature, weary discussions in insoluble questions of ethnology, but instead 
thereof a carefully compiled history of what we, writing for EngUshmen, must 
call a very modem city. . . . The. writer has a warm affection for the old 
country and the old country's language, which we are glad to see. A pleasant 
sounding Old English word, such as reeve, warden, provost, <«• recorder, evidently 
cheers him, as the flowers we have loved in childhood cheer us when we meet 
them mold age far, far away from home. . . The Canadians, as a people 
seem to share Dr. Scadding's conservative love for things English The record 
of the grants of land from the beginning of the oi^anization of Upper Canada 
to the present time is called Z>rHnc«rfa3/-£oo/t. . 

FROM THE " Spectator," (London, England). 

Not quite two centuries ago, the name of " Toronto " was probably first known 
to Europeans as that of a portage on Lake Ontario, the exact locality of which 
was not very clearly defined, the head quarters of Wyandot or Huron Indians 
a mere pass through which French Agents made their way in their trading ex- 
peditions, but where no buildings of any kind at that time existed; yet, already 



•I) rapid Ih tht) couniu uf proKreiM and iiinovution, that ubauure Hpot ban become 
flu uiodeniiHed a city, that it haH been fimnd iieueHxary tu collect into a volume 
the triMHtions of itii local paMt, and the recollections of itH primitive life and 
mannerx, in order to prevent them from entirely fiwling away. Dr. Soadding — 
hiniit»ilf, aH he nays, identified from Imyhood with Toronto— has devoted him- 
Helf lovingly to this task ; and if in hia zeal to procure every record of a pant 
which, to others, aa well aH himuelf, muat be full of interest, he has exceeded 
the limits to which he intended to confine himself, and produced a book of p<>n- 
derous dimensions and elaborate research, his painstaking investigations will b« 
ikppreciatml by all who care to follow the rise and progress of one of the most 
important nuttlements of the old lands beyond the sea. ... In his account 
of Toronto of old, while disclaiming all intention of writing a history, Dr. Scad- 
ding proceeds to describe street by street, and, as it were, to reconstruct and 
rcpeople for us the old Canadian town. As he walks along he (Kiints with his 
wand to some particular building, and forthwith a civic notability, a learned 
divine, a man of science, or mayhap a, personage of much humbler position, 
stands forth in the garb and manners of his time, appropriately surrounded by 
the (luaint edifices which occupied the places of the handsome modern erections 
which have supplanted them. . . . One of the most picturesque as well as 
interesting pieces of description in Dr. Scadding's book is his account of the 
Valley of the Don, with its quaint bridges, its mills, its pine groves, its sal- 
mon-fishing by night, its scattered country residences, and the birds and 
beasts of various kinds to be found there. But we have not time to glance 
at any more of the contents of this carefully-written and closely printed volume. 
Suffice it to say, that those, and they are many, who from residence in or 
connection with Canada, take an interest in its second capital, and desire to 
trace it from its cradle to its present state of prosperity, will find in Dr. Scad- 
ding's pages a mass of material from which they may gather all the informa- 
tion which they can possibly desire. 

From the " Guaudian" (London, England). 

* ' ' Our space does not allow us to do more than commend the volume to 
the favourable notice of our readers, by referring to a few names and incidentin 
which we have noted in looking through its pages, and which may prove that 
it treats of other than local celebrities and achievements. We are reminded by 
the mention of Thomas Moore, that Toronto enjoys the advantage of proximity 
to the world-wonder of the Falls of Niagara, and thus attracts to itself, as a 
convenient starting-point at least, many of those who desire to gaze on a spec- 
tacle which has been very happily characterized as " the sublimity of motion." 
Had it not been for Niagara, Moore would probably never have visited the 
inland waters of the west— 

" Where the blue hills of old Toronto shed 
Their evening shadows o'er Untario'8 bed." 

Of the accomplished Mrs. Jameson we find many interesting notices, as in the 
course of his tK)pograpical description, the author arrives at the dwelling long 



ocCTipied by her huiiband, who Hlled in wacceMlon the officeii of Attorney-Gene, 
ral and Vice-ChancoUor of Upper Canada. ... We conffratnlate the 
author on the gucceHHfiil ePort which he hnM made, in a new country, to 'jonnect 
the present with the past, even so far an to lead ()anmlian« of the present 
generaUon to look with «ynipathy and reN|>ect to the pioneerH of the oivilijiation 
which they inherit ; we are asHured, moreover, from the tone of the book 
throughout, that the aim of the author hati been yet higher and nobler ; that 
he regardH thene " pilgrim fatherH " aM the children of Britinh homeH ; and that 
he would trace to the influencuH of that home their intellectual and moral 
»oit to labour so succeHsfully as they did for the benefit of their posterity. 

ERRATA in ' u. 3n to those noted at p. SCO. 

p. 5, J. 22, for in read into ; ^. 25, 1. 25, for Eastward read Westward ; p. 71, 
1. 19, for aoes r^ad arcs ; p. 58, 1. 29, read indispensable ; p. 95, 1. 37, for oppo. 
site of read same as ; p. 127, 1. 14, for Lincoln reatl Peterborough (also in Index) ; 
p. 150, 1. 1, for protoplasm read inception (without quotation marks) ; p. 16G, 1. 
18, for Moore read More ; p. 179, 1. 7, for 184f) read IS4I; p. 325, 1. 27, for should 
read would; p. 373, 1. 14, for plaisaunee read pleasannce ; p. 392, 1. 19, for Thf 
first read At first ; p. 406, 1. 2, for in read on ; p. 406, 1. 21, for Wethcrell read 
Withrow; p. 417, 1. 28, after was insert of; p. 426, 1. 27, for Warren veaA 
Aug^istus; p. 559, 1. 24, substitute comma for period after Don ; p. 560, 1. 17, 
dcte quotation marks ; p. 572, 1. 8, for 1ms read had. The lines at p. 231 are by 
John Macdonald, Esq., M.P. for Toronto. 


T IS singular that the elder Disraeli has not included in 
his " Curiosities of Literature" a chapter on Books 
originating in Accident. It is exactly the kind of 
topic we might have expected him to discuss, in his 
usual pleasant manner. Of such productions there 
IS doubtless somewhere a record. Whenever it shall be 
discovered, the volume here presented to the reader must 
be added to the list. A few years since, when preparing for a local 
periodical a paper of "Early Notices of Toronto," the writer 
little imagined what the sheets then under his hand would finally 
^1° V u ^^^ expectation at the time simply was, that the article on 
which he was at work would assist as a minute scintilla in one of 
those monthly meteoric showers of miscellaneous light literature 
with which the age is so familiar ; that it would engage, perhaps, the 
attention for a kv, moments of a chance gazer here and there, and 
then vanisn m the usual way. But on a subsequent revision, the 
subject thus casually taken up seemed capable of being more fully 
handled. Two or three friends, moreover, had expressed a regret 
that to the memoranda given, gathered chiefly from early French 
documents, there had not been added some of the more recent 
floating folklore of the commiinity, some of the homely table-talk of 
the older people of the place; such of the mixed traditions, in 
short, of the local Past of Toronto as might seem of value as illus- 
trations of primitive colonial life and manners. It was urged, like- 
wise, in several quarters, that if something in this direction ' were 
not speedily done, the men of the next generation would be left 



irremediaWy ignorant of a multitude of minute particulars relating 
to their immediate predecessors, and the peculiar conditions under 
which were so bravely executed the many labours whereby for pos- 
terity the path onward has been made smooth. For many years 
the writer had quietly concerned himself with such matters. Iden- 
tified with Toronto from boyhood, to him the long, str'i'ightwaysof 
the place nowhere presented barren, monotonous vistas. To him 
innumerable objects and sites on the right hand and on the left, in 
almost every quarter, called up reminiscences, the growth partly of 
his own experience and observation, and partly the residuum of 
discourse with others, all invested with a certain degree of rational, 
human interest, as it seemed to him. But still, that he was some- 
time to be the compiler of an elaborate volume on the subject 
never seriously entered his thoughts. Having, however, as was 
narrated, onre tapped the vein, he was led step by step to further 
explorations, until the result was reached which the reader has now 
placed before him. 

By inspection it will be seen that the plan pursued was to pro- 
ceed rather deliberately through the principal thoroughfares, noticing 
persons and incidents of former days, as suggested by buildings 
and situations in the order in which they were severally seen ; rely- 
ing in the first instance on personal recollections for the most part, 
and then attaching to every coigne of vantage such relevant informa- 
tion as could be additionally gathered from coevals and seniors, or 
gleaned from such literary relics, in print or manuscript of an early 
date, as could be secured. Here and there, brief digressions into 
adjacent streets were made, when a house or the scene of an inci- 
dent chanced to draw the supposed pilgrim aside. The perambu- 
lation of Yonge Street was extended to the Holland Landing, and 
even to Penetanguishene, the whole line of that lengthy route 
presenting points more or less noteworthy at short intervals. 
Finally a chapter on the Marine of the Harbour was decided on, 
the boats and vessels of the place, their owaers and commanders, 
entering, as is natural, so largely into the retrospect of the inhabi- 
tants of a Port. 

Although the imposing bulk of the volume may look like evi- 
dence to the contrary, it has been our ambition all along not to 
incur the reproach of prolixity. We have endeavoured to express 
whatever we had to say as concisely as we could. Several narra- 
tives have been disregarded which probably, in some quarters, 

^Preface. yjj 

will be sought for here. But while anxious to present as varied 
and mmute a picture as possible of the local Past, we considered 
It inexpedient to chronicle anything that was unduly trivial. Thus 
If we have not succeeded in being everywhere piquant, we trust we 
Shall be found nowhere unpardonably dull : an achievement of 
some merit, surely, when our material, comprising nothing that was 
exceptionally romantic or very grandly heroic, is considered. And 
a first step has, as we conceive, been taken towards generating for 
Toronto, for many of its streets and byways, for many of its nooks 
and corners, and its neighbourhood generally, a certain modicum 
of that charm which, springing from association and popular legend 
so delightfully invests, to the prepared and sensitive mind, even^ 
square rood of the old lands beyond the sea. 

It will be proper, after all, however, perhaps to observe, that the 
reader who expects to find in this book a formal histo.y of even 
Toronto of Old, will be disappointed. It was no part of the 
writer's design to furnish a narrative of every local event occurring 
m the periods referred to, with chronological digests, statistical 
tables, and catalogues exhibiting in full the Christian names and 
surnames of all the first occupants of lots. For such information 
recourse must be had to the offices of the several public function- 
aries, municipal and provincial, where whole volumes in folio, 
filled with the desired particulars, will be found. 

We have next gratefully to record our obligations to those who 
during the composition of the following pages encouraged the 
undertaking in various ways. Especial thanks are due to the 
Association of Pioneers, whose names are given in detail in the 
Appendix, and who did the writer the honour of appointing him 
their Historiographer. Before assemblages more or less numerous, 
of this body, large abstracts of the Collections and Recollections 
here permanently garnered, were read and discussed. Several of 
the members of this society, moreover, gave special siances at their 
respective homes for the purpose of listening to portions of the 
same. Those who were so kind as to be at the trouble of doing 
this were the Hon. W. P. Howland, C. B., Lieutenant-Governor; 
the Rev. Dr. Richardson ; Mr. J. G. Worts (twice); Mr. R. H. Gates • 
Mr. James Stitt; Mr. J. T. Smith; Mr. W. B. Phipps (twice).- 
The Canadian Institute, by permitting the publication in its Jour- 
nal of successive instalments of these papers, contributed materi- 
ally to the furtherance of the work, as without the preparation for 



the press from rime to time which was thus necessitated, it is pos- 
sible the volume itself, as a completed whole, would never have 
appeared. To the following gentlemen we are indebted for the 
use of papers or books, for obliging replies to queries, and for 
items of information otherwise communicated :— Mr. W. H. Lee 
of Ottawa; Judge Jarvis of Cornwall; Mr. T. J. Preston of York - 
ville ; Mr. W. Helliwell of the Highland Creek ; the late CoL G. 
'T. Denison of Rusholme, Toronto ; Mr. M. F. Whitehead of Port 
Hope ; Mr. Devine of the Crown Lands Department ; Mr. H. J. 
Jones of the same Department ; Mr. Russel Inglis of Toronto ; 
Mr. J. G. Howard of Toronto ; the Rev. J. Carry of Holland 
Landing ; Major McLeod of Drynoch ; the Rev. George Hallen 
of Penetanguishene ; the Ven. Archdeacon Fuller, of Toronto ; 
Mr. G. A. Barber, of Toronto ; Mr. J. T. Kerby, of Niagara ';. 
the Rev. Saltern Givins of Yorkville ; the Rev. A. Sanson of To- 
ronto ; the Rev. Dr. McMurray of Niagara ; the Rev. Adam Elliott 
of Tuscarora ; Mr. H. J. Morse of Toronto ; Mr. W. Kirby of 
Niagara; Mr. Morgan Baldwin of Toronto; Mr. J. McEwan 
of Sandwich; Mr. W. D. Campbell of Quebec; Mr. T. Cot- 
trill Clarke of Philadelphia.— Mrs. Cassidy of Toronto kindly 
allowed the use of two (now rare) volumes, published in 1765, by 
her near kinsman, Major Robert Rogers. Through Mr. Homer 
Dixon of the Homewood, Toronto, a long loan of the earliest edi- 
tion of the first Gazetteer of Upper Canada was procured from the 
library of the Young Men's Christian Association of Toronto.— 
The Rev. Dr. Ryerson, Chief Superintendent of Education, and 
Dr. Hodgins, Deputy Superintendent, courteously permitted an 
unrestricted access to the Departmental Library, rich in works of 
special value to any one prosecuting researches in early Canadian 
history. To Mr. G. Mercer Adam we are much beholden for a 
careful, friendly interest taken in the typographical execution and 
fair appearance generally of the volume. 

The two portraits which, in no mere conventional sense, enrich 
the work, were engraved from miniatures very artistically drawn for 
the purpose, from original paintings never before copied, in the 
possession of Capt. J. K. Simcoe, R. N., of Wolford, in the County 
of Devon. 

The circulation to be expected for a book like the present must 
be chiefly local. Nevertheless, it is to be presumed that there are 
persons scattered up ind down in various parts of Canada and the 



United States, who. having been at some period of their lives farai- 
har with Toronto, and retaining still a kindly regard for the place 
will like to possess such a memorial of it in the olden time as is 
he e offered. And even in the old home-countries across the 
Atlantic-England, Scotland and Ireland-there are probably 
members of m.htaiy and other families once resident at Toronto 
o whom such a reminder of pleasant hours, as it is hoped, passed 
there, mil not be unacceptable. For similar reasons the book 
were its existence known, would be welcome here and there in 

EngUnd ' ^''' ^''^"'^' '""^ '''^'' '°^°"^'' '""* ''"^""^'"^^ °^ 
In an attempt to narrate so many particulars of time, place, per- 
son and circumstance, it can scarcely be hoped that eLs have 

IZ^t'^^'^f \ " """*'^ ^''^^'^ ^^^* any that may be 
detected will be adverted to with kindness and charity, and not in 

a carping tone Unfairly, sometimes, a slip discovered, however tri- 


m respect of which complete accuracy has been secured, at the cost 

of much pamstaking. Conscious that our aim throughout has been 
o be as minutely correct as possible, we ask for consideration in 
T'':?i: "" 7^'" '"^'^^ "^"^*y ^^^^^ ^" perhaps be notLS 
hut A ,T'k' °'' '^" '"'^^" ^"^ °*- — i« to be at"' 
WhUe heV rr ^^""•^-'"•ty - the documents consulted. 

While the forms which we ourselves prefer will be readily discerned, 
u was not judged advisable everywhere to insist on them. 

10 Trinity Square, Toronto, 
June 4th, 1873. 







I.— Palace Street to the Market Place, 
II.— Front Street : from the Market Place to Brock 


III.— From Brock Street to the Old French Fort, 
IV.— From the Garrison back to the place of beginning, 
V — King Street : From John Street to Yonge Street, . 
" From Yonge Street to Church Street 

" Digression Southwards at Church 

Street : Market Lane, 
" St. James' Church, . 

" Continued, . 





XI — 



" Digression northward at Church 

Street : the Old District Gram- 
mar School, 
" From Church Street to George St., 

" Digression into Duke Street, 

" From George Street to Caroline 

Street, .... 
" . From Caroline Street to Berkeley 
Street, . 

XVI.— From Berkeley Street to the Bridge and across it 
XVII.— The Valley of the Don : 

(i). From the Bridge on the Kingston Road 
to Tyler's, .... 
(2;. From Tyler's to the Big Bend, . 
(3). From the Big Bend to Castle Frank 
Brook, • . . . 

C4). Castle Frank, .... 
(S). On to the Ford and the MiUs, . 















Sect. XVIIL- 

« XIX.- 

« XX.- 

" XXI.- 

« XXII.- 

" XXIII.- 

« XXIV. 
" XXV.— 

« XXVI.— 

" XXVII.— 


« XXX. 

" XXXI. 


Queen Street : from the Don Bridge to Caroline 
Street, ..... 

" Digression at Caroline Street : His- 

tory of the Early Press, 
" From George Street to Yonge St. 

Memories of the Old Court House 
« From Yonge Street to College 

Digression Southward at Bay St., 
Osgoode Hall, 

Digression Northward at the Col- 
lege Avenue, 
" From the College Avenue to Brock 

Street and Spadina Avenue, . 
" From Brodc Street and Spadina 

Avenue to the Humber, . 
-Yonge Street : From the Bay to Yorkville, 

" From Yorkville to Hogg's Hollow, 

" From Hogg's Hollow to Bond's 

Lake, .... 
" From Bond's Lake to the Holland 

Landing, with Digressions to 
Newmarket and Sharon, 
Onward, from Holland Landing to 
Penetanguishene, . 
Its Marine, i793-99> 
do. 1800-14, 

do. 1815-27, • . 

do. 1828-63, 

— The Harbour 

— Do. 

— Do. 












N French colonial documents of a very respectable 
antiquity, we meet with the name Toronto again and 
agam. It is given as an appellation that is well- 
known, and its form in the greater number of in- 
stances is exactly that which it has now permanently 
assumed, but here and there its orthography varies by a 
letter or two, as is usually the case with strange terms when 
alcen down by ear. In a Memoir on the state of affairs in 
Canada, transmitted to France in 1686, by the Governor in Chief 
of the day, the Marquis de Denonville, the familiar word appears 
Addressmg the Minister de Seignelay, the Marquis says- ''The 
letters I wrote to Sieurs du Lhu and de la Durantaye, of which I 
sent you copies, will inform you of my orders to them to fortifv 
the two passages leading to Michilimaquina. Sieur du Lhu is at 
that of the Detroit of Lake Erie, and Sieur de la Durantaye at 
that of the portage of Toronto. These two posts" the marquis 
observes, will block the passage against the English, if thev 
undertake to go again to Michilimaquina, and will serve as retreats 

tt Iro'ud?' °" '""' "*'" "'"^ '""^^"^ °^ "^^^^'^''^^ ^^--t 
Again, further on in the same Despatch, Denonville says • " I 
have heard that Sieur du Lhu is arrived at the post of the Detroit 
of Lake Ene, with fifty good men well-armed, with munitions of 
war and provisions and all other necessaries sufficient to guarantee 
them agamst the severe cold, and to render them comfortable 
dunng the whole winter on the spot where they will entrench 

WmTeTf Tm- ^t'' '' •''"""^^^^ '' ^°"^^*'"S P-P^^ ^° -trench 
him elf at Michilimaquina and to occupy the other pass which the 

Enghsh may take by Toronto, the other entrance to lake Huron | 

In this way the marquis assures de Seignelay, "our Englishmen ' 

2 • Toronto of Old. 

will have somebody to speak to. All this, however," he reminds 
the minister, "cannot be accomplished without considerable 
expense, but still" he adds, " we must maintain our honour and 
our prosperity." 

Du Lhu and de la Durantaye here named were the French 
agents or superintendents in what was then the Far West. Du 
Lhu is the same person whose name, under the form of Duluth, 
has become in recent times so well known, as appertaining to a 
town near the head of Lake Superior, destined in the future to be 
one of the great Railway Junctions of the continent, like Buffalo 

or Chicago. 

The Englishmen for whom M. de Denonville desired an instruc- 
tive reception to be prepared were some of the people of Governor 
Dongan of the province of New York. Governor Dongan either 
could not or would not restrain his people from poaching for furs 
on the French King's domain. When Denonville wrote his 
despatch in 1686 some of these illicit traders had been recently 
seen in the direction of Michilimackinac, having passed up by the 
way of Lake Erie. To intercept them on their return, the Marquis 
reports that he has stationed " a bark, some canoes and twenty 
good men " at the river communicating from Lake Erie with that 
of Ontario near Niagara, by which place the English who ascended 
Lake Erie must of necessity pass on their return home with their 
peltries. " I regard, Monseigneur," continues Denonville to the 
minister, " as of primary importance the prohibition of this trade 
to the English, who, without doubt, would entirely ruin ours both 
by the cheaper bargains they could give the Indians, and by 
attracting to them the Frenchmen of our colony who are accustomed 
to go into the woods." Governor Dongan was also always hold- 
ing communications with the Iroquois and spiriting them on to 
resist French encroachments. He even audaciously asserted that 
his own sovereign — it soon became doubtful who that was', whether 
James II. or William of Orange— was the rightful supreme lord of 
the Iroquois territory. 

As to the particular spot intended when Denonville says M. 
de la Durantaye is about to occupy " the pass which the English 
may take by Toronto," there may seem at first to be some ambi- 

In 1686 the vicinage of Lake Simcoe, especially the district 
between Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron, appears to have been 

Introductory. * 

commonly known as the Toronto region. We deduce this from 
the old contemporary maps, on one or other of which Matchedash 
bay IS the Bay of Toronto ; the river Severn is the Toronto river ; 
Lake Simcoe itself is Toronto Lake ; the chain of Lakes passing 
south-eastward from the neighbourhood of Lake Simcoe and 
issumg by the Trent in the Bay of Quint* is also the Toronto 
river or lake-chain, and again, the Humber, running southwesterly 
from the vicinity of Lake Simcoe into Lake Ontario, is likewise 
occasionally the Toronto river: the explanation of all which 
phraseology is to be found in the supposition that the Severn, the 
Trent chain of lakes, and the Humber, were, each of them, a 
commonly-frequented line of water-communication with a Toronto 
region-a well-peopled district— "a place of meeting," the haunt 
of numerous allied families and friendly bands. (That such is the 
most probable interpretation of the term Toronto, we shall here- 
after see at large.) 

The spot to be occupied by de la Durantaye for the purpose of 
defending " the Pass at Toronto " might therefore be either in the 
Toronto region itself at the Lake Huron end of the trail leading 
from Lake Ontario, or at the Lake Ontario end of the same trail, 
at the pomt where English trespassers coming from the direction 
of the Iroquois territory would disembark, when intending to 
penetrate to Michilimackinac by this route. 

At the first-mentioned point, viz, the Lake Huron end of the 
trail, It was early recommended that a fort should be established 
as we learn from letter twenty-three of Lahontan, but we do not 
hear that such a structure was ever erected there. The remains of 
solid buildings that have been found in that quarter are those of 
Jesuit mission-houses, and not of a formal fort established by the 
French government. At the last-mentioned spot, on the contrary 
VIZ, the Lake Ontario end of the trail, it is certain that a fortified 
trading-post was early erected ; the official designation of which 
as we shall presently learn, was Fort Rouill6, but the 'name by 
which It came in the course of time to be popularly known was 
Fort Toronto, as being the object which marked and guarded the 
southern terminus of the trail or portage leading to the district in 
the interior commonly called the Toronto region. 

It was here then, near the embouchure of the modern Canadian 
Humber, that " our Englishmen, » as DenonviUe expressed 
iumself, crossing over on illicit errands from Governor Dongan's 

4 Toronto of Old, 

domain to that of the King of France, were to find " somebody to 
speak to." 

The order sent to Durantaye was indeed nbt immediately exe- 
cuted. In 1687 Denonville reports as follows to the authorities at 
Paris : " I have altered " he says, "the orders I had originally 
*oo7- giygn last year to M. de la Durantaye to pass by Toronto 
and to enter Lake Ontario at Gandatsi-tiagon to form a junction 
with M. du Lhu at Niagara. I have sent I'm word, " he continues, 
" by Sieur Juchereau, who took back the two Hurons and Outaouas 
chiefs this winter, to join Sieur du Lhu at the Detroit of Lake 
Erie, so that they may be stronger, and in a condition to resist the 
enemy, should he go to meet them at Niagara." 

In 1687 the business in contemplation was something more 
serious than the mere repression of trespass on the part of a few 
stray traders from Governor Dongan's province. The confed- 
erated Iroquois were, if possible, to be humbled once for all. From 
the period of Montmagny's arrival in 1637 the French settlements 
to the eastward had suffered from the fierce inroads of the Iroquois. 
The predecessor of Denonville, de la Barre, had made a peace 
with them on terms that caused them to despise the French ; and 
their boldness had since increased to such a degree that the 
existence of the settlements was imperilled. In a Report to tiie 
minister at Paris on this subject M, de Denonville again names 
Toronto ; and he clearly considers it a post of sufficient note to be 
classed, for the moment, with Fort Frontenac, Niagara and 
Michilimackinac. To achieve success against the Iroquois, he 
informed the minister, 3000 men would be required. Of such a 
force, he observes, he has at the time only one half; but he boasts 
of more, he says, for reputation's sake : " for the rest of the 
militia are necessary to protect and cultivate the farms of the 
country ; and a part of the force," he then adds, " must be employed 
in guarding the posts of Fort Frontenac, Niagara, Toronto, and 
Missilimackinac, so as to secure the aid which he expects from 
Illinois and from the other Indians, on whom however he cannot 
rely," he says, " unless he shall be able alone to deleat the five 
Iroquois nations." 

The campaign which ensued, though nominally a success, was 
attended with disastrous consequence. The blows struck, not 
having been followed up with S',;(:icit t I'jour, simply further 
exasperated •' the five Iroquois nations, and entailed a frightful 

Introductory. - 

retaliation. In 1689 took place the famous massacre of Lachine 
and devastation of the island of Montreal. DenonviUe was super- 
seded as his predecessor de la Barre had been. The Count de 
Frontenac was appointed his sucessor, sent out for the second 
time, Governor General of New France. 

Some years now elapse before we light on another notice of 
Toronto. But at length we again observe the familiar word in one 
of the Reports or Memoirs annually despatched from Can- 
ada to France. In 1 749 M. de la Oalissonidre, administra- ' 749- 
tor in the absence oTlhe Governor iu Chief, de la Jonquiftre 
informs the King's minist.: in Paris that he has given orders for 
erecting a stockade and esublis 1 ng a royal trading post at Toronto 
This was expected -,, be a counterpmie to the trading-post of 
Choueguen on the southern side of the Lake, newly erected by the 
English at the mouth of the Oswego river, on the site of the 
present town of Oswego. Choueguen itself had been established 
as a set-off to the fort at the mouth of the Niagara river, which 
had been built there by the French in spite of remonstrances on 
the part of the authorities at New York. 

Choueguen at first was simply a so-called "beaver trap" or 
trading-post, established by permission, nominally obtained, of Ihe 
Iroquois ; but it speedily developed in a strong stone-fort, and 
. became, in fact, a standing menace to Fort Frontenac, on the 
northern shore of the Lake. Choueguen likewise drew to itself a 
large share of the valuable peltries of the north shore, which used 
before to find their way down the St. Lawrence to Montreal 
and Quebec. The goods offered at the English trading-post of 
Choueguen were found to be superior to the French goods, and 
the price given for furs was greater there than on the French side 
of the water. The storekeeper at Niagara told the Abb6 Picquet 
of whom we shall hear again presently, that the Indians compared 
-y stiver trinkets which were procured at Choueguen with those 
whi. 1 -, ? c procure < -..x the French Stores ; and they found that 
«i)e .lou.guen articles were as heavy as the others, of purer silver 
and better workmanship, but did not cost them quite two beavers 
whilst for those offered for sale at the French King's post ten 
beavers were demanded. " Thus we are discredited " the Abb6 
complained, "and this silver-ware remains a pure loss in the King's 
stores. French brandy indeed," the Abb6 adds, " was preferred 
to th^ English : nevertheless that did not prevent the Indians 

6 Toronto of Old. 

going to Choueguen. To destroy the trade there," he affirms, " the 
King's posts ought to have been supplied with the same goods as 
Choueguen and at the same price. The French ought also," he 
says, " to have been forbidden to send the domiciUated Indians 
thither : but that" he confesses, " would have been very difficult." 
Choueguen had thus, in the eyes of the French authorities, 
come to be a little Carthage that must be put down, or, at all events 
crippled to the greatest possible extent. 

Accordingly, as a counterpoise in point of commercial influence, 
Toronto, as we have seen, was to be made a fortified trading post, 
" On being informed " says M. de la Galissonitire, in the docu- 
ment referred to, bearing date 1749? "that the northern Indians 
ordinarily went to Choueguen with their peltries by way of Toronto 
on the northwest side of Lake Ontario, twenty-five leagues from 
Niagara, and seventy-five from Fort Frontenac, it was thought 
advisable to establish a post at that place and to send thither an 
officer, fifteen soldiers, and some workmen, to construct a small 
stockade-fort there. Its expense will not be great," M. de la 
Galissoniere assures the minister, " the timber is transported there, 
and the remainder will be conveyed by the barques belonging to 
Fort Frontenac. Too much care cannot be taken," remarks the 
Administrator, "to prevent these Indians continuing their trade 
with the English, and to furnish them at this post with all their 
necessaries, even as cheap as at Choueguen. Messrs. de la 
Jonquifere and Bigot will permit some canoes to go there on license 
and will apply the funds as a gratuity to the officer in command 
there. But it will be necessary to order the commandants at 
Detroit, Niagara, and Fort Frontenac, to be careful that the traders 
and store-keepers of these posts furnish goods for two or three 
years to come, at the same rates as the English. By these means 
the Indians will disaccustom themselves from going to Choueguen, 
and the English will be obliged to ubandon that place." 

De la Galissoniere returned to France in 1749. He was a naval 
officer and fond of scientific pursuits. It was he who in 1756, 
commanded the expedition against Minorca, which led to the 
execution of Admiral Byng. 

From a despatch written by M. de Longueil in 1752, we gather 

that the post of the Toronto portage, ir its improved, strengthened 

state, is known as Fort Rouill6, so named, doubtless from 

^752- Antoine Louis Rouilf<5, Count de Jouy, Colonial Minister 


from 1749 to 1754. M. de Longueil says that "M. de Celeron 
had addressed certain despatches to M. de Lavalterie, the com- 
mandant at Niagara, who detached a soldier to convey them to 
Fort Rouill^, with orders to the store-keeper at that post to trans- 
mit them promptly to Montreal. It is not known," he remarks, 
" what became of that soldier," About the same time, a Mississagu6 
from Toronto arrived at Niagara, who informed M. de Lavalterie 
that he had not seen that soldier at the Fort, nor met him on the 
way. "It is to be feared that he has been killed by Indians," he 
adds, "and the despatches carried to the English." 

An uncomfortable Anglophobia was reigning at Fort Rouill^, as 
generally along the whole of the north shore of Lake Ontario in 
1752. We learn this also from another passage in the same des- 
patch. "The store-keeper at Toronto, says," M. de Longueil writes 
to M. de Verch^res, commandant at Fort Frontenac, " that some 
trustworthy Indians have assured him that the Saulteux (Otchip- 
ways,) who killed our Frenchman some years ago, have dispersed 
themselves along the head of Lake Ontario ; and seeing himself sur- 
rounded by them, he doubts not but they ha^'e some evil design 
on his Fort. There is no doubt," he continues, " but 'tis the 
English who are inducing the Indians to destroy the French, and 
that they would give a good deal to get the Savages to destroy 
Fort Toronto, on account of the essential injury it does their trade 
at Choueguen." 

Such observations help us to imagine the anxious life which the 
lonely occupants of Fort Rouill6 must have been leading at the 
period referred to. From an abstract of a journal or memoir of the 
Abb6 Picquet given in the Documentary History of the State of 
New York (i. 283), we obtain a gUmpse of the state of things at 
the same place, about the same period, from the point of view, 
however, of an interested ecclesiastic. The Abb6 Picquet was a 
doctor of the Sorbonne, and bore the titles of King's Missionary 
and Prefect Apostolic of Canada. He established a mission at Os- 
wegatchie (Ogdensburg) which was known as La Presentation, and 
which became v^irtually a military outpost of Fort Frontenac. He 
was very useful to the authorities at Quebec in advocating French 
interests on the south side of the St. Lawrence. The Marquis du 
Quesne used to say that the Abb6 Picquet was worth ten regiments 
to New France. His activity was so great, especially among the 
Six Nations, that even during his lifetime he was complimented 


Toronto of Old. 



with the title of "Apostle of the Iroquois." When at length the 
French power fell he retired to France, where he died in 1781. In 
1 75 1 the Abb6 made a tour of exploration round Lake Ontario. He 
was conveyed in a King's canoe, and was accompanied by one of bark 
containing five trusty natives. He visited Fort Frontenac and the 
Bay of Quint6 ; especially the site there of an ancient mission which 
M. Dollikes de Kleus and Abb6 d'Urf(6, priests of the St. 
Sulpice Seminary had established. " The quarter is beautiful," 
the Abb6 remarks, "but the land is not good." He then visited 
Fort Toronto, the journal goes on to say, seventy leagues from 
Fort Frontenac, at the west end of Lake Ontario. He found 
good bread and good wine there, it is stated, and everything requi- 
site for the trade, whilst they were in want of these things at all 
the other posts. He found Mississagu6s there, we are told, who 
flocked around him ; they spoke first of the happiness their young 
people, the women and children, would feel if the King would be 
as good to them as to the Iroquois, for whom he procured mission- 
aries. They complained that instead of building a church, they 
had constructed only a canteen for them. The Abb6 Picquet, we 
are told, did not allow them to finish ; and answered them that 
they had been treated according to their fancy ; that they had 
never evinced the least zeal for religion ; that their conduct was 
much opposed to it ; that the Iroquois on the contrary had mani- 
fested their love for Christianity. But as he had no order, it is 
subjoined, to attract them, viz., the Mississaguds, to his mission at 
Jm Presentation— ht avoided a more lengthened explanation. 

The poor fellows were somewhat unfairly lectured by the Abbe, 
for, according to his own showing, they expressed a desire for a 
church amongst them. 

A note on the Mississagu6s in the Documentary History (i. 22) 
mentions the neighbourhood of Toronto as one of the quarters 
frequented by that tribe : at the same time it sets down their num- 
bers as incredibly few. "The Mississagu^s," the note says, "are 
dispersed along this lake (Ontario), some at Kent^, others at the 
river Toronto (the Humber), and finally at the head of the Lake, 
to the number of 1 50 in all ; and at Matchedash. The principal 
tribe is that of the Crane." 

The Abb6 Picquet visited Niagara and the Portage above 
(Queenston or Lewiston) ; and in ( onnection with his observations 
on those points he refers again expressly to Toronto. He is op- 


posed to the maintenance of store-houses for trade at Toronto 
because ,t tended to diminish the trade at Niagara and Fori 
Frontenac, those two ancient posts," as he styles them. « It was 
necessary," he says, "to supply Niagara, especially the Portage, 

twoL of th "'" ^f '^^"^"^^'" ^^ «^y«' "''^^-- ti 

two first of these posts and the last is, that three or four hundred 
canoes could come loaded with furs to the Portage (Queenston or 
Lewiston) ; and that no canoes could go to Toronto except those 
which cannot pass before Niagara and to Fort Frontenac-^the 
translation appears to be obscure)-such as the Ottawas of the 
Head of the Lake and the Mississagu«5s : so that Toronto could not 
but diminish the trade of these two ancient posts, which would have 
been sufficient to stop all the savages had the stores been furnished 
with goods to their liking." 

In 1752, a French military expedition from Quebec to the Ohio 
region rested at Fort Toronto. Stephen Coffen, in his narrative 
of that expedition, which he accompanied as a volunteer, names 
the place, but he spells the word in accordance with his own pro- 
nunciation Taranto. " They on their way stopped," he says " a 
couple of days at Cadaraghqui Fort, also at Taranto on the north 
side of Lake Ontario ; then at Niagara fifteen days." 

In 1756, the hateful Choueguen, which had given occasion to the 
establishment of Toronto as a fortified trading-post, was rased to the 
ground. Montcalm, who afterwards fell on the Plains of 
Abraham, had been entrusted with the task of destroying the ' ^56. 
offensive stronghold of the English on Lake Ontario. He wentabout 
the work with some reluctance, deeming the project of the Gover- 
nor General, De Vaudreuil, to be rash. Circumstances, however 
unexpectedly favoured him ; and the garrison of Choueguen, in 
other words, of Oswego, capitulated. " Never before," said Mont- 
calm, in his report of the affair to the Home Minister, « did 1,000 
men, with a scanty artillery, besiege 1,800, there being 2,000 ene- 
mies withm call, as in the late affair ; the party attacked having a 
superior marine, also, on Lake Ontario. The success gained has 
been contrary to all expectation. The conduct I followed in this 
affair, ' Montcalm continues, "and the dispositions I made, were 
so much out of the ordinary way of doing things that the au- 
dacity we manifested would be counted for rashness in Europe 
Therefore, Monseigneur," he adds, "I beg of you as a favour to 
assure his Majesty that if he should accord to me what I most 


Toronto of Old. 

wish for, employment in regular campaigning, I shall be guided 
by very different principles." Alas, there was to be no more 
"regular campaigning" for Montcalm. His eyes were never again 
to gaze upon the battle fields in Bohemia, Italy and Germany, 
where, prior to his career in Canada, he had won laurels. 

The success before Choueguen in 1756 was followed by a more 
than counterbalancing disaster at Fort Frontenac in 1758. In 
that year a force of 3,000 men under Col. Bradstreet, detached 
from the army of Abercromby, stationed near Lake George, made 
a sudden descent on Fort Frontenac, from the New York side of 
the water, and captured the place. It was instantly and utterly de- 
stroyed, together witfi a number of vessels which had formed a 
part of the spoil brought away from Choueguen. On this occasion 
we find that the cry Hannibal ante Portas I was once more fully 
expected to be heard speedily within the stockade at Toronto. 
M. de Vaudreuil, the Governor-General, informs the Minister at 
Paris, M. de Massiac, "that should the English make their appear- 
ance at Toronto, I have given orders to bum it at once, and to 
fall back on Niagara." 

One more ordei: (the last), issuing from a French source, having 
reference to Toronto, is to be read in the records of the following 
year, 1759. M. de Vaudreuil, again in his despatch home, 
^^^^' after stating that he had summoned troops from Illinois and 
Detroit, to rendezvous at Presqu'isle on Lake Erie, adds,—" As 
those forces will proceed to the relief of Niagara, should the enemy 
wish to besiege it, I have in like manner sent orders to Toronto, 
to collect the Mississagues and other natives, to forward them to 

The enemy, it appears, did wish to besiege Niagara j and on the 
25th of July they took it — ^an incident followed on the i8th of the 
next September by the fall of Quebec, and the transfer of all Can- 
ada to the British Crown. The year after the conquest a force was 
despatched by General Amherst from Montreal to proceed up the 
country and take possession of the important post at Detroit. It 
was conveyed in fifteen whale-boats and consisted of two hundred 
Rangers under the command of Major Robert Rogers. Major 
Rogers was accompanied by the following officers : Capt. Brewer, 
Capt. Wait, Lieut. Bhreme, Assistant-Engineer, and Lieut. 
^' °* Davis of the Royal Train of Artillery. The party set out 
firom Montreal on the 12th of September, 1760. The journal of 



Major Rogers has been published. It includes an account of this ex- 
pedition. We give the complete title of the work, which is one sought 
after by book-collectors : " The Journals of Major Robert Rogers, 
containing an Account of the several Excursions he made under the 
Generals who commanded on the Continent of North America 
during the late War. From which may be collected the most ma- 
terial Circumstances of every Campaign upon that continent from 
the commencement to the conclusion of the War. London : 
Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Millan, bookseller, near 
Whitehall, MDCCLXV." 

We extract the part in which a visit to Toronto is spoken of. 
He leaves the ruins of Fort Frontenac on the 25th of September. 
On the 28th he enters the mouth of a river which he says is called 
by the Indiaris " The Grace of Man." (The Major probably mis- 
took, or was imposed upon, in the matter of etymology.) 

Here he found, he says, about fifty Mississaga Indians fishing 
for salmon. "At our first appearance," he continues, " they ran 
down, both men and boys to the edge of the Lake, and continued 
firing their pieces, to express their joy at the sight of the English 
colours, until such time as we had landed." About fifteen miles 
further on he enters another river, which he says, the Indians call 
" The Life of Man." 

" On the 30th," the journal proceeds :— « We embarked at the 
first dawn of day, and, with the assistance of sails and oars, made 
great way on a south-west course ; and in the evening reached the 
river Toronto (the Humber), having run seventy miles. Many 
pomts extending far into the water," Major Rogers remarks, "occa- 
sioned a frequent alteration of our course. We passed a bank of 
twenty miles in length, but the land behind it seemed to be level, 
well timbered with large oaks, hickories, maples, and some poplars. 
No mountains appeared in sight. Round the place where formerly 
the French had a fort, that was called Fort Toronto, there was a 
tract of about 300 acres of cleared ground. The soil here is princi- 
pally clay. The deer are extremely plenty in this country. Some 
Indians," Major Rogers continues, " were hunting at the mouth of 
the river, who ran into the woods at our approach, very much 
frightened. They came in however in the morning and testified 
their joy at the news of our success against the French. They told 
us that we could easily accomplish our journey from thence to 
Detroit in eight days; that when the French traded at that place 


Toronto of Old. 

(Toronto), the Indians used to come with their peltry from 
Michilimackina down the river Toronto ; that the portage was but 
twenty miles from that to a river falling into Lake Huron, which 
had some falls, but none very considerable ; they added that there 
was a carrying-place of fifteen miles from some westerly part of 
Lake Erie to a river running without any falls through several 
Indian towns into Lake St. Clair. I think Toronto," Major 
Rogers then states, " a most convenient place for a factory, and 
that from thence we may very easily settle the north side of Lake 

"We left Toronto," the journal then proceeds, "the istofOctober, 
steering south, right across the west end of Lake Ontario. At 
dark, we arrived at the South Shore, five miles west of Fort Niagara, 
some of our boats now becoming exceeding leaky and dangerous. 
This morning, before we set out, I directed the following order of 
march : — The boats in a line. If the wind rose high, the red flag 
hoisted, and the boats to crowd nearer, that they might be ready 
to give mutual assistance in case of a leak or other accident, by 
which means we saved the crew and arms of the boat commanded 
by Lieutenant M'Cormack, which sprang a leak and sunk, losing 
nothing except the packs. We halted all the next day at Niagara, 
and provided ourselves with blankets, coats, shirts, shoes, mocca- 
sins, &c. I received from the commanding officer eighty barrels 
of provisions, and changed two whale-boats for as many batteaux, 
which proved leaky. In the evening, some of my party proceeded 
with the provisions to the Falls (the rapid water at Queenston), 
and in the morning marched the rest there, and began the portage 
of the provisions and boats. Messrs. Brheme and Davis took a 
survey of the great cataract of Niagara." 

At the time of Major Rogers' visit to Toronto all trading there had 
apparently ceased ; but we observe that he says it was most con- 

, venient place for a factory. In 1 7 6 1 , we have Toronto named 
in a letter addressed by Captain Campbell, commanding at 
Detroit, to Major Walters, commanding at Niagara, informing him of 
an intended attack of the Indians. " Detroit, June 17th, 1761, two 
o'clock in the morning. Sir, — I had the favour of yours, with 
General Amherst's despatches. I have sent you an express with 
a very important piece of intelligence I have had the good fortune 
to discover. I have been lately alarmed with reports of the bad 
designs of the Indian nations against this place, and the English in 

Introductory. j ^ 

general. I can now inform you for certain it comes from the Six 
Nations ; and tliat they have sent belts of wampum and deputies 
to all the nations from Nova Scotia to the Illinois, to take up the 
hatchet against the English, and have employed the Mississaguas 
to send belts of wampum to the northern nations. Their project 
IS as follows :-The Six Nations, at least the Senecas, are to as- 
semble at the head of French Creek, within five-and-twenty leagues 
of Presqu'isle ; part of the Six Nations (the Delawares and Shaw- 
nees), are to assemble on the Ohio; and at the same time, about 
the latter end of the month, to surprise Niagara and Fort Pitt, and 
cut off the communication everywhere. I hope this will come 
time enough to put you on your guard, and to send to Oswego, 
and all the posts in that communication. They expect to be 
joined by the nations that are to come from the North by Toronto." 
Eight years after the occupation of the country by the English, a 
considerable traffic was being carried on at Toronto. We learn this 
from a despatch of Sir William Johnson's to the Earl of Shel- 
bume, on the subject of Indian affairs, bearing date 1 767. Sir ^ ^67- 
William affirms that persons could be found willing to pay ^1,000 
per annum for the monopoly of the trade at Toronto. Some re- 
marks of his that precede the reference to Toronto give us some 
idea of the commercial tactics of the Indian and Indian trader of 
the time. " The Indians have no business to follow when at 
peace," Sir William Johnson says, "but hunting. Between each 
hunt they have a recess of several months. They are naturally 
very covetous," the same authority asserts, " and become daily 
better acquainted with the value of our goods and their own peltry; 
they are everywhere at home, and travel without the expense or 
inconvenience attending our journey to them. On the other hand, 
every step our traders take beyond the posts, is attended at least 
with some risk and a very heavy expense, which the Indians must 
feel as heavily on the purchase of their commodities ; all which 
considered, is it not reasonable to suppose that they would rather 
employ their idle time in quest of a cheap market, than sit down 
with such slender returns as they must receive in their own vil- 
lages?" He then instances Toronto. "As a proof of which," 
Sir William continues, "I shall give one instance concerning 
Toronto, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Notwithstanding 
the assertion of Major Rogers," Sir William Johnson says, " that 
even a single trader would not think it worth attention to supply 


Toronto of Old. 

a dependent post, yet I have heard traders of long experience and 
good circumstances affirm, that for the exclusive trade of that place, 
for one season, they would willingly pay ;^i,ooo — so certain were 
they of a quiet market — from the cheapness at which they could 
afford their goods there." 

Although after the Conquest the two sides of Lake Ontario and 
of the St. Lawrence generally were no longer under different 
crowns, the previous rivalry between the two routes, the St. Law- 
rence and Mohawk river routes, to the seaboard continued ; and 
it was plainly to the interest of those who desired the aggrandise- 
ment of Albany and New York to the detriment of Montreal and 
Quebec, to discourage serious trading enterprises with Indians on 
the northern side of the St. Lawrence waters. We have an ex- 
ample of this spirit in a " Journal of Indian Transactions at [Fort] 
Niagara, in the year 1767," published in the documentary History 
of New York (ii. 868, 8vo. ed.), in which Toronto is named, and a 
great chieftain from that region figures — in one respect, somewhat 
discreditably, however. We give the passage of the journal to 
which we refer. The document appears to have been drawn 
up by Norman M'Leod, an Indian agent, visiting Fort Niagara. 

"July 17th, [1767.] Arrived Wabacommegat, chief of the 
Mississagas. [He came from Toronto, as we shall presently see.] 
July 1 8th. Arrived Ashenshan, head-warrior of the Senecas, be- 
longing to the Caiadeon village. This day, Wabacommegat came 
to speak to me, but was so drunk that no one could understand 

Again: "July 19th. Had a small conference with Wabacom- 
megat. Present — Norman M'Leod, Esq.; Mr. Neil MacLean, 
Commissary of Provisions ; Jean Baptiste de Couagne, interpreter. 
Wabacommegat spoke first, and, after the usual compliments, told 
that as soon as he had heard of my arrival, he and his young men 
came to see me. He then asked me if I had any news, and de- 
sired I should tell all I had. Then he gave four strings of wam- 
pum. I then told them— Children, I am glad to see you. I am 
sent here by your father. Sir William Johnson, to take care of your 
trade, and to prevent abuses therein. I have no sort of news, for 
I suppose you have heard of the drunken Chippewas that killed 
an Englishman and wounded his wife very much, above Detroit -, 
they are sent down the country by consent and approbation of the 
head men of the nation. I am sorry to acquaint you that some 

Introductory. ' i c 

of your nation that came here with Nan-i-bo-jou, killed a cow and 
a mare belonging to Captain Grant, on the other side of the river. 
I am persuaded that all here present think it was very wrong, and 
a very bad return for the many good offices done by the English 
in general towards them, and in particular by Captain Grant, who 
had that day fed the men that were guilty of the theft. I hope 
and desire that Wabacommegat and the rest of the chiefs and 
warriors here present, will do all in their power to discover the 
thief, and bring him in here to me the next time they return, that 
we may see what satisfaction he or they may give Captain Grant 
for the loss of his cattle. [I gave seven strings of wampum.] Chil- 
dren, I am sorry to hear you have permitted people to trade at 
Toronto. I hope you will prevent it for the future. All of you 
know the reason of this belt of wampum being left at this place. 
[I then showed them a large belt left here five or six years ago by 
Wabacommegat, by which belt he was under promise not to allow 
anybody whatever to carry on trade at Toronto.] Now, children, 
I have no more to say, but desire you to remember and keep close 
to all the promises you have made to your English father. You 
must not listen to any bad news. When you hear any, good or 
bad, come to me with it. You may depend upon it I shall always 
tell you the truth. [I gave four strings of wampum.] 

"Wabacommegat replied: 'Father, we have heard you with atten- 
tion. I think it was very wrong in the people to kill Captain 
Grant's cattle. I shall discover the men that did it, and will bring 
them in here in the fall. We will allow no more trade to be 
carried on at Toronto. As to myself, it is well known I don't 
approve of it, as I went with the interpreter to bring in those that 
were trading at that place. We go away this day, and hope our 
father will give us some provisions, rum, powder and shot, and we 
will bring you venison when we return.' I replied, it was not in 
my power to give them much, but as it was the first time I had the 
pleasure of speaking to them, they should have a little of what they 

In the January previous to the conference, two traders had been 
arrested at Toronto. Sir William Johnson, in a letter to Gen. 
Gage, writes thus, under date of January 12,1767. " Capt. Browne 
writes me that he has, at the request of Commissary Roberts, 
caused two traders to be apprehended at Torcmto, where they 
were trading contrary to authority. I hope Lieut.-Gov. Carteton," 


Toronto of Old. 

Sir William continues, " will, agreeable to the declaration in one 
of his letters, have them prosecuted and punished as an example to 
the rest. I am informed that there are several more from Canada 
trading with the Indians on the north side of Lake Ontario, and up 
along the rivers in that quarter, which, if not prevented, must en- 
tirely ruin the fair trader." In these extracts from the correspond- 
ence of Sir William Johnson, and from the Journal of transactions 
at Fort Niagara, in 1767, we are admitted, as we suspect, to a true 
view of the status of Toronto as a trading-post for a series of years 
after the conquest. It was, as we conceive, a place where a good 
deal of forestalling of the regular markets went on. Trappers and 
traders, acting without license, made such bargains as they could 
with individuals among the native bands frequenting the spot at 
particular seasons of the year. We do not suppose that any 
store-houses for the deposit of goods or peltries were maintained 
here after the conquest. In a MS. map, which we have seen, of 
about the date 1793, the site of the old Fort Rouilld is marked by 
a group of wigwams of the usual pointed shape, with the inscrip- 
tion appended, " Toronto, an Indian village now deserted." 

In T788 Toronto harbour was well and minutely described 
by J. Collins, Deputy Surveyor General, in a Report presented 
gg to Lord Dorchester, Governor-General, on the Military 
Posts and Harbours on Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. 
" The Harbour of Toronto," Mr. Collins says, "is near two miles 
in length from the entrance on the west to the isthmus between it 
and a large morass on the eastward. The breadth of the entrance 
is about half a mile, but the navigable channel for vessels is only 
about 500 yards, having from three to three and a half fathoms water. 
The north or main shore, the whole length of the harbour, is a clay 
bank from twelve to twenty feet high, and rising gradually b^iind^ ap- 
parently good land, and fit for settlement. The water is rather shoel 
near the shore, having but one fathom depth at one hundred yards 
distance, two fathoms at two hundred yards ; and when I sounded 
here, the waters of the Lake were very high. There is good and safe 
anchorage everywhere within the harbour, being either a soft or 
sandy bottom. The south shore is composed of a great number 
of sandhills and ridges, intersected with swamps and small creeks. 
It is of unequal breadths, being from a quarter of a mile to a mile 
wide across from the harbour to the lake, and runs in length to the 
east five or six miles. Through the middle of the isthmus before 



mentioned, or rather near the north shore, is a channel with two 
fathoms water, and in the morass there are other channels from 
one to two fathoms deep. From what has been said," Mr. Collins 
proceeds to observe, " it will appear that the harbour of Toronto is 
capacious, safe and well sheltered ; but the entrance being from the 
westward is a great disadvantage to it, as the prevailing winds are 
from that quarter ; and as this is a fair wind from hence down the 
Lake, of course it is that which vessels in general would take their 
departure from ; but they may frequently find it difficult to get out 
of the harbour. The shoalness of the north shore, as before re- 
marked, is also disadvantageous as to erecting wharfs, quays, &c. 
In regard to this place as a military post," Mr. Collins reports, » I 
do not see any very striking features to recommend it in that view • 
but the best situation to occupy for the purpose of protecting the 
settlement and harbour would, I conceive, be on the point and 
near the entrance thereof." (The knoll which subsequently be- 
came the site of the Garrison of York, is probably intended. Gib- 
raltar point, on the opposite side of the entrance, where a block 
house was afterwards built, may also be glanced at.) 

The history of the site of Fort Toronto would probably have 
differed from what it has been, and the town developed there would- 
perhaps, have assumed at its outset a French rather than an Eng- 
lish aspect, had the expectations of three Lower Canadian gentle- 
men, in 1 791, been completely fulfilled. Under date of " Surveyor 
General's Office [Quebec], loth June, 179 1," Mr. Collins, Deputy 
Surveyor-General, writes to Mr. Augustus Jones, an eminent 
Deputy Provincial Surveyor, of whom we shall hear repeatedly 
that " His Excellency, Lord Dorchester, has been pleased to order 
one thousand acres -of land to be laid out at Toronto for Mr 
Rocheblave j and for Captain Lajor6e, and for Captain Bouchette 
seven hundred acres each, at the same place, which please to lay out 
accordingly," Mr. Collins says, " and report the same to this office 
with all convenient speed." 

We may suppose that these three French gentlemen became 
early aware of the spot likely to be selected for the capital of the 
contemplated Province of Upper Canada, and foresaw the advan- 
tages that might accrue from the possession of some broad acres 
there. Unluckily for them, however, delay occurred in the execu- 
tion of Lord Dorchester's order; and in the meantime, the new 
Province was duly constituted, with a government and land-grant- 


Toronto of Old. 

ing department of its own ; and, under date of " Nassau [Niagara], 
]une 15, 1792, Mr. Augustus Jones, writing to Mr. Collins, refers 
to his former communication in the following terms :— " Your order 
of the loth of June, 1 791, for lands at Toronto, in favour of Mr. 
Rocheblave and others, I only received the other day j and as the 
members of the Land Board think their power dissolved by our 
Governor's late Proclamation relative to granting of Lands in 
Upper Canada, they recommend it to me to postpone doing any- 
thing in respect of such order until I may receive some further in- 

We hear no more of the order. Had M. Rocheblave, Captain 
Lajor6e and Captain Bouchette become legally seized of the lands 
assigned them at Toronto by Lord Dorchester, the occupants of 
building-lots in York, instead of holding in fee simple, would pro- 
bably have been burdened for many a year with some vexatious 
recognitions of quasi-seignorial rights. 

On Holland's great MS. map of the Province of Quebec, made 
in 1 79 1, and preserved in the Crown Lands Department of Onta- 
rio, the indentation in front of the mouth of the modern Humber 
river is entitled " Toronto Bay"; the sheet of water between the 
peninsula and the mainland is not named: but the peninsula 
itself is marked " Presqu'isle, Toronto ;" and an extensive rectan- 
gular tract, bounded on the sonth by ' Toronto Bay" and the 
waters within the peninsula, is inscribed " Toronto." In Mr. Che- 
' wett's MS. Journal, we have, under date of Quebec, April 22, 
1792, the following entry : "Received from Gov. Simcoe a Plan 
of Points Henry and Frederick, to have a title page put to them : 
also a plan of the Town and township of Toronto, and to know 
whether it was ever laid out." We gather from this that sometime 
prior to Governor Simcoe's arrival, it had been in contemplation 
to establish a town at Toronto. 

The name Toronto pleased the ear and took the fancy of senti- 
mental writers. We have it introduced by an author of this class, 
in a work, entitled " Voyage dans la Haute Pensylvanie et dans 
I'Etat de New York, par un Membre adoptif de la nation Oneida ;" 
published at Paris in 1801, but written prior to 1799, as it is 
inscribed to Washington. The author describes a Council pre- 
tended to be held at Onondaga, where chiefs and sachems 
speak. They discourse of the misery of man, of death, of 
the ravages of the small-pox. Siasconcet, one of the sages. 




relates his interview with Kahawabash, who had lost his wife 
and all his friends by the prevailing malady. Siasconcet ex- 
horts h.m to suffei in silence like a wise man. Kahawabash re- 
plies, "Siasconcet! n'as-tu pas souvent entendu les cris plaintifs 
del ours, dont la compagne avoit^t^u^e? N'as-tu pas souvent 
yu couler les larmes des yeux du castor qui avait perdu sa 
femelle ou ses petits ? Eh bien ! moi, suis-je inf^rieur k I'ours ou 
au castor? Non : je suis homme, aussi bon chasseur, aussi brave 
guemer que tes sachems : comment empkher I'arc de s'^tendre 
quand la corde casse? La cime du chfine ou la tige du roseau 
de ployer, quand I'orage 6clate ? Lorsque le corps est bless^, Sias- 
concet, il en d^coule du sang; quand le coeur est navrd, il en dd- 
coule des larmes : voilA ce que je dirai k tes vieiUards j je verrai ce 
qu'ils me r^pondront." 

In the reply of Siasconcet, we have the reference to Toronto 
to which we have alluded, and which somewhat startled us when 
we suddenly lighted upon it in the work above-named " Eh 
bien !" Siasconcet said : "eh, bien ! Kahawabash, pleure sous mon 
tott, puisque ton bon g^nie le veut, et pour plaire au mauvais 
que tesyeux soient sees quand tu seras au feu d'Onondaga " "Que 
faut-il done faire sur la terre," rejoined Kahawabash, "puisque Fun 
veut cequel'autrene veut pas?" "Que faut-il faire?" answered Sias 
concet, "consid^rer la vie comme un passage de Toronto k Niagara 

Que dedifficult6sn'^prouvons-pas nous pour doubler les caps pour 
sortir des baiesdanslesquellesles vents nous for9ent d'entrer? Ouede 
chances contre d'aussi frfiles canots que les ndtres ? If faut cepen 
dant prendre le temps et les choses comme ils viennent, puisque 
nous ne pouvons pas les choisir; il faut nourrir, aimer sa femme 
et sesenfans, respecter sa tribu et sa nation ;jouir du bien quand il 
nous^cheoit ; supporter le mal avec courage et patience : chasser 
et p^cher quand on a faim, se reposer et fumer quand on est las • ' 
sattendre k rencontrer le nialheur puisque on est n^ ; se r^jouir 
quand il nevientpas; se consid^rer comme des oiseaux perches 
pour la nuit sur la branche d'un arbre, et qui, au point du jour 
s envolent et disparaissent pour toujours." ' 

Familiar with the modem two-hours' pleasure-trip from Toronto 
to Niagara, we were, for the moment unprepared for the philoso- 
phic sachem s illustration of the changes and chances of mortal 
life We forgot what an undertaking that journey was in the days 
of the primitive birch canoe, when in order to accomplish the pas- 



Toronto of Old. 

sage, the whole of the western portion of Lake Ontario, was 
wont to be cautiously and laboriously coasted. 

The real name of the author of the " Voyage dans la Haute 
Pensylvanie" was Saint-Jean de Cr^vecoeur. 

To the narrative just given is appended information, which, if 
superfluous, will nevertheless be read locally now, with some curi- 
osity. The note explains that Toronto and Niagara, are " postes 
considerables de I'Ontario : le premier, situ6 k V ouest de ce lac, est 
form6 par une baie profonde et commode, oil le Gouvernement 
Anglais a fait construire un chantier, et une ville k laquelle on a 
donn6 le nom d'York ; le second, situ6 au sud-ouest, est form6 
par I'embouchure de la riviere Niagara, k Test de laquelle est la 
forteresse du meme nom, et k I'ouest la pointe des Missisagu^s, sur 
laquelle on construit une nouvelle ville, destin^e k §tre la capitale 
du Haut Canada." 

The annotator speaks, we see, of the town on Mississaga point 
and the other new town on the opposite side of the lake in the 
same terms : both are in process of construction ; and the town on 
Mississaga point, he still thinks is destined to be the capital of 
Upper Canada. 

The language of the note recalls the agitation in the public mind 
at Niagara in 1796, on the subject of the seat of Government for 
Upper Canada — a question that has since agitated Ca- 
nada in several of its sub-sections. The people ot Nia- 
gara in 1796, being in possession, naturally thought that the 
distinction ought to continue with them. Governor Simcoe had 
ordered the removal of the public offices to the infant York: 
there to abide, however, only temporarily, until the West should be 
peopled, and a second London built, on a Canadian Thames. Lord 
Dorchester, the Govemor-in-Chief, at Quebec, held that Kingston 
ought to have been preferred, but that place, like Niagara, was, it 
was urged, too near the frontier incase of war. In 1796, Governor 
Simcoe had withdrawn from the country, and the people of Nia- 
gara entertained hopes that the order for removal might slill be 
revoked. The policy cf the late Governor, however, continued to 
be carried out. 

Three years previously, v?z., in 1 793, the site of the trading post 
known as Toronto had been occupied by the troops drawn from 
Niagara and Queenston. At noon on the 27th of August 
in 1793, the first royal salute had been fired from the gar- 



Introductory. 21 

rison there, and responded to by the shipping in the harbouc, in 
commemoration of the change of n-^.me from Toronto to York 
—a change intended to please the old king, George III., through 
a compliment offered to his soldier son, Frederick, Duke of York. 
For some time after 1793, official letters and other contempo- 
rary records exhibit in their references to the new site, the expres- 
sions, " Toronto, now York," and " York, late Toronto." 

The ancient appellation was a favorite, and continued in 
ordmary use. Isaac Weld, who travelled in North America in 
1 795-7. still speaks in his work of the transfer of the Govern- 
ment from Niagara to Toronto. " Niagara," he says, "is '^^^" 
the centre of the beau monde of Upper Canada : orders, however," 
he continues, " had been issued before our arrival there for the 
removal of the Seat of Government from thence to Toronto, which 
was deemed a more eligible spot for the meeting of the Legisla- 
tive bodies, as being farther removed from the frontiers of the 
United States. This projected change," he adds, " is by no means 
relished by the people at large, as Niagara is a much more con- 
venient place of resort to most of them than Toronto ; and as the 
Governor, who proposed the measure, has been removed, it is 
imagined that it will not be put in execution." 

In 1803-4, ThomasJ^oore, the distinguished poet, travelled on 
this continent. The record of his tour took the form, not of a jour- 
nal in prose, but of a miscellaneous collection of verses 
suggested by incidents and scenes encountered. These ^^°^" 
pieces, addressed many of them to friends, appear now as a sub- 
division of his collected works, as Poems relating to America 
The society of the United States in 1804 appears to have been 
very distasteful to him. He speaks of his experience somewhat as 
we may imagine the xvinged Pegasus, if endowed with speech, 
would have done of his memorable brief taste of sublunary life 
Writing to the Hon. W. R. Spencer, from Bufralo,-which he ex- 
plains to be "a little village on Lake Frie," — in a strain 
resembling that of the poetical satirists of the century which had 
just passed away, he sweepingly declares— 

" Take Christians, Mohawks, Democrats, and all, 
From the rude wigwam to the congress-hall, 
From man the savage, whether slav'd or free, 
To man the civilized, less tame than he,— 
'Tis one dull chaos, one unfertile strife 

•-. ^^ 

22 Toronto of Old. 

Betwixt half-polished and half-barbarous life ; 
Where every ill the ancient world could brew 
Is mixed with every grossness of the new ; 
Where all corrupts, though little can entice, 
And nought is known of luxury, but its vice ! " 

He makes an exception in a note appended to these lines, in 
favour of the Dennies and their friends at Philadelphia, with whom 
he says, " I passed the few agreeable moments which my tour 
through the States afforded me." These friends he thus apostro- 
phises : — 

" Yet, yet forgive me, oh ! ye sacred few. 
Whom late by Delaware's green banks I knew : 
Whom known and loved thro' many a social eve, 
'Twas bliss to live with, and 'twas pain to leave. 
Not with more joy the lonely exile scann'd 
The writing traced upon the desert's sand. 
Where his lone heart but little hoped to find 
One trace of life, one stamp of human kind. 
Than did I hail the pure, th' enlightened zeal. 
The strength to reason and the warmth to feel, 
The manly polish and the illumined taste, 
Which, 'mid the melancholy, hearties waste. 
My foot has traversed, oh ! you sacred few, 
I found by Delaware's o;reen banks with you. " 

After visiting the Falls of Niagara, Moore passed down Lake 
Ontario, threaded his way through the Thousand Islands, shot the 
Long Sault and other rapids, and spent some days in Montreal. 

The poor lake-craft which in 1804 must have accommodated the 
poet, may have put in at the harbour of York. He certainly 
alludes to a tranquil eveninf 'icene on the waters in that quarter, 
and notices the situatioi oi the ancient "Toronto." Thus he 
sings in some verses addressed to Lady Charlotte Rawdon, " from 
the banks of the St. Lawrence." (He refers to the time when he 
was last in her company, and says how improbable it then was 
that he should ever stand upon the shores of America) : 

" I dreamt not then that ere the rolling year 
Had filled its circle, I should wander here 
In musing awe ; should tread this wondrous world. 
See all its store of inland waters hurl'd 
In one vast volume down Niagara's steep. 
Or calm behold them, in transparent sleep, 

Introductory. 23 

Where the blue hills of old Toronto shed 
Their evening shadows o'er Ontario's bed ; 
Should trace the grand Cadaraqui, and glide 
Down the white rapids of his lordly tide, 
Through massy woods, 'mid islets flowering fair, 
And blooming glades, where the first sinful pair 
For consolation might have weeping trod. 
When banished from the garden of their God." 

We can better picture to ourselves the author of Lalla Rookh 
floating on the streams and other waters " of Ormus and of Ind," 
constructing verses as he journeys on, than we can of the same 
personage on the St Lawrence in 1804 similarly engaged. ** The 
Canadian Boat §ong " has become in its words and air almost a 
" national anthem " amongst us. It was written, we are assured, 
at St. Anne's, near the junction of the Ottawa and the St. Law- 

Toronto should be duly appreciative of the distinction of 
having been named by Moore. The look and sound of the word 
took his fancy, and he doubtless had pleasure in introducing it in 
his verses addressed to Lady Rawdon. It will be observed that 
while Moore gives the modern pronunciation of Niagara, and not 
the older, as Goldsmith does in his " Traveller," he obliges us to 
pronounce Cataraqui in an unusual manner. 

Isaac Weld, it will have been noticed, also preferred the name 
Toronto, in the passage from his Travels just now given, though 
writing after its alteration to York. The same traveller moreover 
indulges in the following general strictures : " It is to be lamented 
that the Indian names, so grand and sonorous, should ever have 
been changed for others. Newark, Kingston, York, are poor sub- 
stitutes for the original names of the respective places, Niagara, 
Cataraqui, Toronto." 


" Dead vegetable matter made the humus ; into that the roots of the living 
tree were struck, and because there had been vegetation in the past, there was 
vegetation in the future. And so it was with regard to the higher life of a na- 
tion. Unless there was a past to which it could refer, there would not be in it 

any high sense of its own mission in the world They did not 

want to bring the old times back again, but they would understand the present 
around them far better if they would trace the present back into the past, see 
what it arose out of, what it had been the development of, and what it con- 
tained to serve for the future before them. "—Bishop of Winchester to the Ar- 
rhmolo^ical Institute, at Southampton, Aug. 1872. 





: N Rome, at the present day, the parts that are the 
most attractive to the tourist of archseclogical tastes, 
are those that are the most desolate ; quarters that,' 
apart from their associations, are the most uninviting.' 
It is the same with many another venerable town of 
the world beyond the Atlantic of far less note than the 
old Imperial capital, with Avignon, for example; with 
JNismes and Vienne in France; with Paris itself, also, to some 
extent , with Chester, and York, and St. Albans, the Verulam 
ot the Roman period, in England. 

It is the same with our American towns, wherever any relics of 
their bnef past are extant. Detroit, we remember, had once a 
quamt, dilapidated, primaeval quarter. It is the same with our 
own Toronto. He that would examine the vestiges of the original 
settlement, out of which the actual town has grown, must betake 
himself, in the first instance, to 'ocalities now deserted by fashion 
and be content to contemplate objects that, to the indifferent eye' 
will seem commonplace and insignificant. 

To invest such places and things with any degree of interest will 
appear difficult. An attempt in that direction may even be pro- 
nounced visionary. Nevertheless, it is a duty which we owe to our 
forefathers to take what note we can of the labours of their hands • 
to forbid, so far as we may, the utter oblivion of their early efforts,' 
and deeds, and sayings, the outcome of their ideas, of their 
humours and anxieties ; to forbid, even, so far as we may, the 
utter oblivion of the form and fashion of their persons. 


Toronto of Old. 



The excavations which the first inhabitants made in the con- 
struction of their dwellings and in engineering operations, civil and 
military, were neither deep nor extensive ; the materials which 
they employed were, for the most part, soft and perishable. In a few 
years all the original edifices of York, the infant Toronto, together 
with all the primitive delvings and cuttings, will, of necessity, have 
vanished. Natural decay will have destroyed some. Winds, fires, 
and floods will have removed others. The rest will have been de- 
liberately taken out of the way, or obliterated in the accomplish- 
ment of modem improvements, the rude and fragile giving way be- 
fore the commodious and enduring. 

At St. Petersburg, we believe, the original log-hut of Peter the 
Great is preserved to the present day, in a casing of stone, with a 
kind of religious reverence. And in Rome of old, through the in- 
fluence of a similar sacred regard for the past, the lowly cottage of 
Romulus was long protected in a similar manner. There are pro- 
bably no material relics of our founders and forefathers which 
we should care to invest with a like forced and artificial perma- 
nence. But memorials of those relics, and records of the associa- 
tions that may here and there be found to cluster round them, — 
these we may think it worth our while to collect and cherish. 

Overlooking the harbour of the modern Toronto, far down in 
the east, there stands at the present day, a large structure of grey 
cut-stone. Its radiating wings, the turret placed at a central point 
aloft, evidently for the ready oversight of the subjacent premises ; 
the unomamented blank walls, pierced high up in each storey with a 
row of circular-heading openings, suggestive of shadowy corridors 
and cells within, all help to give to this pile an unmistakable pri- 

It was very nearly on the site of this rather hard-featured build- 
ing that the first Houses of Parliament of Upper Canada were 
placed — humble but commodious structures of wood, built before 
the close of the eighteenth century, and destroyed by the incen- 
diary hand of the invader in i8i^. " They consisted," as a con- 
temporary document sets fortK, " of two elegant Halls, with con- 
venient oflices, for the accommodation of the Legislature and the 
Courts of Justice."—" The Library, and all the papers and records 
belonging to these institutions were consumed, and, at the same 
time," the dooument adds, " the Church was robbed, and the 
Town Library totally pillaged."— The injuries thus inflicted were 

§ I.] Palace Street to the Market fplace. 27 

a few months afterwards avenged by the destruction of the 
Public Buildings at Washington, by a British force. " We consi- 
der," said an Address of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada 
to Sir George Prevost, "the destruction of the Public Buildings at 
Washington as a just retribution for the outrages committed by an 
American force at the seat of Government of Upper Canada." 

On the same site succeeded the more conspicuous and more 
capacioys, but still plain and simply cubical brick block erected 
for legislative purposes in 18 18, and accidentally burned in 1824. 
The conflagration on this occasion entailed a loss which, the 
Canadian Reviav of the period, published at Montreal, observes, 
"in the present state of the finances and debt of the Province,' 
cannot be considered a trifling affair." That loss, we are informed 
by the same authority, amounted to the sum of two thousand 

Hereabout the Westminster of the new capital was expected ta 
be. It is not improbable that the position at the head, rather than 
the entrance, of the harbour was preferred, as being at once com- 
manding and secure. 

The appearance of the spot in its primaeval condition, was doubt- 
less more prepossessing than we can now conceive it ever to have 
been. Fine groves of forest trees may have given it a sheltered 
look, and, at the same time, have screened off from view the ad- 
joining swamps. 

The language of the taxXy Provincial Gazetteer, published by au- 
thority, is as follows : " The Don empties itself into the har- 
bour, a little above the Town, running through a marsh, which when 
drained, will afford most beautiful and fruitful meadows." In the 
early manuscript Plans, the same sanguine opinion is recorded, in 
regard to the morasses in this locality. On one, of 1810, now before 
us, we have the inscription : " Natural Meadow which may be 
mown." On another, the legend runs : " Large Marsh, and will 
m time make good Meadows." On a third it is: " Large Marsh and 
Good Grass." 

At all events, hereabout it was that York, capital of Upper Ca- 
nada, began to rise. To the west and north of the site of the 
Houses of Pariiament, the officials of the Government, with mer- 
chants and tradesmen in the usual variety, began to select lots and 
put up convenient dwellings; whilst close by, at Berkeley Street or 
Pariiament Street as the southern portion of the modem Berkeley 


Toronto of Old. 


Street was then named, the chief thoroughfare of the town had its 
commencing-point. Growing slowly westward from here, King 
Street developed in its course, in the customary American way, its 
hotel, its tavern, its boarding-house, its waggon-factory, its tin- 
smith shop, its bakery, its general store, its lawyer's office, its print- 
ing office, its places of worship. 

Eastward of Berkeley Street, King Street became the Kingston 
road, trending slightly to the north, and then proceeding in a 
straight line to a bridge over the Don. This divergency in the 
highway caused a number of the lots on its northern side to be 
awkwardly bounded on their southern ends by lines that formed 
with their sides, alternately obtuse and acute angles, productive of v 
corresponding inconveniencies in the shapes of the buildings after- 
wards erected thereon ; and in the position of some of them. At 
one particular point the houses looked as if they had been sepa- 
rated from each other and partially twisted round, by the jolt 
of an earthquake. 

At the Bridge, the lower Kingston road, if produced westward 
in a right line, would have been Queen Street, or Lot Street, had it 
been deemed expedient to clear a passage in that direction through 
the forest. But some way westward from the Bridge, in this line, 
a ravine was encountered lengthwise, which was held to present 
great engineering difficulties. A road cut diagonally from the 
Bridge to the opening of King Street, at once avoided this natural 
impediment, and also led to a point where an easy connection was 
made with the track for wheels, which ran along the shore of the 
harbour to the Garrison. But for the ravine alluded to, which now 
appears to the south of Moss Park, Lot Street, or, which is the same 
thing, Queen Street, would at an early period, have begun to dis- 
pute with King Street, its claim to be the chief thoroughfare of York. 
But to come back to pur original unpromising stand-point. 
Objectionable as the first site of the Legislative Buildings at 
York may appear to ourselves, and alienated as it now is to lower 
uses, we cannot but gaze upon it with a certain degree of emotion, 
when we remember that here it was the first skirmishes took place 
in the great war of principles which aftcuvards with such determi- 
nation and effect was fought out in Canada. Here it was that first 
loomed up before the minds of our eariy law-makers the ecclesias- 
tical question, the educational question, the constitutional question. 
Here it was that first was heard the open discussion, childlike, in- 

§ I.] fPalace Street to the Market (Place. 29 

deed, and vague, but pregnant with ve^ weighty consequences, of 
topics, social and national, which, at the time, even in the parent 
state itself, were mastered but by few. 

Here it was, during a period of twenty-seven years (i 797-1824), 
at each opening and closing of the annual session, amidst the firing 
of cannon and the commotion of a crowd, the cavalcade drew up 
that is wont, from the banks of the Thames to the remotest 
colony of England, to mark the solemn progress of the sovereign 
or the sovereign's representative, to and from the other Estates in 
Parliament assembled. Here, amidst such fitting surroundings of 
state, as the circumstances of the times and the place admitted, 
came and went personages of eminence, whose names are now 
familiar in Canadian story : never, indeed, the founder and organ- 
iser of Upper Canada, Governor Simcoe himself, in this formal and 
ceremonious manner; although often must he have visited the 
spot otherwise, in his personal examinations of every portion of his 
young capital and its environs. But here, immediately after him, 
however, came and went repeatedly, in due succession, President 
Russell, Governor Hunter, Governor Gore, General Brock, Gene- 
ral Sheaffe, Sir Gordon Drummond, Sir Peregrine Maitland. 

And, while contemplating the scene of our earliest political con- 
flicts, the scene of our earliest known state pageants in these parts, 
with their modest means and appliances, our minds intuitively recur 
to a period farther removed still, when under even yet more primitive 
conditions the Parliament of Upper Canada assembled at Newark, 
just across the Lake. We picture to ourselves the group of seven 
crown-appointed Councillors and five representatives of the Com- 
mons, assembled there, with the first Speaker, McDonell, of Glen- 
gary; all plain, unassuming, prosaic men, listening, at their first 
session, to the opening speech of their frank and honoured Gover- 
nor. We see them adjourning to the open air from their straight- 
ened chamber at Navy Hall, and conducting the business of the 
young Province under the shade of a spreading tree, introducing 
the English Code and Trial by Jury, decreeing Roads, and pro- 
hibiting the spread of Slavery ; while a boulder of the drift, lifting 
itself up through the natural turf, serves as a desk for the recording 
clerk. Below them, in the magnificent estuary of the river 
Niagara, \l , waters of all the Upper Lakes are swirling by, not yet 
recovei^ed from the agonies of the long gorge above, and the leap 
at Table Rock.— Even here, at the opening and close of this pri- 



Toronto of Old. 



maeval Legislature, some of the decent ceremonial was observed 
with which, as we have just said, the sadly inferior site at the em- 
bouchure of the Don became afterwards familiar. We learn this from 
the narrative of the French Duke de Liancourt, who affords us a 
glimpse of the scene at Newark on the occasion of a Parliament 
therein 1795. "The whole retinue of the Governor," he says, 
"' consisted in a guard of fifty men of the garrison of the fort. 
Draped in silk, he entered the Hall with his hat on his head, 
attended by his adjutant and two secretaries. The two members 
of the Legislative Council gave, by their speaker, notice of it to the 
Assembly. Five members of the latter having appeared at the bar, 
the Governor delivered a speech, modelled after that of the King, on 
the political affairs of Europe, on the treaty concluded with the 
United States (Jay's treaty of 1 794), which he mentioned in expres- 
sions very favourable to the Union ; and on the peculiar concerns 
of Canada." (Travels, i. 258.) 

By the Quebec Act, passed in 1791, it was enacted that the 
Legislative Council for Upper Canada should consist of not fewer 
than seven members, and the Assembly of not less than sixteen 
members, who were to be called together at least once in every 
year. To account for the smallness of the attendance on the occa- 
sion just described, the Duke explains that the Governor had de- 
ferred the session " on account of the expected arrival of a Chief 
Justice, who was to come from England : and from a hope that he 
should be able to acquaint the members with the particulars of the 
Treaty with the United States. But the harvest had now begun, 
which, in a higher degree than elsewhere, engages in Canada the 
public attention, far beyond what state affairs can do. Two mem- 
bers of the Legislative Council were present, instead of seven; no 
Chief Justice appeared, who was to act as Speaker ; instead of 
sixteen members of the Assembly, five only attended ; and this 
was the whole number that could be collected at this time. The 
law required a greater number of members for each house, to dis- 
cuss and determine upon any business ; but within two days a year 
would have expired since the last session. The Governor, there- 
fore, thought it right to open the session, reserving, however, to 
either house the right of proroguing the sitting, from one day to 
another, in expectation that the ships from Detroit and Kingston 
would either bring the members who were yet wanting, or certain 
intelligence of their not being able to attend." 

§ I.] fPalace Street to the Market fPlace. 31 

But again to return to the Houses of Parliament at York.— 
Extending from the grounds which surrounded the buildings, in 
the east, all the way to the fort at the entrance of the harbour^ in 
the west, there was a succession of fine forest trees, especially oak; 
underneath and by the side of which the upper surface of the pre- 
cipitous but nowhere very elevated cliff was carpeted with thick 
green-sward, such as is still to be seen between the old and new gar- 
risons, or at Mississaga Point at Niagara. A fragment, happily 
preserved, of the ancient bank, is to be seen in the ornamental 
piece of ground known as the Fair-green ; a strip of land first pro- 
tected by a fence, and planted with shrubbery at the instance of 
Mr. George Monro, when Mayor, who also, in front of his property 
some distance ftirther on, long guarded from harm a solitary sur- 
vivor of the grove that once fringed the harbour. 

On our first visit to Southampton, many years ago, we remem- 
ber observing a resemblance between the walk to the river Itchen, 
shaded by trees and commanding a wide water-view on the south,' 
and the margin of the harbour of York. 

In the interval between the points where now Princes Street and 
Caroline Street descend to the water's edge, was a favourite land- 
ing-place for the small craft of the bay— a wide and clean gravelly 
beach, with a convenient ascent to the cliff above. Here, on fine 
mornings, at the proper season, skiffs and canoes, log and birch- 
bark, were to be seen putting in, weighed heavily down with fish, 
speared or otherwise taken during the preceding night, in the lake] 
bay, or neighbouring river. Occasionally a huge sturgeon would 
be landed, one struggle of which might suffice to upset a small 
boat. Here were to be purchased in quantities, salmon, pickerel, 
masquelonge, whitefish and herrings ; with the smaller fry of 
perch, bass and sunfish. Here, too, would be displayed unsightly 
catfish, suckers, lampreys, and other eels ; and sometimes lizards, 
young alligators for size. Specimens, also, of the curious steel- 
clad, inflexible, vicious-looking pipe-fish were not uncommon. 
About the submerged timbers of the wharves this creature was 
often to be seen— at one moment stationary and still, like the 
dragon-fly or humming-bird poised on the wing, then, like those 
nei-vous denizens of the air, giving a sudden dart off to the right 
or left, without curving its body. 

Across the bay, from this landing-place, a little to the eastward, 
was the narrowest part of the peninsula, a neck of sand, destitute 


Toronto of Old. 


of trees, known as the portage or carrying-place, where, from time 
immemorial, canoes and small boats were wont to be transferred 
to and from the lake. 

Along the bank, above the landing-place, Indian encampments 
were occasionally set up. Here, in comfortless wigwams, we have 
seen Dr. Lee, a medical man attached to the Indian department, 
administering from an ordinary tin cup, nauseous but salutary 
draughts to sick and convalescent squaws. It was the duty of 
Dr. Lee to visit Indian settlements and prescribe for the sick. In 
the discharge ofhis duty he performed long journeys, on horse- 
back, to Penetanguishene and other distant posts, carrying with 
him his drugs and apparatus in saddle-bags. When advanced in 
years, and somewhat disabled in regard to activity of movement. 
Dr. Lee was attached to the Parliamentary staff as Usher of the 
Black Rod.— The locality at which we are glancing suggests the 
name of another never-to-be-forgotten medical man, whose home 
and property were close at hand. This is the eminent surgeon 
and physician, Christopher Widmer. 

It is to be regretted that Dr. Widmer left behind him no written 
memorials of his long and varied experience. Before his settle- 
ment in York, he had been a staflf cavalry surgeon, on active ser- 
\ice during the campaigns in the Peninsula. A personal narrative 
of his public life would have been full of interest. But his ambi- 
tion was content with the homage of his contemporaries, rich and 
poor, rendered with sincerity to his pre-eminent abilities and inex- 
tinguishable zeal as a surgeon and physician. Long after his retire- 
ment from general practice, he was every day to be seen passing 
to and from the old Hospital on King Street, conveyed in his well- 
known cabriolet, and guiding with his own hand the reins con- 
ducted in through the front window of the vehicle. He had now 
attained a great age ; but his slender form continued erect ; the 
hat was worn jauntily, as in other days, and the dress was ever 
scrupulously exact ; the expression of the face in repose was some- 
what abstracted an4 sad, but a quick smile appeared at the recog- 
nition of friends. The ordinary engravings of Harvey, the dis- 
coverer of the circulation of the blood, recall in some degree the 
countenance of Dr. Widmer. Within the General Hospital, a por- 
trait of him is appropriately preserved. One of the earliest, and 
at the same time one of the most graceful lady-equestrians ever 
seen in York was this gentleman's accomplished wife. At a later 





S I.] f?alace Street to the Market fPlace. 33 

period a sister of Mr. Justice Willis was also coi^spicuous as a ski! 
ful and fearless horse-woman. The description inTpe" A^ec 
<iotes of the Pnncess Amelia, youngest daughter of Georg'll iJ 
curiously applicable to the last-named lady who S M .1, 
amiable peculiarities indicated, talents and virtues of he h . ! 
order. ^^She," the brothers Sholto and Reub n sa^ "L t/ a 
n^a-uhne turn of mind, and evinced this strikingly LugTin her 
<lress and manners : she generally wore a riding-hlJt kthc Ger 

RusseU Abbey. I, „as .he house of U,e Hon'"i ^faj 
after h,s decease of his maiden sister, Miss Eli Je.h Ru 'eS a 

Tl e edifice, hke most of the early liomes of York was of „Z J 
only ; but it exhibited in its design a degree o elernc and soml 
pecuhanfes. To a central building were attached w.ngt w"h 
gables to the south : the windows had each an architectZf h! 
ratton or pediment over it. It was this featurrw teUrvl 1°" 
was supposed to give to the place something of a mo.^;^ * ' 
to entitle ,t even to the name of " Abbev " In from T^f ' 
wall with a light wooden paling surrou'nld a"aw t tl" ^r 
Wl acacia, or locusts. Mr. Russell was a remote sctn oHh! 

a ^omI hT'" "' ^'"'"'""^ ^' ^^''«' '» '-y f-e fouZion of 
a solid landed estate in Upper Canada. His position as TIT 

nistrator, on the departure of the Itat Governor „f ... p4 


Toronto of Old. 


gave him facilities for the selection and acquisition of wild lands. 
The duality necessarily assumed in the wording of the Patents by 
which the Administrator made grants to himself, seems to have 
been regarded by some as having a touch of the comic in it. Hence 
among the early people of these parts the name of Peter Russell 
was occasionally to be heard quoted good-humouredly, not mal- 
ignantly, as an example of " the man who would do well unto him- 
self" On the death of Mr. Russell, his property passed into the 
hands of his sister, who bequeathed the whole to Dr. William 
Warren Baldwin, into whose possession also came the valuable 
family plate, elaborately embossed with the armorial bearings of 
the Russells. Russell Hill, long the residence of Admiral Augus- 
tus Baldwin, had its name from Mr. Russell , and in one of the 
elder branches of the Baldwin family, Russell is continued as a 
baptismal name. In the same family is also preserved an interest- 
ing portrait of Mr. Peter Russell himself, from which we can see 
that he was a gentleman of portly presence, of strongly marked 
features, of the Thomas Jefferson type. We shall have occasion 
hereafter to speak frequently of Mr. Russell. 

Russell Abbey became afterwards the residence of Bishop Mac- 
donell, a universally-respected Scottish Roman Catholic ecclesias- 
tic, whose episcopal title was at first derived from Rhesina inpar- 
tibus, but afterwards from our Canadian Kingston, where his home 
usuallv was. His civil duties, as a member of the Legislative 
Councd of Upper Canada, required his presence in York during 
the Parliamentary sessions. We have in our possession a fine mez- 
zotint of Sir M. A. Shee's portrait of Bishop Macdonell. It used 
to be supposed by some that the occupancy of Russell Abbey by 
the Bishop caused the portion of Front Street which lies eastward 
of the Market-place, to be denominated Palace Street. But the 
name appears in plans of York of a date many years anterior to 
that occupancy. 

In connection with this mention of Bishop Macdonell, it may 
be of some interest to add that, in 1826, Thomas Weld, of Lul- 
worth Castle, Dorsetshire, was consecrated as his coadjutor, in 
England, under the title of Bishop of Amylse. But it does not 
appear that he ever came out to Canada. (This was afterwards 
the well-known English Cardmal.) He had been a layman, and 
married, up to the year 1^25 ; when, on the death of his wife, he 
took orders ; and in one year he was, as just stated, m&Ue a 

§ I .] f?alac3 Street to the Market (Place. 35 

Russell Abbey may indeed have been styled the "Palace" • h.,^ 
U was probably from being the residence 'of one wh^ " tJ^^e 
years administered the Government ; or the name « Palac=> Sb^t'' 
Itself may have suggested the appellation. " Palace st^e^ was 
no doubt intended to indicate the fact that it led direcTto The 
a^vernment reservation at the end of the Town on which the Par! 
hament houses were erected, and where it was supposed the « pI 
lais du Gouvernement." theofficial residence of the repre^enta^e 

Offitl'Zt ti" ^'^ .^-r.-"^^ eventually XTt^Z 
Official Plan of this region, of the year 1810, the Parliament 
Buildings themselves are styled " Government House ,, '^°*'"' 

thatth^?"^'"^ '"* °' y°''' ^"'''"^^' ^' «"<*' fro™ the plans, 
that the name given in the first instance to the Front street of the 

town was, not Palace Street, but King Street. Modern KW 

WThesrs^r'^"''^'^' "^'^"^ ^"^^ Street, Duch^f 
btreet. These street names were intended as loyal compliments 

to members ofthe reigning family; to George the ThiS To hU 
son the popular Duke of York, from whom, as we shall leam W 
after, the town itself was named; to the Duchess of Yo^ Te 
eldest daughter of the King of Prussia. In the cross sheet's the 
same chivalrous devotion to the Hanoverian dynasty was exhibited 
George street, the boundary westward of thefim nlTusff Y^' 
The nl . T" ""^ *^%^"^-^PP*>-e"t. George, Prince of Wales! 

WK l f T'^r"** ^^^ ''°"*'"*** ^t'^ *»»« name of his next 
brother, Frederick, the Duke of York himself. And the suc^eedi^g 
street eastward, Caroline Street, had imposed upon it thaTof a! 
Pnncess of Wales, afterwards so unhappily famous a^ Geo^/ Z 
Fourth's Queen Caroline. Whilst in Princes Street (for such fs the 
W as ^'^'''.r as the old plans show, J „ot Princes 

ti^e royal amily were collectively commemorated, namely the 
Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Cumb^d 
the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of Cambridge '"°*'^<"' 

When the Canadian town of York was first projected, the mar- 
riage of the Duke of York with the daughter ofthe Kin^ of P^. 

irB^^n" n ^^"^°*^^'"> "^-^ -ly recently been celebrard 
at Berhn. It was considered at the time an event of importance 
and the ceremonies on the occasion are given with some minute 
nessintheAnnualRe^sterfor ^y,^, We are there informrthat 
"the supper was served at six tables; fh<,* ♦!,- *-. _.- .1 



Toronto of Old. 


under a canopy of crimson velvet, and the victuals (as the record 
terms them) served on gold dishes and plates ; that Lieutenant- 
General Bomstedt and Count Bruhl had the honour to carve, 
without being seated , that the other five tables, at which sat the 
generals, ministers, ambassadors, all the officers of the Court, and 
the high nobility, were served in other apartments ; that supper 
being over, the assembly repaired to the White Hall, where the 
trumpet, timbrel, and other music, were playing ; that the flambeau 
dance was then began, at which the ministers of state carried the 
torches ; that the new couple were attended to their apartment by 
the reigning Queen and the Queen dowager ; that the Duke of 
York wore on this day the English uniform, and the Princess Fre- 
derica a suit of drop ffargeni, ornamented with diamonds." In 
Ashburton's " New and Complete History of England, from the 
first settlement of Brutus, upwards of one thousand years before 
Julius Csesar, to the year 1793," now lying before us, two full-length 
portraits of the Duke and Duchess are given.— New York and 
Albany, in the adjoining State, had their names from titles of a 
Duke of York in 1664, afterwards James II. His brother, Charies 
IL, made him a present, by Letters Patent, of all the territory, 
from the western side of the Connecricut river to the east side of 
Delaware Bay ; that is, of the present States of Connecticut, New 
York, Delaware, and New Jersey. 

On the green sward of the bank between Princes street and 
George Street, the annual military '* Trainings" on the Fourth of 
June, " the old King's birthday," were wont to take place. At a 
later period the day of meeting was the 23rd of April, St. George's 
day, the fSte of George IV. Military displays on a grand scale 
in and about Toronto have not been uncommon in modern times, 
exciting the enthusiasm of the multitude that usually assembles on 
such occasions. But in no way inferior in point of interest to the 
unsophisticated youthful eye, half a century ago, unaccustomed to 
anything more elaborate, were those motley musterings of the 
militia companies. The costume of the men may have been va- 
rious, the fire-arms only partially distributed, and those that were 
to be had not of the brightest hue, nor of the most scientific make • 
the lines may not always have been perfectly straight, nor their 
constituents well matched in height ; the obedience to the word 
of command may not have been rendered with the mechanical 
precision which we admire at reviews now, nor with that total sup- 

§ I.] (Palace Street to the Market (Place. 37 

pression of dialogue in undertone in the ranks, nor with that 
absence of remark interchanged between the men and their 
officers that are customary now. Nevertheless, as a military spec 
tacle, these gatherings and manoeuvres on the grassy bank here, 
were effective ; they were always anticipated with pleasure and 
' contemplated with satisfaction. The officers on these occasions, 
—some of them mounted— were arrayed in uniforms of antique 
cut ; m red coats with wide black breast lappets and broad tail 
flaps; high collars, tight sleeves and large cuffs; on the head a 
black hat, the ordinary high-crowned civilian hat, with a cylindri- 
cal feather some eighteen inches high inserted at the top, not in 
front, but on the left side (whalebone surrounded with feathers 
from the barnyard, scarlet at the base, white above). Animation 
was added to the scene by a drum and a few fifes executing with 
liveliness "The York Quickstep," "The Reconciliation," and 
The British Grenadiers." And then, in addition to the local 
cavalry corps, there were the clattering scabbards, the blue jackets 
and bear-skin helmets of Captain Button's dragoons from Markham 
and Whitchurch. 

Numerously, in the rank and file at these musterings-as well 
as among the officers, commissioned and non-commissioned— were 
to be seen men who had quite recently jeopardized their lives in the 
defence of the country. At the period we are speaking of, only 
some six or seven years had elapsed since an invasion of Canada 
from the south. " The late war," for a long while, very naturally, 
formed a fixed point in local chronology, from which times and 
seasons were calculated ; a fixed point, however, which, to the in- 
different new-comer, and even to the indigenous, who, when " the 
late war' was m progress, were not in bodily existence, seemed 
already to belong to a remote past. An impression of the miseries 
of war, derived from the talk of those who had actually felt them 
was very strongly stamped in the minds of the rising generation • 
an impression accompanied also at the same time with the un- 
comfortable persuasion derived from the same source, that another 
conflict was inevitable in due time. Themusterings on "Training- 
day were thus invested with interest and importance in the minds 
of those who were summoned to appear on these occasions, as also 
in the minds of the boyish looker-on, who was aware that ere long 
he would himself be required by law to turn out and take his part 
in the annual militia evolutions, and perhaps afterwards, possibly 



Toronto of Old. 


at no distant hour, to handle the musket or wield the sword in 

A little further on, in a house at the north-west comer of Frede- 
rick Street, a building afterwards utterly destroyed by fire was 
bom, in 1804, the Hon. Robert Baldwin, son of Dr William 
Warren Baldwin, already referred to, and Attomey-General in 
1842 for Upper Canada. In the same building, at a later period 
(and previously in an humble edifice, at the north-west comer of 
King Street and Caroline Street, now likewise wholly destroyed ) 
the foundation was laid, by well-directed and far-sighted ventures 
^ m commerce, of the great wealth (locally proverbial) of the 
Cawthra family, the Astors of Upper Canada, of whom more here- 
after. It was also in the same house, prior to its occupation by 
Mr. Cawthra, senior, that the printing operations of Mr. William 
Lyon Mackenzie were carried on at the time of the destruction of 
his press by a party of young men, who considered it proper to 
take some spirited notice of the criticisms on the public acts of 
their fathers, uncles and superiors generally, that appeared every 
week m the columns of the Colonial Advocate; a violent act memo- 
rable in the annals of Westem Canada, not simply as having been 
the means of establishing the fortunes of an indefatigable and 
powerful journalist, but more notably as presenting an unconscious 
illustration of a general law, observable in the early development 
of communities, whereby an element destined to elevate and re- 
generate is, on its first introduction, resisted, and sought to be 
crushed physically, not morally; somewhat as the white man's 
watch was dashed to pieces by the Indian, as though it had been 
a sentient thing, conspiring in some mysterious way with other 
things, to promote the ascendancy of the stranger. 

The youthful perpetrators of the violence referred to were not 
long in learning practically the futility of such exploits. Good old 
Mr. James Baby, on handing to his son Raymond the amount 
which that youth was required to pay as his share of the heavj' 
damages awarded, as a matter of course, by the jury on the occa- 
sion, is said to have added :— " There ! go and make one great 
fool of yourself again !"— a sarcastic piece of advice that might 
have been offered to each of the parties concerned. 

A few steps northward, on the east side of Frederick Street, was 
the first Post Office, on the premises of Mr. Allan, who was post- 
master J and southward, where this street touches the water, was 

5 I.] Palace Street to the Market (Place. 39 

the Merchants' Wharf, also the property of Mr. Allan ; and the 
Custom House, where Mr. Allan was the Collector. We gather 
also from Calendars of the day that Mr. Allan was likewise Inspec- 
tor of Flour, Pot and Pearl Ash; and Inspector of Shop, Still and 
Tavern Duties. In an early, limited condition of society, a man 
of more than the ordinary aptitude for affairs is required to act in 
many capacities. 

The Merchants' Wharf was the earliest landing-place for the 
larger craft of the lake. At a later period other wharves or long 
wooden jetties, extending out into deep water, one of them named 
the Farmers' Wharf, were built westward. In the shoal water between 
the several wharves, for a long period, there was annually a dense 
crop of rushes or flags. The town or county authorities incurred 
considerable expense, year after year, in endeavouring to eradicate 
them — but, like the heads of the hydra, they were always re-ap- 
pearing. In July, 1 82 1, a " Mr. Coles' account for his assistants' 
labour in destroying rushes in front of the Market Square," was 
laid before the County magistrates, and audited, amounting to 
^13 6j. id. In August of the same year, the minutes of the 
County Court record that "Capt. Macaulay, Royal Engineers, 
offered to cut down the rushes in front of the town between the 
Merchants' Wharf and Cooper's Wharf, for a sum not to exceed 
ninety dollars, which would merely be the expense of the men and 
materials in executing the undertaking : his own time he would 
^ive to the public on this occasion, as encouragement to others to 
endeavour to destroy the rushes when they become a nuisance /' 
it was accordingly ordered '• that ninety dollars be paid to Capl. 
Macaulay or his order, for the purpose of cutting down the rushes, 
according to his verbal undertaking to cut down the same, to be 
paid out of the Police or District funds in the hands of the Trea- 
surer of the District." 

We have understood that Capt. Macaulay's measures for the 
extinction of the rank vegetation in the shallow waters of the har- 
bour, proved to be very efficient. The instrument used was a kind 
of screw grapnel, which, let down from the side of a large scow, 
laid hold of the rushes at their root and forcibly wrenched them out 
of the bed of mud below. The entire plant was thus lifted up, and 
drawn by a windlass into the scow. When a full load of the aquatic 
weed was collected, it was taken out into the open water of the 
Lake, and ti.. disposed of. 


Toronto of Old. 


Passing on our way, we soon came to the Market Square. This 
was a large open space, with wooden shambles in the middle of it 
thirty-six feet long and twenty-four wide, running north and south! 

By a Proclamation in the Gazette of Nov. 3, 1803, Governor 
Hunter appointed a weekly market day for the Town of York, and 
also a place where the market should be held. 

•' Peter Hunter, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor, &c. Whereas 
great prejudice hath arisen to the inhabitants of the Town and 
Township of York, and of other adjoining Townships, from no place 
or day having been set apart or appointed for exposing publicly 
for sale, cattle, sheep, poultry, and other provisions, goods, and 
merchandize, brought by merchants, farmers, and others, for the 
necessary supply of the said Town of York; and, whereas, great 
benefit and advantage might be derived to the said inhabitants 
and others, by establishing a weekly market within that Town, 
at a place and on a day certain for the purpose aforesaid ; 

" Know all men. That I, Peter Hunter, Esquire, Lieutenant- 
Governor of the said Province, taking the premises into considera- 
tion, and willing to promote the interest, and advantage, and accom- 
modation of the inhabitants of the Town and Township aforesaid, 
aud of others. His Majesty's subjects, within the said Province, by 
and with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, have ordained, 
erected, established and appointed, and do hereby ordain, erect' 
establish and appoint, a Public Open Market, to be held on Satur- 
day m each and every week during the year, within the said Town 
ofYork:— (The first market to be held therein on Saturday, the 
Sth day of November next after the date of these presents), on a 
certain piece or plot of land within that Town, consisting of five 
acres and a half, commencing at the south-east angle of the said 
plot, at the corner of Market Street and New Street, then north 
sixteen degrees, west five chains seventeen links, more or less, to 
King Street; then along King Street south seventy-four degrees 
west nme chains fifty-one links, more or less, to Church Street- 
then south sixteen degrees east six chains thiriy-four links, more' 
or less, to Market Street ; then along Market Street north seventy- 
four degrees east two chains; then north sixty-four degrees, east 
along Market Street seven chains sixty links, more or less, to the 
place of beginning, for the purpose of exposing for sale cattle, 
sheep, poultry, and other provisions, goods and merchandize, as 
aforesaid. Given under my hand and seal at arms, at York, thi& 

. 4 























§ I.] fPalace Street to the Market (Place. 41 

twenty-sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and three, and in the forly-fourth year of His Ma- 
jesty P. Hunter. Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor. By His 
Excellency's command, Wm. Jarvis, Secretary." 

In 1824, the Market Square was, by the direction of the County 
magistrates, closed in on the east, west, and south sides, «' with a 
picketting and oak ribbon, the pickets at ten feet distance from 
each other, with three openings or foot-paths on each side." 

The digging of a public well here, in the direction of King 
Street was an event of considerable interest in the town. Groups 
of school-boys everyday scanned narrowly the progress of the 
undertaking ; a cap of one or the other of them, mischievously pre- 
cipitated to the depths where the labourers' mattocks were to be 
heard pecking at the shale below, may have in.pressed the execu 
tion of this public work all the more indelibly on the recollection 
of some of them. By referring to a volume of the Upper Canada 
Gazette we find that this was in 1823. An unofficial advertisement 
m that periodical, dated June the 9th, 1823, calls for proposals to 
be sent in to the office of the Clerk of the Peace, "for the sinking 
a well, stoning and sinking a pump therein, in the most approved 
manner, at the Market Square of the said town (of York) for the 
convenience of the Public." It is added that persons desirous of 
contracting for the same, must give in their proposals on or before 
Tuesday, the first day of July next ensuing ; and the signature, 
by the order of the Court," is that of " S. Heward, Clerk of the 
Peace, H. D." (Home District). 

The tender ofjohn Hutchison and George Hetherington was- 
accepted. They offered to do the work "for the sum of £2^ 
currency on coming to the rock, with the addition of seven shil- 
lings and sixpence per foot for boring into the rock until a suffi- 
cient supply of water can be got, should it be required." The 
work was done and the account paid July 30th, 1823. The charge 
for bonng eight feet two inches through the rock was £2, js 3^ 
The whole well and pump thus cost the County the modest sum 
of only ;^28 i.r. ^d. The charge for flagging round the pump, for 
logs, stone and workmanship," was ^5 2s. 4^., paid to Mr.. 
Hugh Carfrae, pathmaster. 

Near the public pump, auctions in the open air occasionally took 
place. A humourous chapman in that line, Mr. Patrick Handy 
used often here to be seen and heard, disposing of his miscella- 


Toronto of Old. 


neous wares. With Mr. Handy was associated for a time, in this 
business, Mr. Patrick McGann. And here we once witnessed the 
horrid exhibition of a public whipping, in the case of two culprits 
whose offence is forgotten. A dischaiged regimental drummer, a 
native African, administered the lash. The sheriff stood by, keep- 
ing count of the stripes. The senior of the two unfortunates bore 
his punishment with stoicism, encouraging the negro to strike with 
more force. The other, a young man, endeavoured for a little 
while to imitate his companion in this respect; but soon was 
obliged to evince by fearful cries the torture endured. Similar 
scenes were elsewhere to be witnessed in Canada. In the Montreal 
Biera/d of September i6th, 1815, we have the following item of 
city news, given without comment : " Yesterday, between the hours 
of 9 and 10, pursuant to their sentences, Andr6 Latulippe, Henry 
Leopard, and John Quin, received 39 lashes each, in the New 
Market Place." The practice of whipping and even branding of 
culprits in public had begun at York in 1798. In the Gazette and 
Oracle of Dec. ist, 1 798, printed at York, we have the note : " Last 
Monday William Hawkins was publicly whipped, and Joseph Mc- 
Carthy burned in the hand, at the Market Place, pursuant to their 
sentence." The crimes are not named. 

In the Market Square at York, the pillory and the stocks were 
also from time to time set up. The latter were seen in use for the 
last time in 1834. In 1804, a certain Elizabeth Ellis was, for 
"being a nuisance," sentenced by Chief Justice Allcock to be im- 
prisoned for six months, and " to stand in the pillory twice during 
the said imprisonment, on two different market days, opposite the 
Market House in the town of York, for the space of two hours 
each time." In the same year, the same sentence was passed on 
one Campbell, for using " seditious words." 

In 1 83 1 the wooden shambles were removed, and replaced in 
1833 by a collegiate-looking building of red brick, quadrangular in 
its arrangement, with arched gateway entrances on King Street and 
Front Street. This edifice filled the whole square, with the ex- 
ception of roadways on the east and west sides. The public well 
was now concealed from view. It doubtless exists still, to be dis- 
covered and gloated over by the antiquarian of another century. 

Round the four sides of the new brick Market ran a wooden 
gallery, which served to shade the Butchers' stalls below. It was 
here that a fearful casualty occurred in 1834. A concourse of 

5 I.] ^Palace Street to the Market ^lace. 


people were being addressed after the adjournment of a meeting 
on an electional question, when a portion of the overcrowded gal- 
lery fell, and several persons were caught on the sharp iron hooks 
of the stalls underneath, and so received fatal injuries. The killed 
and wounded on this memorable occasion were : — Son of Col. 
Fitz Gibbon, killed ; Mr. Hutton, killed ; Col. Fitz Gibbon, in- 
jured severely ; Mr. Mountjoy, thigh broken ; Mr. Cochrane, 
injured severely ; Mr. Charles Daly, thigh broken ; Mr. George 
Gumett, wound in the head ; Mr. Keating, injured internally ; 
Mr. Fenton, injured ; Master Gooderham, thigh broken ; Dr. 
Lithgow, contused severely ; Mr. Morrison, contused severely ; 
Mr. Alderman Denison, cut on the head ; Mr. Thornhill, thigh 
broken ; Mr. Street, arm broken ; Mr. Deese, thigh broken ; an- 
other Mr. Deese, leg and arm broken ; Mr. Sheppard, injured in- 
ternally ; Mr. Clieve, Mr. Mingle, Mr. Preston, Mr. Armstrong, 
Mr. Leslie (of the Garrison), Master Billings, Mr. Duggan, Mr. 
Thomas Ridout, Mr. Brock, Mr. Turner, Mr. Hood (since dead), 
severely injured, &c. 

The damage done to the northern end of the quadrangle during 
the great fire of 1849 ^^^ to the demolition of the whole building, 
and the erection of the St. Lawrence Hall and Market Over 
windows on the second storey at the south east corner of the red 
brick structure now removed, there appeared, for several years, 
two signs, united at the angle of the building, each indicating by 
its inscription the place of " The Huron and Ontario Railway" 

This was while the Northern Railway of Canada was yet exist- 
ing simply as a project. 

In connection with our notice of the Market, we give some col- 
lections which may serve to illustrate — 


During the war it was found expedient by the civil authorities to 
interfere, in some degree, with the law of supply and demand. The 
Magistrates, in Quarter Sessions assembled, agreed, in 18 14, upon 
the following prices, as in their opinion fair and equitable to be 
paid by the military authorities for provisions :— Flour, per barrel, 
^3 10s. Wheat, per bushel, los. Pease, per bushel, yj. 6d. 
Barley and Rye, the same. Oats, per bushel, 5J. Hay, per ton, 
j^5. Straw, £1. Beef, on foot, per cwt £2 $s. ; slaughtered, 


Toronto of Old. 


per lb., 71^^. Pork, salted, per barrel, £^ los. ; per carcass, ^%d. 
Mutton, per lb, gd. Veal, M. Butter, i.. ^d. Bread, per loaf 
of 4 lbs, IS. 6d In April, 1822, peace then reigning, York prices 
were :— Beef, per lb., 2d a 4^. Mutton, ^d. a sd Veal, 4d a .;^. 
Pork, 2d. a zyid Fowls, per pair, ij. ^d Turkeys, each, is. 9//. 
Geese, 2s. 6d Ducks, per pair, is. rod Cheese, per lb. ^d. 
Butter, 7^^, Eggs, per doz., ^d. Wheat, oer bushel, 2s. 6d Bar- 
ley, 48 lbs., 2s. Oats, i.f. Pease, is. i%d Potatoes, per bushel, 
IS. Id Turnips, u. Cabbages, per head, 2d Flour, percwt., 
(>s. zd Flour, per barrel, 12s. 6d Tallow, per lb, sd Lard, 
per lb., sd Hay, per ton, ;^2 los. Pork, per barrel, ;^2 los. 
Wood, per cord, lox. 

As allied to the subject of early prices at York, we add some 
excerpts from tlie day-book of Mr. Abner Miles, conductor of the 
chief hotel of the place, in 17,98. It Mould appear that the resi- 
dent gentry and others occasionally gave and partook of little din- 
ners at Mr. Miles', for which the charges are roughly minuted on 
some long, narrow pages of folded foolscap now lying before us 
It will be seen from the record that the local "table-traits," as Dr 
Doran would speak, were, as nearly as practicable those of the 
rest of the Empire at the period. At the new capital, however, 
m 1798, hosts and guests must have laboured under serious 

In July, 1798, the following items appear against the names 
conjointly of Messrs. Baby, Hamilton, and Commodore Grant — 
Twenty-two dinners at Eight shillings, £% i6s. Sixteen to Coffee, 
^1123. Eight Suppers, 1 6s. Twenty-three quarts and and one 
pintof wme, ^10 ns. 6d. Eight bottles of porter, £2 8s. Two 
bottles of syrup-punch, £1 4s. One bottle of brandy and one 
bottle of rum, i8s. Altogether amounting to £26 5s. 6d. (The 
currency throughout Mr. Miles' books is that of New York, in 
which the shilling was seven pence half-penny. The total just given 
denoted between ^16 and £l^ of modern Canadian money. It is 
observable that in the entries of which we give specimens, whiskey, 
the deadly bane of later years, in not named.) On the 1 7th June 
Thomas Ridont, Jonathan Scott, Col. Fortune, Surveyor Jones' 
Samuel Heron, Mr. Jarvis [the Secretary], Adjutant McGill, and 
Mr. Crawford are each charged i6s. as his quota of a "St. John's 
dmner." On the 4th of June, an entry against "the Chief Justice" 
[Elmsley], runs thus : Eighteen dinners at Eight shillings, £^ 4s. 

§ I.] Palace Street to the Market ^lace. 45 

Three bottles Madeira, £1 7s. One bottle brandy, los. Five 
bottles of port wine, four bottles of porter and one pint of rum are 
charged, but the value is not given. The defect is supplied in a 
later entry against the Chief Justice, of seven dinners (42s.) ; where 
two pints of port wine are charged 9s. ; one pint of brandy, ss. ; 
two bottles port wine, i8s. ; one bottle white wine, 9s. ; one bottle 
of porter, 6s. On this occasion " four took coffee," at a cost ot 8s. 
Elsewhere, three dinners are charged to the Chief Justice, when 
three bottles of wine were required ; one pint of brandy, and two 
bottles of porter, all at the rates already quoted. A " mess dinner" 
is mentioned, for which the Chief Justice, Mr. Hallowell, and Mr. 
Cartwright pay 6s. each. One bottle of port, one of Madeira, and 
one of brandy were ordered, and the "three took coffee," as before 
at 2s. a head. Again, at a " mess dinner," of four, the names not 
given, two bottles of port and one bottle of porter were taken. A 
" club" appears to have met here. In July, 1798, a charge against 
the names of " Esq. Weekes," " Esq. Rogers," and Col. Fortune, 
respectively, is "liquor in club the nth at dinner, is. 6d." On 
July 6th "Judge Powell" is charged for supper, 2s. ; for one quart 
of wine, 9s. On the same day "Judge Powell's servant" had a 
"gill brandy, is. 3d. and one glass do., 8d." A few days after- 
wards, a reverend wayfarer calls at the inn ; baits his beast, and 
modestly refreshes himself. The entry runs :— " Priest from River 
La Tranche, 3 quarts corn and half-pint of wine. Breakfast, 2s 6d." 
On another day, Capt. "Herrick has a "gill gin sling, is. 3d. ; also 
immediately afterwards a " half-pint of gin sling, 3s." At the si me 
time Capt. Demont has "gill rum sling, is. 3d.,"' and "gill rum, 
is." Capt. Fortune has " half-pint wine, 2s.," and "Esq. Weekes," 
"gill brandy, is 3d." Col. Fortune has " gill sour punch, 2s." This 
sour punch is approved of by " Dunlap"— who at one place four 
times in immediate succession, and frequently elsewhere, is charged 
with " glass sour punch, 2s." Jacob Cozens takes " one bottle Ma- 
deira wine, los. ;'' Samuel Cozens, " one bottle Madeira wine, los., 
and bread and cheese, is. ;" and Shivers Cozens, " bottle of wine, 
los., and bread and cheese, is. Conets Cozens has "dinner, 2s., a 
gill of brandy, is., and half a bushel of seed corn, 7s." On the 5th of 
July, Josiah Phelps has placed opposite his name, " one glass 
punch, 3s. ; three bowls sour punch, 9s. ; gill rum, is. ; two gin 
slings, 2S. 6d. ; bowl punch, 3s. ; gill rum, is. ; two gills syrup 
punch, 4s. ; supper, 2s." About the same time Corporal Wilson 


Toronto of Old. 


had "two mugs beer, 4s." On the 6th of July Commodore Grant 
had "half-pint rum, formedson, 2s. ; and immediately after another 
half-pint rum, for do., 2s." One " Billy Whitney" figures often ; 
his purchases one day were : "gill rum sling, is. 6d. ; do., is. 6d. ; 
half-pound butter, is. 3d." Capt. Hall takes " one gill punch, 2s. ; 
glass rum, 6d., and half-gallon punch, 7s." He at the same time 
has two dollars in cash advanced to him by the obliging landlord, 
1 6s. 

Mr. Abner Miles supplied customers with general provisions as 
well as liquors. On one occasion he sells, " White, Attorney-Gene- 
ral," three pounds of butter for 7s. 6d., and six eggs for is. 6d. 
He also sells " President Russell" forty-nine pounds and three- 
fourths, of beef at is. per pound ; Mr. Attorney-General White 
took twenty-three pounds and a half at the same price. That sold 
to " Robert Gray, Esq.," is described as "a choice piece," and is 
charged two pence extra per pound. The piece, however, weighed 
only seven pounds, and the cost was just Eight shillings and two 
pence. Other things are supplied by Mr. Miles. Gideon Badger 
buys of him " one yard red spotted cassimere, 20s. ; one and a-half 
dozen buttons, 3s ; and a pair shears, 3s." At the same time Mr. 
Badger is credited with " one dollar, 8s." Joseph Kendrick gets 
" sole leather for pair of shoes for self, by old Mr. Ketchum, 6s." 
Mr. Miles moreover furnishes Mr. Allan with " 237 feet of inch-and- 
half plank at 12s., 33s. ; two rod of garden fence at ios.> 20s." We 
suppose the moneys received were recorded elsewhere generally ; 
but on the pages before us we have such entries as the following : 
"Messrs. Hamilton, Baby and Grant settled up to 4th of July, 
after breakfast." " Dr. Gamble, at Garrison," obtained ten bushels 
of oats and is to pay therefor j£/^. A mem. is entered of "Angus 
McDonell, dr., Dinner sent to his tent." and " Capt. Demont, cr. 
By note of hand for;^26 5s. Halifax currency, ;;^42 York." On the 
same day the Captain indulges in "a five dollar cap, 40s.," and "one 
gill rum, IS." That some of Mr. Miles' customers required to be re- 
minded of their indebtedness to him, we learn from an advertisement 
in the Gazette and Oracle oi August 31, 1799. It says : " The Sub- 
scriber informs all those indebted to him by note or book, to make 
payment by the 20th September next, or he will be under the dis- 
agreeable necessity of putting them into the hands of an attorney. 
Abner Miles, York, August 28th, 1799." Mr. Miles' house was a 
rendezvous for various purposes. In a Gazette and Orade of 

§ I.] <?alace Street to the Market (Place. 47 

Dec. 8, 1798, we read— "The gentlemen of the Town and Garri- 
son are requested to meet at one o'clock, on Monday next, the 
loth instant, at Miles' Hotel, in order to arrange the place of the 
York Assemblies for the season. York, Dec. 8, 1798." In another 
number of the same paper an auction is advertised to take place 
at Miles' Tavern. 

In the Gazette and Oracle of July 13th, 1799, we read the follow- 
ing a-ivertisement : " O. Pierce and Co. have for sale : Best spirits 
by the puncheon, barrel, or ten gallons, 20s. per gal. Do. by the 
single gallon, 22s. Rum by the puncheon, barrel, or ten gallons, 
1 8s. per gal. Brandy by the barrel, 20s. per gal. Port wine by the 
barrel, i8s. per gal. Do. by single gallon, 20s. per gal. Gin, by 
the barrel, i8s. per gal. Teas— Hyson, 19s. per lb. ; Souchong, 
14s. do. ; Bohea, 8s. do. Sugar, best loaf, 3s.. 9d. per lb. Lump, 
3s. 6d. Raisins, 3s. Figs, 3s. Salt six dollars per barrel or 12s. 
per bushel. Also, a few dry goods, shoes, leathf ', hats, tobacco, 
snuff, &c, &c. York, July 6, 1799. These prices appear to be in 
Halifax currency. 



I^HE comer we approach after passing the Market 
^ Square, was occupied by an inn with a sign-board 
sustained on a high post inserted at the outer edge 
of the foot-path, in country roadside fashion. This 
was Hamilton's, or the White Svan. It was here, we 
believe, or in an adjoining house, that a iravelling citizen 
of the United States, in possession of a collection of stuffed 
birds and similar objects, endeavoured at an early period to 
establish a kind of Natural History Museum. To the collec- 
tion here was once rashly added figures, in wax, of General Jackson 
and some other United States notabilities, all in grand costume. 
Several of these were one night abstracted from the Museum by 
some over-patriotic youths, and suspended by the neck from the 
limbs of one of the large trees that over-looked the liarbour. 

Just beyond was the Steamboat Hotel, long known as Ulick 
Howard's, remarkable for the spirited delineation of a steam-packet 
of vast dimensions, extending the whole length of the building, 
just over the upper verandah of the hotel. In 1828, Mr. Howard 
is offering to let his hotel, in the following terms: — "Steamboat 
Hotel, York, U. C. — The proprietor of this elegant establishment, 
now unrivalled in this part of the country, being desirous of retir- 
ing from Public Business, on account of ill-health in his family, 
will let the same for a term of years to be agreed on, either with 
or without the furniture. The Establishment is now too well- 
known to require comment. N. B. Security will be required for 
the payment r f the Rent, and the fulfilment of the contract in 
every respect. Apply to the subscriber on the premises. U. 
Howard, York, Oct. 8th, 1828." 

§ 2.] From the Market (Place to (Brock Street. 49 

A little further on was the Ontario House, a hotel built in a style 
common then at the Falls of Niagara and in the United States. 
A row^ of lofty pillars, well-grown pines in fact, stripped and 
smoothly planed, reached from the ground to the eaves, and sup- 
ported two tiers of galleries, which, running behind the columns, 
did not interrupt their vertical lines. 

Close by the Ontario House, Market Street from the west 
entered Front Street at an acute angle. In the gore between the 
two streets, a building sprang up, which, in conforming to its site, 
assumed the shape of a coffin. The foot of this ominous structure 
was the office where travellers booked themselves for various parts 
in the stages that from time to time started from York. It took 
four days to reach Niagara in 18 16. We are informed by a con- 
temporary advertisement now before us, that "on the 20th of Sep- 
tember next [1816], a stage will commence running between York 
and Niagara : it will leave York every Monday, and arrive at Nia- 
gara on Thursday ; and leave Queenston every Friday. The bag- 
gage is to be considered at the risk of the owner, and the fare to 
be paid in advance." In 1824, the mails were conveyed the same 
distance, via Ancaster, in three days. In a post-office advertise- 
ment for tenders, signed " William Allan, P. M.," we have the 
statement : " The mails are made up here [York] on the afternoon 
of Monday and Thursday, and must be delivered at Niagara on 
the Wednesday and Saturday following ; and within the same period 
in returning." In 1835, Mr. William Weller was the proprietor of 
a line of stages between Toronto and Hamilton, known as the 
" Telegraph Line." In an advertisement before us, he engages to 
take passengers "through by daylight, on the Lake Road, during 
the winter season." 

Communication with England was at this period a tedious pro- 
cess. So late as 1836, Mrs. Jameson thus writes in her Journal 
at Toronto (i. 182) : " It is now seven weeks since the date of the 
last letters from my dear far-distant home. The Archdeacon," she 
adds, "told me, by way of comfort, that when he came to settle in 
this country, there was only one mail-post from England in the 
course of a whole year, and it was called, as if in mockery, the 
Express." To this " Express" we have a reference in a post-office 
advertisement to be seen in a Quebec Gazette of 1792 : "A mail 
for the Upper Countries, comprehending Niagara and Detroit 
will be closed," it says, " at this office, on Monday, the 30th inst-i 


Toronto of Old. 


i i! 

at 4 o'clock in the evening, to be forwarded from Montreal by the 
annual winter Express, on Thursday, the 3rd of Feb. next" From 
the same paper we learn that on the loth of November, the latest 
date from Philadelphia and New York was Oct. 8th : also, that a 
weekly conveyance had lately been established between Montreal 
and Burlington, Vermont. In the Gazette of Jan. 13, i8o8, we have 
the following : " For the information of the Public. — York, 12th 
Jan., 1808. — The first mail from Lower Canada is arrived, and 
letters are ready to be delivered by W. Allan, Acting-Deputy- 

Compare all this with advertisements in Toronto daily papers 
now, from agencies in the town, of " Through Lines" weekly, to 
California, Vancouver's, China and Japan, connecting with Lines to 
Australia and New Zealand. 

On the beach below the Steamboat Hotel was, at a late period, 
a market for the sale of fish. It was from this spot that Bartlett, 
in his " Canadian Scenery," made one of the sketches iii?e?ided to 
convey to the English eye an impression of the town. In the fore- 
ground are groups of conventional, and altogether too picturesque, 
fishwives and squaws : in the distance is the junction of Hospital 
Street and Front Street, with the tapering building between. On 
the right are the galleries of what had been the Steamboat Hotel ; 
it here bears another name. 

Bartletf s second sketch is fi-om the end of a long wharf or jetty 
to the west. The large building in firont, with a covered passage 
through it for vehicles, is the warehouse or freight depot of Mr. 
William Cooper, long the owner of this favourite landing place. 
Westwards, the pillared front of the Ontario house is to be seen. 
Both of these views already look quaint, and possess a value as 
preserving a shadow of much that no longer exists. 

Where Mr. Cooper's Wharf joined the shore there was a ship- 
building yard. We have a recollection of a launch that strangely 
took place here on a Sunday. An attempt to get the ship into the 
water on the preceding day had failed. Delay would have occa- 
sioned an awkward settling of the ponderous mass. We shall have 
occasion hereafter to speak of the early shipping of the harbour. 

The lot extending northward from the Ontario House corner to 
King street was the property of Attorney-General Macdonell, who, 
while in attendance on General Brock as Provincial aide-de ';;inip, 
was slain in the engagement on Queenston Heights. His d« -ith 








§ 2.] From the Market (Place to (Brock Street. 51 

created the vacancy to which, at an unusually early age, succeeded 
Mr. John Beverley Robinson, afterwards the distinguished Chief 
Justice of Upper Canada. Mr. Macdonell's remains are deposited 
with those of his military chief under the column on Queenston 
Heights. He brni,eathed the property to which our attention has 
been directed, to a -uthful nephew, Mr. James Macdonell, on 
certain conditions, one of which was that he should be educated 
in the tenets of the Anglican Church, notwithstanding the Roman 
Catholic persyasion of the rest of the family. 

The track for wheels that here descended to the water's edge 
from the north, Church Street subsequently, was long considered 
a road remote from the business part of the town, like the road 
leading southward from Charing-cross, as shewn in Ralph Aggas' 
early map of London. A row of frame buildings on its eastern 
side, in the direction of King Street, perched high on cedar posts 
over excavations generally filled with water, remained in an un- 
finished state until the whole began to be out of the perpendicular 
and to become gray with the action of the weather. It was evi- 
dently a premature undertaking ; the folly of an over-sanguine spe- 
culator. Yonge street beyond, where it approached the shore of 
the harbour, was unfrequented. In spring and autumn it was a 
notorious slough. In 1830, a small sum would have purchased 
any of the building lots on either side of Yonge Street, between 
Front Street and Market Street 

Between Church Street and Yonge Street, now, we pass a short 
street uniting Front Street with Wellington Street. Like Salisbury, 
Cecil, Craven and other short but famous streets oflfthe Strand, it 
retains the name of the distinguished person whose property it tra- 
versed in the first instance. It is called Scott Street, from Chief 
Justice Thomas Scott, whose residence and grounds were here. 

Mr. Scott was one of the venerable group of early personages 
of whom we shall have occasion to speak. He was a man of fine 
culture, and is spoken of affectionately by those who knew him. 
His stature was below the average. A heavy, overhanging fore- 
head intensified the thoughtful expression of his countenance, 
which belonged to the class suggested by the current portraits 
of the United States jurist, Kent. We sometimes, to this day, 
fall in with books from his library, bearing his familiar auto- 

Mr. Scott was the first chairman and president of the « Loyal 


Toronto of Old, 


and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada," organized at York in 
i8i3. His name consequently appears often in the Report of 
that Association, printed by William Gray in Montreal in 1 817. 
The objects of the Society were " to afford relief and aid to di.ji 
bled militiamen and their families : to reward merit, excite emula- 
tion, and commemorate glorious exploits, by bestowing uxedais 
and other honorary marks of public approbation and distinction 
for extraordinary instances of personal courage and fidelity in 
defence of the Province." The preface to the Report mentions 
that " the sister-colony of Nova Scotia, excited by the barbarous 
conflagration of the town of Newark and the devastation on that 
frontier, had, by a legislative act, contributed largely to the relief 
of this Province." 

In an appeal to the British public, signed by Chief Justice Scott, 
it is stated that "the subscription of the town of York amounted 
in a few days to eight hundred and seventy-five pounds five shil- 
lings. Provincial currency, dollars at five shillings each, to be paid 
annually during the war ; and that at Kingston to upwards of four 
hundred pounds." 

Medals were struck in London by order of the Loyal and Pat- 
riotic Society of Upper Canada ; but they were never distributed. 
The difficulty of deciding who were to receive them was found to 
be too great. They were defaced and broken up in York, with 
such rigour that not a solitary specimen is known to exist. Rum- 
ours of one lurking somewhere, continue to this day, to tantalize 
local numismatists. What became of the bullion of which they 
were composed used to be one of the favourite vexed questions 
among the old people of York. Its value doubtless was added to 
the surplus that remained of the funds of the Society, which, after 
the year 181 7, were devoted to benevolent objects. To the 
building fund of the York General Hospital, we believe, a consi- 
derable donation was made. The medal, we are told, was two and 
one-half inches in diameter. On the obverse, within a wreath of 
laurel, were the words "for merit." On this side was also the 
legend : " presented by a grateful country. On the reverse 
was the following elaborate device : A strait between two lakes : 
on the North side a beaver (emblem of peaceful industry), the 
ancient cognizance of Canada : in the background an English Lion 
slumbering. On the South side of the Strait, the American eagle 
planing in the air, as if checked from seizing the Beaver by the 

§ 2.] From the Market fplace to (Brock Street. 53 
presence of the Li. n. Legend on this side : " upper Canada 


Scott Street conducts to the site, on the north side of Hospital 
Street, westward of tlie home of Mr. James Baby, and, eastward, 
to that of Mr. Peter Macdougall, two notable citizens of York. 

A notice of Mr. Baby occurs in Sibbald's Canadian Magazine 
for March, 1833. Th following is an extract : " James Baby was 
bom at Detroit in 1762. His family was one of the most ancient 
in the colony ; and it was noble. His father had removed from 
Lower Canada to the neighbourhood of Detroit before the con- 
ques of Quebec, where, in addition to the cultivation of lands, he 
was connected with the fur-trade, at that time, and for many years 
after, the great staple of the country. James was educated at the 
Roman Catholic Seminary of Quebec, and returned to the paternal 
roof soon after the peace of 1 783. The family had ever been dis- 
tinguished (and indeed all the higher French families) lor their ad- 
herence to the British crown ; and to this, more than to any other 
cause, are we t. attribute the conduct of the Province of Quebec 
during the American War. Being a great tavourite with his father, 
James was permitted to make an excursion to Europe, before en- 
gaging steadily In business ; and after spending some time, espe- 
cial!' in England, rejoined his family. # * # There was a 
primitive simplicity m Mr. Baby's character, which, added to his 
polished manners and benignity of disposition, threw a moral 
beauty around him which is very seldom beheld." 

In the history of the Indian chief Pontiac, who, in 1763, aimed 
at extirpating the English, the name of Mr. Baby's father repeat- 
edly occurs. The Canadian habitans of the neighbourhood of 
Detroit, being of French origin, were unmolested by the Indians ; 
but a rumour had reached the great Ottawa chief, while the memo- 
rable siege of Detroit was in progress, that the Canadians had 
accepted a bribe from the English to induce them to attack the 
Indians. " Pontiac," we read in Parkm a's History, p. 227, " had 
been an old friend of Baby; ai d one evening, at an early period 
of the siege, he entered his house, and, seating himself by the fire, 
looked for some time steadily at the embers. At length, raising 
his head, !ie said he had heard that the Engish had offered I'le 
Canadian a bushel of silver for the scalp of his friend. Baby de- 
clared that the story was false, and prott ted that he never would 
betray him. Pontiac for a moment keenly studied his features. 


Toronto of Old, 


' My brother has spoken the truth,' he said, ' and I will show that 

1 believe him.' He remained in the house through the evening, and, 
at its close, wrapped himself in his blanket and lay down upon a 
bench, where he slept in full confidence till morning.' Note that 
the name Baby is to be pronounced Baw-bee, 

Mr. Macdougall was a gentleman of Scottish descent, but, like 
his compatriots in the neighbourhood of Murray Bay, so thoroughly 
Lower-Canadianized as to be imperfectly acquainted with the 
English language to the last. He was a successful merchant of 
the town of York, and filled a place in the old local conversational 
talk, in which he was sometimes spoken of as " Wholesale, Retail, 
Pete McDoug,"— an expression adopted by himself on some occa- 
sion. He is said once to have been much perplexed by the item 
•* ditto" occurring in a bill of lading furnished of goods under way ; 
he could not remember having given orders for any such article. 
He was a shrewd business man. An impression prevailed in cer- 
tain quarters that his profits were now and then extravagant. 
While he was living at Niagara, some burglars from Youngstown 
broke into his warehouse ; and after helping themselves to what- 
ever they pleased, they left a written memorandum accounting for 
their not having taken with them certain other articles : it was 
" because they were marked too high." 

That he was accustomed to affix a somewhat arbitrary value to 
his merchandise, seems to be shown by another story that was told 
of him. He was said, one day, when trade in general was very 
dull, to have boasted that he had tha : very morning made ;^4oo 
by a single operation. On being questioned, it appeared that it 
had been simply a sudden enlargement of the figure marked on all 
his stock to the extent of ^^400. 

One other story of him is this : On hearing a brother dealer 
lament that by a certain speculation he should, after all, make only 
5 per cent, he expressed his siuprise, adding that he himself would 
be satisfied with 3, or even 2, (taking the figures 2, 3, &a, to mean 

2 hundred, 3 hundred, &c.) — We shall hear of Mr. Macdougall 
again in connection with the marine of the harbour. 

Of Yonge Steeet itself, at which we now arrive, we propose to 
speak at large hereafter. Just westward from Yonge Street was 
the abode, surrounded by pleasant grounds and trees, of Mr. 
Macaulay, at a later period Sir James Macaulay, Chief Justice o^ 
the Common Fleas, a man beloved and honoured for his sterling 

§ 2.] From the Market (Place to ^rock Street. 55 

excellence in every relation. A full-length portrait of him is pre- 
served in Osgoode Hall. His peculiar profile, not discernable in 
that painting, is recalled by the engraving of Capt. Starky, which 
some readers will remember in Hone's Every-Day Book. 

Advancing a little further, we came in front of of one of the 
earliest examples, in these parts, of an English-looking rustic cot- 
tage, with verandah and sloping lawn. This was occupied for a 
time by Major Hillier, of the 74th regiment, aide-de-camp and mili- 
tary secretary to Sir Peregrine Maitland. The well-developed 
native thorn-tree, to the north of the site of this cottage, on the 
property of Mr. Andrew Mercer, is a relic of the woods that once 
ornamented this locality. 

Next came the icsidence of Mr. Justice Boulton, a spacious 
family domicile of wood, painted white, situated in an extensive 
area, and placed far back from the road. The Judge was an Eng- 
lish gentleman of spare Wellington physique ; like many of his de- 
scendants, a lover of horses and a spirited rider j a man of wit, too, 
and humour, fond of listening to and narrating anecdotes of the 
ben irovato class. The successor to this family home was Holland 
House, a structure of a baronial cast, round which one might ex- 
pect to find the remains of a moat ; a reproduction, in some points, 
as in name, of the building in the suburbs of London, in which 
was bom the Judge's immediate heir, Mr. H. J. Boulton, succes- 
sively Solicitor-General for Upper Canada, and Chief Justice of 

When Holland House passed out of the hands of its original 
possessor, it became the property of Mr. Alexander Manning, an 
Alderman of Toronto. 

It was at Holland House that the Earl and Countess of Duflferin 
kept high festival during a brief sojourn in the capital of Ontario, 
in 1872. Suggested by public addresses received in infinite variety, 
within Holland House was written or thought out that remarkable 
cycle of rescripts and replies which rendered the vice-regal visit to 
Toronto so memorable, — a cycle of rescripts and replies exceed- 
ingly wide in its scope, but in which each requisite topic was 
touched with consummate skill, and in such a way as to show in 
<;ach direction genuine human sympathy and heartiness of feeling, 
and a sincere desire to cheer and strengthen the endeavour after 
the Good, the Beautiful and the True, in every quarter. 
Whilst making his visit to Quebec, before coming to Toronto, 


Toronto of Old. 


Lord Ditfferin, acting doubtless on a chivalrous and poetical irai- 
pulse, took up his abode in the Citadel, notwithstanding the 
absence of worthy arrangements for his accommodation there. 

Will not this bold and original step on the part of Lord DufFerin 
lead hereafter to the conversion of the Fortress that crowns Cape 
Diamond into a Rheinstein for the St. Lawrence —into an appro- 
priately designed castellated habitation, to be reserved as an occa> 
sional retreat, nobly-seated and grandly historic, for the Viceroys 
of Canada ? 

We now passed the grounds and house of Chief-Justice Powell. 
In this place we shall only record our recollection of the profound 
sensation created far and wide by the loss of the Chief-Justice's 
daughter in the packet ship Albion, wrecked off the Head of Kin- 
sale, on the 22nd of April, 1822. A voyage to the mother country 
at that period was still a serious undertaking. We copy a contem- 
poraneous extract from the Cork Southern Reporter: — " The Albion, 
whose loss at Garrettstown Bay we first mentioned in our paper of 
Tuesday, was one of the finest class of ships between Liverpool 
and New York, and was 500 tons burden. We have since learned 
some further particulars, by which it appears that her loss was at- 
tended ,vith circumstances of a peculiarly afflicting nature. She 
had lived out the tremendous gale of the entire day on Sunday, 
and Captain Williams consoled the passengers, at eight o'clock in 
the evening, with the hope of being able to reach Liverpool on the 
day but one after, which cheering expectation induced almost all 
of the passengers, particularly the females, to retire to rest. In 
some short time, however, a violent squall came on, which in a 
moment carried away the masts, and, there being no possibility of 
disengaging them from the rigging, encumbered the hull so that 
she became unmanageable, and drifted at the mercy of the waves, 
till the light-house of the Old Head was discovered, the wreck still 
nearing in ; when the Captain told the sad news to the passengers, 
that there was no longer any hope ; and, soon after she struck. From 
thenceforward all was distress and confusion. The vessel soon went 
to pieces, and, of the crew and passengers, only six of the former and 
nine of the latter were saved." The names of the passengers are 
added, as follows : " Mr. Benyon, a London gentleman ; Mr. N. 
Ross, of Troy, near New York ; Mr. Conycrs, and his brother-in- 
law. Major Gough, 68th regiment ; Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, Ameri- 
cans ; Madame Gardinier and son, a boy about eight years of age ; 


§ 2.] From the Market fPlace to (Brock Street. 57 

Col. Prevost ; Mr. Dwight, of Boston j Mrs. Mary Pye, of New 
York ; Miss Powell, daughter of the Honourable William Dummer 
Powell, Chief-Justice of Upper Canada ; Rev. Mr. Hill, Jamaica, 
coming home by the way of the United States ; Professor Fisher, of 
New Haven, Connecticut ; Mr. Gumee, New York ; Mr. Proctor, 
New York ; Mr. Dupont, and five other Frenchmen ; Mrs. Mary 
Brewster ; Mr. Hirst, Mr. Morrison, and Stephen Chase." 

The Weekly /P^gw/^ of York, of June 13, 1822, the number that 
contains the announcement of the wreck of the Albion packet, has 
also the following paragraph : " Our Attorney-General arrived in 
London about the 22nd of March, and up to the nth of April had 
daily interviews of great length with ministers. It gives us real 
pleasure to announce,"— so continues the editorial of the Weekly 
Register— ^^ that his mission is likely to be attended with the most 
complete success, and that our relations with the Lower Provinces 
will be put on a firm and advantageous footing. We have no 
doubt that Mr. Robinson will deserve the general thanks of the 
country." A family party from York had embarked in the packet 
of the preceding month, and were, as this paragraph intimates, safe 
in London on the 22nd of March. The disastrous fate of the lady 
above named was thus rendered the more distressing to friends 
and relatives, as she was present in New York when that packet 
sailed, but for some obscure reason, she did not desire to embark 
therein along with her more fortunate fellow townsfolk. 

After the house and grounds of Chief-Justice Powell came the 
property of Dr. Strachan, of whom much hereafter. In view of the 
probable future requirements of his position in a growing town and 
growing country, Dr. Strachan built, in 18 18, a residence here of 
capacious dimensions and good design, with extensive and very 
complete appurtenances. A brother of the Doctor's, Mr. James 
Strachan, an intelligent bookseller of Aberdeen, visited York in ' 
18 1 9, soon after the first occupation of the new house by its owners. 
The two brothers, John and James, had not seen each other since 
1799, when John, a young man just twenty-one, was setting out 
for Canada, to undertake a tutorship in a family at Kingston ; set- 
ting out with scant money outf t, but provided with what was of 
more value, a sound constitution, a clear head, and a good strong 
understanding trained in Scottish schools and colleges, and by 
familiar intercourse with shrewd Scottish folk. 

As James entered the gates leading into the new mansion, and 


Toronto of Old. 



cast a comprehensive glance at the fine fajade of the building 
before him and over its pleasant and handsome surroundings, he 
suddenly paused ; and indulging in a stroke of sly humour, ad- 
dressed his brother with the words, spoken in grave contidential 
undertone,—** I hope it's a' come by honestly, John !" 

On his return to Scotland, Mr. James Strachan published *'A 
Visit to the Province of Upper Canada in 1819," an interesting 
book, now scarce and desired by Canadian collectors. The bulk 
of the information contained in this volume was confessedly derived 
from Dr. Strachan. 

The bricks used in the construction of the house here in 1818 
were manufactured on the spot. One or two eariier brick buildings 
at York were composed of materials brought from Kingston or 
Montreal ; recalling the parallel fact that the first bricks used for 
building in New York were imported from Holland ; just as in the 
present d.-v, (though now, of course, for a different reason,) houses 
are occasionally constracted at Quebec with white brick manufac- 
tured in England. 

We next arrived at a large open space, much broken up by a 
rivulet—** Russell's Creek,"- hat meandered most recklessly 
through it. This piece of g^v>und was long known as Simcoe 
Place, and was set apan in tht later plan for the extension of 
York westward, as a Public Square. Overiooking this area from 
the north-west, at the present day, is one of the elms of the origi- 
nal forest— an unnoticeable sapling at the period referred to, but 
now a tree of stately dimensions and of very graceful fonn, resem- 
bling that of the Greek letter Psi. It will be a matter of regret 
when the necessities of tlie case shaU render the removal of this 
relic indispensible. 

At the comer to the south of this conspicuous tree, was an inn 
long known as the Greenland Fishery. Its sign bore on one side, 
quite passably done, an Arctic or Greenland scene ; and on the 
other, vessels and boats engaged in the capture of the whale. A 
travelling sailor, familiar with whalers, and additionally a man of 
some artistic taste and skill, paid his reckoning in labour, by exe- 
cuting for the landlord, Mr Wright, these spirited paintings, which 
proved an attraction to the house. 

John Street, which passes north, by the Greenland Fishery, bears 
one of the Christian name? of the first Governor of Upper Canada. 
Graves Street, on the east side of the adjoining Square, bore his 


8 2.] From the Market (Place to (Brock Street. 59 

second Christian name ; but Graves Street has, in recent times, 
been transformed into Simcoe Street. 

When the Houses of Parliament, now to be seen stretching across 
Simcoe Place, were first built, a part of the design was a central 
pediment supported by four stone columns. This would have 
relieved and given dignity to the long front, The stone platform 
before the principal entrance was constructed with a flight of steps 
leading thereto ; but the rather graceful portico which it was in- 
tended to sustain, was never added. The monoliths for the pillars 
were duly cut out av a quarry near Hamilton. They long remained 
lying there, in an unfinished state. In the lithographic view of the 
Pariiament Buildings, published by J. Young, their architect, in 
1836, the pediment of the original design is given as though it ex- 

Along the edge of the water, below the properties, spaces and 
objects which we have been engaged i'u noticing, once ran a shingly 
beach of a width sulficient to admit of the passage of vehicles. A 
succession of dry seasons must then have kept the waters low. In 
1 81 5, however, the waters of the Lake appear to have been unu- 
sually high. An almanac of that year, published by John Cameron, 
at York, oflfers, seriously as it would seem, the subjoined explana- 
tion of the phenomenon : " The comet which passed to the north- 
ward three years since," the writer suggests, " has sensibly affected 
our seasons : they have become colder ; the snows fall deeper; and 
from lesser exhalation, and other causes, the Lakes rise much 
higher than usual." 

The Commissariat store-houses were situated here, just beyond 
the broken ground of Simcoe Place ; long white structures of wood, 
with the shutters of the windows always closed ; built on a level with 
the bay, yet having an entrance in the rear by a narrow gangway 
from the cliff above, on which, close by, was the guard-house, a 
small building, painted of a dun colour, with a roof of one slope, 
inclining to the south, and an arched stoup or verandah open to 
the north. Here a sentry was ever to be seen, pacing up and 
down. A light bridge over a deep water-course led up to the 

Over other depressions or ravines, close by here, were long to 
be seen some platforms or floored areas of stout plank. These 
were said to be spaces occupied by different portions of the 
renowned canvas-house of the first Governor, a structure manufac- 

I i 


Toronto of Old. 


toed in London and imported. The convenience of its pUn and the 
hosprtahty for which it afforded room, were favourite topiSamot 
the early people of the country. We have i, in BoucheSrZ 
Sfortk Ammca a reference to this famous canvas hous "tte 

nr^fl ^ *' new capital (Yorit), attended by the regi- 

tion of his favounte project. His Excellency inhabited during 
the summer, and through the winter, a canva/house, wWch h^^^* 

Sshedt^hr r^''';™'""^''''' ^<' ™»" "ecame as dis! 
mguished for the social and urbane hospitality of its venerable 
and graciom host, as for the peculiarity of its stricture," v^rSo 
After this allusion to the home Canadian life of the fet Governor' 
the following remarks of deLiancourt, on the same subjeT™! 
not appear ou. of place:-" In his private life," .he Duke" 
Gov. Simcoe is simple, plain and obliging. He inhabits X 

ouirrcrf '" ?™* " '^^"^1 aUll, miserable ISL 
resw!;! ht '' "^ """""^''^ >>>■ *' Commissaries, who 

resided here on account of the navigation of the Uke. Hisgua^d 
consist of four soldiers, who eveiy morning come f mm Ae fon 
[across the river], and return thither in the evening He ,i* ha 
noble and hospitable manner, without pride; his mind is Tnlil 


^nse on aU subjects ; but his favourite topics are his projects and 
war, which seem to be the objects of his leading passbns He U 
acquainted with the military history of all counrtes no mLl 
catches his eye without exciring in his mind the dea of a to 

sTeciInv of Li' tT"" *' P"» of operations foracampaign, 
especially of that which is to lead him to Philadelphia. fGen 

IL. wTrer '" " 'r *™8'^of the opinion tha't .he UniS 
States were not going to be a permanency.] On hearing his pro 
fcssionsofan earnest desire of peace, you cannot but suppo e 
either .hat his reason must hold an absolute sway over his Zion 
or that he deceives himself." 7ra!,ds i 241 er nis passion, 

Other traits which doubtless at this' time gave a charm to the 

passage m the correspondence, at a later period, of Polwhele the 
hmonan of Cornwall, who says, m a le.-. ajdr^sed .„"he Gene! 


, I 



§ 2.] From the Market Place to (Brock Street. 6i 

ral himself, dated Manaccan, Nov. 5th, 1803:— "I have bem 
sorely disappointed, once or twice, in missing you, whilst you were 
inspecting Cornwall. It was not long after your visit at my friend 
Mr. Hoblyn's, but I slept also at Nanswhydden. Had I met you 
there, the Nodes Attica, the Coena Deorum, would have been re- 
newed, if peradventure the chess-board mtervened not ; for rooks 
and pawns, I think, would have frightened away the Muses, famiUar 
as rooks and pawns might have been to the suitors of Penelope." 
Tolwhele, 544. ' 

The canvas-house above spoken of, had been the property of 
Capt. Cook the circumnavigator. On its being offered for sale in 
London, Gov. Simcoe, seeing its possible usefuhiess to himself as 
a moveable government-house purchased it. 

Some way to the east of the Commissariat store-houses was the 
site of the Naval Building Yard, where an unfinished ship-cf-war 
and the materials collected for the construction of others, were , 
destroyed, when the United States forces took possession of York! 
in 1813. I 

It appears that Col. Joseph Bouchettehad just been pointing out 
to the Government the exposed condition of the public property 
here. In a note at p. 89 of his British North America that officer 
remarks : « The defenceless situation of York, the mode of its cap- 
ture, and the destruction of the large ship then on the stocks, were 
but too prophetically demonstrated in my report to headquarters 
in Lower Canada, on my return from a responsible mission to the 
capital of the Upper Province, in the eariy part of April. Indeed 
the communication of the result of my reconnoitering operations, 
and the intelligence of the successful invasion of York, and the 
firing of the new ship by the enemy, were received almost simul- 
taneously. ' 

The Govemor-in-Chief, Sir George Prevost, was blamed for 
having permitted a frigate to be laid down in an unprotected 
position. There was a " striking impropriety," as the Third 
Letter of Veritas, a celebrated correspondent o<" the Montreal 
Herald in 1815, points out, " in building at York, v.itiiout provid- 
ing the means of security there, as the works of df: fence, projected 
by General Brock, (when he contemplated, before the war, the re- 
moval of the naval depot from Kmgston to York, by reason of the 
proximity of the former to the States in water by the ice), were dis- 
contmued by orders from below, [fi-om Sir George Prevost, that is], 


Toronto of Old. 


and never resumed. The position intended to have been fortified by- 
General Brock, near York, was," Veritas continues, ** capable of 
being made very strong, had his plan been executed ; but as it was 
not, nor any other plan of defence adopted, a ship-yard without 
protection became an allurement to the enemy, as was felt to the 
cost of the inhabitants of York." 

In the year 1832, the interior of the Commissariat-store, deco- 
rated with flags, was the scene of the first charitable bazaar held in 
these parts. It was for the relief of distress occasioned by a recent 
visitation of cholera. The enterprise appears to have been remark- 
ably successful. We have a notice of it in Sibbald's Canadian 
Magazine of January, 1833, in the following terms: "All the 
fashionable and well-disposed attended ; the band of the gallant 
79th played, at each table stood a lady ; and in a very short time 
all the articles were sold to gentlemen,— who will keep 'as the 
apple of their eye' the things made and presented by such hands." 
The sum collected on the occasion, it is added, waj; three hundred 
and eleven pounds. 

Where Windsor Street now appears— with its grand iron gates at 
either end, inviting or forbidding the entrance of the stranger to 
the prim, quaint, self-contained little village of villas inside— 
formerly stood the abode of Mr. John Beikie, whose tall, upright, 
staidly-moving form, generally enveloped in a long snuff-coloured' 
overcoat, was one of the dramatis personoe of York. He had been, 
at ail early period, sheriff of the Home District ; at a later time 
his signature was familiar to every eye, attached in the Gazette to 
notices put forth by the Executive Council of the day, of which 
rather aristocratic body he was the Clerk. 

Passing westward, we had on the right the spacious home of Mr. 
Crookshank, a benevolent and excellent man, sometime Receiver- 
General of the Province, of whom we shall again have occasion to 
speak ; and on the left, on a promontory suddenly jutting out into 
the harbour, •' Captain Bonnycastle's cottage," with garden and 
picturesque grove attached ; all Ordnance property in reality, and 
once occupied by Col. CoflSn. The whole has now been literally 
eaten away by the ruthless tooth of the steam excavator. On the 
beach to the west of this promonf-rj' was a much frequented bath- 
ing-place. Captain Bonnycastle, just named, was afterward? Sir 
Richard, and the author of " Canada as it was, is, and may be " 
and " Canada and the Canadians in i J46.'' 

§ 2.] From the Market Or lace to (Brock Street. 63 

The name « Peter," attached to the street which flanks on the 
west the ancient homestead and extensive outbuildings of Mr. 
Crookshank, is a memento of the president or administrator, Peter 
Russell. It led directly up to Petersfield, Mr. Russell's park lot 
on Queen Street. 

We come here to the western boundary of the so-called New 
Town— the limit of the first important extension of York westward. 
The limit, eastward, of the New Town, was a thoroughfare known 
in the former day as Toronto Street, which was one street east of 
Yonge Street, represented now by Victoria Street. At the period 
when the plan was designed for this grand western and north-west- 
em suburb of York, Yonge Street was not opened southward 
farther than Lot [Queen] Street. The roadway there suddenly 
veered to the eastward, and then, after a short interval, passed 
down Toronto Street, a roadway a little to the west of the existing 
Victoria Street. 

The tradition in Boston used to be, that some of the streets there 
followed the line of accidental cow-paths formed in the olden time 
in the uncleared bush ; and no doubt other old American towns, 
like ancient European towns generally, exhibit, in the direction of 
their thoroughfares, occasionally, traces of casual circumstances in 
the history of the first settlers on their respective sites. The prac- 
tice at later periods has been to make all ways run as nearly as 
possible in right lines. In one or two " jogs" or irregularities, ob- 
servable in the streets of the Toronto of to-day, we have memorials 
of earlywaggon trackswhich ran where theymost conveniently could. 
The slight meandering of Front Street in its course from the garri- 
son to the site of the first Parliament Buildings, and of Britain 
Street, (an obscure passage between George Street and Caroline 
Street), may be thus explained ; as also the fact that the southern 
end of the present Victoria Street does not connect immediately 
with the present Toronto Street. This last-mentioned irregularity 
is a relic of the time when the great road from the north, namely, 
Yonge Street, on reaching Queen Street, slanted off to the east- 
ward across vacant lots and open ground, making by the nearest 
and most convenient route for the market and the heart of the 

After the laying-out in lots of the region comprehended in the first 
great expansion of York, of which we have spoken, inquiries were 
instituted by the authorities as to the improvements made by the 


Toronto of Old. 


holders of each. In the chart accompanying the report of Mr. 
Stegman, the surveyor appointed to make the examination, the lots 
are coloured according to the condition of each, and appended are 
the following curious particulars, which smack somewhat of the 
■ever-memorable town-plot of Eden, to which Martin Chuzzlewit 
was induced to repair, and which offered a lively picture of an in- 
fant metropolis in the rough. (We must represent to ourselves a 
•chequered diagram; some of the squares white or blank; some 
tinted blue ; some shaded black ; the whole entitled *' Sketch of 
the Part of the Town of York west of Toronto Street.")—" Expla- 
nation ; Ti\e blank lots are cleared, agreeable to the notice issued 
from Hii .tAcellency the Lieutenant-Governor, bearing date Sep- 
temb -T the fourth, 1800. The lots shaded blue are chiefly cut, but 
the I rusfi not burnt ; and those marked with the letter A, the brush 
only cut, The lots shaded black, no work done. The survey 
made by order of the Surveyor-General's office, bearing date April 
the 23rd, 1 80 1." A more precise examination appears to have 
been demanded. The explanations appended to the second plan, 
which has squares shaded brown, in addition to those coloured 
blue and black, are : " 1st. The blank lots are cleared. 2nd. The 
lots shaded black, no work done. 3rd. The lots shaded brown, 
ihe brush cut and burnt. 4th. The lots shaded blue, the brush cut 
and not burnt. N.B. The lots i and 2 on the north side of New- 
gate Street [the site subsequently of the dwelling-house of Jesse 
Ketclium, of whom hereafter], are mostly clear of the large timber, 
and some brush cut also, but not burnt ; therefore omitted in the 
first report. This second examination done by order of the Hon- 
ourable John Elmsley, Esq." 

The second extension of York westward included the Govern- 
ment Common. The staking oUt of streets here was a compara- 
tively late event. Brock Street, to which we have now approached, 
had its name, of course, from the General officer slain at Queens- 
ton, and its extra width from the example set in the Avenue to the 
north, into which it merges after crossing Queen Street. 

A iittle to the west of Brock Street was the old military burying- 
ground, a clearing in the thick brushwood of the locality : of an 
oblong shape, its four picketed sides directed exactly towards the 
four cardinal points. The setting off of the neighbouring streets 
and lots at a different angle, caused the boundary lines of this plot 
to run askew to every other straight line in the vicinity. Over how 

§ 2.] From the Market Place to (Brock Street. 65 

many a now forgotten and even obliterated grave have the custo- 
mary farewell volleys here been fired ! — those final honours to the 
soldier, always so touching ; intended doubtless, in the old bar- 
baric way, to be an incentive to endurance in the sound and well ; 
and consolatory in anticipation to the sick and dying. 

In the mould of this old cemetery, what a mingling from distant 
quarters ! Hearts finally at rest here, fluttered in their last beats, 
far away, at times, to old familiar scenes " beloved in vain" long 
ago ; to villages, hedgerows, lanes, fields, in green England and 
Ireland, in rugged Scotland and Wales. Many a widow, standing 
at an open grave here, holding the hand of orphan boy or girl, 
has "wept her soldier dead," not slain in the battle-field, 
indeed, but fallen, nevertheless, in the discharge of duty, before 
one or other of the subtle assailants that, even in times of peace, 
not unfrequently bring the career of the military man to a prema- 
ture close. Among the remains deposited in this ancient burial- 
plot are those of a child of the first Governor of Upper Canada, a 
fact commemorated on the exterior of the mortuary chapel over 
his own grave in Devonshire, by a tablet on which are the words : 
" Katharine, born in Upper Canada, i6th Jan., 1793; died and 
was buried at York Town, in that Province, in 1794-" 

Close to the milii'ary burial-ground was once enacted a scene 
which might have occurred at the obsequies of a Tartar chief in the 
days of old. Capt. Battersby, sent out to take command of a Pro- 
vincial corps, was the owner of several fine horses, to which he 
was greatly attached. On his being ordered home, after the war of 
18 1 2, friends and others began to make offers for the purchase of 
the animals : but no ; he would enter into no treaty with any 
one on that score. What his decision was became apparent the 
day before his departure from York. He then had his poor dumb 
favourites led out by some soldiers to the vicinity of the burying- 
ground ; and there he caused each of them to be deliberately shot 
dead. He did not care to entrust to the tender mercies of stran- 
gers, in the future, those faithful creatures that had served him so 
well, and had borne him whithersoever he listed, so willingly and 
bravely. The carcasses were interred on the spot where the shoot- 
ing had taken place. 

Returning now again to Brock Street, and placing ourselves at 
the middle poiiu of its great width — immediately before us to the 
north, on the ridge which bounds the view m the distance, we dis- 


Toronto of Old. 


csma white object. This is Spadina House, from which the ave- 
nue into which Brock Street passes, lakes its name. The word 
Spadina itself is an Indian term tastefully modified, descriptive of 
a sudden rise of land like that on which the house in the distance 
stands. Spadina was the residence of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, to whom 
reference has already been made. A liberal in his political views, 
he nevertheless was strongly influenced by the feudal feeling which 
was a second nature with most persons in the British Islands some 
years ago. His purpose was to establish in Canada a family, whose 
head was to be maintained in opulence by the proceeds of an en- 
tailed estate. There was to be forever a Baldwin of Spadina. 

It is singular that the first inheritor of the newly established 
patrimony should have been the statesman whose lot it was to 
carry through the Legislature of Canada the abolition of the rights 
of primogeniture. The son grasped more readily than the father 
what the genius of the North American continent will endure, and 
what it will not. 

Spadina Avenue was laid out by Dr. Baldwin on a scale that 
would have satisfied the designers of St. Petersburg or Washing- 
ton. Its width is one hundred and twenty feet. Its length from 
the water's edge to the base of Spadina Hill would be nearly three 
miles. Garnished on both sides by a double row of full grown 
chestnut trees, it would vie i:i magnificence, when seen from an 
eminence, with the Long Walk at Windsor. 

Eastward of Spadina House, on the same elevation of land, was 
Davenport, the picturesque and chateau-like home of Col. Wells, 
formerly of the 43rd regiment, built at an early period. Col. Wells 
was a fine example of the English officer, whom we so often see 
retiring from the camp gracefully and happily into domestic life. 
A faithful portrait of him exists, in which he wears the gold medal 
of Badajoz. His sons, natural artists, and arbiters of taste, in- 
herited, along with their sesthetic gifts, also lithe and handsome 
persons. One of them, now, like his father, a Lieutenant-Colonel 
in the army, was highly distinguished in the Crimea ; and on re- 
visiting Toronto after the peace with Russia, was publicly presented 
with a sword of honour. The view of the Lake and intervening 
forest, as seen from Davenport and Spadina, before the cultiva- 
tion of the alluvial plain below, was always fine. (On his retire- 
ment from the army, the second Col. Wells took up his abode at 



^ ETURNING again to the front. The portion of the 
Common that lies immediately west of the foot of 
Brock Street was enclosed for the first time and orna- 
mentally planted by Mr. Jameson. Before his remo- 
val to Canada, Mr. Jameson had filled a judicial posi- 
tion in the West Indies. In Canada, he was successively 
Attorney-General and Vice-Chancellor, the Chancellorship 
itself being vested in the Crown. The conversational powers 
of Mr. Jameson were admirable : and no slight interest attached 
to the pleasant talk of one who, in his younger days, had 
been the familiar associate of Southey, Wordsworth, and Samuel 
Taylor Coleridge. In a volume of poems by Hartley Coleridge, 
son of the philosopher, published in 1833, the three sonnets 
addressed " To a Friend," were addressed to Mr. Jameson, as we 
are informed in a note. We give the first of these little potms at 
length : 

" When we were idlers with the loitering rills, 
The need of human love we little noted : 
Our love was nature ; and the peace that floated 
On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills, 
To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills : 
Cae soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted, 
That, wisely doating, asked not why it doated, 
And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills. 
But now I find how dear thou wert to me ; 
That man is more than half of nature's treasure. 
Of that fair Beauty which no eye can see, 
Of that sweet music which no ear can measure ; 





■30 1"^™ 
















r\^^ ^ V '<5^ 




(716) 873-4503 




Toronto of Old. 

And now the streams may sing for others' pleasure, 
The hais sleep on in their eternity." 


The note appended, which appears only in the first edition, is 
as follows: "This sonnet, and the two foUowing, my earliest 
attempts at that form of versification, were addressed to R. S. Jame- 
son, Esq., on occasion of meeting him in London, after a separa- 
tion of some years. He was the favourite companion of my boy- 
hood, the active friend and sincere counsellor of my youth. 
* Though seas between us broad ha' roU'd' since we * travelled side 
by side' last, I trust the sight of this little volume will give rise to 
recollections that will make him ten years younger. He is now 
Judge Advocate at Dominica, and husband of Mrs. Jameson,, 
authoress of the * Diary of an Ennuy^e,' ' Loves of the Poets,' and 
other agreeable productions." 

Mr. Jameson was a man of high culture and fine literary tastes. 
He was, moreover, an amateur artist of no ordinary skill, as extant 
drawings of his in water-colours attest. His countenance, especi- 
ally in his old age, was of the Jeremy Bentham stamp. 

It was from the house on the west of Brock Street that Mrs. 
Jameson dated the letters which constitute her well-known 
"Winter Studies and Summer Rambles." That volume thus 
closes : " At three o'clock in the morning, just as the moon was 
setting on Lake Ontario, I arrived at the door of my own house in 
Toronto, having been absent on this wild expedition [to the Sault] 
just two months." York had then been two years Toronto. (For 
having ventured to pass down the rapids at the Sault, she had been 
formally named by the Otchipways of the locality, Was-sa-je-wun- 
e-qua, " Woman of the Bright Stream." 

The Preface to the American edition of Mrs. Jameson's "Cha- 
racteristics of Women" was also written here. In that Introduc- 
tion we can detect a touch due to the " wild expedition" just 
spoken of. " They say," she observes, "that as a savage proves 
his heroism by displaying in grim array the torn scalps of his ene- 
mies, so a woman thinks she proves her virtue by exhibiting the 
mangled reputations of her friends :" a censure, she adds, which 
is just, but the propensity, she explains, is wrongly attributed to 
ill-nature and jealousy. " Ignorance," she proceeds, " is ti-.c main 
cause ; ignorance of ourselves and others ; and when I have heard 
any female acquaintance commenting with a spiteful or a sprightly 
levity on the delinquencies and mistakes of their sex, I have only 

I 3.] From (Brock Street to the Old French Fort. 69 

said to myself, ' They know not what they do.'" " Here, then," 
the Preface referred to concludes, " I present to women a little 
elementary manual or introduction to that knowledge of woman, 
in which they may learn to understand better their own nature ; 
to judge more justly, more gently, more truly of each other ; 

' And in the silent hour of inward thought 
To still suspect, yet still revere themselves 
In lowliness of heart.' " 

Mrs. Jameson was unattractive in person at first sight, although, 
.as could scarcely fail to be the case in one so highly endowed, her 
features, separately considered, were fine and boldly marked. In- 
tellectually, she was an enchantress. Besides an originality and 
independence ot judgment on most subjects, and a facility in gene- 
ralizing and reducing thought to the form of a neat aphorism, she 
had a strong and capacious memory, richly furnished with choice 
things. Her conversation was consequently of the most fascinat- 
ing kind. 

She sang, too, in sweet taste, with a quiet softness, without dis- 
play. She sketched from nature with great elegance, and designed 
Cleverly. The seven or eight illustrations which appear in the 
American edition of the " Characteristics," dated at Toronto, are 
etched by herself, and bear her autograph, " Anna." The same is 
to be observed of the illustrations in the English edition of her 
" Commonplace Book of Thoughts, Memories, and Fancies ;" and 
in her larger volumes on various Art-subjects. She had super- 
eminently beautiful hands, which she always scrupulously guarded 
from contract with the outer air. 

Mrs. Jameson was a connoisseur in " hands," as we gather from 
her Commonplace Book, just mentioned. She there says : " There 
are hands of various character ; the hand to catch, and the hand 
to hold ; the hand to clasp, and the hand to grasp ; the hand that 
has worked, or could work, and the hand that has never done any- 
thing but hold itself out to be kissed, like that of Joanna of Arra- 
gon, in Raphael's picture." Her own appeared to belong to the 
last-named class. 

Though the merest trifles, we may record here one or two fur- 
ther pei-sonal recollections of Mrs. Jameson ; of her appreciation, 
for example, of a very obvious quotation from Horace, to be ap- 
pended to a little sketch of her own, representing a child asleep. 


Toronto of Old. 


but in danger from a serpent near ; and of her glad acceptance of 
an out-of-the-way scrap fron\ the « Vanity of Arts and Sciences" of 
Cornelius Agrippa, which proved the antiquity of charivaries. 
" Do you not know that the intervention of a lady's hand is requi- 
site to the finish of a young man's education ?" was a suggestive 
question drawn forth by some youthful maladroitness. Another 
characteristic dictum, "Society is one vast masquerade of manners," 
is remembered, as having been probably at the time a new idea to 
ourselves in particular. The irrational conventionalities of so- 
ciety she persistently sought to counteract, by hei words on 
suitable occasions, and by her example, especially in point of 
dress, which did not conform to the customs in vogue. 

Among the local characters relished by Mrs. Jameson in Can- 
ada was Mr. Justice Hagerman, who added some of the bluntness 
of Samuel Johnson to the physique of Charles James Fox. She 
set a high value on his talents, although we have heard her, at 
once playfully and graphically, speak of him as « that great mastiff, 
Hagerman." From Mrs. Jameson we learned that " Gaytay" was 
a sufficient approximation in English to the pronunciation of 
" Goethe." She had been intimately acquainted with the poet at 

In the Kensington Museum there is a bust, exceedingly fine, of 
Mrs. Jameson, by the celebrated sculptor Gibson, executed by him, 
as the inscription speaks, " in her honour." The head and coun- 
tenance are of course somewhat idealized ; but the likeness is well 
retained. In the small Boston edition of the "■ Legends of the Ma- 
donna" there is an interesting portrait of Mrs. Jameson, giving her 
appearance when far advanced in years. 

Westward from the house and grounds whose associations have 
detained us so long, the space that was known as the Government 
Common is now traversed from south to north by two streets. 
Their names possess some interest, the first of them being that of 
the Duke of Portland, Viceroy of Ireland, Colonial Secretary, and 
three times Prime Minister in the reign of George the Third ; the 
other that of Earl Bathurst, Secretary for the Colonies in George 
the Fourth's time. 

Eastward of Bathurst Street, in the direction of the military bury- 
ing-ground, there was long marked out by a fiurow in the sward 
the ground-plan of a church. In 1830, the military chaplain, Mr. 
Hudson, addressed to the commander of the forces a complaint 


§ 3-] From (Brock Street to the Old French Fort. 71 

"of the very great inconveniece to w'hich the troops are exposed 
in having to march so far to the place of worship, particularly when 
the weather and roads are so unfavourable during a greater part of 
tJie year in this country, the distance f»om the Barracks to the 
Church being two miles :" adding, " In June last, the roads were 
in such a state as to prevent the Troops from attending Church for 
four successive Sundays." He then suggested " the propriety of 
erecting a chapel on the Governmentt reserve for the accommoda- 
tion of the Troops." The Horse Guards refused to undertake the 
erection of a chapel here, but made a donation of one thousand 
pounds towards the re-edification of St. James' Church, " on con- 
dition that accommodation should be permanently provided for 
His Majesty's Troops." The outlint; in the turf was a relic of Mr. 
Hudson's suggestion. 

The line that defined the limit of the Government Common to 
the north and east, (and west, of course, likewise), prior to its divi- 
sion into building lots, was a portion of the circumference of a 
great circle, " of a radius of a i,ooc yards, more or less," whose 
centre was the Fort. On the old plans of York, acres of this great 
circle are traced, with two interior concentric arcs, of radii respect- 
ively of eight and five hundred yards. 

We now soon arrive at the ravine of the " Garrison Creek." In 
the rivulet below, for some distance up the valley, before the clear- 
ing away of the woods, salmon used to be taken at certain seasons 
of the year. Crossing the stream, and ascending to the arched 
gateway of the fort, ( we are speaking of it as it used to be), we 
pass between the strong iron-studded portals, .which are thrown 
back : we pass a sentry just within thie gate, and the guard-house 
on "he left. At present we do not tarry within the enclosure of die 
Foi.. We simply glance at the loopholed block-house on the one 
side, and the quarters of the men, the officers, and the command- 
ant"on the other ; and we hurry across the gravelled area, recalling 
rapidly a series of spirit-stirring ordinal numbers— 40th, 41st, 68th, 
79th, 42nd, isth, 32nd, ist — each suggestive of a gallant assem- 
blage at some time here ; of a vigorouis, finely disciplined, ready- 
aye-ready group, that, like the successive generations on the stage 
of human life, came and went just once, as it were — ^as the years 
rolled on, and the eye saw them again no more. 

We pass on through the western gai'e to the large open green 
space which lies on the farther side. This is the Garrison Reserve. 


Toronto of Old. 


It bears the same relation to the modem Toronto and the ancient 
f York as the Plains of Abraham do to Quebec It was here that 
the struggle took place, in the olden time, that led to the capture 
of the town. In both cases the leader of the aggressive expedition 
fell victorious." But the analogy holds no further; as, in the 
case of the inferior conquest, the successful power did not retain 
permanent possession. 

The Wolfe's Cove— the landing-place of the invader— on the 
occasion referred to, was just within the curve of the Humber Bay, 
far to the west, where Queen Street now skirts the beach for a 
short distance and then emerges on it. The intention had been 
to land more to the eastward, but the vessels containing the hos- 
tile force were driven wefitward by the winds. 

The debarkation was opposed by a handful of Indians, under 
Major Givms. The Glengary Fencibles had been despatched to 
aid m this service, but, attempting to approach the spot by a back 
road, they lost their way.-=s^ tradition exists that the name of the 
Grenadier's Pond, a lagoon a little to the west, one of the ancient 
outlets of the waters of the Humber, is connected with the dis- 
astrous bewilderment of a party of the regular troops at this critical 
period. It is at the same time asserted that the name « Grena- 
dier's Pond" was familiar previously^! length companies of the 
Eighth Regiment, of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and of 
Incorporated Militia, made their appearance on the ground, and 
disputed the progress inland of the enemy. After suffering severely, 
they retired towards the Fort. This was the existing Fort. The 
result is now matter of history, and need not be detailed. As por- 
tions of the cliff have fallen away from time to time along the shore 
here, numerous skeletons have been exposed to view, relics of friend 
and foe slain on the adjacent common, where, also, military orna- 
ments and fragments of fire-arms, used frequently to be dug up. 
Some of the bones referred to, however, may have been remains 
of early French and Indian traders. 

The Loyalist newspaper of May 9, 1829, published at York 
speaks of the re-interment on that day of the remains of an officer 
killed at the battle of York. The article runs as follows :— « The 
late Capt. McNeil.— It will be recollected by many of the inhabi- 
tants of York that this officer fell while gallantly fighting at the 
head of his Company of Grenadiers of the 8th Regiment, in defence 
of the place, on the morning of the 27th of April, 1813. His 

' -"#~'niililirt'l»>ii^ . 













I— I 







§ 3.] -Pri?m Orocife 5/re5/ to the Old French Fort. 73 

remains which so eminently deserved rites of honourable sepul- 
ture, were from unavoidable circumstances consigned to earth by 
the hands of the enemy whom he was opposing, near the spot 
where he fell, without any of those marks of distinction which are 
paid to departed valour. 

^^ " The waters of the Lake," the Loyalist then proceeds to say, 
" having lately made great inroads upon the bank, and the grave 
bemg in danger of being washed away, it may be satisfactory to his 
fnends to learn, that on these circumstances being made known to 
Major Winniett, commanding the 68th Regiment at this Post, 
he promptly authorized the necessary measures to be taken for 
removing the remains of Capt. McNeil, and placing them in the 
Gamson Burial Ground, which was done this day. A firing-party 
and the band attended on the occasion, and the remains were fol- 
lowed to the place of interment by the officers of the Garrison, and 
a procession of the inhabitants of the town and vicinity." 

The site of the original French stockade, established here in the 
middle of the last century, was nearly at the middle point between 
the landing-place of the United States force in 1813, and the exist- 
ing Fort. West of the white cut-stone Barracks, several earth- 
works and grass-grown excavations still mark the spot. These 
ruins, which we often visited when they were much more exten- 
sive and conspicuous than they are now, were popularly desienated 
"The Old French Fort." 

It is interesting to observe the probable process by which the 
appellation " Toronto" came to be attached to the Trading-post 
I^^re. its real name, as imposed by the French authorities, was 
Fort Rouill^, from a French colonial minister of that name, in 
1 749-54- This we learn from a despatch of M. de Longeuil, Gov- 
ernor-in-Chief of Canada in 1752. And "Toronto," at that 
period, according to contemporaneous maps, denoted Lake Sim- 
coe and the suqfounding region. Thus in Carver's Travels through 
North America in 1766-8, in p. 172, we read, "On the north- 
west part of this lake [Ontario], and to the south of Lake Huron, 
IS a tribe of Indians called the Mississagu^s, whose town is denomi- 
nated Toronto, irom the lake [/. e. Lake Simcoe] on which it lies, 
but they are not very numerous." This agrees with Lahontan's 
statements and map, in 1687. 

What Carver says of the fewness of the native inhabitants is ap- 
plicable only to the state of things in his day. The fatal irruption 


Toronto of Old. 

of the Iroquois from the south had then taken place, and the whole 
of the Lake Simcoe or Toronto region had been made a desert. 
Before that irruption, the peninsula included between Notawasaga 
Bay, Matchedash, or Sturgeon Bay, the River Severn, Lake Cou- 
chichin and Lake Simcoe was a locality largely frequented by 
native tribes. It was especially the head-quarters of the Wyandots 
or Hurons. Villages, burial-grounds, and cultivated lands abounded 
in it. Unusual numbers of the red men were congregated there. 

It was in short the place of meeting, the place of concourse, the 
populous region, indicated by the Huron term' Toronto. 

In the form Toronton, the word Toronto is given by Gabriel Sa- 
gard in his " Dictionnaire de la Langue Huronne," published at 
Paris in 1636. 

With Sagard it is a kind of exclamation, signifying " II y en a 
beaucoup," and it is used in relation to men. He cites as an ex- 
ample — " He has killed a number of S. (the initial of some hos- 
tile tribe)." " Toronton S. ahouyo." 

In the Vocabulary of Huron words at the end of Lahontan's 
second volume, the term likewise appears, but with a prefix, — A- 
toronton, — and is translated " Beaucoup." Sagard gives it with 
the prefix O, in the phrase "0-toronton dacheniquoy," "J'en 
mange beaucoup." 

We are not indeed to suppose that the Hurons employed 
the term Toronto as a proper name. We know that the abori- 
gines used for the most part no proper names of places, in our 
sense of the word, their local appellations being simply brief de- 
scriptions or allusion to incidents. But we are to suppose that the 
early white men took notice of the vocable Toronto, frequently 
and emphatically uttered by their red companions, when pointing 
towards the Lake Simcoe region, or when pressing on in canoe 
or on foot, to reach it. 

Accordingly, at length, the vocable Toronto is c^ght up by the 
white voyageurs, and adopted as a local proper name in the Euro- 
pean sense : just as had been the case already with the word Can- 
ada. (" Kanata" was a word continually heard on the lips of the red 
men in the Lower St. Lawrence, as they pointed to the shore ; they 
simply meant to indicate — " Yonder are our wigwams j" but the 
French mariners and others took the expression to be a geographi- 
cal name for the new region which they were penetrating. And 
such it has become.) 

§ 3.] ^rom fSrock Street to the Old French Fort. 75 

We can now also see how it came to pass that the term Toronto 
was attached to a particular spot on the shore of Lake Ontario 
The mouth of the Humber, or rather a point on the eastern side 
of the mdentation known as Humber Bay, was the landing place 
of hunting parties, trading parties, war-parties, on their way to the 
populous region in the vicinity of Lake Simcoe. Here they dis 
embarked for the tramp to Toronto. This was a Toronto landing. . 
place for wayfarers bound to the district in the interior where there 
were crowds^ And gradually the starting-place took the name ot 
the goal The style and title of the terminus ad qurm were 
usurped by the terminus A quo. 

Thus likewise it happened that the stockaded trading-post estab. 
ished near the landing on the indentation of Humber Bay came 
to be popularly known as Fort Toronto, although its actual, official 
name was Fort Rouill6. 

In regard to the signification which by some writers has been 
assigned to the word Toronto, of - trees rising out of the water"- 
we think the interpretation has arisen from a misunderstanding of 
language used by Indian canoe-men. 

Indian canoe-men in coasting along the shore of Lake Ontario 
from the east or west, would, we may conceive, naturally point to 
the trees rising out of the water," the pines and black poplars 
looming up from the Toronto island or peninsula, as a familiar 
land-mark by which they knew the spot where they were to disem- 
bark for the "populous region to the north." The white men 
mixing together in their heads the description of the landmark and 
the district where, as they were, emphatically told, there were 
crowds, made out of the expressions "trees rising out of the 
water, and " Toronto," convertible terms, which they were not 

As to the Idea to which Capt. Bonnycastle gave currency, by re- 
cording It m one of his books on Canada, that Toronto, orTarento 
was possibly th| name of an Italian engineer concerned in the 

wwT' « °^ *^' '■°'''~^' '' '"^^^^"* *° ^^P^y *J^-' ^^ know 
What the official name of the Fort was : it was Fort Rouill^. Sorel 

and Chambly, and it may be, other places in Canada, derived their 
names from officers in the French service. But nothing to be 
found in the early annals of the country gives any countenance to 
t^apt. Bonnycastle's derivation. It was probably a mere after- 
dinner conversational conjecture, and it ought never to have been 
gravely propounded. 


Toronto of Old. 


We meet with Toronto under several different forms, in the 
French and English documents ; but the variety has evidently 
arisen from the attempts of men of different degrees of literary 
capacity and qualification, to represent, each as ne best could, a 
native vocable which had not been long reduced to writing. The 
same variety, and from the same cause, occurs in a multitude of 
t)ther aboriginal terms. 

The person who first chanced to write down Toronto as Tarento 
was probably influenced by some previous mental familiarity with 
the name of an old Italian town ; just as he who first startled Euro- 
peans by the announcement that one of the Iroquois nations was 
composed of Senecas, was doubtless helped to the familiar-looking 
term which he adopted, by a thought of the Roman stoic. (Pownall 
says Seneca is properly Sen-aga, " the farther people," that is in 
relation to the New England Indians ; while Mohawk is Mo-aga 
"the hither people." Neither of the terms was the name borne 
by the tribe. According to the French rendering, the Mo-agas 
were Agni6s ; the Sen-agas Tsonnontouans.) 

The chivalrous and daring La Salle must have rested for a mo- 
ment at the Toronto Landing. In his second expedition to the 
West, in 1680, he made his way from Fort Frontenac to Michili- 
mackinac by the portage from the mouth of what is now the Hum- 
ber to Lake Huron, accompanied by a party of twenty-four men. 

In the preceding year he had penetrated to the Mississippi by 
the Lake Erie route. But then also some of his company unex- 
pectedly found themselves in close proximity to Toronto. The 
Franciscan Friar, Hennepin, sent forward by La Salle from Fort 
Frontenac with seventeen men, was compelled by stress of weather, 
while coasting along the north side of Lake Ontario, to take shel- 
ter in the Humber river. It was then the 26th of Nov. (1678) ; 
and here he was delayed until the 5 th of December. Hennepin 
speaks of the place of his detention as Taiaiagon :,a word errone- 
ously taken to be a local proper name. It means as we are assured 
by one formerly familiar with the native Indians, simply a Portage 
or Landing-place. So that there were numerous Taiaiagons. One 
is noted in particular, situated, the Gazetteer of 1799 says, "half 
way between York and the head of the Bay of Quints :" probably 
where Port Hope now stands. It is marked in the old French 
maps in that position. (On one of them a track is drawn from it 
to " Lac Taronth^ ;" that is to the chain of Lakes leading north- 

§ 3.] ^ront (Brock Street to the Old French Fort. 77 
westerly to Uke Toronto, /. .. Uke Simcoe.) The Taiaiagon of 

1""'^'". I T^ ^' ^"" *° ^' '' '' '^' ^"*^«' «"d of Uke On- 
tario, and "about seventy leagues from Fort Frontenac :" too far 
of course. Again : the distance from Taiaiagon to the mouth of 
the Niagara nver, is made by him to be fifteen or sixteen leaimes • 
also too far, if Toronto is the site of his Taiaiagon ' 



[Enow enter again the modern Fort; passing back 
through the western gate. On our right we have 
the site of the magazine which so fatally exploded in 
1813 ; we learn from Gen. Sheaffe's despatch to Sir 
George Prevost, that it was " in the western battery.' 
In close proximity to the magazine was the Government 
House of the day, an extensive rambling cluster of one- 
storey buildings ; all " riddled" or shattered to pieces by the con- 
cussion, when the explosion took place. The ruin that thus befel 
the Governor's residence led, on the restoration ot peace, to the 
purchase of Chief Justice Elmsley's house on King street, and its 
conversion into " Government House." 

From the main battery, which (including a small semi-circular 
bastion for the venerable flag-statF of the Fort) extends along the 
brow of the palisaded bank, south of the parade, the royal salutes, 
resounding down and across the lake, used to be fired on the 
arrival and departure of the Lieutenant-Governor, and at the open- 
ing and closing of the Legislature. 

From the south-eastern bastion, overlooking the ravine below, a 
twelve-pounder was discharged every day at noon. " The twelve- 
o'clock gun," when discontinued, was long missed with regret. 

At the time of the invasion of Canada in t8i2, the garrison of 
York was manned by the 3rd regiment of York militia. We have 
before us a relic of the period, in the form of the contemporary 
regimental order-book of the Fort. An entry of the 29th of July, 
1812, showing t'le approach of serious work, has an especial local 

§ 4.] From the Garrison back to the meginning. 79 

command of Major Alfen ,1Z-^T ? >">'•"«<*«, under the 
ceed in ba„ea Jf"m t '1^:.^'^^ 'X'" ^ '» 'easiness to pro- 
.he following officers, n™"^„t bn^'^:!"-'""™; " » "'dock, 
hold themselves in readiness 7™ at f T. '"^ ? ' "'" 
pose of being fitted with caps, wlS 1." """''/'" *' P"'" 
.0 dmw provisions. On .h4 aS at The tlT Ar "'" ^ 
regimental coats and canteen, win T. T ^ "' *« Lake, 

The names are .hen g" „™' r^'V'f?i"°.''r^ '" *=■"" 
son, Lieut. larvis Lieut Roh™. * c ™"'' ^'''"- J*i<=h"d- 
«one, Bond. Briiefold " ^"^'""'^ '''"'«' """■"er- 

praise, to inspire them Irifh se^^^fin' '°"«'"' '^^ '"'''"''"' 
Brock," ti,e Order-book p7ol^stu *'?'='■ " Major-General 
phen Heward) to acquainX d- ^ "" ''^'P'^ ^te- 

of his high apUrtTof the r ordSrro d"°'" "" ™"'™"<'' 
pline while under anns • thatThel . ""^ «°°<' <««"- 

ceeded any that he™dsritePrirce"tr'"^ '" "" 
he directed me to acquaint the officers hoTmuth""''T"'" 
w«h,h»appea..„^„„,„„ ^ «.ei: p^ . t^w^of 

cni'we:^::,?r»r';i;%'r„r •'*t^°"«'' »-- - 

from York, and 600^^ '/and tT"th '^r'^^''^-^ 
«vmg from the fortress of Detroit but o„ 1 I*" "^"^ 

.he brave General, though again a vlcLr in L ''* °'=""'"' 
h.mself a lifeless corpse on fhe 2,^'! A '"«"«'"■«.. was 
April of the following yei YoA »r t <3"«"='°" J and, in 
.he hands of the enemv Wh ' T ^"' ^'''^^>' ^=«n. "aj i" 
I. is mentioned thir^sh 1 tt YoA^V 7" '°™^ "' "- 
orfer issuing fr„„ .fc^ lips of Z G „e^ Ml""'""" '' ' "^ *« 
faW shot. From the order-book feS .„ t""""™' °' *^ 

ronto" was the patole or couM^s^^t^fth:" "' ■ "" ""' " '^o- 
July, i8t2. ountersign of the gamsou on the 23rd 

wilt^'utroJtiS^^s'forlhf ''"^^°" ^^"^ "- --<■ 
addition to the ba.3ht,;;forr'1°" ""'-P'' » 
W Kastwa. were the surt^r,„a1S.t.r^„X 



Toronto of Old. 


bay ; and further eastward still, were the commandant's quarters, 
a stmcture popularly known, by some freak of military language, as 
Lambeth Palace. Here for a time resided Major-General ^neas 
Shaw, afterwards the owner and occupant of Oak Hill. 

On the beach below the knoll, there continued to be, for a num- 
ber of years, a row of cannon dismounted, duly spiked and other- 
wise disabled, memorials of the capture in 1 813, when these guns 
were rendered useless by the regular troops before their retreat 
to Kingston. The pebbles on the shore about here were also 
plentifully mixed with loose canister shot, washed up by the 
waves, after their submersion in the bay on the same occa- 

From the little eminence just referted to, along the edge of the 
cliff, ran a gravel walk, which led first to the Guard House over the 
Commissariat Stores, in a direct line, with the exception of a slight 
divergence occasioned by " Capt. Bonnycastle's cottage ;" and then 
eastward into the town. Where ravines occurred, cut in the drift 
by water-courses into the bay, the gulf was spanned by a bridge of 
hewn logs. This walk, kept in order for many years by the mili- 
tary authorities, was the represenUtive of the path first worn bare 
by the soft tread of the Indian. From its agreeableness, over- 
looking as it did, through its whole length the Harbour and Lake, 
this walk gave birth to the idea, which became a fixed one in the 
minds of the early people of the place, that there was to be in per- 
petuity, in front of the whole town, a pleasant promenade, on 
which the burghers and their families should take the air and dis- 
port themselves generally. 

The Royal Patent by which this sentimental walk is provided 
for and decreed, issued on the 14th day of July, in the year 181 8, 
designates it by the interesting old name of Mall, and nominates 
" John Beverley Robinson, William Allan, George Crookshank, 
Duncan Cameron and Grant Powell, all of the town of York, Esqs., 
their heirs and assigns forever, as trustees to hold the same for the 
use and benefit of the inhabitants." Stretching from Peter Street 
in the west to the Reserve for Government Buildings in the east, 
of a breadth varying between four and five chains, following the 
line of Front Street on the one side, and the several turnings and 
windings of the bank on the other, the area of land contained in 
this Mall was " thirty acres, more or less, with allowance for the 
several cross streets leading from the said town to the water." The 


. J! 

§ zj..] From the Garrison hack to the beginning. 8i 

paucity of open squares in the early plans of York may be partly 
accounted for by this provision made for a spacious Public 

While the archaeologist must regret the many old landmarks 
which were ruthlessly shorn away in the construction of the modem 
Esplanade, he must, nevertheless, contemplate with never-ceasing 
admiration that great and laudable work. It has done for Toronto 
what the Thames embankment has effected for London. Besides 
vast sanitary advantages accruing, it has created space for the erec- 
tion of a new front to the town. It has made room for a broad 
promenade some two or three miles in length, not, indeed, of the 
far niente type, but with double and treble railway tracks abreast 
of itself, all open to the deep water of the harbour on one side, and 
flanked almost throughout the whole length on the other, by a series 
of warehouses, mills, factories and depdts, destined to increase 
every year in importance. The sights and sounds every day, along 
this combination of roadways and its surroundings, are unlike any- 
thing dreamt of by the framers of the old Patent of 1818. But it 
cannot be said that the idea contained in that document has been 
wholly departed from : nay, it must be confessed that it has been 
grandly realized in a manner and on a scale adapted to the require- 
ments of these latter days. 

For some time. Front Street, above the Esplanade, continued 
to be a raised terrace, from which pleasant views and fresh lake air 
could be obtained ; and attempts were made, at several points 
along its southern verge, to establish a double row of shade trees, 
which should recall in future ages the primitive oaks and elms which 
overlooked the margin of the harbour. But soon the erection of 
tall buildings on the newly-made land below, began to shut out the 
view and the breezes, and to discourage attempts at ornamentation 
by the planting of trees. 

It is to regretted, however, that the title of Mall has not yet been 
applied to some public walk in the town. Old-world sounds like 
these— reeve, warden, provost, recorder. House of Commons, rail- 
way, (not road), dugway, mall— like the chimes in some of our 
towers, and the sung-service in some of our churches— help, in 
cases where the imagination is active, to reconcile the exile from 
the British Islands to his adopted home, and even to attach him 
to it. Incorporated into our common local speech, and so per- 
petuated, they may also be hereafter subsidiary mementoes of our 


Toronto of Old. 


descent as a people, when all connection, save that of history, with 
the ancient home of our forefathers, will have ceased. 

In 1804, there were " Lieutenants of Counties" in Upper Canada. 
The following gentlemen were, in 1804, " Lieutenants of Coun- 
ties" for the Counties attached to their respective names. We 
take the list from the Upper Canada Almanac for 1804, published 
at York by John Bennett. The office and title 01 County-Lieu- 
tenant do not appear to have been kept up: "John Macdonell, 
Esq., Glengary; William Fortune, Esq., Prescott; Archibald Mac- 
donell, Esq., Stormont; Hon. Richard Duncan, Esq., Dundas; 
Peter Drummond, Esq., Grenville; James Breakenridge, Esq., 
Leeds; Hon. Richard Cartwright, Esq., Frontenac; Hazelton 
Spencer, Esq., Lenox; William Johnson, Esq., Addington; John 
Ferguson, Esq., Hastings; Archibald Macdonell, Esq., of Marys- 
burg, Prince Edward; Alexander Chisholm, Esq., Northumber- 
land ; Robert Baldwin, Esq., Durham; Hon. David WilUam 
Smith, Esq., York; Hon. Robert Hamilton, Esq., Lincoln; 
Samuel Ryerse, Esq., Norfolk; William Claus, Esq., Oxford;. 
(Middlesex is vacant); Hon. Alexander Grant, Esq., Essex; Hon. 
James Baby, E q., Kent." 

Another old English term in use in the Crown Lands Office of 
Ontario, if not generally, is " Domesday Book." The record of 
grants of land from the beginning of the organization of Upper 
Canada is entitled "Domesday Book." It consists now of 
many folio volumes. 

The gravelled path from the Fort to the Commissariat Stores, 
as described above, in conjunction with a parallel track for wheels 
along the cliff all the way to the site of the Parliament Buildings, 
suggested in 1822 the restoration of a carriage-drive to the Island, 
which had some years previously existed. This involved the erec- 
tion or rather re-erection of bridges over the lesser and greater 
Don, to enable the inhabitants of York to reach the long lines of 
lake beach, extending eastward to Scarborough Heights and west- 
ward to Gibraltar Point. 

All the old accounts of York in the topographical dictionaries 
of " sixty years since," spoke of the salubriousness of the peninsula 
which formed the harbour. Even the aborigines, it was stated, 
had recourse to that spot for sanative purposes. All this was 
derived from the article in D. W. Smith's Gazetteer, which sets 
forth that " the long beach or peninsula, which aflfords a most 

Story, with 

;r Canada, 
of Coun- 
mes. We 
bald Mac- 

Ige, Esq., 
ton; John 
of Marys- 
l William 
Lincoln ; 

Oxford ; 
sex; Hon. 

Office of 

record of 

of Upper 

now of 

It Stores, 
or wheels 
le Island, 
I the erec- 
d greater 
g lines of 
and west- 

IS stated, 
this was 
hich sets 
i a most 













§4.] From the Garrison back to the ^Beginning. 83 

delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians, that thev 
resort to it whenever indisposed." 

So early as 1806 a bridge or float had been built over the mouth 
of the Don. In the Gazette of June 18, in that year, we have the *^ 
notice : « It is requested that no person will draw sand or pass 
with loaded waggons or carts over the new Bridge or Float at the 
opening of the Don River, as this source of communication was 
intended to accommodate the inhabitants of the town in a walk or 
nde to the Island. York, 13th June, 1806." 

In a MS. map of this portion of the vicinity of York dated 
1811, the road over the float is marked " Road from York to the 
Lighthouse. In this map, the lesser Don does not appear A 
pond or mlet represents it, stretching in from the bay to the river 
A bridge spans the iplet. There is a bridge also over the ravine,* 
through whica flows the rivulet by the Pariiament Buildings 

Health, however, was not the sole object of all these arrange- 
ments. A race-course had been laid out on the sandy neck of 
land connecting the central portion of the peninsula with the main 
shore. Here races were periodically held ; and we have been 
assured, by an eye-witness, that twelve fine horses at a time had 
been seen by him engaged in the contest of speed. The hippo- 
drome m question was not a ring, but a long straight level stadium 
extending from the southern end of the second bridge to the outer 
margin of the lake. 

When invasion was threatened in 1812, all the bridges in the 
direction of the Island were taken down. An earthwork was 
thrown up across the narrow ridge separating the last long reach 
of the Don from the Bay ; and in addition, a trench was cut across 
die same ndge. This cut, at first insignificant, became ultimately 
by a natural process the lesser Don, a deep and wide outlet a 
convenient short-cut for skiffs and canoes from the Bay to the Don 
proper, and from the Don proper to the Bay. 

On the return of peace, the absence of bridges, and the exist- 
ence, m addition, of a second formidable water-filled moat, speed- 
Uy began to be matters of serious regret to the inhabitants of 
York, who found themselves uncomfortably cut off fronveasy access 
to tfie penmsula. From the Gazette of April 15, xSaa, we learn 
that 'a public subscnption among the inhabitants had been 
entered into, to defray the expense of erecting two bridges on the 
River Don, leading from this town towards the south, to the 

» ^ 


Toronto of Old, 


Peninsula." And subjoined are the leading names of the place, 
guaranteeeing various sums, in all amounting to £\oZ 5s. The 
timber was presented by Peter Robinson, Esq., M.P.P. The 
estimated expense of the undertaking was ;^325- The fol- 
lowing names appear for various sums— fifty, twenty, ten, five and 
two dollars-Major HiUier, Rev. Dr. Strachan, Hon. J. H. Dunn, 
Hon Tames Baby, Mr. Justice Boulton, John Small, Henry Boul- 
ton *Col Coffin, Thomas Ridout, sen., W. Allen, Grant Powell. 
Samuel Ridout, J. S. Baldwin, S. Heward, James E. Small, Chas. 
Small S Washburn, J. B. Macaulay, G. Crookshank, A. Mercer, 
George Boulton, Thomas Taylor, Joseph Spragge, George Hamil- 
ton R E. Prentice, A. Warffe, W. B. Jarvis, B. Turquand, John 
Deiison, sen., George Denison, John and George Monro, Henry 
Drean Peter McDougall, Geo. Duggan, James Nation, Thomas 
Bright' W B. Robinson, J. W. Gamble, William Proudfoot, Jesse 
Ketchum D. Brooke, jun., R. C. Henderson, David Stegman, 
L. Fairbaim, Geo. Playter, Joseph Rogers, John French, W. Roe, 
Thomas Sullivan, John Hay, J. Biglow, John Elliot. 

On the strength of the sums thus promised, an engineer, Mr. E. 
Aneell began the erection of the bridge over the Greater Don. 
The Gazette before us reports that it was being constructed "with 
hewn timbers, on the most approved European principle. ' (There 
is Doint in the italicised word : it hints the impolicy of employing 
United States engineers for such works). The paper adds that 
"the one bridge over the Great Don, consisting of five arches, is 
in a forward state ; and the other, of one arch over the Little 
Don will be completed in or before the month of July next, when 
Ihis line of road will be opened." It is subjoined that " subscrip- 
tions will continue to be received by A. Mercer, Esq., J. Dennis, 
York, and also by the Committee, Thomas Bright, William Smith 

andE. Angell." ^ . ,. ru • 

By the WetTdy Register of June 19, in the following year, it 
aooears that the. engineer, in commencing the bridge before the 
amount of its cost was guaranteed, had calculated without his host ; 
and as is usually the case with those who draw in advance on the 
nroceeds of a supposed public enthusiam, had been brought into 
difficulties. We accordingly find that "on Friday evening last, 
pursuant to public notice given in the Upper Canada Gazette, a 
meeting of the subscribers, and other inhabitants of the town of 
York was held at the house of Mr. Phair, in the Market-place, for 

§ 4-] F'^om the Garrison back to the (Beginning. 85 

the purpose of taking into consideration the circumstances in which 
the engineer had been placed by constructing a bridge, the charge 
of which was to be defrayed by voluntary subscription, over the 
mouth of the river Don." 

Resolutions were passed on the occasion, approving of Mr. 
Angell's proceedings, and calling for additional donations. A new 
committee was now appointed, consisting of H. J. Boulton, Esq., 
Dr. Widmer, S, Reward, Esq., Charles Small, Esq., and Allan 
McNab, Esq.— The editor of the Weekfy Hegtsier (FothergAl) thus 
notices the meeting: "It is satisfactory to find that there is at 
length some probability of the bridge over the Don in this vicinity 
being completed. We are, ourselves," the writer of the article 
proceeds to say, " the more anxious on this account, from the hope 
there is reason to entertain that these and other improvements in 
the neighbourhood will eventually lead to a draining of the great 
marsh at the east end of this town ; for until that is done, it is 
utterly impossible that the place can be healthy at all seasons of 
the year. The public are not sufficiently impressed with the alarm* 
ing insalubrity of such situations. We beg to refer our readers," 
the editor of the Register then observes, " to a very interesting 
letter from Dr. Priestly to Sir John Pringle in the Philosophical 
Transactions for 1777 ; and another from Dr. Price to Dr. Horsley 
in the same work in 1774 ; both on this subject, which throw con- 
siderable light upon it." And it is added, " We have it in contem- 
plation to repubUsh these letters in this work, as being highly 
interesting to many persons, and applicable to various situations in 
this country, but particularly to the neighboiurhood of York." 

The desired additional subscriptions do not appear to have come 
in. The works at the mouth of the Don proper were brought to 
a stand-still. The bridge over the Lesser Don was not commenced. 
Thus matters remained for the long interval of ten years. Every 
inhabitant of York, able to indulge in the luxury of a carriage, or 
a saddle horse, or given to ["extensive pedestrian excursions, conti- 
nued to regret the inaccessibleness of the peninsula. Especially 
among the families of the military, accustomed to the surroundings 
of sea-coast towns at home, did the desire exist, to be able, at will, 
to take a drive, or a canter, or a vigorous constitutional, on the sands 
of the peninsula, where, on the one hand, the bold escarpments in 
the distance to the eastward, on the other, the ocean-like horizon, 
and immediately in front the long rollers of surf tumbling in, all 




Toronto of Old. 


helped to stir recollections of (we will suppose) l5awlish or Tor- 

In 1834, through the intervention of Sir John Colbome, and by 
means of a subsidy from the military chest, the works on both out- 
lets of the Don were re-commenced. In 1835 the bridges were 
completed. On the 22nd of August in that year they were handed 
over by the military authorities to the town, now no longer York 
but Toronto. ' 

Some old world formalities were observed on the occasion. The 
civic authorities approached the new structure in procession • a 
bamcade at the first bridge arrested their progress. A guard sta- 
tioned there also forbade further advance. The officer in com- 
mand, Capt. Bonnycastle, appears, and the Mayor and Corpora- 
tion are informed that the two bridges before them are, by the 
command of the Lieutenant-Governor, presented to them as a free 
gift, for the benefit of the inhabitants, that they may in all time to 
come be enabled to enjoy the salubrious air of the peninsula; the 
only stipulation being that the bridges should be free of toll for- 
ever to the troops, stores, and ordnance of the sovereign. 

The mayor, who, as eye-witnesses report, was arrayed in an offi- 
cial robe of purple velvet lined with scariet, read the following 
reply: "Sir— On the part of His Majesty's faithful and loyal city 
of Toronto, I receive at your hands the investiture of these bridges 
erected by command of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor' 
and now delivered to the Corporation for the benefit and accom' 
modation of the citizens. In the name of the Common Council 
and the citizens of Toronto, I beg you to convey to His Excellency 
the grateful feelings with which this new instance of the bounty of 
our most gracious sovereign is received ; and I take this occasion on 
behalf of the city to renew our assurances ofloyalty and attachment 
to His Majesty's person and government, and to pray, through His 
Excellency, a continuance of royal favour towards this city. I have, 
on the part of the corporation and citizens, to request you to assure 
His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor that His Excellency's 
desire and generous exertions for the health and welfare of the 
inhabitants of this city are duly and gratefully appreciated; and I 
beg you to convey to His Excellency the best wishes of myself and 
my fellow-citizens for the health and happiness of His Excellency 
and family. Permit me, Sir, for myself and brethren, to thank 
you for the very handsome and complimentary manner in 


§ 4-] From the Garrison back to the ^Beginning. 87 

which you have carried His Excellency's commands into execu- 

•' Immediately," the nanative of the ceremonial continues, " the 
band, who were stationed on the bridge, struck up the heart-stirrinf 
air, ' God save the King,' during the performance of which the gen- 
tlemen of the Corporation, followed by a large number of the inha- 
bitants, passed uncovered over the bridge. Three cheers were then 
given respectively for the King, for His Excellency the Lieutenant- 
Governor, for the Mayor and Council of the City of Toronto, and 
for Capt. Bonnycastle. The gentlemanly and dignified manner in 
which both the addresses were read did credit to the gentlemen on 
whom these duties devolved; and the good order and good humour 
that prevailed among the spectators present were exceedingly gra- 

We take this account from the Toronto Patriot of August aSth, 
1835, wherein it is copied from the Christian Guardian. Mr. R. 
B. Sullivan, the official representative of the city on the occasion 
just described, was the second mayor of Toronto. He was after- 
wards one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. 

The bridges thus ceremoniously presented and received had a 
short-lived existence. They were a few years afterwards, seriously 
damaged during the breaking up of the ice, and then carried away 
bodily in one of the spring freshets to which the Don is subject 

The peninsula in front of York was once plentifully stocked with 
goats, the offspring of a small colony established by order of 
Governor Hunter, at Gibraltar Point, for the sake, for one thing, 
of the supposed salutary nature of the whey of goat's milk. These 
animals were dispersed during the war of 181 2-13. Governor 
Hunter may have taken the idea of peopling the island at York 
with goats from what was to be seen, at an eariy day, on Goat 
Island, adjoining the Falls of Niagara! A multitude of goats ran 
at large there, the descendants of a few reared originally by one 
Stedman, an English soldier, who, on escaping a massacre of his 
comrades in the neighbourhood of what is now Lewiston, at the 
hands of the Iroquois, soon after the conquest of the country, fled 
thither, and led, to the end of his days, a Robinson-Crusoe-kind 
of life. 




'fTER our long stroll westward, we had purposed 
ToSf 'T '•''' °^^^^--gby theroutewhict 
ZT I" l"""P"^ thoroughfare of the modem 
Toronto; but the associations connected with the 
primitive pathway on the cliff overlooking the harbour 
led us insensibly back along the track by wWch we tme: 
m order that we may execute our oricinal dt^^iim, ™« 

bunding „„„ whoUyUken^ufr e ^-.r .rcltr H ' Fanher west on this line of road '.he^o obl^ "„t 
sessing any archKoIogical interest. ' ^ 

The old Hospital was a spacious, unadorned matter of &^, 

.t consequently had the appearance of h.ving beingTerk^"^,, ! 

bodJy, the streets in the neighbourhood no. being laifouu ' 

ame precse regard to the cardinal points. The building exhibited 

roof. The mtenor was conveniently designed. 

fJw 1 ''"" ""'■' '■"'' ■'"^"S the terrible season of ,8a, 
fnghtful sc«,.s .f suffering and death were witnessed among .he 

m thetr d,strem .,, many were struck down, some all but fatall" 

'^^S^i-- . 

§ 5.] King Street, from John to Yonge Streets. 89 

others wholly so ; amongst the latter several leading medical men, 
and the Roman Catholic Bishop, Power. 

When the Houses of Parliament, at the east end of the town, 
were destroyed by fire in 1824, the Legislature assembled for seve- 
ral sessions in the General Hospital. 

The neighbourhood hereabout had an open, unoccupied look in 
1822. In a Weekly Register of the 25th of April of that year, we have 
an account of the presentation of a set of colours to a militia bat- 
talion, mustered for the purpose on the road near the Hospital. 
"Tuesday, the 23rd instant," the Register reports, "being the 
anniversary of St. George, on which it has been appointed to cele- 
brate His Majesty's birthday, George IV., [instead of the 4th of 
June, the ffite of the late King,] the East and West Regiments, 
with Capt. Button's Troop of Cavalry, which are attached to the 
North York Regiment, on the right, were formed in line at eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon, on the road in front of the Government 
House, and a Guard of Honour, consisting of ico rank and file 
from each regiment, with officers and sergeants in proportion, 
under the command of Lieut. -Col. FitzGibbon, were formed at a 
short distance in front of the centre, as the representatives of the 
militia of the Province, in order to receive the rich and beautiful 
Colours which His Majesty has been graciously pleased to com- 
mand should be prepared for the late incorporated Battalion, as 
an honourable testimony of the high sense which His Majesty has 
been pleased to entertain of the zeal and gallantry of the militia of 
Upper Canada." 

The Register \htn proceeds: "At 12 o'clock, a Royal Salute 
was fired from the Garrison, and the Lieutenant-Governor with his 
staff having arrived on the ground, proceeded to review the widely- 
extended line ; after which, taking his station in front of the whole, 
the band struck up the nation anthem of ' God save the King.' 
His Excellency then dismounted, and accompanied by his staff, 
on foot, approached the Guard of Honour, so near as to be dis- 
tinctly heard by the men ; when, uncovering himself, and taking 
one of the Colours in his hand, in the most dignified and graceful 
manner, he presented them to the proper officer, with the following 
address : — " Soldiers ! I nave great satisfaction in presenting you, 
as the representatives of the late incorporated Battalion, with these 
Colours — a distinguished mark of His Majesty's approbation. 
They will be to you a proud memorial of the past, and a rallying- 


Toronto of Old. 


*M - 

poin^ around which you will gather with alacrity and confidence 
Country. -His Excellency having remounted, the Guard of Honour 

rS,nt oT he'tf r^"' ^°^°"^^ '^^"^' ^-- "g^^""I 
u^ front of the whole line, and then proceeded to lodge thei 
Colours at the Government House." ^ 

" The day was raw and cold," it is added, « and the ground bein^ 
very wet and uneven, the men could neither form nor' Zch with 
that precision they would otherwise have exhibited. We ^re 

th?Gurrd o? r'' '°"r' ^'''^ '^' '^'''^^'^^ appearand f 
the Guard of Honour, and we were particularly struck by the new 
uniform of the officers of the West York, as being particuL ly wel 

tit ' Eve^ T 'f °!i""'"^ ^"^^^^"**° ^ thicWy-wooded clu" 
tty. Even at i short distance it would be difficult to distinguish 
the gray coat or jacket from the bole of a tree. There was a^lrv 
full attendance on the field; and it was peculiarly grit fybg to oS^ 
serve so much satisfaction on all sides, ^he Colfurs, 'which are 
ven. elegant, are inscribed with the word Niagaka. to clmmemo 
rate the services rendered by the Incorporated Battalion on tTat 
frontier; and we doubt not that the proud distinction "hich t 

ecollecr T'" "'" ''^''' ^^^^ *° ^^^^*^ '"^^ ™o«t animating 
recollections, whenever it shall be necessary for them to wave over 
the heads of our Canadian Heroes, actually formed in battle a Jay 
against the invaders of our Country. At . o'clock His Excellent 
held a Levee, and m the evening a splendid Ball at the Govern 
ment House concluded the ceremonies and rejoicings of the day." 
1 he Lieut-Governor on this occasion was Sir Peregrine Maitland 
ofwhom fully hereafter. -«t"iana, 

The building on King Street known as " Government House" 
was originally the private residence of Chief Justice ElmsTey 

s^irElmT t" ''' rf"^' '^ ^'^, it was stiH 
styled Elmc ey House." As at Quebec, the correspondence of 
he Governor-in-Chief was dated from the ''Chateau St. Louis" or 
nor of tn w ''^ '^°""'" ^° '^"' '''^' °f '"^^ Lieutenant-G^ver- 

r^r . ^•' ^^T^'y^^' ^ brother of the celebrated classical 
cntic and echtor, Peter Eimsley, of Oxford. We shall have occa- 
sion frequently to speak of him. 

On the left, opposite Government House, was a very broken piece 
of ground, denominated "Russell Square;" afterwards, through 

§ 5-] King Street, from John to Yonge Streets. 91 

the instrumentality of Sir John Colbome, converted into a site for 
an educational Institution. Sir John Colbome, on his arrival in 
Upper Canada, was fresh from the Governorship of Guernsey, one 
of the Channel Islands. During his administration there he had 
revived a decayed Public School, at present known as Elizabeth 
College. Being of opinion that the new country to which he had 
been transferred was not ripe for a University on the scale con- 
templated in a royal Charter w^ich had been procured, he ad- 
dressed himself to the establishment of an institution which should 
meet the immediate educational wants of the community. 

Inasmuch as in the School which resulted — or " Minor College" 
as it was long popularly called — we have a transcript, more or less 
close, of the institution which Sir John Colbome had been so re- 
cently engaged in reviving, we add two or three particulars in regard 
to the latter, which may have, with some, a certain degree of inter- 
est, by virtue of the accidental but evident relation existing be- 
tween the two institutions. From a paper in Brayley's Graphic 
and Historical Illustrator (1834), we gather that Elizabeth College, 
Guernsey, was originally called the " School of Queen Elizabeth," 
as having been founded under Letters Patent from that sovereign 
in 1563, to be a ** Qrammar-school in which the youth of the Island 
{Juventus) may be better instructed in good learning and virtue." 
The temple or church of the suppressed Order of Gray Friars 
(Friars minors or Cordeliers), with its immediate precincts, was 
assigned for its "use," together with "eighty quarters of wheat rent," 
accruing from lands in different parts of the Island, which had been 
given to the friars for dispensations, masses, obits, &c. By the 
statutes of 1563 the school was divided into six classes ; and books 
and exercises were appointed respectively for each , the scholars 
to be admitted being required " to read perfectly, and to recite an 
approved catechism of the Christian religion by heart." 

In all the sue the Latin and Greek languages were the 
primary objects of instmction; but the Statutes permitted the 
master, at his discretion, " to add something of his own ; " and 
even " to concede something for writing, singing, arithmetic, and 
a little play." For more than two centuries the school proved of 
little public utility. In 1799 there was one pupil on the establish- 
ment. In 1816 there were no scholars. From that date to 1824 
the number fluctuated from 15 to 29. In 1823, Sir John Colbome 
appointed a committee to investigate all the circumstances con- 



Toronto of Old. 


n«ted wth the school, and to ascertain the best mode of assuring 
^fotoe permanent efficiency and prosperity, without perverting 
fte,ntent.on of the foundress. The end of all ^ a new 
budding (figured m Brayley) at a cost of ^,4,75^ „. w .°^" 

20th, 1829, the revived institution was publicly opened, with one 
hundred and twenty pupUs. " On that day," we are tild " the 
Baihff and Jumts of the Island, wid, Genenu\oss, theLfeinan, 
Governor [Sir John Colbome was now in Canada], his staff, and Z 

^A th^Tl' "f '"'>''-^'»">»d"«ors of the school (togethe^ 
with the scholai^), repaired to St. Peter's Chumh, where LyL 
w«-e read by the Dean, Dr. Dumud, and Te Deun. and'X 
anthems were sung. They then returned to the College, whe.^, 

L?,!/'™"'-^'"""™ ''""■ ^"•""^'d assembly were ad 
dre sed respectively by the Bailiff and PresidentKlirector [Daniel 

»d • e Z^^^' '^""''' "' "^^"^^ *« Vice-PrLident, 

fastotbn^' ""^''"* ""'P'"'- ^"^ •■"""' '«<='»<=)' »f *' 
Under the new system the work of education was carried on by 

M^hS^aT'M 'i^^'^J^ ' ^'"'='"'' '^"^ a--' >«-'".' 
a clm^^Tj M T' * »'^''="»<i Assistant of the Lower School, 

mS" rfD^ JJ ", r '^^'""^'' "^'"^ ^"^ » Assistant, ^ 
Master of Drawing and Surveying, besides extra Masters for the 

Md Fencing. The course of instruction for the day scholars and 
Aose on Aefoundarion, included Divinity, Histo^, (^IZ 

»?writin^:^ r- "■""?■ ^"«''^''' ^^*™=«s. Ari.£c; 

and Wnting, at a charge m the Upper School of ^j per ouarter 
Drawing and Surveying, ijx. per quarter. The terras for private 

Mnrinr, r. '• ^'"-^ ^^"^ f"™ -^^o annually with the 
Principal, to ;^46 annually with the First Classical Teacher 

The exhibitions in the revived institution were, first, one of J-,o 

ZTTT::'r''^' '»-'='' by the Oove^or ;" Guei« 

n .826, to the best Classical scholar, a native of the Bailiwick or 

son of a native; secondly, four for four years, of, at least JL ner 

annum, founded by subscription in le, o he S sfhote 


i of assuring 
t perverting 

was a new 
is. zd. ; the 

August the 
id, with one 
told, "the 
taff, and the 
e Principal, 
3l (together 
ere prayers 
and other 
Bge, where, 
\y were ad- 
or [Daniel 
n the anti- 
icy of the 

ied on by 
Master, a 
er School, 
ssistant, a 
s for the 
3lars, and 
r quarter ; 
irter; for 
T private 
with the 

e of ;^3o 
iwick, or 
;^2o per 


'. n 



§ 5.] King Street, from John to Yonge Streets. 93 

-. II 


severally, in Divinity, Classics, Mathematics, and Modem Lan- 
guages ; thirdly, one for four years, of ;^2o per annum, founded 
in 1827 by Admiral Sir James Saumarez, to the best Theological 
and Classical scholar ; fourthly, one of ;^2o per annum, for four 
years, from 1830, to the best Classical scholar, given by Sir John 
Colbome in 1828. There were also two, from the Lower to the 
Upper School, of jQ6 per annum, for one year or more, founded 
by the Directors in 1829. 

The foregoing details will, as we have said, be of some interest, 
especially to Canadians who have received from the institution 
founded by Sir John Colbome in Russell Square an important part 
of their early training. " Whatever makes the past, the distant and 
the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity 
of thinking beings." So moralized Dr. Johnson amidst the ruins 
of lona. On this principle, the points of agreement and difference 
between the educational type and antitype is this instance, will be 
acknowledged to be curious. 

Another link of association between Guernsey and Upper Can- 
ada exists iQ the now familiar name " Sarnia," which is the old 
classical name of Guernsey, given by Sir John Colbome to a town- 
ship on the St Clair river, in memory of his former government. 

Those who desire to trace the career of Upper Canada College 
ab ovo, will be thankful for the following advertisements. The first 
is from the Loyalist of May 2, 1829. " Minor College. Sealed ten- 
ders for erecting a School House and four dwelling-houses will be 
received on the first Monday of June next. Plans, elevations and 
specifications may be seen after the 1 2 th instant, on application to 
the Hon. Geo. Markland, from whom further information will be 
received. Editors throughout the Province are requested to insert 
this notice until the first Monday in June, and forward their accounts 
for the same to the office of the Loyalist, York. York, ist May, 

The second advertisement is from the Upper Canada Gazette of 
Dec. 17, 1829. " Upper Canada College, established at York. 
Visitor, the Lieutenant-Governor for the time being. This Col- 
lege will open after the approaching Christmas Vacation, on Mon- 
day the 8th of January, 1830, under the conduct of the Masters 
appointed at Oxford by the Vice Chancellor and other electors, in 
July last. Principal, the Rev, J. H. Harris, D.D., late Fellow of 
Clare Hall, Cambridge. Classical Department : Vice Principal, 


Toronto of Old. 



n. I'm ?^L ^'^•' °^^"^^"'^ ^°"^g^' Cambridge. First 

Classical Master: The Rev. Charles Mathews. M. A, of lembroke 
Hall Cambridge. Second Classical Master: The Rev. W. Boul- 
TJ.. iu °^^"^^;\College, Oxford. Mathematical Depart- 
ment: The Rev. Charles Dade, M.A., Fellow of Caius ColLe 
Cambridge, and late Mathematical Master at Elizabeth College.' 
French Mr. ^ P. De la Haye. English, Writing and Arithmetic 
Mr G. A Barber and Mr J. Padfield. Drawing Master, Mr. Drury 
Then follow terms, &c.) Signed: G. H. Markland, Secreta^ 
to the Board o Education. York, Upper Canada, Dec. 2, 1829^ 
After Russell Square on the left, came an undulating green field- 
near the middle of it was a ban. of niral aspect, cased'if with up' 
nght unplaned boards. The field was at one time a kind of 
Campus Marttus for a troop of amateur cavalry, who were in- 
structed m their evolutions and in the use of the broadsword, by a 
veteran, Capt. Midford, the Goodwin of the day at York 

Nothing of note presented itself until after we arrived at the 
roadway which rs now known as Bay Street, with the exception 
perhaps, of two small rectangular edifices of red brick with brighJ 
in roofs dropped, as it were, one at the south-west, the other at 
the north-west, angle of the intersection of King and York Streets. 
The former was the office of the Manager of the Clergy Reserve 
Lands; the latter that of the Provincial Secretary and Registrar. 
They are noticeable simply as being specimens, in solid material 

i°n Yo^k tlr"'' "TK '""f '"' ' ^'^^^^^ period was in fashion 
m York and its neighbourhood ; little square boxes, one storey in 
height, and without basement; looking as ii, by the aid of a rine 
at the apex of the four sided roof, they might, with no great diffi 
culty, be ifted up like the hutch provided for GuUiver by his nurse 
Lrlumdalchtch, and carried bodily awav. 

As we pass eastward of Bay Street, 'the memory comes back of 
Franco Rossi, the eariiest scientific confectioner of York, who had 
on the south side, near here, a depot, ever fragrant and ambrosial. 
In his specialities he was a superior workman. From him were 
procured the fashionable bridecakes of the day ; as also the noyeau 
parfatt^mour, and other liqueurs, set out for visitors on New Year's 
Day. Rossi was the first to import hither good objects of art • fine 
copies of the Laocoon, the Apollo Belvidere, the Perseus of Ca- 
nova, with other classical groups and figures sculptured in Floren 
tine alabaster, were disseminated by him in the community 


ige. First 
• W. Boul- 
il Depart- 
s College, 
i College, 
^r. Drury. 
2, 1829." 
reen field; 
with up- 
i kind of 
3 were in- 
ord, by a 

edat the 
th bright 

other at 
k Streets. 

1 fashion 
storey in 
•f a ring 
eat diffi- 
lis nurse 

back of 
i^ho had 
m were 
r Year's 
rt: fine 


§ 5-] ^i^g Street Jrom John to Yonge Streets. 95 

Rossi is the Italian referred to by the author of " Cyril Thorn- 
ton" in his «« Men and Manners in America," where speaking of 
York, visited by him in 1832, he says : " In passing through the 
streets I was rather surprised to observe an affiche intimating that 
ice-creams were to be had within. The weather being hot I 
entered, and found the master of the establishment to be an Italian 
I never ate better ice at Grange's"-some fashionable resort in 
London, we suppose. The outward signs of civilization at York 
must have been meagre when a chance \ sitor recorded his sur- 
prise at finding ice-creams procurable in such a place. 

Great enthusiasm, we remember, was created, far and near by 
certain panes of plate glass with brass divisions between them 
which, at a period a little later than Cyril Thornton's (Captain 
Hamilton's) visit, suddenly ornamented the windows of Mr. Bec- 
kett's Chemical Laboratory, close by Rossi's. Even Mrs. Jameson 
m her book of "Winter Studies and Summer Rambles," referring 
to the shop fronts of King Street, pronounces, in a naive English 
watering-place kind of tone, " that of the apothecary" to be " worthy 
of Regent Street in its appearance." 

A little farther on, still on the southern side, was the first place 
of public worship of the Wesleyan Methodists. It was a long, low 
wooden building, running north and south, and placed a little way 
back from the street. Its dimensions in the first instance, as we 
have been informed by Mr. Fetch, who was engaged in its erec- 
tion, were 40 by 40 feet. It was then enlarged to 40 by 60 feet 
In the gable end towards the street were two doors, one for each 
sex. Within, the custom obtained of dividing the men from the 
women; the former sitting on the right hand of one entering the 
building ; the latter on the left. 

This separation of the sexes in places of public worship was an 
oriental custom, still retained among Jews. It also existed, down 
to a recent date, in some English Churches. Among articles of 
inquiry sent down from a Diocesan to churchwardens, we have seen 
the query: "Do men and women sit together indifferently and 
promiscuously? or, as the fashion was of old, do men sit together 
on one side of the church, and women upon the other ?" In Eng- 
lish Churches the usage was the opposite of that indicated above • 
the north side, that is, the left on entering, was the place of the 
women ; and the south, that of the men.) 
In 1688, we have Sir George Wheler, in his "Account of the 



Toronto of Old. 


Churches of the Primitive Christians," speaking of this custom, 
which he says prevails also " in the Greek Church to this day : he 
adds that it " seems not only very decent, but nowadays, since 
wickedness so much abounds, highly necessary ; for the general 
mixture," he continues, " of men and women in the Latin Church 
is notoriously scandalous ; and little less," he says, "is their sitting 
together in the same pews in our London churches." 

The Wesleyan chapel in King Street ceased to be used in 1833. 
It was converted afterwards for a time into a " Theatre Royal." 
Jordan Street preserves one of the names of Mr. Jordan Post, 
k owner of the whole frontage extending from Bay Street to Yonge 
Street. The name of his wife is preserved in " Melinda Street," 
which traverses his lot, or rather block, from east to west, south of 
King Street. Two of his daughters bore respectively the unusual 
names of Sophronia and Desdemona. Mr. Post was a tall New- 
Englander of grave address. He was, moreover, a clockmaker by 
trade, and always wore spectacles. From the formal cut of his ap- 
parel and hair, he was, quite erroneously, sometimes supposed 
to be of the Mennonist or Quaker persuasion. 

So early as 1802, Mr. Post is advertising in the York paper. In 
the Oracle of Sept. 18, 1802, he announces a temporary absence 
from the town. " Jordan Post, watchmaker, requests all those 
who left watches with him to be repaired, to call at Mr. Beman's 
and receive them by paying for the repairs. He intends returning 
to York in a few months. Sept. 11, 1802." In the close of the 
same year, he puts forth the general notice : *' Jordan Post, Clock 
and Watchmaker, informs the public that he now carries on the 
above business in all its branches, at the upper end of Duke Street. 
He has a complete assortment of watch furniture. Clocks and 
watches repaired on the shortest notice, and most reasonable terms, 
together with every article in the gold and silver line. N. B.— He 
will purchase old brass. Dec n, 1802." 

Besides the block described above, Mr. Post had acquired other 
valuable properties in York, as will appear by an advertisement in 
the Weekly Jie^sler of ]a.n. 19, 1826, from which also it will be 
seen that he at one time contemplated a gift to the town of one 
hundred feet frontage and two hundred feet of depth, for the pur- 
pose of a second Public Market. " Town Lots for Sale. To be 
sold by Auction on the Premises, on Wednesday the first day of 
February next, Four Town Lots on King Street, west of George 

§ 5-] ^i^g Street, from John to Yonge Streets. 97 

Street. Also, to be leased at the same time to the highest bidder, 
for twenty-one years, subject to such conditions as will then be 
produced. Six Lots on the west side of Yonge Street, and Twenty 
on Market Street. The Subscriber has reserved a Lot of Ground 
of One Hundred Feet front, by Two Hundred Feet in the rear, on 
George Street, for a Market Place, to be given for that purpose 
He will likewise lease Ten Lots in front of said intended Market. 
A plan of the Lots may be seen and further particulars known, by 
application to the Subscriber. Jordan Post. York, Jan. 4, 1826 " 




; HERE Yonge Street crosses King Street, forming at 
the present day an unusually noble carrefour^ as the 
French would say, or rectangular intersection of 
thoroughfares as we are obliged to word it, there was, 
for a considerable time, but one solitary house — at 
the north-east angle; a longish, one-storey, respectable 
wooden structure, painted white, with paling in front, and 
large willow trees : it was the home of Mr. Dennis, formerly super- 
intendant of the Dock-yard at Kingston. He was one of the 
United Empire Loyalist refugees, and received a grant of land on 
the Humber, near the site of the modern village of Weston. His 
son, Mr. Joseph Dennis, owned and commanded a vessel on Lake 
Ontario in 1812. When the war with the United States broke out, 
he and his ship were attached to the Provincial Marine. His ves- 
sel was captured, and himself made a prisoner of war, in which 
condition he remained for fifteen months. He afterwards com- 
manded the Princess Charlotte, an early steamboat on Lake On- 

To the eastward of Mr. Dennis' house, on the same side, at an 
early period, was an obscure frame building of the most ordinary 
kind, whose existence is recorded simply for having been tempo- 
rarily the District Grammar School, before the erection of the spa- 
cious building on the Grammar School lot. 

On the opposite side, still passing on towards the east, was the 
Jail. This was a squat unpainted wooden building, with hipped 
roof, concealed from persons passing in the street by a tall cedar 

§ 6.] KiKg Street, from Yonge to Church Streets. 99 

'^tL ':^ "Z:^ - -, a Hudson. «a, 
ofwood suspend .>:i^, ^ll^S^^^ S:^^ ^ 
and occasionally Mr. Parker, the custodian oftr nhce L. ' 
moned, through its instrumentality, by persons not tt' V'"'"' 
mate business. We have a recoUe^-tiLT deve tmh^a^"" 
mediate descendant of the great commentator on iISlI ""h 
afterwards himself distinguished at the Uppe Sn d n ''"."^ 

was severely handled by Mr. Parker's son nl . u""' ^^"^ 

act of pulling at this bilL, wi 1 h s c ;t n em' ""f ' '" ^'^ 
away after the exploit. "''"''°" ""^ ^""'"g 

The English Criminal Code, as it wis nt fj,'.. 1 • • 
centum, having been introd ced w h all .s eno'"v"' °"'^' 
hangings were frequent at an early nericd in ,r'„'' '""''''" 
A shocking scene is describedts .'aUnTpla e In"? T'""- 
front of the old Jail at York Th. Ta / execution in 
the scaffold On th s 7; \ '°"'^™°'<' --efuses to mount 

amount .0 the r?*c 1 ;!:re"'n°:::r'°" ^"""^ °^ *= ^h""' 
In aid of the sheriff, the offidaZ 1,^? '° ^'"""^'^ '"'«'<=• 
up .he plank set fro„ -hetr fh:t'^^ffi:'r:rthe a T 
Of the act, and to induce the man to mnnnf • ,-, ^'''^''">' 

condemned demurs, and penTy relrC the h "'".""^ ^'^^ 
in the two cases At last ihV nnl , °^'"°"' difference 

wretched culprit wher t nds The can ' ' 'V^: "^^' °^ '^^ 
deliberate strangling ensues. ' withdrawn, and a 

In a certain existing account of steps taken in ,fi . 
t e dilapidated and comfortless co d t on "f "h tLi ""''^ 
ghmpse of York, commercially and otherwise l^ 1} T ^'' ^ 
April, 1811. the sheriff, Beikie reports toTh.' '^'''- ^" 

ter Sessions " that the ;ills ofVe LTcl o th'';Tf u'* ^"^^- 
District are completely rotten thri^r'-^'^'^^'^^ "^"'e 
rooms are insufficrnt anH;. J ' '"''"^^ '" '^' debtors' 
shouldneceryob ig h"^^ ''^^' '^--If safe, 

debtors' rooms " "' '"^ P'''^^"^ '" ^^^d cells or 


be pleased to direct thaf th! ^^T f^^'^^'^or, ,hat he will 


Toronto of Old, 


be purchafied at York," A memorandum follows to the effect that 
on the communication of this necessity to His Excellency, "the 
Lieutenant-Governor ordered that the Clerk of the Peace do apply 
for the spike-nails officially in'^the name of the Court : which he 
did," the memorandum adds, " on the 8th of May, 1811, and re- 
ceived an answer on the day following, that an order had been 
issued that day for 1500 spike-nails, for *Le rSitair of the Home 
District Jail: the nails," it is subjoined, "were received by car- 
penter Leach in the month of July following." 

Again : in December, 181 1, Mr. Sheriff Beikie sets forth to the 
magistrates in Session, that " the prisoners in the cells of the Jail 
of the Home District suffer much from cold and damp, there being 
no method of communicating heat from the chimneys, nor any 
bedsteads to raise the straw from^the floors, which lie nearly, if not 
altogether, on the ground." He accordingly suggests that ' ' a small 
stove in the lobby of each range of cells, together with some rugs 
or blankets, will add much to the comfort of the unhappy persons 
confined." The magistrates authorize the supply of the required 
necessaries, and the order is marked " instant." (The month, we 
are to notice, was December.) 

At a late period, there were placed about the town a set of 
posts having relation to the Jail. They were distinguished from 
the ordinary rough posts, customary then at regular intervals along 
the sidewalks, by being of turned wood, with spherical tops, the 
lower part painted a pale blue : the upper, white. These were 
the "limits"— the cerfideni^ue_^nes— beyond which, ddtenus for debt 
were not allowed to extend their walks. 

Leaving the picketted enclosure of the Prison, we soon arrived 
at an open piece of ground on the opposite (north) side of the 
street,— afterwards known as the " Court House Square." One 
of the many rivulets or water-courses tjhat traversed the site of York 
passed through it, flowing in a deep serpentine ravine, a spot to 
be remembered by the youth of the day as affording, in the winter, 
facilities for skating and sliding, and audacious exploits on " lea- 
ther ice." In this open space, a Jail and Court House of a pre- 
tentious character, but of poor architectural style, were erected in 
1824. The two buildings, which were of two storeys, and exactly 
alike, were placed side by side, a few yards back from the road. 
Their gables, were to the south, in which direction were also the 
chief entrances. The material was red brick. Pilasters of cut stone 


le effect that 



ce do apply 
:: which he 
II, and re- 
r had been 
the Home 
ived bycar- 

lorth to the 
5 of the Jail 
, there being 
ys, nor any 
nearly, if not 
hat "a small 
th some rugs 
ippy persons 
the required 
e month, we 

ivn a set of 
juished from 
ttervals along 
cal tops, the 
These were 
tenus for debt 

soon arrived 
side of the 
juare." One 
B site of York 
e, a spot to 
in the winter, 
)its on "lea- 
ise of a pre- 
;re erected in 
i, and exactly 
3m the road, 
vere also the 
•s of cut stone 















r— ( 












§ 6.] King Street, from Yongeto Church Streets. loi 

ran up the principal fronts, and up the exposed or outer sides of 
each edifice. At these sides, as also on the inner and unomamented 
sides, were lesser gables, but marked by the portion of the wall 
that rose in front of them, not to a point, but finishing square in 
two diminishing stages, and sustaining chimneys. 

It was intended originally that lanterns should have surmounted 
and given additional elevation to both buildings, but these were 
discarded, together with tin as the material of the roofing, with a 
view to cutting down the cost, and thereby enabling the builder to 
make the pilasters of cut stone instead of •' Roman cement." John 
Hayden was the contractor. The cost, as reduced, was to be 
;^3,8oo for the two edifices. 

We extract from the Canadian Review for July, 1824, published 
by H. H. Cunningham, Montreal, an account of the commence- 
ment of the new buildings : " On Saturday, the 24th instant, [April, 
1824,] his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, attended by his 
staff, was met by the Honourable the Members of the Executive 
Council, the Judges of the Court of King's Bench, and the Gen- 
tlemen of the Bar, with the Magistrates and principal inhabitants 
of York, in procession, for the purpose of laying the foundation- 
stone of the new Jail and Court House about to be erected in this 
Town.— A sovereign and half-sovereign of gold, and several coins 
of silver and copper, of the present reign, together with some news- 
papers and other memorials of the present day, were deposited in 
a cavity of the stone, over which a plate of copper, bearing an 
appropriate inscription, was placed ; and after his Excellency had 
given the first blow, with a hammer handed to him for the purpose, 
the ceremony concluded with several hearty cheers from all who 
were present— If the question were of any real importance," the 
writer adds, " we might have the curiosity to inquire why the de- 
posit was made in the south-i;ast, rather than in the north-east cor- 
ner of the building?"— a query that indicates, as we suppose, a 
deviation from orthodox masonic usage. 

In one of the lithographic views published in 1836 by Mr. J. 
Young, the Jail and Court House, now spoken of, are shewn. 
Among the objects inserted to give life to the scene, the artist has 
placed in the foreground a country waggon with oxen yoked to it, 
in primitive fashion.— Near the front entrance of the Jail, stood, 
to the terror of evil-doers, down to modern times, a ponderous spe- 
cimen of the " parish stocks" of the old country, in good condition. 


Toronto of Old. 


After 1825, the open area in front of the Tail and Tnnrf u 

H:r f ^7"'"^ ^^^^^" ^^'^^ town;%i:trm,' Taf r 

tions and other occasions of excitement We have here witnel ed 
several scenes characteristic of the times in which th";! cu" d 
We here once saw a public orator run away with, in the m dsTof 
h s har This was Mr. Jesse Ketchum, who was mak ng use 

of a fanner's waggon as his rostrum or platform, when the tehic e 
w^ suddenly laid hold of, and wheeled rapidly'down King Str t 

aimculty. Mr. Ketchum was one of the most benevolent and 
beneficent of men. We shall have occasion to refer to him he". 

T ^l^^ °" *^^ '^™^ °''*^''°"' ^^ ^^^'^^e' that we saw Mr W 

Lm fv"''''!''"''^u^^*''' '"^''"'^ ^^^^^ "^°bs usually adopt! 
Fom this spot we had previously seen the same personage 
after one of h.s re-elections, borne aloft in triumph, on a kTnd of 
pyramidal car, and wearing round his neck and across his breast a 

^me tim. ' "'" '"' constituents : in the procession, althe 
same time was a pnntmg-press, working as it was conveyed along 

l^Z^tf: ':' ''""^"^ °^ '^"'^"'^' -^^^h wer'e tossed 
right and left, to the accompanying crowd in the street. 

r.11 "''''^'"^ generation of Canadians, with the lights which they 
now possess, see pretty clearly, that the agitator just named and 

seL'eT'tLT'^T' " f -f ^^"^^' '^ ^"^ "'^^- - ^^<^ - "ey 
seemed . that, m fact, the ideas which they sought to propagate are 

the^only ones practicable in the successful government of mtdem 

Is there a reader nowadays that sees anything very startling in 
the enunciation of the following principles ?-" The control of the 
whole revenue to be in the people's representatives; the Leg isk 
tive Council to be elective ; the representation in the House pf 
Assembly to be as equally proportioned to the population as pos^- 
ble , he Executive Government to incur a real responsibility ; the 
law of pnmogeniture to be abolished , impartiality in the selection 
of Junes to be secured ; the Judiciary to be independent ; the mil" 
rt?. . t '" ''"'* subordination to the civil authorities ; equal 
nghts to the several members of the community; every ve tigeof 
Church-and-State union to be done away ; the knds Td af Ui/ 
revenues of the country to be under the control of the countiy 



I 6.] King Street, from Yonge to Church Streets. 103 

and education to be widely, carefully and impartially diffused j to 
^ these may be added the choice of our own Governor." 

These were the political principles sought to be established in 
the Governments of Canada by the party referred to, as set forth' 
in the terms just given (almost verbatim) in Patrick Swift's Almanac, 
a well known popular, annual brochure of Mr. McKenzie's. It 
seems singularnow, in the retrospect, that doctrines such as these 
should have created a ferment. 

But there is this to be said : it does not appear that there were, 
at the time, in the ranks of the party in power, any persons of very 
superior intellectual gifts or of a wide range of culture or historical 
knowledge : so that it was not likely that, on that side, there would 
be a ready relinquishment of political traditions, of inherited ideas, 
which their possessors had never dreamt of rationally analyzing, 
and which they deemed it ?,11 but treason to call in question. 

And moreover it is to be remembered that the chief propagan- 
<Iist of the doctrines of reform, although very intelligent and ready 
of speech, did not himself possess the dignity and repose of char- 
acter which give weight to the utterances of public men. Hence, 
wjth the persons who really stood in need of instruction and en- 
lightenment, his words had an irritating, rather than a conciliatory • 
and convincing effect. This was a fault which it was not in his 
power to remedy. For his microscopic vision and restless tempera- 
ment, while they fitted him to be a very clever local reformer, a 
very clever local editor, unfitted him for the grand role of a national 
statesman, or heroic conductor of a revolution. 

Accordingly, although the principles advocated by him finally 
•obtained the ascendancy, posterity only regards him as the Wilkes, 
the Cobbett, or the Hunt of his day, in the annals of his adopted 
•country. In the interval between the outbreak or feint at outbreak 
m 1838, and 1850, the whole Canadian community made a great 
advance in general intelligence, and statesmen of a genuine quality 
began to appear in our Pariiaments. 

Prior to the period of which we have just been speaking, a name 
much in the mouths of our early settlers was that of Robert Gour- 
lay. What we have to say in respect to him,> in our j-etrospect of 
the past, will perhaps be in place here. 

Nothing could be more laudable than Mr. Gouriay's intentions 
at the outset. He desired to publish a statistical account of Can- 
•ada, with a view to the promotion of emigration. To inform him- 


Toronto of Old. 



i J 

But here again it is easy to see that personal character anrf .,„, 

rerrnTr' *' ""'""'^' -^^ cLr^aa'^r „:! r« 

emSed him „r*""°°"™'''' '"^"'K"™'')' controlled, speedUy 
th« r r ^™'""' "P'^^''^' '" » community constituted!^ 

Au, he became overwhelmed mth troubles froL whid,7httcrof 

;=;-trL?a::;;rant Je"' '"' <^-'- - -^^^^ 

In a letter to the Niagara Speaator he savs • "T^f. ^^'^onto.. 
stiffens evenr nerve IdrJnuZ \u ^ :~~ ^^ tumult excited 

If the high^!; z::tT^^:iTr^^^^^^ 

brother farmers, seven in eTht of wh'n^ ,i '""'^'' "™°"^ ™^ 
truth. If one ;ear do s Tr^l^ll^^l T"'' "^^ '^"^ °^ 
then we'll batter it for two:\nd lu'iSi s^^llrd^ ^ha"' 
ammunition for a much longer siege We 111 'u ^ 

against it from Amherstburgh and Xbec frt L T '^if T ^ 
lin and London. It must be levelSdt Jve^^^^^^^^^ ^"^ 
/ Its name be forgotten in Toronto." ^ ' ^°^ '^'" 

But to return for a moment to Mr. McKenzie Hn fi, * ' . 

himself to obtain from fhe&ern? "«'"'°'"''' '""'»« 

penalty. The day anTe^: ^:ZltrSZ°l^: '^"T 
and no message Of reprieve had been .t^IZT^^^^TZ' 

cS^^hlT; *' "^ ^^■"'O'" of *e Sheriff's room a^er re 
ccvmg the final announcement that there could be n^ teth« 

§ 6.] King Streetjrom Yonge to Church Streets. 105 

delay the white collars on each side of his face were wet through 
and through wuh the tears that were gushing from his ^3 
pounng down his cheeks ! He was just realizing tie fee that 
nothmg further couW be done ; and in a few momems afttl'd 
the execution actually took place. icrwaras 

We approach comparatively late times when we speak of the 
^valcade which passed in granj state the spot now under review 

Itl of r. ? ^'^''"' °" '^'' °'^^'°° *here was conspicuous 
a tram of railway carnages, drawn of course, by horse power with 
the inscription on the sides of the carriages-" Do you no wLh 
you may get it ?»-the allusion being to the Gran^ Trunk IS 
was then only a thing inposse. ' ^ 

C^^f^^ 'f "^°^ *° processions associated in our memoiy with 
on?., r' ''""'' ''' ''^^''^-^-- of another comes up,Thlh 

oftheLolnftr'^^^^^^ were familiar enough with the march 
of the troops of the gamson to and from Church, to the sound of 

ctr? T T ^'"^" *" " spectacle professedlyof an opposite 
character :-to the procession of the "Children of Peace," soSlled 
These were a local off-shoot of the Society of Friends the 
followersofMr. David Willson, who had his head^ers at Shir 'n 
m Whitchurch, where he had built a « Templ^" a large wooden 


Penodically he deerned it proper to make a demonstration in town. 

His disciples and fnends, dressed in their best, mounted thd 
waggons and solemnly passed down Yonge Street,, and then on 
through some frequented thoroughfare of York to a pice previously 
announced where the prophet would preach. His topTc .^s 
usually " Public Affairs : their Total Depravity " 

The text of all of WiUson's homilies might, in effect, be the 
following mystic sentence, extracted from the popular period' 
cal already quoted-Patrick Swift's Almanac: " The backwoods- 

cZ'J I J"'" ''' '"' ^" *'^ ^°°^ '' t^^ °^k in the forests of 
Canada, should never forget that a base basswood is growing in 

darl^Lr^' ^^'^': "'"^'^' '^' "°* «P-dily girdled, will throw its 
dark shadows over the country, and blast his best exertions. Look 

Z Po ,1 T^ ^T f^ ''' '^^ branches-the Robinson branch, " 
the Powell branch, the Jones branch, the Strachan branch, the 


Toronto of Old. 


Boulton twig, &c. The farmer toils, the merchant toils, the labourer 
toils, and the Family Compact reap the fruit of their exertions " 
(Almanac for 1834.) 

Into all the points here suggested Mr. Willson would enter with 
great zest When waxing warm in his discourse, he would some- 
times, without interrupting the flow of his words, suddenly throw 

rl^.' Z\ . """"^T^ " ^'^ ^ "^^^ ""' P^" ^" th^ ^^"' saving 
about with freedom, dunng the residue of his oration, a pair of 

sturdy arms, arrayed, not indeed in the dainty lawn of a bishop, 
but in stout, well-bleached American Factory. His address was 
divided mto sections, between which "hymns of his own compos- 
ing were sung by a company of females dressed in white, sitting 
on one side, accompanied by a band of musical instruments on 
the other. 

Considerable crowds assembled on these occasions : and once 
a panic arose as preaching was going on in the public room of Law- 
rence s hotel: the joists of the floor were heard to crack: a rush 
was made to the door, and several leaped out of the windows.-A 
small bnck school-house on Berkeley Street was also a place where 
WiUson sometimes sought to get the ear of the general public- 
Captain Bonnycastle, in « Canada as it Was, Is, and May Be " i 
285, thus discourses of David Willson, in a strain somewhat 'too 
severe and satirical; but his words serve to show opinions which 
widely prevailed at the time he wrote : « At a short distance from 
Newmarket, the Captain says, " which is about three miles to the 
Tight of Yonge Street, near its termination at the Holland 
Landing, on a river of that name running into Lake Simcoe, 
IS a setUement of religious enthusiasts, who have chosen 
the most fertile part of Upper Canada, the country near 
and for miles round Newmarket, for the seat of their earthly 
tabernacle. Here numbers of deluded people have placed them- 
selves under the temporal and spiritual charge of a high priest, who 
calls himself David. His real name is David WiUso n. The Tem- 
ple (as the building appropriated to the celebration of their rites is 
called,) is served by this man, who affects a primitive dress, and 
has a tram of virgin-ministrants clothed in white. He travels about 
occasionally to preach at towns and villages, in a waggon, followed 
^^ by others, covered with white tilt-cloths; but what his peculiar 
tenets are beyond that of dancing and singing, and imitating David 
' the King, I really cannot tell, for it is altogether too farcical to last 


§ 6.] King Street Jrom Yonge to Church Streets. 107 

long: but Mr. David seems to understand clearly, as far as the 
temporal concerns of his infatuated followers go thaMhe old 
fashioned signification of n,eu.. and tuu^ are rehgiously center d 
m h,s own sanaum. It was natural that such a field sLuld pro 
duce tares m abundance." ^ ° 

The following notice of the "Children of Peace" occurs in 
Patnck Swift's Almanac for .834. penned, probably wi^han eve 
to votes m the neighbourhood of Sharon, or Hope. I th pLce'is 
here caled. "This society," the Almanac rep^ "numbe 
about .80 members in Hope, east of Newmarket They have also 
stated places of preaching, at the Old Court Housefvork on 
Vonge Street and at Markham. Their pri, -pal speak^l LaWd 
WUlson. assisted by Murdoch McLeod. Samuc lughes, and others 
Their music, vocal and instrumental, is excellent, and their preach- 
ers seek no pay from the Governor out of the taxes " 

On week-days, Willson was often to be seen, like any other in- 
dustnous yeon^an. driving into town his own waggon, loaded with 
the produce of his farm ; dressed in home-spun, as th^ " borel flik' 
of Yonge Street generally were : in the axis of one eye there was a 
slight divergency.-The expression " Family Compact" occurring 
above, borrowedfrom French and Spanish History, appears also 

Jo be' ""T^llTX^^ '^'^^^"^^^' '^ ^«3S. wherTthisTentencei: 
to be read : " The whole system [of conducting Government with- 
out a responsible Executive] has so long continued virtually in the 
same hands, that it is little better than a family compact " p ., 
(In our proposed perambulation of Yonge Street we shall have occa 
sion to speak again of David Willson.) 

After the Court House Square came the large area attached to 
5>t. James Church, to the memories connected with which we shall 
presently devote some space ; as also to those connected with the 
region to the north, formerly the play-ground of the District Gram- 
mar School, and afterwards transformed into March Street and its 
puriieus. ^ 

At the corner on the south side of King Street, just opposite the 
Court House, was the clock-and-watch-repairing establishment of 
Mr. Charies Clinkenbroomer. To our youthful fancy, the general 
c ick and tick usually to be heard in an old-fashioned watchmaker's 
place ofbusmess, was in some sort expressed by the name Clin- 
kunbroomer. But in old locd lists we observe the orthography of 
this name to have been Klinkenbrunner, which conveys another 


Toronto of Old. 


idea. Mr. Clinkenbroomer's father, we believe, was attached to, 
the army of General Wolfe, at the taking of Quebec. 

In the early annals of York numerous Teutonic names are ob- 
servable. Among jurymen and others, at an early period, we meet 
with Nicholas Klinkenbrunner, Gerhard Kuch, John Vanzantee, 
Barnabas Vanderbuigh, Lodowick Weidemann, Francis Freder, 
Peter Hultz, Jacob Wintersteen, John Shunk, Leonard Klink, and 
so on. 

So early as 1795 Liancourt speaks of a migration hither of Ger- 
man settlers from the other side of the Lake. He says a num- 
ber of German settlers collected at Hamburg, an agent had 
brought out to settle on "Captain Williamson's Demesne" in the 
State of New York. After subsisting for some time there at the 
expense of Capt. Williamson, (who, it was stated, was really the 
representative of one of the Pulteneys in England), they decamped 
in a body to the north side of the Lake, and especially to York and 
its neighbourhood, at the instigation of one Berczy, and " gained 
over, if we may believe common fame," Liancourt says, "by the 
English ;" gained over, rather, it is likely, by the prospect of acquir- 
ing freehold property for nothing, instead of holding under a patroon 
or American feudal lord. 

Probably it was to the accounts of Capt. Williamson's proceed- 
ings, given by these refugees, that a message from Gov. Simcoe to 
that gentleman, in 1 794, was due. Capt. Williamson, who appears 
to have acquired a supposed personal interest in a large portion of 
the State of New York, was opening settlements on the inlets on the 
south side of Lake Ontario, known as lerondequat and Sodus 

" Last year," Liancourt informs us, " General Simcoe, Governor 
of Upper Canada, who considered the Forts of Niagara and 
Oswego, ... as English property, together with the banks of 
Lake Ontario, sent an English officer to the Captain, with an in- 
junction, not to persist in his design of forming the settlements. 
To which message, " the Captain," we are then told, " returned a 
plain and spirited answer, yet nevertheless conducted himself with 
a prudence conformable to the circumstances. All these difficul- 
ties, however," it is added, " are now removed by the prospect of 
the continuance of peace, and still more so by the treaty newly 
concluded." (Of Mr. Berczy, and the German Settlement proper, 
we shall discourse at large in our section on Yonge Street.) 



KING street: digression southwards at church street: 


rCROSS Church Street from Clinkunbroomer's were the 
wooden buildings already referred to, as having re- 
mained long in a partially finished state, being the re. 
suit of a premature speculation. From this point we 
are induced to turn aside from our direct route for a 
few moments, attracted by a street which we see a short 
distance to the south, namely. Market Lane, or Colborne 
Street, as the modern phraseology is. 

In this passage was, in the olden time, the Masonic Hall, a 
wooden building of two storeys. To the young imagination this 
edifice seemed to possess considerable dignity, from being sur- 
mounted by a cupola ; the first structure in York that ever enjoyed 
such a distinction. This ornamental appendage supported above 
the western gable, by slender props, (intended in fact for the recep- 
tion of a bell, which, so far as our recollection extends, was never 
supplied), would appear insignificant enough now ; but it was the 
first budding of the architectural ambition of a young town, which 
leads at length to turrets, pinnacles, spires and domes. 

A staircase on the outside led to the upper storey of the Masonic 
Hall. In this place were held the first meetings of the first Mecha- 
nics' Institute, organized under the auspices of Moses Fish, a 
builder of York, and other lovers of knowledge of the olden time. 
Here were attempted the first popular lectures. Here we remember 
hearing— certainly some forty years ago — Mr. John Fenton read a 
paper on the manufacture of steel, using diagrams in illustration : 


Toronto of Old. 



^.^fn r, •°'''^ '^' '""8"'*^^^ ^^«« °f ^ >^ell-set razor theser 

at ons all sloping in one direction, by which it might be en he 

lecturer remarked, that unless a man. in shaving, imparted to' the 

for , J ,? P ~^'" '°"'" P"" "' *= Masonic Hall was 

Stewart and Mr. Appleeon.and afterwards by Mr. Caldicott 

M^l'T"^ *'"''« '^"'=' °" ">= """h ^ide, toward, the 
M^ket,was Frank's Hotel, an ordinary white frame bmWnT The 

ou's Th1!°* "\' "'-P--'' i" 'he ball-roon.^; 
TnZ' V J ! "P '"'■ ''™™^'''^ purposes, that apartment was 

approached by a stairway on the outside mentwas 

ofSrVr37',r''".r''' "."'" '^'™»""«™-''«°"^«">e. 

-ir s^n jr^ShraT w:trr^ir.r "'^• 

• T^l °'"^'™ """"awhite bandage or napkin Mrs 

Talbot was a great favourite. She performed the part of Corf „' 

.;rr;rrr ""'= ■"'^^'-^ ""■--' ^ niX" 

FortlTl!' ^^TT "' "" ^'=8= ""■ Algiers, Ali Baba or the 

~t ' '^'"'^ "' "" ^"'^ '"= ""'"-d "i^ Men were 
among the p.eces here represented. The body-guard of the Dev 

of Algiers we remember, consisted of two men, who always came 
m w,.h mduary precision just after the hero, and placed themXs 

They w™:\rrr ^"^""/'^"""^ ''''''°'' >■'"■• '■'■''''o s™t^ 
JpXrv:;tLtt''' '-"^ *' ^^-^ - •«""• a., .his 

humblesrkTnf "^^^T "' """'""'' " ''™'^'» ™' "f '"^ 
Sed tt ./''%<'™'"^«'"' of the stage must have been very 

oXsta^n .11 ^ "' :•""= """"• "= ""O"- "^ lo-- As for 
orchestra-4n those days, the principal instrumental artist of the 

rerfoTrh ."r"'"' "'°' -"-^--l-^ed for his "de. L^- 
Z'w\^ f"^' "'" °"» ^y=> '" ''hioh was some defect Td 

1 „ II w ' ^"' »»•"«'"'« with an associate or two here 
as at all other entertainments of importance,; public oVprirate 
Nevertheless, at that period, to an unsophisticated yet ^tive tat 
g.nat,on. mnocentof acquaintance with more resp«uble ^nge- 

§ ;•] King Street : Market Lane. j , , 

Tnd th/hr'J"' '""'' ^'^^""•"^' ^^^^ -«"<^' -^ »he bell rang 

in ki d .' not e"7' T'^-^'^^-^^'^-^-lglan.ou, similar 

kind, If not equal m degree, to that which, in the days of our 

be?n f r rr -^'^ "^'^^^ P^^^'- ^- -' know eChad 
been awakened, fasc.nated the young Londoner at Dr;.ry line. 

And how cunously were the illusions of the mimic splendor. 
somet.mes „. a moment broken, as if to admonish the Tnxpe" 

P alTw7.°'^'''T ^' "^' '•^^- ^" ^^^ performance of 
^nf t' ,T ^^'"^'"b^^^'d that an attempt is made to bribe a 

wha i'c"ed"''''7"'; He rejects and flings to the ground 
Irnl ^""^^'^^^dge Of massive gold :"-we recollect the ..««y 
produced on the boards of the stage in Frank's by the fall ofTht 
wedge of massjve gold : it instantly betrayed itsel'f by this, as weU 
as by us n.mble rebound, to be. of course, a gilded bit of wood. 

disclosurlrr' 1 "' "^'''''' "'"^^^ performances that such 
w rtlab!^^^^^^^^^ ^' ^" °P^^^ ^" London, where all appearances 
we e elaborately perfect, we recollect the accidental fall c f a goblet 
which was supposed to be of heavy chased silver, and also filled 
with wme-a contretemps occasioned by the giddiness of the lad 
who personated a page : two things were at once clear : the goblet 
was not of metal, and nothing liquid was contained withb it: 
which recalls a mishap associated in our memory with a visit to the 
Argentma at Rome some years ago : this was the coming off of a 
wheel from the chariot of a Roman general, at a critical moment : 
the descent on this occasion from the vehicle to the stage was a 
true step from the sublime to the ridiculous ; for the audience 
observed the accident, and persisted in their laugh in spite of the 
heroics which the great commander proceeded to address, in 
operatic style, to his assembled army. 

It was in the assembly-room at Frank's, dismantled of its thea- 
trical furniture, that a celebrated fancy ball was given, on the last 
day of the year 1827. conjointly by Mr. Gait. Commissioner of the 
Canada Company, and Lady Mary Willis, wife of Mr. Justice 
Wilhs. On that occasion the general interests of the Company 
were to some extent studied in the ornamentation of the room. 
Its floor being decorated with an immense representation, in chalks 
or water-colour, of the arms of the association. The supporters of 
the shield were of colossal dimensions: two lions, rampant, bear- 
mg flags turning opposite ways : below, on the riband, in charac- 
ters proportionably large, was the motto of the Company, « Non 




Toronto of Old. 


mutat genus solum." The sides and ceiling of the room, with the 
passages leading from the front door to it, were covered throughout 
with branchlets of the hemlock-spruce : nestling in the greenery of 
this perfect bower were innumerable little coloured lamps, each 
containing a floating light. 

Here, for once, the potent, grave and reverend signiors of York, 
along with their sons and daughters, indulged in a little insanity. 
Lady Mary Willis appeared as Mary, Queen of Scots ; the Judge 
himself, during a part of the evening, was in the costume of a gay 
old lady, the Countess of Desmond, aged one hundred years ; Miss 
Willis, the clever amateur equestrienne, was Folly, with cap and 
bells ; Dr. W. W. Baldwin was a Roman senator ; his two sons 
William and St. George, were the Dioscuri, " Fratres Helens, 
lucida Sidera;" his nephew, Augustus Sullivan, was Puss in Boots; 
Dr. Grant Powell was Dr. Pangloss ; Mr. Kerr, a real Otchipway 
chief, at the time a member of the Legislature, made a magnificent 
Kentucky backwoodsman, named and entitled Captain Jedediah 
Skinner. Mr. Gregg, of the Commissariat, was Othello. The 
Kentuckian (Kerr), professing to be struck with the many fine 
points of the Moor, as regarded from his point of view, persisted, 
throughout the evening, in exhibiting an inclination to purchase— 
an idea naturally much resented by Othello. Col. Givins, his son 
Adolphus, Raymond Baby, and others, were Indian chiefs of dif- 
ferent tribes, who more than once indulged in the war-dance. 
Mr. Buchanan, son of the British Consul at New York, was Dam- 
ley ; Mr. Thomson, of the Canada Company's office, was Rizzio ; 
Mr. G. A. Barber was a wounded sailor recently from Navarino 
<that untoward event had lately taken place) ; his arm was in a 
sling ; he had sufiered in reality a mutilation of the right hand by 
an explosion of gunpowder, on the preceding sth of November. 

Mr. Gait was onlyabout three years in Canada, but this shortspace 
of time sufficed to enable him to lay the foundation of the Canada 
Company wisely and well, as is shewn by its duration and prospe- 
rity. The feat was not accomplished without some antagonism 
springing up between himself and the local governmental authori- 
ties, whom he was inclined to treat rather haughtily. 

It is a study to observe how frequently, at an early stage of 

Upper Canadian society, a mutual antipathy manifested itself 

between visitors from the transatlantic world, tourists and settlers 

(intending and actual), and the first occupants of such places of 


§7-] ^i»g Street : Market Lane. „, 

trust and emolument as then existed It was a feeling that grew 
partly out of re^onal considerations, and partly out of dSlS,ce 
of opmion m regard to public policy. A gutf thus beZT^ 
earlypmod to open between two sections of tie comm^rwLS 
widened painfully for a time in after years ;-a fissure, whfcL at is 
first appearance, a little philosophy on both sides would have cS 
up Men of mtelligence, who had risen to position and acqS 
all their expenence m a remote, diminutive settlement, migSha™ 
been quite sure that their grasp of great imperial and Cf„,u«! 
ions, when they arose, would be very imperfect ; they mighTthe . 
fore rationally have rejoiced at the accession of new mTnds a"d 
additional light to help them in the day of necessity. And on tie 
other hand, the fresh immignmt or casual visitor, tained toma* 
my amidst the combinations of an old society, and possessbr; 
knowledge of itslpast, might have comprehended tho^Zr^e 
exact condition of thought and feeling in a community such as .ha 
which he was approaching, and so might have regarded i^lde^ 
m h chanty, and spoken of them in a tone concifiatoiy and delt 
cate. On both sides, the maxim Tou, comprcndre, Z ,„u t. 
^««-^ would have had a salutary and composing ffect, " for^ ^ 
the author of Realmah weU says, " in truth, one would aevi b^ 
angty with anybody, ifone mideistood him or her thoroughly •• 

We regret that we cannot recover two small « paper oellet, nf 
the brain," of this period, arising out of the discuss" coTO 

Bench of Upper Canada. They would have been illustrative of 
the times. They were in the shape of two advertisementrone to 
reply to the other, in a local Paper : one was the elaboSte ti'le 
pag= 0. a pamphlet « shortly to .ppear," on the existing sy'em of 

rr^Mhri'" ^^^ '''^■' "'**^ "O"" "MelfoaTpe. 
rans the other was an exact counteT,art of the first, only to re 
ve^d terms, and bearing the motto " Deteriora timens " 

In the early stages of all the colonies it is obviously mevitable 
that appointments al. extra to public office must oc-^s^TuX 
andeven made. I^cal aspirants arethusTubS 
disappointments; and men of considerable ability may nowa„d 
then feel diemselves overshadowed, and imagine themselvlsde 
pressed, through the totroduction of talent traicendingftto™ 
W manifestations of discontent and impatience may tos alZ 
be expected to appear. But in a few years this state L ,w"? 


Toronto of Old. 



comes naturally to an end. In no public exigency is there any 
longer a necessity to look to external sources for help. A home 
supply of persons "duly qualified to serve God in Church and 
State" is legitimately developed, as we see in the United States, 
among ourselves, and in all the other larger settlements from the 

British Islands. 

The denouement of the Willis-trouble may be gathered from the 
following notice in the Gazette of Thursday, July 17th, 1828, now 
lying before us : "His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor has 
been pleased to appoint; by Commission under the Great Seal, 
Christopher Alexander Hagerman, Esq., to be a Judge in the Court 
of King's Bench for this Province, in the room of the Hon. John 
Walpole Willis, amoved, until the King's pleasure shall be signified." 
Lady Mary Willis, associated with Mr. Gait in the Fancy Ball 
just spoken of, was a daughter of the Earl of Strathmore. A trial 
of a painful nature known as Willis v. Bernard in the annals of the 
Common Pleas, arising out of circumstances connected with Judge 
Willis's brief residence in Canada, took place in 1832 before the 
Chief Justice of England and a special jury, at Westminster, Mr. 
Sergeant Wilde acting for the plaintiff; Mr. Sergeant Spankie, Mr. 
Sergeant Storks and Mr. Thesiger, for the defendant : when a 
thousand pounds were awarded as damages to the plaintiff. On 
this occasion Mr. Gait was examined as a witness. Judge Willis 
was afterwards appointed Chief Justice of Demerara. 

In the Canadian Literary Magazine for April, 1833, there is a 
notice of Mr. Gait, with a full-length pen-and-ink portrait, similar 
to those which used formeriy to appear in Fraser. In front of the 
figure is a bust of Lord Byron j behind, on a wall, is a Map shewmg 
the Canadian Lakes, with York marked conspicuously. From the 
accompanying memoir we learn that « Mr. Gait always conducted 
himself as a man of the strictest probity and honour. He was 
warm in his friendships, and extremely hospitable in his I og Pnory 
at Guelph, and thoroughly esteemed by those who had an oppor- 
tunity of mingling with him in close and daily intimacy. He was 
the first to adopt the plan of opening roads before making a settle- 
ment instead of leaving them to be cut, as heretofore, by the 
settlers themselves-a plan which,under the irregular andpatchwork 
systein of settling the country then prevailing, has retarded the 
impro /ement of the Province more, perhaps, than any other cause." 

In his Autobiography Mr. Gait refers to this notice of himself 

§ ?•] King Street : Market Lane. , , 

the inhabitants of Upper Can^T^' H ^' °'''"°*' '^°™ O" 

i. was not so. he s^ ^T.j:^rj:.^fii:-y^- 
towards the g:ntiTr^^r:rvrTthr/"^rr'- 

of the clerks [the gentleman who fibred afR^oVrr^ ""? 
thought the task might be agreeable rm^v'-' "^ ' 

giving a general FancvJf.ll,!, 11 ^ arrangements for 

pa. in'habU:,' ^c Z^be ISr^eT' "' ^ """"■ 
details myself, but exhorted htormlka the invw''' "'* *' 
rous as possible '■ "nntations as nume- 

se,irhrb~el' :: trire'"^ °'-'"''' " '= •" "^ »»• 

reader is probabl acquainted "h, ''^.-'^nfortable. " The 
the manner of living intHmen'' T '1 ^■"""iog'^P'-y. "with 
encehe can have no right no^roT h ! ' 'i;' "'"«"■' «P«ri- 
was the condition Of .h?bsmrmnYoA" n°" "^'^ <'*='■' 

hr:;'"T- *--■-. ^"-rtrwas'^^^^^^^^^^ 

lie says, all in his power to m tieate fli*> ^ffl.„*- • , ■• ' 

such a domicile was quaking, to oralttt^SCieT* """^ 

Dover, in Kent al a dulTSteL "h™'''™"™^ '"^^'"'^ 
such extravagan't Ungul^'e^arSis^^ " E^XT^o 1'° r"'"^ 
Dover knows that it is on* nf .i,. -i '^7''°°J' "ho has been at 
on the face of th e rtrex ep,"^ CX'^^-^-calJ haunts 
We notice in l.igh Hu;.s!S1„'';^,IT jl ^f 7,^^"^" 
verses entitled "Friends and Boyhood " writtl l? J ^J f "" 
stckness. They wUl not sound out o/ pUce i^ a L ?"'' " 
reminiscences : ' * f^f "f early 


Toronto of Old. 


••Talk not of years 1 'twas yesterday 
We chased the hoop together, 

And for the plover's speckled egg 
We waded through the heather. 

' 'Have we not found that fortune's chase 

For glory or for treasure, 
Unlike the rolling circle's race, 

Was pastime, without pleasure? 

"The green is gay where gowans grow, "But seize your glass— another time 

'Tis Saturday-oh ! come. We'll think of clouded days- 

Hark 1 hear ye notour mother's voice, I'll give a toast— fill up my fnend ! 
The earth?— she calls us home. Here's ' Boys and meiry plays !' " 

But Market Lane and its memories detain us too long from 
King Street. We now return to the point where Church Street 
intersects that thoroughfare. 



^HE first Church of St. James, at York, was a plain 
' structure of wood, placed some yards back from the 
road. Its gables faced east and west, and its solitary 
_ door was at its western end, and was approached from 
Church Street. Its dimensions were 50 by 40 feet. The 
sides of the building were pierced by two rows of ordinary 
windows, four above and four below. Altogether it was, in 
Its outward appearance, simply, asa contemporary American " Geo- 
graphical View of the Province of Upper Canada," now before 
us, describes it, a « meeting-house for Episcopalians." 

The work just referred to, which was written by a Mr. M. Smith, 
before the war of 1812, thus depicts York : " This village," it says, 
"is laid out after the form of Philadelphia, the streets crossing 
each other at nght angles ; though the ground on which it stands 
^is not suitable for building. This at present," the notice subjoins, 
IS the seat of Government, and the residence of a number of Eng- 
lish gentlemen. It contains some fine buildings, though they stand 
scattering, among which are a Court-house, Council-house, a large 
brick building, in which the King's store for the place is kept, and 
a meetmg-house for Episcopalians ; one printing and other offices." 
The reservation of land in which the primitive St. James' Church 
stood, long remained plentifully covered with the original forest 
In a wood-cut from a sketch taken early in the present century, 
prefixed to the "Annals of the Diocese of Toronto," the building 
IS represented as being in the midst of a great grove, and stumps 
of various sizes are visible in the foreground. 


Toronto of Old. 


Up to 1803 the Anglican congregation had assembled for Divine 
Worship in the Parliament Building ; and prior to the appointment 
of the Rev. Mr. Stuart, or in his absence, a layman, Mr. Cooper, after- 
wards the well-known wharfinger, used to read the service. In March, 
1799, there was about to be a Day of General Thanksgiving. The 
mode proposed for its solemn observance at York was announced 
as follows in the Gazette and Oracle oiMaxch 9 : *' Notice is hereby 
given that Prayers will be read in the North Government Building 
in this Town, on Tuesday, the 12th instant, being the day 
appointed for a General Thanksgiving throughout the Province to 
Almighty God for the late important victories over the enemies of 
Great Britain, Service to begin half after eleven o'clock." 

We give a contemporary account of the proceedings at an im- 
portant meeting of the subscribers to the fund for the erection of 
the first St. James' Church at York, in 1803. It is from the Oracle 
and Gazette of January 22, in that year. 

" At a Meeting of the subscribe ' to a fund for erecting a Church 
in the Town of York, holden at the Government Buildings, on 
Saturday the 8th day of January instant, the Hon. Chief Justice 
[Elmsley] in the Chair. Resolved unanimously : That each sub- 
scriber shall pay the amount of his subscription by three instal- 
ments : the first being one moiety in one month from this day ; the 
second being a moiety of the residue in two months ; and the 
remainders in three months : That Mr. William Allan and Mr. 
Duncan Cameron shall be Treasurers, and shall receive the amount 
of the said subscriptions ; and that they be jointly and severally 
answerable for all moneys paid into their hands upon the receipt 
of either of them : That His Honour the Chief Justice, the Hotiour- 
able P. Russell, the Honourable Captain McGill, the Reverend 
Mr. Stuart, Dr. Macaulay, Mr. Chewett, and the two Treasu- 
rers, be a Committee of the subscribers, with full power and autho- 
rity to apply the moneys arising from subscriptions, to the pur- 
pose contemplated : Provided, nevertheless, that if any material 
difierence of opinion should arise among them, resort shall be had 
to a meeting of the subscribers to decide. That the Church be 
built of stone, brick, or framed timber, as the Committee may judge 
most expedient, due regard being had to the superior advantages 
of a stone or brick building, if not counterbalanced by the addi- 
tional expense : That eight hundred pounds of lawful money, be 
the extent upon which the Committee shall calculate their plan ; 

5 ].] King Street : St. James' Church. 1 19 

but in the first instance, they shall not expend beyond the sum of 
SIX hundred pounds (if the amount of the sums subscribed and paid 
mto the hands of the Treasurers, together with the moneys which 
may be allowed by the British Government, amount to so much), 
leavmg so much of the work as can most conveniently be dispensed 
with, to be completed by the remaining two hundred pounds: 
Provided, however, that the said six hundred pounds be laid out 
m such manner that Divine Worship can be performed with decency 
m the Church: That the Committee do request the opinion of 
Mr. Berczy, respecting the probable expenses which will attend 
the undertaking, and respecting the materials to be preferred; due 
regard being had to the amount of the fund, as aforesaid; and 
that after obtaining his opinion, they do advertise their readiness 
to receive proposals conformable thereto. N.B. The propriety of 
receiving contributions in labour or materials is suggested to the 
Committee. ... MacDonell, Secretary to the Meeting." 
In the Gazette and Oracle of ]vinQ 4, 1803, D. Camerottand W. 

Allan are inviting tenders for the supply of certain materials 

required for " building a Church in this Town." 

"Advertisement. Wanted. A quantity of Pine Boards and 

Scantling, Stones and Lime, for building a Church in this Town. 

Any person inclined to furnish any of these articles will please to 

give in their proposals at the lowest prices, to the subscribers, to ' 

be laid before the Committee. D. Cameron, W. Allan. York. 

ist June, 1803." 

It would seem that in July the determination was to build the 
Church of stone. 

"On Wednesday last, the 6th instant," says the Oracle and 
Gazette, July 9th, 1803, " a meeting of the subscribers to the fund 
for erecting a Church in this Town was held at the Government 
Buildings, on which occasion it was unanimously resolved • That 
the said Church should be built of Stone. That one hundred 
toises of Stone should accordingly be contracted for without delay. 
That a quantity of two-inch pine plank, not exceeding 6,000 feet, 
should also be laid in ; and a [reasonable quantity of Oak studs, 
and Oak plank, for the window-frames and sashes.— A future meet- 
ing we understand," the 0^^./. adds, "will be held in the course 
of the season, at which, when the different Estimates and Propo- 
sals have been examined, and the extent which the fund will reach 
has been ascertained, something decisive will be settled." * 


Toronto of Old. 


The idea of building in stone appears to have been subsequently 
relinquished ; and a Church-edifice in wood was decided on. We 
are informed that the Commandant of the Garrison, Col. Sheaffe, 
ordered his men to assist in raising the frame. 

In 1810, a portion of the church-plot was enclosed, at an expense 
of;^i 5s. for rails, of which five hundred were required for the 
purpose. At the same time the ground in front of the west-end, 
where was the entrance, was cleared of stumps, at an expense of 
£^ 15s. In that year the cost for heating the building, and 
charges connected with the Holy Communion, amounted to 
£1 7s. 6d., Halifax currency. 

In 1813, Dr. Strachan succeeded Dr. Stuart as incumbent of the 
church; and in 181 8 he induced the congregation to effect some 
alterations in the structure. From an advertisement in an early 
Gazette of the year 181 8, it will be seen that the ecclesiastical ideas 
in the ascendant when the enlargement of the original building was 
first discussed, were much more in harmony with ancient English 
Church usages, than those which finally prevailed when the 
work was really done. With whomsoever originating, the de- 
sign at first was to extend the building eastward, not southward ; 
to have placed the Belfry at the west end, not at the south ; the 
Pulpit was to have been placed on the north side of the Church ; 
a South Porch was to have been erected. The advertisement 
referred to reads as follows :— " Advertisement. Plans and Esti- 
mates for enlarging and repairing the Church will be received by 
the subscribers before the 20th of March, on which day a decision 
will be made, and the Contractor whose proposals shall be ap- 
proved of, must commence the work as the season will permit. 
The intention is : ist. To lengthen the Church forty feet towards 
the east, with a circular end ; thirty of which to form part of the 
body of the Church, and the remaining ten an Altar, with a small 
vestry-room on the one side, and a Government Pew on the other. 
2nd. To remove the Pulpit to the north side, and to erect two 
Galleries, one opposite to it, and another on the west end. 3rd. 
To alter the Pews to suit the situation of the Pulpit, and to paint 
and number the same throughout the Church. 4th. To raise a 
Belfry on the west end, and make a handsome entrance on the 
south side of the Church, and to paint the whole building on the 
outside. Thomas Ridout, J. B. Robinson, Churchwardens. 
William Allan. Feb. 18, 1818." 

§ 8.] King Street : St. James' Church, 


The intentions here detailed were not carried into eflfect. On 
the north and south sides of the old building additional space was 
enclosed, which brought the axis of the Church and its roof into 
a north and south direction. An entrance was opened at the 
southern end, towards King Street, and over the gable in this 
direction was built a square tower bearing a circular bell-turret, 
surmounted by a small tin-covered spire. The whole edifice, as 
thus enlarged and improved, was painted of a light blue colour, 
with the exception of the frames round the windows and doors, 
and the casings at the angles, imitating blocks of stone, alternately 
long and short, which were all painted white. 

The original western door was not closed up. Its use, almost 
exclusively, was now, on Sundays and other occasions of Divine 
Worship, to admit the Troops, whose benches extended along by 
the wall on that side the whole length of the church.— The upper 
windows on all the four sides were now made circular-headed. 
On the east side there was a difference. The altar-window of the 
original building remained, only tranformed into a kind of triplet, 
the central compartment rising above the other two, and made 
circular headed. On the north and south of this east window 
were two tiers of lights, as on the western side. 

In the bell-turret was a bell of sufficient weight sensibly to jar 
the whole building at every one of its semi-revolutions. 

In the interior, a central aisle, or open passage, led from the 
door to the southern end of the church, where, on the floor, was 
situated a pew of state for the Lieutenant-Governor : small square 
pillars at its four comers sustained a flat canopy over it, immedi- 
ately under the ceiling of the gallery; and below this distinctive 
tester or covering, suspended against the wall, were the royal arms, 
emblazoned on a black tablet of board or canvas. 

Half-way up the central aisle, on the right side, was an open 
space, in which were planted the pulpit, reading-desk and clerk's 
pew, in the old orthodox fashion, rising by gradations one above 
the other, the whole overshadowed by a rather handsome sound- 
ing-board, sustained partially by a rod from the roof. Behind this 
mountainous structure was the altar, lighted copiously by the ori- 
gmal east window. Two narrow side-aisles, running parallel with 
the central one, gave access to corresponding rows of pews, each 
having a numeral painted on its door. Two passages, for the same 
purpose ran westward from the space in front of the pulpit. To 


Toronto of Old. 


the right and left of the Lieutenant-Governor's seat, and filling up 
(with the exception of two square corner pews) the rest of the nor- 
thern end of the church, were two oblong pews ; the one on the 
west appropriated to the officers of the garrison ; the other, on the 
east, to the members of the Legislature. 

Round the north, west, and south sides of the interior, ran a 
gallery, divided, like the area below, into pews. This structure 
was sustained by a row of pillars of turned wood, and from it to 
the roof above rose another row of similar supports. The ceiling 
over the parts exterior to the gallery was divided into four shallow 
semi-circular vaults, which met at a central point. The pews every- 
where were painted of a butf or yellowish hue, with the exception 
of the rims at the top, which were black. The pulpit and its ap- 
purtenances were white. The rims just referred to, at the tops of 
the pews, throughout the whole church, exhibited, at regular inter- 
vals, small gimlet-holes : in these were inserted annually, at Christ- 
mas-tide, small sprigs of hemlock-spruce. The interior, when thus 
dressed, wore a cheerful, refreshing look, in keeping with the festi- 
val commemorated. 

Within this interior used to assemble, periodically, the little 
world of York : occasionally, a goodly proportion of the little 
world of all Upper Canada. 

To limit ourselves to our own recollections : here, with great 
regularity, every Sunday, was to be seen, passing to and from the 
place of honour assigned him. Sir Peregrine Maitland, — a tall, grave 
officer, always in military undress ; his countenance ever wearing 
a mingled expression of sadness and benevolence, like that which 
one may observe on the face of the predecessor of Louis Philippe, 
Charles the Tenth, whose current portrait recalls, not badly, the 
whole head and figure of this early Governor of Upper Canada. 

In an outline representation which we accidentally possessed, of 
a panorama of the battle of Waterloo, on exhibition in London, the 
ist Foot Guards were conspicuouly to be seen led on by " Major- 
General Sir Peregrine Maitland." It was a matter of no small curi- 
osity to the boyish mind, and something that helped to rouse an 
interest in history generally, to be assured that the living personage 
here, every week, before the eye, was the commander represented 
in the panorama ; one who had actually passed through the tre- 
mendous excitement of the real scene. 

With persons of wider knowledge. Sir Peregrine was invested 

§ 8.] King Street : St. James' Church. 1 23 

with further associations. Besides being the royal representative 
in these parts, he was the son-in-law of Charles Gordon Lennox 
fourth Duke of Richmond, a name that stirred chivalrous feelings 
m early Canadians of both Provinces ; for the Duke had come to 
Canada as Governor-in-Chief, with a grand reputation acquired as 
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland ; and great benefits were expected, and 
probably would have been realized from his administration, had it 
been of long continuance. But he had been suddenly removed by 
an excruciating death. Whilst on a tour of inspection in the Upper 
Provmce, he had been fatally attacked with hydrophobia, occa- 
sioned by the bite of a pet fox. The injury had been received at 
Sorel; its terrible effects were fatally experienced at - pk.^e near 
the Ottawa, since named Richmond. 

Some of the prestige of the deceased Duke continued to adhere 
to Sir Peregrine Maitland, for he had married the Duke's daughter, 
a graceful and elegant woman, who was always at his side, here and 
at Stamford Cottage across the Lake. She bore a name not unfami- 
liar in the domestic annals of George the Third, who once, it is said, 
was enamoured of a beautiful Lady Sarah Lennox, grandmother, 
as we suppose, or some other near relative, of the Lady Sarah here 
before us at York. Moreover, conversationalists whispered about 
(in confidence) something supposed to be unknown to the general 
public— that the match between Sir Peregrine and Lady Sarah had 
been effected in spite of the Duke. The report was that there had 
been an elopement ; and it was naturally supposed that the party 
of the sterner sex had been the most active agent in the affair. 

To say the truth, however, in this instance, it was the lady who 
precipitated matters. The affair occurred at Paris, soon after the 
Waterloo campaign. The Duke's final determination against Sir 
Peregrine's proposals having been announced, the daughter sud- 
denly withdrew from the father's roof, and fled to the lodgings of 
Sir Peregrine, who instantly retired to other quarters. The upshot 
of the whole thing, at once romantic and unromantic, included a 
marriage and a reconciliation ; and eventually a Lieutenant-Gover- 
norship for the son-in-law under the Governorship-in-Chief of the 
father, both despatched together to undertake the discharge of vice- 
regal functions in a distant colony. At the time of his marriage 
with Lady Sarah Lennox, Sir Peregrine had been for some ten 
years a widower. On his staff here at York was a son by his first 
wife, also named Peregrine, a subaltern in the army. 


Toronto of Old. 


After the death of the Duke of Richmond, Sir Peregrine became 
, administrator, for a time, of the general government of British 
North America. The movements of the representative of the 
Crown were attended with some state in those days. Even a pas- 
sage across from York to Stamford, or from Stamford to York, was 
announced by a royal salute at the garrison. 

Of a visit to Lower Canada in 1824, when, in addition to the 
usual suite, there were in the party several young Englishmen of 
distinction, tourists at that early period, on this continent, we have 
the following notice in the Canadian Review for December of 
that year. After mentioning the arrival at the Mansion House 
Hotel in Montreal, the Revie7v proceeds : " In the morning His 
Excellency breakfasted with Sir Francis Burton, at the Govern- 
ment House, whom he afterwards accompanied to Quebec in the 
Swiftsure steamboat. Sir Peregrine is accompanied," the Review 
reports, " by Lord Arthur Lennox, Mr. Maitland, Colonels Foster, 
Lightfoot, Coffin and Talbot ; with the Hon. E. G. Stanley [from 
185 1 to 1869, Earl of Derby], grandson of Earl Derby, M.P. for 
Stockbridge, John E. Denison, Esq. [subsequently Speaker of the 
House of Commons], M.P. for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and James 
S. Wortley, Esq. [afterwards Lord Wharncliffe], M.P. forBossiney 
in Cornwall. The three latter gentlemen," the magazine adds, 
" are now upon a tour in this country from England ; and we are 
happy to learn that they have expressed themselves as being highly 
gratified with all that they have hitherto seen in Canada." 

It will be of mterest to know that the name of Sir Peregrine 
Maitland is pleasantly preserved by means of Maitland Scholar 
ships in a Grammar School for natives at Madras ; and by a Mait- 
land Prize in the University of Cambridge. The circumstances of the 
institution of these memorials are these as originally announced : 
"The friends of Lieutenant-General Sir Peregrine Maitland, K.C.B., 
late Commander inChief of the Forces in South India, being desirous 
of testifying their respect and esteem for his character and princi- 
ples, and for his disinterested zeal in the cause of Christian Truth 
in the East, have raised a fund for the institution of a prize in one 
of the Universities, and for the establishment of two native scholar- 
ships at Bishop Corrie's Grammar School at Madras ; such prize 
and scholarships to be associated with the name of Sir Peregrine 
Maitland. In pursuance of the foregoing scheme, the sum of 
;^i,ooo has been given to the University of Cambridge for the 

§ 8.] King Street : St. ;f antes' Church. r 2 5 

purpose of instituting a prize to be called " Sir Peregrine Mait 
land's Prize," for an English essay on some subject connected with 
the propagation of the Gospel, through missionary exertions in 
India and other parts of the heathen world." This Prize which 
is kept up by the interest accruing every three years, has been 
awarded at Cambridge regularly since 1845. 

The successor to Sir Peregrine Maitland in the Government of 
Upper Canada was another distinguished military officer, Sir John 
Colborne. With ourselves, the first impression of his form and 
figure is especially associated with the interior in which we are 
supposing the reader to be now standing. We remember his first 
passmg up the central aisle of St. James's Church. He had arrived 
early, m an unostentatious way ; and on coming within the build 
mg he quietly inquired of the first person whom he saw, sitting in 
a seat near the door : Which was the Governor's pew ? The gen- 
tleman addressed happened to be Mr. Bernard Turquand who 
quickly recognizing the inquirer, stood up and extended hi's right 
arm and open hand in the direction of the canopied pew over 
which was suspended the tablet bearing the Royal Arms. Sir John 
and some of his family after him, then passed on to the place 

At school, in an edition of Goldsmith then in use, the name of 
"Major Colborne" in connection with the account of Sir John 
Moore's death at Corunna had already been observed ; and it was 
with us lads a matter of intense interest to learn that the new Gov- 
ernor was the same person. 

The scene which was epitomized in the school-book, is given at 
greater length in Gleig's Lives of Eminent British Military Com- 
manders. The following are some particulars from Colonel Ander- 
son's narrative in that work : " I met the General," Colonel Ander- 
son says, " on the evening of the i6th, bringing in, in a blanket 
and sashes. He knew me immediately, though it was almost 
dark, squeezed me by the hand and said 'Anderson, don't leave 
me.' At intervals he added 'Anderson, you know that I have 
always wished to die in this way. I hope the people of England 
will be satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice. You will 
see my friends as soon as you can. Tell them everything. I have 
made my will, and have remembered my servants. Colborne has 
my will and all my papers.' Major Colborne now came into the 
room. He spoke most kindly to him; and then said to me 


Toronto of Old, 


* Anderson, remember you go to , and tell him it is my request, 

and that I expect, he will give Major Colbome a lieutenant- 
colonelcy.' He thanked the surgeons for their trouble. He pressed 
my hand close to his body, and in a few minutes died without a 

He had been struck by a" cannon ball. The shot, we are told, 
had completely crushed his shoulder ; the arm was hanging by a 
piece of skin, and the ribs over the heart, besides been broken, 
were literally stripped of flesh. Yet, the narrative adds, " he sat 
upon the field collected and unrepining, as if no ball had struck 
him, and as if he were placed where he was for the mere purpose 
of reposing for a brief space from the fatigue of hard riding." 

Sir John Colbome himself afterwards at Ciudad Rodrigo came 
within a hair's-breadth of a similar fate. His right shoulder was 
shattered by a cannon shot. The escape of the right arm from 
amputation on the field at the hands of some prompt military 
surgeon on that occasion, was a marvel. The limb was saved, 
though greatly disabled. The want of symmetry in Sir John Col- 
bome's tall and graceful form, permanently occasioned by this 
injury, was conspicuous to the eye. We happened to be present 
in the Council Chamber at Quebec, in 1838. at the moment when 
this noble-looking soldier literally vacated the vice-regal chair, and 
installed his successor Lord Durham in it, after administering to him 
the oaths. The exchange was not for the better, in a scenic point 
of view, although the features of Lord Durham, as his well-known 
portrait shews, were very fine, suggestive of the poet or artist. 

Of late years a monument has been erected on Mount Wise at 
Plymouth, in honour of the illustrious military chief and pre-emi- 
nently excellent man, whose memory has just been recalled to us. 
It is a statue of bronze, by Adams, a little larger than life ; and the 
likeness is admirably preserved. (Vv^hen seen on horseback at 
parades or reviews soldiers always averred that he greatly resembled 
" the Duke." Dr. Henry, in " Trifles from my Portfolio" (ii. in.) 
thus wrote of him in 1833 = " When we first dined at Government 
House, we were struck by the strong resemblance he bore to the 
Duke of Wellington ; and there is also," Dr. Henry continues, " a 
great similarity in mind and disposition, as well as in the linea- 
ments of the face. In one particular they harmonize perfectly 

namely, great simplicity of character, and an utter dislike to shew 

§ 8. J King Street .- St. James' Church. 1 2 7 

wise, are to be read the following inscriptions : in front • Tobk 
CoiBOKK^ Baron Seaton. Born mdccxxviii. DiED^cccJxr 
On the ngh, side: Canada. Ionian Islands. OntheSsfd": 
Peninsula. Waterloo. On the remaining side : In memor^ 0, 

ZsTl ^RdZ ""^^"^ '"" — 'character orrTELD 
IVIARSHAL i.ORD SeatoN, G.C.B., G C M O r ru Tuto tv/t 

IS ERFfTirn «v «To G.L.M.G., G.c.H. This Monument 


' . ^^^°""f "y'"g the family Of Sir John Colbome to their place in 
the Church at York was to be seen every Sunday, for sZetiZ a 

oovemoi^s sons. This was afterwards the eminent Dr. Teune 
Master of Pembroke College at Oxford, a great promoter of refo™ 

Tmanof Trf'"' ^^^^^P °^ Lincoln. Sir John himself w^ 
a man of scholarly tastes ; a great stud nt of history, and a p^c 
tical modem European linguist. ^ 

Through a casual circumstance, it is said that full praise was not 

Tohn'r if"' I' ''' '"^' ^° *'^ ^^^^""-^ commanded"; S 
John Colbome the 52nd, for the particular service rendered by 

^adt'tr^^nd rr S *^^-^^P-^-^ direction;' is; 
1 1\T f ."^.""^^^ ^ «"<iden flank movement at the crisis of 
the fight and mitiated the final discomfiture of which the GuTrds 
^t he sole praise. At the close of the day, when the Duke of 
Welhngton was rapidly constritcting his despatch. Colonel Col 

': founT Tri '" '' ^'™' ^"' ^°"^^ "°' ' ^- ^he momen 
hJ ^ T^^V"^°™"*'°"' evidently desired, was thus not to b^ 
had, and the document v/as completed and sent off without a 
special mention of the ssnd's deed of " derring do " 

During the life-time of the great Duke there was much reticence 
among the military authorities in regard to the Battle of Waterbo 
from the fact that the Duke himself did not encourage discu s on 
on the subject All was well that had ended well, appeared to have 
been his doclnne. He once checked an incipi nfdispute in re 
gard to the great event of the x8th of June between two friends Tn 
his presence, by the command, half-jocose, half-earnest " ^o" 
eave the Battle of Waterloo abne ! " He gave ^60 for a prilte 
letter wntten by himself to a friend on the eve o/the battle and 
was heard to say, as he threw the document into th fire "wha a 
fool was I, when I wrote that ! " 
Since the death of the Duke, an officer of the s^nd, subsequently 


Toronto of Old. 


in Holy Orders,— the Rev. William I eeke~has devoted two volumes 
to the history of " the 52nd or Lord Seaton's Regiment ; " in which 
its movements on the field of Waterloo are fully detailed. And 
Colonel Chesney in his " Waterloo Lectures ; a Study of the Cam- 
paign of 18 1 5" has set the great battle in a new light, and has de- 
molished several English and French traditions in relation to it, 
bringing out into great prominence the services rendered by Blucher 
and the Prussians. 

The Duke's personal sensitiveness to criticism was shewn on 
another occasion : when Colonel Gurwood suddenly di" i, he, 
through the police, took possession of the Colonel's papers, and 
especially of a Manuscript of Table Talk and other ana, designed 
for publication, and which, had it not been on the instant ruthlessly 
destroyed, would have been as interesting probably as Bos well's. 

On Lord Seaton's departure from Canada, he was successively 
Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and Commander- 
in-Chief in Ireland. He then retired to his own estate in the West 
of England, where he had a beautiful seat, in the midst of the calm, 
rural, inland scenery of Devonshire, not far from Plympton, and 
on the slope descending southward from the summits of Dartmoor. 
The name of the house is Beechwood, from the numerous clean, 
bold, magnificent beech trees that adorn its grounds, and give char- 
acter to the neighbourhood generally. In the adjoining village of 
Sparkwell he erected a handsome school-house and church. 

On his decease at Torquay in 1863 his remains were deposited 
in the Church at Newton Ferrers, the ancient family burying-place 
of the Yonges. 

Mrs. Jameson's words in her " Winter studies and Summer Ram- 
bles," express briefly but truly, the report which all that remember 
him, would give, of this distinguished and ever memorable Gover- 
nor of Canada. " Sir John Colborne," she says incidentally, in the 
Introduction to the work just named, " whose mind appeared to 
me cast in the antique mould of chivalrous honour ; and whom I 
never heard mentioned in either Province but with respect and 
veneration." Dr. Henry in "Trifles from my Portfolio," once 
before referred to, uses similar language. " I believe," he says, 
" there never was a soldier of more perfect moral character than 
Sir John Colborne — a Bayard without gasconade, as well as sans 
peur et sans reproche." The title " Seaton," we may add, was taken 
from the name of an ancient seaport town of Devon, the Moridu- 
num of the Roman period. 




JAMES' CHVKcn~{Continued.) 

\t: the southern end of the Church, in which we are sup- 
posing ourselves to be, opposite the Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor's pew, but aloft in the gallery, immediately over 
the central entrance underneath, was the pew of Chief 
Justice Powell, a long narrow enclosure, with a high 

doorTo^^n'^'f '° '"P °^ *^^ ^-"ghts from the 
door mto the gallery, just behind. The whole of the 

waf ired'4^^^^^ r'"f' ^^™ by which ifwa^balked 
was lined wi h dark green baize or cloth. The Chief's own nar 

the moment, to be in courf Tn fr.,fi, • ^s'"*^" nimselt, for 

Judge himse f mrh. ^^' '"^ ^" ^^'^^^ "^^^^nt, the 

abouts pf hT i!-''^'"'"'' '°"^' confusion as to his where- 
of hbarr^L^^^^^^^ "' " '^^ '^'* ^"' '^'"^ ''' --^^ -e many 
whl L I?' "'^'' •'"'■°''' ^"^ w""^««es (to go no farther) 
J.ho on week days were to be seen or heard befo e him indent 
compartments of the Court-room. aitterent 

Chief Justice Powell w^s of Welsh descent. The name is of 
course Ap Howell; of which " Caer Howell," ''HoweirPlace^ 
iLT" '^^'^ '''^'' J"^^^^^ ^° ^^« Park-lot at Y^k t a 

famt T: "'^^ ''' ^°^°"^°'^" P°--- of membe Of 
family He was a man of rather less than the ordinary sta- 


Toronto of Old. 


ture. His features were round in outline, unmarked by the painful 
lines which usually furrow the modem judicial visage, but wake- 
fully intelligent. His hair was milky white. The head was in- 
clined to be bald. 

We have before us a contemporary brochure of the Chief's, from 
which we learn his view of the ecclesiastical land question, which for 
so long a period agitated Canada. After a full historical discussion, 
he recommends the re-investment of the property in the Crown,. 
" which," he says, " in its bounty, will apply the proceeds equally 
for the support of Christianity, without other distinction :" but he 
comes to this determination reluctantly, and considers the plan to 
be one of expediency only. We give the concluding paragraph of 
his pamphlet, for the sake of its ring— so characteristically that of 
a by-gone day and generation : " If the wise provision of Mr. Pitt," 
the writer says, " to preserve the Law of the Union [between Eng- 
land and Scotland], by preserving the Church of England predom- 
inant in the Colony, and touching upon her rights to tythes only 
for her own advantage, and by the same course as the Church itself 
desiderates in England (the exchange of tythes for the fee simple), 
must be abandoned to the sudden thought of a youthful specula- 
tor [/. e., Mr. Wilmot, Secretary for the Colonies, who had intro- 
duced a bill into the Imperial Parliament for the sale of the Lands 
to the Canada Company], let the provision of his bill cease, and 
the tythes to which the Church of England was at that time law- 
fully entitled be restored ; she will enjoy these exclusively even of 
the Kirk of Scotland : but if all veneration for the wisdom of our 
Ancestors has ceased, and the time is come to prctrate the Church 
of England, bind her not up in the same wythe with her bitterest 
enemy; force her not to an exclusive association with any one of 
her rivals; leave the tythes abolished; abolish all the legal ex- 
change for them ; and restore the Reserves to the Crown, which,. 
in its bounty, will apply the proceeds equally for the support of 
Christianity, without other distinction." 

In the body of the Church, below, sat another Chief Justice, re- 
tired from public life, and infirm— Mr. Scott— the immediate pre-" 
decessor of Chief Justice Powell; a white-haired, venerable form, 
assisted to his place, a little to the south of the Governor's pew, 
every Sunday. We have already once before referred to Mr. Scott. 

And again : another judicial personage was here every week 
long to be seen, also crowned with the snowy honours of advanced 


§ 9-] King Street : St. Jamei Church. , 3 , 

age-Mr Justice Campbell-afterwards, in succession to Cliief 
;«st,ce Powell, Chief Justice Sir William CampbeU. Hfe See 
was on the west side of the central aisle. Sir WiUiam clpbeU 
was bom so far back as .,58. He came out from Scoti^'a^ i 
oldter ma Highland regimen,, and was taken prisoner arvrt' 
town when that place was surrendered by Comwallis in 178, In 
.783 he settled m Nova Scotia and studied law. After praciisin.- 
as a baiTister for nineteen years he was appointed Attom^S. 
eral for the Island of Cape Breton, from which post, after Idve 
years he ™s promoted to a Judgeship in Upper Canada. TW 

Thief Justice: "'"'' """"""^^ ^'" '"^5). he became 

The funeral of Sir William Campbell, in .834, was one of un- 
usual ■mpressiveness. The Legislature was in session at the time 
and attended in a body, with the Bar and the Judg« AtThe 
same hour, wtthm the walls of the same Church St James' he 
obsequies of a member of the Lower House took place rmelv of 
Mr. Roswell Mount, representative of the Coumyo Mfc 
who had chanced to die at York during the session ^'^'^ 
A funeral oration on the two-fold occasion was pronounced bv 
Archdeacon Strachan._Dr. Henry, author of "Trffl.! f '^ 

Portfolio," attended Sir WUliamCaVbellltis ^ Lf" 2 
the work ,ust named, his case is thus described, "MywJv 
patren became very weak towards the end of the year," the W 
says, "his nights were restless-his appetite began to fa^l a„7l? 
tT IT'^hT "' '^^ ''^'""''^ "- "--^ fSs.; ohislt 
sue tne barracks, Dr. Henry continues, " are a number of little 

pools and marshes, frequented by these delectable little bWs ^d 
here I used ,0 cross over in my skiff and pick up the ChW uf 
tices panacea. On fliis delicate food the poor old gentlemin it 
supported for acouple of months ; but the frost set fn-trsnioS 
flew away, and Sir William died." (ii ,12) 'ne snipes 

»nHTT"'' "^ '"■'" <=°">™"Mes. It is headed LoNoEmv 
and then thus proceeds : ■' A. the funeral of the late Sir W Camp' 
be on Monday, there were twenty inhabitants of Yo"k whl" 
united ages exceed fourteen hundred and fifty years 1" • 


Toronto of Old. 


I! V 

It is certain tKat there were to be seen moving up the aisles of 
the old wooden St. James', at York, every Sunday, a striking num- 
ber of venerable and dignified forms. For one thing their cos- 
tume helped to render them picturesque and interesting. The 
person of our immediate ancestors was well set off by their dress. 
Recall their easy, partially cut-away black coats and upright 
collars; their so-called small-clothes and buckled shoes; the 
frilled shirt-bosoms and the white cravats, not apologies for 
cravats, but real envelopes for the neck. (The comfortable, 
well-to-do Quaker of the old school still exhibits in use some of 
their homely peculiarities of garb.) And then remember the 
cut and arrangement of their hair, generally milky white, either 
from age or by the aid of powder ; their smoothly-shaven cheek 
and chin ; nnd the peculiar expression superinduced in the eye and 
the whole countenance, by the governing ideas of the period, ideas 
which we are wont to style old-fashioned, but which furnished, 
nevertheless, for tr>e time being, very useful and definite rules of 


Two pictures, one,'^ Trumbull's Signing of the Declaration of In- 
dependence ; the other, Huntingdon's Republican Court of Wash- 
ington (shewn in Paris in 1867), exhibit to the eye the outward 
and visible presentment of the prominent actors in the affairs of 
the central portion of the Northern Continent, a century ago. 
These paintings may help to do the same, in some degree, for us 
here in the north, also ; any one of the more conspicuous figures 
in the congregation of the old St. James's, at York, might have step- 
ped out from the canvas of one or other of the historic works of 
art just named. On occasions of state, even the silken bag (in the 
case of officials at least) was attached to the nape of the neck, as 
though, in accordance with a fashion of an earlier day still, the hair 
were yet worn long, and required gathering up in a receptacle pro. 
vided for the purpose. 

It seems to-day almost like a dream that we have seen in the 
flesh the honoured patriarchs and founders of our now' great com- 
munity — 

" Zorah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot, 

The youthful world's gray fathers in one knot j"— 

that OUT eyes really once beheld the traces on their countenances 
of their long and v.sxied experiences, of their carec. and processes 
of thought ; the traces ieft by the lapse of years, by uines, rough and 

§ 9.] King Street : St. James' Church. j 33 

troublous, not merely heard of by the hearing of the ear, as exist- 
ing across the Lakes or across the Seas, but encountered in thet 
own persons, m their own land, at their own hearths ; encountered 
and brave^ struggled through .-that we were eyUitnessrof 
he. cheerfulness and good courage after crisis uUcrsld 
thus passed over them; eye-witnesses again, too, of their earnest 
devotedness to the duties of calmer days, discharged ever honestly 
and well according to the beliefs and knowledge o'f the perbd and 

n^ss^ot T'^'TV" "^"^^'^ ^"^'--' °' ^he reach and v"t 
ness of the scheme of things which was being wrought out -that 
with our own eyes we saw them, again and again, engaged wihTn 
consecrated walls, in solemn acts which expressed, in sp te TZ 

Sttt: ' ''^'.'"'"^ '^' '^°"^^^^"^ it theirUaffec ted 
fai h n the unseen, and their living hope in relation to futurity. 

All this, we say, now seems like a dream of the night, or a mystic 
revelation of the scenes of a very distant period and in a ver^S 
ant ocahty, rather than the recollections of a few short years 
spent on the spot where these pages are indited. The names 
however, which we shall produce will have a sound of reality abou; 
them : they will be recognized as familiar, household words still 
perpetuated, or, at all events, still freshly remembered in the 
modern Toronto. 

From amongst the venerable heads and ancestral forms which 

recur to us, as we gaze down in imagination from the galleries of 

he old wooden St. James', of York, we will single out, in addition 

to those already spoken of, that of Mr. Ridout, sometimes Survey. 

or-General of the Province, father of a numerous progeny, and 

Ten. A' K '" 'P'''' °'"°^^ '^^" °"« '-^^y of connections 
elt ^'''' ^'"""^S '^' «^™^ "^™e- He was a fine typical repre- 
sentative of the group to which our attention is directed. He was 
a perfect picture of a cheerful, benevolent-minded Englishman ; of 
portly form, well advanced in years, his hair snowy-white natur- 
ally ; his usual costume, of the antique style above described 

Then there was Mr. Small, Clerk of the Crown, an Englishman 
of similar stamp. We might sketch the rest separately as^hey rise 
before the mind's eye • but we should probably, after all, convey 
an Idea of each that would be too incomplete to be interesting or 
of much value. We therefore simply name other members of the 
remarkable group of reverend seniors that assembled habitually in 
the church at York. Mr. Justice Boulton, Colonel Smith, some- 

Toronto of Old. 



time President of the Province ; Mr. Allan, Mr. M'Gill, Mr. Crook- 
shank, Colonel Givins, Major Reward, Colonel Wells, Colonel 
Fitzgibbon, Mr. Dunn, Dr. Macaulay, Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Lee, Mr. 
Samuel Ridout, Mr. Chewett, Mr. McNab (Sir Allan's father); Mr 
Stephen Jarvis, who retained to the last the ancient fashion of 
tying the hair in a queue. 

We might go on with several others, also founders of families 
that still largely people York and its vicinity j we might mention 
old Captain Playter, Captain Denison, Mr. Scarlett, Captain 
Brooke, sen., and others. Filial duty would urge us not to 
omit, in the enumeration, one who, though at a very early period 
removed by a sudden casualty, is vividly remembered, not only as 
a good and watchful father, but also as a venerable form har- 
monizing perfectly in expression and costume with the rest of the 
group which used to gather in the church at York. 

Of course, mingled with the ancients of the congregation, there 
was a due proportion of a younger generation. There was for ex- 
ample Mr. Simon Washburn, a bulky and prosperous barrister, 
afterwards Clerk of the Peace, who was the first, perhaps, in these 
parts, to carry a glass adroitly in the eye. There was Dr. Grant 
Powell, a handsome reproduction, on a larger scale, of his father 
the Chief, as his portrait shews ; there were the Messrs. Monro, 
Georgeand John ; the Messrs. Stanton ; Mr. Billings ; the Messrs. 
Gamble, John and William ; Mr. J. S. Baldwin, Mr. Lyons, Mr. 
Beikie, and others, all men of note, distinguishablelfrom each 
other by individual traits and characteristics that might readily be 

And lastly in the interstices of the assemblage was to be seen a 
plentiful representation of generation number three ; young men 
and lads of good looks, for the most part, well set-up limbs, and 
quick faculties ; in some instances, of course, of fractious temper- 
ament and manners. As ecclesiastical associations are at the mo- 
ment uppermost, we note an ill habit that prevailed among some 
of these younglings of the flock, of loitering long about the doors 
of the church for the purpose of watching the arrivals, and then, 
when the service was well advanced, the striplings would be seen 
sporadically coming in, each one imagining, as he passed his 
fingers through his hair and marched with a shew of manly 
spirit up the aisle, that he attracted a degree of at- 
tention ; attracted, perhaps, a glance of admiration from 

§ 9-] King Street : St. James' Church. 135 

some of the many pairs of eyes that rained mfluence from 
a large pew in the eastern portion of the north gallery, where the 
numerous school of Miss Purcell and Miss Rose held a command- 
ing position. 

It would have been a singular exception to a general law, had 
the interior into which we are now gazing, and whose habitues we 
are now recalling, not been largely frequented by the feminine 
portion of society at York. Seated in their places in various direc- 
tions along the galleries and in the body of the old wooden 
church, were to be regularly seen specimens of the venerable great- 
grandmammas of the old English and Scottish type (in one or two 
instances to be thought of to this day with a degree of awe by rea- 
son of the vigour, almost masculine, of their character) ; speci- 
mens of kindly maiden aunts ; specimens of matronly wives and 
mothers, keeping watch and ward over bevies of comely daughters 
and nieces. 

Lady Sarah Maitland herself cannot be called a fixed member 
of society here, but having been for so long a time a resident, it 
seems now, in the retrospect, as if she had been really a develop- 
ment of the place. Her distinguished style, native to herself, had 
its effect on her contemporaries of the gentler sex in these parts. 
Mrs. Dunn, also, and Mrs. Wells, may likewise be named as spe- 
cial models of grace and elegance in person and manner. In this 
all-influentiiil portion of the community, a tone and air that were 
good prevailed widely from the earliest period. 

It soon became a practice with the military, and other tempo- 
rary sojourners attached to the Government, to select partners for 
life from the families of York. Hence it has happened that, to this 
day, in England, Ireland and Scotland, and in the Dependencies 
of the Empire on the other side of the globe, many are the house- 
holds that rise up and call a daughter of Canada blessed as their 
maternal head. 

Local aspirants to the holy estate were thus unhappily, now and 
then, to their great disgust, baulked of their first choice. But a 
residue was always left, sufficient for the supply of the ordinary 
demand, and manifold were the interlacings of local connections; 
a fact in which there is nothing surprising and nothing to be con- 
demned : it was from political considerations alone that such affi- 
nities came afterwards to be referred to, in some quarters, with 


Toronto of Old. 



Occasionally, indeed, a fastidious young man, or a disappointed 
widower, would make a selection in parts remote from the home 
circle, quite unnece'ranly. We recall especially to mind the sen- 
sible emotion in the oorif/rcgation on the first.advent amongst them 
of a fair brido Irom ulon.eal, the then Paris 'of Canada j and seve- 
ral lesser excitements of the same class, on the appearance in their 
midst of aerial veils and orange blossoms from Lobo, from New 
York, from distant England. Once the selection of a " helpmeet" 
from a rival religious communion, in th° *own of York itself, led 
to the defection from ^he flock of a promment member ; n occur- 
rence that led also to the publication of two polemical pamphlets, 
which made a momentary stir ; one of them a declamation by a 
French bishop ; the other, a review of the same, by the pastor of 
the abandoned flock. 

The strictures on the intelligence and moral feeling of the femi- 
nine, as well as the masculine portion of society at York, delivered 
by such world-experienced writers as Mrs. Jameson, and such en- 
lightened critics as were two or three ofthe later Governors* wives, 
may have been just in the abstract, to a certain extent, as from the 
point of view of old communities in England and Germany ; but 
they were unfair as from the point of view of persons calmly re- 
viewing all the circumstances of the case. Here again the laxim 
applies : Tout comprendre, c 'est tout par donner. 

We have said that the long pew on the west side of the Gover- 
nor's seat was allotted to the military. In this compartment we 
remember often scanning with interest the countenance and form 
of a youthful and delicate-looking ensign, simply because he bore, 
hereditarily, a name and title all complete, distinguished in the 
annals of science two centuries ago — the Hon. Robert Boyle : he 
was one of the aides-de-camp of Sir Peregrine Maitland. Here, 
also, was to be seen, for a time, a Major Browne, a brother of the 
formerly popular poetess, Mrs. Hemans. Here, too, sat a Zachary 
Mudge, another hereditary name complete, distinguished in the 
scientific annals of Devonshire. He was an officer of Artillery, and 
one of Sir John Colborne's aides-de-camp ; for some unexplained 
reason he committed suicide at York, and his remains were depo- 
sited in the old military burying-ground. In this pew familiar 
forms were also— Major Powell, Capt. Grubbe, Major Hillier, Capt. 
Blois, Capt. Phillpotts, brother of the Bishop. 
The compartment on the east side of the Governor's pew, was as 


e sen- 
i theiv 

f, led 

by a 
or of 

:h en- 
; but 
ly re- 

t we 
\ the 
:: he 
f the 
I the 
, and 



§ 9.] ^ing Street : St. James' Church. 137 

we have said, appointed for the use of the members of the Legislature, 
when in session. Here at certain periods, generally in mid-winter, 
were to be observed all the political notabilities of the day ; for at 
the period we are glancing at, non-conformists as well as conform- 
ists were to be seen assisting, now and again, at public worship in 
St. James' Church. 

In their places here the outward presentments of Col. Nichol 
(killed by driving over the precipice at Queenston), of Mr. Horner 
(a Benjamin Franklin style of countenance), of Dr. Lefferty, of 
Hamnet Pinhey, of Mahlon Burwell, of Absalom Shade, of other 
owners of old Canadian names, are well remembered. The spare, 
slender figure of Mr. Speaker Sher\vood, afterwards a judge of the 
King's Bench, was noticeable. Mr. Chisholm, of Oakville, used 
facetiously to object to the clause in the Litany where " heresy and 
schism" are deprecated, it so happening that the last tenn was 
usually, by a Scotticism, read " Chisholm." Up to the Parliamen- 
tary pew we have seen Mr. William Lyon McKenzie himself hur- 
riedly make his way, with an air of great animation, and take his 
seat, to the visible, but, of course, repressed disconcertment of 
several honourable members, and others. 

Altogether, it was a very complete little world, this assemblage 
within the walls of the old wooden church at York. There were 
present, so to speak, king, lords, and commons ; gentle and sim- 
ple in due proportion, with their wives and little ones ; judges, 
magistrates and gentry ; representatives of governmental depart- 
ments, with their employes ; legislators, merchants, tradespeople, 
handicraftsmen ; soldiers and sailors ; a great variety of class and 

All seemed to be in harmony, real or conventional, here ; what- 
ever feuds, family or political, actually subsisted, no very marked 
symptoms thereof could be discerned in this place. But the history 
of all was known, or supposed to be known, to each. The relation- 
ship of each to each was known, and how it was brought about. 
It was known to all how every little scar, every trivial mutilation or 
disfigurement, which chanced to be visible on the visage or limb of 
any one, was acquired, in the performance of what boyish freak, in 
the execution of what practical jest, in the excitement of what con- 
vivial or other occasion. 

Here and there sat one who, in obedience to the social code of 
the day, had been " out," for the satisfaction, as the term was, of 



Toronto of Old. 


himself or another, perhaps a quondam friend — satisfaction ob- 
tained (let the age be responsible for the terms we use), in more 
than one instance, at the cost of human life. 

(Pewholders in St. James' Church frojn its commencement to 
about 1818, were President Russell: Mr. j Justice Cochrane: Mr. 
Justice Boulton: Solicitor General Gray :iReceiver General Selby: 
Christopher Robinson : George Crookshank : William Chewett : 
J. B. Robinson: Alexander Wood: William Willcocks : John 
Beikie : Alexander Macdonell : Chief Justice Elmsley : Chief Jus- 
tice Osgoode : Chief Justice Scott : Chief Justice Powell : Attor- 
ney General Firth : Secretary Jarvis : General ..Shaw : Col. Smith : 
D'Arcy Boulton : William Allan : Duncan Cameron : John Small : 
Thomas Ridout : William Stanton : Stephen Heward : Donald 
McLean : Stephen Jarvis : Capt. McGill : Col. Givins : Dr. Mac- 
caulay : Dr. Gamble : Dr. Baldwin : Dr. Lee : Mr. St. George : 
Mr. Denison : Mr. Playter : Mr. Brooke : Mr. Cawthra : Mr. 
Scadding : Mr. Ketchum : Mr. Cooper : Mr. Ross : Mr. Jordan : 
Mr. Kendrick : Mr. Hunt : Mr. Higgins : Mr. Anderson : Mr. 
Murchison: Mr. Bright: Mr. O'Keefe: Mr. Caleb Humphrey. — 
The Churchwardens for 1807-8 were : D'Arcy Boulton and William 
Allan. For 1809 : William Allan and Thomas Ridout. For 1810: 
William Allan and Stephen^ Jarvis. For 181 2 : Duncan Cameron 
and Alexander Legge.) 


KING street: ST. jAMEs' cnvvicn— {Continued.) 

;J^ T is beginning, perhaps, to be thought preposterous 
|d that we have not as yet said anything of the occu- 
pants of the pulpit and desk, in our account of this 
church interior. We are just about to supply the 

^ Here was to be seen and heard, at his periodical visits, 

Charles James Stewart, the second Bishop of Quebec, a man 
of saintly character and presence ; long a missionary in the Eastern 
Townships of Lower Canada, before his appointment to the Epis- 
copate. The contour of his head and countenance, as well as some- 
thing of his manner even, may be gathered from a remark of the 
late Dr. Primrose, of Toronto, who, while a stranger, had hap- 
pened to drop in at the old wooden church when Bishop Stewart 
was preaching : " I just thought," the doctor said, "it was the old 
King in the pulpit !" /. <?., George III. 

Here Dr. Okill Stewart, formerly rector of this church, but sub- 
sequently of St. George's, Kingston, used occasionally, when 
visiting York, to officiate— a very tall, benevolent, and fine fea- 
tured ecclesiastic, with a curious delivery, characterized by unex- 
pected elevations and depressions of the voice irrespective of the 
matter, accompanied by long closings of the eyes, and then a sud- 
den re-opening of the same. Whenever this preacher ascended 
the pulpit, one member of the congregation, Mr. George Duggan, 
who had had, it was understood, some trivial disagreement with 
the doctor during his incumbency in former years, was always ex- 
pected, by on-Iookers, to rise and walk out. And this he accord- 

I i 


f Iff 


i ia.^u^^^^Bi^l 


r si 


■ 1j 

; s 




Toronto of Old. 

B -o. 

ingly always did. The movement seemed a regular part of the 
programme of the day, and never occasioned any sensation. 

Here the Rev. Joseph Hudson officiated now and then, a mili- 
tary chaplain, appointed at a comparatively late period to this 
post ; a clergyman greatly beloved by the people of the town gen- 
erally, both as a preacher and as a man. He was the first officia- 
ting minister we ever saw wearing the academical hood over the 
ordinary vestment. » 

Here, during the sittings of Parliament, of which he was chap- 
lain, Mr. Addison, of Niagara, was sometimes to be heard. The 
Library of this scholarly divine of the old school was presented by 
him en bloc to St. Mark's Church, Niagara, of which he was in- 
cumbent. It remained for some years at " Lake View," the private 
residence of Mr. Addison ; but during the incumbency of Dr. 
McMurray, it has been removed to the rectory-house at Niagara, 
where it is to continue, in accordance with the first rector's will, 
for the use of the incumbent for the time being. 

It it /:: remarkable collection, as exhibiting the line of reading 
of a thoughtful and intelligent man of the last century : many 
treatises and tracts of contemporary, but now defunct interest, not 
elsewhere to be met with, probably, in Canada, are therein pre- 
served. The volumes, for the most part, retain their serviceable 
bin Juigs of old pane-sided calf; but some of them, unfortunately, 
bear marks of the havoc made by damp and vermin before their 
transfer to their present secure place of shelter. Mr, Addison 
used to walk to and from Church in his canonicals in the old- 
fashioned way, recalling the Johnsonian period, when clergy very 
generally wore the cassock and gown in the streets. 

Another chaplain to the Legislative Assembly was Mr. William 
Macaulay, a preacher always listened to with a peculiar attention, 
whenever he was to be heard in the pulpit here. Mr. Macaulay 
was a member of the Macaulay family settled at Kingston. He 
had been sent to Oxford, where he pursued his studies without 
troubling himself about a degree. While there he acquired the 
friendship of several men afterwards famous, especially of Whately, 
sometime Archbishop of Dublin, with whom a correspondence was 

Mr. Macaulay's striking and always deeply-thoughtful matter 
was set off to advantage by the fine intellectual contour of his face 
and head, which were not unlike those to be seen in the portrait 

§ lo.] King Street: St. James' Church. 141 

of Maltby, Bishop of Durham, usually prefixed to Morell's The- 

One more chaplain of the House may be named, frequently 
heard and seen in this church— Dr. Thomas Phillips— another 
divine, well read, of a type that has now disappeared. His per- 
sonal appearance was very clerical in the old-fashioned sense. His 
countenance was of the class represented by that of the late Sir 
Henry Ellis, as finely figured, not long since, in the Illustrated 
News. He was one of the last wearers of hair-powder in these 
parts. In reading the Creed h; always endeavoured to conform 
to the old English custom of turning towards the east; but to do 
this in the desk of the old church was difficult. 

Dr. Phillips was formerly of Whitchurch, in Herefordshire. He 
died in 1849, aged 68, at Weston, on the Humber, where he founded 
and organized the parish of St. Philip. His body was borne to 
to its last resting-place by old pupils. We once had in our pos- 
session a pamphlet entitled " The Canadian Remembrancer, a 
Loyal Sermon, preached on St. George's Day, April 23, 1826,' at 
the Episcopal Church (York), by the Rev. T. Phillips, d!d., Head 
Master of the Grammar School. Printed at the Gazette Office." 

There remains to be noticed the " pastor and master " of the 
whole assemblage customably gathered together in St. James' 
Church— Dr. John Strachan. On this spot, in successive edifices, 
each following the other in rapid succession, and each surpassing 
the other in dignity and propriety of architectural style, he, for 
more than half a century, was the principal figure. 

The story of his career is well known, from his departure from 
Scotland, a poor but spirited youth, in 1799, to his decease in 1867, 
as first Bishop of Toronto, with its several intermediate stages of 
activity and promotion. His outward aspect and form are also 
familiar, from the numerous portraits of him that are everywhere 
to be seen. In stature slightly under the medium height, with 
countenance and head of the type of Milton's in middle age| with- 
out eloquence, without any extraordinary degree of originality of 
mind, he held together here a large congregation, consisting of 
heterogeneous elements, by the strength :.nd moral force of his 
personal character. Qualities, innate to himself, decisiveness of 
intellect, firmness, a quick insight into things and men, with a cer- 
tain fertility of resou-ce, conspired to win for him the position 
w^ich he filled, and enabled him to retain it with ease; to sustain 


Toronto of Old. 


with a graceful and unassuming dignity, all the augmentations 
which naturally accumulated round it, as the community, of which 
he was so vital a part, grew and widened and rose to a higher and 
higher level, on the swelling tide of the general civilization of the 

In all his public ministrations he was to be seen officiating with- 
out affectation in manner or style. A stickler in ritual would have 
declared him indifferent to minutiae. He wore the white vesture 
of his office with an air of negligence, and his doctor's robe with- 
out any special attention to its artistic adjustment upon his person. 
A technical precisian in modern popular theology would pronounce 
him out now and then in his doctrine. What he seemed espec- 
ially to drive at was not dogmatic accuracy so much as a well- 
regulated life, in childhood, youth and manhood. The good sense 
of the matter delivered — and it was never destitute of that quaUty 
— was solely relied on for the results to be produced : the topics 
of modern controversy never came up in his discourse : at the 
period to which we refer they were in most quarters dormant, their 
re-awakening deferred until the close of a thirty years' peace, but 
then destined to set mankind by the ears when now relieved from 
the turmoil of physical and material war, but roused to great in- 
tellectual activity. 

Many a man that dropped in during the time of public worship, 
inclined from prejudice to be captious, inclined even to be merry 
over certain national peculiarities of utterance and diction, which 
to a stranger, for a time, made the matter delivered not easy to be 
understood, went out with quite a different sentiment in regard to 
the preacher and his words. 

In the early days of Canada, a man of capacity was called upon, 
as we have seen in other instances, to play many parts. It re- 
quired tact to play them all satisfactorily. In the case of Dr. 
Stracnan — the voice that to-day would be heard in the pulpit, offer- 
ing counsel and advice as to the application of sacred principles to 
life and conduct, in the presence of all the civil functionaries of 
the country, from Sir Peregrine Maitland to Mr. Chief Constable 
Higgins ; from Chief Justice Powell to the usher of his court, Mr. 
Thomas Phipps ; from Mr. Speaker Sherwood or McLean to Peter 
Shaver, Peter Perry, and the other popular representatives of the 
Commons in Parliament ; — ^the voice that to-day would be heard 
-r" th« desk leading liturgically the devotions of the same mixed 

§ la] King Street : St. James' Church 143 

multitude— to-morrow was to be heard by portions, large or small 
of the same audience, amidst very different surroundings, in other 
quarters / by some of them, for example, at the Executive Councih 
Board, givmg a lucid judgment on a point of governmental policy 
or m the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly, delivering a studied 
oratra on a matter touching the interests and well-being of the 
whole population of the country, or reading an elaborate original 
report on the same or some cognate question, to be put forth as 
the judgment of a committee : or elsewhere, the same voice might 
be heard at a meeting for patriotic purpose.-^ ; at the meeting of a 
Hospital, Educational, or other important secular Trust • at an 
emergency meeting, when sudden action was needed on the part 
of the charitable and benevolent. 

^ Witho-t fail, that voice would be heard by a large portion of the 
juniors of the flock on the following day, amidst the busy commo- 
tion of School, apportioning tasks, correcting errors, deciding ap- 
peals, regulating discipline; at one time formally instructing at 
another jocosely chaffing, the sons and nephews of nearly all 'the 
well-to-do people, gentle and simple, of York and Upper Canada 
To have done all this without awkwardness shews the possession 
of much prudence and tact. To have had all this go on for 
some decades without any blame that wa. intended to be taken in 
very serious earnest; nay, winning in the process applause and 
gratitude on the right hand and on the left— this argues the exis- 
tence of something very steriing in the iran. 

Nor let us local moderns, whose let it is to be part and parcel 
of a society no longer rudimentary, venture to condemn one who 
while especially appointed to be a conspicuous minister of religion 
did not decline the functions, diverse and multiform, which an in- 
fant society, discerning the qualities inherent in him, and lacking 
instruments for its uses, summoned him to undertake. Let no 
modern caviller, we say, do this, unless he is prepared to avow the 
opinion that to be a minister of - "•aon, a man must, of necessity, 
be only partially-developed in mind and spirit, incapable, as a 
matter of cotir.^e, .f offering an opinion of value on subjects of 
general hum.ui interest. 

The long nos.-:ssion of unchallenged authority within the imme- 
diate area of his ecclesiastical labours, rendered Dr. Strachan fo- 
some time opposed to the projects that began, as the years rolled 
on, to be mooted for additional churches in the town of York. He 


Toronto of Old. 



could not readily be induced to think otherwise than as the Duke 
of Wellington thought in regard to Reform in the representation, 
fir as ex-Chancellor Eldon thought in regard to greater prompti- 
tude in Chancery decisions, that there was no positive need of 

" Would you break up the congregation ? " was the sharp re- 
joinder to the early propounders of schemes for Church-extension 
in York. But as years passed over, and the imperious pressure of 
€vents and circumstances was felt, this reluctance gave way. The 
beautiful cathedral mother-church, into which, under his own eye, 
and through his own individual energy, the humble wooden edifice 
of 1803 at length, by various gradations, developed, forms now a 
fitting mausoleum for his mortal remains — a stately monument to 
one who was here in his day the human main-spring of so many 
vitally-important and far-reaching movements. 

Other memorials in his honour have been projected and thought 
of. One of them we record for its boldness and originality and 
fitness, although we have no expectation that the aesthetic feeling 
of the community will soon lead to the practical adoption of the idea 
thrown out. The suggestion has been this : that in honour of the 
deceased Bishop, there should be erected, in some public place, in 
Toronto, an exact copy of Michael Angelo's Moses, to be executed 
at Rome for the purpose, and shipped hither. The conception of such 
a form of monument is due to the Rev. W. Macaulay, of Picton. We 
need not say what dignity would be given to the whole of Toronto by 
the possession of such a memorial object within its precincts as this, 
and how great, in all future time, would be the effect, morally and 
educationally, when the symbolism of the art-object was discovered 
and understood. Its huge bulk, its boldly-chiselled and only parti- 
ally-finished limbs and drapery, raised aloft on a plain pedestal of 
some Laurentian rock, would represent, not ill, the man whom it 
would commemorate — the character, roughly-outlined and incom- 
plete in parts, but, when taken as a whole, very impressive and 
even grand, which looms up before us, whichever way we look, in 
our local Past. 

One of the things that ennoble the old cities of continental Eu- 
rope and give them their own peculiar charm, is the existence of 
such objects in their streets and squares, at once works of art for 
the general eye, and memorials of departed worth and greatness. 
With what interest, for example, does the visitor gaze on the statue 

1 1 

5 lo.] King Street : St. James' Church. 145 

x)f Gutenberg at Mayence; and at Marseilles on that of the good 
Bishop Belzunce !— of whom we read, that he was at once " the 
founder of a college, and a magistrate, almoner, physician and 
priest to his people." The space in front of the west porch of the 
•cathedral of St. James would be an appropriate site for such a 
Jioble memorial-object as that which Mr. Macaulay suggests— just 
at the spot where was the entrance, the one sole humble portal, of 
the structure of wood out of which the existing pile has grown. 

Our notice of the assembly usually to be seen within the walls 
of the primitive St. James', would not be complete, were we to 
^mit all mention of Mr. John Fenton, who for some time officiated 
therein as parish clerk. During the palmy days of parish clerks in 
the British Islands, such functionaries, deemed at the time, locally, 
as indispensable as the parish minister himself, were a very pe- 
culiar class of men. He was a rarity amongst them, who could 
repeat in a rational tone and manner the responses delegated to 
him by the congregation. This arose from the circumstance that 
he was usually an all but illiterate village rustic, or narrow-minded 
small-townsman, brought into a prominence felt on all sides to be 

Mr. Fenton's peculiarities, on the contrary, arose from his intel- 
ligence, his acquirements, and his independence of character. He 
^as a rather small shrewd-featured person, at a glance not deficient 
in self-esteem. He was a proficient in modem popular science, a 
ready talker and lecturer. Being only a proxy, his rendering' of 
the official responses in church was marked perhaps by a little too 
much individuality, but it could not be said that it was destitute 
•of a certain rhetorical propriety of emphasis and intonation. Though 
not gifted, in his own person, with much melody of voice, his 
acquisitions included some knowledge of music. In those days 
congregational psalmody was at a low ebb, and the small choirs 
that offered themselves fluctuated, and now and then vanished 
wholly. Not unfrequently, Mr. Fenton, after giving out the por- 
tion of Brady and Tate, which it pleased him to select, would exe- 
cute the whole of it as a solo, to some accustomed air, with graceful 
variations of his own. All this would be done with great coolness 
and apparent self-satisfaction. 

While the discourse was going on in the Pulpit above him, it was 
his way, often, to lean himself resignedly back in a corner of his 
pew and throw a white cambric handkerchief over his head and face 


Toronto of Old. 

[§ 10, 

It illustrates the spirit of the day to add, that Mr. Fenton's employ- 
ment as official mouth-piece to the congregation of the English 
Church, did not stand in the way of his making himself useful, at 
the same time, as a class-leader among the Wesleyan Methodists. 

The temperament and general style of this gentleman did not 
fail of course to produce irritation of mind in some quarters. The 
Colonial Advocate one morning averred its belief that Mr. Fenton 
had, on the preceding Sunday, glanced at itself and its patrons in 
giving out and singing (probably as a solo) the Twelfth Psalm r 
" Help, Lord, for good and godly men do perish and decay ; and 
faith and truth from worldly men are parted clean away ; whosa 
doth with his neighbour talk, his talk is all but vain ; for every 
man bethinketh now to flatter, lie and feign ! " Mr. Fenton after- 
wards removed to the United States, where he obtained Holy 
Orders in the Episcopal Church. His son was a clever and ingeni- 
ous youth. We remember a capital model in wood of " Caesar's. 
Bridge over the Rhine," constructed by him from a copper-plate 
engraving in an old edition of the Commentaries used by him in 
the Grammar School at York. 

The predecessor of Mr. Fenton in the clerk's desk was Mr, 
Hetherington—a functionary of the old-country village stamp. His 
habit was, after giving out a psalm, to play the air on a bassoon ; 
and then to accompany with fantasias on the same instrument such 
vocalists as felt inclined to take part in the singing. This was the 
day of small things in respect of ecclesiastical music at York. A 
choir from time to time had been formed. Once, we have under- 
stood, two rival choirs were heard on trial in the Church ; one of 
them strong in instrumental resources, having the aid of a bass- 
viol, clarionet and bassoon ; the other more dependent on its vocat 
excellencies. The instrumental choir triumphantly prevailed, as we 
are assured : and in 181 9 an allowance of ;^2o was made to Mr, 
Hetherington for giving instruction in church music. One of the 
principal encouiagers of the vocalist-party was Dr. Burnside. But 
all expedients for doing what was, in reality, the work of the con- 
gregation itself were unreliable ; and the clerk or choir master toa 
often found himself a solitary performer. Mr. Hetherington'H bas- 
soon, however, may be regarded as the harbinger and foreshadow 
of the magnificent organ presented in after-times to the congrega- 
tion 01" the *' Second Temple" of St. James', by Mr. Dunn— a costly 
and fine-toned instruijient (presided over, for a short time, by the 


§ 10.] King Street: St. Jame^ Church. j^^r 

eminent Dr Hodges, subsequently, of Trinity Church, New York) 
but destmed to be destroyed by fire, together with the whole church 
after only two years of existence, in 1839. 

In the conflagration of 1839 another loss occurred, not so much 
to be regretted ; we refer to the destruction of a very large triolet 
wmdow of stained glass over the altar of the church, containing 
three hfe-size figures by Mr. Craig, a local "historical and orna 
mental pamter," not well skilled in the ecclesiastical style As 
home-productions, however, these objects were tenderly eyed • but 
Mrs. Jameson m her work on Canada cruelly denounced them as 
bemg ''m a vile tawdry taste. "-Conceive, in the presence of these 
three Craigs, the critical authoress of the " History of Sacred and 
Legendary art," accustomed, in the sublime cathedrals of Europe. 

" See the great windows like the jewell'd gates 
Of Paradise, burning with harmless fire." 

Mr. Dunn, named above as donor of an organ to the second 
St. James , had provided the previous wooden church with Com 
munionPlate. In the Z.^./»/ of March i, x8.8, we read "T^e 

hI^Z^H n''^^: -'^ "^"'P* °'^"^ ^« 5 from the 
Hon. John Hen^ Dunn, being the price of a superb set of Com! 

munion Plate presented by him to St. James' Church at this plac^ 
J. B. Mac8.ulay, Church Warden, York, 23rd Feb 1828" 

Before leaving St. James' Church and its preci;icts, it maybe 
well to give some account of the steps taken in 1818, for the en 
largement of the original building. This we are enabled to do" 
having before us an all but contemporary narrative. It will be 
seen that great adroitness was employed in making the scheme 
acceptable, and that pains were shrewdly taken to prevent a bur 
densonie sense of self-sacrifice on the part of the congregation 
At the same time a pleasant instance of voluntary liberality is re 
corded. « A very respectable church was built at York in the 
Home District, many years ago"-the narrative referred to, in the 
a.nst^an Recorder for 1819, p. 214, proceeds to state-" Jhich a! 
that time accommodated the inhabitants ; but for some years past 
U has been found too small, and several attempts were made o 
erUarge and repair it. At length, in April .Z^l i„ a meeting of 
the whole congregation, it was resolved to enlarge the church and 
a committee ..s appointed to suggest the mos't exped t bus' and 
economical method of aoing it. The committee reported that a 


Toronto of Old. 


subscription in the way of loan, to be repaid when the seats were 
sold, was the most promising method. No subscription to be 
taken under twenty-five pounds, payable in four instalments." 

** Two gentlemen," the narrative continues, " were selected to 
carry the subscription paper round ; and in three hours from twelve 
to thirteen hundred pounds were subscribed. Almost all the re- 
spectable gentlemen gave in loan Fifty Pounds ; and the Hon. 
Justice Boulton, and George Crookshank, Esq., contributed ;^ioo 
each; to accomplish so good an object. The church was enlarged, 
a steeple erected, and the whole building with its galleries, hand- 
somely finished. In January last (1819)," our authority proceeds 
to say, " when everything was completed, the pews were sold at a 
year's credit, and brought more money than the repairs and en- 
largement cost. Therefore," it is triumphantly added, " the inha- 
bitants at York erect a very handsome church at a very little ex- 
pense to themselves, for every one may have his subscription mo- 
ney returned, or it ma)- go towards payment of a pew ; and, what 
is more, the persons who subscribed for the first church count the 
amount of their subscription as part of the price of their new 
pews. This fair arrangement has been eminently successful ; and 
gave great satisfaction." 

The special instance of graceful voluntary liberality above referred 
to is then subjoined in these terms : *' George Crookshank, Esq., 
notwithstanding the greatness of his subscription, and the pains 
which he took in getting the church well finished, has presented the 
clergyman with cushions for the pulpit and reading desk, covered 
with the richest and finest damask j and likewise cloth for the 
communion-table. " This pious liberality," the writer remarks, 
" cannot be too much commended ; it tells us that the benevolent 
zeal of ancient times is not entirely done away. The congregation 
were so much pleased," it is further recorded, " that a vote of 
thanks was unanimously offered to Mr. Crookshank for his munifi- 
cent present." (The pulpit, sounding-board, and desk had been a 
gift of Governor Gore to the original church, and had cost the sum 
of one hundred dollars.) 

When the necessity arose in 1830 for replacing the church thus 
enlarged and improved, by an entirely new edifice of more re- 
spectable dimensions, the same cool, secular ingenuity was again 
displayed in the scheme proposed ; and it was resolved by the 
congregation (among other things) " that the pew-holders of the 

§ lo.] King Street : St. James' Church. 149 

present church, if they demanded the same, be credited one-third 
of the price >f the pews that they purchased in the new church, 
not exceeding in number those w'lich they possessed in the old 
church ; that no person be entitled to the privilege granted by the 
last resolution who shall not h.> /e paid up the whole purchase 
money of his pew in the old chiirch; that the present church re- 
main as it is, till the new one is finished; thnt after the new church 
is completed, the materials of the present one be sold to the 
highest bidder, and the proceeds of the same be applied to the 
liquidation of any debt that may be contracted in erecting the new 
church, or furnishing the same ; that the upset price of pews in the 
new church be twenty-five pounds currency ; " and so on. 

The stone edifice then erected (measuring within about roc by 
75 feet), but never completed in so far as related to its tower, was 
destroyed by fire in 1839. Fire, in truth, may be said to be, 
sooner or later, the " natural death " of public build ngs in our 
climate, where, for so many months in every year, the mainten- 
ance within them of a powerful artificial heat is indispensable. 

Ten years after the re-edification of the St. James' burnt n 
1839, its fate was again to be totally destroyed. But now fire was 
communicated to it from an external source — from a general con- 
flagration raging at the time in the part of the town lying to the 
eastward. On this occasion was destroyed in the belfry of the 
tower, a Public Clock, presented to the inhabitants of Toronto, 
by Mr. Draper, on his ceasing to be one of their representatives 
in Parliament. 

In the later annals of St. James' Church, the year 1873 is 

Several very important details in Mr. Cumberland's noble de- 
sign for the building had long remained unrealized. The tower 
and spire were absent : as also the fine porches on the east, west, 
and south sides, the turrets at the angles, and the pinnacles and 
finials of the buttresses. Meanwhile the several parts of the 
structure where these appendages were, in due time, to be added, 
were left in a condition to shew to the public the mind and inten- 
tion of the architect. 

In 1872, by the voluntary munificence of several members of 
the congregation, a fund for the completion of the edifice in ac- 
cordance with Mr. Cumberland's plans was initiated, to which 
generous donations were immediately added j and in 1873 the 









l^|2£ |2^ 

■>• 13/, lilHl 

li£ 12.0 


U_ III 1.6 








Phot ^ 



WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4S03 

^^^ ^ 





Toronto of Old. 


edifice, of whose humble •• protoplasm" in 1803 we have sought, in a 
precedmg section, to preserve the memory, was finally brought to 
a state of perfection. 

By the completion of St. James' Church, a noble aspect has 
been given to the general view of Toronto. Especially has King 
Street been enriched, the ranges of buildings on its northern side, 
as seen from east or west, culminating centrically now in an ele- 
vated architectural object of striking beauty and grandeur, worthy 
alike of the comely, cheerful, interesting thoroughfare which it 
overlooks, and of the era when the finial crowning its apex was 
at length set in its place. 

Worthy of special commemorative record are those whose 
thoughtful liberality originated the fund by means of which St. 
James' Church was completed. The Dean, the Very Rev. H. J. 
Grasett, gave the handsome sumof Five thousand dollars. Mr. John 
Worthington, Four thousand dollars. Mr. C. Gzowski, Two thou- 
sand dollars. Mr. J. Gillespie, One thousand dollars. Mr. E. H. 
Rutherford, One thousand dollars. Mr. W. Cawthra, One thou- 
sand dollars. Mr. Gooderham and Mr. Worts, conjointly, One 
thousand dollars. Miss Gordon, the daughter of a former ever- 
generous member of the congregation, the Hon. J. Gordon, One 
thousand dollars. Sums, in endless variety, from Eight Hun- 
dred dollars downwards, were in a like good spirit offered on the 
occasion by other members of the congregation, according to their 
means. An association of young men connected with the congre- 
gation undertook and effected the erection of the Southern Porch. 

Let it be added, likewise, that in 1866, the sum of Fourteen 
thousand nine hundred and forty-five dollars was expended in the 
purchase of a peal of bells, and in providing a chamber for its re- 
ception in the tower— a free gift to the whole community greatly 
surpassing in money's worth the sum above named : for have not 
the chimes, with all old-countrymen at least, within the range of 
their sound, the effect of an instantaneous translation to the other 
side of the Atlantic ? Close the eyes, and at once the spirit is far, 
faraway, hearkening, now in the calm of a summer's evening, now 
between the fitful wind-gusts of a boisterous winter's n^oin, to 
music in exactly the same key, with exactly the same series of 
cadences, given out from tree-embosomed tower in some ancient 
market-town or village, familiar to the listener in every turn and 
nook, in days bygone. 

5 lo.] King Street: St. James' Church. 151 

And further, let it be added, that in 1870, to do honour to the 
memory of the then recently deceased Bishop Strachan, the con- 
legation of St. James " beautified " the chancel of their church at 
a cost of Seven thousand five hundred dollars, surrounding the 
spacious apse with an arcade of finely carved oak, adding seats for 
the canons, a decanal stall, a bishop's throne, a pulpit and desk, all 
in the same style and material, elaborately carved, with a life-like 
bust in white marble of the departed prelate, by Fraser of Mon- 
treal, in a niche constructed for its reception in the western wall of 
the chancel, with a slab of dark stone below bearing the following 
inscription in gilded letters : — 

"near this spot rest the mortal remains of JOHN 




KING street: digression northward at church street r 


MMEDIATELY north of the church plot, and sepa- 
rated from it by an allowance for a street, was a large 
field, almost square, containing six acres. In a plan of 
the date 1819, and signed "T. Ridout, Surveyor-Gen- 
eral," this piece of ground is entitled "College Square." 
(In the same plan the church reservation is marked 
"Church Square;" and the block to the west, "Square 
for Court House and Jail." The fact that the Jail was to be 
erected there accounts for the name " Newgate Street," formerly 
borne by what is now Adelaide Street. 

In the early days, when the destined future was but faintly rea- 
lized, "College Square" was probably expected to become in 
time, and to continue for ever, an ornamental piece of ground 
round an educational institution. The situation, in the outskirts of 
York, would be deemed convenient and airy. 

For many years this six-acre field was the play-ground of the 
District Grammar School. Through the middle of it, from north 
to south, passed a shallow "swale," where water collected after 
rains ; and where in winter small frozen ponds afforded not bad 
sliding-places. In thisjmoist region, numerous crayfish were to be 
found in summer. Their whereabouts was always indicated by 
small clay chimneys of a circular form, built by the curious little 
nipping creatures themselves, over holes for the admission of air. 

In different places in this large area were remains of huge pine- 
stumps, underneath the long roots of which it was an amusement to 

§ 1 1.] Church Street : Old Grammar School. 153 

dig and form cellars or imaginary treasure-vaults and powder-maea- 
zmes. About these relics of the forest still grew remains of the ordi- 
nary vegetation of such situations in the woods ; especially an abun- 
dance of the sorrel-plant, the taste of which will be remembered 
as bemg quite relishable. In other places were wide depressions 
showmg where large trees had once stood. Here were no bad 
places, when the whim so was, to lie flat on the back and note the 
clouds m the blue vault over head ; watch the swallows and house- 
martms when they came in spring; and listen to their quiet prat- 
tle with each other as they darted to and fro ; sights and sounds 
still every year, at the proper season, to be seen and heard in 
the same neighbourhood, yielding to those who have an eve 
or ear for such matters a pleasure ever new; sights and sounds- 
to this day annually resulting from the cheery movements and 
voices of the direct descendants, doubtless, of the identical speci- 
mens that flitted hither and thither over the play-ground of yore 

White clover, with other herbage tha^ commonly appears spon- 
taneously m clearings, carpeted the whole of the six acres, with 
the excephon of the places worn bare, where favourable spots had 
been found for the diff-erent games of ball in vogue-amongst 
which, however, cnck t was not then in these parts included-ex- 
cept, perhaps, under a form most infantile and rudimentary. After 
falls of moist snow in winter, gigantic balls used here to beformed 
gathering as they were rolled along, until by reason of their size 
and weight they could be urged forward no further : and snow cas- 
tles on a large scale were laboriously built ; destined to be de- 
fended or captured with immense displays of gallantry. Prepa- 
ratory to such contest, piles of ammunition would be stored away 
withm these structures. It was prohibited, indeed, in the articles 
to be observed m operations of attack and defence, to construct 
missiles of very wet snow ; to dip a missile in melted snow-water 
prior to use ; to subject a missile after a saturation of this kind, to 
the action of a night's frost; to secrete within the substance of a 
missile any foreign matter; yet, nevertheless, occasionally such 
acts were not refrained from ; and wounds and bruises of an extra, 
serious character, inflicted by hands that could not always be iden- 
tified, caused loud and just complaints. Portions of the solid and 
extensive walls of the extemporized snow-fortresses were often con- 
spicuous in the play-ground long after a thaw had removed the 
wintry look from the rest of the scene. 


Toronto of Old. 



The Building into which the usual denizens of the six-acre play- 
ground were constrained, during certain portions of each day, to 
withdraw themselves, was situated at a point 114 feet from its 
western, and 104 from its southern boundary. It was a large 
frame structure, about fifty-five long, and forty wide ; of two storeys ; 
each of a respectable altitude. The gables faced east and west. 
On each side of the edifice were two rows of ordinary sash win- 
<lows, five above, and five below. At the east end were four win- 
dows, two above, two below. At the west end were five windows 
and the entrance-door. The whole exterior of the building was 
painted of a bluish hue, with the exception of the window and door 
frames, which were white. Within, on the first floor, after the 
lobby, was a large square apartment. About three yards from 
-each of its angles, a plain timber prop or post helped to sustain 
the ceiling. At about four feet from the floor, each of these quasi- 
pillars began to be chamfered off at its four angles. Filling up the 
south-east corner of the room was a small platform approached 
on three sides by a couple of steps. This sustained a solitary 
desk about eight feet long, its lower part cased over in front with 
thin deal boards, so as to shut off from view the nether extremi- 
ties of whosoever might be sitting at it. 

On the general level of the floor below, along the whole length 
of the southern and northern sides of the chamber, were narrow 
desks set close against the wall, mth benches arranged at their 
outer side. At right angles to these, and consequently running 
out, on each side into the apartment, stood a series of shorter 
desks, with double slopes, and benches placed on either side. 
Through the whole length of the room from west to east, between 
the ends of the two sets of cross benches, a wide space remained 
vacant. Every object and surface within this interior, were of the 
tawny hue which unpainted pine gradually assumes. Many were the 
gashes that had furtively been made in the ledges of the desks and 
on the exterior angles of the benches ; many the ducts cut in the 
slopes of the desks for spilt ink or other fluid ; many the small cell 
with sliding lid, for the incarceration of fly or spider; many the 
initials and dates carved here, and on other convenient surfaces, 
on the wainscot and the four posts. 

On the benches and at the desks enumerated and described, on 
either side, were ordinarily to be seen the figures and groups which 
usually fill up a school interior, all busily engaged in one or other 

§ II.] Church Street: Old Grammar School. 155 

of the many matters customary in the training and informing the 
minds of boys. Here, at one time, was to be heard, on every 
side, the mingled but subdued sound of voices conning or repeat- 
ing tasks, answering and putting questions ; at another time, the 
commotion arising out of a transposition of classes, or the break- 
ing up of the whole assembly into a fresh set of classes ; at another 
time, a hushed stillness preparatory to some expected allocution, 
or consequent on some rebuke or admonition. It was manifest^ 
at a glance, that the whole scene was under the spell of a skilled 

Here, again, the presiding genius of the place was Dr. Strachan. 
From a boy he had been in the successful discharge of the duties 
of a schoolmaster. At the early age of sixteen we find that he was 
m charge of a school at Carmyllie, with the grown-up sons of the 
neighbouring farmers, and of some of the neighbouring clergy, 
well under control. At that period he was still keeping his terms 
and attending lectures, during the winter months, at King's Col- 
lege, Aberdeen. Two years afterwards he obtained a slightly bet- 
ter appointment of the same kind at Denino, still pursuing his 
academical studies, gathering, as is evident from his own memor- 
anda, a considerable knowledge of men and things, and forming 
friendships that proved life-long. Of his stay at Denino he says, 
in 1800 : " The two years which I spent at Denino were, perhaps,' 
as happy as any in my life ; much more than any time since." • 
" At Denino," the same early document states, " I learned to think 
for myself Dr. Brown [the parish-minister of the place, after- 
wards professor at Glasgow,] corrected many of my false notions. 
Thomas Duncan [afterwards a professor at St. Andrew's] taught me 
to use my reason and to employ the small share of penetration I 
possess in distinguishing truth from error. I began to extend my 
thoughts to abstract and general ideas ; and to summon the author 
to the bar of my reason. I learned to discriminate between hypo- 
theses and facts, and to separate the ebuUitions of fancy from the 
deductions of reason. It is not to be supposed that I could or 
can do these things perfectly ; but I began to apply my powers: 
my skill is still increasing." 

Then for two years more, and up to the moment of his bold de- 
termination to make trial of his fortunes in the new worid beyond 
the seas, he is in charge of the parish-school of Kettle. We have 
before us a list of his school there, March the 22nd, 1798. The 



Toronto of Old. 


names amount to eighty-two. After each, certain initials are 
placed denoting disposition and capability, and the direction of 
any particular talent. Among these names are to be read that of 
n. Wilkie, afterwards the artist, and that of J. Barclay, afterwards 
the naval commander here on Lake Erie. We believe that Thomas 
Campbell, author of the Pleasures of Hope, was also for a time un- 
der his care. 

In the history of Dr. Strachan's educational labours in Canada, 
the school at York presents fewer points of interest than that at 
Cornwall, which is rendered illustrious by having had enrolled on 
its books so many names familiar in the annals of Upper Canada. 
Among the forty-two subscribers to an address accompanying a piece 
of Plate in 1833, there are Robinsons, and Macaulays, and Mc- 
Donells, and McLeans, and Joneses, and Stantons, and Bethunes ; 
a Jarvis, a Chewett, a Boulton, a Vankoughnet, a Smith of Kings- 
ton, an Anderson ; with some others now less known. — So illustra- 
tive is that address of the skill and earnest care of the instructor 
on the one hand, and of the value set upon his efforts by his 
scholars, on the other, after the lapse of many years, that we are 
induced to give here a short extract from it. 

"Our young minds," the signers of the address in 1833 say, re- 
ferring to there school-days in Cornwall—" our young minds re- 
ceived there an impression which has scarcely become fainter from 
• time, of the deep and sincere interest which you took, not only in 
our advancement in learning and science, but in all that concerned 
our happiness or could affect our future prospects in life." To 
which Dr. Strachan replies by saying, among many other excellent 

things " It has ever been my conviction that our scholars should 

be considered for the time our children ; and that as parents we 
should study their peculiar dispositions, if we really wish to im- 
prove them ; for if we feel not something of the tender relation 
of parents towards them, we cannot expect to be successful in 
their education. It was on this principle I attempted to proceed : 
strict justice tempered with parental kindness ; and the present 
joyful meeting evinces its triumph : it treats the sentiments and 
feelings of scholars with proper consideration ; and while it gives 
the heart and affections full freedom to shew themselves in filial 
gratitude on the one side, and fatherly affection, on the other, it 
proves that unsparing labour accompanied' with continual anxiety 
for the learner's progress never fails to ensure success and to produce 

§ II.] Church Street: Old Grammar School 157 

a friendship between master and scholar which time can never 

Notwithstanding the greater glory of the school at Cornwall, (of 
which institution we may say, in passing, there is an engraving in 
the board-room of the Toronto Mechanics' Institute,) the lists of 
the school at York always presented a strong array of the old, 
well-known and even distinguished. Upper Canadian names. This 
•will be seen by a perusal of the following document, which will 
also give an idea of the variety of matters to which attention was 
given in the school. The numerous family names which will at 
once be recognized, will require no comment. — The intervals be- 
tween the calling up of each separate class for examination appear 
to have been very plentifully filled up with recitations and debates. 
"Order of examination of the Home District Grammar School 
[at York]. Wednesday, nth August, 1819. First Day. The 
Latin and Greek Classes. Euclid and Trigonometry. Thursday, 
1 2 th August. Second day. To commence at 10 o'clock. Pro- 
logue, by Robert Baldwin.— Reading Class.— George Strachan, 
The Excellence of the Bible. Thomas Ridout, The Man of Ross. 
James McDonell, Liberty and Slavery. St. George Baldwin, The 
Sword. William McMurray, Soliloquy on Sleep. Arithmetic Class — 
James Smith, The Sporting Clergyman. William Boulton, jun., The 
Poet's New Year's Gift. Richard Gates, Ode to Apollo. Orville 
Cassell, The Rose. Book-keeping. — William Myers, My Mother. 
Francis Heward, My Father. George Dawson, Lapland. — First 
Grammar Class. — Second Grammar Class. — Debate on the Slave 
Trade. For the Abolition: Francis Ridout, John Fitzgerald, 
William Allan, George Boulton, Henry Heward, William Baldwin, 
John Ridout, John Doyle, James Strachan. Against the Abolition : 
Abraham Nelles, James Baby, James Doyle, Charies Heward 
Allan McDonell, James Myers, Charies Ridout, William Boulton' 
Walker Smith. — First Geography Class. — Second Geography Class. 
James Dawson, The Boy that told Lies. James Bigelow, The Va- 
grant. Thomas Glassco, The Parish Workhouse. Edward Glennon, 
The Apothecary. — Natural History. — Debate by the Young Boys : 
Sir William Strickland, Charles Heward. Lord Morpeth, John 
Owens. Lord Hervey, John Ridout. Mr. Plomer, Raymond 
Baby. Sir William Yonge, John Fitzgerald. Sir William Windham, 
John Boulton. Mr. Henry Pelham, Henry Heward. Mr. Ber- 
nard, George Strachan. Mr. Noel, William Baldwin. Mr. Shippen^ 



Toronto of Old. 


( I 

James Baby. Sir Robert Walpole, S. Givins and J. Doyle. Mr. 
Horace Walpole, James Myers. Mr. Pulteney, Charles Baby.— 
Civil History.— William Boulton, The Patriot. Francis Ridout, 
The Grave of Sir John Moore. Saltern C'.ivins, Great Britain^ 
John Boulton, Eulogy on Mr. Pitt. Warren Claus, 2 he Indian 
Warrior. Charles Heward, The Soldier's Dream. William Boulton, 
The Heroes of Waterloo. — Catechism. — Debate on the College at 
Calcutta. Speakers : Mr. Canning, Robert Baldwin. Sir Francis 
Baring, John Doyle. Mr. Wainwright, Mark Burnham. Mr. Thorn- 
ton, John Knott. Sir D. Scott, William Boulton. Lord Eldonr 
Warren Claus. Sir S. Lawrence, Allan Macaulay. Lord Hawkes- 
bury, Abraham Nelles. Lord Bathurst, James McGill Strachan. 
Sir Thomas Metcalf,, Walker Smith. Lord Teignmouth, Horace 
Ridout. — Religious Questions and Lectures. — James McGill 
Strachan, Anniversary of the York and Montreal Colleges antici- 
pated for xst January, 1822. Epilogue, by Horace Ridout. 

In the prologue pronounced by " Robert Baldwin," the admin- 
stration of Hastings in India is eulogized : 

" Her powerful Viceroy, Hastings, leads the way 
For radiant Truth to gain imperial sway ; 
The arts and sciences, for ages lost, 
Roused at his call, revisit Brahma's coast." 

Sir William Jones is also thus apostrophized, in connection with 
his "Asiatic Researches " : 

'*,Thy comprehensive genius soon explored 

The learning vast which former times had stored." 

The Marquis of Wellesley is alluded to, and the college founded 
by him at Calcutta : 

" At his command the splendid structures rise : 
Around the Brahmins stand in vast surprise." 

The founding of a Seat of Learning in Calcutta suggests the ne- 
cessity of a similar institution in Canada. A good beginning, it is 
said, had been here made in the way of lesser institutions : the 
prologue then proceeds : 

" Yet much remains for some aspiring son, 
Whose liberal soul from that, desires renown, 
Which gains for V/ellesley a lasting crown ; 
Some general structures in these wilds to rear. 
Where every art and science may appear." 

§ 1 1.] Church Street : Old Grammar School. 159 

Sir Peregrine Maitland, who probably was present, is told that he 
might in this manner immortalize his name ; 

" O Maitland Mest ! tliis proud distinction woos 
Thy quick acceptance, baclvM by every muse ; 
Those feelings, too, which joyful fancy knew 
When learning's gems first opened to thy view, 
Bid you to thousands smooth the thorny road, 
Which leads to glorious Science's bright abode. " 

" The Anniversary of York and Montreal Colleges anticipated " 
IS a kind of Pindaric Ode to Gratitude : especially it is therein set 
forth that offerings of thankfulness are due to benevolent souls ia 
Britain : 

" For often there in pensive mood 

They ponder deeply on the good 

They may on Canada bestow — 

And College Halls appear, and streams of learning flow !" 

The " Epilogue " to the day's performances is a humorous dis- 
sertation in doggrel verse on United States innovations in the 
English Language : a pupil of the school is supposed to complain 
of the conduct of the master : 

" Between ourselves, and just to speak my mind. 
In English Grammar, Master's much behind : 
I speak the honest truth— I hate to dash-- 
He bounds our task by Murray, Lowth and Ashe. 
I told him once that Abercrombie, moved 
By genius deep had Murray's plan improved. 
He frowned upon me, turning up his nose. 
And said the man had ta'en a maddening dose. 
Once in my theme I put the word progress- 
He sentenced twenty lines, without redress ; 
Again for * measure ' I transcribed ' endeavour ' — 
And all the live-long day I lost his favour." &c., &c. 

At the examination of the District School on August 7th, 1816, 
a similar programme was provided. 

John Claus spoke the prologue on this occasion, and the follow- 
ing boys had parts assigned them in the proceedings. The names 
of some of them appear in the account for 1819, just given : John 
Skeldon, George Skeldon, Henry Mosley, John Doyle, Charies 
Reward, James Myers, John Ridout, Charies Ridout, John Fitz- 
Gerald, John Mosley, Saltern Givins, James Sheehan, Henry He- 
ward, Allan McDonell, William Allan, John Boulton, William 


Toronto of Old. 


Myers, James Bigelow, William Baldwin, St. George Baldwin, 
K. de Koven, John Knott, James Givins, Horace Ridout, Wil- 
liam Lancaster, James Strachan, David McNab, John Harraway, 
Robert Baldwin, Henry Nelles, Warren Shaw, David Shaw, 
Daniel Murray. 

In 1816, Governor Gore was at the head of affairs. He is ad- 
vised, in the Prologue spoken by John Glaus, to distinguish him- 
self by attention to the educational interests of the country : (The 
collocation of names at the end will excite a smile.) — 

"O think what honour pure shall bless thy name 
Beyond the fleeting voice of vulgar fame 1 
When kings and haughty victors cease to raise 
The secret murmur and the venal praise, 
Perhaps that name, when Europe's glories fade, 
Shall often charm this Academic shade, 
And bards exclaim on rough Ontario's shore , 
We found a Wellesley and Jones in Gore 1" 

We have ourselves a good personal recollection of the system of 
the school at York, and of the interest which it succeeded in 
awakening in the subjects taught. The custom of mutual ques- 
tioning in classes, under the eye of the master, was well adapted 
to induce real research, and to impress facts on the mind when 

In the higher classes each lad in turn was required to furnish a 
set of questions to be put by himself to his class-fellows, on a given 
subject, with the understanding that he should be ready to set the 
answerer right should he prove wrong. And again : any lad who 
should be deemed competent was permitted to challenge another, or 
several others, to read or recite select rhetorical pieces : a memo- 
randum of the challenge was recorded : and, at the time appointed, 
the contest came off, the class or the school deciding the supe- 
riority in each case, subject to the criticism or disallowance of the 

It will be seen from the matters embraced in the programme 
given above, that the object aimed at was a speedy and real prepara- 
tion for actual life. The master, in this instance, was disembar- 
rassed of the traditions which, at the period referred to, often ren- 
dered the education of a young man a cumbersome, unintelligent 
and tedious thing. The cirumstances of his own youth had evi- 
dently led him to free himself from routine. He himself was an 

? 1 1.] Church Street : Old Grammar School. ,6, 

nence that might be named, of the early age at which a ,o,„l, „f 
good parts and sincere, enlightened purpose, mayb pr Par d f:' 
.he dufe, of actual life, when not caught in the cLstnctor cl of 
custom wh,ch, under the old English PublicSchooLsy^em ^^stov 

a::rs:rofTears!°"'"-'^""°""'^ "—^ -^-cht 
Dr. Strachan's methods of instruction were productive for others 
of he results realized in his own case. His distingu hed Co"' 
wa 1 pup, is, were all we believe, usefully and successM^ engaged 
;n the real work of l.fe m very early manhood. "The time altowed 
ma new country like this," he said to his pupils at ComwalH^ 
.807, "„ scarcely sufficient to sow themos.'eL^ s«rt ! 
great progress .snot therefore to be expected: if the ^rin'cipl s 
are properly engrafted we have done well " Pnnc.ples 

.,„^ ";f t"^"" f'^""' ^' "^ """•' of proceeding is thus dwelt 
«pon : In conducting your education, one of my principa"obircl 

L': oZ?T'r "' '"" "" -^''^""^'"^ ""■ -^i. thfduti of 

any office to you may hereafter be called. To accomo ish 
.h.s .twas necessary for you .0 be accustomed frequent ytode 
pend upon and think for yourselves : accordingly I have a^lat 
encouraged th,s disposition, which when presf^d wTt^in due 
bounds .s one of the greatest beneflts that can possibly blaclrtd 
To enable you to think with advantage, I not only rLlated vour 
tasks m such a manner as to exercise your judgment f^TtZTl 
your views beyond the meagre routine^f sLd u" llylt "d n 
schools; for,, n my opinion, seveml branches of science mavb^ 
Uught wfth advantage at a much earlier age than is general sut 
posed We made a mysteo- of nothing.- on the contrary w^ 
entered mmutely ,nto every particular, and patienUy exp aln^d by 
what progress,ve steps certain results were obtained It Z\l 
been my custom, before sending a class to their se»K ,r. 7 T Z 
whether they had learned anything; and I w™ 2 irexteSv 
n.ort,fied ,f I had not the agreeable conviction thaX had made 
»me tmpjovement Let none of you, however, suppose that what 
you have learned here is sufficient ; on the contra^fy^^ *" "T' 
member that we have laid only the foundation. The sup^lT 
ture must be laid by yourselves." superstruc- 

Here is an account of his method of teaching Arithmetic taken 
from the mtrodu^ction to alitUe work on the subject, pubS^kld^J 


Toronto of Old. 


himself in 1809: "I divide my pupils," he says, " into separate 
classes, accoiding to their progress. Each class has one or more 
sums to produce every day, neatly wrought upon their slates : the 
work is carefully examined ; after which I command every figure 
to be blotted out, and the sums to be wrought under my eye. The 
one whom I happen to pitch upon first, gives, with an audible 
voice, the rules and reasons for every step ; and as he proceeds the 
rest silently work along with him, figure for figure, but ready to 
correct him if he blunder, that they may get his place. As soon as 
this one is finished, the work is again blotted out, and another 
called upon to work the question aloud as before, while the rest 
again proceed along with him in silence, and so on round the whole 
class. By this method the principles are fixed in the mind ; and 
he must be a very dull boy indeed who does not understand every 
question thoroughly before he leaves it. This method of teaching 
Arithmetic possesses this important advantage, that it may be pur- 
sued without interrupting the pupil's progress in any other useful 
study. The same method of teaching Algebra has been used with 
equal success. Such a plan is certainly very laborious, but it will 
be found successful ; and he that is anxious to spare labour ought 
not to be a public Teacher. When boys remain long enough, it 
has been my custom to teach them the theory, and give them a 
number of curious questions in Geography, Natural Philosophy 
and Astronomy, a specimen of which may be seen in the questions 
placed before the Appendix." 

The youths to be dealt with in early Canadian schools were not 
all of the meek, submissive species. With some of them occasion- 
ally a sharp regimen was necessary ; and it was adopted without 
hesitation. On this point, the address just quoted, thus speaks : 
" One of the greatest advantages you have derived from your edu- 
cation here, arises from the strictness of our discipline. Those of 
you who have not already perceived how much your tranquillity de- 
pends upon the proper regulation of the temper, will soon be made 
sensible of it as you advance in years. You will find people who 
have never known what it is to be in habitual subjection to precept 
and just authority, breaking forth into violence and outrage on the 
most frivolous occasions. The passions of such persons, when 
once roused, soon become ungovernable j and that impatience of 
restraint, which they have been allowed to indulge, embitters the 
greatest portion of their lives. Accustomed to despise the barriers 

§ 1 1.] Church Street : Old Grammar School 163 

erected by reason, they rush forward to indulgence, without regard- 
ing the consequences. Hence arises much of that wretchedness 
and disorder to be met with in society. Now the discipline neces^ 
sary to correct the impetuosity of the passions is often found no- 
where but in well-regulated schools: for though it should be "he 
first care of parents, they are too apt to be blinded by affection 
and grant liberties to their children which reason c^sapp'oves' 
. . . . . That disciphne therefore, which you have some thought irksome will henceforth present itselHn a very dre - 
ent hght It will appear the teacher of a habit of the ^e^est 
consequence m the regulation of your future conduct; and you 
mU value It as the promoter of that decent and steady commL 
of temper so very essential to happiness, and so useful in our inter- 
course with mankind." 

• "^^T 'tTt' ""^ ^i'^'P""" ^" ^" '^^ "^°^« appreciated, when it 
IS recollected that during the time of the early settlements inTh s 
country, the sons of even the most respectable families were brought 
into contact with semi-barbarous characters. A sporting ramble 
through the woods, a fishing excursion on the waters, could ^fbe 
undertaken without communications with Indians and half-breeds 
and bad specimens of the French voyageur. It was from such 
sources that a certain idea was derived which, as we remember, was 
m great vogue among the more fractious of the lads at the school at 
York The proposition circulated about, whenever anything went 
counter .0 their notions, alway was " to run away to the Nor' west " 

What thatprocess really involved,orwherethe"Nor'-west"preciseIv 
was, were things vaguely realized. A sort of savage « land of Cock 

imagined ; and to reach it Lakes Huron and Superior were to be 

At Cornwall the temptation was in another direction: there the 
Idea was to escape to the eastward : to reach Montreal or Quebec 
and get on board of an ocean-going ship, either a man-oLro; 
merchantman. The flight of several lads with such intentions was 
on one occasion mtercepted by the unlooked-for appearance of the 
head-master by the side of the stage-coach as it was just about to 
start forMontrealin the duskof the early morning, w th helun^ 
truants in or upon it. ^ ^ "°S 

As to the modes of discipline :-In the school at York-for 
mmor indiscretions a variety of remedies prevailed. Now and thm 


Toronto of Old. 



a lad would be seen standing at one of the posts above mentioned, 
with his jacket turned inside out : or he might be seen there in a 
kneeling posture for a certain number of minutes ; or standing with 
the arm extended holding a book. An "ally" or apple brought 
out inopportunely into view, during the hours of work, might entail 
the exhibition, article by article, slowly and reluctantly, of all the 
contents of a pocket. Once we remember, the furtive but too 
audible twang of a jewsharp was followed by its owner's being 
obliged to mount on the top of a desk and perform there an air on 
the offending instrument for the benefit of the whole school. 

Occasionally the censors (senior boys appointed to help in keep- 
ing order) were sent to cut rods on Mr. McGill's property adjoin- 
ing the play-ground on the north ; but the dire implements were 
not often called into requisition : it would only be when some case 
of unusual obstinacy presented itself, or when some wanton cruelty, 
or some act or word exhibiting an unmistakable taint of incipient 
immorality, was proven. 

Once a year, before the breaking-up at midsummer, a " feast" 
was allowed in the school-room at York— a kind of pic-nic to 
which all that could, contributed in kind— pastry, and other dain- 
ties, as well as more substantial viands, of which all partook. It 
was sometimes a rather riotous affair. 

At the south- east corner of the six-acre play-ground, about half- 
an-acre had been abstracted, as it were, and enclosed : here a pub- 
lic school had been built and put in operation : it was known as 
the Central School, and was what would now be called a Common 
School, conducted on the " Bell and Lancaster " principle. Large 
numbers frequented it. 

Between the lads attending the Central School, and the boys of 
the Grammar School, difficulties of course arose : and on many 
occasions feats of arms, accompanied with considerable risk to life 
and limb were performed on both sides, with sticks and stones. 
Youngsters, ambitious of a character of extra daring, had thus an 
opportunity of distinguishing themselves in the eyes of their less 
courageous companions. The same would-be heroes had many 
stories to tell of the perils to which they were exposed in their 
way to and from school. Those of them who came from the 
western part of the town, had, according to their own shewing, 
mortal enemies in the men of Ketchum's tannery, with whom it 
was necessary occasionally to have an encounter. While those 

§ II.] Church Street: Old Grammar School. 165 

who lived to the east of the school, narrated, in response, the at- 
tacks experienced or delivered by themselves, in passing Shaw's or 
Hugill's brewery. 

Mr. Spragge, the master of the Central School, had enjoyed the 
superior advantage of a regular training in England as an instructor 
of the young. Though not in Holy Orders, his air and costume 
were those of the dignified clergyman. Of the Central School, 
the words of Shenstone, spoken of a kindred establishment, be- 
came, in one point at all events, true to the letter :— 

"E'en now sagacious foresight points to shew 
A little bench of bishops here, — 
And there, a chancellor, in embryo, 
Or bard sublime. " 

A son of Mr. Spragge's became, in 1870, the Chancellor of 
Ontario, or Western Canada, after rising with distinction through 
the several grades of the legal profession, and filling previously also 
the post of Vice-Chancellor. Mr. John Godfrey Spragge, who 
attained to this eminence, and his brothers, Joseph and William^ 
were likewise pupils in their maturer years, in the adjoining more 
imposing Royal Grammar or Home District School. 

Mr. Spragge's predecessor at the Central School was Mr. Ap- 
pleton, mentioned in a preceding section ; and Mr. Appleton's 
assistant for a time, was Mr. John Fenton. 

Across the road from the play-ground at York, on the south 
side, eastward of the church-plot, there was a row of dilapidated 
wooden buildings, inhabited for the most part by a thriftless and 
noisy set of people. This group of houses was known in the school 
as " Irish-town ;" and " to raise Irish-town," meant to direct a 
snowball or other light missive over the play-ground fence, in that 
direction. Such act was not unfrequently followed by an invasion 
of the Field from the insulted quarter. Some wide chinks, estab- 
lished in one place here between the boards, which ran lengthwise, 
enabled any one so inclined, to get over the fence readily. We 
once saw two men, who had quarrelled in one of the buildings of 
Irish-town, adjourn from over the road to the play-ground, accom- 
panied by a few approving friends, and there, after stripping to 
the skin, have a regular fight with fists: after some rounds, a 
number of men and women interfered and induced the combatants 
to return to the house whence they had issued forth for the settle- 
ment of their dispute. 



Toronto of Old. 


The Parliamentary Debates, of which mention has more than 
once been made in connection with the District School, took place, 
on ordinary occasions, in the central part of the school-room ; 
where benches used to be set out opposite to each other, for the 
temporary accommodation of the speakers. These exercises con- 
sisted simply of a memoriter repetition, with some action, of 
speeches, slightly abridged, which had actually been delivered in 
a real debate on the floor of the House of Commons. But they 
served to familiarize Canadian lads with the names and characters 
of the great statesmen of England, and with what was to be said 
on both sides of several important public questions ; they also 
probably awakened in many a young spirit an ambition, after- 
wards gratified, of being distinguished as a legislator in earnest. 

On public days the Debates were held up-stairs on a platform 
at the east end of a long room with a partially vaulted ceiling, on 
the south side of the building. On this platform the public recita- 
tions also took place ; and here on some of the anniversaries a 
drama by Milman or Hannah Moore was enacted. Here we 
ourselves took part in one of the hymns or choruses of the "Martyr 
of Antioch." 

(Other reminiscences of Dr. Strachan, the District Grammar 
School, and Toronto generally, are embodied in " The First Bishop 
of Toronto, a Review and a Study," a small work published by the 
writer in 1868.) 

The immediate successor of Dr. Strachan in the school was Mr. 
Samuel Armour, a graduate of Glasgow, whose profile resembled 
that of Cicero, as shewn in some engravings. Being fond of sport- 
ing, his excitement was great when the flocks of wild pigeons were 
passing over the town, and the report of fire-arms in all directions 
was to be heard. During the hours of school his attention, on these 
occasions, would be much drawn off from the class-subjects. 

In those days there was not a plentiful supply in the town of 
every book wanted in the school. The only copy that could be 
procured of a " Eutropius," which we ourselves on a particular 
occasion required, was one with an English translation at the end. 
The book was bought, Mr. Armour stipulating that the English 
portion of the volume should be sewn up ; in fact, he himself 
stitched the leaves together, —In Mr. Armour's time there was, for 
some reason now forgotten, a barring-oat. A pile of heavy wood 
(sticks of cordwood whole used then to be thrust into the great 

5 II.] Church Street : Old Grammar School. 167 

school-room stove) was built against the door within ; and the 
master had to effect, and did effect, an entrance into his school 
through a window on the north side. Mr. Armour became after- 
wards a clergyman of the English Church, and officiated for many 
years in the township of Cavan. 

The master who succeeded Mr. Armour was Dr. Phillips, who 
■came out from England to take charge of the school. He had 
been previously master of a school at Whitchurch, in Hereford- 
shire. His degree was from Cambridge, where he graduated as a 
B. A. of Queen's in the year 1805. He was a venerable-looking 
man— the very ideal, outwardly, of an English country parson of 
an old type — a figure in the general scene, that would have been 
taken note of congenially by Fuller or Antony k Wood. The cos- 
tume in which he always appeared (shovel-hat included), was that 
usually assumed by the senior clergy some years ago. He also 
wore powder in the hair except when in mourning. According to 
the standards of the day. Dr. Phillips was an accomplished scholar, 
and a good reader and writer of English. He introduced into 
the school at York the English public-school traditions of the 
strictest type. His text books were those published and used at 
Eton, as Eton then was. The Eton Latin Grammar, without note 
or comment, displaced " Ruddiman's Rudiments " — the book to 
which we had previously been accustomed, and which really did 
give hints of something rational underlying what we learnt out of 
it. Even the Eton Greek Grammar, in its purely mediaeval un- 
translated state, made its appearance : it was through the medium 
of that very uninviting manual that we obtained our earliest ac- 
quaintance with the first elements of the Greek tongue. Our 
^'Palsephatus" and other Extracts in the Gmca Minora were 
translated by us, not into English, but into Latin, in which lan- 
guage all the notes and elucidations of difficulties in that book 
were given. Very many of the Greek " genitives absolute," we re- 
member, were to be rendered by quum, with a subjunctive pluper- 
fect — an enormous mystery to us at the time. Our Lexicon was 
Schrevelius, as yet un-Englished. For the Greek Testament we 
had " Dawson," a vocabulary couched in the Latin tongue, not- 
withstanding the author's . "^j. The chevaux-de-frise set up 
across the pathways to knowlecge were numerous and most for- 
bidding. The Latin translation, line for line, at the end of Clarke's 
Homer, as also the Ordo in the Delphin classics, wei ; held to be 

1 68 

Toronto of Old. 


ll ! 

mischievous aids, but the help was slight that could be derived 
from them, as the Latin language itself was not yet grasped. 

For whatever of the anomalous we moderns may observe in all 
this, let the good old traditional school-system of England be re- 
sponsible—not the accomplished and benevolent man who trans- 
planted the system, prre and simple, to Canadian ground. For 
ourselves : in one point of view, we deem it a piece of singular 
good fortune to have been subjected for a time to this sort of drill; 
for it has enabled us to enter with more intelligence into the dis- 
cussions on English education that have marked the era in which 
we live. Without this morsel of experience we should have known 
only by vague report what it was the reviewers and essayists of 
England were aiming their fulminations against. 

Our eariy recollections in this regard, we treasure up now among 
our mental curiosities, with thankfulness : just as we treasure up 
our memories of the few years which, in the days of our youth, we 
had an opportunity of passing in the old father-land, while yet mail 
coaches and guards and genuine coachmen were extant there; 
while yet the time-honoured watchman was to be heard patrolling 
the streets at night and calling the hours. Deprived of this personal 
expenence, how tamely would have read "School-days at Rugby " 
for example, or "The Scouring of the White Horse," and man'y 
another healthy classic in recent English literature— to say nothing 
of "The Sketch Book," and earlier pieces, which involve numer- 
ous allusions to these now vanished entities ! 

Moreover, we found that our boyish initiation in the Eton for- 
mularies, however little they may have contributed to the intellect- 
ual furniture of the mind at an early period, had the effect of putting 
us en rapport, in one relation at all events, with a large class in the 
old country. We found that the stock quotations and scraps of 
Latin employed to give an air of learning to discourse, " to point 
a moral and adorn a tale," among the country-clergy of England 
and among members of Pariiament of the ante-Reform-bill period, 
were mostly relics of school-boy lore derived from Eton books! 
Fragments of the As in prcesenti, of the Propria qucs maribus ; 
shreds from the Syntax, as Vir bonus est quis, Ingenms didiciss'e, 
and a score more, were instantly recognized, and constituted a kind 
of talismanic mode of communication, making the quoter and the 
hearer, to some extent, akin. 
Furthermore ; in regard to our honoured and beloved master, 

§ ii.J Church Street : Old Grammar School. i6^ 

Dr. Phillips himself; there is this advantage to be named as enjoyed 
by those whose lot it was, in this new region, to pass a portion of 
their impressible youth in the society of such a character : it fur- 
nished them with a visible concrete illustration of much that other- 
wise would have been a vague abstraction in the pictures of 
English society set before the fancy in the Spectator^ for instance, 
or Boswell's Johnson, and other standard literary productions of a 
century ago. As it is, we doubt not that the experience of many 
of our Canadian coevals corresponds with our own. Whenever we 
read of the good Vicar of Wakefield, or of any similar personage ; 
when in the biography of some distinguished man, a kind-hearted 
old clerical tutor comes npon the scene, or one moulded to be a 
college-fellow, or one that had actually been a college-fellow, 
carrying about with him, when down in the country the tastes 
and ideas of the academic cloister — it is the figure of Dr. 
Phillips that rises before the mental vision. And without doubt he 
was no bad embodiment of the class of English character just al- 
luded to. — He was thoroughly English in his predilections and tone ; 
and he unconsciously left on our plastic selves traces of his own 
temperament and style. 

It was from Dr. Phillips we received our first impressions of 
Cambridge life ; of its outer form, at all events ; of its traditions 
and customs ; of the Acts and Opponencies in its Schools, and 
other quaint formalities, still in use in our own undergraduate day, 
but now abolished : from him we first heard of Trumpington, and 
St. Mary's, and the Gogmagogs; of Lady Margaret and the cloisters 
at Queen's; of the wooden bridge and Erasmus' walk in the gar- 
dens of that college j and of many another storied object and 
spot, afterwards very familiir. 

A manuscript Journal of /i Johnsonian cast kept by Dr. Phillips, 
when a youth, during a tour of his on foot in Wales, lent to us 
for perusal, marks an era in our early experience, awakening in 
us, as it did, our first inklings of travel. The excursion described 
was a trifling one in itself — only from Whitchurch, in Hereford- 
shire, across the Severn into Wales — but to the unsophisticated 
'ancy of a boy it was invested with a peculiar charm ; and it led, 
we think, in our own case, to many an ambitious ramble, in after 
years, among cities and men.— In the time of Dr. Phillips there 
was put up, by subscription, across the whole of the western end of the 
school-house, over the door, a rough lean-to, of considerable di- 


Toronto of Old. 


mensions. A large covered space was thus provided for purposes 
of recreation in bad weather. This room is memorable as being 
associated with our first acquaintance with the term "Gymnasium :" 
that was the title which we were directed to give it— There is ex- 
tant, we believe, a good portrait in oil of Dr. Phillips. 

It was stated above that Cricket was not known in the playground 
of the District Grammar School, except possibly under the mildest 
of forms. Nevertheless, one, afterwards greatly distinguished in 
the local annals of Cricket, was long a master in the School. 

Mr. George Antony Barber accompanied Dr. Phillips to York 
in 1825, as his principal assistant, and continued to be associated 
with him in that capacity. Nearly half a century later than 1826, 
when Cricket had now become a social institution throughout 
Western Canada, Mr. Barber, who had been among the first to 
give enthusiastic encouragement to the manly English game, was 
*he highest living local authority on the subject, and still an occa- 
sional participator in the sport. 

We here close our notice of the Old Blue School at York. In 
many a brain, from time to time, the mention of its name has ex- 
ercised a spell like that of Wendell Holmes's Mare Rubrum ; as 
potent as that was, to summon up memories and shapes firom the 
Red Sea of the Past — 

" Where clad in burning robes are laid 

Life's blossomed joys untimely shed, 
And where those cherish'd forms are laid 

We miss awhile, and call them dead." 

The building itself has been shifted bodily from its original po- 
sition to the south-east corner of Stanley and Jarvis Street. It, 
the centre of so many associations, is degraded now into being a 
depot for " General Stock j" in other words, a receptacle for Rags 
and Old Iron. 

The six acres of play-ground are thickly built over. A thorough- 
4re of ill-repute traverses it from west to east. This street was at 
first called March Street ; and under that appellation acquired an 
evil report. It was hoped that a nobler designation would perhaps 
elevate the character of the place, as the name " Milton Street " 
had helped to do for the ignoble Grub Street in London. But the 
purlieus of the neighbourhood continue, unhappily, to be the Alsatia 
of the town. The filling up of the old breezy field with dwellings, 
for the most part of a wretched class, has driven " the schoolmaster'' 

§11.] Church Streei : Old Grammar School. 171 

away from the region. His return to the locality, in some good 
missionary sense, is much to be wished ; and after a time, will 
probably be an accomplished fact. 

[Since these lines were written, the old District Grammar School 
building has wholly vanished. It will be consolatory to know 
that, escaping destruction by fire, it was deliberately dismantled 
and taken to pieces ; and, at once, walls of substantial brick over- 
spread the whole of the space which it had occupied.] 



-E were arrested in our progress on King Street by St 
James' Church. Its associations, and those of the 
District Grammar School and its play-ground to the 
north, have detained us long. We now return to the 
point reached when our recollections compelled us 
to digress. 

Before proceeding, however, we must record the fact that 
the break in the line of building on the north side of the street 
here, was the means of checking the tide of fire which was rolling 
irresistibly westward, in the great conflagration of 1849. The 
energies of the local fire-brigade of the day had never been so 
taxed as they were on that memorable occasion. Aid from steam- 
power was then undreamt-of. Simultaneous outbursts of flame 
from numerous widely-separated spots had utterly disheart- 
ened every one, and had caused a general abandonment of effort 
to quell the conflagration. Then it was that the open space about 
St. James' Church saved much of the town from destruction. 

To the west, the whole sky was, as it were, a vast canopy of 
meteors streaming from the east. The church itself was consumed, 
but the flames advanced no further. A burning shingle was seen 
to become entangled in the luff"er-boards of the belfry, and slowly 
to ignite tfie woodwork there : from a very minute start at that 
point, a stream of fire soon began to rise — soon began to twine 
itself about the upper stages of the tower, and to climb nimbly up 
the steep slope of the spire, from the summit of which it then shot 
aloft into the air, speedily enveloping and overtopping the golden 
cross that was there. 

§ 12.] King Street, from Church to George Sts. 173 

At the same time the flames made their way downwards within 
the tower, till the internal timbers of the roofing over the main 
body of the building were reached. There, in the natural order of 
things, the fire readily spread ; and the whole interior of the church, 
in the course of an hour, was transformed, before the eyes of a 
bewildered multitude looking powerlessly on, first into a vast 
" burning fiery furnace," and then, as the roof collapsed and fell, 
into a confused chaos of raging flame. 

The heavy gilt cross at the apex of the spire came down with a 
crash, and planted itself in the pavement of the principal entrance 
below, where the steps, as well as the inner-walls of the base of the 
tower, were bespattered far and wide with the molten metal of the 

great bell. 

While the work of destruction was'going fiercely and irrepressi- 
bly on, the Public Clock in the belfry, Mr. Draper's gift to the 
town, was heard to strike the hour as usual, and the quarters thrice 
— exercising its functions and having its appointed say, amidst the 
sympathies, not loud but deep, of those who watched its doom ; 
bearing its testimony, like a martyr at the stake, in calm and unim- 
passioned strain, up to the very moment of time when the deadly 
element touched its vitals. 

Opposite the southern portal of St. James' Church was to be 
seen, at a very early period, the conspicuous trade-sign of a well- 
known furrier of York, Mr. Joseph Rogers. It was the figure of 
an Indian Trapper holding a gun, and accompanied by a dog, all 
depicted in their proper colours on a high, upright tablet set over 
the doorway of the store below. Besides being an appropriate 
symbol of the business carried on, it was always an interesting re- 
minder of the time, then not so very remote, when all of York, or 
Toronto, and its commerce that existed, was the old French trad- 
ing-post on the common to the west, and a few native hunters of 
the woods congregating with their packs of " beaver" once or twice 
a-year about the entrance to its picketted enclosure. Other rather 
early dealers in furs in York were Mr. Jared Stocking and Mr. John 


In the GazeUe for April 25, 1822, we notice a somewhat preten- 
tious advertisement, headed " Muskrats," which announces that 
the highest market price will be given in cash for " good seasona- 
ble muskrat skins and other furs at the store of Robert Coleman, 
Esquire, Market Place, York." 



Toronto of Old. 



Mr. Rogers' descendants continue to occupy the identical site 
on King Street indicated above, and the Indian Trapper, reno- 
vated, is still to be seen — a pleasant instance of Canadian persist- 
ence and stability. 

In Great Britain and Europe generally, the thoroughfares of an- 
cient towns had, as we know, character and variety given them by 
the trade-symbols displayed up and down their misty vistas. 
Charles the First gav , by letters patent, express permission to the 
citizens of London " to expose and hang in and over the streets, 
and ways, and alleys of the said city and suburbs of the same, 
signs and posts of signs, affixed to their houses and shops, for the 
better finding out such citizens' dwellings, shops, M.rts, and occu- 
pations, without impediment, molestation or interruption of his 
heirs or successors." And the practice was in vogue long before 
the time of Charles. It preceded the custom of distinguishing 
houses by numbers. At periods when the population generally 
were unable to read, such rude appeals to the eye had, of course, 
their use. But as education spread, and architecture of a modem 
style came to be preferred, this mode of indicating " arts and occu- 
pations" grew out of fashion. 

Of late, however, the pressure of competition in business has 
been driving men back again upon the customs of by-gone illiterate 
generations. For the purpose of establishing a distinct indivi- 
duality in the public mind the most capricious freaks are played. 
The streets of the modem Toronto exhibit, we believe, two leonine 
specimens of auro-ligneous zoology, between which the sex is an- 
nounced to constitute the difference. The lack of such clear dis- 
tinction between a pair of glittering symbols of this genus and spe- 
cies, in our Canadian London, was the occasion of much grave 
consideration in 1867, on the part of the highest authority in our 
Court of Chancery. Although in that cause cUUre, after a caref'i 
physiognomical study by means of photograpls transmitted, it was 
allowed that there were points of difference between the two s ' 
cimens in question, as, for example, that " one looked older than 
the other ;" that " one, from the sorrowful expression of its- coun- 
tenance, seemed more resigned to its position than the other" — 
still the decree .vas issued for the removal of one of them from the 
scene — ^very pro^ &rl^ the later-carved of the two. 

Of the ordinary t ; le £ ^j;,ns that were to be seen along the tho- 
roughfare of King SUcet no particular notice need be taken. The 

§ 12.] King Street, from Church to George Sts. 175 

Pestle and Mortar, the Pole twined round with the black strap, the 
Crowned Boot, the Tea-chest, the Axe, the Broad axe, the Saw, 
(mill, cross-cut and circular), the colossal Fowling-piece, the Cook- 
ing-stove, the Plough, the Golden Fleece, the Anvil and Sledge- 
Hammer, the magnified Horse-Shoe, each told its own story, as in- 
dicating indispensable wares or occupations. 

Passing eastward from the painted effigy of the Indian Trapper, 
we soon came in front of the Market Place, which, so long as only 
a lo>^ wooden building occupied its centre, had an open, airy ap- 
pearauci. We have already dwelt upon some of the occurrences, 
and associations connected with this spot. 

On King street, about here, the ordinary trade and traffic of the 
place came, after a few years, to be concentrated. Here business 
and bustle were every day, more or less, created by the usual wants 
of the inhabitants, and by the wants of the country farmers whose 
waggons in summer, and sleighs in winter, thronged in from the 
north, east and west. And hereabout at one moment or another, 
every lawful day, would be surely seen, coming and going, the 
oddities and street-characters of the town and neighbourhood. 
Having devoted some space to the leading and prominent person- 
ages of our drama, it will be only proper to bestow a few words on 
the subordinates, the Calibans and Gobbos, the Nyms and Touch- 
stones, of the piece. 

From the various nationalities and races of which the commu- 
nity was a mixture, these were drawn. There was James O'Hara, 
for example, a poor humourous Irishman, a perfect representative of 
his class in costume, style and manner, employed as bellman at 
auctions, and so on. When the town was visited by the Papyro- 
tomia — travelling cutters-out of likenesses in black paper (some 
years ago such things created a sensation), — a full-length of O'Hara 
was suspended at the entrance to the rooms, recognized at once 
by every eye, even without the aid of the "Shoot easy" inscribed 
on a label issuing from the mouth. (In the Loyalist of Nov. 24. 
1827, we have O'Hara's death noted. ** Died on Friday the 16th 
instant, James O'Hara, long an inhabitant of this Town, and for- 
merly a soldier in His Majesty's service.") — There was Jock Mur- 
ray, the Scotch carter ; and after him, William Pettit, the English 
one : and the carter who drove the horse with the " spring-halt ;" 
(every school-lad in the place was familiar with the peculiar twitch 
upwards of the near hind leg in the gait of this nag.) 

; ! fi! 




Toronto of Old. 

[§ ". 

The negro population was small. Every individ\ial of colour 
was recognizable at sight. Black Joe and Whistling Jack were two 
notabilities ; both of them negroes of African birth. In military 
bands a negro drummer or cymbal-player was formerly often to be 
seen. The two nien just named, after obtaining discharge from a 
regiment here, gained an honest Hvelihood by chance employment 
about the town. Joe, a well formed, well-trained figure, was to be 
seen, still arrayed in some old cast-ofF shell-jacket, acting as porter, 
or engaged about horses ; once already we have had a glimpse of 
him in the capacity of sheriff's assistant, administering the lash to 
wretched culprits in the Market Place. The other, besides play- 
ing other parts, officiated occasionally as a sweep ; but his most 
memorable accomplishment was a melodious and powerful style of 
whistling musical airs, and a faculty for imitating the bag-pipes to 
perfection. — For the romantic sound of the name, the tall, comely 
negress, Amy Pompadour, should also be mentioned in the record. 
But she was of servile descent : at the time at which we write sla- 
very was only just dying out in Upper Canada, as we shall have 
occasion to note hereafter more at large. 

• Then came the " Jack of Clubs." Lord Thurlow, we are told, 
once enabled a stranger to single but in a crowd Dunning, after- 
wards Lord Ashburton, by telling him to take notice of the first 
man he saw bearing a strong resemblance to the " Jack of Clubs." 
In the present case it was a worthy trader in provisions who had 
acquired among his fellow-townsmen a sobriquet from a supposed 
likeness to that sturdy court-card figure. He was a shcrt, burly 
Englishman, whose place of business was just opposite the en- 
trance to the Market. So absolutely did the epithet attach itself 
to him, that late-comers to the place failed to learn his real name: 
all which was good-humouredly borne for a time ; but at last the 
distinction became burdensome and irritating, and Mr. Stafford re- 
moved in disgust to New York. 

A well-known character often to be seen about here, too, was 
an unfortunate Enghsh farmer of the name ofCowper, of disordered 
intellect, whose peculiarity was a desire to station himself in the 
middle of the roadway, and from that vantage-ground to harangue 
any crowd that might gather, incoherently, but always with a great 
show of sly drollery and mirthfulness. 

On occasions of militia funeral processions, observant lads and 
others were always on the look-out for a certain prosperous cord- 

S 12.] King Stre-AJrom Church to George Sis. 177 

wainer of the town of York, Mr. Wilson, who was sure then to be 
seen marching m the ranks, with musket reversed, and displlvin^ 
^ith great precision and solemnity the extra-upright cair at 'f 
genume toe-pointed step of the soldier of the dats of rv^ I 
Second. He had been for sixteen years inte^^^t^ g-^e^ a^nd 
ten years and forty-four days in the lo^rrl • .Z : ^ . , ^' *"° 
and gusto .ha. .e /.hibi.ed fhe >^^^:^t^::ZrZZ 
Cher days a.toined. The slow pace required bv .he dIh m I 

^.tretu^'r'-'""^ *^ -^- s./eXxr 

.er Mr., recognisable fromafar bya Srle ve« btih; 
out ever and anon, a prin.ed broadsidef filled w .h eubri„t 
or sa.,res on ,he inhabim„.s of the .own. regula.ed t fe" 
or refusals received. The former, Sir Joh„ S,ny.he, found in tl 
pubhc papers a place for his productions, which by .helsymaaf 
^Lrregularmes and freedom from marks of p„„cLt,^"C.^" 
thetr author (as a reviewer of the day once observed) to be a mif 
»p-<-in,^^a,i.a«,, and one possessed of a genius Ibove com- 
mas But htsgreat bobby was a railway to the Pacffic Tn Z 
necfon with which he brought out I Hth g^pt^'^ I 
pecuhanty was a straight black line conspicuously drawTa^ro 
the ^co„t,ne„t from Fort William to the mouth of'the CoIumS 

In a tract of his on the subject of this railway he provides in 

he case of war with the United States, for steam comZtaUo" 
between London ,n England and China and the Eas. M esT 

a branch .0 run on .he nor.h side of .he .ownship of Cav^r'and 
on .he sou.h s>de of Balsam Uke.» "I propose .his,-:^ he savs 

to run m .he rear of Lake Huron and in .he rear of 1 ,1. « ^ 
twen.y miles in .he in.erior of the couMrv of Th ° , v r '"°''' 
.0 uni.e with .he railroad from U^TsTX tmXt'Tt 
sou.h-wes. mam .rading-pos. of the Nch-Wes. Company" The 
documen. ,s s.gned "Sir John Smy.he, Barone. and Royal eZ 
neer Canadian Poe., LL.D., and Moral Philosopher " ^ 

The concourse of .raffickers and idlers in .he open snar^ I.,f 
the old Marke. Place were freeof .ongue; .hey so ne.ter,^r,^^^° 
» no subdued .one, of .heir fellow..o™s/olk of aUrks I^^l 
.maU commun,.y evety one was more or less acquaintStih eve,; 




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Toronto of Old. 

[§ 12. 

one with his dealings and appurtenances, with his man-servant and 
maid-servant, his horse, his dog, his waggon, cart or barrow. 

Those of the primitive residentiaries, to whom the commonalty 
had taken kindly, were honoured in ordinary speech with their 
militia-titles of Colonel, Major, Captain, or the civilian prefix of 
Mister, Honourable Mister, Squire or Judge, as the case might be; 
whilst others, not held to have achieved any special claims to de- 
ference, were named, even in mature years, by their plam, baptis- 
mal names, John, Andrew, Duncan, George, and so on. 

And then there was a third marking-off of a few, against whom,, 
for some vague reason or another, there had grown up m the popu- 
lar mind a certain degree of prejudice. These, by a curtailment 
or national corruption of their proper prenomen, would be ordin- 
arily styled Sandy this, Jock that. In some instances the epithet 
.'old" would irreverently precede, and persons of considerable 
eminence might be heard spoken of as old Tom so-and-so, old 

Sam such-a-one. , , r ^u 

And similarly in respect to the sons. and nephews of these 
worthy gentlemen. Had the community never been replenished 
from outside sources, few of them would, to the latest moment of 
their lives, have ever been distinguished except by the plam John, 
Stephen, Allan, Christopher, and so on, of their mfancy, or by the 
Bill, Harry, Alec, Mac, Dolph, Dick, or Bob, acquired m the 

nursery or school. 

But enough has been said, for the present at least, on the hu- 
mours and ways of our secondary characters, as exemplified m the 
crowd customarily gathered in front of the old Market at York. 
We shall now proceed on our prescribed route. 

The lane leading northward from the north-west comer of Mar- 
ket Square used to be known as Stuart's Lane, from the Rev 
George Okill Stuart, once owner of property here. On its west 
side was a well-known inn, the Farmers' Arms, kept by Mr. Bloor, 
who, on retiring from business, took up his abode at YorkviUe 
whe e it has curic.sly happened that his name has oeen ..tached 
to a fashionable street, the thoroughfare formerly known as the 

^ TreTet'^i^nning north from the north-east angle of Market 
Square, now known as Nelson Street, was originally New otreet, a 
name ^hich was commemorative of the growth of York westward. 
The terminal street of the town on the west, prior to the openmg 

§ 12.] King Street, from Church to George Sis. 179 

.W^.^'r ?f "' ^ ''"" °^"8' «•'«•■ The name of " Ne,, 
01 Nelson. As the years rolled on, it would have become a ouaint 
mrsnomer, involving a tale, like the name of "NewConer» a 
Oxford-a College about five hundred years old ^ 

.^\ ^^"^1 ^^''' ''^"■-"y ''^'"■^en New Street and George 
Street, Kmg Street was, in .849, the scene of an election ZS 
which, ,„ distant quarters, damaged for a time the good namTof 
the town. While passing in front of the Coleraine House ^i„° 
on he north side of the street, and a rendezvous of the unsuccessmi 
pmy, some persons walking in procession, in addition to indug 
mg m the usual harmless groans, flung a missile into the house 

l^^eVerow " "^ °" °'*^ ^'"'"'^^' "'^-^ ^ ■>- i" ''■sn- 
owing to the happy settlement of numerous irrifatine nublic 
questions, elections are conducted now, in our towns td'th'ough 
out our Provinces, m a calm and mtional temper for tie most 
part. Only two relics of evil and ignorant days remain Zl^l 
us. stirring bad blood twice a year, on an„iverL"s cleTS 
o otherwise, to the object. A generous-hearted nation ta^s' 
planted as they have been almost en n, to a new comi^em 
where prosperity, wealth and honours have ever^here been the : 
portion, would shew more wisdom in the repudMon L„ .hey do 



If I 



' N passing George Street, as we intimated a moment 
ago, we enter the parallelogram which constituted the 
original town-plot. Its boundaries were George Street, 
Duchess Street, Ontario Street (with the lane south of 
it), and Palace Street. From this, its old core, York 
spread westward and northward, extending at length in 
those directions respectively (under the name of Toronto) 
to the Asylum and Yorkville ; while eastward its developments — 
though here less solid and less shapely— were finally bounded by 
the windings of the Don. Were Toronto an old town on the Eu- 
ropean Continent, George Street, Duchess Street, Ontario Street 
and Palace Street, would probably now be boulevards, showing 
the space once occupied by stout stone walls. The parallelogram 
•just defined represents "the City" in modern London, or "la 
Cit6" in modern Paris— the original nucleus round which gradually 
clustered the dwellings of later generations. 

Before, however, we enter upon what may be styled King Street 
proper, it will be convenient to make a momentary digression 
northwards into Duke Street, anciently a quiet, retired thorough- 
fare skirted on the right and left by the premises and grounds and 
houses of several most respectable inhabitants. At the north-west 
angle of the intersection of this street with George Street was the 
home of Mr. Washburn ; but this was comparatively a recent erec- 
tion. Its site previously had been the brickyard of Henry Hale, a 
builder and contractor, who put up the wooden structure, possess- 
ing some architectural pretensions, on the south-east angle of the 

§ 1 3-] King Street : (Duke Street. i g j 

same intersection, diagonally across ; occupied in the second 
instance by Mr. Moore, of the Commissariaf ; then by Dr Lee 
and afterwards by Mr. J. Murchison. ' 

^ (The last named was for a long time the Stultz of York, supply- 
uig al those of its citizens, young and old, who desired to make an 
ZTolZXr"' ''''''''''' ^PP--e, with vestments in" 
A little to the north, on the left side of George Street was the 
famous Ladies' School of Mrs. Goodman, preLed ov;r Is' 
quently by Miss Purcell and Miss Rose. This'had been p v ou"y" 
the homestead of Mr. Stephen Jarvis, of whom again immedTte y 
-Two or three o these familiar names appear in an an advertise- 
ment relatmg to land in this neighbourhood, in the GazeUe of 
March ^3r#x8.6.-" For Sale : Three lots or parcels of land ,^ 
he town of York, the property of Mrs. Goodman, being part of 

o^/^rrTr "'"' ^''" "^""^^ "°" ^"'^-^ and formerly 
owned by Col. Jarvis. The lots are each fifty feet in width and 

one hundred and thirty in depth, and front on the street running 

from King Street to Mr. Jarvis's Park lot. If not disposed of by 

private sale, they will be put up at auction on the first day of May 

T\r ^PP;'^"*1°" *° ^^ "'^de to Miss Purcell, or at the Office of 
the a C. Gazette. York, March lo, 1826 " 

JtrfV uf" !'"''' '"^^"^^^ " ^""^ ^-y' ^e came, on 
the left to the abode of Chief Justice Sir William Campbell, of 

whom before. Sir William erected here in rSa^ a mansion of brick 
ZuZ ''' ; J' J"' ^"bsequently, for many years, the hospil 
table home of the Hon. James Gordon, formerly of Amherstburgh 

cor?/" r r 'f' T '^"''■^ ^'y°"^' ^' ^he south-easterly 
corner where Caroline Street intersects, we reached the house of 
Mr. Secretary Jarvis, a man of great note in his day, whose name 
IS famihar to all who have occasion to examine the archives of Upper 
Canada in the administrations of Governors Simcoe, Hunter and 
Gore. A fine portrait of him exists, but, as we have been informed, 
it has been transmitted to relatives in England. Mr. Stephen 
Jarvis, above named, was long the Registrar of Upper Canada. 
His hand-wntmg ,s well-known to all holders of early deeds He 
and the Secretary were first cousins ; of the same stock as the well- 
known Bishop Jarvis of Connecticut, and the Church Historian, 
Dr Samuel Farmer Jarvis. Both were officers in incorporated 
Colonial regiments before the independence of the United States ; 




Toronto of Old. 


and both came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Mr. 
Stephen Jarvis was the founder of the leading Canadian family to 
which the first Sheriff Jarvis belonged. Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis, 
from whom "Jarvis Street" has its name, was the son of Mr. 
Secretary Jarvis. 

On the left, one square beyond the abode of Mr. Secretary 
Jarvis, came the premises and home of Mr. 'Surveyor General 
Ridout, the latter a structure still to be seen in its primitive out- 
lines, a good specimen of the old type of early Upper Canadian 
family residence of a superior class ; combining the qualities of 
solidity and durability with those of snugness and comfort in the 
rigours of winter and the heats of summer. In the rear of Mr. 
Ridout's house was for some time a family burial-plot ; but, like 
several similar private enclosures in the neighbourhood of the town, 
it became disused after the estabUshment of regular cemeteries. 

Nearly opposite Mr. Ridout's, in one of the usual long, low Upper 
Canadian one-storey dwellings, shaded by lofty Lombardy poplars, 
was the home of the Mclntoshes, who are to be commemorated 
hereafter in connection with the Marine of York : and here, at a 
later period, lived for a long time Mr. Andrew Warffe and his 
brother John. Mr. Andrew Warffe was a well-known employ^ in 
the office of the Inspector General, Mr. Baby, and a lieutenant in 
the Incorporated Militia. 

By one of the vicissitudes common in the history of family resi- 
dences everywhere, Mr. Secretary Jarvis's house, which we just 
now passed, became afterwards the place of business of a memo- 
rable cutler and gunsmith, named Isaac Columbus. During the 
war of 1812, Mr. Columbus was employed as armourer to the 
Militia, and had a forge near the garrison. Many of the swords 
used by the Militia officers were actually manufactured by him. 
He was a native of France ; a liberal-hearted man, ever ready to 
contribute to charitable objects ; and a clever artizan. Whether 
required to "jump" the worn and battered axe of a backwoodsman, 
to manufacture the skate-irons and rudder of an ice-boat, to put in 
order a surveyor's theodolite, or to replace for the young geome- 
trician or draughtsman an instrument lost out of his case, he was 
equally au fait. On occasion he could even supply an elderly lady 
or gentleman with a set of false teeth, and insert them. 

In our boyhood we had occasion to get many little matters at- 
tended to at Mr. Columbus's. Once on leaving word that a certain 


King Street : (Duke Street. 


article must be ready by a particular hour, we remember being in- 
formed that " must" was only for the King of France. His politi- 
cal absolutism would have satisfied Louis XIV. himself. He 
positively refused to have anything to do with the " liberals" of York, 
expressly on the ground that, in his opinion, the modern ideas of 
government " hindered the King from acting as a good father to 
the people." 

An expression of his, " first quality, blue !" used on a particular 
occasion in reference to an extra finish to be given to some steel- 
work for an extra price, passed into a proverb among us boys at 
school, and was extensively applied by us to persons and things of 
which we desired to predicate a high degree of excellence. 

Over Columbus's workshop, at the corner of Caroline Street, we 
are pretty sure his name appeared as here given ; and so it was 
always called. But we observe in some lists of early names in 
York, that it is given as " Isaac Collumbes." It is curious to note 
that the great discoverer' s name is a latinization of Colon, Coulon, 
Colombe, descendant each of columba, dove, of which columbus is 
the masculine form. 



[E now retrace our steps to King Street, at its inter- 
section with George Street ; and here our eye im- 
mediately lights on an object connected with the 
early history of Education in York. 
Attached to the east side of the house at the 
south-east angle of the intersection is a low building, 
wholly of stone, resembling a small root-house. Its struc- 
ture is concealed from view now by a coating of clapboards. This 
was the first school-house possessing a public character in York. 
It was where Dr. Stuart taught, afterwards Archdeacon of Kings- 
ton. The building was on his property, which became afterwards 
that of Mr. George Duggan, once before referred to. (In connec- 
tion with St. James' Church, it should have been recorded that 
Mr. Duggan was the donor and planter of the row of Lombardy 
poplars which formerly stood in front of that edifice, and which 
figured conspicuously in the old engravings of King Street. He 
was an Irishman of strong opinions. He once stood for the 
town against Mr. Attorney-General Robinson, but without success. 
When the exigencies of later times required the uprooting of the 
poplar trees, now become overgrown, he warmly resented the re- 
moval and it was at the risk of grievous bodily harm that the 
Church-warden of the day, Mr. T. D. Harris, carried into effect 
the resolution of the Vestry.) 

Dr. Stuart's was the Home District School. From a contem- 
porary record, now before us, we learn that it opened on June the 
first, 1807, and that the first names entered on its books were 

§ 14-] King Street, from George to Caroline Sts. 185 

those of John Ridout, William A. Hamilton, Thomas G. Hamil- 
ton, George H. Detlor, George S. Boulton, Robert Stanton, Wil- 
liam Stanton, Angus McDonell, Alexander Hamilton, Wilson 
Hamilton, Robert Ross, Allan McNab. To this list, from time 
to time, were added many other old Toronto or Upper Canadian 
names : as, for example, the following : John Moore, Charlea 
Ruggles, Edward Hartney, Charles Boulton, Alexander Chewett, 
Donald McDonell, James Edward Small, Charles Small, John 
Hayes, George and William Jarvis, William '.owkett, Peter Mc- 
Donell, Philemon Squires, James Mcintosh, Bernard, Henry and 
Marshall Glennon, Richard Brooke, Daniel Brooke, Charles 
Reade, William Robinson, Gilbert Hamilton, Henry Ernst, John 
Gray, Robert Gray, William Cawthra, William Smith, Harvey 
Woodruff, Robert Anderson, Benjamin Anderson, James Givins, 
Thomas Playter, William Pilkington. The French names Belcour, 
Hammeil and Marian occur. (There were bakers or confectioners 
of these names in York at an early period.) 

From the same record it appears that female pupils were not ex- 
cluded from the primitive Home District School. On the roll are 
names which surviving contemporaries would recognize as belong- 
ing to the beau monde of Upper Canada, distinguished and ad- 
mired in later years. 

A building-lot, eighty-six feet in front and one hundred and 
seventeen in depth, next to the site of the school, is offered 
for sale in the Gazette of the i8th of March, 1822 ; and in the 
advertisement it is stated to be " one of the most eligible lots in 
the Town of York, and situated in King Street, in the centre of 
the Town." 

To the left, just across from this choice position, was, in 1833, 
Wragg & Co.'s establishment, where such matter-of-fact articles as 
the following could be procured " Bending and unbending nails, 
as usual ; wrought nails and spikes of all sizes [a change since 
1810] : ox-traces and cable chains ; tin ; double and single sheet 
iron : sheet brass and copper ; bar, hoop, bolt and rod iron of all 
sizes ; shear, blister and cast steel ; with every other article in the 
heavy line, together with a very complete assortment of shelf 
goods, cordage, oakum, tar, pitch, and rosin : also a few patent ma- 
chines for shelling corn." (A much eariier resort for such mer- 
chandize was Mr. Peter Paterson's, on the west side of the Market 


1 86 

Toronto of Old. 


Of a date somewhat subsequent to that of Messrs. Wragg's ad- 
vertisement, was the depdt of Mr. Harris for similar substantial 
wares. This was situated on the north side of King Street, west- 
ward of the point at which we are now pausing. It long resisted 
the great conflagration of 1849, towering up amidst the flames 
like a black, isolated crag in a tempestuous sea ; but at length it 
succumbed. Having been rendered, as it was supposed, fire- 
proof externally, no attempt was made to remove the contents of 
the building. 

To the east of Messrs. Wragg's place of business, on the same 
side, and dating back to an early period, was the dwelling house 
and mart of Mr. Mosley, the principal auctioneer and appraiser of 
York, a well-known and excellent man. He had suffered the 
severe calamity of a partial deprivation of the lower limbs by frost- 
bite ; but he contrived to move about with great activity in a room 
or on the side-walk by means of two light chairs, shifting himself 
adroitly from the one to the other. When required to go to a 
distance or to church, (where he was ever punctually to be seen 
in his place), he was lifted by his son or sons into and out of a 
wagonette, together with the chairs. 

On the same (north) side was the place where the Messrs. Lesslie, 
enterprising and successful merchants from Dundee, dealt at once 
in two remunerative articles — books and drugs. The left side of 
the store was devoted to the latter ; the right to the former. Their 
first head-quarters in York had been further up the street ; but a 
move had been made to the eastward, to be, as things were then, 
nearer the heart of the town. 

This firm had houses carrying on the same combined businesses 
in Kingston and Dundas. There exists a bronze medal or token, 
of good design, sought after by collectors, bearing the legend, 
"E. Lesslie and Sons, Toronto and Dundas, 1822." The date 
has been perplexing, as the town was not named Toronto in 1822. 
The intention simply was to indicate the year of the founding of 
the firm in the two towns -, the first of which assumed the name 
of Toronto at the period the medal was really struck, viz., 1834. 
On the obverse it bears a figure of Justice with scales and sword : 
on the reverse, a plough with the mottoes, " Prosperity to Canada," 
^'La Pfudence et la Candeur." — A smaller Token of the same firm 
is extant, on which " Kingston " is inserted between " Toronto " 
-and " Dundas." 

§ 14.] King Street, from George to Caroline Sts. 187 

Nearly opposite was the store of Mr. Monro. Regarding our 
King Street as the Broadway of York, Mr. Monro was for a long 
time its Stewart. But the points about his premises that linger 
now in our recollection the most, are a tasteful flower-garden on 
its west side, and a trellised verandah in that direction, with cana- 
ries in a cage, usually singing therein. Mr. Monro was Mayor of 
Toronto in 1840. He also represented in Parliament the South 
Riding of York, in the Session of 1844-5. 

At the north-west corner, a little further on, resided Mr. Alex- 
ander Wood, whose name appears often in the Report of the 
Loyal and Patriotic Society of 181 2, to which reference before 
has been made, and of which he was the Secretary. A brother of 
his, at first in copartnership with Mr. Allan, and at a later period, 
independently, had made money, at York, by business. On the 
decease of his brother, Mr. Alexander Wood came out to attend 
to the property left. He continued on the same spot, until after 
the war of 18 12, the commercial operations which had been so 
prosperously begun, and then retired. 

At the time to which our recollections are just now transporting 
us, the windows of the part of the house that had been the store 
were always seen with the shutters closed. Mr. Wood was a 
bachelor ; and it was no uncosy sight, towards the close of the 
shortening autumnal days, before the remaining front shutters of 
the house were drawn in for the evening, to catch a glimpse, in 
passing, of the interior of his comfortable quarters, lighted up by 
the blazing logs on the hearth, the table standing duly spread 
close by, and the solitary himself ruminating in his chair before the 
fire, waiting for candles and dinner to be brought in. 

On sunny mornings in winter he was often to be seen pacing 
the sidewalk in front of his premises for exercise, arrayed in a 
long blue over-coat, with his right hand thrust for warmth into the 
cuff of his left sleeve, and his left hand into that of his right. He 
afterwards returned to Scotland, where, at Stonehaven, not far 
from Aberdeen, he had family estates known as \Yoodcot and 
Woodburnden. He died without executing a will ; and it was some 
time before the rightful heir to his property in Scotland and here 
was determined. It had been his intention, we believe, to return 
to Canada. — The streets which run eastward from Yonge Street, 
north of Carleton Street, named respectively " Wood " and "Alex- 
ander," pass across land that belonged to Mr. Wood. 


Toronto of Old. 


Many are the shadowy forms that rise before us, as we proceed 
on out way ; phantom-revisitings from the misty Past ; the shapes 
and faces of enterprising and painstaking men, of whose fortunes 
King Street hereabout was the cradle. But it is not necessary in 
these reminiscences to enumerate all who, on the right hand and 
on the left, along the now comparatively deserted portions of the 
great thoroughfare, amassed wealth in the olden time by commerce 
and other honourable pursuits,— laying the foundation, in several 
instances, of opulent families. 

Quetton St. George, however, must not be omitted, builder of 
the solid and enduring house on the corner opposite to Mr. Wood's; 
a structure that, for its size and air of respectability ; for its ma- 
terial, brick, when as yet all the surrounding habitations were of 
wood ; for its tinned roof, its graceful porch, its careful and neat 
finish generally, was, for a long time, one of the York lions. 

Mr. Quetton St. George was a French royalist officer, and a 
chevalier of the order of St. Louis. With many other French gen- 
tlemen, he emigrated to Canada at the era of the Revolution. He 
was of the class of the noblesse, as all officers were required to be • 
which class, just before the Revolution, included, it is said, 90,000 
persons, all exempt from the ordinary taxes of the country. 

The surname of St. George was assumed by M. Quetton to com- 
memorate the fact that he had first set foot on English ground on St. 
George's day. On proceeding to Canada, he, in conjunction with 
Jean Louis, Vicomte de Chalfls, and other distinguished Emigres, 
acquired a large estate in wild lands in the rough region north of 
York, known as the " Oak Ridges." 

Finding it difficult, however, to turn such property speedily to 
account, he had recourse to trade with the Indians and remote in- 
habitants. Numerous stations, with this object in view, were es- 
tablished by him in different parts of the country, before his final 
settlement in York. One of these posts was at Orillia, on Lake 
Couchiching ; and in the Niagara /T^mA/ of August the 7th, 1802, 
we meet with the following advertisement :— " New Store at the 
House of the French General, between Niagara and Queenston. 
Messrs. Quetton St. George and Co., acquaint the public that they 
have lately arrived from New York with a general assortment of 
Dry Goods and Groceries, which will be sold at the lowest price 
for ready money, for from the uncertainty of their residing any time 
in these parts they cannot open accounts with any person. Will 

I 14.] King Street, from George to Caroline Sts. 189 

also be found at the same store a general assortment of tools for 
all mechanics. They have likewise well-made Trunks ; also empty 
Barrels. Niagara, July 23." 

The copartnership implied was with M. de Farcy. The French 
General referred to was the Comte de Puisaye, of whom in full 
hereafter. The house spoken of still exists, beautifully situated at 
a point on the Niagara River, where the carriage-road between 
Queenston and the town of Niagara approaches the very brink of 
the lofty bank, whose precipitous side is even yet richly clothed 
with fine forest trees, and where the noble stream below, closed in 
towards the south by the heights above Lewiston and Queenston, 
possesses all the features of a picturesque inland lake. 

Attached to the house in question is a curious old fire-proof 
structure of brick, quaintly buttressed with stone : the walls are of 
a thickness of three or four feet ; and the interior is beautifully 
vaulted and divided into two compartments, having no communi- 
cation with each other : and above the whole is a long loft of wood, 
approached by steps on the outside. The property here belonged 
for a time in later years to Shickluna, the shipbuilder of St. Catha- 
rines, who happily did not disturb the interesting relic just de- 
scribed. The house itself was in some respects modernized by 
him ; but, with its steep roof and three dormer windows, it still 
retains much of its primitive character. 

In 1805 we find Mr. St. George removed to York. The co- 
partnership with M. de Farcy is now dissolved. In successive 
numbers of the Gazette and Oracle,\sswed in that and the following 
year, he advertises at great length. But on the 20th of Septem- 
ber, 1806, he abruptly announces that he is not going to advertise 
any more : he now once for all, begs the public to examine his 
former advertisements, where they will find, he says, an account of 
the supply which he brings from New York every spring, a similar 
assortment to which he intends always to have on hand : and N. B. 
he adds: Nearly the same assortment may be found at Mr! 
Boitoii's, at Kingston, and at Mr. Boucherville's, at Amherstburghj 
" who transact business for Mr. St. George." 


As we have, in the advertisements referred to, a rather minute 
record of articles and things procurable and held likely to be wanted 
by the founders of society in these parts, we will give, for the 



Toronto of Old. 

[§ H' 

reader's entertainment, a selection from several of them, adhering 
for the most part to the order in which the goods are thereia 

From time to time it is announced by Mr. St. George that there 
have "just arrived from New York " :— Ribbons, cotton goods, 
silk tassels, gown-trimmings, cotton binding, wire trimmings, silk 
belting, fans, beaded buttons, block tin, glove ties, cotton bed-line, 
bed-lace, roUo-bands, ostrich feathers, silk lace, black veil lace, 
thread do., laces and edging, fine black veils, white do., fine silk 
mitts, love-handkerchiefs, Barcelona do., silk do., black crape, 
black mode, black Belong, blue, white and yellow do., striped silk 
for gowns, Chambray muslins, printed dimity, split-straw bonnets, 
Leghorn do., imperial chip do., best London Ladies' beaver bon- 
nets, cotton wire, Rutland gauze, band boxes, cambrics, calicoes, 
Irish linens, callimancoes, plain muslins, laced muslins, blue, black 
and yellow nankeens, jeans, fusrians, long silk gloves, velvet rib- 
bons, Russia sheetings, India satins, silk and cotton umbrellas^ 
parasols, white cottons, bombazetts, black and white silk stockings, 
damask table cloths, napkins, cotton, striped nankeens, bandana 
handkerchiefs, catgut, Tickenburg, brown holland, Creas k la Mor- 
laix, Italian lutestring, beaver caps for children. 

Then we have : Hyson tea, Hyson Chaulon in small chests, young 
Hyson, green. Souchong and Bohea, loaf. East India and Musco- 
vado sugars, mustard, essence of mustard, pills of mustard, capers, 
lemon-juice, soap, Windsor do., indigo, mace, nutmegs, cinnamon, 
cassia, cloves, pimento, pepper, best box raisins, prunes, coffee, 
Spanish and American " segars," Cayenne pepper in bottles, pearl 
barley, castor oil, British oil, pickled oysters. ' 

Furthermore, china-ware is to be had in small boxes and in sets ; 
also, Suwarrow boots, bootees, and an assortment of men's, women's 
and children's shoes, japanned quart mugs, do. tumblers, tipped 
flutes, violin bows, brass wire, sickles, iron candlesticks, shoe- 
makers' hammers, krwes, pincers, pegging awls and tacks, awl- 
blades, shoe-brushes, copper tea-kettles, snaffle-bits, leather shot 
belts, horn powder flasks, ivory, horn and crooked combs, mathe- 
matical instruments, knives and forks, suspenders, fish-hooks, 
sleeve-links, sportsmen's knives, lockets, earrings, gold topaz, do., 
gold watch-chains, gold seals, gold brooches, cut gold rings, plain 
do., pearl do., silver thimbles, do. teaspoons, shell sleeve buttons, 
silver watches, beads. In stationery there was to be had paste- 

§ 14.] King Street, from George to Caroline Sis. 191 

board, foolscap paper, second do., letter paper, black and red ink 
powder and wafers. 

There was also the following supply of Literature :— Telemachus^ 
Volney's Views, Public Characters, Dr. Whitman's Egypt, Evelina,'^ 
Cecilia, Lady's Library, Ready Reckoner, Looking Glass, Frank- 
lin's Fair Sex, Camilla, Don Raphael, Night Thoughts, Winter 
Evenings, Voltaire's Life, Joseph Andrews, Walker's Geography, 
Bonaparte and the French People, Voltaire's Tales, Fisher's Com- 
panion, Modern Literature, Eccentric Biography, Naval do., Mar- 
tial do.. Fun, Criminal Records, Entick's Dictionary, Gordon's 
America, Thompson's Family Physician, Sheridan's Dictionary, 
Johnson's do., Wilson's Egypt, Denon's Travels, Travels of Cyrus,' 
Stephani de Bourbon, Alexis, Pocket Library, Every Man's Phy- 
sician, Citizen of the World, Taplin's Farriery, Farmer's Boy, 
Romance of the Forest, Grandison, Campbell's Na.rative, Paul 
and Virginia, Adelaide de Sincere, Emelini, Monk, Abbess, Even- 
ing Amusement, Children of the Abbey, Tom Jones, Vicar of 
Wakefield, Sterne's Journey,. A belard and Eloisa, Ormond, Caro- 
line, Mercutio, Julia and Baron, Minstrel, H. ViDars, De Valcourt, 
J. Smith, Charlotte Temple, Theodore Chypon, What has Been' 
Elegant Extracts in Prose and Verse, J. and J. Jessamy, Chinese 
Tales, New Gazetteer, Smollett's Works, Cabinet of Knowledge, 
Devil on Sticks, Arabian Tales, Goldsmith's Essays, Bragg's 
Cookery, Tooke's Pantheon, Boyle's Voyage, Roderick Random,. 
Jonathan Wild, Louisa Solomon's Guide to Health, Spelling-books, 
Bibles and Primers. 

Our extracts have extended to a great length : but the animated 
picture of Upper Canadian life at a primitive era, which such an 
enumeration of items, in some sort affords, must be our apology. 

In the Gazeffe of July 4, 1807, Mr. St. George complains of 3 
protested bill ; but consoles himself with a quotation — 
Celui qui met un frein k la fureur des flots, 
Sait aussi des m^chants arr§ter des complots. 

Rendered rich in money and lands by his extemporized mer- 
cantile operations, Mr. St. George returned to his native France 
soon after the restoration of Louis XVIIL, and passed the rest of 
his days partly in Paris and partly on estates in the neighbourhood 
of Montpellier. During his stay in Canada he formed a close 
friendship with the Baldwins of York ; and on his departure, the 
house on King Street, which has given rise to these reminiscences 


Toronto of Old. 


of him, together with the valuable commercial interests connected 
with it, passed into the hands of a junior member of that family, 
Mr, John Spread Baldwin, who himself, on the same spot, subse- 
quently laid the foundation of an ample fortune. 

(It is a phenomenon not uninteresting to the retrospective mind, 
to observe, in 1869, after the lapse of half a century, the name of 
Quetton St. George reappearing in the field of Canadian Com- 

Advancing now on our way eastward, we soon came in front ot 
the abode of Dr. Burnside, a New-England medical man of tall 
figure, upright carriage, and bluff, benevolent countenance, an early 
promoter of the Mechanics'-Institute movement, and an encou- 
rager of church-music, vocal and instrumental. Dying without a 
family dependent on him, he bequeathed his property partly to 
Charities in the town, and partly to the University of Trinity Col- 
lege, where two scholarships perpetuate his memory. 

Just opposite was the residence of the venerable Mrs. Gamble, 
widow of Dr. Gamble, formerly a surgeon attached to the Queen's 
Rangers. This lady died in 1859, in her 92nd year, leaving living 
descendants to the number of two hundred and four. To the west 
of this house was a well-remembered little parterre, always at the 
proper season gay with flowers. 

At the next corner, on the north side, a house now totally de- 
molished, was the original home of the millionaire Cawthra family, 
already once alluded to. In the Gazette and Oracle oi June 21, 
1806, Mr. Cawthra, senior, thus advertises : — " J. Cawthra wishes 
to inform the inhabitants of York and the adjacent country, that 
he has opened an Apothecary Store in the house of A, Cameron, 
opposite Stoyell's Tavern in York, where the Public can be sup- 
plied with most articles in that line. He has on hand also, a quan- 
tity of Men's, Women's, and Children's shoes and Mens' hats. Also 
for a few days will be sold the following articles. Table Knives and 
Forks, Scissors, Silver Watches, Maps and Prints, Profiles, some 
Linen, and a few Bed -Ticks, Teas, Tobacco, a few casks of fourth 
proof Cognac Brandy, and a small quantity of Lime Juice, and 
about twenty thousand Whitechapel Needles. York, June 14, 1806." 
And again, on the 27th of the following November, he informs the 
ir i abitants of York and the neighbouring country that he had just 
aiiived from New York with a general assortment of " apothecary 
articles ;" and that the public can be supplied with everything in 

§14-] King Streetjrom George to Caroline Sts. 193 

that line genuine : also patent medicines : he likewise intimates 
that he has brought a general assortment of Dry Goods, consisting 
of " broad cloths, duffils, flannels, swansdown, corduroys, printed 
calicoes, ginghams, cambrick muslins, shirting, muslin, men and 
women's stockings, silk handkerchiefs, bandana shawls, pulicat and 
pocket handkerchiefs, calimancoes, dimity and check ; also a large 
assortment of men's, women's, and children's shoes, hardware, coffee, 
tea and chocolate, lump and loaf sugar, tobacco, &c., with many 
other articles : which he is determined to sell on very low terms at 
his store opposite Stoyell's tavern. York, Nov. 27, i8c6. (The 
Stoyell's Tavern here named, had previously been the Inn of Mr. 
Abner Miles.) 

Immediately across, at the comer on the south side, was a dep6t, 
msignificant enough, no doubt, to the indifferent passer-bv, but in- 
vested with much importance in the eyes of many of the early 
mfantiles of York. Its windows exhibited, in addition to a scat- 
termg of white clay pipes, and papers of pins suspended open 
agamst the panes for the public inspection, a display of circular 
discs of gingerbread, some with plain, some with scalloped edge; 
also hearts, fishes, little prancing ponies, parrots and dogs of the 
same tawny-hued material ; also endwise in tumblers and other 
glass vessels, numerous lengths or stems of prepared saccharine 
matter, brittle in substance, white-looking, but streaked and slightly 
penetrated with some rich crimson pigment; likewise on plates 
and oval dishes, a collection of quadrangular viscous lumps, buff- 
coloured and clammy, each showing at its ends the bold gashing 
cut of a stout knife which must have been used in dividing a rope, 
as it were, of the tenacious substance into inch-sections or parts. ' 
In the wrapping paper about all articles purchased here, there 
was always a soup9on of the homely odors of boiled suglr and 
peppermint. The tariff of the various comestibles just enumerated 
was well known ; it was precisely for each severally, one half-penny 
The mistress of this establishment bore the Scottish name of Lums^ 
den— a name familiar to us lads in another way also, being con- 
stantly seen by us on the title-pages of school-books, many of which 
at the time referred to, were imported from Glasgow, from the 
publishing-house of Lumsden and Son. 

A little way down the street which crosses here, was Major 

Reward's house, long Clerk of the Peace for the Home District, 

of whom we had occasion to speak before. Several of his sons' 

M ' 


Toronto of Old. 


while pursuing their legal and other studies, became also *' mighty 
hunters;" distinguished, we mean, as enthusiastic sportsmen. Many 
Avere the exploits reported of them, in this line. 

We give here an extract from Mr. McGrath's lively work, pub- 
lished in 1833, entitled " Authentic letters from Upper Canada, 
with an Account of Canadian Field Sports." " Ireland," he says, 
*^ is, in many places, remarkable for excellent cock-shooting, which 
I have myself experienced in the most favourable situations : not, 
however, to be compared with this country, where the numbers 
are truly wonderful. Were I to mention," Mr. McGrath con- 
tinues, " what I have seen in this respect, or heard from others, 
it might bring my graver statements into disrepute." 

" As a specimen of the sport," he says, " I will merely give a 
fact or two of, not unusual success ; bearing, however, no propor- 
tion to the quantity of game. I ha^e known Mr. Charles Reward, 
of York," he proceeds to state, " to have shot in one day thirty 
brace at Chippewa, close to the Falls of Niagara — and I myself," 
Mr. McGrath continues, " who am far from being a first-rate shot, 
have frequently brought home from twelve to fourteen brace, my 
brothers performing their part with equal success." 

But the younger Messrs. Heward had a field for the exercise of 
their sportsman skill nearer home than Chippewa. The Island, 
just across the Bay, where the black-heart plover were said always 
to arrive on a particular day, the 23rd of May, every year, and 
the marshes about Ashbridge's bay and York harbour itself, all 
abounded with wild fowl. Here, loons of a magnificent size used 
to be seen and heard ; and vast flocks of wild geese, passing and 
re-passing, high in air, in their periodical migrations. The wild 
swan, too, was an occasional frequenter of the ponds of the Island. 


I' I 



ETURNING again to King Street : At the corner of 

Caroline Street, diagonally across from the Cawthra 

homestead, was the abode, when ashore, of Captain 

Gates, commander of the Duke of Richmond sloop 

York ^^''''°"^''^" P^"'^^* Ply'"g between Niagara and 

^ . T> ^^l ?^*'' ^^^ "^^''y connected with the family of Presi- 
dent Russell, but cunously obtained no share in the broad acres 
wbch were, in the early day, so plentifully distributed to all corner' 
By being unluckily out of the way, too, at a critical moment, sub! 
sequently, he missed a bequest at the hands of the sole inheritor 
of the possessions of his relative. 

Capt. Gates was a man of dignified bearing, of more than the 
ordinary height. He had seen service on the ocean as master and 
owner of a merchantman. His portrait, which is still preserved in 
Toronto, somewhat resembles that of George IV. 

A spot passed, a few moments since, on King Street is associ 
ated with a story in which the Richmond sloop comes up I^ 
happened that the nuptials of a neighbouring merchant had ktely 
aken place. Some youths, employed in an adjoining warehouse or 
law-office, took it into their heads that a feu dejoie should be fired 
on the occasion To carry out the idea they proceeded, under 
cover of the night to the Richmond sloop, where she lay frozen in 
by the Frederick Street wharf, and removed from her deck, without 
asking leave, a small piece of ordnance with which she was pro 
vided^ They convey it with some difficulty, carriage and all ud 
mto King Street, and place it in fron^ of the bridegroom's hoise 



Toronto of Old. 


run it back, as we have understood, even into the recess under- 
neath the double steps of the porch : when duly ensconced there, 
as within the port of a man-of war, they contrived to fire it off, de- 
camping, however, immediately after the exploit, and leaving behind 
them the source of the deafening explosion. 

On the morrow the cannon is missed from the sloop (she was 
being prepared for the spring navigation) : ori instituting an inquiry^ 
Capt. Gates is mysteriously informed the lost article is, by some 
means, up somewhere on the premises of Mr. J. S. Baldwin, the 
gentleman who had been honoured with the salute, and that if he 
desired to recover his property he must despatch some men thither 
to fetch it. (We shall have occasion to refer hereafter to the Jitch- 
mond,yAiQXi we come to speak of the early Marine of York Harbour.) 

Passing on our way eastward we came immediately, on the north 
side, to one of the principal hotels of York, a long, white, two- 
storey wooden building. It was called the Mansion House — an 
appropriate name for an inn, when we understand " Mansion" in 
its proper, but somewhat forgotten sense, as indicating a temporary 
abode, a place which a man occupies and then relinquishes lO a 
successor. The landlord here for a considerable time was Mr. De 
Forest, an American who, in some way or other, had been de- 
prived of his ears. The defect, however, was hardly perceptible, 
so nicely managed was the hair. On the ridge of the Mansion 
House roof was to be seen for a number of years a large and beau- 
tiful model of a completely-equipped sailing vessel. 

We then arrived at the north-west angle of King and Princes 
streets, were a second public well (we have already commemorated 
the first,) was sunk, and provided with a pump in 1824 — for all 
which the sum of £z^ 1 7 J. dd. was paid to John James on the 
19th of August in that year. In the advertisements and contracts 
connected with this now obliterated public convenience. Princes 
Street is correctly printed and written as it here meets the eye, and 
not " Princess Street," as the recent corruption is. 

Let not the record of our early water-works be disdained. Those 
of the metropolis of the Empire were once on a humble scale. 
Thus Master John Stow, in his Survey of London, Anno 1598, re- 
cordeth that " at the meeting of the corners of the Old Jurie, Milke 
Street, Lad Lane, Aldermanburie, there was of old time a fair well 
with two buckets ; of late years," he somewhat pathetically adds^ 
" converted to a pump. 

I 1 5.] King Street, from Caroline to (Berkeley Sts. 197 

Just across eastward from the pump was one of the first build- 
ings put up on King Street : it was erected by Mr. Smith, who 
was the first to take up a building lot, after the laying-out of the 

On the opposite side, a few steps further on, was Jordan's — the 
far-famed " York Hotel" — at a certain period, the hotel par excel- 
lence of the place, than which no better could be found at the time 
in all Upper Canada. The whole edifice has now utterly disap- 
peared. Its foundations giving way, it for a while seemed to be 
sinking into the earth, and then it partially threatened to topple 
over into the street. It was of antique style when compared with 
the Mansion House. It was only a storey-and-a-half high. Along 
its roof was a row of dormer windows. (Specimens of this style of 
hotel may still be seen in the country-towns of Lower Canada.) 

When looking in later times at the doorways and windows of the 
older buildings intended for public and domestic purposes, as also 
at the dimensions of rooms and the proximity of the ceilings to 
the floors, we might be led for a moment to imagine that the gene- 
ration of settlers passed away must have been of smaller bulk and 
stature than their descendants. But points especially studied in 
the construction of early Canadian houses, in both Provinces, were 
warmth and comfort in the long winters. Sanitary principles were 
not much thought of, and happily did not require to be much 
thought of, when most persons passed more of their time in the 
pure outer air than they do now. 

Jordan's York Hotel answered every purpose very well. Mem- 
bers of Parliament and other visitors considered themselves in 
luxurious quarters when housed there. Probably in no instance 
have the public dinners or fashionable assemblies of a later era 
gone off with more eclat^ or given more satisfaction to the persons 
concerned in them, than did those which from time to time, in 
every season, took place in what would now be considered the 
very diminutive ball-room and dining-hall of Jordan's. 

In the ball-room here, before the completion of the brick build- 
ing which replaced the Legislative Halls destroyed by the Ameri- 
cans in 18 13, the Parliament of Upper Canada sat for one session. 

In the rear of Jordan's, detached from the rest of the buildings, 
there long stood a solid circular structure of brick, of considerable 
height and diameter, dome-shaped without and vaulted within, 
somewhat resembling the furnace into which Robert, the huntsman, 



Toronto of Old. 


is being thrust, in Retzsch's illustration of Fridolin. This was the 
public oven of Paul Marian, a native Frenchman who had a bakery 
here before the surrounding premises were converted into a hotel 
by Mr. Jordan. In the Gazette of May 19, 1804, Paul Marian 
informs his friends and the public " that he will supply them with 
bread at their dwellings, at the rate of nine loaves for a dollar, on 
paying ready money." 

About the same period, another Frenchman, Francois Belcour,. 
is exercising the same craft in York. In Gazettes of 1803, he an- 
nounces that he is prepared " to supply the ladies and gentlemen 
who may be pleased to favor him with their custom, with bread, 
cakes, buns, etc. And that for the convenience of small families, 
he will make his bread, of different sizes, viz., loaves of two, three, 
and four pounds' weight, and will deliver the same at the houses, if 
required." He adds that " families who may wish to have beef, 
etc., baked, will please send it to the bake-house." In 1804, he 
offers to bake "at the rate of pound for pound ; that is to say he 
will return one pound of Bread for every pound of Flour which 
may be sent to him for the purpose of being baked into bread." 

After the abandonment of Jordan's as a hotel, Paul Marian's 
oven, repaired and somewhat extended, again did good service. In 
it was baked a goodly proportion of the supplies of bread furnished 
m 1838-9, to the troops, and incorporated militia at Toronto, by 
Mr. Jackes and Mr. Reynolds. 

As the sidewalks of King Street were apt to partake, in bad 

weather, of the impassableness of the streets generally at such 

a time, an early effort was made to have some of them paved. 

Some yards of foot-path, accordingly, about Jordan's, and here 

and there elsewhere, were covered with flat flagstones from the 

lake-beach, of very irregular shapes and of no great size : the effect 

produced was that of a very coarse, and soon a very uneven mosaic. 

At Quebec, in the neighborhood of the Court House, there is 

retained some pavement of. the kind now described : and in the 

early lithograph of Court House Square, at York, a long stretch 

of sidewalk is given in the foreground, seamed over curiously, 

like the surface of an old Cyclopean or Pelasgic wall. 

On April the 26th, 1823, it was ordered by the magistrates at 
Quarter Sessions that ";^ioo from the Town and Police Fund, to- 
gether with one-fourth of the Statute Labour within the Town, be 
appropriated to flagging the sidewalks of King Street, commencing 

§ 15-] ^ing Street, from Caroline to (Berkeley Sts. 199 

from the comer of Church Street and proceeding east to the limits 
of the Town, and that both sides of che street do proceed at the 
same time." One hundred pounds would not go very far in sach 
an undertaking. We do not think the sidewalks of the prinaitive 
King Street were ever paved throughout their whole length with 

After Jordan's came Dr. Widmer's surgery, associated with 
many a pain and ache in the minds of the early people of York^ 
and scene of the performance upon their persons of many a deli- 
cate, and daring, and successful remedial experiment. Nearly op- 
posite was property appertaining to Dr. Stoyell, an immigrant,, 
non-practising medical man from the United States, with Republi- 
can proclivities as it used to be thought, who, previous to his 
purchasing here, conducted, as has been already imj ed, an inn at 
Mrs. Lumsden's comer. (The house on the other siue of Ontario 
Street, westward, was Hayes' Boarding House, noticeable simply 
as being in session-time, like Jordan's, the temporary abode of 
many Members of Parliament.) 

After Dr. Widmer's, towards the termination of King Street, on 
the south side, was Mr. Small's, originally one of the usual low- 
looking domiciles of the country, with central portion and twa 
gable wings, somewhat after the fashion of many an old country- 
manor-house in England. 

The material of Mr. Small's dwelling was hewn timber. It was 
one of the earliest domestic erections in York. When re-con- 
structed at a- subsequent period, Mr. Charles Small preserved, in 
the enlarged and elevated building, now known as Berkeley House, 
the shape and even a portion of the inner substance of the original 

We have before us a curious plan (undated but old) of 
the piece of ground originally occupied and enclosed by Mr. 
Small, as a yard and garden round his primitive homestead : 
occupied and enclosed, as it would seem, before any build- 
ing lots were set off by authority on the Government re- 
reserve or common here. The plan referred to is entitled "A 
sketch showing the land occupied by John Small, Esq., upon the 
Reserve appropriated for the Government House at York by His 
Excellency Lt. Gov. Simcoe." An irregular oblong, coloured red, 
is bounded on the north side by King Street, and is lettered with- 
in — " Mr. Small's Improvements." Round the irregular piece 



Toronto of Old. 


thus shewn, lines are drawn enclosing additional space, and bring- 
ing the whole into the shape of a parallelogram : the parts outside 
the irregularly shaped red portion, are colored yellow : and on the 
yellow, the memorandum appears— "This added would make an 
Acre." The block thus brought into shapely form is about one- 
half of the piece of ground that at present appertains to Berkeley 

The plan before us also incidentally shows where the Town of 
York was supposed to terminate :— an inscription—" Front Line 
of the Town "—runs along the following route ; up what is no* 
the lane through Dr. Widmer's property : and then, at a right 
angle eastward along what is now the north boundary of King 
Street opposite the block which it was necessary to get into shape 
round Mr. Small's first " Improvements." King Street proper, in 
this plan, terminates at " Ontario Street :" from the eastern limit of 
Ontario Street, the continuation of the highway is marked " Road 
to Quebec,"— with an arrow shewing the direction in which the 
traveller must keep his horse's head, if he would reach that ancient 
city.— The arrow at the end of the inscription just given points 
slightly upwards, indicating the fact that the said " Road to Que- 
bec" trends slightly to the north after leaving Mr. Small's clearing. 



fE now propose to pass rapidly down "the road to 
Quebec " as far as the Bridge. First we cross, In 
the hollow, Goodwin's creek, the stream which en- 
ters the Bay by the cut-stone Jail. Lieutenant 
Givins (afterwards Colonel Givins), on the occasion 
of his first visit to Toronto in 1793, forced his way in 
a canoe with a friend up several of the meanderings of 
this stream, under the impression that he was exploring the Don. 
He had heard that a river leading to the North-West entered the 
Bay of Toronto, somewhere near its head ; and he mistook the 
lesser for the greater stream : thus on a small scale performing the 
exploit accomplished by several of the explorers of the North 
American coast, who, under the firm persuasion that a water high- 
way to Japan and China existed somewhere across this continent, 
lighted upon Baffin's Bay, Davis Strait, the Hudson River, and the 
St. Lawrence itself, in the course of their investigations. 

On the knoll to the right, after crossing Goodwin's creek, was 
Isaac Pilkington's lowly abode, a little group of white buildings in 
a grove of pines and acacias. 

Parliament Street, which enters near here from the north, is a 
memorial of the olden time, when, as we have seen, the Parliament 
Buildings of Upper Canada were situated in this neighbourhood. 
In an early section of these Recollections we observed that what is 
now called Berkeley Street was originally Parliament Street, a name 
which, like that borne by a well-known thoroughfare in Westmin- 
ster, for a similar reason, indicated the fact that it led down to the 
Houses of Parliament. 


Toronto of Old. 


The road that at present bears the name of Parliament Street 
shews the direction of the track through the primitive woods 
opened by Governor Simcoe to his summer house on the Don, 
called Castle-Frank, of which fully, in its place hereafter. 

Looking up Parliament Street we are reminded that a few yards 
westward from where Duke Street enters it, lived at an early period 
Mr. Richard Coates, ar. estimable and ingenious man, whose name 
is associated in our memory with the early dawn of the fine arts in 
York. Mr. Coates, in a self-taught way, executed, not unsuccess- 
fully, portraits in oil of some of our ancient worthies. Among 
things of a general or historical character, he painted also for 
David Willson, the founder of the "Children of Peace," the sym- 
bolical decorations of the interior of the Temple at Sharon. He 
qultivated music likewise, vocal and instrumental ; he built an 
organ of some pretensions, in his own house, on which he per- 
formed ; he built another for David Willson at Sharon. Mr. Coates 
constructed, besides, in the yard of his house, an elegantly-finished 
little pleasure yacht, of about nine tons burden. 

This passing reference to infant Art in York recalls again the 
name of Mr. John Craig, who has before been mentioned in our 
account of the interior of one of the many successive St. Jameses. 
Although Mr. Craig did not himself profess to go beyond his 
sphere as a decorative and heraldic painter, the spirit that animated 
him really tended to foster in the community a taste for art in 
a wider sense. 

Mr. Charles Daly, also, as a skilful teacher of drawing in water- 
colours and introducer of superior specimens, did much to en- 
courage art at an early date. In 1834 we find Mr. Daly promoting 
an exhibition of Paintings by the " York Artists and Amateur 
Association," and acting as " Honorary Secretary," when the Exhi- 
bition for the year took place. Mr. James Hamilton, a teller in 
the bank, produced, too, some noticeable landscapes in oil. 

As an auxiliary in the cause, and one regardful of the wants of 
artists at an early period, we name, likewise, Mr. Alexander Ham- 
mBt, who, in addition to supplying materials in the form of pig- 
ments and prepared colours, contributed to the tasteful setting off 
of the productions of pencil and brush, by furnishing them with 
frames artistically carved and gilt. 

Out of the small beginnings and rudiments of Art at York, one 
artist of a genuine stamp was, in the lapse of a few years, develop- 

§ 1 6. J (Berkeley Street to the bridge and across it. 203 

ed — Mr. Paul Kane ; who, after studying in the schools of Europe, 
returned to Catiada and made the illustration of Indian character 
and life his specialty. By talent exhibited in this class of pictorial 
delineation, he acquired a distinguished reputation throughout the 
North American continent ; and by his volume of beautifully illus- 
trated travels, published in London, and entitled " Wanderings of 
an Artist among the Indians of North America," he obtained for 
himself a recognized place in the literature of British Art. 

In the hollow, a short distan( c westward of Mr. Coates's, was. 
one of the first buildings of any size ever erected in these parts 
wholly of stone. It was put up by Mr, Hutchinson. It was a 
large square family house of three storeys. It still exists, but its 
material is hidden under a coating of stucco. Another building, 
wholly of stone, was Mr. Hunter's house, on the west side of Church 
Street. A portion of Hugill's Brewery likewise exhibited walls of 
the same solid, English-looking substance. We now resume our 

We immediately approach another road entering from the north, 
which again draws us aside. This opening led up to the only 
Roman Catholic church in York, an edifice of red-brick, substan- 
tially built. Mr. Ewart was the contractor. The material of the 
north and south walls was worked into a 'kind of tesselated pat- 
tern, which was considered something very extraordinary. The 
spire was originally surmounted by a large and spirited effigy of 
the bird that Jidmonished St. Peter, and not by a cross. It was. 
not a flat, moveable weathercock, but a fixed, solid figure, covered 
with tin. 

In this building officiated for some time an ecclesiastic named 
O'Grady. Mingling with a crowd, in the over-curious spirit of boy- 
hood, we here, at funerals and on other ootasions, first witnessed 
the ceremonial forms observed by Roman Catholics in their wor- 
ship ; and once we remember being startled at receiving, by design 
or accident, from an overcharged aspergillutn in the hands of a 
zealous ministrant of some grade passing down the aisle, a copious 
splash of holy water in the eye. 

Functionaries of this denomination are generally reiaarkable for 
their quiet discharge of duty and for their apparent submissiveness 
to authority. They sometimes pass and repass for years before 
the indifferent gazeft multitudes holding another creed, without 
exciting any curiosity even as to their personal names. But Mr. 


mi0.]s^^* i mm f y *w %^m ^mmfm^rmimk 


Toronto of Old. 


O'Grady was an exception to the general run of his order. He 
acquired a distinctive reputation among outsiders. He was un- 
derstood to be an unruly presbyter; and through his instrumentality, 
letters of his bishop, evidently never intended to meet the public 
eye, got into general circulation. He was required to give an ac- 
count of himself, subsequently, at the feet of the "Supreme Pontiff." 

Power Street, the name now applied to the road which led up 
to the Roman Catholic church, preserves the name of the Bishop 
of this communion, who sacrificed his life in attending to the sick 
emigrants in 1847. 

The road to the south, a few steps further on, led to the wind- 
mill built by Mr. Worts, senior, in 1832. In the possession of 
Messrs. Gooderham & Worts are three interesting pictures, in oil, 
which from time to time have been exhibited. They are intended 
to illustrate the gradual progress in extent and importance of the 
mills and manufactures at the site of the wind-mill. The first 
shows the original structure — a circular tower of red brick, with 
the usual sweeps attached to a hemispherical revolving top ; in the 
distance town and harbour are seen. The second shows the wind- 
mill dismantled, but surrounded by extensive buildings of brick 
and wood, sheltering now elaborate machinery driven by steam 
power. The third represents a third stage in the march of enter- 
prise and prosperity. In this picture gigantic structures of massive, 
dark-coloured stone tower up before the eye, vying in colossal pro- 
portions and ponderous strength with the works of the castle- 
builders of the feudal times. Accompanying these interesting 
landscape views, all of them by Forbes, a local artist of note, a 
group of life-size portraits in oil, has occasionally been seen at Art 
Exhibitions in Toronto — Mr. Gooderham, senior, and his Seven 
Sons — all of .them well-developed, sensible-looking, substantial 
men, manifestly capable of undertaking and executing whatever 
practical work the exigencies of a young and vigorous community 
may require to be done. 

Whenever we have chanced to obtain a glimpse of this striking 
group (especially the miniature photographic reproduction of it on 
one card), a picture of Tancred of Hauteville and his Twelve Sons, 
" all of them brave and fair," once familiar as an illustration ap- 
pended to that hero's story, has always recurred to us ; and we 
have thought how thankfully should we regard the grounds on 
which the modern Colonial patriarch comforts himself in view of a 


§ 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 205 

numerous family springing up around him, as contrasted with the 
reasons on account of which the enterprising Chieftain of old con- 
gratulated himself on the same spectacle. The latter beheld in 
his ring of stalwart sons so many warriors ; so much good solid 
stuff to be freely offered at the shrine of his own glory, or the glory 
of his feudal lord, whenever the occasion should arise. The former, 
in the young men and maidens, peopling his house, sees so many 
additional hands adapted to aid in a bloodless conquest of a huge 
continent ; so much more power evolved, and all of it in due time 
sure to be wanted, exactly suited to assist in pushing forward one 
stage further the civilizing, humanizing, beautifying, processes al- 
ready, in a variety of directions, initiated. 

" Peace hath her victories, 
No less renowned than war ;" 

and it is to the victories of peace chiefly that the colonial father 
expects his children to contribute. 

When the families of Mr. Gooderham and Mr. Worts crossed 
the Atlantic, on the occasion of their emigration from England, 
the party, all in one vessel, comprised, as we are informed, so many 
as fifty-four persons more or less connected by blood or marriage. 

We have been told by Mr. James Beaty that when out duck 
shooting, now nearly forty years since, he was surprised by falling 
in with Mr. Worts, senior, rambling apparently without purpose in 
the bush at the mouth of the Little Don : all the surrounding 
locality was then in a state of nature, and frequented only by the 
sportsman or trapper. On entering into conversation with Mr. 
Worts, Mr. Beaty found that he was there prospecting for an ob- 
ject ; that, in fact, somewhere near the spot where they were 
standing, he thought of putting up a wind-mill ! The project at 
the time seemed sufficiently Quixotic. But posterity beholds the 
large practical outcome of the idea then brooding in Mr. Worts's 
brain. In their day of small things the pioneers of new settle- 
ments may take courage from this instance of progress in one gen- 
eration, from the rough to the most advanced condition. For a 
century to come, there will be bits of this continent as unpromis- 
ing, at the first glance, as the mouth of the Littie Don, forty years 
£;-o, yet as capable of being reclaimed by the energy and ingenuity 
of man, and being put to divinely-intended and legitimate uses. — 
Returning now from the wind-mill, once more to the > voad to 

■^ :i 


Toronto of Old. 


Quebec," in common language, the Kingston road, we passed, at 
the comer, the abode of one of the many early settlers in these 
parts who bore German names — the tenement of Peter Ernst, or 
Ernest as the appellation afterwards became. 

From these Collections and Recollections matters of compara- 
tively so recent a date as 1849 have for the most part been ex- 
cluded. We make an exception in passing the Church which gives 
name to Trinity Street, for the sake of recording an inscription on 
one of its interior walls. It reads as follows : — " To the Memory 
of the Reverend William Honywood Ripley, B.A., of University 
•College, Oxford, First Incumbent of this Church, son of the Rev. 
Thomas Hyde Ripley, Rector of Tockenham, and Vicar of Woot- 
ton Bassett in the County of Wilts, England. After devoting him- 
self during the six years of his ministry, freely, without money and 
without price, to the advancement of the spiritual and temporal 
welfare of this congregation and neighbourhood, and to the great 
increase amongst them of the knowledge of Christ and His Church, 
he fell asleep in Jesus on Monday the 22nd of October, 1849, aged 
34 years. He filled at the same time the office of Honorary Sec- 
retary to the Church Society of the Diocese of Toronto, and was 
Second Classical Master of Upper Canada College. This Tablet 
is erected by the Parishioners of this Church as a tribute of heart- 
felt respect and affection. Remember them that have the rule over 
you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God : whose faith 
follow, considering the end of their conversation." 

Canadian society in all its strata has been more or less leavened 
from England. One of the modes by which the process has been 
carried on is revealed in the inscription just given. In 1849, while 
this quarter of Toronto was being taken up and built over, the in- 
fluence of the clergyman commemorated was singularly marked 
within it, Mr. Ripley, in his boyhood, had been trained under Dr. 
Arnold, at Rugby ; and his father had been at an early peri id, a 
private tutor to the Earl of Durham who came out to Canada 
in 1838 as High Commissioner. As to the material fabric of 
Trinity Church — its erection was chiefly due to the exertions of 
Mr. Alexander Dixon, an alderman of Toronto. 

The brick School-house attached to Trinity Church bears the 
inscription : " Erected by Enoch Turner, 1848." Mr. Turner was 
a benevoletit Englishman who prospered in this immediate locality 
as a brewer, and died in 18O6. Besides handsome bequests to 



§ 1 6. J Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 207 

near relations, Mr. Turner left by ^ ill, to Trinit)- College, Toronto, 
^2,000 ; to Trinity Church, ^500 ; to St. Paul's ;^25o ; to St! 
Peter's ;^25o. 

Just opposite on the left was where Angell lived, the architect 
of the abortive bridges over the mouths of the Don. We obtain 
from the York Observer of December 11, 1820, some earlier infor- 
mation in regard to Mr. Angell. It is in the form of a " Card" 
thus headed : " York Land Price Current Office, King Street." It 
then proceeds—" In consequence of the Increase of the popula- 
lation of the Town of York, and many applications for family ac- 
commodation upon the arrival of strangers desirous of becoming 
settlers, the Subscriber intends to add to the practice of his Office 
the business of a House Surveyor and Architect, to lay out Building 
Estate, draw Ground plans, Sections and Elevations, to order, and 
upon the most approved European and English customs. Also to 
make estimates and provide contracts with proper securities to pre- 
vent impostures, for the performance of the same. E. Angell. 
N.B.— Land proprietors having estate to dispose of, and persons 
requiring any branch of the above profession to be done, will meet 
with the most respectful attention on application by letter or at 
this office. York, Oct. 2, [1820]." 

The expression, " York Price Current Office," above used is ex- 
plained by the fact that Mr. Angell commenced at this early date 
the publication of a monthly "Land Price Current List of Estates 
on Sale in Upper Canada, to be circulated in England, Ireland, 
Scotland and Wales." 

Near Mr. Angell, on the same side, lived also Mr. Cummins, 
the manager of the Upper Canada Gazette printing office ; and, at 
a later period, Mr. Watson, another well-known master-printer of 
York, who lost his life during the great fire of 1849, in endeavour- 
ing to save a favourite press from destruction, in the third storey of 
a building at the corner of King and Nelson streets, a position 
occupied subsequently by the Caxton-press of Mr. Hill. 

On some of the fences along here, we remember seeing in 1827- 
8, an inscription written up in chalk or white paint, memorable to 
ourselves personally, as being the occasion of our first taking serious 
notice of one of the political questions that were locally stirring 
the people of Upper Canada. The words inscribed were— No 
Aliens ! Like the Liberty, Equality, Fkaternity, which we 
ourselves also subsequently saw painted on the walls of Paris ; 



Toronto of Old. 


these words were intended at once to express and to rouse public 
feeling ; only in the present instance, as we suppose now, the in- 
scription emanated from the oligarchical rather than the popular 
side. The spirit of it probably was " Down with Aliens,"— and 
not "Away with the odious distinction of Aliens ! " 

A dispute had arisen between the Upper and the Lower House 
as to the legal terms in which full civil rights should be conferred 
on a considerable portion of the inhabitants of the country. After 
the acknowledgment of independence in 1 783, emigrants from the 
United States to the British Provinces came in no longer as British 
subjects, but as foreigners. Many such emigrants had acquired 
property and exercised the franchise without taking upon them- 
selves, formally, the obligations of British subjects. After the war 
of 181 2, the law in regard to this matter began to be distinctly re- 
membered. The desire then was to check an undue immigration 
from the southern side of the great lakes ; but the effect of the re- 
vival of the law was to throw doubt on the land titles of many in- 
habitants of long standing ; doubt on their claim to vote and to 
fill any civil office. 

The consent of the Crown was freely given to legislate on the 
subject : and in 1825-6 the Parliament resolved to settle the ques- 
tion. But a dispute arose between the Lower and Upper House. 
The Legislative Council sent down a Bill which was so amended 
in terms by the House of Assembly that the former body declared 
it then to be " at variance with the laws and established policy of 
Great Britain, as well as of the United States ; and therefore if 
passed into a law by this Legislature, would afford no relief to 
many of those persons who were born in the United States, and 
who have come into and settled in this Province." The Upper 
House party set down as disloyal all that expressed themselves 
satisfied with the Lower House amendments. It was from the Upper 
House party, we think, that the cry of " No Aliens !" had proceeded. 

The Alien measure had been precipitated by the cases of Bar- 
nabas Bidwell and of his son Marshall, of whom the former, after 
being elected, and taking his seat as member for Lennox and 
Addington, had been expelled the House, on the ground of his 
being an alien ; and the latter had met with difficulties at the out- 
set of his political career, from the same objection against him. In 
the case of the former, however, his alien character was not the 
only thing to his disadvantage. 

§ 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 209 

It was in connection with the expulsion of Barnabas Bidwell that 
Dr. Strachan gave to a member of the Lower House, when hesi- 
tating as to the legahty of such a step, the remarkable piece of 
advice, " Turn him out, turn him out ! Never mind the law !"— a 
dictum that passed into an adage locally, quoted usually in the 
Aberdeen dialect. 

Barnabas Bidwell is thus commemorated in Mackenzie's Almanac 
for 1834: "July 27, 1833: Barnabas Bidwell, Esq., Kingston, 
died, aged 69 years and 11 months. He was a sincere friend of 
the rights of the people ; possessed of extraordinary powers of 
mind and memory, and spent many years of his life in doing all 
the good he could to his fellow-creatures, and promoting the inter- 
ests of society." 

^ Irritating political questions have now, for the most part, been 
disposed of in Canada. We have entered into the rest, in this re- 
spect, secured for us by our predecessors. The very fences which, 
some forty years ago, were muttering " No Aliens !" we saw, during 
the time of a late general election, exhibiting in conspicuous 
pamted characters, the following exhortation : " To the Electors of 
the Dominion— Put in Powell's Pump"— a humorous advertise- 
ment, of course, of a particular contrivance for raising water from 
the depths. We think it a sign of general peace and content, 
when the populace are expected to enjoy a little jest of this sort. 

A small compact house, with a pleasant flower garden in front, on 
the left, a little way on, was occupied for a while by Mr. Joshua 
Beard, at the time Deputy Sheriff, but afterwards well known as 
owner of extensive iron works in the town. 

We then came opposite to the abode, on the same side, of 
Mr. Charles Fothergill, some time King's Printer for Upper Can- 
ada. He was a man of wide views and great intelligence, fond of 
science, and an experienced naturalist. Several folio volumes of 
closely written manuscript, on the birds and animals generally of 
of this continent, by him, must exist somewhere at this moment. 
They were transmitted to friends in England, as we have under- 

We remember seeing in a work by Bewick a homed owl of this 
country, beautifully figured, which, as stated in the context, had 
been drawn from a stuffed specimen supplied by Mr. Fothergill. 
He himself was a skilful delineator of the living creatures that so 
much interested him. 


Toronto of Old. 


In 1832 Hr- Fothergill sat in Parliament as member for Nor- 
thumberland, and for expressing some independent opinions in 
that capacity, he was deprived of the office of King's Printer. He 
originated the law which established Agricultural Societies in Upper 


In 1836, he appears to have been visited in Pickering by Dr. 
Thomas Rolph, when making notes for his " Statistical Account of 
Upper Canada." " The Township of Pickering," Dr. Rolph says, 
" is well settled and contains some fine land, and well watered. 
Mr. Fothergill," he continues, " has an extensive and most valu- 
able museum of natural curiosities at his residence in this town- 
ship, which he has collected with great industry and the most re- 
fined taste. He is a person of superior acquirements, and ardently 
devoted to the pursuit of natural philosophy." P. 189. 

It was Mr. Fothergill's misfortune to have lived too early in 
Upper Canada. Many plans of his in the interests of literature 
and science came to nothing for the want of a sufficient body of 
seconders. In conjunction with Dr. Dunlop and Dr. Rees, it was 
the intention of Mr. Fothergill to establish at Vork a Museum of 
Natural and Civil History, with a Botanical and Zoological Garden 
attached ; and a grant of land on the Government Reserve between 
the Garrison and Farr's Brewery was actually secured as a site 
for the buildings and grounds of the proposed institution. 

A prospectus now before us sets forth in detail a very compre- 
hensive scheme for this Museum or Lyceum, which embraced also 
a picture gallery, " for subjects connected with Science and Por- 
traits of individuals," and did not omit " Indian antiquities, arms, 
dresses, utensils, and whatever might illustrate and make perma- 
nent all that we can know of the Aborigines of this great Continent, 
a people who are rapidly passing away and becoming as though 
they had never been." 

For several years Mr. Fothergill published "The York Almanac 
and Royal Calendar," which gradually became a volume of be- 
tween four and five hundred duodecimo pages, filled with practical 
and official information on the subject of Canada and the other 
British American Colonies. This work is still often resorted to 
for information. 

Hanging in his study we remember noticing a large engraved 
map of " Cabotia." It was a delineation of the British Posses- 
sions in North America— the present Dominion of Canada in fact. 

5 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 2 1 1 

II had been his purpose in 1823 to publish a " Canadian Annual 
Register ;" but this he never accomplished. While printing the 
Upper Canada Gazette, he edited in conjunction with that periodi- 
cal and on the same sheet, the " Weekly Register," bearing the 
motto, " Our endeavour will be to stamp the very body of the time 
— its form and pressure : we shall extenuate nothing, nor shall we 
set down aught in malice." From this publication may be gathered 
much of the current history of the period. In it are given many 
■curious scientific excerpts from his Common Place Book. At a 
later period, he published, at Toronto, a weekly paper in quarto 
shape, named the "Palladium." 

Among the non-official advertisements in the Upper Canada 
Gazette, in the year 1823, we observe one signed " Charles Fothen- 
^11," offering a reward " even to the full value of the volumes," for 
the recovery of missing portions of several English standard works 
which had belor^^ad formerly, the advertisement stated, to the 
^' Toronto Library," broken up " by the Americans at the taking 
of York." It was suggested that probably the missing books were 
still scattered about, up and down, in the town. It is odd to see 
the name of " Toronto " cropping out in 1823, in connection with 
a library. (In a much earlier York paper we notice the " Toronto 
Coffee House " advertised.) 

Mr. Fothergill belonged to the distinguished Quaker family of 
that name in Yorkshire. A rather good idea of his character of 
countenance may be derived from the portrait of Dr. Arnold, pre- 
fixed to Stanley's Memoir. An oil painting of him exists in the 
possession of some of his descendants. 

We observe in Leigh Hunt's London Journal, i. 172, a reference 
to "Fothergill's Essay on the Philosophy, Study and Use of 
Natural History ;" and we have been assured that it is our Canadian 
Fothergill who was its author. We give a pathetic extract from a 
specimen of the production, in the work just referred to : ** Never 
shall I forget," says the essayist, " the remembrance of a little in- 
cident which many will deem trifling and unimportant, but which 
has been peculiarly interesting to my heart, as giving origin to sen- 
timents and rules of action which have since been very dear to me." 

" Besides a singular elegance of form and beauty of plumage," 
continues the enthusiastic naturalist, "the eye of the common 
lapwing is peculiarly soft and expressive ; it is large, black, and 
full of lustre, rolling, as it seems to do, in liquid gems of dew. I 



Toronto of Old. 


had shot a bird of this beaut 'ill species j but, on taking it up, I 
found it was not dead. I had wounded its breast ; and some big 
drops of blood stained the pure whiteness of its feathers. As I held 
the hapless bird in my hand, hundreds of its companions hovered 
round my head, uttering continued shrieks of distress, and, by 
their plaintive cries, appeared to bemoan the fate of one to whom 
they were connected by ties of the most tender and interesting 
nature j whilst the poor wounded bird continually moaned, with a 
kind of inward wailing note, expressive of the keenest anguish ; 
and, ever and anon, it raised its drooping head, and turning to- 
wards the wound in its breast, touched it with its bill, and then 
looked up in my face, with an expression that I have no wish ta 
forget, for it had power to touch my heart whilst yet a boy, when a 
thousand dry precepts in the academical closet would have been, 
of no avail." 

The length of this extract will be pardoned for the sake of its- 
deterrent drift in respect to the wanton maiming and massacre of 
our feathered fellow-creatures by the firearms of sportsmen and 
missiles of thoughtless children. 

Eastward from the house where we have been pausing, the road 
took a slight sweep to the south and then came back to its former 
course towards the Don bridge, descending in the meantime into 
the valley of a creek or watercourse, and ascending again from it 
on the other side. Hereabout, to the left, standing on a pic- 
turesque knoll and surrounded by the natural woods of the region, 
was a good sized two-storey dwelling ; this was the abode of Mr. 
David MacNab, sergeant-at-arms to the House of Assembly, as his 
father had been before him. With him resided several accom- 
plished, kind-hearted sisters, all of handsome and even stately pre- 
sence ; one of them the belle of the day in society at York. 

Here were the quarters of the Chief MacNab, whenever he came 
up to York from his Canadian home on the Ottawa. It was not 
alone \yhen present at church that this remarkable gentleman at- 
tracted the public gaze ; but also, when surrounded or followed by 
a group of his fair kinsfolk of York, he marched with dignified 
steps along through the whole length of King Street, and down or 
up the Kingston road to and from the MacNab homestead here in 
the woods near the Don. 

In his visits to the capital, the Chief always wore a modified 
highland costume, which well set off his stalwart, upright form r. 

5 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 2 1 3 

the blue bonnet and feather, and richly embossed dirk, always 
rendered him conspicuous, as well as the tartan of brilliant hues 
depending from his shoulder after obliquely swathing his capacious 
chest ; a bright scarlet vest with massive silver buttons, and dress 
coat always jauntily thrown back, added to the picturesqueness 
of the figure. 

It was always evident at a glance that the Chief set a high value 
on himself—" May the MacNab of MacNabshave the pleasure of 
taking wine with Lady Sarah Maitland ?" suddenly heard above the 
buzz of conversation, pronounced in a very deep and measured 
tone, by his manly voice, made mute for a time, on one occasion, 
the dinner-table at Government House. So the gossip ran. An- 
other story of the same class, but less likely, we should think, to be 
true, was, that seating himself, without uncovering, in the Court- 
room one day, a messenger was sent to him by the Chief Justice, 
Sir William Campbell, on the Bench, requiring the removal of his 
cap ; when the answer returned, as he instantly rose and left the 
building, was, that " the MacNab of MacNabs doffs his bonnet 
to no man !" 

At his home on the Chats the Emigrant Laird did his best to 
transplant the traditions and customs of by-gone days in the High- 
lands, but he found practical Canada an unfriendly soil for romance 
and sentiment. Bouchette, in his British Dominions, i. 82, thus 
refers to the Canadian abode of the Chief and to the settlement 
formed by the clan MacNab. " High up [the Ottawa]," he says, 
" on the bold and abrupt shore of the broad and picturesque Lake 
of the Chats, the Highland Chief MacNab has selected a romantic 
residence, Kinnell Lodge, which he has succeeded, through the 
most unshaken perseverance, in rendering exceedingly comfort- 
able. His unexampled exertions in forming and fostering the set- 
tlement of the township, of which he may be considered the 
founder and the leader, have not been attended with all the suc- 
cess that was desirable, or which he anticipated." 

Bouchette then appends a note wherein we can see how readily 
his own demonstrative Gallic nature sympathized with the kindred 
Celtic spirit of the Highlander. " The characteristic hospitality 
that distinguished our reception by the gallant Chief," he says, 
<• when, in 1828, we were returning down the Ottawa, after having 
explored its rapids and lakes, as far up as Grand Calumet, we can- 
not pass over in silence. To voyageurs in the remote wilds of 


Toronto of Old. 


Canada," he continues, " necessarily strangers for the time to the 
sweets of civilization, the unexpected comforts of a well-furnished 
board, and the cordiality of a Highland welcome, are blessings- 
thatfall upon the soul like dew upon the flower. 'The sun wa» 
just resigning to the moon the empire of the skies,' when we took 
our leave of the noble chieftain," he adds, " to descend the formid- 
able rapids of the Chats. As we glided from the foot of the bold 
bank, the gay plaid and cap of the noble Gael were seen waving 
on the proud eminence, and the shrill notes of the piper filled the 
air with their wild cadences. They died away as we approached 
the head of the rapids. Our ctps were flourished, and the flags- 
(for our canoe was gaily decorated with them) waved in adieu, and 
we entered the vortex of the swift and whirlbg stream." 

In 1836, Rolph, in his " Statistical Account of Upper Canada," 
p. 146, also speaks of the site of Kinnell Lodge as " greatly re- 
sembling in its bold, sombre and majestic aspect, the wildest and 
mostromatic scenery" of Scotland. "This distinguished Chief- 
tarn," the writer then informs us, " has received permission to raise 
a militia corps of 800 Highlanders, a class of British subjects always- 
distinguished for their devoted and chivalrous attachment to the 
laws and institutions of their noble progenitors, and who would 
prove a rampart of living bodies in defence of British supremacy 
whenever and wherever assailed." 

The reference in Dean Kamsa/s interesting " Reminiscences of 
Scottish life and Character," to "the last Laird of MacNab," is 
perhaps to the father of the gentleman familiar to us here in York, 
and who filled so large a space in the recollections of visitors to- 
the Upper Ottawa. " The last Laird of MacNab before the clan 
finally broke up and emigrated to Canada was," says the Dean in , 
the work just named, "a well-known character in the country ; and, 
being poor, used to ride about on a most wretched horse, which 
gave occasion to many jibes at his expense. The Laird," this 
writer continues, " was in the constant habit of riding up from the 
country to attend the Musselburgh races [near Edinburgh]. A 
young wit, by way of playing him off" on the race course, asked 
him in a contemptuous tone, " Is that the same horse you had last 
year. Laird?"— "Na," said the Laird, brandishing his whip in the 
interrogator's face in so emphatic a manner as to preclude further 
questioning, "Na ! but it's the same whup /" (p. 216, 9th ed.) 
We do not doubt but that the MacNabs have ever been a 

§ 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 2 1 5 

spirited race. Their representatives here have always been such ; 
and like their kinsmen in the old home, too, they have had, during 
their brief history in Canada, their share of the hereditary vicissi- 
tudes. We owe to a Sheriff's advertisement in the Upper Cnada 
Gazette or American Oracle of the T4th of April, 1798, published 
at Niagara, some biographical particulars and a minute description 
of the person of the Mr. MacNab who was afterwards, as we have 
already stated, Usher of the Black Rod to the House of Assembly 
and father of his successor, Mr. David MacNab, in the same post ; 
father also of the Allan MacNab, whose history forms part of that 
of Upper Canada. 

In 1798, imprisonment for debt was the rigorously ei creed law 
of the land. The prominent MacNab of that date had, it would 
appear, become obnoxious to the law on the score of indebtedness : 
but finding the restraint imposed irksome, he had relieved himself 
of it without asking leave. The hue and cry for his re-capture 
proceeded as follows : " Two hundred dollars reward ! Home Dis- 
trict, Upper Canada, Newark, April 2, 1798. Broke the gaol of 
this District on the night of the ist instant, [the ist of April, be it 
observed,] Allan MacNab, a confined debtor. He is a reduced 
lieutenant of horse," proceeds the Sheriff, "on the half-pay list of 
the late corps of Queen's Rangers ; aged 38 years or thereabouts j 
five feet three inches high ; fair complexion ; light hair ; red beard ; 
much marked with the small-pox j the middle finger of one of his 
hands remarkable for an overgrown nail ', round shouldered ; stoops 
a little in walking ; and although a native of the Highlands of Scot- 
land, affects much in speaking the Irish dialect. Whoever will 
apprehend, &c., &r., shall receive the above reward, with all rea- 
sonable expenses." 

The escape of the prisoner on the first of April was probably felt 
by the Sheriff to be a practical joke played off on himself person- 
ally. We think we detect personal spleen in the terms of the ad- 
vertisement : in the minuteness of the description of Mr. MacNab's 
physique, which never claimed to be that of an Adonis ; in the 
biographical particulars, which, however interesting they chance 
to prove to later generations, were somewhat out of place on such 
an occasion ; as also in a postscript calling on "the printers within 
His Majesty's Governments in America, and those of the United 
States to give circulation in their respective papers to the above 
advertisement," &c. 


Toronto of Old. 


It was a limited exchequer that created embarrassment in the 
early history— and, for that matter, in much of the later history at 
well— of Mr. MacNab's distinguished son, afterwards the baronet 
Sir Allan ; and no one could relate with more graphic and humor- 
ous effect his troubles from this source, than he was occasionally 
in the habit of doing. 

When observing his well-known handsome form and ever-benig- 
nant countenance, about the streets of York, we lads at school 
were wont, we remember, generally to conjecture that his ramblings 
were limited to certain bounds. He himself used to dwell with an 
amount of complacency on the skill acquired in carpentry during 
these intervals of involuntary leisure, and on the practical results 
to himself from that skill, not only in the way of pastime, but in 
the form of hard cash for personal necessities. Many were the 
panelled doors and Venetian shutters in York which, by his account, 
were the work of his hands. 

Once he was on the point of becoming a professional actor. 
Giving assistance now and then as an anonymous performer to Mr. 
Archbold, a respectable Manager here, he evinced such marked 
talent on the boards, that he was seriously advised to adopt the 
stage as his avocation and employment. The Theatre of Canadian 
public affairs, however, was to be the real scene of his achieve- 
ments. Particulars are here unnecessary. Successively sailor and 
soldier (and in both capacities engaged in perilous service) ; a law- 
yer, a legislator in both Houses ; Speaker twice in the Popular 
Assembly ; once Prime Minister ; knighted for gallantry, and ap- 
pointed an Aide-de-camp to the Queen ; dignified with a baronetcy; 
by the marriage of a daughter with the son of a nobleman, made 
the possible progenitor of English peers— the career of Allan Mac- 
Nab cannot fail to arrest the attention of the future investigator 
of Canadian history. 

With our local traditions in relation to the grandiose chieftain 
above described, one or two stories are in circulation, in which his 
young kinsman Allan amusingly figures. Alive to pleasantry— as 
so many of our early worthies in these parts were— he undertook, 
it is said, for a small wager, to prove the absolute nudity of the' 
knees, &c., of his feudal lord when at a ball in full costume : (the 
allegation, mischievously made, had been that the Chief was pro- 
tected from the weather by invisible drawers.) The mode of de- 
monstBition adopted was a sudden cry from the ingenuous youth 

5 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 2 1 7 

addressed to the Chief, to the effect that he observed a spider, or 
some sucli object running up his leg ! — a cry instantly followed by 
a smart slap with the hand, with the presumed intention of check- 
ing the onward course of the noxious thing. The loud crack occa- 
sioned by the blow left no room for doubt as to the fact of nudity ; 
but the dignified Laird was somewhat disconcerted by the over zeal 
of his young retainer. 

Again, at Kingston, the ever-conscious Chief having written him- 
self down in the visitors' book at the hotel as The MacNab, 
his juvenile relative, coming in immediately after and seeing the 
curt inscription, instantly entered his protest against the monopoly 
apparently implied, by writing ^/>«j<'^ down, just underneath, in 
conspicuous characters, as The Other MacNab — the genius of 
his coming fortunes doubtless inspiring the merry deed. — He held 
for a time a commission in the 68th, and accompanied that regi- 
ment to York in 1827. Riding along King Street one day soon 
after his arrival in the town, he observed Mr. Washburn, the law- 
yer, taking a furtive survey of him through his eyeglass. The pro- 
ceeding is at once reciprocated by the conversion of a stirrup into 
an imaginary lens of large diameter, lifted by the strap and wag- 
gishly applied to the eye. Mr. Washburn had, we believe, 
pressed matters against the young officer rather sharply in the 
courts, a year or two previously. A few years later, when member 
for Wentworth, he contrived, while conversing with the Speaker, 
Mr. McLean, in the refreshment-room of the Parliament House, 
to slip into one of that gentleman's coat pockets the leg- 
bone of a turkey. After the lapse of a itv! minutes, Mr. Mac- 
Nab, as chairman of a committee of the whole House, is solemnly 
seated at the Table, and Mr. Speaker, in his capacity as a member, 
is being interrogated by him on some point connected with the 
special business of the committee. At this particular moment, it 
happens that Mr. Speaker, feeling for his handkerchief, discovers 
in his pocket the extraordinary foreign object which had been 
lodged there. Guessing in an instant the author of the trick, he 
extricates the bone and quick as thought, shies it at the head of 
the occupant of the Chair. The House is, of course, amazed ; 
and Mr. MacNab, in the gravest manner, directs the Clerk to make 
a note of the act. — We have understood that the house occupied by 
Mr. Fothergill (where we paused a short time since) was originally 
built by Allan MacNab, junior, but never dwelt in by him. 


Toronto of Old. 


We now arrived at the Don bridge. The valley of the Don, at 
the place where the Kingston Road crosses it, was spanned in 
1824 by a long wooden viaduct raised about twenty-five feet above 
the marsh below. This structure consisted of a series of ten ties- 
ties, or frames of hewn timber supporting a roadway of plank, which 
had lasted since 1809. A similar structure spanned the Humber 
and its marshes on the west side of York. Both of these bridges 
about the year 1824 had become very much decayed ; and occa- 
sionally both were rendered impassable at the same time, by the 
falling in of worn-out and broken planks. The York papers would 
then make themselves merry on the well-defended condition of the 
town in a military point of view, approach to it from the east and 
west being effectually barred. 

Prior to the erection of the bridge on the Kingston Road, the 
Don was crossed near the same spot by means of a scow, worked 
by the assistance of a rope stretched across the stream. In 18 10, 
we observe that the Humber was also crossed by means of a ferry. 
In that year the inhabitants of Etobicoke complained to the magis- 
trates in session at York of the excessive toll demanded there ; 
and it was agreed that for the future the following should be the 
charges : — For each foot passenger, 2)^d. ; for every hog, id. ; for 
every sheep, the same ; for homed cattle, 2 J^d. each, for every 
horse and rider, 5d. ; for every carriage drawn by two horses, 
IS. 3d. (which included the driver) ; for every carriage with one 
horse, is. It is presumed that the same tolls were exacted at the 
ferry over the Don, while in operation. 

In 1824 not only was the Don bridge in bad repair, but, as we 
learn firom a petition addressed by the magistrates to Sir Peregrine 
Maitland in that year, the bridge over the Rouge in Pickering, 
also, is said to be, " from its decayed state, almost impassable, and 
if not remedied," the document goes on to state, " the communi- 
cation between this town (York) and the eastern parts of the Pro- 
vince, as well as with Lower Canada by land, will be entirely ob- 

At length the present earthwork across the marsh at the Don 
was thrown up, and the river itself spanned by a long wooden tube, 
put together on a suspension principle, roofed over and closed in 
on the sides, with the exception of oblong apertures for light. It 
resembled in some degree the bridges to be seen over the Reuss 
at Lucerne and elsewhere in Switzerland, though not decorated 

§ i6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across a. 219 

with paintings in the interior, as they are. Stone piers built on 
piles sustained it at either end. All was done under the superin- 
tendence of a United States contractor, named Lewis. It was at 
him that the i^a/i'cs in Mr. Angell's advertisement glanced. The 
inuendo was that, for engineering purposes, there was no neces- 
sity for calling in the aid of outsiders. 

From a kind of small Friar-Bacon's study, occupied in former 
years by ourselves, situated on a bold point some distance north- 
wards, up the valley, we remember watching the pile-driver at work 
in preparing the foundation of the two stone piers of the Don 
bridge : from where we sat at our books we could see the heavy 
mallet descend ; and then, after a considerable interval, we would 
hear the sharp stroke on the end of the piece of timber which was 
being driven down. From the same elevi jd position also, pre- 
viously, we used to see the teams crossing the high frame-work 
over the marsh on their way to and from Town, and hear the dis- 
tant clatter of the horses' feet on the loosely-laid planks. 

The tubular structure which succeeded the trestle-work bridge 
did not retain its position very long. The pier at its western ex- 
tremity was undermined by the water during a spring freshet, and 
gave way. The bridge, of course, fell down into the swirling tide 
below, and was carried bodily away, looking like a second Ark as 
it floated along towards the mouth of the river, where at length it 
stranded and became a wreck. 

On the breaking up of the ice every spring the Don, as is well 
known, becomes a mighty ru.-hing river, stretching across from hill 
to hill. Ordinarily, it occupies but a small portion of its proper 
valley, meandering along, like an English tide-stream when the 
tide is out. The bridge carried away on this occasion was notable 
so long as it stood, for retaining visible marks of an attempt to set 
fire to it during the troubles of 1837. 

The next appliance for crossing the river was another tubular 
frame of timber, longer than the former one ; but i; was never pro- 
vided with a roof, and never closed in at the sides. Up to the 
time that it began to show signs of decay, and to require cribs to 
be built underneath it in the middle of the stream, it had an un- 
finished, disreputable look. It acquired a tragic interest in 1859, 
from being the scene of the murder, by drowning, of a young Irish- 
man named Hogan, a barrister, and, at the same time, a member 
of the Parliament of Canada. 



Toronto of Old. 


When crossing the high trestlework which preceded the present 
earth-bank, the traveller, on looking down into the marsh below, 
on the south side, could see the remains of a still earlier structure, 
a causeway formed of unhewn logs laid side by side in the usual 
manner, but decayed, and for the most part submerged in water, 
resembling, as seen from above, some of the lately-discovered sub- 
structions in the lakes of Switzerland. This was probably the first 
road by which wheeled vehicles ever crossed the valley of the Don 
here. On the protruding ends of some of the logs of this cause- 
way would be always seen basking, on a warm summer's day, many 
fresh-water turtles ; amongst which, as also amongst the black 
snakes, which were likewise always to be seen coiled up in num- 
bers here, and among the shoals of sunfish in the surrounding 
pools, a great commotion would take place when the jar was felt 
-of a waggon passing over on the framework above. 

The rest of the marsh, with the exception of the space occupied 
by the ancient corduroy causeway, was one thicket of wild willow, 
alder, and other aquatic shrubbery, among which was conspicu- 
ous the sptma, known among boys as " seven-bark " or " nine- 
bark," and prized by them for the beautiful hue of its rind, which, 
when rubbed, becomes a bright scarlet. 

Here also the blue iris grew plentifully, and reeds, frequented 
by the marsh hen ; and the bulrush, with its long cat-tails, sheath- 
ed in chestnut-coloured felt, and pointing upwards like toy sky- 
rockets ready to be shot off. (These cat-tails, when dry and strip- 
ped, expand into large, white, downy spheres of fluff, and actually 
are as inflammable as gunpowder, going off with a mighty flash 
at the least touch of fire.) 

The view from the old trestlework bridge, both up and down the 
stream, was very picturesque, especially when the forest, which 
clothed the banks of the ravine on the right and left, wore the tints 
of autumn. Northward, while many fine elms would be seen 
towering up from the land on a level with the river, the bold 
hills above them and beyond were covered with lofty pines. South- 
ward, in the distance, was a great stretch of marsh, with the blue 
lake along the horizon. In the summer this marsh was one vast 
jungle of tall flags and reeds, where would be found the conical 
huts of the muskrat, and where would be heard at certain seasons 
the peculiar gu// of the bittern ; in winter, when crisp and dry, 
here was material for a magnificent pyro technical display, which 

§ 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 221 

usually, once a year, came oflF, aflfording at night to the people of 
the town a spectacle not to be contemned. 

Through a portion of this marsh on the eastern side of the 
river, Mr. Justice Boulton, at a very early period, cut, at a great 
expense, an open channel in front of some property of his : it 
was expected, we believe, that the matted vegetation on the outer 
side of this cutting would float away and leave clear water, when 
thus disengaged ; but no such result ensued : the channel, however, 
has continued open, and is known as the " Boulton ditch." It forms 
a communication for skiflfs between the Don and Ashbridge's Bay. 
At the west end of the bridge, just across what is now the gore 
between Queen Street and King Street, there used to be the re- 
mains of a military breastwork thrown up in the war of 181 2. 
At the east end of the bridge, on the south side of the road, there 
still stands a lowly edifice of hewn logs, erected before the close 
of the last century by the writer's father, who was the first owner 
and occupant of the land on both sides of the Kingston road at 
this point. The roadway down to the original crossing-place over 
the river in the days of the Ferry, and the time of the first corduroy 
bridge, swerving as it did considerably to the south from the direct 
line of the Kingston road, must have been in fact a trespass on his 
lot on the south side of the road : and we find that so noteworthy 
an object was the solitary house, just above the bridge, in 1799, 
that the bridge itself, in popular parlance, was designated by its 
owner's name. Thus in the Upper Canada Gazette for March 9, 
1799, we read that at a Town Meeting Benjamin Morley was ap- 
pointed overseer of highways and fence-viewer for the section of 
road "from Scadding's bridge to Scarborough." In 1800 Mr. 
Ashbridge is appointed to thesame office, and the section of highway 
placed under his charge is on this occasion named " the Bay Road 
from Scadding's bridge to Scarborough." 

This Mr. Ashbridge is the early settler from whom Ashbridge's Bay 
was so called. His farm lay along the lower portion of that sheet 
of water. Next to him, westward, was the property of Mr. Hast- 
ings, wliose Christian name was Warren. Years ago, when first be- 
ginning to read Burke, we remember wondering why the name of 
" the great proconsul " of Hindostan looked so familiar to the eye : 
when we recollected that in our childhood we used frequently to 
see here along the old Kingston road the name Warren Hastings 
appended in conspicuous characters, to placards posted up, adver- 







Toronto of Old. 


tising a " Lost Cow," or some other homely animal, gone astray. — 
Adjoining Mr. Hasting's farm, still moving west, was that of Mr. 
Mills, with whose name in our mind is associated the name of 
^' Hannah Mills," an unmarried member of his household, who was 
the Sister of Charity of the neighbourhood, ever ready in times of 
sickness and bereavement to render, for days and nights together, 
kindly, sympathetic and consolatory aid. 

We transcribe the full list of the appointments at the Town 
Meeting of 1799, for the sake of the old locally familiar names 
therein embodied ; and also as showing the curious and almost in. 
credible fact that in the language of the people, York at that early 
period, 1799, was beginning to be entitled " the City of York !" 

" Persons elected at the Town Meeting held at the City of York 
on the 4th day of March, 1799, pursuant to an Act of Parliament 
of the Province, entitled an Act to provide for the nomination and 
appointment of Parish and Town Officers within this Province. 
Clerk of the Town and Township, — Mr. Edward Hayward. As- 
sessors, — (including also the Townships of Markham and Vaughan) 
Mr. George Playter and Mr. Thomas Stoyles. Collector, — Mr. 
Archibald Cameron. Overseers of the Highways and Roads, and 
Fence-viewers, — Benjamin Morley, from Scadding's Bridge to Scar- 
borough ; James Playter, from the Bay Road to the Mills j Abra- 
ham Devans, circle of the Humber ; Paul Wilcot, from Big- 
Creek to No. 25, inclusive, on Yonge Street, and half Big-Creek 
Bridge ; Daniel Dehart, from Big-Creek to No. i inclusive, on 
Yonge Street, and half Big-Creek Bridge. Mr. McDougal and 
Mr. Clarke for the district of the city of York. Pound Keepers : 
Circle of the Don, Parshall Terry, junr. ; Circle of the Humber, 
Benjamin Davis ; Circle of Yonge Street, No. i to 25, James 
Everson ; Circle of the City, etc., James Nash. Townwardens, 
Mr. Archibald Thompson and Mr. Samuel Heron. Other officers, 
elected pursuant to the 1 2th clause of the said Act : Pathmasters 
and Fence-viewers, Yonge Street, in Markham and Vaughan, Mr. 
Stilwell Wilson, lots 26 to 40, Yonge Street ; Mr. John H. Hu- 
drux, 41 to 51, Yonge Street, John Lyons, lots 26 to 3/. John 
Stulz, Pathmaster and Fence-viewer in the German Settlement of 
Markham. David Thompson, do. for Scarborough." 

It is then added : — " N. B. — Conformably to the resolutions of 
the inhabitants, no hogs to run at large above three months old, 
and lawful fences to be five feet and a half high. Nicholas Klin- 

§ 1 6.] (Berkeley Street to the (Bridge and across it. 223 

genbrumer, constable, presiding." Furthermore, the information is 
given that " the following are Constables appointed by the Justices : 
John Rock, Daniel Tiers and John Matchefosky, for the city, etc. 
Levi Devans for the District of the Humber, Thomas Hill from 
No. I to 25, Yonge Street; Balser Munshaw, for Vaughan and 
first Concession of Markham ; Squantz for the German set- 
tlement of Markham. By order of the Magistrates : D. W. Smith." 
Also notice is given that "Such of the above officers as have not 
yet taken the oath, are warned hereby to do so without loss of time. 
The constables are to take notice that although for their own ease 
they are selected from particular districts, they are liable to serve 
process generally in the county." 

When, in 1799, staid inhabitants were found seriously digni- 
fying the group of buildings then to be seen on the borders of the 
bay, with the magnificent appellation of the " City of York," it is 
no wonder that at a later period indignation is frequently expressed 
at the ignominious epithet of "Little," which persons in the 
United States were fond of prefixing to the name of the place. 
Thus for example, in the Weekly Register so late as June, 1822, we 
have the editor speaking thus in a notice to a correspondent : " Our 
friends on the banks of the Ohio, 45 miles below Pittsburg, will 
perceive," the editor remarks, " that notwithstanding he has made 
us pay postage [and postage in those days was heavy], we have 
not been unmindful of his request. We shall always be ready at 
the call of charity when not misapplied; and we hope the family in 
question will be successful in their object. — There is one hint, how- 
ever," the editor goes on to say, " we wish to give Mr. W. Patton, 
P. M. ; which is, although there may be many " Little " Yorks in 
the United States, we know of no place called "Little York " in Ca- 
nada ; and beg that he will bear this little circumstance in his re- 
collection when he again addresses us." 

Gourlay also, as we have seen, when he wished to speak cutting- 
ly of the authorities at York, used the same epithet. In guberna- 
torial proclamations, the phrase modestly employed is — " Our 
Town of York." 

A short distance east from the bridge a road turned northward, 
known as the " Mill road." This communication was open in 
1 799. It led originally to the Mills of Parshall Terry, of whose ac- 
cidental drowning in the Don there is a notice in the Gazette of 
July 23, 1808. In 1800, Parshall Terry is "Overseer of Ways 

Toronto of Old. 


from the Bay Road to the Mills;" In 1802 the language is 
" from the Bay Road to the Don Mills," and in that year, Mr. John 
Playter is elected to the office held in the preceding year by Par- 
shall Terry. Tin regard to Mr. John Playter :-The solitary house 
which overlooked the original Don Bridge and Ferry was occu- 
pied by him during the absence of its builder and owner m Eng- 
land ; and here, Mr. Emanuel Playter, his eldest son, was born.) 

In 1821, and down to 1849, the Mill road was regarded chiefly 
as an approach to the multifarious works, flour-mills, saw-mills, 
fulling-mills, carding-mills, paper-mills and breweries, founded near 
the site of Parshall Terry's Mills, by the Helliwells, a vigorous and 
substantial Yorkshire family, whose heads first settled and com- 
menced operations on the brink of Niagara Falls, on the Canadian 
side, in 1818, but then in 1821 transferred themselves to the up- 
per valley of the Don, where that river becomes a shallow, rapid 
stream, and where the siinoundings are, on a small scale, quite Al- 
pine in character-a secluded spot at the time, in the rudest state 
of nature, a favourite haunt of wolves, bears and deer ; a spot pre- 
senting difficulties peculiarly formidable for the new settler to 
grapple with, from the loftiness and steepness of the hills and the 
kind of timber growing thereabout, massive pines for the most 
part. Associated with the Helliwells in their various enterpnses, 
and allied to them by copartnerships and intermarriage, were the 
Skinners and Eastwoods, all shrewd and persevering folk of the 
Midland and North-country English stock.-It was Mr. Eastwood 
who gave the name of Todmorden to the village overlooking the 
mills. Todmorden, partly in Yorkshire, and partly in Lancashire, 
was the old home of the Helliwells. 

Farther up the river, on the hills to the right, were the Sinclairs, 
very early settlers from New England ; and beyond, descending 
again into the vale, the Taylors and Leas, substantial and enter- 
prising emigrants from England. 

Hereabout were the " Forks of the Don," where the west branch 
of that stream, seen at York Mills, enters. The hills in this neigh- 
bourhood are lofty and precipitous, and the pines that clothed them 
were of a remarkably fine growth. The tedious circuit which leanis 
were obliged to make in order to get into the town from laese 
regions by the Don bridge has since been, to some extent, cAwiated 
by the erection of two additional bridges at points higi>« up the 
stream, north of the Kingston road. 



I.— From the Bridge on the Kingston Road to Tyler's. 

, ETRACING our steps ; placing ourselves again on the 
bridge, and, turning northwards, we see on the right, 
near by, a field or rough space, which has undergone 
excavation, looking as though the brick-maker or pot- 
ter had been at work on it: and we may observe that 
a large quantity of the displaced material has been spread 
out over a portion of the marshy tract enclosed here by a 
bend of the river westward. What we see is a relic of an effort 
made long ago, by Mr. Washburn, a barrister of York, to whom 
reference has been made before, to bring this piece of land into 
cultivation. In its natural state the property was all but useless 
from the steepness of the hill-side on the one hand, and from the 
ever wet condition of the central portion of the flat below on the 
other. By grading down the hill and filHng in the marsh, and es- 
tablishing a gentle slope from the margin of the stream to the level 
of the top of the bank on the right, it was easy to see that a large 
piece of solid land in an eligible position might be secured. The 
undertaking, however, was abandoned before the work was finished 
the expense probably being found heavy, and the prospect of a 
return for the outlay remote. 

At a later period Mr. O'Neill, with greater success and com- 
pleteness, cut down the steep ridges of the bank at Don Mount a 
short distance up, and filled in the marsh below. These experi 
ments show how the valley of the Don, along the eastern outskirts 

Toronto of Old,. 

[§ >7- 


of the town, will ultimately be turned to account, when the neces- 
sities of the population demand the outlay. At present such un- 
provements are discouraged by the length of time required to cover 
large surfaces of new clay with vegetable mould. But m future 
years it will be for mills and factories, and not for suburban and 
villa purposes, that the parts referred to will be held valuable. 

These marshes along the sides of the Don, from the pomt where 
its current ceases to be perceptible, appear to be remams of the 
river as it was at an epoch long ago. The rim or levee that now, 
on the right and left, confines and defines the meandenngs of the 
stream in the midst of the marshes, has been formed by the alluvial 
matter deposited in the annual overflowings. The bed of the 
stream has probably in the same manner been by degrees slightly 
raised The solid tow-path, as it were, thus created on each side 
of the river-channel, affords at present a great convenience to the 
angler and fowler. It forms, moreover, as shown by the experi- 
ments above alluded to, a capital breastwork, towards which the 
engineer may advance, when cutting down the adjoimng hills, and 
disposing of their material on the drowned land below. 

Once more imagining ourselves on the bridge, and lookmg 
obliquely to the north-west, we may still discern close by some re- 
mains of the short, shallow, winding ravine, by which in wmter the 
sleiehs used to ascend from the level of the river, and regain, 
through a grove of pines and hemlocks, the high road into the 
town As soon as the steady cold set in, every year, the long 
reaches and grand sweeps of the river Don became peculiarly ^ 1- 
teresting Firmly frozen over everywhere, and coated with a good 
depth of snow, bordered on each side by a high shrubbery of wild 
willow, alder, wych-hazel, dog-wood, tree-cranberry and other 
specimens of the lesser brushwood of the forest, plentifully over- 
spread and interwoven in numerous places with the vine of wild 
grape the whole had the appearance of a fine, clear, level English 
coach-road or highway, bounded throughout its windmg course by 
a luxuriant hedge, seen as such EngUsh roads and their surrounding, 
were wont to be, all snow-clad, at Christmas-tide, from the top of 
the fast mail to Exeter, for example, in the old coaching days. 

Down the river, thus conveniently paved over, every day came 
a cavalcade of strong sleighs, heavily laden, some with cordwood 
some with sawn lumber, some with hay, a whole stack of which 
at once, sometimes, would seem to be on the move. 


The Valley of the (Don. 


After a light fall of snow in the night, the surface of the frozen 
stream would be marked all over with foot-prints innumerable of 
animals, small and great, that had been early out a-foraging : tracks 
of field-mice, minks and martens, of land-rats, water-rats and musk- 
rats ; of the wild-cat sometimes, and of the fox ; and sometimes of 
the wolf. Up this valley we have heard at night the howling of 
the wolf; and in the snow of the meadows that skirt the stream, 
we have seen the blood-stained spots where sheep had been worried 
and killed by that ravenous animal. 

In one or two places where the bends of the river touched the in- 
ner high bank, and where diggings had abortively been made with 
a view to the erection of a factory of some kind, beautiful frozen 
gushes of water from springs in the hill-side were every winter to 
be seen, looking, at a distance, like small motionless Niagaras. 
At one sheltered spot, we remember, where a tannery was begun 
but never finished, solid ice was sometimes to be found far on in 
the summer. 

In the spring and summer, a pull up the Don, while yet its banks 
were in their primeval state was something to be enjoyed. After 
passing certain potasheries and distilleries that at an early period 
were erected a short distance northward of the bridge, the meadow 
land at the base of the hills began to widen out , and numerous 
elm trees, very lofty, with gracefully-drooping branches, made their 
appearance, with other very handsome trees, as the lime or bass- 
wood, and the sycamore or button-wood.— At a very early period, 
we have been assured that brigades of North-west Company boats' 
en route to Lake Huron, used to make their way up the Don as 
far as the " Forks," by one of which they then passed westward to- 
wards the track now known as Yonge-street : they there were 
taken ashore and carried on trucks to the Holland river. The 
help gained by utilizing this piece of water-way must have been 
slight, when the difficulties to be overcome high up the stream 
were taken into account. We have conversed with an early in- 
habitant who, at a more recent period, had seen the North-west 
Company's boats drawn on trucks by oxen up the line of modem 
Yonge-street, but, in his day, starting, mounted in this manner, 
from the edge of the bay. In both cases they were shifted across 
from the Lake into the harbour at the "Carrying-place "—the nar- 
row neck or isthmus a little to the west of the mouth of the Don 
proper, where the lake has now made a passage. 

Toronto of Old. 



We add one more of the spectacles which, in the olden time, gave 
animation to the scene before vs Along the windmg stream, 
where in winter the sleigh^ vum ., - seen coming down, every 
summer at night would oe obscn-e(< a succession of movmg lights, 
each repeated in the dark water below. These were the iron cres- 
sets filled with unctuous pine knots all ablaze, suspended from 
short poles at the bows of the fishermen's skiffs, out in quest of 
salmon and such other large fish as might be deemed worth a 
thrust of the long-handled, sharply-bav\ed tnd.ui used m such 
onerations. Before the establishment of mills and factories, many 
hundreds of salmon were annually taken in the Don, as in all the 
other streams emptying into Lake Ontario. We^-« -"^^;- 
been out on a night-fishing excursion on the Don, when in the 
course of an hour some twenty heavy salmon were speared ; and 
we have a distinct recollection of the conspicuous appearance of 
the great fish, as seen by the aid of the blazing " jack at the bow, 
nozzling about at the bottom of the stream. 

2.— From Tyler's to the Big Bend. 

Not far from the spot where, at present, the Don-street bridge 
crosses the river, on the west side and to the north, lived for a 

ng me a hemlit-squatter, named Joseph Tyler, an old New Jer- 
sey man, of picturesque aspect. With his rather fine sharp shrewd 
features set off by an abundance of white hair and beard, he was 
re cou;terp^^ li an Italian artist's stock-model. The -ystery 
attendant on his choice of a life of complete solitude, his careful 
reserve his perfect self-reliance in regard to domestic matters, and, 
Tt the 'same time, the evident wisdom of his contrivances and 
was,an"he pro riety and saga few words, all helped 

To render him a good specimen in actual life of a secular anchorite. 
He had been in fact a soldier in the United States army, m the 
war of Independence, and was in the receipt of a pension from the 
Tther side of the lakes. He was familiar, he alleged, with the 
nersonal appearance of Washington. . ,^ -, r ,.. 

^ nrabode on the Don was an excavation m the jde of the 

. n hill a little way above the level of the river-bank. The flue of 

;Swin ;fir^^^^^^^^ 

thltu-side His sleeping-place or berth was exactly like one of 

1 recepta^^^^ for human remains in the Roman catacombs, an 


The Valley of the (Don. 


oblong recess, likewise carved in the dry matenul of the hill. To 
the south of his cave he cultivated a large garden, and raised among 
other things, the white sweet edible Indian com, a novelty here 
at the time ; and very excellent tobacco. He moreover manu- 
factured pitch and tar, in a little kiln or pit dug for the purpose 
close by his house. 

He built for himself a magnificent canoe, locally famous. It 
consisted of two large pine logs, each about forty feet long, well 
shaped and deftly hollowed out, fastened together by cross dove- 
tail pieces let in at regular distances along the interior of its bottom. 
While in process of construction in the pine woods through which 
the " Mill road" passes, on the high bank eastward of the river, it 
was a wonderment to all the inquisitive youth of the neighbour- 
hood, and was accordingly often visited and inspected by them. 
In this craft he used to pole himself down the windings of the 
stream, all the way round into the bay, and on to the landing-place 
at the foot of Caroline-street, bringing with him the produce of his 
garden, and neat stacks of pine knots, ready split for the fisher- 
men's lightjacks. He would also on occasion undertake the office 
of ferryman. On being hailed for the purpose, he would put 
across the rivci persons anxious to make a short cut into the town 
from the eastward. Just opposite his den there was for a time a 
rude causeway over the marsh. 

At the season of the year when the roads through the woods 
were impracticable, Tyler's famous canoe was employed by the 
Messrs. Helliwell for conveying into town, from a point high up 
the stream, the beer manufactured at their Breweries on the 
Don. We are informed by Mr. William Helliwell, of the Highland 
Creek, that twenty-two barrels at a time could be placed in it, 
in two rows of eleven each, laid lengthwise side by side, still leav- 
ing room for Tyler and an assistant to navigate the boat. 

The lar e piece of meadow land on the east side of the river, 
above T- er's abode, enclosed by a curve which the stream makes 
cowards the west, has a certain interest attached to it from the fact 
that therein was reproduced, for the first time in these parts, that 
peculiarly pleasant English scene, a hop-garden. Under the care of 
Mr. James Ca^e, familiar with tie hop in Sussex, this graceful and 
useful plant was here for several seasons to be seen passing through 
the succebsive stages of its scientifir cultivation ; in early spring 
sprouting from the surface of the rich black vegetable mould ] then 


Toronto of Old. 


trained gradually over, and at length clothing richly the poles or 
groups of poles set at regular distances throughout the enclosure ; 
overtopping thes'' supports ; by and by loading them heavily with 
a nlentiful crop of swaying clusters ; and then finally, when in a 
sufficiently mature state, prostrated, props and all, upon the ground, 
and stripped of their fragrant burden, the real object of all the 
pains taken. — From this field many valuable pockets of hops were 
gathered ; and the quality of the plant was pronounced to be good. 
Mr. Case afterwards engaged extensively in the same occupation 
in the neighbourhood of Newmarket. 

About the dry, sandy tableland that overlooked the river on 
each side in this neighbourhood, the burrows of the fox, often with 
little families within, were plentifully to be met with. The marmot 
too, popularly known as the woodchuck, was to be seen on sunny 
days sitting up upon its haunches at holes in the hill-side. We 
could at this moment point out tht ancient home of a particular 
animal of this species, whose ways we used to note with some curi- 
osity. — Here were to be found racoons also ; but these, like the 
numerous squirrels, black, red, flying and striped, were visible only 
towards the decline of summer, when the maize and the nuts 
began to ripen. At that period also, bears, he-bears and she-bears, 
accompanied by their cubs, were not unfamiliar objects, wherever 
the blackberry and raspberry grew. In the forest, moreover, here- 
about, a rustle in the underbrush, and something white seen danc- 
ing up and down in the distance like the plume of a mounted knight, 
might at any moment indicate that a group of deer had caught 
sight of one of the dreaded human race, and, with tails uplifted, 
had bounded incontinently away. 

Pines of a great height and thickness crowded the tops of these 
hills. The paths of hurricanes could be traced over extensive 
tracts by the fallen trunks of trees of this species, their huge bulks 
lying one over the other in a titanic confusion worthy of a sketch 
by Dor6 in illustration of Dante ; their heads all in one direction, 
their upturned roots, vast mats of woody ramifications and earth, 
presented sometimes a perpendicular wall of a great height. Occa- 
sionally one of these upright masses, originating in the habit of the 
pine to send out a wide-spread but shallow rootage, would unex- 
pectedly fall back into its original place, when, in the clearing of 
the land, the bole of the tree to which it appertained came to be 
gashed through. In this case it would sometimes happen that a 

*^M.' rta#.ft9^TV- *1^..4SJ*-^^ i-^L,-, 

1 17.] 

The Valley of the (Don. 


considerable portion of the trunk would appear again in a perpen- 
dicular position. As its top would of course show that human 
hands had been at work there, the question would be propounded 
to the new comer as to how the axe could have reached to such a 
height. The suppositions usually encouraged in him were, either 
that the snow must have been wonderfully deep when that par- 
ticular tree was felled, or else that some one of the very early set- 
tlers must have been a man of exceptional stature. 

Among the lofty pines, here and there, one more exposed than the 
rest would be seen, with a piece of the thickness of a strong fence- 
rail stripped out of its side, from its extreme apex to its very root, 
spirally, like the groove of a rifle-bore. It in this manner showed 
that at some moment it had been the swift conductor down into 
the earth of the contents of a passing electric cloud. One tree of 
the pine species, we remember, that had been severed in the midst 
by lightning, so suddenly, that the upper lialf had descended with 
perfect perpendicularity and such force that it planted itself up- 
right in the earth by the side of the trunk from which it had been 

Nor may we omit from our remembered phenomena of the pine 
forests hereabout, the bee-trees. Now and then a huge pine would 
fall, or be intentionally cut down, which would exhibit in cavernous 
recesses at a great distance from what had been its root end, the 
accumulated combs of, it might be, a half century ; those of them 
that were of recent construction, filled with honey. 

A solitary survivor of the forest of towering pines which, at the 
period to which we are adverting, covered the hills on both sides 
of the Don was long to be seen towards the northern limit of the 
Moss Park property. In the columns of a local paper this parti- 
cular tree was thus gracefully commemorated :— 

Oh ! tell to me, thou old pine tree, 

Oh ! tell to me thy tale, 
For long hast thou the thunder braved, 

And long withstood the gale ; 
The last of all thy hardy race, 

Thy tale now tell to me, 
For sure I am, it must be strange, 

Thou lonely forest tree. 

Yes, strange it is, this bending trunk, 

So withered now and grey, 
Stood once among the forest trees 

Which long have passed away : 
They fell in strength and beauty, 

Nor have they left a trace, 
Save my old trunk and withered limbs 

To show their former place. 



Toronto of Old. 


Countless and lofty once we stood ; 

Beneath our ample s'lade 
His forest home of boughs and bark 

The hardy red man made. 
Child of the forest, here he roamed, 

Nor spoke no>- thought of fear, 
As he trapped the beaver in his dam, 

And chased the bounding deer. 

No gallant ship with spreading sail 

Then ploughed those waters blue, 
Nor craft had old Ontario then. 

But the Indians' birch canoe ; 
No path was through the forest, 

Save that the red man trod ; 
Here, by your home, was his dwelling 

And the temple of his God. 

Now where the busy city stands, 

Hard by that graceful spire. 
The proud Ojibeway smoked his pipe 

Beside his camping fire. 
And there, where those marts of com- 
merce are 

Extending east and west. 
Amid the rushes in the marsh 

The wild fowl had its nest. 

But the pale face came, our ranks werfr 

And the loftiest were brought low, 
And the forest faded far and wide. 

Beneath his sturdy blow ; 
And the steamer on the quiet lake. 

Then ploughed its way of foam, 
And the red man fled from the scene of 

To find a wilder home. 

And many who in childhood's days 

Around my ' i unk have played, 
Are resting like the Indian now 

Beneath the cedar's shade ; 
And I, like one bereft of friends, 

With winter whitened o'er. 
But wait the hour that I must fall, 

As others fell before. 

And still what changes wait thee. 

When at no distant day, 
The ships of far off nations. 

Shall anchor in your bay ; 
When one vast chain of railroad, 

Stretching from shore to shore. 
Shall bear the wealth of India, 

And land it at your door. 

A short distance above the hop ground of which we have spoken^ 
the Don passed immediately underneath a high sandy bluff. Where,, 
after a long reach in its downward course, it first impinged against 
the steep cHff, it was very deep. Here was the only point in its 
route, so far as we recall, where the epithet was applicable which 
Milton gives to its English namesake, when he sp'^aks of — 

"Utmost Tweed, or Ouse, ox gulphy Don.'' 

This very noticeable portion of the river was known as the " Big 
Bend." (We may observe here that in retaining its English name, 
the Don has lost the appellation assigned to it by the French, if 
they ever distinguished it by a name. The Grand River, on the 
contrary, has retained its French name, notwithstanding its Eng- 
lish official designation, which was the Ouse. The Rouge, too, 
has kept its French name. It was the Nen. The Indians styled 
this, or a neighbouring stream, Katabokokonk, "The River of 



§1;.] The Valley of the (Don. 235 

Easy Entrance." The Thames, however, has wholly dropped its 
French title, LaTranche. We may subjoin that the Humber was 
anciently called by some, St. John's River, from a trader named 
St. John ; and by some, as we have already learnt, Toronto River. 
In Lahontan's map it is marked Tanaouat^. No interpretation is 
given.— Augustus Jones, the early surveyor of whom we shall have 
occasion frequently to speak, notes in one of his letters that the 
Indian name for the Don was Wonscoteonach, " Back burnt 
grounds ;" that is, the river coming down from the back burnt 
country, meaning probably the so-called Poplar Plains to the north, 
liable to be swept by casual fires in the woods. The term is simply 
descriptive, and not, in the modern sense, a proper name.) 

Towards the summit of the high bluff just mentioned, the holes, 
made by the sand-martins were numerous. Hereabout we have 
met with the snapping turtle. This creature has not the power of 
withdrawing itself wholly within a shell. A part of its protection 
consists in the loud threatening snap of its strong horny jaws, 
armed in front with a beak-like hook bent downwards. What the 
creature lays hold of, it will not let go. Let it grasp the end of a 
stout stick, and the sportsman may sling it over his shoulder, and 
so carry it home with him. When allowed to reach its natu- 
ral term of life, it probably attains a very great age. We re- 
member a specimen captured near the spot at which we are paus- 
ing, which, from its vast size, and the rough, lichen-covered con- 
dition of its shell, must have been extremely old. We also once 
found near here a numerous deposit of this animal's eggs ; all 
white and spherical, of the diameter of about an inch, and covered 
with a tough parchment-like skin. 

The ordinary lesser tortoises of the marsh were of course plenti- * 
ful along the Don : their young frequently to be met with creeping 
about, were curious and ever-interesting little objects. Snakes too 
there were about here, of several kinds : one, often very large and 
dangerous-lookmg, the copper-head, of a greenish brown colour, 
and covered with oblong and rather loose scales. The striped 
garter-snake of all sizes, was very common. Though reported to 
be harmless, it always indulged, when interfered with, in the menac- 
ing action and savage attempts to strike, of the most venomous of 
its genus. — Then there was the beautiful grass-green snake ; and in 
large numbers, the black water-snake. In tbe rank herbage along 
the river's edge, the terrified piping of a pursued frog was often heard. 


Toronto of Old. 


It recurs to us, as we write, that once, on the banks of the Hum- 
ber, we saw a bird actually in the grasp of a large garter-snake — 
just held by the foot. As the little creature fluttered violently in 
the air, the head of the reptile was swayed rapidly to and fro. All 
the small birds in the vicinity had gathered together in a state of 
noisy excitement ; and many spirited dashes were make by several 
of them at the common foe. No great injury having been as yet 
inflicted, we were enabled to effect a happy rescue. 

From the high sandy cliff", to which our attention has been drawn, 
it was possible to look down into the waters of the river ; and on 
a sunny day, it afforded no small amusement to watch the habits, 
not only of the creatures just named, but of the fish also, visible 
below in the stream ; the simple sunfish, for example, swimming 
about in shoals (or schools, as the term used to be) ; and the pike, 
crafty as a fox, lurking in solitude, ready to dart on his unwary 
prey with the swiftness and precision of an arrow shot from the 

J,.— from the Big Bend to Castle prank Brook. 

Above the " Big Bend," on the west side, was " Rock Point." 
At the V ater's edge hereabout was a slight outcrop of shaly rock, 
where crayusli were numerous, and black bass. The adjoining 
marsv.y Lind was covered with a dense thicket, in which wild goose- 
berry bushes and wild black-currant bushes were noticeable. The 
flats along here were a favourite haunt of woodcock at the proper 
season of the year : the peculiar succession of little twitters uttered 
by them when descending from their flight, and the very different 
deep-toned note, the signal of their having alighted, wei-* both very 
familiar sounds in the dusk of the evening. 

A little further on was " the Island." The channel between it 
and the " mainland" on the north side, was completely choked up 
with logs and large branches, brought down by the freshets. It 
was itself surrounded by a high fringe or hedge of the usual brush 
that Hned the river-side all along, matted together and clambered 
over, almost everywhere by the wild grape-vire. In the waters at 
its northern end, wild rice grew plentifully, and the beautiful sweet- 
scented white water-lily or lotus. 

This minute bit of insulated land possessed, to the boyish fancy, 
great capabilities. Within its convenient circuit, what phantasies 
and dreams might not be realized? A Juan Fernandez, a Bara- 

5 1 7-] 

The Valley of the (Don. 


taria, a New Atlantis. — At the present moment we find that what 
was once our charmed isle has now become ferra firma, wholly 
amalgamated with the mainland. Silt has hidden from view the 
tangled lodgments of the floods. A carpet of pleasant herbage has 
overspread the silt. The border-strip of shrubbery and grape-vine, 
which so delightfully walled it round, hus been improved, root and 
branch, out of being. 

Near the Island, on the left side, a rivulet, of which more imme- 
diately, pouring down through a deep, narrow ravine, entered the 
Don. On the right, just at this point, the objectionable marshes 
began to disappear, and the whole bottom of the vale was early con- 
verted into handsome meadows. Scattered about were grand elm 
and butternut, fine basswood and buttonwood trees, with small 
groves of the Canadian willow, which pleasantly resembles, in habit, 
the olive tree of the south of Europe. Along the flats, remains of 
Indian encampments were often met with ; tusks of bears and other 
animals ; with fragments of coarse pottery, streaked or furrowed 
rudely over, for ornament. And all along the valley, calcareous 
masses, richly impregnated with iron, were found, detached, from 
time to time, as was supposed, from certain places in the hill-sides. 

At the long-ago epoch when the land went up, the waters came 
down with a concentrated rush from several directions into the 
valley just here, from some accidental cause, carving out in their 
course, in the enormous deposit of the drift, a number of deep and 
rapidly descending channels, converging all upon this point. The 
drainage of a large extent of acreage to the eastward, also at that 
period, found here for a time its way into the Don, as may be seen 
by a neighbouring gorge, and the deep and wide, but now dry 
water-course leading to it, known, where the " Mill road" crosses 
it, as the " Big Hollow." 

Bare and desolate, at that remote era, must have been the ap- 
pearance of these earth-banks and ridges and flats, as also those in 
the vicinity of all our rivers : for many a long year they must have 
resembled the surroundings of some great tidal river, to which the 
sea, after ebbing, had failed to return. 

One result of the ancient down-rush of wat;rs, just about here, 
was that on both sides of the river there were to be observed seve- 
ral striking specimens of that long, thin, narrow kind of hill which 
is popularly known as a "hog's back." One on the east side 
afforded, along its ridge, a convenient ascent from the meadows to 


Toronto of Old. 


the table-land above, where fine views up and down the vale were 
obtainable, somewhat Swiss in character, including in the distance 
the lake, to the south. Overhanging the pathway, about half-way 
up, a group of white-birch trees is remembered by the token that, 
on their stems, a number of young men and maidens of the neigh- 
bourhood had, in sentimental mood, after the manner of the Cory- 
dons and Amaryllises of classic times, incised their names. 

The west side of the river, as well as the east, of which we have 
been more especially speaking, presented here also a collection of 
convergent " hog's backs" and deeply channelled water-courses. 
One of the latter still conducted down a living stream to the Don. 
This was the rivulet already noticed as entering just above the 
Island. It bore the graceful name of " Castle Frank Brook." 

4. — Castle Frank. 

Castle Frank was a rustic chateau or summer-house, built by 
Governor Simcoe in the midst of the woods, on the brow of a 
steep and lofty bank, which overlooks the vale of the Don, a short 
distance to the north of where we have been lingering. The con- 
struction of this edifice was a mere divertissement while engaged in 
the grand work of planting in a field literally and entirely new, 
the institutions of civilization. 

All the way from the site of the town of York to the front of this 
building, a narrow carriage-road and convenient bridle-path had 
been cut out by the soldiers, and carefully graded. Remains of 
this ancient engineering achievement are still to be traced along 
the base of the hill below the Necropolis and elsewhere. The 
brook— Castle Frank Brook— a little way from where it enters the 
Don, was spanned by a wooden bridge. Advantage being taken 
of a narrow ridge, that opportunely had its commencing point 
close by on the north side, the roadway here began the ascent of 
the adjoining height. It then ran slantingly up the hill-side, along 
a cutting which is still to be seen. The table-land at the summit 
was finally gained by utilizing another narrow ridge. It then pro- 
ceeded along the level at the top for some distance through a forest 
of lofty pines, until the chateau itself was reached. 

The cleared space where the building stood was not many yards 
across. On each side of it, the ground precipitously descended, 
.-a the one hand to the Don, on the other to the bottom of the 
ravine where flowed the brook, Notwithstanding the elevation of 













of a 

is of 
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iwumi'i t\.i\mm^'^'mmmmmmimmfF 

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Bpiikscllcrs & Slalionors. 



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♦ * 


The Valley of the 0on. 




position, ti.e view was circumscribe i, hi!!-side and tableland 
.ig alike covered with trees of the finest growth, 
ixstle Frank itself w is an edifice of f^onsiderable dimensions, of 
uu oblong shape ; its walls were composed of a number of rather 
small, carefully liewn logs, of short icngths. The whole wore the 
hue which unpainted timber, exposed to the weather, speedily as- 
sumes. At the gable end, in the direction of the roadway from 
the nascent capital, was the principal entrance, over which a rather 
imposing portico was formed by the projection of the whole roof, 
supported by four upright columns, reaching the whole height of 
the building, and consisting of the stems of four good-sized, well- 
matched pines, mth their deeply-chapped, corrugated bark unre- 
moved. The doors and shutters to the windows were all of double 
thickness, made of stout nlank, running up and down on one side, 
and crosswise on the othtr, and thickly studded over with the i;eads 
of stout nails. From the middle of the building rose a solitary, 
massive chimney-stack. 

We can picture to ourselves the cavalcade that was wont, from 
I'me to time, to be seen in the summers and autumns of i794-*5-'6, 

vending its way leisurely to the romantically situated chateau of 
istle Frank, along the reaches and windings, the descents and 

^cents of the forest road, expressly cut out through the primitive 

.oods as a means of access to it. 

First, mounted on a willing and well-favoured horse, as we will 
<■• oiyuse, there would be General Simcoe himself — a soldierly per- 
I honage, in the full vigour of life, advanced but little beyond his 
fortieth ijear, of thoughtful and stern, yet benevolent aspect — as 
shewn bythe medallion in marble on his monument in the cathe- 
dral at Ex«ter — revolving ever in his mind schemes for the develop- 
ment and defence of the new Society which he was engaged in 
founding; a Jtian "just, active, enlightened, brave, frank," as the 
French Duke de Liancourt described him in 1 795 ; " possessing 
the confidence of the country, of the troops, and of all those who 
were joined with him in the administration of public affairs." " No 
hillock catches his eye," the same observant writer remarks, " with- 
out exciting in his nvind the idea of a fort which might be con- 
structed on the spot, associating with the construction of this fort 
the plan of operations for a campaign ; especially of that which 
should lead him to Philadelphia,' /. <?., to recover, by force of arms, 
JO the allegiance of England, the Colonies recently revolted. 

! I 




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11.25 III 1.4 III 1.6 










WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-45Cut 


Toronto of Old, 


By the side of the soldier and statesman Governor, also on 
horseback, would be his gifted consort, small in person, " hand- 
some and amiable," as the French Duke again speaks, " fulfilling," 
as he continues to say, " all the duties of the mother and wife 
with the most scrupulous exactness ; carrying the latter so far,'^ 
DeLiancourt observes, " as to be of great assistance to her hus- 
band by her talent for drawing, the practice of which, in relation 
to maps and plans, enabled her to be extremely useful to the 
Governor," while her skill and facility and taste in a wider appli- 
cation of that talent were attested, the French traveller might have 
added, by numerous sketch-books and portfolios of views of 
Canadian scenery in its primitive condition, taken by her hand, 
to be treasured up carefully and reverently by her immediate de- 
scendants, but unfortunately not accessible generally to Canadian 

This memorable lady — memorable for her eminent Christian 
goodness, as well as for her artistic skill and taste, and superior 
intellectual endowments — survived to the late period of 1850. 
Her maiden name is preserved among uc by the designation borne 
by two of Mir townships, East and West " Gwillim"-bury. Her 
father, at the time one of the aides-de-camp to General Wolfe, was 
killed at the taking of Quebec. 

Conspicuous in the group would likewise be a young daughter 
and son, the latter about five years of age and bearing the name of 
Francis. The chateau of which we have just given an account 
was theoretically the private property of this child, and took its 
name from him, although the appellation, by accident as we sup- 
pose, is identical, in sound at all events, with that gf a certain 
" Castel-franc " near Rochelle, which figures in the history of the 
Huguenots. / 

The Iroquois at Niagara had given the Governor a title, ex- 
pressive of hospitality — Deyonynhokrawen, " One whose door is 
always open." They had, moreover, in Council declared his son 
a chief, and had named him Tioga ; or Deyoken, *' Between the 
Two Objects ;" and to humour them in return, as Liancourt in- 
forms us, the child was occasionally attired in Indian costume 
For most men it is well that the future is veiled from them. It 
happened eventually that a warrior's fate befell the young chief- 
tain Tioga. The little spirited lad who had been seen at one time 
moving about before the assembled Iroquois at Niagara, under a 











§ 1 7-] The Valley of the <B(m. 


certain restrain, probably, from the unwonted garb of embroidered 
deerskm, m which, on such occasions, he would be arrtS^ 
at another .m,e cumbering up and down the steep huSes^t 

«T« T' T\ *' '"""'' '"'Wof » f«e English boy was 
at last, after the lapse of some seventeen years SMn » ^1 71 
corpse, one in that ghastly pile of " English S' • wlL Tn "if 
closed up the breach at Badajoz. ' "' 

Riding with the Governor, out to his rustic lodge, would be 
seen also h.s attached secreta,y. Major Littlehales 11 ™e or 
other of his faithful aides-de-camp, Lieutenant Talbit or Lfeuter 
antGmns; w,th men in attendance in the dark green und ess "f 
the ftmous Queen's Ranges, with a sumpter pony or two beL ' 
packages arid baskets filled with a day's provender for the w2 
party A few dogs also, a black Newfoundland, a pointer T st 
ter, wh,,e and tan, hieing buoyantly about on the right ^d left 
would^pve an.mat.on to the cavalcade as it passed sedatet^ 

"Through toe green-glooming lwil[ght of Ihe pove," 

J^' *" "' '"'"'" '° ^^ '■"^' *= insicription on GenemI :-"Sacred tothemem^ 

oneitlh /r°"' Lientenant-General in the army, and c7 

Octb r Vr ^'''"'™' °"'""' "'"' '^''1 <-» *« 4h day of 
Ouober, ,806, aged 54. In whose life and character he virLs 

spi Is'l^r'""''"^ '•■'^''"^''^» '- - eminently ct! 
sptcuous, that .t may justly be said, he served his king and his 

couMrymth a zeal exceeded only by his piety towards God" 

Above this mscnption .s a medaUion portmit. On the right and 

left are figures of an Indian and a soldier of the Queen's Rangers , 

The rema.ns of the General are not deposited in Exeter CatheL 

but under a mortuary chapel on the estate of his family el whj« ' 

ch^r. f"^l '° ""'"^ ''™''' "^ ^''"''■'d abov; was once 
challenged on the supposed ground that in 1754 the e were no 
^ZllT"^ Canada-Horses were no d"u\t at till da" 
u^^f h.r *'™ "^Tt' *"" '""^ ""' P'o'^-'^ble for the 
Nilsl 'n °rr'.:'-'"%""'- '-^ " J°"™^' '° ^etroitfrom 
inTfr^ i- ''V ^ '^" I-""^'-^'"." printed for the first time 
m the Canadian LUerary Magazine, for May, ,833, we have it 

aTttT^d onh'e"",*^ "'""■ °^"" -P'-gP^^he/werm 
at the end of the plains, near the Salt Lake Creek, by Indians, 


Toronto of Old. 


^' bringing horses for the Governor and his suite." The French 
habitans about Sandwich and Detroit were in possession of horses 
in 1793, as well as their fellow countrymen in Lower Canada. 

After the departure of General Simcoe from Canada, Castle 
Frank was occasionally made the scene of an excursion or pic-nic 
by President Russell and his family ; and a ball was now and then 
given there, for which the appliances as well as the guests were 
conveyed in boats up the Don. At one time it was temporarily 
occupied by Captain John Denison, of whom hereafter. About 
the year 1829, the building, shut up and tenantless at the time, 
was destroyed by fire, the mischievous handiwork of persons en- 
gaged in salmon-fishing in the Don. A depression in the dry 
sand just beyond the fence which bounds the Cemetery of St. James, 
northward, shews to this day the exact site of Castle Frank. The 
quantity of iron that was gathered out from this depression after 
the fire, was, as we remember, something extraordinary, all the 
window shutters and doors having been, as we have said, made of 
double planks* fastened together with an immense number of stout 
nails, whose heads thickly studded the surface of each in regular 


The immediate surroundingsof the spot where Castle Frank stood, 
fortunately continue almost in their original natural state. Although 
the site of the building itself is outside the bounds of the Ceme- 
tery of St. James, a large portion of the lot which at first formed 
the domain of the chftteau, now forms a part of that spacious and 
picturesque enclosure. The deep glen on the west, immediately be- 
low where the house was built, and through which flows (and by the 
listener may be pleasantly heard to flow) the brook that bears its 
name, is to this day a scene of rare sylvan beauty. The pedes- 
trian from the town, by a half-hour's easy walk, can here place 
himself in the midst of a forest solitude ; and from what he sees 
he can form an idea of the whole surrounding region, as it was 
when York was first laid out. Here he can find in abundance, to 
this day, specimens, gigantic and minute, of the vegetation of the 
ancient woods. Here at the proper seasons he can still hear the 
blue jay ; the flute notes of the solitary wood-thrush, and at night, 
specially when the moon is shining bright, the whip-poor-will, hur- 
riedly and in a high key, syllabling forth its own name. 

S 17.] 

The Valley of the Q on. 


S'~On to the Ford and the Mills. 
We now resume our ramble up the vallev nf ti,» n xr , 

beautiful .pot.) '^ *' ^" ''» f« ^ th" most 

of his s™ Captain J 'rpuvl^lTK''"''''''''" "^ '"^ ""''> *« 
vania. When 'tf,e town :f?r2tathe"'o?""'' fro™ Pennsyl- 
cans in ,8,3, n,any of the ar™^" of Z'""'"''*'.'""™- 
Upper Canada were conveyerfor ifft. '"'""S P™™™ of 
these gentlemen But blT Z ''^=P'"8 to the houses of 

6 uciucn. But boats, with men and ofBcers fmm .1,. • 
vadmg foKe, found their „y up the windings rffeZ ""j 
such papers and documents as rl,?H k. c ! ° ' ""■• 

Just below Brumsnab, 0^^^ J I^:r:.r:ra„r; 

cloc, known in the n:ig:brrh:oVas* S tif ^. ^7-" 
completely clothed over «nfj, «, ^ • ^"e;ar J^oaf. It was 

whole valfey of he DoTw^* i^^^ItT! b"' "'''■ ^"^ *» ' 
.0 the summit of its now rondltni ^7* 7? '•"^''"^ 
Loaf," which is nearly on a leveTwith tt' "^ *' "^■'«" 


Toronto of Old. 



This pictviresque and curious mound is noticed by Sir James 
Alexander, in the account which he gives of the neighbourhood of 
Toronto in his "L'Acadie, or Seven Years' Explorations in British 
America" :—" The most picturesque spot near Toronto," says Sir 
James," and within four miles of it, is Drumsnab, the residence of 
Mr. Cayley. The mansion is roomy and of one storey, with a broad 
verandah. It is seated among fields and woods, on the edge of a 
slope ; at the bottom winds a river ; opposite is a most singular 
conical hill, like an immense Indian tumulus for the dead ; in the 
distance, through a vista cut judiciously through the forest, are 
seen the dark blue waters of Lake Ontario. The walls of the 
principal room are covered with scenes from Faust, drawn in fresco, 
with a bold and masteriy hand, by the proprietor."— (Vol. i. p. 230.) 

In the shadow thrown eastward by the " Sugar Loaf," there was 
a " Ford" in the Don, a favourite bathing-place for boys, with a 
clean gravelly bottom, and a current somewhat swift. That Ford 
was just in the line of an allowance for a concession road ; which 
from the precipitous character of the hills on both sides, has been 
of late years closed by Act of Pariiament, on the ground of its 
supposed impracticability for ever,— a proceeding to be regretted > 
as the highway which would traverse the Don valley at the Ford 
would be a continuation of Bloor street in a right line ; and would! 
form a convenient means of communication between Chester and 


In the meadow on the left, just above the Ford, a little mean- 
dering brook, abounding in trout, entered the Don. Hereabouts 
also was, for a long while, a rustic bridge over the main river, formed 
by trees felled across the stream. 

Proceeding on our way we now in a short time approached the 
great colony of the Helliwells, which has already been described. 
The mills and manufactories established here by that enterprising 
family constituted quite a conspicuous village. A visit to this 
cluster of buildings, in 1827, is described by Mr. W. L. Mackenzie, 
in his •' Sketches of Canada," published in London, by Effingham 
Wilson, in 1833. At page 270 of that work, the writer says : 
"About three miles out of town, in the bottom of a deep ravine, 
watered by the river Don, and bounded also by beautiful and ver- 
dant flats, are situated the York Paper Mills, distillery and grist- 
mill of Messrs. Eastwood & Co. ; also Mr. Shepard's axe-grinding 
machinery; and Messrs. Helliwell's large and extensive Brewery. 


The Valley of the (Don. 


I went out to view these improvements a few days ago, and re- 
turned much gratified with witnessing the paper-manufacture in ac- 
tive operation-as also the bold and pleasant scenery on the banks 
of the Don. The river might be made navigable with small expense 
up to the brewery ; and if the surrounding lands were laid out in 
five-acre lots all the way to town, they would sell to great ad- 
vantage. ' 



E return once more to the Don Bridge j and from 
that point commence a journey westward along the 
thoroughfare now known as Queen Street, but which 
at the period at present occupying our attention, 
was non-existent The region through which we at first 
pass was long known as the Park. It was a portion of Govern- 
ment property not divided into lots, and sold, until recent 


Orifjlnally a great space extending from the first Parliament 
houses, bounded southward and eastward by the water of the Bay 
and Don, and northward by the Castle Frank lot, was set apart 
as a "Reserve for Government Buildings," to be, it may be, accord- 
ing to the idea of the day, a small domain of woods and forest in 
connection with them ; or else to be converted in the course of 
time into a source of ways and means for their erection and main- 
tenance. The latter appears to have been the view taken of this 
property in 1811. "We have seen a plan of that date, signed " T. 
Ridout, S. G.," shewing this reserve divided into a number of 
moderate sized lots, each marked with " the estimated yearly rent, 
in dollars, as reported by the Deputy Surveyor [Samuel S. Wilmot]." 
The survey is therein stated to have been made " by order of His 
Excellency Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor. " 

The number of the lots is eighty-tliree. None of them bear a 
larger amount than twenty dollars. Some of them consisting of 
minute bits of marsh, were expected to yield not more than one 
dollar. The revenue from the whole if realised would have been 

§ 1 8.] Queen Street, from 7)on (Bridge, 245 

eleven hundred and thirty-three dollars. In this plan, what is now 
Queen street is duly laid down, in direct continuation of the Kings- 
ton Road westward, without regard to the engineering difficulties 
presented by ravines ; but it is entitled in large letters, " Dundas 
Street." On its north side lie forty-six, and on its south, thirty- 
seven of the small lots into which the whole reserve is divided 
The scheme was never carried into effect. 

The Park, as we remember it, was a tract of land in a state of 
nature, densely covered, towards the north, with massive pines ; 
and towards the south, with a thick secondary growth of the same 
forest tree. Through these woods ran a devious and rather obscure 
track, originating in the bridle-road cut out, before the close of the 
preceding century, to Castle Frank ; one branch led off from it to 
the Playter-estate, passing down and up two very steep and diffi- 
cult precipices ; and another, trending to the west and north, con- 
ducted the wayfarer to a point on Yonge Street about where York- 
ville is now to be seen. 

To the youthful imagination, the Park, thus clothed with veritable 
forest — 

The nodding horror of whose shady brows 
Awed the forlorn and wandering passenger — 

and traversed by irregular, ill-defined and very solitary paths, 
leading to widely-separated localities, seemed a vast and rather 
mysterious region, the place which immediately flashed on the 
mind, whenever in poem or fairy tale, a wild or wold or wilderness 
was named. As time rolled on, too, it actually became the haunt 
and hiding-place of lawless characters. 

After passing, on our left, the burial-plot attached to the first 
Roman Catholic Church of York, and arriving where Parliament 
Street, at the present day, intersects, we reached the limit, in that 
direction, of the " Reserve for Government Buildings." Stretching 
from the point indicated, there was on the right side of the way, a 
range of "park lots,"extending some two miles to the west, all bound- 
ed on the south by what at the present time is Queen Street, but 
which, from being the great thoroughfare along the front of this 
very range, was long known as " Lot Street." (In the plan above 
spoken of, it is marked, as already stated, "Dundas Street," it 
being a section of the great military way, bearing that name, pro- 
jected by the first Governor of Upper Canada to traverse the whole 


Toronto of Old. 


province from west to east, as we shall have occasion hereafter to 

In the early plan of this part of York, the names of the first 
locatees of the range of park-lots are given. On the first or eastern- 
most lot we read that of John Small. On the next, that of J. 

In this collocation of names there is something touching, when 
we recall an event in which the first owners of these two contigu- 
ous lots were tragically concerned. Friends, and associates in the 
Public Service, the one as Clerk of the Crown, the other as Attor- 
ney-General for Upper Canada, from 1 792-1800, their dream, 
doubtless, was to pass the evening of their days in pleasant sub- 
urban villas placed here side by side in the outskirts of the young 
capital. But there arose between them a difficulty, trivial enough 
probably at the beginning, but which, according to the barbaric 
conventionality of the hour, could only be finally settled by a 
" meeting," as the phrase was, in the field, where chance was to 
decide between them, for life or death, as between two armies — 
two armies reduced to the absurdity of each consisting of one man. 
The encounter took place in a pleasant grove at the back of the 
Parliament Building, immediately to the east of it, between what is 
now King Street and the water's edge. Mr. White was mortally 
wounded and soon expired. At his own request his remains were 
deposited in his garden on the park-lot, beneath a summer-house 
to which he had been accustomed to retire for purposes of study. 

The Oracle of Saturday, January 4, 1800, records the duel in 
the following words: — "Yesterday morning a duel was fought 
back of the Government Buildings by John White, Esq., his 
Majesty's Attorney-General, and John Small, Esq., Clerk of the 
Executive Council, wherein the former received a wound above 
the right hip, which it is feared will prove mortal." In the issue 
of the following Saturday, January nth, the announcement ap- 
pears : — " It is with much regret that we express to the public, 
the death of John White, Esq." It is added : " His remains 
were on Tuesday evening interred in a small octagon building, 
erected on the rear of his Park lot." "The procession," the 
Oracle observes, " was solemn and pensive ; and siiewed that 
though death, * all eloquent,' had seized upon him as his victim, 
yet it could not take fi-om the public mind the lively sense of his 
virtues. Vivit post funera virtus'' 

5 1 8.] Queen Street from (Don ^Bridge. 


The Constellation at Niagara, of the date January nth, 1800, 
also records the event, and enjoying a greater liberty of expression 
than the Government organ at York, indulges in some just and 
sensible remarks on the irrational practice of duelling in general, 
and on the sadness of the special case which had just occurred. 
We give the Constellation article : 

"Died at York, on the 3rd instant, John White, Esq.. Attorney- 
General of this Province. His death was occasioned by a wound 
he received in a duel fought the day before with John Small, Esq., 
Clerk of the Executive Council, by whom he was challenged. We 
have not been able to obtain the particulars of the cause of the 
dispute ; but be the origin what it may, we have to lament the 
toleration and prevalency of a custom falsely deemed honourable, 
or the criterion of true courage, innocency or guilt, a custom to 
gratify the passion of revenge in a single person, to the privation of 
the country and a family, of an ornament of society, and support : 
an outrage on humanity that is too often procured by the meanly 
malicious, who have preferment in office or friendship in view, 
without merit to gain it, and stupidly lacquey from family to family, 
or from person to person, some wonderful suspicion, the sugges- 
tions of a soft head and evil heart ; and it is truly unfortunate for 
Society that the evil they bring on others should pass by their 
heads to light on those the world could illy spare. We are un- 
willing to attribute to either the Attorney-General or Mr. Small 
any improprieties of their own, or to say on whom the blame lies ; 
but of this we feel assured, that an explanation might easily have 
been brought about by persons near to them, and a valuable life 
preserved to us. The loss is great ; as a professional gentleman, 
the Attorney-General was eminent, as a friend, sincere ; and in 
whatever relation he stood was highly esteemed ; an honest and 
upright man, a friend to the poor ; and dies universally lamented 
and we here cannot refuse to mention, at the particular request of 
some who have experienced his goodness, that he has refused 
taking fees, and discharged suits at law, by recommending to the 
parties, and assisting them with friendly advice, to an amicable ad- 
justment of their differences : and this is the man whom we have 

For his share in the duel Mr. Small was, on the 20th January, 
1800, indicted and tried before Judge AUcock and a jury, of which 
Mr. Wm. Jarvis was the foreman. The verdict rendered was " Not 



Toronto of Old, 


Guilty." The seconds were— Mr. Sheriff Macdonell for Mr. Small 
and the Baron DeHoen for Mr. White. ' 

(In 187 1, as some labourers were digging out sand for building 
purposes, they came upon the grave of Attorney-General White. 
The remains were carefully removed under the inspection of Mr. 
Clarke Gamble, and deposited in St. James' Cemetery.) 

Mr. White's park-lot became afterwards the property of Mr. 
Samuel Ridout, sometime Sheriff of the County, of whom we have 
had occasion to speak already. A portion of it was subsequently 
owned and built on by Mr. Edward McMahon, an Irish gentle- 
man, long well known and greatly respected as Chief Clerk in the 
Attorney General's office. Mr. McMahon's name was, for a time, 
preserved in that of a street which here enters Queen Street from 
the North. 

Sherborne Street, which at present divides the White park-lot 
from Moss Park commemorates happily the name of the old Dor- 
setshire home of the main stem of the Canadian Ridouts. The 
original stock of this family still flourishes in the very ancient and 
most interesting town of Sherborne, famous as having been in the 
Saxon days the see of a bishop; and possessing still a spacious 
and beautiful minster, familiarly known to architects as a fine study. 

Like some other English names, transplanted to the American 
continent, that of this Dorsetshire family has assumed here a pro- 
nunciation slightly different from that given to it by its ancient 
owners. What in Canada is Ri-dout, at Sherborne and its neigh- 
bourhood, is Rid-out. 

On the park-lot which constituted the Moss-Park Estate, the 
name of D. W. Smith appears in the original plan. Mr. D. W. 
Smith was acting Surveyor-General in 1794. He was the author 
of " A Short Topographical Description of His Majesty's Pro- 
vince of Upper Canada in North America, to which is annexed a 
Provincial Gazetteer :"— awork of considerable antiquarian interest 
now, preserving as it does, the early names, native, French and 
English, of many places now known by different appellations. A 
second edition was published in London in 18 13, and was design- 
ed to accompany the new map published in that year by W. Faden, 
Geographer to the King and Prince Regent. The original work 
was compiled at the desire of Governor Simcoe, to illustrate an 
eariier map of Upper Canada. 

We have spoken already in our progress through Front Street, of 

§ 1 8.] Queen Street from Qon (Bridge. 249 

the subsequent possessor of Mr. Smith's lot, Col. Allan. The resi- 
dence at Moss Park was built by him in comparatively recent 
times. The homestead previously had been, as we have already 
seen, at the foot of Frederick Street, on the south-east corner. To 
the articles of capitulation on the 27th April, 18 13, surrendering 
the town of York to Dearborn and Chauncey, the commanders of 
the United States force, the name of Col. Allan, at the time Major 
Allan, is appended, following that of Lieut.-Col. Chewett. 

Besides the many capacities in which Col. Allan did good ser- 
vice to the community, as detailed during our survey of Front 
Street, he was also, in 1801, Returning Officer on the occasion 
of a public election. In the Oracle of the 20th of June, 1801, 
we have an advertisement signed by him as Returning Officer for 
the "County of Durham, the East Riding of the County of York, 
and the County of Simcoe "—which territories conjointly are to 
elect one member. Mr. Allan announces that he will be in at- 
tendance " on Thursday, the 2nd day of July next, at 10 o'clock 
m the forenoon, at the Hustings under the Colonnade of the 
Government Buildings in the Town of York— and proceed to the 
election of one Knight to represent the said county, riding and 
county m the House of Assembly, whereof all freeholders of the 
said county, riding and county, are to take notice and attend ac- 

The writ, issuing from " His Excellency, Peter Hunter, Esq.," 
directs the returning officer " to cause one Knight, girt with a 
sword, the most fit and discreet, to be freely and indifferently cho- 
sen to represent the aforesaid county, riding and county, in Assem- 
bly, by those who shall be present on the day of election." 

Two candidates presented themselves, Mr. A. Macdonell and 
Mr. J. Small. Mr. Macdonell was duly elected, " there appear- 
ing for him," we are briefly informed in a subsequent number of 
the Oracle, "112 unquestionable votes; and for J. Small, Esq. 32 : 
majority, 80." 

In 1804 there was another election, when the candidates were 
Mr. A. Macdonell again, Mr. D. W. Smith, of whom above, and 
Mr. Weekes. The address of the last-named gentleman is in the 
Oracle of May 24th. It is addressed to the Free and Independent 
Electors of the East Riding of York. He says : « I stand uncon- 
nected with any party, unsupported by any influence, and unam- 
bitious of any patronage, other than the suffrages of those who 


Toronto of Old. 


consider the impartial enjoyment of their rights, and the free ex- 
ercise of their privileges as objects not only worthy of the vigilance 
of the legislator, but also essential to their political security and to 
their local prosperity. The opportunity of addressing myself to 
men who may be inclined to think with freedom, and to act with 
independency, is to me truly desirable ; and the receiving of the 
countenance and support of those characters, must ever bear in my 
mind impressions more than gratifying." 

" It will not accord with my sentiments," the address proceeds 
to say, " to express myself in the usual terms of zeal and fidelity 
of an election candidate ; inasmuch as that the principle of pre- 
vious assurances has frequently, in the exercise of the functions of 
representative, have been either forgotten or occasionally aban- 
jned ; but I hope it will not be considered vaunting in me to as- 
sert that that zeal and the fidelity which have manifested themselves 
in the discharge of my duty to my clients, will not be abated in 
supporting a more important trust — the cause of the public !" 

In the Oracle of April 7 th is an address put forth by friends on 
the part of Mr. D. W. Smith, who is at the moment absent. It is 
" to the free and independent electors of the County of Durham, 
the East Riding of the County of York, and the County of Sim- 
coe. " It runs as follows : " The friends of the Hon. D. W. Smith beg 
leave to offer that gentleman to represent you in the ensuing Parlia- 
ment. His honour, integrity and ability, and the essential services 
which, in different capacities, he hath rendered to the Province, 
are so well known and felt that his friends consider the mention- 
ing of his name only to be the most powerful solicitation which 
they can use on the present occasion, to obtain for him your favour 
and suffrage." To this address the following paragraph is added 
on May the 5th : " The friends of Mr. Smith consider it as their 
duty further to intimate, that from late accounts received from him 
in England, it was his determinstion to set out from that country 
so as to arrive here early in the summer of this present year." 

On the 2nd of May Mr. Macdonell's address came out. He 
speaks like a practised orator, accustomed to the outside as well as 
the interior of the House. He delivers himself in the following 
vigorous style : — 

" To the Worthy Inhabitants of the East Riding of the County 
of York, and Counties of Durham and Simcoe : Friends and Fel- 
low Subjects. In addressing you by appellations unusua 1, 1 believe. 

§ i8.] Queen Street from Qon (Bridge. 251 

on similar occasions, no affectation of singularity has dictated the 
innovation : my terms flow from a more dignified principle, a purer 
source of ideas, from a sentiment of liberal and extensive affection, 
which embraces and contemplates not only such of you as by law 
are qualified to vote, but also such as a contracted and short- 
sighted policy has restrained from the immediate enjoyment of that 
privilege. Your interests, inseparably the same, and alike dear 
and interesting to me, have always been equally my care ; and 
your good-will shall indiscriminately be gratifying, whether accom- 
panied with the ability of advancing my present pursuit, or con- 
fined to the wishes of my succeeding in it. 

" The anxious anticipation of events, which has engaged so 
many persons unto such early struggles to supplant me, forces me 
also to anticipate the dissolution of parliament, in declaring my 
disposition to continue (if supported by my friends at the next 
general election) in that situation which I have now the honour 
of filling in parliament ; a situation, which the majority of suffrages 
which placed me in it, justifies the honest pride of supposing, was 
not obtained without merit, and inspires the natural confidence of 
presuming, will not be lost without a fault. 

" I stoop with reluctance, gentlemen, to animadvert upon some 
puny fabrications calculated to mislead your judgment, and alien- 
ate your favour. It has been said that I am canvassing for a 
seat elsewhere. No ! gentlemen : the satisfaction, the pride, of 
representing that division of this Province, which, comprehend- 
ing the capital, is consequently the political head, is to me, too 
captivating an object of political ambition to suffer the view of it 
to be intercepted in my imagination for a moment, by the pro- 
spect of any inferior representation. Be assured, therefore, gen- 
tlemen, that I shall not forsake my present post, until you or life 
shall have forsaken me. 

" Another calumny of a darker hue has been fabricated. I have 
been represented as inimical to the provincial statute which re- 
strains many worthy persons migrating into this Province from 
voting at elections, under a residence of seven years, A more in- 
sidious, a more bare-faced falsehood, never issued from the lips of 
malice ; for during every session of my sitting in parliament, I 
have been the warmest, and loudest advocate for repealing that 
statute and for rendering taxation and representation reciprocal. 
" I shall notice a third expedient, in attempting which, detrac- 


Toronto of Old. 


tion (by resorting to an imposture so gross as to carry its own re- 
futation upon the very face of it) has effectually avowed its own 
impotency :— It has been whispered that I have endeavoured to 
increase the general rate of assessments within the Home District. 
Wretched misrepresentation ! I should have been my own enemy 
indeed, if I had lent myself to such a measure. On the contrary ; 
my maxim has been, and shall ever continue to be, that so much 
of the public burden as possible should be shifted from the shoul- 
ders of the industrious farmers and mechanics, upon those of the 
more opulent classes of the community ; persons with large sala- 
ries and lucrative employments : the shallow artifice of these ex- 
ploded lies suggests this natural reflection, that slander could find 
no real foundation to build upon, when reduced to the necessity 
of rearing its fabrics upon visions. 

"To conclude, gentlemen, I have no interests Separate from 
yours, no country but that which we inhabit in common. In all 
situations, under all circumstances, I have been the friend of the 
people and the votary of their rights. I have never changed with 
the times, nor shifted sides with the occasion ; and you may there- 
fore reasonably confide that I shall always be, gentlemen, your 
most devoted and most attached servant, A. Macdonell, York, 
2nd May, 1804." 

An attempt had also been made to induce Mr. R. Henderson 
to become a candidate at this election. He explained the reason 
why he declined to come forward, in the following card :— " The 
subscriber thinks it a duty incumbent on him thus publicly to 
notify his friends who wished him to stand as a candidate at the 
ensuing election for York and its adjacent counties ; that he de- 
clines standing, having special business that causes his absence at 
the time of the election. He hopes that his friends will be pleased 
to accept of his grateful acknowledgments for the honour they 
wished to confer c u him. But as there are several candidates who 
solicit the suffrages of the Public, they cannot be at a loss. He 
leaves you, gentlemen, to the freedom of your own will. He has 
only to observe that were he present on the day of election, he 
would give his vote to the Honourable David William Smith. I 
am. Gentlemen, your obedient, and obliged servant, R. Hender- 
son, York, 26th May, 1804." 

Mr. Henderson's occupation was afterwards that of a local army 
contractor, &c., as may be gathered from an advertisement which 

§ 1 8.] Queen Street from (Don <Bridge. 35, 

is to be observed in the OracU of September 6, .806:-" Notice 
The subsonber havmg got the contractfor supplying His Maje^^ 
^oops „ th garrison with fresh beef, takes the liberty oHn o™ 
■ng the pubhc that he has engaged a person to snperintendTe 
butchenng business, and that good fresh beef may be had th « 
..mes a week. Fresh pork and mutton will be always ready on a 
da/s nofce ; poultry, &c. Those gentlemen who m^ bfpLTed 

supphed If constant customers, &c., a note of the weishTwill 
be sent along with the article. Families becoming coSt cu 
omen, wrl, please to send a book by their servant' to havfit en-" 
toed to prevent any mistakes. The business will commence on 
Mon<tay, the ,st of September next. R. Henderson. YorlL™ 

In Ae' SI?' ''"""'^ "l**'- "*""=«<•■'■= &' <=a'tle was extensive. 
In the same paper we have a notice bearing his signature an 
nouncingthat " the subscriber has a considefable numbTo'f fet 

a uTT;' 'T ''""=™ '"= '°™ --^ *« number Th« 
are all bnmded on the horns with R. H." The notice continue! 

Ifany of said cattle should be offered for sale to butchlrs o^ 
others 1, IS hoped no one will purchase them, as they may up 
pose hem to be stolen. A number of fat ca tie is sriU win "S 
for which cash will be paid." "aniea. 

The result of the election at York in 1804 is announced in the 
£>*/.ofJune .6. As was probably to be expected, Mr. Mac- 
done^iw^ the man returned. Thus runs the paragkph : "0„ 
Mon^y last the nth instant, the election of a Kn^ht ,0 repre" 
sent the counties of Durham and Simcoe and the East Riding rf 
fte County of York, took place at the Government Buildings in this 
town. A. the close of the poll, Angus Macdonell was declared to 
be duly elected to represent the said counties and riding. We 
have not yet been able to collect any further returns," the Editor 
tmc- "" '°°" "' practicable they will be laid before the 

On the 4th of the following August, accordingly, the foUowine 
complete list was given of membei. returned a. the election of 
.804. Alexander Macdonell and W. B. Wilkinson, Esqrs., Glen 

Russell. John Chrysler, Dundas. Samuel Sherwood, Esq Gren 
vine. Peter Howard, Esq., Leeds. Allan McLean; Esq., r;^„ 


Toronto of Old. 


tenac. Thomas Dorland, Esq., Lennox and Addington. Ebene- 
zer Washburn, Esq., Prince Edward. David McGregor Rogers, 
Esq., Hastings and Northumberland. Angus Macdonell, Esq., 
Durham, Simcoe and East Riding of York. Solomon Hill and 
Robert Nelles, Esqrs., West Riding of York, First Lincoln/and 
Haldimand. Isaac Swayzey and Ralph Clench, Esqs., 2nd, 3rd 
and 4th Ridings of Lincoln. Benaiah Mallory, Esq., Norfolk, 
Oxford and Middlesex. John McGregor, Esq., Kent. Matthew 
Elliott and David Cowan, Esqrs., Essex. 

The Mr. Weekes who, as we have seen, was an unsuccessful 
candidate for a seat in parliament in 1804 was nevertheless a mem- 
ber of the House in 1806, representing the constituencies to which 
he had previously offered himself. In 1806 he was killed in a 
duel with Mr. Dickson at Niagara, another victim to the peculiar 
social code of the day, which obliged gentlemen on certain occa- 
sions of difference to fire pistols at each other. In the Oracle of 
the I ith of October, 1806, we read the announcement : " Died on 
Friday, the loth instant, at night, in consequence of a wound re- 
ceived that morning in a duel, William Weekes, Esq., Barrister-at- 
law, and a Member of the House of Assembly for the counties of 
York, Durham and Simcoe." In the next issue of the paper, 
dated October 25, 1806, we have a second record of the event in 
the following terms, with a eulogy on Mr. Weekes' character : " It 
is with sentiments of the deepest regret that we announce to the 
public the death of William Weekes, Esq., Barrister-at-law in this 
Province ; not only from the melancholy circumstances attendant 
on his untimely death, but also from a view of the many virtues 
this Province is deprived of by that death. In him the orphan 
has lost a father, the widow a friend, the injured a protector, 
society a pleasing and safe companion, and the Bar one of its 
ablest advocates. Mr. Weekes was honest without the show of 
ostentation. Wealth and splendour held no lure for him ; nor 
could any pecuniary motives induce him to swerve in the smallest 
degree from that which he conceived to be strictly honourable. 
His last moments were marked with that fortitude which was the 
characteristic of his life, convinced of the purity of which, he met 
death with pleasure. 

" His funeral was delayed longer than could have been wished, 
a form of law being necessary previous to that ceremony. He 
was interred on Tuesday, the fourteenth. His funeral," it is ad- 

§ 1 8.] Queen Street from (Don (Bridge. 255 

ded, " was attended by a respectable assemblage of people, from 
the house of John MacKay, Esq., in the following order — 
mourners, John MacKay, Esq. ; three Members of the House* of 
Assembly, of which he was a member: viz., Ralph Clench, J 
bwaya^ey, Robert Nelles ; Dr. West, Surgeon of the American gL 
rison, Dr. Thomas, 41st Regt, Dr. Muirhead, Niagara; the Gen- 
tlemen of the Bar ; the Magistrates of the place ; and a numerous 
concourse of people from town and country." 

This duel, as we have been informed, was fought on the United 
btates side of the river, near the French Fort. 

Mr. Weekes, we believe, was an unmarried man. He was fond 
of solitary rambles in the woods in search of game. Once he was 
so long missing that foul play was suspected ; and some human re- 
mains having been found under a heap of logs on the property of 
Feter Ernest, Peter Ernest was arrested; and just as the evi- 
dence was all going strongly against him, Mr. Weekes appeared 
on the scene alive and well. 

One more of these inhuman and unchristian encounters, with 
fatal result, memorable in the early annals of York, we shall have 
occasion to speak of hereafter when, in our intended progress up 

?/%?f ^'*' ^^ P^'' *^^ 'P°' ""^^'^ *^^ tragedy was enacted. 

Mr. Weekes was greatly regretted by his constituents. « Over- 
whelmed with grief," they say in their address dated the 20th 
September 1806, to the gentleman whom they desire to succeed 
hitn, at the unexpected death of our late able and upright Repre 
sentative; we, freeholders of these Counties of York, Durham and 
bimcoe, feel that we have neglected our interests in the season of 
sorrow. Now awake, it is to you we turn ; notwithstanding the 
great portion of consolation which we draw from the dawning of 
our impartial and energetic administration. (The allusion is to 
uov. Gore.) 

" Fully persuaded that the great object of your heart is the ad- 
vancement of public prosperity, the observance of the laws and 
the practice of religion and morality, we hasten with assurances 
ot our warmest support, to invite you from your retreat to repre- 
sent us in Pariiament. Permit us, however, to impress upon you, 
that as subjects of a gene: ..and beloved King ; as a part of that 
great nation which has for so long a time stood the bulwark of 
t-urope, and is now the solitary and inaccessible asvlum of liberty 
as the children of Englishmen, guarded, protected'and restrained 


Toronto of Old. 


by English laws; in fine, as members of their community, as fathers 
and sons, we are induced to place this confidence in your virtue, 
from the firm hope that, equally insensible to the impulse of pop- 
ular feehng and the impulse of power, you will pursue what is 
right This has been the body of your decisions ; may it be the 
spirit of your counsels ! (Signed by fifty-two persons, residing in 
the Town and Township of York.)" The names not given. 

These words were addressed to Mr. Justice Thorpe. His re- 
ply was couched in the following terms : " Gentlemen : With plea- 
sure I accede to your desire. If you make me your representative 
I will faithfully discharge my duty. Your confidence is not mis- 
placed. May the first moment of dereliction be the last of my ex- 
istence. Your late worthy representative I lament from my heart. 
In private he was a warm friend ; at the Bar an able advocate, 
and in Parliament a firm patriot. It is but just to draw consola- 
tion from our Governor, when the first act of his administration 
granted to those in the U. E. list and their children, what your 
late most valuable member so strenuously laboured to obtain. 
Surely from this we have every reason to expect that the liberal 
mterests of our beloved sovereign, whose chief glory is to reign 
triumphantly enthroned on the hearts of a free people, will be ful- 
filled, honouring those who give and those who receive, enriching 
the Province and strengthening the Empire. Let us cherish this 
hope in the blossom ; may it not be blasted in the ripening." A 
postscript is subjoined: « P. S. If influence, threat, coercion or 
oppression should be attempted to be exercised over any individual, 
for the purpose of controlling the freedom of election, let me be 
informed. — R, T." 

In 1806 Judges were not ineligible to the Upper Canadian 
Pariiament. Mr. Justice Thorpe and Governor Gore did not agree. 
He was consequently removed from oflice. Some years later, 
when both gentlemen were living in England as private persons,' 
Mr. Thorpe brought an action for libel against Mr. Gore, and ob- 
tained a favourable verdict. 

We now proceed on our prescribed course. So late as 1833, 
Walton, in his " York Commercial Directory, Street Guide, and 
Register," when naming the residents on Lot Street, as he still 
designates Queen Street, makes a note on arriving at two park lots 
tothe westward of the spot where we have been pausing, to the 
effect, that "here this street is intercepted by the grounds of 

§ i8.] Queen Street from (Don (Bridge. 257 

Capt McGill, S. P. Jarvis, Esq., and Hon. W. Allan ; past here 
It IS open to the Roman Catholic Church, and intended to be ear- 
ned through to the Don Bridge." 

The process of levelling up, now become so common in Toronto 
has effectually disposed of the difficulty temporarily presented by 
the ravme or ancient water-course, yet partially to be seen either 
m front of or upon the park lots occupied by the old inhabitants 
just named ; and Queen Street, at the present hour, is an uninter- 
rupted thoroughfare in a right line, and almost on a level the whole 
way, from the Don in the east to the Lunatic Asylum in the west 
and beyond, on to the gracefully curving margin of Humber 
Bay.— (The unfrequented and rather tortuous Britain Street is a 
rehc of the deviation occasioned by the ravine, although the actual 
route followed m making the detour of old was Duchess Street ) 




LITTLE to the south of Britain Street, between it 
and Duchess Street, near the spot where Caroline 
Street, shghtly diverging from the right line, passes 
northward to Queen Street, there stood in the early 
day a long, low wooden structure, memorable to our- 
selves, as being, in our school-boy days, the Govern- 
ment Printing Office. Here the Upper Canada Gazette 
was issued, by " R. C. Home, Printer to the King's Most Excel- 
lent Majesty." 

We shall have occasion hereafter to notice among our early in- 
habitants some curious instances of change of profession. In the 
present case. His Majesty's Printer was in reaUty an Army Sur- 
geon, once attached to the Glengary Light Infantry. And again, 
afterwards, the same gentleman was for many years the Chief Tel- 
ler in the Bank of Upper Canada. An incident in the troubles of 
1837 was "the burning of Dr. Home's house," by a party of the 
malcontents who were making a show of assault upon the town. The 
site of this building, a conspicuous square two-storey frame family 
residence, was close to the toll-bar on Yonge Street, in what is now 
Yorkville. On that occasion, we are informed. Dr. Home " be- 
rated the Lieutenant-Governor for treating with avowed rebels, 
and insisted that they were not in sufficient force to give any ground 
of alarm." 

The Upper Canada Gazette was the first newspaper published in 
Upper Canada. Its first number appeared at Newark or Niagara, 

5 1 9-] Queen Street — The Early fpress. 259 

on Thursday, the i8th of April, 1793. As it was apparently ex- 
pected to combine with a record of the acts of the new govern- 
ment some account of events happening on the continent at large, 
it was made to bear the double title of [/p/>er Canada Gazette, or 
American Oracle. Louis Roy was its first printer, a skilled artizan 
•engaged probably from Lower Canada, where printing had been 
introduced about thirty years previously, soon after the English 
occupation of the country. 

Louis Roy's name appears on the face of No. i. Vol. I, The 
type is of the shape used in contemporaneous printing, and the 
■execution is very good. The size of the sheet, which retained the 
folio form, was 15 by 9>^ inches. The quality of the paper was 
rather coarse, but stout and durable. 

The address to the public in the first number is as follows : 

*' The Editor of this paper respectfully informs the public that the 
flattering prospect which he has of an extensive sale for his new 
undertaking has enabled him to augment the size originally pro- 
posed from a Demy Quarto to a Folio. 

" The encouragement he has met will call forth every exertion 
he is master of, so as to render the paper useful, entertaining and 
instructive. He will be very happy in being favoured with such 
<:ommunications as may contribute to the information of the pub- 
lic, from those who shall be disposed to assist him, and in parti- 
cular shall be highly flattered in becoming the vehicle of intelli- 
gence in this growing Province of whatever may tend to its internal 
benefit and common advantage. In order to preserve the veracity 
of his paper, which will be the first object of his attention, it will 
be requisite that all transactions of a domestic nature, such as 
deaths, marriages, &c., be communicated under real signatures. 

" The price of this Gazette will be three dollars per annum. All 
advertisements inserted in it, and not exceeding twelve lines, will 
pay 4s. Quebec currency ; and for every additional line a pro- 
portionable price. Orders for letter-press printing will be executed 
with neatness, despatch and attention, and on the most reasonable 

An advertisement in the first number informs the public that a 
Brewery is about to be established under the sanction of the Lieut- 
enant-Governor. " Notice is hereby given, that there will be a 
Frewery erected here this summer under the sanction of His Ex- 
cellency the Lieutenant-Governor, and encouraged by some of the 


Toronto of Old. 

[§ 19- 

principal gentlemen of this place ; and whosoever will sow barley 
and cultivate their land so that it will produce grain of a good 
quality, they may be certain of a market in the fall at one dollar a 
bushel on delivery. W. Huet, Niagara, i8th April, 1793." 

The number dated Niagara, May 2, 1793, "hath" the following 
advertisement:— "Sampson Jutes begs leave to inform all per- 
sons who propose to biiild houses, &c., in the course of this sum- 
mer, that he hath laths, planks and scantlings of all kinds to sell 
on reasonable terms. Any person may be supplied with any of 
the above articles on the shortest notice. Applications to be made- 
to him at his mill near Mr. Peter Secord's." 

In the Number for May 30, 1793, we have ten guineas reward 
offered for the recovery of a Government grindstone :—*' Tea 
Guineas Reward is offered to any person that will make discovery 
and prosecute to conviction, the Thief or Thieves that have stolen 
a Grindstone from the King's Wharf at Navy Hall, between the 
30th of April and the 6th instant. John McGill, Com. of Stores, 
&c., &c., for the Province of Upper Canada. Queenstown, i6th 

May, 1793." 

The Anniversary of the King's Birth-day was celebrated at Nia- 
gara in 1793, in the following manner : — "Niagara, June 6. On 
Tuesday last, being the Anniversary of His Majesty's birthday. His. 
Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor had a Levee at Navy Hall. 
At one o'clock the troops in garrison and at Queenston fired three 
volleys ; the field-pieces above Navy Hall, under the direction of 
the Royal Artillery, and the guns of the Garrison, fired a Royal 
Salute. His Majesty's schooner, the Onondago, at anchor in the 
river, likewise fired a Royal Salute. In the evening His Excel- 
lency gave a Ball and elegant Supper at the Council Chamber, 
which was most numerously attended." 

In the second volume (1794) of the Gazette and Oracle, Louii 
Roy's name disappears. G. Tiffany becomes the printer. In 1798 
it has assumed the Quarto form, and is dated " West Niagara," a 
name Newark was beginning to acquire. 

No Gazette is issued April 29th, 1 798. An apology for the omis- 
sion constitutes the whole of the editorial of the Number for 
May 5. It says : "The Printer having been called to York last week 
upon business, is humbly tendered to his readers as an apology for 
the Gazette's not appearing." 

In 1799, the Gazette being about to be removed across per- 

? 19'] Qu^&n Street — The Early (Press. 


•manently to York, the new capital, whither also all the govern- 
ment offices were departing, Messrs. S. and G. Tiffany decide on 
starting a newspaper on their own account for Niagara. It is 
■called the " Canada ConsM/a/ion," and its terms are four dollars per 
annum. It is announced to appear weekly " opposite the Lion 
tavern." The date of the first number is July 20. In the intro- 
xiuctory address to the public, the Messrs. Tiffany make use of the 
following rather involved language : — " It is a truth long acknow- 
leged that no men hold situations more influential of the minds 
and conduct of men than do printers : political printers are sucked 
from, nursed and directed by the press : and when they are just, 
the community is in unity and prosperity ; but when vicious, every 
evil ensues ; and it is lamentable that many printers, either vile re- 
miss in, or ignorant of, their duty, produce the latter or no effect ; 
and to which of these classes we belong, time will unfold." 

The public means of maintaining a regular correspondence with 
the outer world being insufficient, the enterprising spirit of the 
Messrs. Tiffany led them to think of establishing a postal system 
of their own. In the Constellation for August 23, we have the an- 
nouncement : " The printers of the Constellation are desirous of 
establishing a post on the road from their office to Ancaster and 
the Grand River, as well as another to Fort Eric ; and for this 
purpose they propose to hire men to perform the routes as soon as 
the subscriptions will allow of the expense. In order to establish 
the business, the printers on their part will subscribe generously, 
and to put the design into execution, but little remains for the 
people to do." 

We can detect in the Constellation a natural local feeling against 
the upstart town of York, which had now drawn away almost every 
thing from the old Newark. Thus in the number for November 
the 14th, 1799, a communication from York, signed Amicus, is ad- 
mitted, written plainly by one who was no great lover of the place. 
It affords a glimpse of the state of its thoroughfares, and of the 
habits of some of its inhabitants. Amicus proposes a " Stump 
Act" for York ; i. e., a compulsory eradication of the stumps in 
the streets : so that " the people of York in the space of a few 
months may " as he speaks, " relapse into intoxication with im- 
punity ; and stagger home at any hour of the night without en- 
countering the dreadful apprehension of broken necks." 

The same animus gives colour to remarks on some legal verbi- 


Toronto of Old. 


age recently employed at York. Under the heading " Interesting 
Discovery " we read : " It has bedn lately found at York that in 
England laws are made ; and that a law made in England is the 
law of England, and is enforced by another law ; that many law» 
are made in Lower Canada and follow up, that is, follow after, or 
in other words are made since, other laws ; and that these laws- 
may be repealed. It is seldom," continues the writer in the- 
Constellation^ " that so few as one discovery slips into existence at 
one birth. Genius is sterile, and justly said to be like a breeding 
cat, as is verified in York, where by some unaccountable fortuity 
of events all genius centres ; at the same time with the above, its 
twin kitten came forth, that an atheist does not believe as a 

In another number we have some chaffing about the use of the- 
word capital. In an address on the arrival of Governor Hunter, 
the expression, "We, the inhabitants of the Capital," had occurred^ 
" This fretted my pate," the critic pretends to complain. " What 
can this be i* Surely it is some great place in a great country was 
my conclusion ; but where the capital is, was a little beyond my 
geographical acquaintance. I had recourse to the books," he con- 
tinues : " all the gazettes and magazines from the year One I care- 
fully turned over, and not one case among all the addresses they 
contained afforded me any instruction : ' We, the inhabitants of 
the cities of London and Westminster, of Edinburgh, Dublin, 
Paris, &c.,' only proved to me that neither of these is the Capital. 
But as these are only little towns in young countries, and cannot 
be so forward as to take upon themselves the pompous title of 
capital, it must be in America." He then professes to have con- 
sulted the Encyclopedia Eboretica, or, " A Vindication in support 
of the great Utility of New Words," lately printed in Upper '"\ t- 
ada, and to have discovered therein that xne Capital in ques^'o > 
"was, in plain English, York." He concludes, therefore 
whenever in future the expression " We, the inhabitants of the 
Capital " is met with, it is to be translated into the vernacular 
tongue, "We, the inhabitants of York, assembled at McDou- 
gall's, Ac." 

There is w-ntijia made above of a Stump Act. We have been 
assured that sue"*:- a 1^ gulation was, at an early day, in force at 
York, as a deterrent from drunkenness. Capt. Peeke, who burnt 
lime at Duffin's Creek, and shipped it to York in his own vessel. 


§ 19.] i2«^^« street— The Early ^ress. 263 

before the close of the last century, was occasionally inconven- 
ienced by the working of the Stump Act. His men whom he had 
brought up with him to assist in navigating his boat would be 
found, just when especially wanted by himself, laboriously en- 
gaged in the extraction of a great pine-root in one or other of the 
public thoroughfares of the town, under sentence of the magistrate, 
for having been found, on the preceding day, intoxicated in the 


The Constellation newspaper does not appear to have succeeded. 
Early in 1801 a new paper comes out, entitled the Herald. In it, 
it is announced that the Constellation, " after existing one year, ex- 
pired some months since of starvation, its publishers departing too 
much from its constitution (advance pay)." The printer is now 
Silvester Tiffany, the senior proprietor of the Constellation. It is 
very well printed with good type ; but on blue wrapping paper. 
In little more than two years, viz., on the 4th June, 1802, it it an- 
nounced that the publication of the Jferald is suspended; that it 
will appear only " on particular occasions ;" but Mr. Tiffany hopes 
it " will by and by receive a revival." Other early papers pub- 
lished at the town of Niagara were the Gleaner, hy ivlr. Heron; 
the Reporter ; the Spectator. The Mail was established so late as 
1845. Its publication ceased in 1870, when its editor, Mr. Kirby, 
was appointed to the coUectorship of the Port of Niagara. Down 
to 1870 Mr. Tiffany's "imposing stone," used in the printing of 
the Constellation, did duty in the office of the Mail. 

In 1800, the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle\%\s%wtd. 
at York, weekly, from the office of William Waters and T. G. 
Simons. In the number for Saturday, May the 17th, in that year, 
we read that on the Thursday evening previous, " His Excellency 
Peter Hunter, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in- 
Chief of the Province, arrived in our harbour on board the Toronto ; 
and on Friday morning, about nine o'clock, landed at the Garri- 
son, where he is at present to reside." 

We are thus enabled to add two items to the table of dates 
usually given, shewing the introduction of Printing at different 
points on this Continent : viz., the dates 1793 and 1800 for Nia- 
gara and York respectively. The table will now stand as follows :— 
1639, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Stephen Day and Samuel 
Green; 1674, Boston, John Foster; 1684, Philadelphia, Wm. 
Bradford; 1693, New York, Wm. Bradford (removed from Phila- 




Toronto of Old. 


delphia) ; 1730, Charleston, Eleazer Phillips ; 1730, Bridgetown, 
Barbadoes, David Harry and Samuel Keimer ; 175 1, Halifax, Nova 
Scotia, Bartholomew Green, jun., and John Bushell; 1764, Que- 
bec, Wm. Brown and Thos. H. Gilmore ; 1771, Albany, Alex, and 
Jas. Robertson ; 1775, Montreal, Chas. Berger and Fleuiy Mes- 
plet; 1784, St. George's, Bermuda, J. Stockdale ; 1793, Newark 
(Niagara), Louis Roy ; 1795, Cincinnati, S. Freeman ; 1800, York 
(Toronto), Wm. Waters and T. G. Simons. 

As at York and Niagara, the first printers in most of the places 
named were publishers of newspapers. 

It may be added that a press was in operation in the City of 
Mexico in 1569 ; and in the City of Lima in 162 1. The original 
of all the many Colonial Government Gazettes was the famous 
royal or exclusively court news sheet, published first at Oxford, in 
November, 1665, entitled the Oxford Gazette, and in the following 
year, at London, and entitled then and ever afterwards to this day, 
the London Gazette. 

In 1 80 1, J. Bennett succeeds Messrs. Waters and Simons, and 
becomes the printer and publisher of the Gazette or Oracle. In 
that year the printing-oflSce is removed to " the house of Mr. A. 
Cameron, King Street," and it is added, "subscriptions will be re- 
ceived there and at the Toronto Coffee House, York." From 
March 21st in this year, and onward for six weeks, the paper ap- 
pears printed on blue sheets of the kind of material that used for- 
merly to be seen on the outsides of pamphlets and magazines and 
Government " Blue-books." The stock of white paper has plainly 
run out, and no fresh supply can be had before the opening of the 
navigation. The Herald, at Niagara, of the same period, appear- 
ed, as we have already noticed, in the like guise. 

On Saturday, December 20th, 1801, is this statement, the whole 
of the editorial matter : " It is much to be lamented that commun- 
ication between Niagara and this town is so irregular and unfre- 
quent : opportunities now do not often occur of receiving the 
American papers from our correspondents ; and thereby prevents 
us for the present from laying before our readers the state of poli- 
tics in Europe." In the number for June :3th, the editorial 
"leader" reads as follows :— "The Oracle, York, Saturday, June 
13th. Last Monday was a day of universal rejoicing in this town, 
occasioned by the arrival of the news of the splendid victory gained 
by Lord Nelson over the Danes in Copenhagen Roads on the 2nd 

§ 19'] Queen Street— The Early <Press. 265 

of April last : in the morning the great guns at the Garrison were 
fired : at night there was a general illumination, and bonfires blazed 
in nlriost every direction." The writer indulges in no fiirther 

It would have been gratifying to posterity had the printers of 
the Gazette and Oracle endeavoured to furnish a connected record 
of " the short and simple annals " o: their own immediate neigh- 
bourhood. But these unfortunately were deemed undeserving of 
much notice. We have announcements of meetings, and projects, 
and subscriptions for particular purposes, unfollowed by any ac- 
count of what was subsequently said, done and effected ; and when 
a local incident is mentioned, the detail is generally very meagre. 
An advertisement in the number for the 27th August, 1801, re- 
minds us that in the eariy history of Canada it was imagined that 
a great source of wealth to the inhabitants of the country in all 
future time would be the ginseng that was found growing naturally 
in the swamps. The market for ginseng was principally China, 
where it was worth its weight in silver. The word is said to be 
Chinese for "all-heal." In 1801 we find that Mr. Jacob Herch- 
mer, of York, was speculating in ginseng. In his advertisement 
in the Gazette and Oracle he " begs leave to inform the inhabitants 
of York and its vicinity that he will purchase any 4uantity of gin- 
seng between this and the first of November next, and that he 
will give two shillings. New York currency, per pound well dried, 
and one shilling for green." 

At one period, it will be remembered, the cultivation of hemp 
was expected to be the mainstay of the country's prosperity. In 
the Upper Canada Almanac for 1804, among the public officers 
we have set down as " Commissioners appointed for the distribu- 
tion of Hemp Seed (gratis) to the Farmers of the Provinces, the 
Hon. John McGiil, the Hon. David W. Smith, and Thomas Scott, 

The whole of the editorial matter of the Gazette and Oracle on 
the 2nd of January, 1802, is the following: "The Oracle, York, 
Saturday, January 2, 1802. The Printer presents his congratulary 
compliments to his customers on the New Year." Note that the 
the dignified title of Editor was yet but sparingly assumed. That 
term is used once by Tiffany at Newark, in the second volume. 
After the death of Governor Hunter, in September, 1805, J. Ben- 
nett writes himself down " Printer to the King's Most Excellent 

266 Toronto of Old. [§19- 

Majesty." Previously the colophon of the publication had been : 
"York, printed by John Bennett, by the authority of His Excel- 
lency Peter Hunter, Esq., Lieut.-Governor." 

Happening to have at hand a bill of Bennett's against the Gov- 
ernment we give it here. The modern reader will be able to form 
from this specimen an idea of the extent of the Government re- 
quirements in 1805 in regard to printing and the cost thereof. We 
give also the various attestations appended to the account :— 

York, Upper Canada, 24th June, 1805. 

The Government of Upper Canada, 

To John Bennett, Government Printer. 
Jan. II. 300 copies Still Licenses, % sheet foolscap, pica type. ... o 16 6 
March 30. Printing 20 copies of an Act for altering the time of is- 
suing Licenses for keeping of a House of Public En- 
tertainment, % sheet demy, pica type ■ 034 

April 5. Inserting a Notice to persons taking out Shop, Still or 
Tavern Licenses, 6 weeks in the Gazette, equal to 4>^ 

advertisements I 10 o 

April 16. 1,000 copies of Proclamation, warning persons that pos- 
sess and occupy Lands in this Province, without due 
titles having been obtained for such Lands, forthwith 
to quit and remove from the same, yi sheet demy, 

double pica type 4 '^ 4 

April 22. 100 copies of an Act to afford relief to persons entitled to 
claim Land in this Province as heirs or devisees of the 

nominees of the Crown, one sheet demy, pica type 3 63 

Printing Marginal notes to do 050 

May 14. Printing 1,500 copies of the Acts of the First Session of 

the Fourth Pariiament, three sheets demy, pica type.... 45 o o 

Marginal Notes to do., at 5s. per sheet o 15 o 

Folding, Stitching and Covering in Blue Paper, at id... 6 50 

Halifax currency £^i 5 9 

Amounting to sixty-three pounds five shillings and nine-pence Halifax cur- 
rency. Errors excepted. 

(Signed) John Bennett. 

John Bennett, of the Town of York, in the Home District, maketh oath and 
saith, that the foregoing account amounting to sixty-three pounds five shillings 
and ninepence Halifax currency, is just and true in all its particulars to the best 

of his knowledge and belief. 

(Signed) John Bennett. 

Sworn before me at York, this 20th day of July, 1805. 

(Signed) Wm. Dummer Powell, J. 

§ 1 9-] Queen Street — The Early (Press. 


Audited and approved in Council 6th August 1805. 

(Signed) Peter Russell, 

Presiding Councillor. 

(Signed) John McGill, 

Inspector Genl. P. P. Accts. 
[A true copy.] 

John McGill, 

Inspector Gen. P. P. Accts. 

Bennett published " The Upper Canada Almanac," containing 
with the matter usually found in such productions the Civil and 
Military Lists and the Duties, Imperial and Provincial. This work, 
was admirably printed in fine Elzevir type, and in aspect, as well 
as arrangement, was an exact copy of the almanacs of the day pub- 
lished in London. 

A rival Calendar continued to be issued at Niagara entitled 
" Tiffany's Upper Canada Almanac." This was a roughly-printed 
little tract, and contained popular matter in addition to the official 
lists. It gave in a separate and very conspicuous column in each 
month " the moon's place " on each day in respect to a distinct 
portion of the human body with prognostications accordingly. 
And in the "Advertisement to the reader" it was set forth, that 
" in the calculation of the weather the most unwearied pains have 
been taken ; and the calculator prays, for his honour's sake, that he 
may have not failed in the least point \ but as all calculation may 
sometimes fail in small matters," the writer continues, " no wonder 
is it that in this, the most important, should be at times erroneous. 
And when this shall unfortunately have been the case with the 
Upper Carada Almanac, let careful observers throw over the error 
the excess of that charity of which their generous souls are com- 
posed, and the all-importance cf the subject requires ; let them re- 
member that the task, in all the variety and changes of climates, 
and seasons, is arduous beyond that of reforming a vicious world, 
and not less than that of making a middle-sized new one." 

In the number of the Oracle for September 28th, 1805, which is 
in mourning, we have the following notice of the character of Gov- 
ernor Hunter, who had deceased on the 23rd of the preceding 
August at Quebec : — '-As an officer his character was high and un- 
sullied ; and at this present moment his death may be considered 
a great public loss. As Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, his 
loss will be severely felt ; for by his unremitting attention and ex- 


Toronto of Old. 


<rtions he has, in the course of a very few years, brought that in- 
fant colony to an unparalleled state of prosperity." An account 
is then given of the procession at the funeral. The 49th and 6th 
Regiments were present ; also Lieut.-Col. Brock, Commanding. 
At the grave one round was fired slowly and distinctly by eleven 
field pieces, followed by one round of small arms, by regiments j 
then a second round of artillery, followed in like manner by the 
small arms ; and, lastly, a third round of artillery, and a third 
round of small arms. The mourners were, the Hon. Thomas 
Dunn, President of the Province (Lower Canada). Col. Bowes, 
Major Curry, Hon. Mr. Craigie, Col. Green, Major Robe, Capt 
Gomm and Mr. William Green. 

In 18 1 3, during the war with the United States, Cameron is the 
printer of the official paper, which now for a time assumed the 
title of The York Gazette. Mr. John Cameron also published " The 
Upper Canada Almanac," from which we have already had occa- 
sion to quote, but it put in no claim to an official character. It 
did not contain the Civil Lists, but, as stated in the title page, 
some Chinese sayings and Elegant Aphorisms." It bore as a 
motto the following lines : — 

" Ye who would mend these wicked times 

And morals of the age, 
Come buy a book half full of rhymes, 

At three-pence York per page. 
It would be money well outlaid, 

So plenty money is ; 
Paper for paper is fair trade : 

So said " Poor Richard Quiz." 

Among the aphorisms given is this one : " Issuers of paper- 
change, are entitled to thanks from the public for the great accom- 
modation such change affords. They might render the accommo- 
dation more extensive were they to emit a proportionate number 
of half-penny bills." At one place the query is put, "When will 
the beard be worn, and man allowed to appear with it in native 
dignity ? And if so, how long before it will become fashionable to 
have it greased and powdered ? " In the almanac for 1815, to- 
wards the end, the following paragraph appears : — " York super- 
natural prices current : Turnips i dollar per bushel ; Potatoes, 
long, at 2 ditto ; Salt 20 ditto ; Butter per lb. i ditto ; Indifferent 
bread i shilling N. Y. cy. per lb. ; Conscience, a contraband 

§19-] Queen Street— The Early (press. 269 

In Bennett's time the Government press was, as we have seen^ 
set up in Mr. Cameron's house on King Street. But at the period 
of the war in 1812 Mr. Cameron's printing office was in a build- 
ing which still exists, viz., the house on Bay Street associated with 
the name of Mr. Andrew Mercer. During the occupation of York 
by the United States force, the press was broken up and the type 
dispersed. Mr. Mercer once exhibited to ourselves a portion of 
the press which on that occasion was made useless. For a short 
period Mr. Mercer himself had charge of the publication of the 
York Gazette. 

In 181 7 Dr. Home became the editor and publisher. On com- 
ing into his hands the paper resumed the name of Upper Canada 
Gazette, but the old secondary title oi American Oracle was dropped. 
To the official portion of the paper there was, nevertheless, still 
appended abstracts of news from the United States and Europe, 
summaries of the proceedings in the Pariiaments of Upper and' 
Lower Canada, and much well-selected miscellaneous matter. 
The shape continued to be that of a small folio, and the terms 
were four dollars per annum in advance ; and if sent by mail, four 
dollars and a half. 

In 1 82 1 Mr. Charles Fothergill(ofwhom we have already spoken) 
became the Editor and Publisher of the Gazette. Mr. Fothergill 
revived the practice of having a secondary title, which was now 
Th€ Weekly Register; a singular choice, by the way, that being 
very neariy the name of Cobbett's celebrated democratic publica- 
tion in London. After Mr. Fothergill came Mr. Robert Stanton, 
who changed the name of the private portion of the Gazette sheet, 
styling it " The U. E. Loyalist." 

In 1820 Mr. John Carey had established the Observer sA York. 
The Gazette ol M3.Y 11, 1820, contains the announcement of his 
design ; and he therein speaks of himself as " the person who gave 
the Debates" recently in another paper. To have the debates in 
Parliament reported with any fulness was then a novelty. The 
Observer was a folio of rustic, unkempt aspect, the paper and typo- 
graphy and matter being all somewhat inferior. It gave in its ad- 
herence to the government of the day, generally : at a later period 
it wavered. Mr. Carey was a tall, portly personage who, from his 
bearing and costume might readily have been mistaken for a non- 
conformist minister of local importance. The Observer existed 
down to about the year 1830. Between the Weekly Register and 



Toronto of Old. 


the Observer the usual journalistic feud sprung up, which so often 
renders rival village newspapers ridiculous. With the Register a 

favourite sobriquet for the Observer is " Mother C y." Once a 

correspondent is permitted to style it " The Political Weathercock 
and Slang Gazetteer." Mr. Carey ended his days in Springfield 
on the River Credit, where he possessed property. 

The Canadian Freeman, established in 1825 by Mr. Francis 
Collins was a sheet remarkable for the neatness of its arrangement 
and execution, and also for the talent exhibited in its editorials. 
The type was evidently new and carefully handled. Mr. Collins 
was his own principal compositor. He is said to have transferred 
to type many of his editorials without the intervention of pen and 
paper, composing directly from copy mentally furnished. Mr. 
Collins was a fnan of pronounced Celtic features, roughish in out- 
line, and plentifully garnished with hair of a sandy or reddish hue. 

Notwithstanding the colourless character of the motto at the 
head of its columns " Est natura hominum novitatis avida" — 
" Human nature is fond of news," the Freeman was a strong party 
paper. The hard measure dealt out to him in 1828 at the hands 
of the legal authorities, according to the prevailing spirit of the 
day, with the revenge that he was moved to take — and to take suc- 
cessfully — we shall not here detail. Mr. Collins died of cholera in 
the year 1834. We have understood that he was once employed in 
the office of the Gazette ; and that when Dr. Home resigned, he 
was an applicant for the position of Government Printer. 

The Canadian Freeman joined for a time in the general opposi- 
tion clamour against Dr. Strachan, — against the influence, real or 
supposed, exercised by him over successive lieutenant-governors. 
But on discovering the good-humoured way in which its fulmina- 
tions were received by their object, the Freeman dropped its strict- 
ures. It happened that Mr. Collins had a brother in business in 
the town with whom Dr. Strachan had dealings. This brother on 
some occasion thought it becoming to make some faint apology for 
the Freeman's diatribes, ** O don't let them trouble you," the Doc- 
tor replied, ** they do not trouble me ; but by the way, tell your 
brother," he laughingly continued, " I shall claim a share in the pro- 
ceeds." This, when reported to the Editor, was considered a good 
joke, and the diatribes ceased ; a proceeding that was tantamount 
to Peter Pindar's confession, when some one charged him with being 
too hard on the King: "I confess there exists a difference be- 

§ 19'] Queen Street — The Early fPress. I'ji 

tween the King and me," said Peter ; " the King has been a good 
subject to me ; and I have been a bad subject to his Majesty," — 
During Mr. Collins' imprisonment in 1828 for the application of 
the afterwards famous expression " native malignity" to the Attor- 
ney-General of the day, the Freeman still continued to appear 
weekly, the editorials, set up in type in the manner spoken of above, 
being supplied to the office from his room in the jail. 

In the early stages of society in Upper Canada the Government 
authorities appear not only to have possessed but to have exercised 
the power of handling political writers pretty sharply. In the 
Kingston Chronicle of December loth, 1820, we have recorded the 
sentence pronounced on Barnabas Ferguson, Editor of the Niagara 
Spectator, for " a libel on the Government." Mr. Ferguson, was 
condemned to be imprisoned eighteen months ; to stand in the 
pillory once during his confinement ; to pay a fine of jQ^o, and 
remain in prison till paid ; and on his liberation to find security 
for seven years, himself in ;;^5oo, and two sureties in ;^25o each. 
No comment is made by the Chronicle on the sentence, and the 
libel is not described. 

The local government took its cue in this matter from its 
superiors of the day in the old country. What Sir Henry Lytton 
Bulwer says in his sketch of the life of Cobbett helps to explain 
the action of the early Upper Canada authorities in respect to the 
press. " Let us not forget," says the writer just named, " the blind 
and uncalculating intolerance with which the law struggled against 
opinion from 1809 to 1822. Writers during this period were trans- 
ported, imprisoned, and fined, without limit or conscience ; and 
just when government became more gentle to legitimate news- 
papers, it engaged in a new conflict with unstamped ones. No less 
than 500 venders of these were imprisoned within six years. The 
contest was one of life and death." 

So early as 1807 there was an "opposition" paper — the Upper 
Canada Guardian. Willcocks, the editor, had been Sheriff of the 
Home District, and had lost his office forgiving a vote contrary to 
the policy of the lieutenant-governor for the time being. He was 
returned as a member of parliament ; and after having been im- 
prisoned for breach of privilege, he was returned again, and con- 
tinued to lead the reforming party. The name of Mr. Cameron, 
the publisher of the Gazette at York was, by some means, mixed 
up with that of Mr. Willcocks, in connection with the Upper Can- 


Toronto of Old. 


ada Guardian in 1807, and he found it expedient to publish in the 
6r«3^/'/<rof June 20, the following notice : "To the Public — Having 
seen the Prospectus of a paper generally circulated at Niagara, in- 
tended to be printed in Upper Canada, entitled the Upper Canada 
Guardian or Freeman^ s Journal^ executed in the United States of 
America, without my knowledge or consent, wherein my name 
appears as being a party concerned ; I therefore think it neces- 
sary to undeceive my friends and the inhabitants of Upper Can- 
ada, and to assure them that I have no connection with, nor is it 
my most distant wish or intention in any wise to be connected 
with the printing or publication of said paper. John Bennett." — 
When the war of 181 2 broke out the Guardian came to an end ; 
its editor at first loyally bore arms on the Canadian side, but at 
length deserted to the enemy, taking with him some of the Can- 
adian Militia. He was afterwards killed at the siege of Fort 

The newspaper which occupies the largest space in the early 
annals of the press at York is the Colonial Advocate. Issuing first 
at Queenston in May, 1824, it was removed in the following Nov- 
ember to York. Its shape varied from time to time : now it was 
a folio : now a quarto. On all its pages the matter was densely 
packed ; but printed in a very mixed manner : it abounded with 
sentences in italics, in small capitals, in large capitals ; with names 
distinguished in like decided manner : with paragraphs made con- 
spicuous by rows of index hands, and other typographical symbols 
at top, bottom and sides. It was editorial, not in any one parti- 
cular column, but throughout j and the opinions delivered were 
expressed for the most part in the first person. 

The Weekly Register fell foul of the Advocate at once. It appears 
that the new audacious nondescript periodical, though at the time 
it bore on its face the name of Queenston, was nevertheless for 
convenience sake printed at Lewiston on the New York side of 
the river. Hence it was denounced by the Weekly Register in 
language that now astonishes us, as a United States production ; 
and as in the United States interest, " This paper of moriey, un- 
connected, shake-bag periods" cried the Editor of the Weekly Re- 
gister, "this unblushing, brazen-faced Advocate, affects to be a 
Queenston and Upper Canadian paper ; whereas it is to all intents 
and purposes, and radically, a Lewiston and genu-wine Yankee 
paper. How can this man of truth, this pure and holy reformer 


§ 1 9-] Queen Street^The Early (Press. 273 

and regenerator of the unhappy and prostrate Canada reconcUe 
such barefaced and impudent deception ?" 

Nothing could more promote the success of the Colonial Advo- 
cate than a welcome like this. To account for the Register's extra- 
ordinary warmth, it is to be said that the Advocate in its first 
number had happened to quote a passage from an address of its 
Editor to the electors of the County of Durham, which seemed in 
some degree to compromise him as a ser\ int of the Government. 
Mr. FothergiU had ventured to say " I know some of the deep and 
latent causes why this fine country has so long languished in a 
state of comparative stupor and inactivity, while our more enter- 
prising neighbours are laughing us to scorn. All I desire is an 
opportunity of attempting the cure of some of the evils we labour 
under." This was interpreted in the Advocate to mean a censufe 
upon the Executive. But the Register replied that these words 
simply expressed the belief that the evils complained of were reme- 
diable only by the action of the House of Assembly, on the well- 
known axiom « that all law is for the people, and from the people ; 
and when efficient, must be remedied or rectified by the people \ 
and that therefore Mr. FothergiU was desirous of assisting in the 
great work." 

The end in fact was that the Editor of the Register, after his re- 
turn to parliament for the County of Durham, did not long re- 
tain the post of King's Printer. After several independent votes 
in the House he was dismissed by Sir Peregrine Maitland in 1826, 
after which date the awkwardness of uniting with a Government 
Gazette a general newspaper whose editor, as a member of the 
House of Assembly, might claim the privilege of acting with His 
Maj^ty's opposition, came to an end. In 1826 we have Mr. 
FothergiU in his place in the House supporting a motion for re- 
muneration to the publisher of the Advocate, on the ground that 
the wide and even gratuitous circulation of that paper through- 
out Canada and among members of the British House of Com- 
mons, " would help to draw attention in the proper quarter to the 

Here is an account of McKenzie's method in the collection of 
matter for his various publications, the curious multifariousness of 
which matter used to astonish while it amused. The description 
is by Mr. Kent, editor of a religious journal, entitled The Church, 
published at Cobourg in 1838. Lord Clarendon's style has been 


Toronto of Old. 

[§ 19' 

exactly caught, it will be observed : ** Possessed of a taste for 
general and discursive reading," says Mr. Kent, " he (McK.) made 
even his very pleasures contribute to the serious business of his 
life, and, year after year, accumulated a mass of materials, which he 
pressed into his service at some fitting opportunity. Whenever 
anything transpired that at all reflected on a political opponent, or 
whenever, in his reading, he met with a passage that favoured his 
views, he not only turned it to a present purpose, but laid it by, to 
bring it forward at some future period, long after it might have 
been supposed to be buried in oblivion." 

The Editor q{ \}Ci% Advocate, after his flight from Canada in 1837, 
pubHshed for a short time at New York a paper named McKmzies 
Gazette, which afterwards was removed to Rochester : its term of 
existence there was also brief. In the number for June, 1839, we 
have the following intelligence contributed by a correspondent at 
Toronto : a certain animus in relation to the military in Canada, 
and in relation to the existing Banks of the country, is apparent. 
" Toronto, May 24th : The 93rd Regiment is still in quarters here. 
The men 660 strong, all Scotchmen, enlisted in the range of coun- 
try from Aberdeen to Ayrshire : a highland regiment without high- 
landers : few or none of Englishmen or Irishmen among them. 
They are a fine-looking body of men : I never saw a finer. I 
wished to go into the garrison, but was not permitted to do so. 

Few of the townspeople have that privilege. has made the 

fullest enquiries, and tells me that a majority of the men would be 
glad to get away if they could : they would willingly leave the 
service and the country. He says they are well-informed, civil and 
well-behaved, and that for such time as England may be compelled 
to retain possession of the Canadas by military force, against the 
wishes of the settled population he would like to have this regi- 
ment remain in Toronto. tells me that a few soups have been 

kept at Queenston during the winter, because if they desert it is 
no matter : the regulars are all at Drummondville, near the Falls, 
and a couple of hundred blacks at Chippewa watching them. The 
Ferry below the Falls is guarded by old men whose term of service 
is nearly out, and who look for a pension. It is the same at Mai- 
den, and in Lower Canada. The regiments Lord Durham brought 
were fine fellows, the flower of the English army. 

" The Banks here tax the people heavily, but they are so stupid 
they don't see it. All the specie goes into the Banks. I am told 

§ 19] Queen Street— The Early Press. 275 

that the Upper Canada Bank had at one timeX3oo,ooo in Fng- 
land in Commissariat bills of Exchange : their notes in circulation 
are a million and a quarter of paper dollars, for all of which they 
draw interest from the people, although not obliged to keep six 
cents in their money-till to redeem them. All the troops were 
paid in the depreciated paper of these fraudulent bankrupt con- 
cerns, the directors of which deserve the Penitentiary : the con- 
tracts of the Commissariat are paid in the same paper as a 10 per 
cent, shave : and the troops up at Brantford were also paid in 
Bank notes which the Bank did not pretend to redeem ; and it 
would have offended Sir George [Arthur], who has a share in such 
speculations (as he had when in VanDieman's Land), had any one 
asked the dollars. Sir Allan McNab, who has risen from poverty 
to be president de facto, solicitor, directors and company of the 
Gore Bank, ever since its creation, is said to be terribly embar- 
rassed for want of money. He is not the alpha and omega of the 
Bank now. He has quarrelled with his brother villains The 
money paid to Canada from England to uphold troops to coerce 
the people helps the Banks." 

In the same number of the C^^^//^ published at Rochester we 
have an extract from a production by Robert Gourlay himself, who 
in his old age paid a final visit of inspection to Canada. In allu- 
sion to a portion of Gourlay's famous work published in 1822 the 
extract is headed in McKenzh's Gazette " Robert Gourlay's ' Last 
Sketch of Upper Canada." It is dated at Toronto, May 2sth 
Having just presented one gloomy view, we will venture to lower 
the reader s spirits a particle more, by giving another. Let al- 
lowance be made for the morbid mental condition of the writer • 
the contrast offered by the Canada of to-day will afterwards pro- 
portionably exhilarate. ^ 

"What did Upper Canada gain," Gourlay asks, "by my banish- 
ment ; and what good is now to be seen in it ? Cast an eye over 
the length and breadth of the land" he cries, "from Maiden to 
Point Fortune, and from the Falls to Lake Simcoe : then say if a 
single public work is creditable, or a single institution as it should 
be The Rideau Canal !-what is it but a monument of England's 
folly and waste ; which can never return a farthing of interest : or 
for a single day stay the conquest of the province. The Welland 
Canal !-Has it not been from beginning till now a mere struggle 
of misery and mismanagement ; and from now onward, promisbg 

■■wi'inw**' i*ft'i>»wmiu 




Toronto of Old. 


to become a putrid ditch. The only railway, of ten miles ; with 
half completed ; and half which cannot be completed for want of 
funds ! The macadamised roads, all in mud ; only causing an in- 
crease of wear and tear. The province deeply in debt ; confidence 
uprooted ; and banks beleaguered ! 

" Schools and Colleges, what are they ?— Few yt\ painted, though 
lectures on natural philosophy are now abundant. The Cobourg 
seminary outstaring all that is sanctimonious : so airy and lank 
that learning cannot take root in it. A college at Sandwich built 
before the war, but now a pig stye ; and one at Toronto indicated 
only by an approach. The edifices of the C'lurch !— how few 
worthy of the Divine presence— how many unfinished— how many 
fallen to decay. The Church itself, wholly militant : Episcopalians 
maintaining what can never be established ; Presbyterians more sour 
than ever, contending for rights where they have none whatever : 
Methodists so disunited that they cannot even join in a respec- 
table groan ; and Catholic priests wandering about in poverty 
because their scattered and starving flocks yield not sufficient wool 
for the shears? One institution only have I seen praiseworthy and 
progressing— The Penitentiary ; but that is a concentrated essence, 
seeing the whole province is one : and which of you, resident land- 
holders, having sense or regard for your family would remain in 
it a day, could you sell your property and be off?" 

Some popular Almanacs of a remarkable character also emanated 
from McKenzie's press. Whilst in the United States he put forth 
the Caroline Almanac, a designation intended to keep alive the 
memory of the cutting out of the Caroline steamer from Fort 
Schlosser in 1837, and her precipitation over the Falls of Niagara, 
an act sought to be held up as a great outrage on the part of the 
Canadian authorities. In the Canadian Almanacs, published by 
him, intended for circulation especially among the country popu- 
lation, the object kept in view was the same as that so industriously 
aimed at by the Advocate \\.?,Q\i, viz., the exposure of the shortcom- 
ings and vices of the government of the day. At the same time 
a large amount of practically useful matter and information was 

The eariier almanac was entitled " Poor Richard, or the York- 
shire Almanac," and the compiler professed to be one " Patrick 
Swift, late of Belfast, in the Kingdom of Ireland, Esq., F.R.I., 
Grand-nephew of the celebrated Doctor Jonathan Swift, Dean of 



'"'lif' " "* " 



§ 19.] Queen Street— The Early fPress. 277 

St. Patrick's, Dublin, etc. etc. etc." This same personage was a 
contributor also of many pungent and humorous things in prose 
and verse in the columns of the Advocate itself. In 1834 the 
Almanac assumed the following title : " A new Almanac for the 
Canadian True Blues ; with which is incorporated The Constitu- 
tional Reformer's Text Book, for the Millenialand Prophetic Year 
of the Grand General Election for Upper Canada, and total and 
everlasting Downfall of Toryism in the British Empire, 1834." It 
was still supposed to be edited by Patrick Swift, Esq., who is now 
dubbed M.P.P., and Professor of Astrology, York. 

In the extract given above from what was styled Gourlay's 
" Last Sketch " of Upper Canada, the query and rejoinder, "Schools 
!» nd Colleges, where are they ? Few y^i painted, though lectures on 
tural Philosophy are now abundant "—will not be understood, 
''"■^ I remark. The allusion is to an advertisement in the Up- 
per Canada Gazette of Feb. 5, 18 18, which Gourlay at the time of 
its appearance thought proper to animadvert upon and satirize 
in the Niagara Spectator. It ran as follows : " Natural Phil- 
osophy.— The subscriber intends to deliver a course of Popular 
Lectures on Natural Philosophy, to commence on Tuesday, the 
17th inst., at 7 o'clock p.m., should a number of auditors come 
forward to form a class. Tickets of admission for the Course 
(price Two Guineas) may be had of William Allan, Esq., Dr. 
Home, or at the School House. The surplus, if any, after defray- 
ing the current expenses, to be laid out in painting the District 
School. John Strachan, York, 3rd Feb., 1818." 

As was to be expected, Dr. Strachan was a standing subject of 
invective in all the publications of Gourlay, as well as subsequently 
in all those of McKenzie. Collins, Editor of the Freeman, be- 
came, as we have seen, reticent in relation to him ; but, more or 
less, a fusilade was maintained upon him in McKenzie's periodi- 
cals, as long as they issued. 

In McKenzie's opposition to Dr. Strachan there was possibly 
a certain degree of national animus springing from the contempla- 
tion of a Scottish compatriot who, after rising to position in the 
young colony, was disposed, from temperament, to bear himself 
cavalierly towards all who did not agree with him in opinion. In 
addition, we have been told that at an early period in an interview 
between the two parties. Dr. Strachan once chanced to express 
himself with considerable heat to McKenzie, and proceeded to the 




Toronto of Old. 


length of showing him the door. The latter had called, as our in- 
formation runs, to deprecate prejudice in regard to a brother-in- 
law of his, Mr. Baxter, who was a candidate for some post under 
the Educational Board, of which Dr. S. was chairman ; when great 
offence was taken at the idea being for a moment entertained that 
a personal motive would in the slightest degree bias him when in 
the execution of public duty. 

At a late period in the history of both the now memorable 
Scoto-Canadians, we happened ourselves to be present at a scene 
in the course of which the two were brought curiously face to face 
with each other, once more, for a few moments. It will be re- 
membered that after the subsidence of the political troubles and 
and the union of Upper and Lower Canada, McKenzie came back 
and was returned member of Parliament for Haldimand. ■"" 
he was in the occupancy of this post, it came to pass thit i. 
Strachan, now Bishop of Toronto, had occasion to present a peti- 
tion to the united House on the subject of the Clergy Reserves. 
To give greater weight and solemnity to the act he decided to at- 
tend in person at the bar of the House, at the head of his clergy, 
all in canonicals. McKenzie seeing the procession approaching,' 
hurried into the House and took his seat; and contrived at the 
moment the Bishop and his retinue reached the bar to have pos- 
session of the floor. Affecting to put a question to the Speaker, 
before the Order of the Day was proceeded with, he launched out 
with great volubility and in excited strain on the interruptions to 
which the House was exposed in its deliberations ; he then quickly 
came round to an attack in particular on prelates and clergy for 
their meddling and turbulence, infesting, as he averred, the lobbies 
of the Legislature when they should be employed on higher mat- 
ters, fining with tumultuous mobs the halls and passages of the 
House, thronging (with an indignant glance in that direction) the 
very space below the bar set apart for the accommodation of 
peaceabiy disposed spectators. 

The House had only just assembled, and had not had time to 
settle down into perfect quiet : members were still dropping in, 
and It was a mysteiy to many, for a time, what could, at such an 
early stage of the day's proceedings, have excited the ire of the 
member for Haldimand. The courteous speaker, Mr. Sicotte, was 
plainly taken aback at the sudden outburst of patriotic fervour ; 
and, not being as familiar with the Upper Canadian past as 

§ 19.] Queen Sireet—The Early (Press. 279 

many old Upper Canadians present were, he could not enter into 
the pleasantry of the thing; for, after all, it was humourously and 
not maliciously intended ; the orator in possession of the floor had 
his old antagonist at a momentary disadvantage, and he chose to 
compel him while standing there conspicuously at the bar to listen 
for a while to a stream of Colonial Advocate \n the purest vein. 

After speaking against time, with an immense show of heat for 
a considerable while— a thing at which he was an adept— the 
scene was brought to a close by a general hubbub of impatience 
at the outrageous irrelevancy of the harangue, arising throughout 
the House, and obliging the orator to take his seat. The petition 
of the Bishop was then in due form received, and he, with his 
numerous retinue of robed clergy, withdrew. 
^ We now proceed with our memoranda of the early press. When 
^ thergill was deprived of his office of King's Printer in 1825, he 
published for a time a quarto paper of his own, entitled the Palla- 
dium, composed of scientific, literary and general matter. Mr. 
Robert Stanton, King's Printer after Fothergill, issued on his own 
account for a few years, a newspaper called The U. E. Loyalist, 
the name, as we have seen, borne by the portion of the Gazette 
devoted to general intelligence while Mr. Stanton was King's 
Printer. The U. E. Loyalist was a quarto sheet, well printed, 
with an engraved ornamental heading resembling that which sur- 
mounted the New York Albion. The Loyalist was conservative, 
as also was a local contemporary after 1831, the Courier, edited 
and printed by Mr. George Gurnett, subsequently Clerk of the 
Peace, and Poliae Magistrate for the City of Toronto. The 
Christian Guardian, a local religious paper which still survives, 
began in 1828. The /'a/w/ appeared at York in 1833 : it had 
previously been issued at Kingston ; its whole title was " The 
Patriot and Farmer's Mo-nitor," with the motto, " Common Sense," 
below. It was of the folio form, and its Editor, Mr. Thos. Dalton, 
was a writer of much force, liveliness and originality. The 
Loyalist, Courier and Patriot .vere antagonists politically of the 
Advocate while the latter flourished; but all three laboured 
under the disadvantage of fighting on the side whose star was 
everywhere on the decline. 

Notwithstanding its conservatism, however, it was in the Courier 
that the memorable revolutionary sentiments appeared, so frequently 
quoted afterwards in the Advocate publications : " the minds of the 



Toronto of Old. 


i . 

Tn hef I'^r ^? '^ ""^'"^^^ ^ ^h^y ->-dy begin to cast about 

hall IT „ ^' u '°"' "'^ ''"^^ °^P°"ti^^l ^^i^tence, which 
shall effectually put the colony without the pale of British connec- 

^..:i 77,^^7"^"""der the irritation occasioned by the d - 
missal of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for Upper' Canada 

For a short time prior to 1837, McKenzie's paper assumed 
the name of Tke Constitution. A faithful portrait of McKenzt 

limes by Mr. Charles Lmdsey, a work which will be carefully 
and profitably studied by future investigators in the field ofuppfr 
Canadian history. Excellent portraits of Mr. Gurnett and of Mr 
Dalton are likewise extant in Toronto. 
Soon after 1838, the Examiner newspaper acquired great in 

mT Vfj ''^^ "^^^^^^"^^^ an7edited\;Mr.'H„er 
Mr. Hincks had emigrated to Canada with the intention o? en- 
gaging m commerce ; and in Walton's York Directory, i833-,4 
we read for No. .x, west side of Yonge Street, " Hinci's. F^'nd t 
Wholesale Warehouse. ' But Mr. Hincks' attention wL drawr^ 
to the pohtica condition of Canada, especially to its Finance 
The accident of living in immediate proximity 'o a family thai 
had already for a number of years been taking a warm and actte 
mterestm public affairs., may have contributed to tL In T 

Yonge Street is 23, and the occupants are "Baldwin, Doctor W 
Warren; Baldwin, Robert, Esq., Attorney, &c., Baldwin and Sdi 
hvan s Attorney^ Office, and Dr. Baldwin's Surrogate Office round 
the corner, m King Street, ,95^.-' jt ,,, J, „„„,,^^^j J 
the next door neighbour of Dr. Baldwin's family, their tenant 

fTo^hlm t:""^''""''^'°"^'"^^^^^^^^^^^ 

from them. The subsequent remarkable career of Mr. Hincks 

afterwards so widely known as Sir Francis Hincks, has become 
a part of the general history of the country 

About the period of the Union of Upper and Lower Canada, a 
loca tn-weekly named The Morning Star and Transcript was 
pnnted arid published by Mr. W. J. Coates, who also'ssued 
occasionally, at a later date, the Canadian Punch, containing clever 
political cartoons in the style of the London Punch 

motto, Est natura homtnum nointatis avida ; and of the Patriofs, 


§ '9-] Q«een Street— The Early fress. 281 

just above, " Ccmmm Sense." ^oi\,^\U ^> Weekly Se^ster" 
was headed by a brief cemo from Shakespeare : "Sir efSl 

Sve^rly devices : the former, Hermes, all proper as the ^^A. 
«^uld say, descending f™ the sky, ;ith S,e mo.^ from VM 
Mores et sludia e, fopulos et pratia dieam : ,he latter the Gentarf 

cftSt^„ n f '■" '™"P' '■"■O"' "'''* «»"« the above- 
cited motto^ Over the editorial column the device is repeated 
wtth the difference that the floating Genius here adds the Xr .; 
for her quotation-Ovm, . /. Dr. Pangloss. Undemelth th C 

o'the*:;r' d i"f^ ™r '"" """ ''^'""^'^ ■■ •'""ngu ' 

to the right and left with a significant predominance, for the special 
g^Mction of Montreal of the olden time, the 'thistle of's^t 

Besides these primitive mottoes and emblematic headings the 
Mereury and fferaU likewise retain, each of them to S'i 
certam pleasant individuality of aspect in re^rdXe trill 
anangeraent, by which they are eich instantly to be r^Z^d 

lish Reviews too, as circulated among us from the United St7,!! 
•rom. The Mm/real Gazette likewise survives nreserviL ^ 

7z. ir ibinr "■ ^" "^ -'^^ --:rZit 

In glancing back at the supply of intelligence and literature pro- 
vided at an early day for the Canadian community, it repeatedTy 



Toronto of Old. 



occurs to us to name, as we have done, the Albion newspaper of 
New York. From this journal it was that almost every one in our 
Upper Canadian York who had the least taste for reading, derived 
the principal portion of his or her acquaintance with the outside 
world of letters, as well as the minuter details of prominent poli- 
tical events. As its name implies, the Albion was intended to 
meet the requirements of a large number of persons of English birth 
and of English descent, whose lot is cast on this continent, but 
who nevertheless cannot discharge from their hearts their natural 
love for England, their natural pride in her unequalled civiliza- 
tion. " Ccelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt" was 
its gracefully-chosen and appropriate motto. 

Half a century ago, the boon of a judicious literary journal like 
the Albion was to dwellers in Canada a very precious one. T'le 
Quarterlies were not then reprinted as now ; nor were periodicals 
like the Philadelphia Eclectic or the Boston Living Age readily pro- 
curable. Without the weekly visit of the Albion, months upon 
months would have passed without any adequate knowledge being 
enjoyed of the current products of the literary world. For the sake 
of its extracted reviews, tales and poetry the New York Albion was 
in some cases, as we well remember, loaned about to friends and 
read like a much sought after book in a modern circulating library. 
And happily its contents were always sterling, and worth the perusal. 
It was a part of our own boyish experience to become acquainted 
for the first time with a portion of Keble's Christian Year, in the 
columns of that paper. 

The Albion was founded in 1822 by Dr. John Charlton Fisher, 
who afterwards became a distinguished Editor at Quebec. To him 
Dr. Bartlett succeeded. The New York Albion still flourishes 
under Mr. Comwallis, retaining its high character for the superior 
excellence of its matter, retaining also many traits of its ancient 
outward aspect, in the style of its type, in the distribution of its 
matter. It has also retained its old motto. Its familiar vignette 
heading of oak branches round the English rose, the thistle of 
Scotland, and the shamrock, has been thinned out, and otherwise 
slightly modified ; but it remains a fine artistic composition, well 

There was another journal from New York much esteemed at 
York for the real respectability of its character, the New York Spec- 
tator. It was read for the sake of its commercial and general in- 

3 1 

§ 19-] Queen Street—The Early (Press. 283 

formation, rather than for its literary news. To the minds of the 
young the Greek revolution had a singular fascination. We remem- 
ber once entertaining the audacious idea of constructing a history 
of the struggle in Greece, of which the authorities would, in great 
measure, have been copious cuttings from the New York Spectator 
columns. One advantage of the embryo design certainly was a 
familiarity acquired with the map of Hellas within and without the 
Peloponnesus. Navarino, Modon, Coron, Tripolitza, Mistra, Mis- 
solonghi, with the incidents that had made each temporarily famous 
were rendered as familiar to the mind's eye as Sparta, Athens,' 
Ihebes, Thermopylae, and the events connected with each respec- 
tively, of an era two thousand years previously, afterwards from 
other circumstances became. Colocotroni, Mavrocordato, Miaulis 
Bozzans, were heroes to the imagination as fully as Miltiades Alci- 
biades, Pericles, and Nicias, afterwards became. 

Partly in consequence of the eagerness with which the columns 
of the New York Spectator used to be ransacked with a view to the 
composition of the proposed historical work, we remember the 
peculiar interest with which we regarded the editor of that periodi- 
cal at a later period, on falling in with him, casually, at the Falls 
of Niagara. Mr. Hall was then well advanced in years ; and from 
a very brief interview, the impression received was, that he was the 
beau ideal of a veteran editor of the highest type ; for a man al- 
most omniscient ; unslumberingly observant ; sympathetic, in some 
way, with every passing occurrence and every remark ; tenacious 
of the past ; grasping the present on all sides, with readiness, genial 
mterest and completeness. In aspect, and even to some extent in 
costume, Mr. Hall might have been taken for an English bishop 
of the eariy part of the Victorian era. 



J HEN we pass George Street we are in front of the 
' park-lot originally selected by Mr. Secretary Jarvis. 
It is now divided from south to north by Jarvis street, 
a thoroughfare opened up through the property in the 
time of Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis, the Secretary's son. 
Among the pleasant villas that now line this street on both 
sides, there is one which still is the home of a Tarvis, the 
Sheriff of the County. 

Besides filling the conspicuous post indicated by his tide Mr 
Secretary Jarvis was also the first Grand Master of the Masons in 
Upper Canada. The archives of the first Masonic Lodges of York 
possess much interest. Through the permission of Mr. Alfio de 
Grassi who has now the custody of them, we are enabled to give 
the following extracts from a letter of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, bear- 
ing the early date of March 28th, 1792 :_"i am in possession of 
my sign manual from his Majesty," Mr. Jarvis writes on the day 
just named, from Pimlico, to his relative Munson Jarvis, at St 
John, New Brunswick, " constituting me Secretary and Registrar 
of the Province of Upper Canada, with power of appointing my 
Deputies, and in every other respect a very full warrant. I am also" 
he continues, "very much flattered to be enabled to inform you 
that the Grand Lodge of England have within these very few days 
appointed Prince Edward, who is now in Canada, Grand Master 
of Ancient Masons in Lower Canada ; and William Jarvis. Secre- 
tary and Registrar of Upper Canada, Grand Master of Ancient 
Masons in that Province. However trivial it may appear to you 



§ 20.] Queen Street, from George to Yonge Street. 285 

who are not a Mason, yet I assure you that it is one of the most 
honourable appointments that they could have conferred The 
Duke of Athol is the Grand Master of Ancient Masons in England 
Lord Dorchester with his private Secretary, and the Secretary of 
the Provmce, called on us yesterday," Mr. Jarvis proceeds to say 
and found us m the utmost confusion, with half a dozen porters 
m the house packing up. However his Lordship would come in 
and sat down in a small room which was reserved from the general 
bustle. He then took Mr. Peters home with him to dine : hence 
we conclude a favourable omen in regard to his consecration, which 
we hope IS not far distant. Mrs. Jarvis," the Secretary informs his 
relative, " leaves England in great spirits. I am ordered my pas- 
sage on board the transport with the Regiment, and to do duty 
without pay for the passage only. This letter," he adds, "gets to 
Halifax by favour of an intimate friend of Mr. Peters, Governor 
Wentworth, who goes out to take possession of his Government 
The ship that I am allotted to is the //e^ineker, Captain Winter a 
transport with the Queen's Rangers on board." 

The Prince Edward spoken of was afterwards Duke of Kent and 
fether of the present Queen. Lord Dorchester was the Governor- 
General of the Province of Quebec before its division into Upper 
and Lower Canada. Mr. Peters was m posse the Bishop of the 
new Province about to be organized. It was a part of the original 
scheme, as shewn by the papers of the first Governor of Upper 
Canada, that there should be an episcopal see in Upper Canada 
as there already was at Quebec in the lower province. But this 
was not carried into effect until 1839, nearly half a century later. 

When Jarvis Street was opened up through the Secretary's park- 
lot, the family residence of his son Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis a 
handsome structure of the early brick era of York, in the line of 
the proposed thoroughfare, was taken down. Its interioi iittings 
of solid black walnut were bought by Captain Carthew and trans- 
ferred by him without much alteration to a house which he put up 
on part of the Deer-park property on Yonge Street. 

A large fragment of the offices attached to Mr. Jarvis's house 
was utilized and absorbed in a private residence on the west side 
of Jarvis Street, and the gravel drive to the door is yet to be traced 
in the less luxuriant vegetation of certain portions of the adjoining 
flower gardens. Mr. Secretary Jarvis died in 1 818. He is described 
by those who remember him, as possessing a handsome, portly 




Toronto of Old. 



presence. Col. Jarvis, the first military commandant in Manitoba, 
is a grandson of the Secretary. 

Of Mr. McGill, first owner of the next park-lot, and of his per- 
sonal aspect, we have had occasion to speak in connection with 
the interior of St. James' Church. Situated in fields at the south- 
ern extremity of a stretch of forest, the comfortable and pleasantly- 
situated residence erected by him for many years seemed a place 
of abode quite remote from the town. It was still to be seen in 
1870 in the heart of McGill Square, and was long occupied by Mr. 
McCutcheon, a brother of the inheritor of the bulk of Mr. McGill's 
property, who in accordance with his uncle's will, and by authority 
of an Act of Parliament, assumed the name of McGill, and be- 
came subsequently well known throughout Canada as the Hon 
Peter McGill. 

(The founder of McGill College in Montreal was of a different 
family. The late Capt. James McGill Strachan derived his name 
from the marriage-connection of his father with the latter.) 

In the Gazette and Oracle of Nov. 13th, 1803, we observe Mr. 
McGill, of York, advertising as "agent for purchases " for pork 
and beef to be supplied to the troops stationed "at Kingston, 
York, Fort George, Fort Chippewa, Fort Erie, and Amherstburg." 
In 18 18 he is Receiver-General, and Auditor-General of land 
patents. He had formerly been an officer in the Queen's Rangers, 
and his name repeatedly occurs in " Simcoe's History " of the 
operations of that corps during the war of the American Revo- 

From that work we learn that in 1779 he, with the commander 
himself of the corps, then Lieut.-Col. Simcoe, fell into the hands 
of the revolutionary authorities, and was treated with great harsh- 
ness in the common jail of Burlington, New Jersey ; and when a 
plan was devised for the Colonel's escape, Mr. McGill volunteered, 
m order to further its success, to personate his commanding offi- 
cer in bed, and to take the consequences, while the latter was to 
make his way out. 

The whole project was frustrated by the breaking of a false key 
in the lock of a door which would have admitted the confined sol- 
diers to a room where " carbines and ammunition " were stored 
away. Lieut-Col. Simcoe, it is added in the history just named, 
afterwards offered Mr. McGill an annuity, or to make him Quarter- 
master of Cavalry ; the latter, we are told, he accepted of, as his 

S 20.-] Queen Streetjrom George to Yonge Street. 287 
grandfather had been an officer in King William's anny ; and " no 
man Col. Simcoe himself notes, " ever executed the office wi^h 
greater mtegrity, courage and conduct " ^^ 

ofI!r/°"'''"'" ^°"'°" °^^''- ^^^'"'^ park-lot has, in the course 
of modem events, come to be assigned to religious uses McG n 
Square which contained the old homestead an'd its suLm^ L";' 
and which was at one period intended, as its name indica^ to S 
an open public square, was secured in 1870 hyZT^Z^^^ 
Methodist body and made the site of its principal place o7wt^C 
and of various establishments connected therewith ^ 

immediately north, on the same property the Rompn r..K.r 
had previously built their principal p Je of' r ht'd n^mtou^: 

A hetle farther ,0 ihe nonh a cross-street, leading from Von<re 
Stree eastward, bears .he name of McGill. An in.ervenl c™f 

Gin?Chr^!,at "'"^ °' *"• ^'°°"-'' ^"> - '^"m: 

The name that appears on the original survey of York and it. 
suburbs as firs, occpan. of the park-Io. westwarf of Mr McgIu" 
.s that of Mr. George Piayter, This is the Captain Play e7s™ o ' 
of whom we have already spoken in our excu^ion up the va lev of 
the Don. We have named him also among the foms of 7 , 
age whom we ourselves remember often seeing i:™ coleL 
tion assembled of old in the wooden St James' """P^Sf- 

Mr. Piayter was an Englishman by birth, but had passed manv 
of h,s early years in Philadelphia, where for a ,im, T, .. tl 

le^to ri„r;ende„rof't''?„^%r T' "^'^^^'^ 
»ent to Old far';>,f En L^d fomp* fhSt' stH? t "'^* 

Quaker • cned he to his cutaway, buttonless, formal coat ih ' 


never relinquished in hi Zny."':: TZ,^C::7.:Z 


Toronto of Old. 



homestead on the Don, and afterwards at his residence on Caroline 
Street, a silent mental thanksgiving before meals, that always took 
place after everyone had taken his seat at the table j a brief pause 
was made, and all bent for a moment slightly forwards. The act 
was solemn and impressive. 

Old Mr. Playter was a man of sprightly and humorous tem- 
perament, and his society was accordingly much enjoyed by those 
who knew him. A precise attention to his dress and person ren- 
dered him an excellent type in which to study the costume and 
style of the ordinary unofficial citizen of a past generation. Colo- 
nel M. F. Whitehead, of Port Hope, in a letter kindly expressive 
of his interest in these reminiscences of York, incidentally fur- 
nished a little sketch that will not be out of place here. " My 
visits to York, after I was articled to Mr. Ward, in 1819," Colonel 
Whitehead says, "were frequent. I usually lodged at old Mr. 
Playter's, Mrs. Ward's father. [This was when he was still living 
at the homestead on the Don.] The old gentleman often walked 
into town with me, by Castle Frank ; his three-cornered hat, sil- 
ver knee-buckles, broad-toed shoes and large buckles, were always 
* carefully arranged."— To the equipments, so well described by 
Colonel Whitehead, we add from our own boyish recollection of 
Sunday sights, white stockings and a gold-headed cane of a length 
unusual now. 

According to a common custom prevalent at an early time, Mr. 
Playter set apart on his estate on the Don a family burial-plot, 
where his own remains and those of several members of his family 
and their descendants were deposited. Mr. George Playter, son 
of Captain George Playter, was some time Deputy Sheriflf of the 
Home District ; and Mr. Eli Playter, another son, represented for 
some sessions in the Provincial Parliament the North Riding of 
York. A daughter, who died unmarried in 1832, Miss Hannah 
Playter, " Aunt Hannah," as she was styled in the family, is 
pleasantly remembered as well for the genuine kindness of her 
character, as also for the persistency with which, like her father, 
she carried forward into a new and changed generation, and retain- 
ed to the last, the costume and manners of the reign of King 
George the Third. 

Immediately in front of the extreme westerly portion of the park 
lot which we are now passing, and on the south side of the present 
Queen Street in that direction, was situated an early Court House 




5 20.] Queen Street, from George to Yonge Street. 289 
of York, associated in (he memories of most of the early people with 

Tht^h "T""'""'' *"" '°™^'' '"^'"«"«^ ^""^ I"- proceeding" 
Th,s bmld,„g was a notable object in its day. In an old plS 

of the ,0^ we observe it conspicuously delineated in the ,„ca% 

ment.oned-the otA^ public buildings of the place viz ,heT„„ 

m,s^nat Stores, the Government H^ouse, the' Co" n i' Chamb:; 

at the present north-west comer of York and Wellington Street 

(by the L,ttle Don), bemg marked in the same distinguished man- 

»er I. was a plam two-storey f„me building, erected in St 

nstance as an ordinary place of abode by Mr. Montsome^ 

..her of the Montgomerys, once of the neighbourhoodofEgZ: 

ton, on Yonge Street. It stood in a space defined by the prel m 

me o Yonge Street on the west, by nearly the present hnerf 

Vtctona Street on the east, by Queen Street'on the'nrh ^d by 

s:fZ p't "".""^ ''"'"'• "^"""S" '^''^ n^-er Queen 
Street than Richmond Street, it faced the latter, and was apprS 

ed from the latter._It was Mr. Montgomety who obtaTrby 

leg process the opening of Queen Street in the rear of his pr^ 

vo'nSirc-^r ret.""" —"-'"-.. -: 

It was senously proposed in 1800 to close up Queen Street tn 

that s, the Garrison Reserve, on the ground that such street was 
wholly unnecessary, there being in that direction already »e ^7 

to the south. In 1800 the southern termination of Yonee Street 
was where we are now passing, at the comer of Montgomfryt te 
At th,s pomt the fam,ers' waggons from the north turned off to 
the eastward, proceeding as far as Toronto Street, down whfch !« 

and King Street, finally reaching the Market Place 

wh ch ,n 800 blocked the way from Queen Street southwards we 

MshfS ^°"«:,«"=" *»"> '-""h to north, the tiomen. we teve 
Qulst^« "'°""*"'°"^ ^' recoUections in relation t^ 


Toronto of Old, 


Memories of the Old Court House. 

In the old Court House, situated as we have described, we re- 
ceived our first boyish impressions of the solemnities and forms 
observed in Courts of Law. In paying a visit of curiosity subse- 
quently to the singular series of Law Courts which are to be found 
ranged along one side of Westminster Hall in London— each one 
of them in succession entered through the heavy folds of lofly 
mysterious-looking curtains, each one of them crowded with earnest 
pleaders and anxious suitors, each one of them provided with a 
judge elevated in solitary majesty on high, each one of them seem- 
ing to the passing stranger more like a scene in a drama than a 
prosaic reality — we could not but revert in memory to the old upper 
chamber at York where the remote shadows of such things were 
for the first time encountered. 

It was startling to remember of a sudden that our early Upper 
Canadian Judges, our eariy Upper Canadian Barristers, came fresh 
fi-om these Westminster Hall Courts ! What a contrast must have 
been presented to these men in the rude wilds to which they found 
themselves transported. Riding the Circuit in the Home, Mid- 
land, Eastern and Western Districts at the beginning of the pre- 
sent century was no trivial undertaking. Accommodation for man 
and horse was for the most part scant and comfortless. Locomo- 
tion by land and water was perilous and slow, and racking to the 
frame. The apartments procurable for the purposes of the Court 
were of the humblest kind. 

Our pioneer jurisconsults in their several degrees, however, like 
our pioneers generally, unofficial as well as official, did their duty. 
They quietly initiated in the country, customs of gravity and order 
which have now become traditional ; and we see the result in the 
decent dignity which surrounds, at the present day, the adminis- 
tration of justice in Canada in the Courts of every grade. 

Prior to the occupation of Mr. Montgomery's house as the Court 
House at York, the Court of King's Bench held its sessions in a 
portion of the Government Buildings at the east end of the town, 
destroyed in the war of 1813. On June 25, 181 2, the Sheriff, John 
Beikie, advertises in the Gazette that "a Court of General Quarter 
Sessions of the Peace for the Home District will be holden at the 
Government Buildings in the town of York on Tuesday, the four- 
teenth day of July now next ensuing, at the hour of ten o'clock in 


5 JO. j Queen Street ; The Old Court House. 29, 

.he forenoon of which all ,„,to of ,he Peace, Coroner,, Gaolen 
H,gh Constables, Constable, and Bailiff, are desired to take no '« 
and that they be then and there present with their Rolls RecoS!' 
and other Memoranda to do and perform those thing, which b- 
reason of thnr respective office, shall be to be done" '^ 

J'uT^'t .?'"• ^°°'" '" "-^ Government Buildings that 

In„if /'■, r'^'"" ""'"" Co-'^' «"= familiar, who w^e 
•ngulfed ,n Lake Ontario in .805. The story of the toul lossTf 

^e government schooner Speedy, Captain Thoma, Paxto^ !, 
wtdely known. In that ill-fated vessel suddenly went down I'n a 
gale ,n the dead of night, along with its commander and cew 
Judge Cochrane, Solicitor-General Gray, Mr. Angus McDonen' 
abou". t°o Kr •• f "t""' '"= "'Kh Bailiff, an Indian pri'n"; 

:vtx::::d\^dtscr:r"= ™ "' -"■^- :: 

OcIoberTanH'tr 'k''"'"'"^' "" '''"•' "' ""^ y'" ^'O'-ny (?* 

Bu the T r I """' ""■' ''"P"'"^'^ "<" to be sea.wo.thy 
But the orders of the Governor, General Peter Hunter were ne^' 

rr thf b'^ff "• "'^"""^ "= '>^- »-■' before: sLpd 

The name of the Indian who was on his wav tn h. , a 

maf Thl H H '"!. "" '"="«= °" J""" Sbarp, another white 
72 Z ™' ''""^ " ^'" f 0'°' "" Lake Scugog whjre 

- the s^p'^f wi;- t^rrck^rinf piLirr; 

Itr M "r' 1'"='' ^"^ »°*'"« '«<' been dT The while ^Tf °'*= '^'"PP'"^=- -'" 'heirChief Wat 
,ir„ t ?■ r '''^''' '=^"'<' "P '» '=^"<><'= 'o Vork on this occa 
sion, startmg from the mouth of Annis's creek near p7r.T,h°„!^" 

trriz'T;:'-' """ °" "■= pe-^--'" ^-™r 

Ogetonica,*whf °. ^'"^'="7™' ""^ '» assist in the arrest of 
"getomcut, who, it appears, had arrived with the rest The Chief 



Toronto of Old. 

[§ 20. 

Wabbekisheco, took the culprit by the shoulder and delivered him 
up. He was lodged in the jail at York. 

During the summer it was proved by means of a survey that the 
spot where Sharp had been killed was within the District of New- 
castle. It was held necessary, therefore, that the trial should take 
place in that District. Sellick's, at the Carrying Place, was ta 
have been the scene of the investigation, and thither the Speedy 
was bound when she foundered. Mr. Justice Cochrane was a most 
estimable character personally, and a man of distinguished ability. 
He was only in his 28th year, and had been Chief Justice of 
Prince Edward Island before his arrival in Upper Canada. He 
was a native of Halifax, in Nova Scotia, but had studied law in 
Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in England. 

In the old Court House, near which we are now passing, were 
assigned to convicted culprits, with unflinching severity and in a na 
inconsiderable number of instances, all the penalties enjoined in 
the criminal code of the day— the lash, the pillory, the stocks, the 
gallows. We have conversed with an old inhabitant of Toronto, 
who had not only, here heard the penalty of branding ordered by 
the Judge, but had actually seen it in open court inflicted, the 
iron being heated in the great wood-stove that warmed the room, 
and the culprit made to stretch out his hand and have burnt there- 
on the initial letter of the offence committed. 

Here cases came up repeatedly, arising out of the system of 
slavery which at the beginning was received in Canada, apparently 
as an inevitable part and parcel of the social arrangements of a 
colony on this continent. 

On the first of March, 181 1, we have it on the record, " William 
Jarvis, of the Town of York, Esq. (this is the Secretary again), 
informed the Court that a negro boy and girl, his slaves, had the 
evening before been committed to prison for having stolen gold 
and silver out of his desk in his dwelling-house, and escaped from 
their said master; and prayed that the Court would order that the 
said prisoners, with one Coachly, a free negro, also committed to 
prison on suspicion of having advised and aided the said boy and 
girl in eloping with their master's property." Thereupon it was 
" Ordered,— That the said negro boy, named Henry, commonly 
called Prince, be re-committed to prison, and there safely kept till 
delivered according to law, and that the giri do return to her said 
master ; and Coachly be discharged." 


S 20.] Queen Street ; The Old Court House. 293 

At the cidte just mentioned Slavery was hem., „. ^ n 
gushed by an Act nffh^ p^^ ^^ycry was being gradually extin- 

July .n .ha. ,ear should b. free o. a.«i„i„, Z te of'^- 

named Peggy aeed fLv . To be sold: a Black Woman 

cu iTcggy, aged torty years, and a Black Bov h^r =«.« 

tall and strone for hi<5 ^o^ o^a u u *^*"°les. The boy is 

business, bu.ic gtuT^rindpXr r'"''" '" '"' ~"""^ 
each of .hem servf„.s flw'S price of'thr"'' '"'•°^"' 
hundred and fiBy dollare P„r thTu . / """^ " ■>»= 
able in three v Jrc T'- '"'^ '""" ''""^«'l d"""', pay- 

{,"""' ac. liut one-fourth ess w 11 be taken fnr ^^^^ 
".oney. York, Feb. ,,.h, .806. RZer- "'^' 

tist'e^. Z'° T '^"^ " "" P™"' "O"™'. »"<^h an adver- 
and deeds of men by the spirit of «,e age in which'^ Sd 

ne'™ll"°tVw "'■""''''' ' ""'"^y""" in the EngUsh 

^vTLTIZ'J"/""- •>='f«''^«"; i- of an excellem 
e^i inn, oenind bt. Clement's Church in tht> (itronA » a j 
Te"' .'. A*B. Tr '^'' ^^'"'■'^ ^~rA n' . "".768:': 

years. Any person that inclines to purchase him may 


Toronto of Old. 


have liim for ^^40. He belongs to Captain Abercrombie, at 
Bnghton. This advertisement not to be repeated." 
The poet sings — 

" Slaves cannot breathe in England : if their lungs 
Receive our air, that moment they are free ; 
They touch our country and their shackles fall." 

But this was not true until Lord Mansfield, in 1772, uttered his 
famous judgment in the case of James Somerset, a slave brought 
over by a Mr. Stewart from Jamaica. Cowper's lines are in reality 
a versification of a portion of Lord Mansfield's words. A plea had 
been set up that villeinage had never been abolished by law in 
England ; ergo, the possession of slaves was not illegal But Lord 
Mansfield ruled : " Villeinage has ceased in England, and it can- 
not be revived. The air of England," he said, " has long been too 
pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it Every 
man who comes into England," Lord Mansfield continued " is en 
titled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he 
may heretofore have suffered, and whatever may be the colour of 
his skm : Quamvts ille niger, qimmvis tu candidus esses. Let the 
negro be discharged." But this is a digression. 

Peter: Russell's Peggy had been giving him uneasiness a few 
years previous to the advertisement copied above. She had been 
absenting herself without leave. Of this we are apprised in an ad- 
vertisement dated York, September 2nd, 1803. It runs as fol- 
lows : " The subscriber's black servant Peggy, not having his per- 
mission to absent herself from his service, the public are hereby 
cautioned from employing or harbouring her without the owner's 
leave. Whoever will do so after this notice may expect to be 
treated as the law directs. Peter Russell." 

Inthejpapers published at Niagara advertisements similar to 
those just given are to be seen. In the Niagara Herald of Janu- 
ary 2nd, 1802, we have, " For sale : A negro man slave, i[» years 
of age, stout and healthy ; has had the small pox and is capable of 
service either in the house or out-doors. The terms will be made 
easy to -the purchaser, and cash or new lands received in payment 
Enquire of the printer." And again in the Herald oi January i8th • 
"For sale : the negro man and woman, the property of Mrs. 
Widow Clement. They have been bred to the business of a farm • 
will be sc Id on highly advantageous terms for cash or lands Ao- 
ply to Mr,;. Clement." ^ 


§20.] Queen Street^The Old Court House. 295 
Cash and lands were plainly beginning to be regarded as less nre- 

' vT:ers'^"/"'"^\r^'^^ ^" ^797'purcha" ^ho: 

mh ZlT '^"^'*'^'"S: I" '^' Gazette and Oracle of October 
nth, in that year, we read : "Wanted to purchase, a negro sirl 
from seven to twelve years of age, of good disposition F^fuge 

be be sold - A healthy strong negro woman, about thirty years 

In respect to the following notice some explanation is needed 

part Indian The detention of a native as a slave, if legal, would 
have been difficult. Mr Charlp.: F^w «f m- ^s*». woum 

Auan.f T«o, „ V^ , ^' °^ Niagara, on the 28th of 

August, 1802, gave notice in the Ifera/d: " All persons are forbid- 
den harbounng employing, or concealing my Indian slave Sal, as 
I am determined to prosecute any offender to the extremity of the 
law; and persons who may suffer her to remain in or upon their 
premises for the space of half-an-hour, without my written consen" 
will be taken as offending, and dealt with accordingly " 

In the early volumes of the Quebec Gazette these slave adver- 
tisements are common. A rough wood-cut of a black figure run- 
nmg frequently precedes them. It appropriately illustrates the foL 
lowing one : " Run away from the subscriber on Tuesday, the 2Sth 
ult, a negro man, named Drummond, near six feet high, walks hea- 
vily ; had on when he went away a dark coloured cloth coat and 
eather breeches. Whoever takes up and secures the said negro, so 
that his master may have him again, shall have Four Dollars re- 
ward and all reasonable charges paid by John McCord. Speaks 
very bad English and next to no French." Another reads thus : 
To be sold, a healthy Negro Boy, about fifteen years of age, well 
qualified to wait on a gentleman as a Body Servant. For further 
particulars inquire of the Printers." 

Mr Sol.-General Gray, lost in the Speedy, manumitted by his 
will, dated August 27th, 1803, and discharged from the state of 
'/S;"r^:'''' ^^ '^^' document speaks, "she now is," his 
faithful black woman servant, Dorinda," and gave her and her 
children their freedom ; and that they might not want, directed 
that ;£,i2oo should be invested and the interest applied to their 


Toronto of Old. 


maintenance. To his black servants, Simon and John Baker, he 

Ees Th r '"?"' '°° ^"^^ °''^"^ -^^' -^ P^-iary 
hf r'^ k' rr •'''■' "''"'^ ^^"* ^^^'^ ^ith his master in 

Ithf 1? '• ;' ^'^" ^°"^ '"^''^^*^- «^ "«^d to state that his 
mother Donnda, was a native of Guinea, and to describe Govemor 
Hunter as a rough old warrior, who carried snuff in an outside 

mnl^ .1 «hirt-bosoms. H,s death was announced in the public 

pap rsbytelegram from Comwall,Ontario,bearingdateJanuaryr7 

attained h^ 7 """"l '' ^"'' ""^'"^^ J^^" ^^^er -ho 
attamed his 105th year on the 25th ult, died here to-day. He came 

se'i'irth: r' '^ T '''' ^°^°"^^ ^^^^' ^^ ^^^^' ^-""-n 

service in the Revolutionary war. Subsequently he served throueh 
out the war of x8r. He was wounded at Lund/s Lane and has' 
drawn a pension for fifty-seven years." Mr. Gray, it may be added 

2/ r^' ""'• '''"'^"" ^^"'^ °^ C-"-»- I^« place o 
iWH-".T". T " "''* " "°" ^^"'"^^ Street, on' the lot 
immediately to the west of the old "Council Chamber" (subse- 
quently the residence of Chief Justice Draper ) 

We ourselves, we remember, used to gaze, in former days, with 
some curiosity at the pure negress. Amy Pompadour, here in Vork 
mZ^^i' she had once been legally made a present of by Mis^ 
Elizabeth Eussell to Mrs. Captain Denison 

But enough of the subject of Canadian slavery, to which we have 
been inadvertently led. wc nave 

for'^th! n"^ ^°".^t House, when abandoned by the law authorities 
lit hT r '"^' °" ^^"^ ^'''''^ ^^' ^^terwards occasionally 
rr^ M l^"'"''! ^"'P^'''- ^^ ^" advertisement in the aI 
vocae, in March, 1834, we leam that the adherents of David 
WiUson, of Whitchurch, sometimes made use of it. It is thl^ 
announced that " the Children of Peace will hold Worship in the 
Old Court House of York, on Sunday, the r6th instant, at Eleven 
and Three." Subsequently it became for a time the House of 
Industry or Poor House of the town. 

Besides the legal cases tried and the judgments pronounced 

aTtach to fn ^"'^^ "'"^ '' ^'^ ""'^ ^°"" «°-^' -te'rest wouW 
attach to he curious scenes-^ould they be recovered and described 
--which there occurred, arising sometimes from the primitive rus- 
ticity of juries, and sometimes from their imperfect mastery of the 
English language, many of them being, as the German sellers of 

§ 20.] Queen Street— The Old Court House. 297 

Markham and Vaughan were indiscriminately called, Dutchmen 
Feter Ernest, appearing in court with the verdict of a jury of which 
he was foreman, began to preface the same with a number of pecu- 
liar German-English expressions which moved Chief Justice Powell 
to cut him short by the remark that he would have to commit him 
If he swore:-when Ernest observed that the perplexities through 
which he and the jury had been endeavouring to find their way, were 
enough to make better men than they were express themselves in 
an unusual way.-The verdict, pure and simple, was demanded, 
h-rnest then announced that the verdict which he had to deliver 
was, that half of the jury were for «' guilty" and half for "not guilty " 
That IS, the Judge observed, you would have the prisoner half- 
hanged or the half of him hanged. To which Peter replied, that 
would be as his Lordship pleased.-lt was a case of homicide 
iiemg sent back, they agreed to acquit. 

Odd passages, too, between pertinacious counsel and nettled 
judges sometimes occurred, as when Mr. H. J. Boulton, fresh from 
the Inner Temple, sat down at the peremptory order of the Chief 
Justice, but added, " I will sit down, my Lord, but I shall instantly 
stand up again. ' ' 

Chief Justice Powell, when on the Bench, had a humorous way 
occasionally, of indicating by a kind of quiet by-play, by a gentle 
shake of the head, a series of little nods, or movements of the eye 
or eyebrow, his estimate of an outr6 hypothesis or an ad cap- 
tandum argument. This was now and then disconcerting to advo- 
cates anxious to figure, for the moment, in the eyes of a simple- 
minded jury, as oracles of extra authority. 

Nights, likewise, there would be to be described, passed by juries 
mthedimmutiye jury-room, either through perplexity fairly arising 
out of the evidence, or through the dogged obstinacy of an indi^ 

Once, as we have heard from a sufferer on the occasion, 
Colonel Duggan was the means of keeping a jury locked up for a 
night here, he being the sole dissentient on a particular point. 
1 hat night, however, was converted into one of memorable festi- 
vity, our mformant said, a tolerable supply of provisions and com- 
forts having been conveyed in through the window, sent for from 
the homes of those of the jury who were residents of York. The 
recusant Colonel was refused a moment's rest throughout the live- 
long night. During twelve long hours pranks and somids were 


Toronto of Old. 


When 10 o'clock a. m. of the next day arrived and th. r ^ 

of .he i„^, fo. *e purpose oTttri tir.:Sr m" S 
wm, attorney for .he prosecution, move/.ha. .he^M jalso^Lt 

—a. i„e,egan.,y adds, "he ^- T^V'LTlt 

In the Co ■"'''"'^'''.-'^' P'-^-g '«"orance, wa's diS^d 
In .he Court House m ,8.. was .ried a curious case in relpec. 
of a horse clmmed by hvo parties. Major He»ard, of York aTd 

atZ nT^"''"^; ~"'"^"''^"' "' *= United States G^i^n 
at Fort Niagara, Major Heward had reared a sorrel colt on his 
farmeastof the Don; and .heni, was three years oldt „a sler 

month after the theft, when a young horse was brought by a stranger 
.0 Major Reward, a. York, and instantly recognizL by hiL as Ws 
lost property Some of the major's neighbours likewise had no 
doubt ofthe,den.,ty of the animal, which, moreover whentaken 
.0 the farm entered of his own accord the smble, and thVstal "he 

pasture, greeted m a fnendly way a former mate, and ran to drink 
UntdTIr^ 7'eri„g place. Shortly after, two citizens of™e 
Umted States, Kelsey and Bond, make their appearance at York 
and clatm the horse which they find on Major Reward's to « 
.he property of General Wadsworth, comma dant a. Fort nI^." 

§ 20.] Queen Street— The Old Court House. 299 

Kelsey swore that he had reared the animal ; that he had docked 
him with his own hands when only a few hours old ; and that he 
had sold him about a year ago to General Wadsworth. Bond also 
swore positively that this was the horse which Kelsey had reared 
and that he himself had broken him in, prior to the sale to General 
Wadsworth. It was alleged by these persons that a man named 
Docksteader had stolen the horse from General Wadsworth at Fort 
Niagara and had conveyed him across to the Canadian side 

In consequence of the positive evidence ot these two men the 
jury gave their verdict in favour of General Wadsworth's claim, 
with damages to the amount of ^50. It was nevertheless generally 
held that Kelsey and Bond's minute narrative of the colt's early 
history was a fiction ; and that Docksteader, the man who trans- 
ferred the animal from the United States side of the river to Cana- 
dian soil, had also had something to do with the transfer of the 
same animal from Canada to the United States a twelvemonth 

The subject of this story survived to the year 185 1, and was 
recognized and known among all old inhabitants as "Major 
Heward's famous horse Toby." 

Within the Court House on Richmond Street took place in 1818 
the celebrated trial of a number of prisoners brought down from 
the Red River Settlement on charges of- high treason, murder, 
robbery, and conspiracy,^' as preferred against them by Lord Sel- 
kirk, the founder of the Settlement. When our neighbourhood 
was Itself in fact nothing more than a collection of small isolated 
cleanngs, rough-hewn out of the wild, "the Selkirk Settlement" 
and the " North West" were household terms among us for remote 
regions m a condition of infinite savagery, in comparison with which 
we, as we prided ourselves, were denizens of a paradise of high 
refinement and civilization. Now that the Red River district has 
attained the dignity of a province and become a member of our 
Canadian Confederation, the trial referred to, arising out of the 
very birth-throes of Manitoba, has acquired a fresh interest. 

The Earl of Selkirk, the fifth of that title, was a nobleman of 
enlightened and cultivated mind. He was the author of several 
hterary productions esteemed in their day; amongst them, of a 
treatise on Emigration, which is spoken of by contemporaries as an 
exhaustive, standard work on the subject. For practically testing 
his theories, however. Lord Selkirk appears to have desired a field 


Toronto of Old. 


exclusively his own. Ins' ad of directing his fellow-countrymen to 
one or other of the numerous prosperous settlements already in 
process of formation at easily accessible and very eligible spots 
along the St. Lawrence and the Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron, 
he mduced a considerable body of them to find their way to a point 
in the far mterior of our northern continent, where civilization had 
as yet made no sensible inroad ; to a locality so situated that if a 
colony could contrive to subsist there, it must apparently of neces- 
sity remam for a very long period dismally isolated. In 1803, 
Bishop Macdonell asked him, what could have induced a man of his 
high rank and great fortune, possessing the esteem and confidence 
of the Government and of every public man in Britain, to embark in 
an enterprise so romantic ; and the reply given was, that, in his 
opinion, the situation of Great Britain, and indeed of all Europe 
was at that moment so very critical and eventful, that a man would 
like to have a more solid footing to stand upon, than anything that 
Europe could offer. The tract of land secured by Lord Selkirk for 
emigration purposes was a part of the territory held by the Hud- 
son s Bay Company, and was approached from Europe not so 
readily by the St. Lawrence route as by Hudson's Strait and Hud- 
son s Bay. The site of the actual settlement was half-a-mile north 
of the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, streams 
that unitedly flow northward into Lake Winnipeg, which communi- 
cates directly at its northern extremity with Nelson River, whose 
outlet is at Port Nelson or Fort York on Hudson's Bay. The 
population of the Settlement in the beginning of 1813 was 100. 
Mr. Miles Macdonell, formerly a captain in the Queen's Rangers 
appomted by the Hudson's Bay Company first Governor of the 
Distnct of Assiniboia, was made by the Earl of Selkirk superin- 
tendent of affairs at Kildonan. The rising village was called Kil- 
donan, from the name of the parish in the county of Sutherland 
whence the majority of the settlers had emigrated. 

The Montreal North West Company of Fur Traders was a rival 
of the Hudson's Bay Company. Whilst the latter traded for the 
most part in the regions watered by the rivers flowing into Hud- 
son s Bay, the former claimed for their operations the area drained 
by the streams running into Lake Superior. 

The North West Company of Montreal looked with no kindly 
eye on the settlement of Kildonan. An agricultural colony, in 
close proximity to their hunting grounds, seemed a dangerous 

§ 2a] Queen Street—The Old Court House. 301 
innovation, tending to injure the local fur trade. Accordingly it 

told that they would assuredly be made "poor and miserable" by 
the new-comers if they were allowed to proceed with their improve 
ments ; because these would cause the buffalo to disappear The 
colomsts themselves were informed of the better prospects open 
to them m the Canadian settlements and were promised'pecunfary 
help If they would decide to move. At the same time, the peril to 
which hey were exposed from the alleged ill-will of the Indians 
was enlarged upon^ Moreover, attacks with fire-arms were made 
on the houses of the colomsts, and acts of pillage committed. The 
result was that m 1815, the inhabitants of Kildonan dispersed 
proceedmg, some of then, in the direction of Canada, anS some 

Ih t'T^, V • P"'P°'^"^ '° "^"^^ *h^^^ ^^y to Port Nelson, 
o?nH f ;, '^rtl^' " conveyance thence back to the shore 
o old Scotland. Those, however, who took the northern route 

m V ""t' ^\ " '' '^' "°^^^^™ ^"^ °f Lake Winnipeg, 
estabhshmg themselves for a time at Jack River House. They were 
then mduced to return to their former settlement, by Mr. Colin 

ll'T"^' '" T* °^'^' ""^^"'^'^ ^^y C-'^P-ny. who assured 
them that a number of Highlanders were coming, via Hudson's 
Bay, to take up land at Kildonan. This proved to be the fact ; 
and, m 1816, the revived colony consisted of more than 200 per- 
sons On annoyance being offered to the settlement by the North 

To!! r.T^VT'' ^'- ^""^" ^^'"^^°"' ^ho occupied a 
post called Fort Gibraltar, about half a mile off, Mr. Colin Robert- 
son, with the aid of his Highlandmen, seized that establishment, 
and recovered two field-pieces and thirty stand of arms that had 
been taken from Kildonan the preceding year. Cameron himself 
was also made a prisoner. (Miles Macdonell, Governor of Assini- 
boia, had been captured by the said Cameron in the preceding 

Z\ K K ''? *°. ^'"'"'''^^-^ ^ ^''■""S ^^^l'"g ^^' ^^°"«ed among 
he half-breeds, far and near, who were in the interest of the North 
West Company In the spring of 1816, Mr. Semple, the Governor 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, appeared in person at the Red 
Kiver, having been apprized of the growing troubles. During an 
angty conference on the iSth of June, with a band of seventy men, 
headed by Cuthbert, Grant, Lacerte, Fraser, Hoole, and Thomas 
McKay, half-breed employes of the North West Company, he was 
violently assaulted ; and in the mel^e he was killed, together with 


Toronto of Old. 


five of his officers and sixteen of his people. Out of these events 
sprang the memorable trials that took place in the York Court 
House in 1818. 

The Earl of Selkirk being desirous of witnessing the progress 
made by his emigrants at Red River, paid a visit to this continent 
in the autumn of 18 15. On arriving at New York he heard of the 
dispersion at Kildonan, and the destruction of property there. He 
proceeded at once to Montreal and York to consult with the autho- 
rities. The news next reached him that his colony had been re- 
established, at least partially. He immediately despatched a 
trusty messenger, one Lagim< .li^re, with assurances that he him- 
self would speedily be with them, bringing proper means of pro- 
tection. But Lagimoni^re was waylaid and never reached his 

It happened, about this time, in consequence of the peace just 
established with the United States, that the De Meuron, Watter- 
ville and Glengarry Fencible Regiments were disbanded in the 
country. About eighty men of the De Meuron, with four of the 
late officers, twenty of the Watteville, and a few of the Glengarry, 
with one of their officers, agreed to accompany Lord Selkirk 
to the Red River. On reaching the Sault, the tidings met the 
party of the second dispersion of the colony, and of the 
slaughter of Governor Semple and his officers. The whole 
band at once pushed on to Fort William, where were assembled 
many of the partners of the North West Company, with Mr. Mc- 
Gillivray, their principal Agent. Here were also some of the per- 
sons who had been made prisoners at Kildonan. 

Armed simply with a commission of a Justice of the Peace, Lord 
Selkirk then and there, at his encampment opposite Fort William 
across the Kaministigoia, issued his warrant for the arrest of Mr. 

It is duly served and Mr. McGillivray submits. Two partners 
who came over with him as bail are also instantly arrested. The 
prisoners had been previously liberated and information was pro- 
cured from them. 

Warrants were then issued for the arrest of the remainder of the 
partners, who were found in the Fort. Some resistance was now 
offered. The gate of the Fort was partially closed by force ; but 
a party of twenty-five men instantly rushed up firom the boats and 
cleared the way into the Fort At the signal of a bugle-call more 

|»o.] Q^een Street~The Old Court House. 303 

^e«.ini„« pa Jr Jtr rr.ot bZ'^^', T" ■"" 
th« resistance to the wa™ewa.aHemn,edLr .^ ^^"'"" 

rity infomisus, "about .oc Canadt^r / ! r !"'' '"'"""'°- 
■»en. of the Co„,pa„y. i„ and abrfhe >!«? ' '",."'' '""P""^ 
or ,0 !„<,„„, Indians, also in Cc^^^^^^ -* '» 

emergency. ™ '"i"'' '» "le roughest 

The prisoners brought down from n^» urn- 
the lapse of nearly two yea,, placed aT the R "u' '"" """ 
House Of York, were a Jigned'as fdlol ?< tZ ' °"!.'^°"" 
Boucher, for the murder of Robert Semnk ^ " ^"'' "• *' 

J-ne, ,8,6; John Siveright, Alexander £' '^'S' '"= """ »' 
John McDonald, John LlauX Id st°'''i""^'' *''=°'"'^' 
sories to the same crime; Coone Irl R '''"' "" ""^"^ 

".e third of April, ,8,5, ;ifhT;T„?a™rS :r "?• "" 
non and one howitzer the nro„.«, r *""'•. ^'Sn' pieces of can- 
Earl of Selkirk, from his tel S /'«"' "°"- 'T''''™'. 
of their lives certain loltut/tre^efn"" 7 "^ '" ""^"^ '- 
further described as beinir two „f .^ u ' """"'"^ «« 

ofthem b^ss swivels, ftrof^mlnXivdr J^'tT"' '™ 
verdict was " not guilty " swivels.— In each case the 

Mr"j:s{s«Bu:::,rA^S^c^:t- ^^^^^^^^^^^^ 

counsel for the Crown were IMr At.orn. r^ '""• ^- ^he 

Mr. Solicitor-General Boulton The Z^^^^^^^" ^oUnson .u, 

Samuel Sherwood, Liviu. P. Sherwood and WwZTr'" I"' 
The Junes n the thrf.^ tr,--,!. Baldwin, Esq. 

.hat served on one or other ofTe """'''' '''^""'^'- 'T''"'' 
Bond, Joseph Harrison, Wm Ha ri o„ 7,,^ hlT ^""^"^^ 
Lawrence, Joshua Leach, Johf rroLgi 7 i „ rV^''' 
Alexander Montgomery Peter Whi, r ^ ' *"• ^^ore, 

Whitmore, Harbo^rS^mp! Tjrn wLnT^"."^^ "^'^'^^^ 
Herring. ^ ' ■' " ^'''°"' John Hough, Richard 

The Earl of Selkirk was not present at the tn.i= i^ . 
company ..encet^; -an^owrS;, It^ ^^^ 


Toronto of Old. 


.r„fh 1, ''"'". '^°"" °^ °>""'"<' T^ina held a. York , 
tru. b,l agams. the Earl and nineteen others wa, found bJthe 
Grand Jury, for " conspiracy to ruin .he Irade of the North West 
tompany Mr. Wn,. Smith, Under-Sheriff of the Westel iS 
1.:^' "".'"k" 7"*"' -'-^500 damages for having been «.^ 
and confined by the said Earl when endeavouring to ser^el^ 
ran on h,m ,n Fort William; and Daniel McKenzie a retlTd 
partner of the North-West Company, obtained a verS„?i ,^ 
damages for alleged false imprisonment by the Earl i^ thf ^ 
pCi^tlrSoTol^Sncr'^' '" ■''"■ ^'O^'-^'^Oi-'at 



t York, a 
id by the 
stem Dis- 
en seized 
ve a war- 
a retired 

he same 
: died at 



'^thJ'Zfri"'^ '"' "^ o"'' """'"' Court House, 
the spot at which we arrive in our tour is one of vJ^ 

pecu har .nterest. Itis the intersection a ri^httnZ 

of the two great military ways carved out through A^ 

in the fir« MS '"refand Vonge Street were laid down 

trave,^ the la"d ta aSrf . ^"""^ " '"«''"*^' ''««»«'™ 
Itoes, the one from ea t to w^rti'' T"'' " P'""'"'"' » "ght 

They were denoml S " s^ Is'-^tlT- "h'" '° """■• 
from the amous ancient wlys stilJ ,„ ! ." "'' """" 
"5treets,"whichth^RZ.r \ several mstances called i 

construcjfofmm;^^^"" -«- ''f.P."-«ve Britain. I 
occupation for the vJorXS, I '' " '" """"Pl'^a"* 

these ancient roads72s Engb„?' 'X' '° 'T' "'" "" ''"'» "' 
pilgrimage expressly for he plp°« of^ """"r.""" '^' ^ 
Ilcnield Street and Watlin/srr "[""""S "•« '"tersection of 
ftom our actual knowLteff I ,".""''' "' »""«^''". »"d 
Street and Dundass"^r;ee to ^^-""^^^ ■""".'" ^°»8« 
more vividly the condition o c^ af Zum' "^ ''"l'"' '" '"^ 
road-makers first began their work fter?* " "^ ^""^ 

das/SX^'sta!^ Z'^TcT ^"" «""■ ""-^ °- 
.ear Oovemf simco^ !Z^V^^ ^ -'^--« 





Toronto of Old. 



"Dundas Street, the road proposed from Burlington Bay to 
the River Thames, half of which is completed, will connect by 
an internal communication the Detroit and settlements at Nia- 
gara. It is intended," he says, " to be extended northerly 
to York by the troops, and in process of time by the respec- 
tive settlers to Kingston and Montreal." In another despatch 
to the same statesman he says : — " I have directed the sur- 
veyor, early in the next spring to ascertain the precise dis- 
tance of the several routes which I have done myself the honou. 
of detailing to you, and hope to complete the Military Street or 
Road the ensuing autumn." In a MS. map of about the same 
date Dundas Street is laid down from Detroit to the Pointe au 
Bod§t, the terminus on the St. Lawrence of the old boundary line 
between Upper and Lower Canada. From the Rouge River it is 
sketched as running somewhat further back than the line of the 
present Kingston Road ; and after leaving Kingston it is drawn 
as though it was expected to follow the water-shed between the 
Ottawa and the St. I^awrence. A road is sketched, running from 
the Pointe au BodSt to the Ottawa, and this Road is struck at an 
acute angle by Dundas Street. 

A manuscript note appears on the map, " The Dundas Street 
is laid out from Oxford to the Bay of Quints ; it is nearly finished 
from Oxford to Burlington Bay." 

In 1799 the Constellation^ a paper published at Niagara, informs 
its readers, under the date of Friday, August 2nd, in that year, 
that " the wilderness from York to the Bay of Quints is 120 miles ; 
a road of this distance through it," it then says, ** is contracted 
out by Government to Mr. Danforih, to be cut and completed by 
the first of July next ; and which, when completed, will open a 
communication round the Lake by land from this town [Niagara] 
with the Bay, Kingston, &c. Hitherto," the Constellation con- 
tinues, " in the season of winter our intercourse with that part of 
the province has been almost totally interrupted. Mr. Danforth 
has already made forty miles of excellent road," the editor encou- 
rages his patrons by observing, " and procured men to the num- 
ber sufficient for doing the whole extent by the setting in of winter. 
It would be desirable also," Mr. Tiffany suggests, " were a little 
labour expended in bridging the streams between Burlington Bay 
and York ; indeed the whole country," it is sweepingly declared, 
" affords room for amendment in this respect." 

J*'] B«'^ Street-lBay Street. jq. 

*e region „„„a ulrOnZ r:;';t'r t ""'""°" »' 
TOit to the head of Lake SuDerior Za T ^^ '' """'' f'y » 
Dawson-road and th"«, oHhe „!, '^'*™ *' ^°™''' by the 
William to Winnipeg «»'Iy-«pened route ftom Fort 

to the Midland Dbtrict is,''ft,ay?" ""7*'^'''™(Vork) 

TownshipofHope, about sLtymilt^otCdett: '" " "■' 
may travel it mth safety. The ren„« »kTv ! ' ™8gons, &c. 

Government by the genSemen aW . ^ ^ *"'" ™^' '<> <*' 
«.e <7«.^,, then proS rj'^Sv ft '"' m' "" ™* '^'" 
forth, the undertaL; and ierLpeS~'' f/^' .''""- 
out m so extensive a work The ,!! • ? ""'"^ ""'be pomted 
;wmbeaccon,pU.hedby.j;e Jo ,:y":r^ ^." it is added, 
these various extracts refer i. «f,ii i, ^^^ ''^^^ *« ^^ich 

It runs -ewhatTo'*fSr*:ll";™:VKl„°r? ^°^''- 
taring it by the town line at the " Four^Me Vfee ? "' "• 

Yonge Street, which we purpose dnlv t^ „• i . 
has its name from Sir GeoL Yon» » P'^^bulate hereafter. 
Government in the reign of Geirm T 1 "" '"'P™'' 

«. Devonshire family,Lape:rJLd";fGrvrJtf'*'- 
The first grantee of the park-lot which we nexHlIn ^ ' 

gress westward was Dr. Macaulav an arm„ . ^ °" P'"" 

««ively to the 33rd RegimentSdlr^^Xr-rr ™- 
His sons, Sir James Macaulav first Ch.Vf t . ^"^^^ « dangers. 
Pleas, and Colonel John sJcoeUa^L^Tr/ ''' ''°'""^°" 
of Engineers, are well remembered t^J^^^ °«^- 

recollections of Dr. Macaulav speak of hTn! . ' P'''°"^^ 

spect. The southern portion of tL n '" ''™' '^ ^''^' ''■ 
period laid out in streetsTsJl lo'" 'tITT. '' ^" ^^'^ 
that here began to spring up wTs " nl Is'm:^Z To ''''''''. 
was long considered as bearing the relationTn v 7 T "' ^"^ 
ville does to Toronto now. So late as ,8« W n '^^' ^°^^- 
Guide and Register, speaks of Macaulav T^ ' '" ^'' ^''''' 

Yonge Street to Osgoode HalJ ^ ^"^ '' ""^^'^^'"^ ^^^ 

James Street retains the Christian name of Dr M. , 
Teraulay Street led nn tr. tu^ o-* /• , • ^'^' ^acauW. 

..e. Which afterhtTng';------^^^^^ 



Toronto of Old. 


connection with the laying out of Trinity Square off Yonge Street, 
was destroyed by fire in 1848. The northern portion of Macauky 
Town was bounded by Macaulay Lane, described by Walton zA 
" fronting the fields." This is Louisa Street. 

Of the memorable possessor of the property on the south side 
of Queen Street, opposite Macaulay Town, Mr. Jesse Ketchum, 
we shall have occasion to speak hereafter, when we pass his place 
of abode in our proposed journey through Yonge Street. The ex- 
isting Free Kirk place of worship, known as Knox Church, stands 
on land given by Mr. Ketchum, and on a site previously occupied 
by a long oblong red brick chapel which looked towards what is 
now Richmond Street, and in which a son-in-law of his, Mr. Har- 
ris, officiated to a congregation of United Synod Presbyterians. 
The donor was probably unconscious of the remarkable excellence 
of this particular position as a site for a conspicuous architectural 
object. The spire that towers up from this now central spot is 
seen with peculiarly good effect as one approaches Toronto by the 
thoroughfare of Queen Street whether from the east or from the 

Digression Southward at Bay Street. 

Old inhabitants say that Bay Street, where we are now arrived, 
was at the first in fact " Bear Street," and that it was popularly so 
called from a noted chase given to a bear out of the adjoining 
wood on the north, which, to escape from its pursuers, made for 
the water along this route. Mr. Justice Boulton's two horses, 
Bonaparte and Jefferson, were once seen, we are told, to attack a 
monster of this species that intruded on their pasture on the Grange 
property a little to the west. They are described as plunging at 
the animal with their fore feet. In 1809, a straggler from the forest 
of the same species was killed in George Street by Lieut. Fawcett, 
of the 1 00th regiment, who cleft the creature's head open with his 
sword. This Lieut. Fawcett was afterwards Lieut. -Col. of the looth, 
and was severely wounded in the war of 18 12. 

Bay street, as we pass it, recalls one of the early breweries of 
York. We have already in another place briefly spoken of Shaw's 
and Hugill's. At the second north-west comer southward, beer 
of good repute in the town and neighbourhood was manufactured 
by Mr. John Doel up to 1847, when his brewery was accidentally 

S "■] Queen Street-JBay Street. 309 

In the local commotions of ,837, Mr. Doel ventured in an hum- 
ble way ,„ g,ve a,d and comfort to the promoters of what^rov^ 
to be a small revolution. We cannot at this hour affirm tha'S 

dance with certam honest mstincts. Men of his class aLi stamo 

et:' '" T"f''' '"" '""'' =«^'"« encroachmentst^vi T„d 
Hi uoootd" ■" °" ^°™-«=hire where he tat dr w bl^ea" 
hJr^T P"^™"?""- '" having opinions on public questions 

Randal M.P., was despatched to London as a delegate on tie 


.0 be suggested b^ KancSr^cS rrrHp^^ 

i "LrJ ^ f *= document. It will be seen that Mr Doel 

-s set down m u for the Postmaster-Generalship. TheoThern^ 
sons mentioned will be all readily recalled "^ 

saZiy Lr;:"iLTheVeir:"\r 'r'"""r ■ "^"^"^' - 

f« J J , pennon lor the redress of grievances to h^ 

w r Prele:t"^^^^ ^"'^^^^^°^ ^^^'^' B.^rels Bi.! 
Z. r . °^ ^PP'^ Canada-with an extra annual allow- 

ance for a jaunt, for the benefit of his health, to his native St^te^f 
Massachusetts. W. W BAinwixr nu- c r . " "''"^'^ ^^^^ oi 

General to the MilitirFoteT "l^ "' ^"'"" """ '"'«'°"- 
r^on^. , -Torces— With 1,000,000 acres of land for 

Sed hhti "' "'^ *■"""' *■"""« l^-" ■»-' ^"aml^ 



Toronto of Old. 


encouraging emigration from the United States,' and a contin- 
gent account if he shall find it convenient to accompany the Presi- 

h!n . !JT. ,"''"'• '^^^ ^"'''^^ JuDGEs-to be chosen hj 
ballot m the Market Square, on the 4th of July in each and every 
year, subject to the approval of W. W. B, the Chief Justice. Their 
salaries to be settled when going out of office. Jesse Ketchum. 
Jos. Sheppard, Dr. Stovell, and A. BuRNSiDE-Executive and 
Legislative Councillors. Joint Secretaries-WiLLiAM Lvon Mc- 
Kenzie and Francis Collins, with all the printing. John Carey 
-Assistant Secretary, with as much of the printing as the Joint 

^^vtv\^l ^' P^'"''^ '° ""°^ ^'^- M««=« FiSH-Inspector 
of Public Buildings and Fortifications. J. S. BALowiN-Contrac- 
tor-General to the Province, with a monopoly of the trade. T D 
MoRRisoN-Surveyor-Generaland Inspector of Hospitals. Little 
DoEL-Postmaster-General. Peter PERRv-Chancellor of the 
Exchequer and Receiver-General. The above persons being thus 
amply provided for, dieir friends, alias their stepping stones," the 
document just quoted proceeds to state, "may shift for themselves • 
an opportunity, however, will be offered them for 'doing a little 
business by disposing of all other public offices to the lowest bid- 
der, from whom neither talent nor security will be required for 
the performance of their duties. Tenders received at Russell 
Square, Front Street, York. The Magistracy, being of no conse- 
quence IS to be left for after consideration. The Militia at the 
particular request of Paul Peterson, [M.P. for Prince Edward,! to 
be done away altogether ; and the roads to take care of them- 
selves. The Welland Canal to be stopped immediately, and Colonel 
By to be recalled fi-om the Rideau Canal. N.B. Any suggestions 
lor further tmprovements will be thankfully received at Russell 
Square, as above. "-(The humour of all this can of course be only 
locally understood.) ^ 

Mr. Doel arrived in York in 1818, occupying a month in the 
journey from Philadelphia to Oswego, and a week in that from 
Oswego to Niagara, being obliged from stress of weather to put in 
at Sodus Bay. At Niagara he waited three days for a passage to 
York. He and his venerable helpmeet were surviving in 1870 
at the ages respectively, of 80 and 82.-Not without reaso^i as the 
event proved, they lived for many years in a state of appreiiension 
m regard to the stability of the lofty spire of a pkr. 01 worship 
close to their residence, in 1862, that spire actually icM eastward 

§ 21.] Queen StreeU-JBay Street. 3 , , 

SJel'dTe^b^^^^^^^^^ notwestward. doing considerable damage. Mr. 

R^'^^r" °^*^' '^°'* '*'""* passing from Adelaide Street to 
Richmond Street, a few chains to the west of Mr. Doel's comer 

the former time, whose imprint on axe, broad axe or adze was a 
guarantee to the practical backwoodsman of its temper and ;erce! 
ab le quahty. Harvey Shepard's axe factory was on the west sWe 
Tm tt IfTh^'"'' ^^'°" ""' establis^menthere he worked n a 
Trtv of T ^ "T""^"^ '"^'^^ ''^'^ °'' ^'"S Street, on the pro- 
'rs of hl'^H^f r- !;m ^"'^" ^°^* "^"^'^''^ «--y Shep'ard 

Ifter a h f "^ ^'"^ ^"^^'"^ "°"^^' «^°"g^*«d -«d wiry. 

After a brief suspension of business, a placard hung up in the 

pubr,rr'rr"^'""^ announced to his friends 'and the 
would X^: '"' 7r'' '^^ '""" °^^"P^^-" -^ *hat he 
as ^^oH ^ ' °f ^'''''' Providence," undertake to turn out 
ment of r '' '"' 'It '' '^^ ^'^^ '"^^^ ' "^ich acknowledge- 
So a so thir"' '' f " " commendable surely, if unusual. 
m.,t K •' ""^ °"' ^^^ ^" '■"^"'^ *° ^PP'^^d an epigram- 

"t n kTT "''"' "''" ^^^P°"^'"^ ^° - appeal of charity. 

Though dealing usually in iron only, I keep," he said, "a little 

stock of silver and gold for such a call as this." The factonr on 

Shepard Street was afterwards worked by Mr. J. Armstrong and 

subsequentybyMr. Thomas Champion, fLerlyofSheffi:^^^^^^^^^^^ 

warranted Tri ""^^ ^' ^'^ "^ '^'^' ''^'^ °^ Champion'^ 

tleTe h'' It """!' "'^' '* '^' '"''^'y ^"gi"^"y built by 

trot fj7 Sh^rd and afterwards occupied by John Arm- 

nr^^" /Jf "P^'-^^ ^»d Armstrong's axes have been decidedly 

cTndnues -r "f °''"^ " ^'^ ^^°^'"^^'" ^he advertisement 
continues, it is only necessary to state that Champion's are made 

for thLT' '"'°' '"^ ^'"""^ '^' ""'^y ^''' ™^^«"-l. to ensure 
for them the same continued preference. "-We now return from our 
digression southward at Bay Street. 

weftwari of ir T'^"'. """' '^' ""''' P°^^^^^°^ «^ ^^e hundred acres 

chate with Dr M 7 '°' J"' ''''''''' '°"^^^^' ^ -*-" «" 
Change with Dr. Macaulay. Preferring land that lay higher he 

gave the southern half of his lot for the northern half of hf neigh 

boui^s, the latter at the same time discerning, as is probable the 

prospective greater value of a long frontage on one of Te ht^^;!' 

anto the town. Of Mr. Elmsley, we have had occasion ^2^ 



Toronto of Old. 


in our perambulation of King Street in connection with Gov- 
ernment House, which in its primitive state was his family resi- 
dence ; and m our progress through Yonge Street hereafter we shall 
agam have to refer to him. In 1802 he was promoted from a Puisne 
Judgeship m Upper Canada to the Chief Justiceship of Lower 

The park-lot which follows was originally secured by one who 
has smgularly vanished out of the early traditions of York-the 
Rev T. Raddish. His name is inscribed on this property in 
the first plan, and also on part of what is now the south-east 
portion of the. Government-house grounds. He emigrated to these 
parts under the express auspices of the first Lieutenant-Governor, 
and was expected by him to take a position of influence in the 
young colony of Upper Canada. But, habituated to the amenities 
and convemencies of an old community, he speedily discovered 
either that an entirely new society was not suited to him or that he 
himself did not dovetail well into it. He appears to have remained 
m the country only just long enough to acquire Tor himself and 
heirs the fee simple of a good many acres of its virgin soil. In 1826 
the southern portion of Mr. Raddish's park-lot became the property 
of Sir John Robinson, at the time Attorney General.— The site of 
Osgoode Hall, six acres, was, as we have been assured, the generous 
gift of Sir John^Robinson to the Law Society, and the name which 
the building bears was his suggestion. 

Osgoode Hall. 

The east wing of the existing edifice was the original Osgoode 
Hall, erected under the eye of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, at the time 
Treasurer of the Society. It was a plain square matter-of-fact brick 
building two storeys and a half in height. In 1844-46 a corres- 
ponding structure was erected to the west, and the tivo were united 
by a building between, surmounted by a low dome. In 1857-60 
the whole edifice underwent a renovation ; the dome was removed • 
a very handsome fa9ade of cut stone was put up ; the inner area' 
all constructed of Caen stone, reminding one of the interior of a 
Genoese or Roman Palace, was added, with the Court Rooms, 
Library and other appurtenances, on a scale of dignity and in a 
style of architectural beauty surpassed only by the new Law Courts 
in London. The pediment of each wing, sustained aloft on fluted 

§ 2 1 Queen Street— Osgoode Hall. 3 , 3 

lomc columns, seen on a fine day against the pure azure of a 
northern sky, is something enjoyable. 

Great expense has been lavished by the Benchers on this Ca- 
nadian Pala^s de Justice; but the effect of such a pile kept in i^ 
eery nook and corner and in all its surroundings b^crSX 
order, is invaluable, tending to refine and elevate each succesle 
genera ion of our young candidates for the legal professTonnd 
helping to .nspire amongst them a salutary esprit de corps. 

asD?ct m^T'' '""■ '/' '?' "'"' "°'^^ *" ''' ^•-^"-o"^ and 
3 nn ' !7 ^"^/P^»dently of its contents, tend to create a 
love of legal study and research. 

• tJ^c ^Z ^°''''^ °^ ^'^°°^" "^" ^^« incorporated in ,822 

I K Jt''"' ' "^"'^^ °" "^^^^ ^^ ^ b^^^^r hoSing a Scroll 1 ; 
cnbed Magna Charta. To the right and left L fi^es of 
Justice and Strength (Hercules.) ^ 

An incident associated in modem times with Osgoode Hall is 
^e Entertainment given there to the Prince of Wafes during h 

^ctural lines of the extenor of the building were brilliantly marked 

out by rows of minute gas-jets. . -^ ""'"''^^ 

Here, too, were held the impressive funeral obsequies of Sir John 

^^r^t:^T^'''f ^""^'^-^^^^ o^ Up'per Canadl in 
1862. In the Library is a large painting of him in oil, in which his 
finely cut Reginald Heber features are well delinelted Say 
Street passing northward on the east side of Osgoode Hall was so 
named by Chief Justice-Robinson, in honour of his mother n 
1870 the name was changed, probably without reflection and cer- 
tamly without any sufficient cause 

futurt' rir °/Pf^"^'"^^ ^^S™ i" Osgoode Hall, conservative to 
fature ages of the outward presentment of our Chief Justices 
Chancellors and Judges, is very interesting. All of them, we bt 

OsSode ho "''"' °' ^°""^^- ^° P°^*-^ °^ Chief' Justice 
Osgoode however, is at present here to be seen. The engraving 

SpT T K% volume is from an original in the possesL of 
Capt J. K. Simcoe, R. N., of Wolford, in the County of Devon. 

After filling the office of Chief Justice in Upper Canada, Mr. / 

Osgoode was renioved to the same high position in Lowev Canada. 

He resigned in x8ox and returned to England. Amo.g the deaths 

n the Canadian limew of July, 1824, his is recorded in the fol^ 

lowing terms :_" At his Chambers in the Albany, London, on the 


I :i 


Toronto of Old. 


17th of February last, Wm. Osgoode, Esq., formerly Chief Jus- 
tice of Canada, aged 70. By the death of this gentleman," it is 
added, "his pension of ^Tgoo stcJing paid by this Province now 
ceases." It is said of him, " , <i T/^-rson admitted to his intimacy 
ever failed to conceive for him thai esteem which his conduct and 
conversation always tended to augment." Garneau, in his History 
of Canada, iii., 117, >\'ithout giving his authority, says that he was 
an illegitimate son of George III. Similar tattle has been rife 
from time to time in relation to other perso^r.7~- '^ Canada. 

A popular designation of Osgoode Hall long m vogue was 
*' Lawyers' Hall :" 

" Farewell, Toronto, of great glory, 
Of valour, too, in modern story ; 
Farewell to Courts, to Lawyers' Hall, 
The Justice seats, both great and small : 
Farewell Attorneys, Special Pleaders, 
Equity Draftsmen, and their Readers. 
Canadian Laws, and Suits, to song 
Of future Bard, henceforth belong." 

Thus closed a curious production in rhyme entitled Curice Ca- 
nadenses, published anonymously in 1843, but written by Mr. John 
Rumsey, an English barrister, sometime domiciled here. In one 
place is described the migration of the Court of Chancery back 
from Kingston, whither it was for a brief interval removed, when 
Upper and Lower Canada were re-united. The minstrel says : 

" Dreary and sad was Frontenac : 
Thy duke ne'er made a clearer sack, 
Than when the edict to be gone 
Issued from the Vice-regal Throne. 
Exeunt omnes helter skelter 
To Little York again for shelter : 
Little no longe- : York the New 
Of imports such can boast but few : 
A goodly freight, without all brag. 
When comes 'mongst others. Master bpragge, 
And skilful Turner, versed m pleading, 
The Kingston exiles gently leading." 

To the last three lines the following note is appended : 

" J. G. Spragge, Esq., the present very highly esteemed and re- 
spected Master of the Court of Chancery ; R. T. Turner, Esq., a 
skilful Equity Draftsman and Solicitor in Chancery. See yournaJs 
4>f House of Assembly ^ 1841." 

§21.] Queen Street— Osgoode Hall. 3 , , 

l«iI!°,„"T r '"""^ t^""-*""' teem with intercting matter re- 
latmg to the laws, court,, term,, districts and early history le^ 
"d general, of Lower as well as Upper Canada. A coS S 

author must have been an experienced compiler, analyst and leg.! 
^1 Pleaders Gmde •' is taken as a model. As a motto to the 
of Virgtl, C«.,», „,^„ ,^„^;, ^ ^^^^ ^^^^^^ 
be a coraphment or not. The title in full of Mr. Rumse/s Zl 

CUR.« Camdenses ; or, The Canadian Law Courts : being 
a Poem, descnbmg the several Courts of Uw and Equity which have 
been erected from time to time in the Canadas , with copbus note 

Itur m anttquam sylvam, stabula alu ferarum ; Procumbunt picea 

SiC TT' ■'"■ "''""='=''"' ''abes/cuneis etfisl™bT; 
Scmdmir ; advolvunt ingentes raontibus ornos.- rirgii. By Plin- 
msSEcUNous Toronto: H and W. Rowsell, King1.reet,'84r 
1 he typography ,„i pap„ ,„ admirable. The Curia, i„ k jacket 

uw'Lt';: '"■"' '' ^'"" ^ -'^'^ °" '"' ^""^ of 0" C-^'™ 

Its name. If a commemoration of the Duke of York of sixtv ' 
yeani since was designed, the name of the whole town Z 

p"i»ccr'^'"^''- "■'*"* ^''-'- "-ides, record d^ 
specific Christian name, and Duke Street his rank and title Al ( 
.hough interesting now as a memento of a name b„™ o old by 
Toronto York Street, when Toronto was York, might weHhave 

^r; r 7u:''T'''- " "™'"« -«'iriaLn:r::; 

ofTr town A^ ? ■" ' "'™ '° ^ distinguished by the name 
Of that town.-A certain poverty of invention in regard to street 
names has m other instances been evinced amongst us. Vict^V 
Street, for exa ^ple, was for a «, ,e called Upper Seorge StteT^f 

PrincTfw", '"■".''"'«' ''■■^^' P-^P-' - --d ° 1 GeoU! 

Ttreet Z , ^'^° *"''''' ''"™ >>"" "^""''^ '"' '"^ second 
^.ireet, especially, too, as that street might have been ,0 fittingly 



Toronto of Old. 


named Toronio Street, as being situated within a few fe« „f ,., 
toe of tlie original tlioroughfare of that nam^ w^f B 
largely in the early descriptions of York -"ft .T^^ L tZ^Z 
comphment had been intended to Charles Yorke SecretarJ« w 
'"^er ^rr'-^-P": -"W ^-e been " Y^kX^^'"'" 

.w."ii!::x;it:ran;!;\s';hr "? -"" 

on their way to York, the beaten 7^^^^^^::^^^^^ 
to the south out of Dundas nr T r^^ Gf>„ * .u ,• "'o "" "6re 

.rohowed, would i.avetr„r^Srt;:- 1'°^^ ---^' 
The street on the west of the grounds of Osgoode Hall i, 
now k„own as University Street. By the donor "o The publ^ I 
the land occup.ed by the street, it was designated Pa k line „^. 
without due consideration, as is likelv In \1T ^°'^"'" 
famous and very distinguished P r L L. t leadsTo'^O T ." 
S^et to P^cadilly, and skirts the whole of the ttlrof^Hyde 
Park. The position of what was our Park Lane is somewtfat ana 
logous, It bemg open along its whole length on the left.^T f 
U.«ons of an ornamental piece of ground. Unt td w th'o" 
Pa^k Une would have .suggested from time to time in the Jjnd ol 
he ruminating wayfarer pleasant thoughts of a noble and tateL" 
.Impart of the great home metropolis. The change to UnSv 
Street was altogether uncalled for. It ignored the adjoinb^' Sf 
lege Avenue," the name of which showed that a «n3 
nued " University Street" existed already give m2or°'" 
name which is pretentious, the roadwa/ in iSed ^ZH 
paratively narrow. ^ *^°™ 

Of the street on the east side of the grounds of Osgoode 
Hall we have a ready snoken R„f ,« • ! ^"^"""^ 

tinn nf .h,„ spoken. But in connection with the ques- 

tion of changes in street names, we must here again refer io it 
In this case the name "Savor » j,oo k j "* 

"Chestnnr' -'TTi c. ,, has been made to give place to 
Chestnut 'Elm Street," which intersects this street to the 

St eet, however, had a reason for its existence. Many person^ 
still remember a sohta^^ Elm, a relic of the forest, which waZ 
conspicuous just where Elm Street enters Yonge St e^r AnJ 
there IS a fitness likewise in the names of Pine Street and Sumach 
Street, in the east; these streets, passing through a regTon where 
pmes and sumachs once abounded. But the modem ChesL; 
Street has nothing about it in the past or present associated S 


5 » ' •] Queen Street— Osgoode HaU. 3 , - 

chestnut trees of any kind. The name "<!»■,« •• 1, ... u 
respected. -nename bayer should have been 

.ros^ctiv?thou2T''" """'"'• 'PP-^'ly -".""t «riou, re. 
private rig\t s o ,d brsusJnS 7o" ""'^ "^ T ' ="™"'» 

einct .0 be entitUTo' rl::raX:Se:tre ^"Ite""' "•''■ 
Upper Canada I„ 1""° °' "" '"''' ^""^^ J"^"« <>' 

y^Tr i be proposed to alter the name of Dummer Street 


pc luuic . ana the Colonial Minister of the dav T nrH 


public health and morals, as well as of private interests. 

31 8 Toronto of Old. 

Digression Northward at the College Avenue. 


The fine vista of the College Avenue, opposite to which we have 
now arrived, always recalls tc our recollection a certain bright 
spring morning, when on reaching school a whole holiday was un- 
expectedly announced ; and when, as a mode of filling up a por- 
tion of the unlooked-for vacant time, it was agreed between two 
or three young lads to pay a visit to the place on Lot Street where, 
as the report had spread amongst us, they were beginning to make 
visible preparations for the commencement of the University of 
King's College. The minds of growing lads in the neighbour- 
"hood of York at that period had very vague ideas of what a Uni- 
versity really was. It was a place where studies were carried on, 
but how or under what conditions, there was of necessity little 
conception. Curiosity, however, was naturally excited by the talk 
on the lips of every one that a University was one day to be estab- 
lished at York; and now suddenly we learned that actual begin- 
nings were to be seen of the much-talked-of institution. On the 
morning of the fine spring day referred to, we accordingly under- 
took an exploration. 

On arriving at the spot to which we had been directed, we found 
that a long strip of land running in a straight line northwards had 
been marked out, after the manner of a newly-opened side line or 
concession road in the woods. We found a number of men actually 
at work with axes and mattocks ; yokes of oxen^ too, were straining 
at strong ploughs, which forced a way in amongst the roots and 
small stumps of the natural brushwood, and, here and there, un- 
derneath a rough mat of tangled grass, bringing to light, now black 
vegetable mould, now dry clay, now loose red sand. Longitudin- 
ally, up the middle of the space marked off, several hold furrows 
were cut, those on the right inclining to the left, and those crj 
the left inclining to the right, as is the wont in primitive turn- 

One novelty we discovered, viz., that on each side along a por- 
tion of the newly-cleared ground, young saplings had been planted 
at regular intervals; these, we were told, were horse-chest- 
nuts, procured from the United States expressly for the purpose of 
forming a double row of trees here. In the neighbourhood of York 
the horse-chestnut was then a rarity. 
Everywhere throughout the North Ameroan continent, as in the 

§21.] Queen Street-The College Metiue. 3,9 

^h^^Z!""'j^'°^'°'^ ""^ "' *' ^''"* Empire elsewhere on 

«e»f ^d^ k' T""'- "'""""' "'""'"'' "f ""-""f-l pro- 

gress made m , bnef mterval of time. For ourselves, we seem 

some.,mes as if we were moving among the unrealities oIl^Z 

when we dehberately review the steps in the march of physical a^d 

oc,al .mprovement, which, within a fractional portion o^ o^a 

urXw IT "'"''"'r "' ""'"O- '""-' -«"« 

wher?^e are " * " ""' '""• '" '^'^'' '» '"« ""ghbourhood 
wnere we are at this moment pausing. 

The grand mediaeval-looking structure of University College ^n 

he grounds at the head of the Avenue, continues to this day to be a 

surprise somewhat bewildering to the eye and mind, when ver it 

Tve its site htf '' "' ^""' '"'^- '^° '•^'"'^ *^^^ °"^ J^-^ walked 
almo 1 1 ?' ''°"' ^"' ^^^^ "P''" ^"^ther thereon, seems 

almost like a mental hallucination 

arctitTctutl 'effect" °' ^'^ '"' ^'^^"^^ °^ °-"^-" ^^er 
ness Th' , ^'"" '^^ '""'^'^^ pile an air of great genuine- 

signed re ultTat: f"'"' °''^ "^"^ ^^^'^ ^^P^^ ^^^ -<^ ' 
signed result of accretion growing out of the necessities of sue 

fi^LT !; ^''\'"^*^"^l of »ts walls, left for the most oart super 
ficiallym the rough, has the appearance of being weather wo n 
An impression of age, too, is given by the smooth finish of thlsur' 
rounding grounds and spacious drives by which, on severd sides 
the building IS approached, as also by the goodl^ size of the wel ' 

Tirrxtsr^^ r r ^^ ^^--u tsUed'i:: 

Line ^ first caught sight of, from across the picturesque 

Of the still virgin condition of the surrounding soil, however 
we have some unmistakeable evidence in the poLero s TjS 

ped s dd nTv d""; ""^'f'"^^^^ ^-- ^he day when they dron- 

longer endure their weight. 

sq!ar?ce«Ji'f' ""??'" "°"' ''°"S= Street for example, the 

InH I ■ . '""' ""«''• "'"« '^'" " :'l=a«nt horizon of trees 

Enlr. n'""*' "" "f'""""" '"'y-'^ ^""••"'ing 'hero r; 

English, recallmg Rugby or Wanviclc. On a nearer ^roach, this 


Toronto of Old. 


same tower, combined with the portal below, bears a certain re- 
semblance to the gateway of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, as 
figured in Palgrave's "Anglo-Saxons;" and the elaborate Ind 
exquisite work about the recessed circular-headed entrance enables 
one to realize with some degree of certainty how the enriched 
front of that and other noble mediaeval structures, seen by us now 
corroded and mutilated, looked when fresh from the hands that so 
cunningly carved them. 

In the two gigantic blind-worms, likewise, stretched in terrorem 
on the sloping parapets of the steps leading to the door, benumbed, 
not dead ; giving in their extremities, still faint evidence of life, we 
have a sermon in stone, which the brethren of a masonic guild of 
Wykeham's day would readily have expounded. As we enter a 
house devoted to learning and study, is it not fitting that the eye 
should be greeted with a symbol of the paralyzing power of Science 
over Ignorance and Superstition ? 

Moreover, sounds that come at stated intervals from that cen- 
tral tow-; make another link of sympathy with the old mother- 
land. Every night at nme, " swinging slow with solemn roar," 
the >irfcat bell of the University is agreeably suggestive of Christ 
Chruch, Oxford, St. Mary's, Cambridge, and other places beyond 
the sea, ^hich to the present hour give back an echo of the anci^t 
Curff, '•. 

And if to this day the University building, in its exterior aspect 
and accidents, is startling to those who knew its site when as yet 
in a state of nature, its interior also, when traversed and explwed, 
tends in the same persons to produce a degree of confusion as be- 
tween things new and old ; as between Canada and elsewhere. 
Within its walls are to be seen appliances and conveniences and 
luxuries for the behoof and use of teacher and student, unknown a 
few years since in many an ancient seat of learning. 

In a library of Old World aspect and arrangement, is a collection 
rich in the Greek and Latin Classics, in Epigraphy and Arch- 
aeology, beyond anything of the kind in any other collec- 
tion on this continent, and beyond vhat is *o be met with in those 
departments in many a separate College within the precincts of the 
ancient Universities— a pre-eminence due to the tastes and special 
sl:udies of the first president and other early professors of the Cana- 
<.ian Institution. 
Strange, it is, yet true that hither, as to a recognized source 

^■•] Q»^enStreet~The College Menue. 3,, 

.l:s ti,t if::^Tt ''^"■"'^™™'' - ^^^y 

fro™ time ,„'.;" "cltfur ^^r'^^'P"' ">^ "tads" that 
epigraphms, andeAnr ,s a„d Zk^'V^ ''^''«'" ™°"« 
«a.o« i„ *e Bri.,.h Is J^and elewh::'""^ ""°*=^' '"^^"■ 

which, in .heLuSanee IT '''""''°"^' "'^"lishmen. ,0 
approach. I, w s vTry cul-^" TdT r^"''" '° f°™ » 
a large portion of t J T7 •? " '"^^" '»">■ flowed, 

Univclit^rd Ifbe tvr<;tlt ?d' ""'"'°" °^ '"^ 
of edifices, isol-ted and . buildings. A multitude 

about, with gardens „don,r'?i'" '"'«"'""'^' ^''^ »^««^<i 
were halls of sciW 1X^1:^ S^"""'' '""^P"""- ^hese 
president, vice-ptesTdem Tf ' '"'""■'"<'*». residences for 
every grade, of he^deireSd'o "^ "" ^=™"'' "^ 
proposed institution, a population If ^ , '^"'"''^ ^^ *^ 

found that would, of S r 1 ''^"'""^ '''P'''=*^'"<"'e 
representation in plrlLlt' ''".^,"""'=' »"fficod .0 justify 

by its charter .0 en^^^ w ThouTdt''' f ^ '""^^^ "= ^"^''^ 
fore our eyes on a L.,v^ m ^^ ''^'^ '" '"'' realized be- 

biitg^^r^^rdlear:;?;' "' '^"'- ^"'° ^'^^^-^ 

dient to abandon the tulotl f, u '"«' " ™ f"""'' "pe- 

Mr. voung, a "oc^i^ti ,::r1i:rd't:''d^""""™"'''■ 
H^s ideas appear to have hp.n T ,7 ''™'^ "" P'an^. 
the tenor of L Royal Ch.«!r l^^ '"'"'''"'■ Notwithstanding 
•he old univers ties o • W ' ""''^i^esested the precedents of 
Ireland," wherev i Lhou d h "*''°"' ""'"'''' '^""""""'^ 
architecture and ar^^nt"e„tt' "T"""' '" '''"'°"' "'^"•' *<^ 

bu..d,£. the nTpr:^. d^sZTevtrer °- "^ - 

.he '3rd Aprrr™' °.^:!'=. ^"""^ ™* 'cok p,ace on 


-.™. were bursLgL--^,- X^r;! 


Toronto of Old. 


erally was in a very advanced stage. A procession, such as had never 
before been seen in these parts, slowly defiled up the Avenue to 
the spot where the corner-stone of the proposed University was to 
be laid. 

A highly wrought contemporary description of the scene is given 
in a note in Curice Canadenses: " The vast procession opened its 
ranks, and his Excellency the Chancellor, with the President, the 
Lord Bishop of Toronto, on his right, and the Senior Visitor, the 
Chief Justice, on his left, proceeded on foot through the College 
Avenue to the University grounds. The countless array moved 
forward to the sound of military music. The sun shone out with 
cloudless meridian splendour ] one blaze of banners flushed upon 
the admiring eye. — The Governor's rich Lord-Lieutenant's dress, 
the Bishop's sacerdotal robes, the Judicial Ermine of the Chief 
Justice, the splendid Convocation robes of Dr. McCaul, the gor- 
geous uniforms of the suite, the accoutrements of the numerous 
Firemen, the national badges worn by the Ofiice-bearers of the 
different Societies, and what on such a day (St. George's) must 
not be omitted, the Red Crosses on the breasts of England's con- 
gregated sons, the grave habiliments of the Clergy and Lawyers, 
and the glancing lances and waving plumes of the First Incorporated 
Dragoons, all formed one moving picture of civic pomp, one glori- 
ous spectacle which can never be remembered but with satisfac- 
tion by those who had the good fortune to witness it. The fol- 
lowing stanza from a Latin Ode," the note goes on to say, " recited 
by Master Draper, son of the late Attorney-General, after the cere- 
mony, expresses in beautifully classical language the proud occasion 
of all this joy and splendid pageantry : — 

"lo! triumphe ! flos Canadensium I 
Est alma nobis mater ; Ecmula 
Britannia; hajc sit nostra terra, — 
Terra diu domibus negata ! " 

Another contemporary account adds : " As the procession drew 
nearer to the site where the stone was to be laid, the 43rd Regiment 
lined the way, w-'h soldiers bearing arms, and placed on either 
side, at equal intervals. The 93rd Regiment was not on duty here, 
but in every direction the gallant Highlanders were scattered 
through the crowd, and added by their national garb and nodding 
pluinvis to the varied beauty of the animated scene. When the 
site was reached," this account says, " a new feature was added to 

§2,.] Q«em Slreet-The ColUge Avenue. 3,3 
the interes* of the ceremony. Close to .1,, . ,. 
comer, where the foundation wa o be Z "■?;.*' "°"''-'^^' 
building had been erected ?or tTe Ch,^ n '^ ""f ' " '™P<"^ 
panied b- the officers of .he U^ver^Uv a„^ '' ' ""'' '"°"- 
=^tand. Fronting this wa a kind'f '^ . t" """' ^' """= "' 
structedfortheoccair H,r "' f "Pl^'heatre of seats, con- 

ladies, who .hu?crr^d:L"::i;';r iitr ''-' ^'' 
f;^^ctL:t;ratrr^-— -^^^^ 

pleasant asnec. He entered with all the more '2111*'" ' 
monies descrihpri a-^w, u • , • »^"'uic spirit into the cere- 

universitle 'j^'em^ofTa'r :rTr7"';^'"'°"=°f*-'d 


mace was an 'k^ I '" ^' procession, bearing a i.rge gilded 
iiiace, was an Esquire Bedell " likp r)i« r^u ?• ^ S"aea 

Christ Church Mr. wSm Cavlev k"°' ^'"^^^''' ^ 
of the Canadian GoUrnment ^ ^' ^"bsequently a member 

intimated : and even in ifc ,-^ r ^'^^^^*^' ^^ we .lave already 
was not fa'ted .0 be L' „rgr™f S Tf"''"' """'*"' '' 

ada^ed to the ,',':,, IfT (V^rSXtp?; ^^ ^ "^°''' 

of a new building on t IntirTd '^ "' *^ ^"^"''° '" '^j, 
to it bodily, of „res°den?nr^^ ^ T"' '""' ""^ " ""Ration 
ing howev';, f m .he bourof'th^'^'^'^'-^'*™' "^P"'' 
— for the insti.u:>t^ t°^f ^Se S, Zet 



Toronto of Old. 


viating, educationally and otherwise, in some points, from the 
pattern of the ancient universities, as they were in 1842, a nearer 
approach, architecturally, was made to the mediaeval English College 
than any that had been thought of before. Mr. Cumberland, the 
designer of the really fine and most appropriate building in which 
the University at length found a resting place, was, as is evident^ 
a man after the heart of Wykeham and Wayneflete. 

The story of our University is a part of the history of Upper 
Canada. From the first foundation of the colony the idea of some 
such seat of learning entered into the scheme of its organization. 
In 1 791, before he had yet left England for the unbroken wilder- 
ness in which his Government was to be set up, we have General 
Simcoe speaking to Sir Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal 
Society, of "a college of a higher class," as desirable in the com- 
munity which he was about to create. " A college of a higher 
class," he says, " would be eminently useful, and would give a tone 
of principles and of manners that would be of infinite support to 
Government." In the same letter he remarks to Sir Joseph, " My 
friend the Marquis of Buckingham has suggested that Government 
might allow me a sum of money to be laid out for a Public Library, 
to be composed of such books as might be useful in the colony. 
He instanced the Encyclopcedia, extracts from which might occa- 
sionally be published in the newspapers. It is possible," he adds, 
" private donations might be obtained, and that it would become 
an object of Royal munificence." 

It was naturally long before the community of Upper Canada 
was ripe for a college of the character contemplated ; but provision 
for its ultimate existence and sustenance was made, almost from 
the beginning, in the assignment to that object of a fixed and 
liberal portion of the public lands of the country. 

In 1819-20, Gourlay spoke of the unpreparedness of Upper 
Canada as yet for a seat of learning of a high grade. Meanwhile, 
as a temporary expedient, he suggested a romantic scheme. " It 
has been proposed," he says, " to have a college in Upper Canada ; 
and no doubt in time colleges will grow up there. At present, and 
foi a considerable period to come, any effort to found a college 
would prove abortive. There could neither be got masters nor 
scholars to^^ensure a tolerable commencement for ten years to come; 
and a feeble beginning might beget a feeble race of teachers and 
pupils. In the United States," he continued, "academies and 



§21.] Queen Streei~rhe College Avenue. 325 

ferioT.0 f;"f /»=;™r™«. ™ y" but raw; a„dgrea.lyi„ / 
tenor to those in Britam, generally speaking. Twentv.five larf. 
sent annually at public charge from Upper Canada to Britilh U„1 
verstfes, would draw after them n,a„y more. The youths 'h™' 
selves generally, would become desirous of making 'a vtageTn 

Tvltrid? r'"^'!;'°""" ™ '-" - etrand'woud 
elevate the^r ideas, and sfr them up to extraordinary exertions 

They would become finished preachers, lawyers, physfcians me ' 

chants , and, returning to theirnative country^ouIdreTtawt 
dom what was expended in goodness and itrality. VVha mli' 
especially mvites the adoption of such a scheme i, T. k^ 

and affectionate connection which i, would te^d to esabHTh 

Gourlay's prediction that " in time colleges will grow up there " 

\l^:Z::Z"''r'''''- J'^ '°" especially, '„fwhich'.s 
hfic of ,^ ^ ■"■ ""'' "™^ °' '^°"'™P'. h»^ been ,0 pro 

counlr r ',' " "°" '^^""^ ' """^ of Salamanca for Ae 
coun y at la ge ; a place of resort for students from all parts it 
.3 well p,„b b,^ fo, Canada that the scheme of draf ingTbatch 
of young students periodically to the old countrv, was no" adoDted 

Svt: oTs-rrfte S; :? t' - 't "-" " 

academic distinction wouirC;^^^^^^^ 


too closely. Numerous trees and shrubs of differen Stnd 
habits were n.„.gled together as they are usually to b' s en in f 

:r icr:- red^ and^:tv^p^l: 

relied on to u ^'^^ ^""-^^-^hestnuts alone should have been 

shout h , ^'"" "^^'''''' *° '^' ^^^""^ ' -"d of these there 

pubhc Z^ '\' "^^""^ °^ ^he great walks in the 

puuac parks of the old towns of Europe. 






URSUING our way now westward from the Avenue 
leading to the University, we pass the Powell park-lot, 
on which was, up to recent times, the family vault of 
the Powells, descendants of the Chief Justice. The 
whole property was named by the fancy of the first 
possessor, Caer-Howell, Castle Howell, in allusion to the 
mythic Hoel, to whom all ap-Hoels trace their origin. 
Dummer Street, which opens northward a little further on, retains, 
as we have said, the second baptismal name of Chief Justice Powell! 
Beverley House and its surroundings, on the side opposite Caer 
Howell estate, recall one whose name and memory must repeat- 
edly recur in every narrative of our later Canadian history, Sir John 
Robinson.— This was the re?i'dence temporarily of Poulett Thom- 
son, afterwards Lord Sydenham, while present in Toronto as Gov- 
ernor-General of the Canadas in 1839-40. A kitchen on a large 
scale which he caused to be built on the premises of Beverley 
House, is supposed to have been an auxiliary, indirectly, in getting 
the Union measure through the Upper Canada Parliament. In a 
letter to a friend, written at Montreal in iSjo, he gives a sketch of 
his everyday life : it describes equally well the daily distril)uli(/n 
of his time here in Toronto. " Work in my room," he says, " till 
three o'clock ; a ride with my aide-de-camp till five ; work' again 
till dinner ; at dinner till nine ; and work again till early next 
morning. This is my daily routine. My dinners last till ten, 
when I have company, which is about three times a week ; except 
one night in the week, when I receive about 150 people." 

§ 22.] Queen Street— College Avenue to (Brock St. 327 

His policy was, as we know, very successful. Of the state of 
things at Toronto, and in Upper Canada generally, after the Union 
measure had been pushed through, he writes to a friend thus • « I 
have prorogued my Parliament." he says, "and I send you my 
Speech Never was such unanimity ! When the Speaker read it 
m the Commons, after the prorogation, they gave me three cheers 
m which even the ultras united. In fact, as the matter stands 
now, the Provmce is in a state of peace and harmony which, three 
months ago, I thought was utterly hopeless." 

In a private letter of the following year (1841), he alludes to his 
influence m these terms : " I am in the midst," he says, "of the 
bustle attending the opening of the Session, and have, besides a 
mmistenal ' crisis ' on my hands. The latter I shall get through 
triumphantly, unless my wand, as they call it here, has lost all 
power over the members, which I do not believe to be the 
case This was written at Kingston, where, it will be remem- 
bered the seat of Government was established for a short time 
after the union of Upper and Lower Canada 

Through Poulett Thomson, Toronto for a i^^ months and to 
the extent of one-half, was the seat of a modern feudal barony. On 
being elevated to the peerage, the Governor-General, who had ear- 
ned the Union, was created Baron Sydenham of Sydenham in Kent 
and Toronto in Canada. 

of fh T v"i'J* ''"' "'P'''"'' *^"' ^^°^°"*° ^°"'^ be the capital 
of the United Province, but its liege lord pronounced it to be "too 
far and out of the way ;" though at the same time he giv, s it as his 
opinion that Kingston or Bytown would do." Thus in 1840, and 
m July, 1841, he writes : " I have every reason to be satisfied with 
having selected this place (Kingston) as the new Capital. There 
IS no situation in the Province so well adapted for the seat of 
Government from its central position ; and certainly we are as 
near England as we should be anywhere else in the whole of Can- 
and My last letters reached me," he says, " in fifteen days from 
London ! bo much for steam and railways." Being in very deli- 
cate health, It had been Lord Sydenham's intention to return to 
England in September, 1841. On the sth of June he writes at 
Kingston to a friend : " I long for September, beyond which I will 
not stay u they were to make me Duke of Canada and Prince of 
Regiopohs, as this pla. e is called. ' But he was never more to see 
England. On the 4th of the September in which he had hoped to 


Toronto of Old. 


leave Canada, he suffered a fracture of the right leg and other in- 
jury by a fall from his horse. He never rallied from the shock. 
His age was only 42, 

The Park lot which follows that occupied by Cliief Justice 
Powell was selected by Solicitor-General Gray, of whom fully al- 
ready. It afterwards became the property of Mr. D'Arcy Boulton, 
eldest son of Mr. Justice Boulton, and was known as the Grange 
estate. The house which bears the name of the " Grange," was 
built at the beginning of the brick era of York, and is a favourable 
specimen of the edifices of that period. (Beverley House, just noted, 
was, it may be added, also built by Mr. D'Arcy Boulton. 

The Grange-gate, now thrust far back by the progress of im- 
provement, was long a familiar landmark on the line of Lot-street. 
It was just within this gate that the fight already recorded took 
between Mr. Justice Boulton's horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, 
and the bears. A memorandum of Mr. G. S. Jarvis, of Cornwall, 
in our possessiori, affirms that Mr. Justice Boulton drove a phaeton 
of some pretensions, and that his horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, 
were the crack pair of the day at York. As to S(-me other equi- 
pages he says : " The Lieut. Governor's carriage was considered a 
splendid affair, but some of the Toronto cabs would now throw it 
into the shade. The cp.iriage of Chief Justice Powell, he adds, 
was a rough sort of omnibus, and would compare with the jail van 
used now." (We remember Bishop Strachan's account of a car- 
riage sent up for his own use from Albany or New York ; it was 
constructed on the model of the ordinary oval stage coach,' with a 
kind of hemispherical top.) 

To our former notes of Mr. Justice Boulton, we add, that he 
was the author of a work in quarto published in London in 1806, 
entitled a " Sketch of the Province of Upper Canada. " 

John Street, passing south just here, is, as was noted previously, 
a memorial, so far as its name is concerned, of the first Lieutenant 
Governor of Upper Canada. On the plan of the " new town," as 
the first expansion westward, of York, was termed,— while ' this 
street is marked " John," the next parallel thoroughfare eastward 
is named " Graves," and the open square included between the 
two, southward on Front Street, is " Simcoe-place." The three 
names of the founder of York were thus commemorated. The ex- 
pression "Simcoe-place" has fallen into disuse. It indicated, of 
course, the site of the present Parliament Buildings of the Province 

§ 22.] Queen Street-Colle^re Avenue to (Brock St. 329 
of Ontan., Graves Street has be. ,me Simroe Street, a name as 

rhhThVr^'"""'/'-^'^"'^'' ^" ''' thoroughfare northwld 
with which It IS nearly ,n a right line, viz., Wilham Street, which 
previously recorded, as we ha^ ,^ said, the first Christian am of 

change^ The name sounds trivial enough ; but it has an interest, 
in the minds ot the present generation, ^.uh John Street will be 
specially associated the memorable landing of tL Princ of W ,e 
at Toronto in 1860. At the foot of John Street, for that occasion 
there was built a vast semi-colosseum of wood, opening out upon 

e waters of the Bay ; a pile whose capacious co'ncavity L: dense 
fi led again and again, during the Prince's visit, with the inhabitants 
of the own and the population of the surrounding country And 
on the brow ofthe bank, immediately above the so-calu/ampS" 
theatre, and exactly ,n the line of John Street, was erected a fi 'el 
designed triumphal arch, recalling those of Septimus Severus and 

finish to the vista, looking southward along John Street. The 
usually monotonous water-view presented by the bay and lake 
and even the common-place straight line ofthe Island, seen through 
the frame-work of three lofty vaulted passages, acquired for the 
moment a genuine picturesqueness. An ephemeral monument : 
but as long as It stood its effect was delightfully classic and beauti- 
fnL- U^ ^^°'7.^°"P-the arch and the huge amphitheatre below, 
furnished around its upper rim at equal intervals with tall masts 
each bearing a graceful gonfalon, and each helping to sustain on 
high a luxuriant festoon of evergreen which alternately drooped 
and rose again round the whole structure and along the two sides 
of the grand roadway up to the arch-all seen under a sky of pure 
azure, and bathed in cheery sunlight, suirounded too and thronged 
fTrgoUei''' "multitude-constituted a spectacle not likely to be 

Turning down John Street a fev. chains, the curious observer 
may see on his left a particle of the old area of York retaining 
several of its original natural features. In the portion of the Mac 
donell-block not yet divided into building-slips we have a frag- 
ment of one of the many shallow ravines which meandered capri- 
ciously, every here and there, across the broad site of the intended 
town. To the passer-by it now presents a refreshing bit of bowery 















US. 112.0 





1.25 |U ,6 









WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 


Toronto of Old. 


meadow, out of which towers up one of the grand elm-trees of the 
country with stem of great height and girth, and head of ver^ 
graceful form, whose healthy and undecayed limbs and long irl 
ng branchlets, clearly show that the human regard which has led 
to the preservation hitherto of this solitary survivor of the forest 
has not been thrown away. This elm and the surrounding grove 
are stU favourite stations or resting-places for our migratory Ls. 

no! ^°' °"\P'^^^' '» the spring, are sure to be heard the first 
notes of the robin. 

At the south-west angle of the Macdonell block still stands in a 
good state of preservation the mansion put up by the Hon. Alex- 
ander Macdonell. We have from time to time spoken of the b "k 
era of York. Mr. Macdonell's imposing old homestead may be 
described as belongmg to an immediately preceding era-the age 
of framed timber and weather-board, which followed the primitive 
or hewn-log period. It is a building of two full storeys, each of 
considerable elevation. A central portico with columns of the 
whole height of the house, gives it an air of dignity 

Mr. Macdonell was one more in that large group of military men 
who served m the American Revolutionary war, under Col. Simcoe 
and who were attracted to Upper Canada by the prospects held oul 
by that officer when appointed Governor of the new colony. Mr 
Macdonell was the first Sheriff of the Home District. He repre- 
sented in successive parliaments the Highland constituency of 
Glengary, and was chosen Speaker of the House. He was after- 
wards summoned to the Upper House. He was a friend and cor- 
respondent of the Earl of Selkirk, and was desired by that zealous 
emigrational theorist to undertake the superintendence of the set- 
tlement at Kildonan on the Red River. Though he declined this 
task, he undertook the management of one of the other Highland 
setriements mcluded in the Earl of Selkirk's scheme, namely, that 
of Baldoon on Lake St. Clair; Mr. Douglas undertaking thecare 
of that established at Moulton, at the mouth of the Grand River 

Mr Macdonell, in person rather tall and thin, of thoughtful 
aspect, and in manner quiet and reserved, is one of the company 
of our early worthies whom we personally well u member. An in- 
teresting portrait of him exists in the possession of his descendants • 
It presents him with his hair in powder, and otherwise in the cos^ 
^me of " sixty years since." He died in 1842. " amid the regrets 
of a community who," to adopt the language of a contempora^^ 

§ 22.] Queen Street— College Avenue to (Brock St. 331 

obituary, "loved him for the mild excellence of his domestic and 
pnvate character, no less than they esteemed him as a public 

Mr. Miles Macdonell, the first Governor of Assiniboia, under 
the auspices of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Alexander Mac- 
donell, the chief representative in 181 6 of the rival and even hos- 
tile Company of the North-West Traders of Montreal, were both 
near relations of Mr. Macdonell of York, as also was the barrister, 
lost in the Speedy, and the well-known R. C. Bishop Macdonell 
of Kingston. Col. Macdonell, slain at Queenston, with General 
Brock, and whose remains are deposited beneath the column there, 
was his brother. His son, Mr. Allan Macdonell, has on several 
occasions stood forward as the friend and spirited advocate of the 
Indian Tribes, especially of the Lake Superior region, on occasions 
when their interests, as native lords of the soil, seemed in danger 
of being overiooked by the Government of the day. 

On Richmond Street a little to the west of the Macdonell block, 
was the town residence of Col. Smith, some time President of the 
Province of Upper Canada. He was also allied to the family of 
Mr. Macdonell. Col. Smith's original homestead was on the Lake 
Shore to the west, in the neighbourhood of the river Etobicoke 
Gourlay in his " Statistical Account of Upper Canada," has chanced 
to speak of it. « I shall describe the residence and neighbour- 
hood of the President of Upper Canada from remembrance," he 
says, "journeying past it on my way to York from the westward, 
by what is called the Lake Road through Etobicoke. For many 
miles," he says, "not a house had appeared, when I came to that 
of Colonel Smith, lonely and desolate. It had once been genteel 
and comfortable ; but was now going to decay. A vista had been 
opened through the woods towards Lake Ontario ; but the riotous 
and dangling undergrowth seemed threatenii>.g to retake possession 
from the Colonel of all that had once been cleared, which was of 
narrow compass. How could a solitary half-pay officer help him- 
self," candidly asks Gourlay, " settled down upon a block of land, 
whose very extent barred out the assistance and convenience of 
neighbours ? Not a living thing was to be seen around. How 
different might it be, thought I, were a hundred industrious fami- 
lies compactly settled here out of the redundant population of 

" The road was miserable," he continues ; " a litde way beyond 


Toronto of Old. 


. the President s house it was lost on a bank of loose gravel flung up 
between the contending waters of the lake and the Etobicoke 
stream He here went astray. « It was my anxious wish," he 
says to get through the woods before dusk ; but the light was 
nearly gone before the gravel bank was cleared There seemed 
but one path, which took to the left. It led me astray : I was lost • 
and there was nothing for it but to let my little horse take his 
own way. Abundant time was afforded for reflection on the 
wretched state of property flung away on half-pay officers. Here 
was the head man of the Province, ' born to blush unseen,' without 
even a tolerable bridle-way between him and the capital city, after 
more than twenty years' possession of his domain. The very 
gravel-bed which caused me such turmoil might have made a turn- 
pike but what can be done by a single hand ? The President 
cou d do httle with the axe or wheelbarrow himself; and half-pay 
could employ but (tv^ labourers at 3s. 6d. per day with victuals and 
<lnnk. He recovers the road at length, and then concludes : "after 
many a weary twist and turn I found myself," he says, "on the 
banks of the Humber, where there was a house and a boat." 

Col. Smith did something, in his day, to improve the breed of 
horses m Upper Canada. He expended considerable sums of 
money m the importation of choice animals of that species from 
the United States. 

The house which led us to this notice of President Smith is, as 
we have said, situated on Richmond Street. On Adelaide Street 
immediately south of this house, and also a little west of the Mac- 
donell block, was a residence of mark, erected at an early period by 
Mr. Hugh Heward, and memorable as having been the abode for a 
time of the Naval Commissioner or Commodore, Joseph Bouchette, 
who first took the soundings and constructed a map of the harbour 
of York. His portrait is to be seen prefixed to his well-known 
British Dominions in North America." The same house was also 
once occupied by Dr. Stuart, afterwards Archdeacon of Kingston • 
and at a later period by Mrs. Caldwell, widow of Dr. Caldwell 
connected with the Naval establishment at Penetanguishene. Her 
sons John and Leslie, two tall, sociable youths, now both de- 
ceased, were our classmates at school. We observe in the Oracle 
of Saturday, May 28, 1803, a notice of Mr. Hugh Heward's death 
in the following terms : " Died lately at Niagara, on his way to De- 
troit, after a lingering illness, Mr. Hugh Heward, formerly clerk in 

§ 22.] Queen Street— College Avenue to (Brock St. 333 

the Lieutenant-Governor's office, and a respectable inhabitant of 
this town (York)." 

Just beyond was the abode of Lieut. Col. Foster, long Adjutant 
General of Militia ; an officer of the antique Wellington school, of 
a fine type, portly in figure, authoritative in air and voice ; in spirit 
and heart warm and frank. His son CoUey, also, we here name 
as a congenial and attached schoolboy frierd, likewise now de- 
ceased, after a brief but not undistinguished career at the Bar. 

A few yards further on was the home of Mr. John Ross, whose 
almost prescriptive right it gradually became, whenever a death 
occurred in one of the old families, to undertake the funeral obse- 
qmes. Few were there of the ancient inhabitants who had not 
found themselves at one time or another, wending their way on a 
sad errand, to Mr. Ross's doorstep. On his sombre and ve^ un- 
pretending premises were put together the perishable shells in 
which the mortal remains of a large proportion of the primitive 
householders of York and their families are now reverting to their 
original dust. Almost up to 'ae moment of his own summons to 
depart hence, he continued to ply his customary business, being 
favoured with an old age unusually green and vigorous, like " the 
ferryman austere and stern," Charon ; to whom also the " inculta 
canities" of., plentiful supply of hair and beard, along witha cer- 
tam staidness, taciturnity and rural homeliness of manner and attire 
further suggested a resemblance. Many things thus combine to 
render Mr. John Ross not the least notable of our local dramatis 
persons. He was led, as we have understood, to the particular 
business which was his usual avocation, by the accident of having 
been desired, whilst out on active service as a militiaman in 1812 
to take charge of the body of Gen. Brock, when that officer was 
killed on Queenston Heights. 

While in this quarter we should pause too for a moment before 
the former abode of Mr. Robert Stanton, sometime King's Printer 
for Upper Canada, as noted already ; afterwards editor of the 
Loyalist; and subsequently Collector of Customs at York :-a 
structure of the secondary brick period, and situated on Peter 
Street, but commanding the view eastward along the whole length 
of Richmond Street. Mr. Stanton's father was an officer in the 
Navy, who between the years 1 771 and 1786 saw much active ser- 
vice in the East and West Indies, in the Mediterranean, at the 
siege of Gibraltar under General Elliott, and on the American coast 


Toronto of Old. 


during the Revolutionary war. From 1786 to 1828 he was in the 
public service in several military and civil capacities in Lower and 
Upper Canada. In 1806 he was for one thing, we find, issuer of 
Marriage Licences at York. From memoranda of his while actiiig 
in this capacity we make some extracts. The unceremoniousness 
of the record in the majority of cases, is refreshing. The names 
are all familiar ones in Toronto. The parties set down as about 
to pledge their troth, either to other, had not in every instance, 
in 1872, passed off" the scene. 

1806, N9V. 26, Stephen Reward to Mary Robinson. Same date, 
Ely Playter to Sophia Beaman. Dec. n, same year, Geo. T. Deni- 
son to C. B. Lippincott. 1807, Feb. 3, Jordan Post to M. Wood- 
ruffe. July 13, Hiram Kendrick to Hester Vanderburg. Dec. 28 
Jarvis Ashley to Dorothy McDougal. 1808, Jan. 13, D'Arcy 
Boulton, Jun., to Sally Ann Robinson. March 17, James Finch 
to M. Reynolds. April 9, David Wilson to Susannah Stone. 
May 2, John Langstaff" to Lucy Miles. May 30, John Murchison to 
Frances Hunt. August 8, John Powell, Esq., to Miss Isabella Shaw. 
Sept. 12, Hugh Heward to Eliza Muir. 1809, April 14, Nicholas 
Hagarman to Polly Fletcher. May 18, William Cornwall to Rhoda 
Terry. June 19, John Ashbridge to Sarah Mercer. June 21, 
Jonathan Ashbridge to Hannah Barton. July 15, Orin Hale to 
Hannah Barrett. Aug. 5, Henry Drean to Jane Brooke. Dec. 14, 
John Thompson to Ann Smith. 1810, March 8, Andrew Thomson 
to Sarah Smith. March 30, Isaac Pilkington to Sarah McBride 
June 2, Thomas Bright to Jane Hunter. July 3, John Scariett to 
Mary Thomson. Sept. 10, William Smith to Eleanor Thomson. 
June 22, William B. Sheldon to Jane Johnson. July 30, Robert 
Hamilton, gent., to Miss Maria Lavinia Jarvis. 181 1, Sept. 20, 
George Duggan to Mary Jackson. 

In one or two instances we are enabled to give the formal an- 
nouncement in the Gazette and Oracle of the marriage for which 
the licence issued by Mr. Stanton was so curtly recorded. In the 
paper of Jan. 27, 1808, we have : « Married, on the 13th instant 
bp the Rev. G. O. Stuart, D'Arcy Boulton, jun., Esq., barrister, 
to Miss Sarah Robinson, second daughter of the late C. Robinson 
Esq., of York." 

And in the number for August 13, in the same year we read : 
"Married by the Rev. G. 0. Stuart, on Monday the 8th instant, 
John Powell, Esq., to Miss Shaw, daughter of the Hon. ^neas 

§ 22.] Queen Street—College Avenue to (Brock St. 335 

Shaw, of this place (York)." To this announcement the editor as 
we suppose volunteers the observation : " This matrimonial con- 

It productive of, the most perfect human happiness " 

A complimentary epithet to the bride is not unusual in early Ca- 
nadian marriage notices, in the^a..//.a«^^^a./.ofDec. 20. 1708 
we have a wedding in the Playter family recorded thus : " Mairied 
b. Monday Mr James Playter to the agreeable Miss Hannah 
Miles, daughter of Mr. Abner Miles of this town." In the same 
paper for Feb^4, 1798, is the announcement : " Married in this 
town (Niagara) by the Rev. Mr. Burke, Captain Miles Macdonell 
of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, to the amiable Miss Katey 
Macdonell. (This union was of brief duration. In the Cons^e/l 

T A T .' J-^^^' """ °^'''^' = " ^''^ ^^''^y ^t Kingston, Mrs. 
Macdonell, of this town (Niagara), the amiable consort of Captain 
Miles Macdonell of the Canadian Volunteers.") 

« d^^^'^l 'f *^^ ^''''^^' """"^ ^'''^^' '■°'" Saturday Oct, 26, 1700 ■ 
Married, last Monday, by the Rev. Mr. Addison, Colonel Smithi 

M sA?"''rf wP'^u° '^' '"^^^ ^^^^^^'^ ^"^ accomplished 
Miss Mary Clarke." (This was the Col. Smith who subsequently 
was for a time President of Upper Canada ^ 

2l^^ ^T""''"" °^^°'- '^' ^799, in addition to the compli- 
mentary epithet, a poetical stanza is subjoined : thus: ''Married 

^ Mr^Th m dT ""'■ ''^""^°"' '' Q^^^^^-' ^ Sunday 
kst, Mr. Thomas Dickson, merchant, to the amiable Mrs. Taylor 

daughter of Captain Wilkinson, commanding, Fort Erie. ' 

For thee, best treasure of a husband's heart ; 
Whose bliss it IS that thou for life art so ; ' 
That thy fond bosom bears a faithful part ' 
In every casual change his breast may know " 
But occasionally the announcement is almost as terse as one of 
Mr. Stan on's entries. Thus in the Constellation of Dec. 28, 1799, 
Mn Hatts marriage to Miss Cooly appears with great brevity: 
Mamed at Ancaster, Mr. Richard Hatt to Miss Polly Coolv " 
A magistrate officiates sometimes, and his name is given accor- 
dingly. In the Gazette and Oracle of March 2, 1799, we have • 
"Married on Tuesday last, by William Willcocks, Esq., Sergeant 
Mealy, of the Queen's Rangers, to Miss M. Wright, of'tLis tow"^ 
(Somewhat in the strain of the complimentary marriage notices 
are the following: "We announce with much pleasure an acqui- 


Toronto of Old. 

[§ 22. 

sition to society m this place by the arrival of Prideaux Selby, Esq., 
and M.SS Selby. -^^..//,, Dec. 9, 1807. The York Assembly which 
commenced on Thursday the 17th instant, was honoured by the 
attendance of His Excellency and Mrs. Gore. It was not nume- 
rous. We understand that Mrs. Firth, the amiable Lady of the 
Attorney General, lately arrived, was a distinguished figure "- 
Gazette, Dec. 23, 1807.) ' 

The family of Mr. Stanton, senior, was large. It was augmented 
by twms on five several occasions. Not far from Mr. Stanton's 
house, a lesser edifice of brick of comparatively late date on the 
north side of Richmond Street, immediately opposite the premises 
associated just now with the memory of President Smith, may be 
noted as having .been built and occupied by the distinguished Ad- 
miral Vansittart and the first example in this region of a cottage 
furnished with light, tasteful verandahs in the modern style 

We now return from our digression into Richmond and Adelaide 
streets, and again proceed on our way westward. 

The grantee of the park-lot which followed Solicitor-General 
Grays, was the famous Hon. Peter Russell, of whom we have 
had occasion again and again to speak. A portion of the property 
was brought under cultivation at an early period, and a substantial 
farm-house put up thereon-a building which in 1872 was still in 

?et'ersfidd ^^^ "'""' '"""^'"^ *° '^'' ^°'''' ^''^ "^'"""^ ^^^ 
Human depredators prowled about a solitary place like this. At 
their hands in 1803, Mr. Russell suffered a serious loss, as we learn 
from an advertisement which about midsummer in that year ap- 
peared m several successive numbers of the Oracle. It ran as 
follows: "Five Guineas Reward. Stolen on the 12th or i,th 
instant from Mr. Russell's farm, near this town, a Turkey Hen, 
with her brood of six half-grown young ones. Whoever will give 
such information and evidence as may lead to the discovery of 
the Thieves shall receive from the subscriber the above reward 
upon conviction of any of the delinquents. Peter Russell, York, 
Aug. 15th, 1803." Another advertisement has been mentioned to 
us, issuing from the same sufferer, announcing the theft of a Plough 
from the same farm. 

Similar larcenies were elsewhere committed. In the Gazette of 
June 12, 1802, we read: "Forty dollars reward.-Mr. Justice All- 
cock offers a reward of forty dollars to any one who will give informa- 

S "0 Queen Street-College Avenue to <Brock St 337 

infofmation as will convict anf n„" ' '^ *'"' """ P™ »"<^'> 
™ch iron ,ee.h, or arparofT^ ° v*""™' "' '■^™« "'"'S'" 
stolen. Jf™o;e.ha„one "asco„ce™ed"r"' '" ""' '° '' 
given .0 any accon,plice upon ",l\^ ^IT^ ""' ^ 
convict the other oartv or Lr.,„ * information as w II 

endeavour used^oSin a pa^r "Xritt'^n''''"' "" ""^ 
'ha. two blacksmiths in the to^' diraL. fh! - k"""'"'' 
were stolen, purchase harrow-telTh frl 7 J """ ''"'' 

and that another soldier Z tal °^ "' """ ''^«««'. 

offered for sale. .8* MarUoa ™'''°'' ""^ ^■'^•' '="'- «'' 

wiifrpald bTtreTubSerTo'""^-"^"^"'^ "o"- --> wh^ is soV^a"" ^^ev^:^™ " ^'--r the 
to cut with an axe or knifr .h. -.v of social duty, as 

the fence mund the late Chtf lust,;', p" """" ''°""'' »"" °f 

.0 and out rr ctr:::^rrharrr;jer:ur ™" 
-'^r «rc:Lr:::x/f- of^ r ^- 

portance to its owner to induce the finSf , I °^''"*"='™' ™- 
in the Omc/e of Saturday Au? If """' ^ ''""^^ 

.he Garrison, a Cow S' l^'o : 'hLts;;;:^-'' '^'^'^ ""' 
it again by applying to the Printer V,!!', '™^' ™>"'^™ 

of this advertisement, and prorj^rop I' "VT! ""= ^^P^"- 
Again, in the Oracle oi Feb 4 TsoT -^ '. «' '' '^°''' 
last, the „,h instant, a Bar'of'irln 7h " °" ^•"'""^ 
again, by applying ,„ .'.c Prfnter i- vJrkTj sT-'T 1' 
row:e rt- .^It*: 5.H mstant, two'=;iS:ta„^rchr 


wciooer, 1806, an iron pot was nickpH ..r> . « t- .. ^ 
last, the instant, on the toch „1„T; m "''' °" ^"""^^ 
an Iron Pot capable'of c:!;Lint: ^1°" i^Hrr*''' ' 
may own the above-mentioned Po\ may haveT;!"- by^l:::;: 


Toronto of Old. 


property, and paying charges, on application to Samuel Lewis or 
to the Printer hereof. York, Oct. i6th, 1806." 

A barrel of flour was found on the beach near the Garrison in 
1802, and was thus advertised : "The Public are hereby informed 
that there has been a barrel of flour left on the beach near the 
Garrison by persons unknown. Whoever will produce a just claim 
to the same may have il, by applying to the Garrison Sergeant- 
Major, and paying the expense of the present advertisement. J. 
Petto, G. S. Major, York, March 22, 1802." 

Once more : in the Gazette of Dec, 3, 1803 : " On the 26th ult. 
the subscriber found one-half of a fat Hog on the Humber Pla'ns, 
which he supposes to be fraudulently killed, and the other half 
taken away. The part which he found he carried home and 
dressed, and requests the owner to call, pay expenses, and take it 
away. John Clark, Humber Mills, Dec. 2, 1803." 

Peter Russell's name became locally a household synonym for a 
helluo agrorum, and not without some show of reason, as the fol- 
lowing list in successive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle o{ 1803 
would seem to indicate. Of the lands enumerated he styles 
himself, at the close of the advertisement, the proprietor. We 
have no desire, however, to perpetuate the popular impression, 
that all the said properties had been patented by himself to him- 
self. This, of course, could not have been done. He 
simply chose, as he was at liberty to do, after acquiring what he 
and his family were entitled to legally, in the shape of grants, to 
invest his means in lands, which in every direction were to be had 
for a mere song. 

The document spoken of reads thus : " To be sold. — The Front 
Town Lot, with an excellent dwelling-house and a kitchen recently 
built thereon, in which Mr. John Denison now lives, in the Town ot 
York, with a very commodious water-lot adjoining, and possession 
given to the purchaser immediately. The Lots Nos. 5, 6, and 7 
in the 2nd, and lots No. 6 and 7 in the 3d concession of West 
Flamboro' township, containing 1,000 acres, on which there are 
some very good mill seats ; the lots No. 4 and 5, in the ist con- 
cession of East Flamboro' with their broken fronts, containing, 
according to the Patent, 600 acres more or less ; the lots No. i, 
3 and 4 in the 2nd, and lots No. 2 and 3 in the 3rd concession of 
Beverley, containing 1,000 acres; the lots No. 16 in the 2nd and 
and 3rd concession of the township of York containing 400 acres ; 

§ 2 J. J Queen Street-College Avenue to 'Brock St. 339 

•i 10,; '; and /.^'.hrmh'T, "^'"^ ^""'""'"^ «- »"- i 
*e .3.^ and ^^^1 I'o" ^ornll'tr" ~°' '^ '" 
acres; the lots No. 12 i. and r. fn .iT ' ^°"'^'"'"g ^ 1,000 

of Char,o..evn,e, ln,:ed',^:;\e;;„?L' Tot it r^'^"'" 
.,Joo acres; the loesNos. ,6and .7 in thl ,«!" ■ ""'^"""« 

ware township, „n the river Than,eV(U TrlnchtT"'?" °""'''- 
acres; the lots Nos , , . , """"C^a Iranche) containing 800 

and /in the i th, „d N„s\M ''V'' 'T' ''°- '' '' "• ">• 
of Dereham, con.lining j^ooi'a ;es' „fh mm .""i '°"""'°" 

paid for the oth^r n^T P"ncipal and interest, until 

LV:;zrXrr%':::Tz^i'-'''^'' '■^^•">"""» '<> 

h.?'r'^' ? '^" °^ *' prospective value of property in Canada 
had da»„ed upon the mind of Mr. Russell in the yea^.Sc^ " nH 
he aimed to create for himself speedily a handson/e fortune ' His 
plans, however, in the long run came to litti. ■ , 

nexion, we have heard already ' '" """""^ '""• 

somr™re:tsst'.:;r:rd"^^^^ '-- "- -"■^ 

r^i.ho \.u • ^ .^^^' ^"'^^ ^ord Clive, after his dealings with the 

reflection should console them inZ T " '"""«'' ^"' '"'^ 
a«s Of the early very .:r eTan^hrerrrirhr :ff ^t 

" DeoartTtl IV f ! ' ""^ "''''* "^ "'^ following day. 
Russell Eso f °" '^"'''"^' "'^ 30th ultimo, ,he Hon Petei 

Province ^r Z^' ''"'''^"•' °' '"' Government of the 
Province, late Receiver General, and Member of the Executive and 



Toronto of Old. 


Legislative Councils : a gentleman who whilst living was honoured, 
and sincerely esteemed ; and of whose regular and amiable con- 
duct, the Public will long retain a favoured and grateful remem- 

Of the funeral, which took place on the 4th of October, we have 
a brief account in the paper of Oct. 8, 1808. It says: "The 
remains of the late Hon. Peter Russell were interred on Wednes- 
day the 4th instant with the greatest decorum and respect. The 
obsequies of this accomplished gentleman were followed to the 
grave by His Excellency the Lieut. Oovernor ((lore) as Chief 
Mourner ; with the principal gentlemen of the town and neighbour- 
hood ; and they were feelingly accompanied by all ranks, evincing 
a reverential awe for the Divine dispensation. An appropriate 
funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Okill Stuart. The Gar- 
rison, commanded by Major Fuller, performed with becoming dig- 
nity the military honours of this respected veteran, who was a 
Captain in the Army on half-pay." The editor then adds : 
" deeply impressed with an ardent esteem for his manly character, 
and the irreparable loss occasioned by his death, we were not 
among those who felt the least at this last tribute of respect to his 
memory and remains." (The Major Fuller, above named, was the 
father of the Rev. Thomas Brock Fuller, in 1873 Archdeacon of 

As we have elsewhere said, Mr. Russell's estate passed to his 
unmarried sister. Miss Elizabeth Russell, who, at her own decease, 
devised the whole of it to Dr. VV. W. Baldwin and his family. The 
Irish family to which Mr. Russell belonged was originally a trans- 
planted branch of the Aston-Abbotts subdivision of the great Eng- 
lish family of the same name ; and a connexion, through intermar- 
riages, had long subsisted between these Russells and the Bald- 
wins of the County of Cork. Russell Hill in the neighbourhood 
of Toronto, is so called from a Russell Hill in Ireland, which has 
its name from the Russells of the County of Cork.--During the 
Revolutionary war, Mr. Russell had been Secretary to Sir Henry 
Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the Army in North America from 
1778 to X782. 

At the beginning of Peter Russell's advertisement of properties, 
it will have been observed that he offered for sale " an excellent 
dwelling-house in the town of York," described as being in the occu- 
pation of Mr. John Denison. The building referred to, situate, as 

5 22.] Queen Street— College Avenue to <Brock St. 341 

it is furtiier mentioned, on a " front town lot, with a very conve- 
nient water-lot adjoining," was the ornamental cottage " noted in 
our journey along Front Street, as having been once inhabited by 
Major HilHer, of the 74th. On its site was afterwards built Dr. 
Baldwin's town residence, which subsequently became first a Mili- 
tary Hospital, and then the head office of the Toronto and Nipissing 

But Petersfield was also associated with the history of Mr. Deni- 
son, who was the progenitor of the now numerous Canadian family 
of that name. Through an intimacy with Mr. Russell, springing 
out of several years' campaigning together in the American Revolu- 
tionary war, Mr. Denison was induced by that gentleman, when 
about to leave England in an official capacity in company with 
General Simcoe, to emigrate with his family to Upper Canada in 
1792- He first settled at Kingston, but, in 1796, remo-d to 
York, where, by the authority of Mr. Russell, lie temporarily occu- 
pied Castle Frank on the Don. He then, as we have seen, occu- 
pied " the excellent dwelling-house" put up " on a front lot" in the 
town of York by Mr. Russell himself; and afterwards, he was 
agam accommodated by his friend with quarters in the newly- 
erected homestead of Petersfield. 

We have evidence that in 1805 a portion of Petersfield was 
under cultivation, and that under Mr. Denison's care it produced 
fine crops of a valuable vegetable. Under date of York, 20th 
December, 1805, in a contemporary Oracle, we have the following 
advertisement : " Potatoes : To be sold at Mr. Russell's Farm 
at Petersfield, by Mr. John Denison, in any quantities not less than 
ten bushels, at Four Shillings, York Currency, the bushel, if de- 
livered at the purchaser's house, or Three Shillings the bushel, if 
taken by them from the Farm." 

And again, in the Gazette of March 4, 1807 : " Blue Nose Po- 
tatoes. To be sold at Mr. Russell's Farm near York. The 
price three shillings, York currency, the bushel, if taken away by 
the purchasers, or they will be delivered anywhere within the pre- 
cincts of the Town, at Four Shillings, in any quantity not less than 
ten bushels. Application to be made to Mr. John Denison, on 
the premises, to whom the above prices are to be paid on delivery. 
Feb. 14, 1807." 

Our own personal recollection of Mr. Denison is associated v/ith 
Petersfield, the homely cosiness of whose interior, often seen dur- 


Toronto of Old. 


of iln^ 7. J:- r^' '"'^^'^ "P''^" ™"^'"« '^^^Pit^ble fire 
of great logs piled high m one of the usual capacious and lofty 
fire-places of the time, made an indelible impression on the boyish 

beZ hi ''""rf ^''- ^"P^^^ ^^"'^""' *°°' M'-- Venison's 
better half, was in like manner associated in our memory with the 

cheery interior of the ancient Petersfield farm-house-a fine old 
English matron and mother, of the antique, strongly-marked, vigo- 
rous, sterling type. She was one of the Taylors, of Essex; 
among whom, at home and abroad, ability and talent, and traits 
of a higher and more sacred character, are curiously hereditary. 
We shall have occasion, further on, to speak of the immediate de- 
scendants of these early occupants of Petersfield 

P ?" ?M °"'^ ""^r 1 '^^ '^P'"'*°" °^ Q"«^" Street, in front of 
Petersfield, and a little beyond Peter Street (which, as we have 
previously noticed, had its name from Peter Russell) was the abode 
of Mr. Dunn, long Receiver-General of Upper Canada. It was 
(and IS) a retired family house, almost hidden from the general 
view by a grove of ornamental trees. A quiet-looking gate led 
into a straight drive up to the house, out of Queen Street Of Mr 
Dunn we have already discoursed, and of Mrs. Dunn, one of the 
graceful lady-chiefs in the high life of York in the olden time In 
the house at which we now pause was born their famous son, 
Alexander Roberts Dunn, in 1833; who not only had the honour 
of shanng in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 18^6 
now so renowned in history and song, but who, of all the six hun^ 
dred there, won the highest meed of glory. 

Six feet three inches in stature, a most powerful and most skil- 
fu swordsman, and a stranger to fear, Lieut. Dunn, instead of con- 
sul ing his own safety in the midst of that frightful and untoward 
m616e, deliberately interposed for the protection of his comrades in 
arms Old troopers of the Eleventh Hussars long told with kindling 
eyes how the young lieutenant seeing Sergeant Bentley of his own 
regiment attacked from behind by two or three Russian lancers 
rushed upon them single-handed, and cut them down : how he 
saved the life of Sergeant Bond ; how Private Levett owed his 
safety to the same friendly arm, when assailed by Russian Hussars 
Kinglake, the historian of the Crimean war, records that the Vic- 
toria Cross placed at the disposal of the Eleventh Hussars was 
unanimously awarded by them to Lieut. Dunn ; the only cavalry 
ofiicer who obtained the distinction. 

§ 22.] Queen Street— .College Avenue to fSrock St. 343 

To the enthusiasm inspired by his brilliant reputation was mainly 
due the speedy formation in Canada of the Hundredth Regiment 
the Prince of Wales' Royal Canadian Regiment, in 1857 Of 
this regiment, chiefly raised through his instrumentality, Mr. Dunn 
was gazetted the first major; and on the retirement of the Baron 
de Rottenburg from its command, he succeeded as its Lieutenant 

In 1864 he was gazetted full Colonel : at the time he had barely 
completed his twenty-seventh year. Impatient of inactivity he 
caused himself to be transferred to a command in India, where he 
speedily attracted the notice of General Napier, afterwards Lord 
Napier of Magdala ; and he accompanied that officer in the ex- 
pedition against King Theodore of Abyssinia. While halting at 
Senaf6 m that country, he was accidently killed by the sudden 
explosion of his rifle while out shooting deer. The sequel can 
best be given, as well as an impression of the feelings of his im- 
mediate associates on the deplorable occasion, by quoting the 
touching words of a letter addressed at the time to a near relative 
of Colonel Dunn, by a brother officer : 

"In no regiment," says this friend, "was ever a commanding 
ofiicer so missed as the one we have just so unhappily lost : such a 
courteous, thorough gentleman in word and deed, so thoughtful 
for others, so perfect a soldier, so confidence-inspiring a leader. 
Every soldier in the regiment misses Colonel Dunn ; he was a 
friend, and felt to be such, to every one of them. The regiment 
will never have so universally esteemed a commander again We 
all feel that. For myself I feel that I have lost a brother who can 
never be replaced. I can scarcely yet realize that the dear fellow 
is really dead, and as I pass his tent every morning I involuntarily 
turn my head, expecting to hear his usual kind salutation, and to 
see the dear, handsome face that has never looked at me but with 
kindness. I breakfasted with him on the morning of the 25th, 
and he looked so well as he started off with our surgeon for a day's' 
shooting. Little did I think that I had looked on his dear old face 
for the last time in life. . . . I cannot describe to you what a 
shock the sad news was to every one, both in my regiment and in- 
deed in every one in the camp. Our dear Colonel was so well 
known, and so universally liked and respected. 

'I Next day, Sunday, the 26th of January, he was buried about 
4 o'clock p.m.. I went to look at the dear old fellow, before his 


Toronto of Old, 

[§ 22. 

coffin was closed, and his poor face, though looking so cold was 
yet so handsome and the expression of it, so peaceful and hap^ 
I cut off some of his hair, which lately he wore very short a E 
of which I now send you, keeping one for myseTf, as 1 lot 
valuable souvenir I could have of one I loved very dearly And 
I knelt down to give his cold forehead a long farewell kfss He 
was buned m uniform, as he had often expressed a wLh to met 
that effect. Every officer in the camp attended his funeml and 
ofcourse the whole of his own regiment, in which the^was n"; 
a single dry eye, as all stood round the grave of their L? 
zander. He has been buried in a piece o;;'ound; ieo"; 
camp now stands, at the foot of a small hill covered with shr^bbe^ 
and many wild flowers. We have had railings put round thr^av7 

° tt jLarv ;8T8 a.S' '' ^'"T"^' "'° ^^^^ ^^ ^enaf^ on 
25'n January, iS68, aged 34 years and 7 months " 

Thus in remote Abyssinia rest the mortal remains of one who in 
the happy unconscousness of childhood, sported here in grounds 
and groves wh,ch we are now passing on Queen Street. I„ ™mer 
ous other regions of the earth, once seemingly as unlikely ,0 be 
the,r respecfve tinal resting-places, repose thYremaTn of' Cana 
d,an youth, who have died in the public service of England We 
are sharmg m the fortune and history of the mother coun^ and her, or rather hke the ubiquitous. Roman ci.i«n of oTd wt 
may even already ask " Qu. caret era cru^e »„«;"_ i"^ 
mdividuals, perhaps, but proudly as a people 

The occupant of Mr. Dunn's house at a later period was Chief 
Justrce McLean, who died here in ,865. He was boTa^tt 
Andrews, near Cornwall, in . „.. At the battle of Quee^ston he 
served as Lieutenant in Capt. Cameron's No. i Flank 0,™!!' , 
York Militia, and received a severe wound in thllly partTfZ 
engagement. He was afterwards for some time Speaker of ,Z An admirable full-length painting of ChW fu ic: Mc 
Lean exists at Osgoode Hall. JU!>nce mc- 




I MMEDIATELY after the grounds and property of 
Mr. Dunn, on the same side, and across the very 
broad Brock Street, which is an opening of modern 
date, was to be seen until recently, a modest dwell- 
mg-place of wood, somewhat pecuhar in expression, 
square, and rather tall for its depth and width, of dingJ 

irregular /v/ ''' '"^^^f^^'-^'^^^ ' ^elow, a number of lean-to's a.^ 
irregular extensions clustenng round ; in front, low shrubbery a 

miHtarv and "i Tf " ^•^^^"^"^^hed place in our local annals, 
military and civil-Colonel James Fitzgibbon 
A memorable exploit of his, in the war with the United States 

wot n'/'h ''P'"""' °^' '°^'' °^45o infantry, 50 cavalry and 
two guns, when m command himself, at the moment, of only forty- 

the Beaver Dams, between Queenston and Thorold. Colonel 
lioerstler, of the invading army, was despatched from Fort George 
a Niagara, jith orders to take this dep6t. Fitzgibbon was ap- 
prized of his approach. Reconnoitring, and discovering that 
Boers ler had been somewhat disconcerted, on his march, bv a 
straggling fire from the woods, kept up by a fev. militiamen and 
about thirty Indians under Captain Kerr, he conceived the bold 
Idea of dashing out and demanding a surrender of the enemy! 
Accordingly, spreading his little force judiciously, he suddenly pre- 
sented himself, waving a white pocket-handkerchief. He was an 
officer, he hurriedly announced, in command of a detachment : his 


Toronto of Old. 


superior officer, with a large force, was in the rear ; and the Indians 
were unmanageable. (Some extemporized war-whoops were to be 
heard at the moment in the distance.) 

The suggestion of a capitulation was listened to by Colonel 
Boerstler as a dictate of humanity. The truth was, Major DeHaren, 
of the Canadian force, to whom, in the neighbourhood of what is 
now St. Catharines, a message had been sent, was momentarily ex- 
pected, with 200 men. To gain time, Fitzgibbon made it a mat- 
ter of importance that the terms of the surrender should be reduced 
to writing. Scarcely was the document completed when DeHaren 
arrived. Had there been the least further delay on his part, how 
to dispose of the prisoners would have been a perplexing question. 

Lieutenant Fitzgibbon was now soon Captain Fitzgibbon. He 
had previously been a private in the 19th and 6ist Regiments, hav- 
ing enlisted in Ireland at the age of seventeen. On the day of his 
enrolment, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant ; and a very 
few years later he was a sergeant-major. He saw active service in 
Holland and Denmark. His title of Colonel was derived from his 
rank in our Canadian Militia. 

His tall muscular figure, ever in buoyant motion ; his grey, good- 
humoured vivacious eye, beaming out from underneath a bushy, 
light-coloured eyebrow ; the cheery ring of his voice, and its ani- 
mated utterances, were familiar to everyone. In the midst of a 
gathering of the young, whether in the school-room or on the play- 
ground, his presence was always warmly hailed. They at once re- 
cognized in him a genuine sympathizer with themselves in their 
ways and wants ; and he had ever ready for them words of hope 
and encouragement. 

Our own last personal recollection of Colonel Fitzgibbon is con- 
nected with a visit which we chanced to pay him at his quarters in 
Windsor Castle, where, in his old age, through the interest ot 
Lord Seaton, he had been appointed one of the Military Knights. 
Though most romantically ensconced and very comfortably lodged, 
within the walls of the noblest of all the royal residences of Europe, 
his heart, we found, was far away, ever recurring to the scenes of 
old activities. Where the light streamed in through what seemed 
properly an embrasure for cannon, pierced through a wall several 
yards in thickness, we saw a pile of Canadian newspapers. To pore 
over these was his favourite occupation. 

After chatting with him in his room, we went with him to attend 

§ 23.] Queen Street— (Brock Street to the H umber. 347 

Divine Service in the magnificent Chapel of St. George, close by. 
We then strolled together round the ramparts of the Castle, enjoy- 
mg the incomparable views. Since the time of William IV. the 
habit of the Military Knights is that of an officer of high rank in 
full dress, cocked hat and feather included. As our venerable 
friend passed the several sentries placed at intervals about the 
Castle, arms were duly presented ; an attention which each time 
elicited from the Colonel the words, rapidly interposed in the midst 
of a stream of earnest talk, and accompanied by deprecatory ges- 
tures of the hand, " Never mind me, boy ! never mind me!" 

Colonel Fitzgibbon took the fancy of Mrs. Jameson when in 
Canada. She devotes several pages of her " Winter Studies" to 
the story of his life. She gives some account of his marriage. The 
moment he received his captaincy, she tells us, " he surprised 
General SheaflFe, his commanding officer, by asking for a leave of 
absence, although the war was still at its height. In explanation, 
he said he wished to have his nuptials celebrated, so that if a fatal 
disaster happened to himself, his bride might enjoy the pension of 
a captain's widow. The desired leave was granted, and after rid- 
ing some 1 50 miles and accomplishing his purpose, he was back in 
an incredibly short space of time at head-quarters again. No fatal 
disaster occurred, and he lived," Mrs. Jameson adds, "to be the 
father of four brave sons and one gentle daughter." 

The name of Colonel Fitzgibbon recalls the recollection of his 
sister, Mrs. Washbume, remarkable of old, in York, for dash and 
spmt on horseback, spite of extra embonpoint; for a distinguished 
dignity of bearing, combined with a marked Hibernian heartiness 
and gaiety of manner. As to the " four brave sons and one gentle 
daughter," all have now passed away : one of the former met with 
a painful death from the giving way of a crowded gallery at a poli- 
tical meeting in the Market Square, as previously narrated. All 
four lads were favourites with their associates, and partook of their 
father's temperament. 

Of Spadina Avenue, which we crossed in our approach to Col 
Fitzgibbon's old home, and of Spadina house, visible in the far 
distance at the head of the Avenue, we have already spoken in 
our Collectio: u Recollections, connected with Front Street. 

In passing we aiake an addition to what was then narrated. The 
career of Dr. Baldwin, the projector of the Avenue, and the builder 
of Spadina, is now a part of Upper Canadian history. It presents 


Toronto of Old. 


a curious instance of that versatility which we have had occasion 
to notice in so many of the men who have been eminent in this 
country. A medical graduate of Edinburgh, and in that capacity, 
commencing life in Ireland — on settling in Canada, he began the 
study of Law and became a leading member of the Bar. 

On his arrival at York, from the first Canadian home of his father 
on Baldwin's Creek in the township of Clarke, Dr. Baldwin's pur- 
pose was to turn to account for a time his own educational acquire- 
ments, byundertaking the office of a teacher of youth. In severalsuc- 
cessive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle of 1802-3 we read the fol- 
lowing advertisement : "Dr. Baldwin understanding that some of the 
gentlemen of this Towr have expressed some anxiety for the esta- 
blishment of a Classical School, begs leave to inform them and the 
public that he intends on Monday the first day of January next, to 
open a School in which he will instruct Twelve Boys in Writing, 
Reading, and Classics and Arithmetic. The terms are, for each 
boy, eight guineas per annum, to be paid quarterly or half-yearly ; 
one guinea entrance and one cord of wood to be supplied by each 
of the boys on opening the School. N.B, — Mr. Baldwin will meet 
his pupils at Mr. Willcocks' house on Duke Street. York, De- 
cember 1 8th, 1802." Of the results of this enterprise we have not 
at hand any record. 

The Russell bequest augmented in no slight degree the previous 
possessions of Dr. Baldwin. In the magnificent dimensions assigned 
to the thoroughfare opened up by him in the neighbourhood of 
Petersfield, we have probably a visible expression of the large- 
handed generosity which a pleasant windfall is apt to inspire. 
Spadina Avenue is 160 feet wide throughout its mile-and-a-half 
length ; and the part of Queen Street that bounds the front of the 
Petersfield park-lot, is made suddenly to expand to the width fo 
90 feet. Maria Street also, a short street here, is of extra width. 
The portion of York, now Toronto, laid out by Dr. Baldwin on a 
fraction of the land opportunely inherited, will, when solidly built 
over, rival Washington or St. Petersburg in grandeur of ground- 
plan and design. 

The career of Dr. Rolph, another of our early Upper Canadian 
notabilities, resembles in some respects, that of Dr. Baldwin. 
Before emigrating from Gloucestershire, he began life as a medical 
man. On arriving in Canada he transferred himself to the Bar. In 
this case, however, after the attainment of eminence in the newly 

§ 23.] Queen Street—tBrock Street to the Humber. 349 

adopted profession, there was a return to the original pursuit with 
the acquisition in that also, of a splendid reputation. Both acquired 
the local style of Honourable : Dr. Rolph by having been a member 
of the Hincks-mini.stry from 1851 to 1854; Dr. Baldwin by being 
summoned, six months before his decease, to the Legislative 
Council of United Canada, while his son was Attorney-General 

Mr. William Willcocks, allied by marriage to Dr. Baldwin's 
family, selected the park-lot at which we arrive after crossing 
Spadma Avenue. A lake in the Oak Ridges (Lake Willcocks) has 
Us name from the same early inhabitant. In 1802 he was Judge of 
the Home District Court. He is to be distinguished from the 
ultra-Reformer, SheiifT Willcocks, of Judge Thorpe's day, whose 
name was Joseph ; and from Charles Willcocks, who in 1818 was 
proposmg, through the columns of the Upper Canada Gazette, to 
publish, by subscription, a history of his own life. The advertise- 
ment was as follows (what finally came of it, we are not able to 
state) .-—"The subscriber proposes to publish, by subscription, a 
History of his Life. The subscription to be One Dollar, to be 
paid by each subscriber ; one-half in advance ; the other half on 
the delivery of the Book. The money to be paid to his agent, Mr. 
i homas Deary, who will give receipts and deliver the Books 
Charies Willcocks, late Lieutenant, City of Cork Miliria. York 
March, i7tb, 1818." ' 

This Mr. Charles Willcocks once fancied he had grounds for 
challenging his name-sake, Joseph, to mortal combat, according 
to the barbaric notions of the time. But at the hour named for the 
meeting, Joseph did not appear on the ground. Charies waited a 
reasonable time. He then chipped off a square inch or so of the 
bark of a neighbouring tree, and, stationing himself at duelling 
distance, discharged his pistol at the mark which he had made As 
the ball buried itself in the spot at which aim had been taken, he 
loudly bewailed his old friend's reluctance to face him. " Oh, Joe, 
Joe ! " he passionately cried, " if you had only been here !" 

Although Joseph escaped this time, he was not so fortunate after- 
wards. He fell, as we have already noted in connexion with the 
Early Press, "foremost fighting" in the ranks of the invaders of 
Upper Canada in 18 14. The incident is briefly mentioned in the 
UoniKsX Herald of the isth of October, in that year, in the follow- 
ing terms : " It is oflficially announced by General Ripley (on the 
American side, that is), that the traitor Willcocks was killed in the 


Toronto of Old, 


sortie from Fort Erie on the 4th ult., greatly lamented by hisgene- 
ral and the army." Undertaking with impetuosity a crusade against 
the governmental ideas which were locally in the ascendant, and 
encountering the resistance customary in such cases, he cut the 
knot of his discontent by joining the Republican force when it 
made its appearance. 

The Willcocks park-lot, or a portion of it, was afterwards posses- 
sed by Mr. Billings, a well-remembered Commissariat officer, long 
stationed at York. He built the house subsequently known as 
Englefield, which, later, was the home of Colonel Loring, who, at 
the time of the taking of York, in 1813, had his horse killed under 
him ; and here he died. Mr. Billings and Colonel Loring both had 
sons, of whom we make brief mention as having been in the olden 
times among our own school-boy associates, but who now, like so 
many more personal contemporaries, already noted, are, after brief 
careers, deceased. An announcement in the Montreal Herald of 
February 4th, 1815, admits us to a domestic scene in the house- 
hold of Colonel, at the time Captain, Loring. (The Treaty of Peace 
with the United States was signed at Ghent, on the 24th of Decem- 
ber, 1 814. Its eflfect was being pleasantly realized in Canada, in 
January, 1815). "At Prescott," the Herald xt^oxi%, "on Thurs- 
day, 26th January, the lady of Capt. Loring, Aide-de-Camp and 
Private Secretary to His Honor Lieut-Gen. Drummond, was safely 
delivered of a daughter." The Herald then adds : " The happy 
father had returned from a state of captivity with the enemy, but a 
few hours previous to the joyful event." Capt. Loring had been 
taken prisoner in the battle of Lundy's Lane, in the preceding 

The first occupant of the next lot (No. 16) westward, was Mr. 
Baby, of whom we have spoken in former sections. Opposite was 
the house of Bernard Turquand, an Englishman of note, for many 
years first clerk in the Receiver-General's department. He was 
an early promoter of amateur boating among us, a recreation with 
which possibly he had become familiar at Malta, where he was 
long a resident. Just beyond on the same side, was the dwelling- 
place of Major Winniett,— a long, low, one-storey bungalow, of a 
neutral tint in colour, its roof spreading out, verandah-wise, on 
both sides. 

After the name of Mr. Baby, on the eariy plan of the park-lots, 
comes the name of Mr. Grant—" the Hon. Alexander Grant" 

§ 23-] Queen Street— fBrock Street to the Humber. 351 

During the interregnum between the death of Governor Hunter 
and the arrival of (Jovernor Gore, Mr. Grant, as senior member 
of the Executive Council, was President of Upper Canada. The 
Parliament that sat during his brief administration, appropriated 
^800 to the purchase of instruments for illustrating the principles 
of Natural Philosophy, « to be deposited in the hands of a person 
employed m the Education of Youth;" from the debris of which 
collection, preserved in a mutilated condition in one of the rooms 
of tJie Home District School building, we ourselves, like others 
probably of our contemporaries, obtained our very earliest inklinc 
of the existence and significance of scientific apparatus 

In his speech at the close of the session of 1806, President 
Grant alluded to this action of Parliament in the following terms • 
The encouragement which you have given for procuring the 
means necessary for communicating useful and ornamental know- 
ledge to the rising generation, meets with my approbation, and, 
I have no doubt, will produce the most salutary effects" Mr 
Grant was also known as Commodore Grant, having had, at one 
time, command of the Naval Force on the Lakes. 

After Mr. Grant's name appears that of " E. B. Littlehales " 
This is the Major Littlehales with whom those who familiarize 
themselves with the earliest records of Upper Canada become so 
well acquainted. He was the writer, for example, of the interest- 
ing journal of an Exploring Excursion from Niagara to Detroit in 
1793, to be seen in print in the Canadian Literary Magazine of 
May, 1834 ; an expedition undertaken, as the document itself sets 
torth, by the Lieut-Governor, accompanied by Captain Fitzgerald 
Lieutenant Smith of the 5th Regiment, and Lieutenants Talbot' 
.r'M .^'T'' ^""^ ^^J°' Littlehales, starting from Niagara on 
the 4th of February, arriving at Detroit on the i8th, by a route 
which was 270 miles in length. The return began on the 23rd 
and was completed on the loth of the following month. 

It was m this expedition that the site of London, on the Thames 
was first examined, and judged to be "a situation eminently caU 
culated for the metropolis of all Canada. " " Among other essen- 
tials, says Major Littlehales, " it possesses the following advan- 
tages: command of territory-internal situation-central position 
facility of water communication up and down theThames into Lakes 
St Clair, Erie, Huron, and Superior,-navigable for boats to near 
its.source, and for small craft probably to the Moravian settlement 


Toronto of Old. 


-to the southward by a small portage to the waters flowing into 
Lake Huron-to the southeast by a carrying-place into Lake On- 
tano and the River St. I^wrence ; the soil luxuriantly fertile,-the 
land rich and capable of being easily cleared, and soon put into a 
state of agriculture -a pinery upon an adjacent high knoll, and 
other timber on the heights, well calculated for the erection of 
public buildings,— a climate not inferior to any part of Canada " 

The intention of the Governor, at one time, was that the future 
capital should be named (Jkorgina, in compliment to George III 
Had that intention been adhered to, posterity would have been 
saved some confusion. To this hour, the name of our Canadian 
London gives trouble in the post-office and elsewhere. Georgina 
was a name not inaptly conceived, suggested doubtless by the title 
Augusta," borne by so many places of old, as, for example, by 
London itself, the Veritable, in honour of the Augustus, the Em- 
peror of the day. We might perhaps have rather expected 
Georgiana, on the analogy of Aureliana (Orleans), from Aurelius 
or Georgia, after Julia, a frequent local appellation from the im- 
perial Juhus.-Already, had Georgius, temp. Geo. IL, yielded 
Georgia as the name of a province, and later, temp. Geo. Ill,, the 
same royal name had been associated with the style and title'of a 
new planet, the Georgium Sidus, suggested probably by the Julium 
Sidus of Horace. We presume, also, that the large subdivision of 
Lake Huron, known as the Georgian Bay, had for its name a like 
loyal origin. (The name Georgina, is preserved in that of a now 
flourishing township on Lake Simcoe.) 

An incident not recorded in Major Littlehales' Journal was the 
order of a grand parade (of ten men), and a formal discharge of 
musketry, issued in jocose mood by the Governor to Lieut. Givins • 
which was duly executed as a ceremony of inauguration forthenew 

The capture of a porcupine, however, somewhere near the site 
of the proposed metropolis is noted by the Major. In the narra- 
tive the name of Lieut. Givins comes up. " The young Indians 
who had chased a herd of deer in company with Lieut. Givins " 
he says, "returned unsuccessful, but brought with them a large 
porcupme: which was very seasonable," he remarks, "as our pro- 
visions were nearly exhausted. This animal," he observes, " afford- 
ed us a good repast, and tasted like a pig." The Newfoundland 
dog, he adds, attempted to bite the porcupine, but soon got his 

§ n-1 Queen Slreet-JBrock Street to the Humber. 353 
much perseverance plucked rte^ ouT'one tZ.T^.t" fn 

.he site or London, I have^ec de ' ■ A.' i trsroT'T" 
an old Mississagua hut, upon .he south side o the tmIs'aV 
taking some refreshment of salt nnr[,«„j ""« 1 names. After 
Lieutenant Smith. Z' sll7lT::rZ.:^T''' "' 
-u4 sang God save the King, and went t^resr ™'' "*•■■ "' 
1 ne Duke de Liancourt, in hi.s Trare/s in Nnrth a 

who has the charge of the while co;^s^^^^^^ 
and acquits himself with peculiar ^UxT a \ ^^^^"^ment, 
Littlehales " the n„ JI T T ^^ ^""^ application. Major 

ofthecountr^ ^"^e says " appeared to possess the confidence 

^ country. This is not unfrequently the case with r^ • 
place and power; but his worth, politeness prudeir T"" l"" 
ment,givethisofficer peculiar dims to th.l?^' ^""^ ^"^«- 
which he universally enjoys '' "^^'"'' ""^ '^^P^^* 

o«"ert cordir- ^<tV;ra:'e th^T " ^ ^^^^^ °^ ^^^« 
account received in Deceml?!:^?^^^;^?^^^^^^^ f 

in £.ngland. He had probably returned home with Gen Sim.l 
Major Littlehales afterwards attained the rank nf T • . 

south to north Itas its name. Denison /ver TLr^^S 


Toronto of Old, 


was, in the first instance, the drive up to the homestead of the 
estate, Bellevue, a large white cheery-looking abode, lying far back 
but pleasantly visible from Lot Street through a long vista of over- 
hanging trees. — From the old Bellevue have spread populous colo- 
nies at Dovercourt, Rusholme and elsewhere, marked, like their 
progenitor, with vigour of character, and evincing in a succession 
of instances strong aptitude for military affairs. Col. Denison's 
grandson, G. T. Denison tertius, is the author of a work on " Mod- 
ern Cavalry, its Organisation, Armament and Employment in War," 
which has taken a recognized place in English strategetical litera- 

In accordance with an early Canadian practice, Capt. John Den- 
nison set apart on his property a plot of ground as a recep- 
tacle for the mortal remains of himself and his descendants. He 
selected for this purpose a picturesque spot on land possessed 
by him on the Humber river, entailing at the same time the sur- 
rounding estate. In 1853,— although at that date an Act of 
Parliament had cancelled entails, — his heir. Col. G. T. Denison, 
/rmwj, perpetually connected the land referred to, together with the 
burial plot, with his family and descendants, by converting it into 
an endowment for an ecclesiastical living, to be always in the gift 
of the legal representative of his name. This is the projected rec- 
tory of St. John's on the Humber. In 1857, a son of Col. Deni- 
son's, Robert Britton Denison, erected at his own cost, in imme- 
diate proximity to the old Bellevue homestead, the church of St. 
Stephen, and took steps to make it in perpetuity a recognized 
ecclesiastical benefice. 

The boundary of Major Littlehales' lot westward was near what 
is now Bathurst Street. In front of this lot, on the south side of 
Lot street, and stretching far to the west, was the Government 
Common, of which we have previously spoken, f n which was traced 
out, at first ideally, and at length in reality, the ar.- of a circle of 
1,000 yards radius, having the Garrison as it centre. Southward 
of the concave side of this arc no buildings were for a long time 
permitted to be erected. This gave rise to a curiously-shaped en- 
closure, northward of St. Andrew's Market-house, wide towards the 
east, but vanishing off to nothing on the west, at the point where 
1.0 , Street formed a tangent with the military circle. 

•. 'f Portland Street and Bathurst Street we have already spoken 
in our survey of Front Street. Immediately opposite Portland 

■ 1 

§ 23.] Queen Street-fBrock Street to the Humber. 355 

Street was the abode, a! the latter period of his life of Or T .. » 
whom we have refprr*.H m ' ^' ^*^*' *0 

Street, ri ! °"'" ^*=^°""ts of Front and Georjre 

to which he retired after acnuirin7r !) ^^^^tanfal abode 

in i«,n »,« ^7 I ^^'l'"""g a good competency, and where 
in 1870 he d.ed, .s to be seen on the east side of Bath mst Street 

1 his thoroughfare is not laid down in the nkn. Th rn ! 
names of David Burns William Ph. I '^ f ', '" ^°"°"^ *^^ 
(conjointly), Thoma'Lo Tn^ W ~^ f f^^' 

Angus Macdonell We then r.. r^'"'^'"/"^" (conjomtly), and 

stral^htdown o heFren hF^^ 1^^^^^^^ f' '^^^^^'^' >-^-« 
a<! Fnrf T-^, . A "^"^" 'O"' *ort R0U1II6, commonly known 
as Fort Toronto. Across this road westward, only one lot is laM 
off and on it is the name of Benjamin Hallo;eir 
Most of the names first enumerated are very " familiar to thnc« 

served at n.. ^u • ^^ ^""''^^ correspondence, pre- 

served at Ottawa, there ,s an interesting mention of him asso 

Tea's "^d'^Tr^^^ r^PP^"^' ^''^ ^'« neighbour-lo^lesTo' 
' Se tallt w^^^ ^^-^^- I" - Pnvate letter to the . 

dated Tan ,7'' '^' ^°"^'' '^^'^ ^°^^™°^ Simcoe, 

for Ws newr ' ^''' ^""°""^'"g ^is arrival at Montreal. .« roue 

Spt Shalw ?'"'' '''" '" "P "'^^ "^^^t ^"g"«t o rivers." 

Capt. Shank is spoken of as being on his way to the same destinl- 
nation m command of a portion of the Queen's Ranged in cl 
pany with Capt. Smith. ^^^ngers. in com- 

There is noted in the same document, it will be observed a ^al- 

an achievement of Capt. Shaw's, who, the Governor eToris L^ 

just successfully marched with his division of the saml~nt 



Toronto of Old. 


ri I : 

all the way from New Brunswick to Montreal, in the depth of 
winter, on snow-shoes. " It is with infinite pleasure," writes Gov- 
ernor Simcoe to Sir George Yonge, " that I received your letter of 
the ist of April by Capt Littlehales. On the 13th of June," he 
continues, " that officer overtook me on the St. Lawrence, as I was 
on my passage in batteaux up the most august of rivers. It has. 
given me great satisfaction," the Governor says, " that the Queen's 
Rangers have arrived so early. Capt. Shaw, who crossed in the 
depth of winter on snow-shoes from New Brunswick, is now at 
Kingston with the troops of the two first ships ; and Captains 
Shank and Smith, with the remainder, are, I trust, at no great 
distance from this place, — as the wind has served for the last 36 
hours, and I hope with sufficient force to enable them to pass the 
Rapids of the Richelieu, where they have been detained some 
days." Governor Simcoe himself, as we learn from this corres- 
pondence, had landed at Quebec on the nth of November pre- 
ceding (1791), in the "Triton," Capt. Murray, " after a blustering 

In addition to the lot immediately after Major Littlehales', 
Col. Shank also possessed another in this range, just beyond, viz., 
No. 21. 

The Capt. Macdonell, whose name appears on the lot that fol- 
lows Col. Shank's first lot, was the aide-de-camp of Gen. Brock, 
who fell, with that General, at Queenston Heights. Capt. Mac- 
donell's lot was afterwards the property of Mr. Crookshank, from 
whom what is now Bathurst Street North had, as we have remarked, 
for a time the name of Crookshank's Lane. 

Capt. S. Smith, whose name follows those of Capt. Macdonell 
and Col. Shank, was afterwards President Smith, of whom already. 
The park lot selected by him was subsequently the property of Mr. 
Duncan Cameron, a member of the Legislative Council, freshly 
remembered. At an early period, the whole was known by the 
graceful appellation of Gore Vale. Gore was in honour of the 
Governor of that name. Vale denoted the ravine which indented 
a portion of the lot through whose meadow-land meandered a 
pleasant little stream. The southern half of this lot now forms the 
site and grounds of the University of Trinity College. Its brooklet 
will hereafter be famous in scholastic song. It will be regarded as 
the Cephissus of a Canadian Academus, the Cherwell of an infant 
Christ Church. The elmy dale which gives such agreeable variety 

n !. il 

§ 23.] Queen Street—^rock Street to the Humber. 357 

to the park of Trinity College, and which renders so charming the 
views from the Provost's Lodge, is irrigated by it. (The cupola 
and tower of the pnncpal entrance to Trinity College will 
pleasantly, m however humble a de^jree, recall to the mfnds of 
Oxford-men, the Tom Gate of Christ Church. )-After the decease 
of Mr. Cameron, Gore Vale was long occupied by his excellent and 
benevolent sister. Miss Janet Cameron. 

On the steep mound which overhangs the Gore Vale brook on 
Its eastern side, just where it is crossed by Queen Street, was', at 
an early penod, a Blockhouse commanding the western approach 
to York On the old plans this military work is shown, as also a 
path leading to it across the Common from the Garrison, trodden 
often probably by the relief party of the guard that would be 
stationed there in anxious times. 

In the valley of this stream a little farther to the west, on the 
opposite side of Queen Street, was a Brewery of local repute • it 
was a long, low-lying dingy-looking building of hewn logs : on the 
side towards the street a railed gangway led from the road to a 
door in Its upper storey. Conspicuous on the hill above the 
valley on the western side was the house, also of hewn logs 
but cased over with clap-boards, of Mr. Farr, the proprietor 
of the brewery, a north-of-England man in aspect, as well as in 
s taidriess and shrewdness of character. His spare form and 
slightly crippled gait were everywhere familiarly recognized 
Greatly respected, he was still surviving in 1872. His chief 
assistant m the old brewery bore the name of Bow-beer (At 
Canterbury, we remember, many years ago, when the abbey of St 
Augustme there, now a famous Missionary College, was a Brewery 
•on the beautiful turretted gateway, wherein were the coolers' 
the mscription "Beer, Brewer," was conspicuous; the name of 
the brewer in occupation of the grand monastic ruin being Beer 
a common name, sometimes given as Berej but which in reality 
is Bear.) ^ 

The stream which is here crossed by Queen Street is the same 
that afterwards flows below the easternmost bastion of the Fort 
A portion of the broken ground between Farr's and the Garrison 
was once designated by the local Government-so far as an order 
in Council has force-and permanently set apart, as a site for a 
Museum and Institute of Natural History and Philosophy, with 
iiotanical and Zoological Gardens attached. The project, origin- 



Toronto of Old. 


ated by Dr. Dunlop, Dr. Rees and Mr. Fothergill, and patronized 
by successive Lieutenant-Governors, was probably too bold in its 
conception, and too advanced to be justly appreciated and earnestly 
taken up by a sufficient number of the contemporary public forty 
years ago. It consequently fell to the ground. It is to be regretted 
that, at all events, the land, for which an order in Council stands 
recorded, was not secured in perpetuity as a source of revenue for 
the promotion of science. In the Canadian Institute we have the 
kmd of Association which was designed by Drs. Dunlop and Rees 
and Mr. Fothergill, but minus the revenue which the ground-rent 
of two or three building lots in a flourishing city would conveniently 

Capt. ^neas Shaw, the original locatee of the park-lot next 
westward of Colonel Shank's second lot, was afterwards well 
known m'^Upper Canada as Major General Shaw. Like so many 
of our early men of note he was a Scotchman ; a Shaw of Tordo- 
rach in Strathnairn. Possessed of great vigour and decision his 
adopted country availed itself of his services in a civil as well 'as a 
military capacity, making him a member of the legislative and 
executive councils. The name by which his house and estate at 
this point were known, was Oakhill. The primitive domicile still 
exists and in 1871 was still occupied by one of his many descend- 
ants, Capt. Alex. Shaw.— It was at Oakhill that the Duke of Kent 
was lodged during his visit to York in his second tour in Upper 
Canada. The Duke arrived at Halifax on the 1 2th of September, 
1799, after a passage from England of forty-three days, " on board 
of the Arethusa." 

Of Col. Joseph Bouchette, whose name is read on the following 
allotment, we have had occasion already to speak. He was one 
of the many French Canadians of eminence who, in the early days, 
were distinguished for their chivalrous attachment to the cause and 
service of England. The successor of Col. Bouchette in the pro- 
prietorship of the park lot at which we have arrived, was Col. 
Givins.-He, as we have already seen, was one of the companions 
of Gov. Simcoe in the first exploration of Upper Canada. Before 
obtaining a commission in the army, he had been as a youth em- 
ployed in the North-West, and had acquired a familiar acquaint- 
ance with the Otchibway and Huron dialects. This acquisition 
rendered his services of especial value to the Government in its 
dealings with the native tribes, among whom also the mettle and 

u J 

§ 23.] Queen Sireet-^fSrock Street to the Humber. 359 

ardor and energy of his own natural character gave him a power 
ful influence. At the express desire of Governor Simcoe he studied 
and mastered the dialects of the Six Nations, as well as those of 
theOtchibways and their Mississaga allies.— We ourselves remem- 
ber seemg a considerable body of Indian chiefs kept in order and 
good humour mainly through the tact exercised by Col. Givins 
This was at a Council held in the garden at Government House 
some forty years since, and presided over by the then Lieutenant- 
Governor, Sir John Colborne. 

Col. Givins was Superintendent of Indian Affairs down to the 
year 1842. In 1828 his name was connected with an incident 
that locally made a noise for a time. A committee of the House 
of Assembly, desiring to have his evidence and that of Col. Coffin 
Adjutant General of Militia, in relation to a trespass by one For- 
syth on Government property at the Falls of Niagara, commanded 
their presence at a certain day and hour. On referring to Sir Pe- 
regrine Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor at the time, and also 
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, permission to obey the man- 
date of the House was refused. Col. Givins and Col. Coffin were 
then arrested by the Sergeant-at-arms, after forcible entry effected 
at their respective domiciles, and were kept confined in the com- 
mon gaol until the close of the session. - 

The following is Col. Coffin's letter to Major Hillier, private 
secretary to the Governor, on the occasion: "York, March 22nd, 
1828. Sir,— I beg leave to request that you will state to the Lieu- 
tenant Governor that in obedience to the communication I received 
through you, that His Excellency could not give me permission to 
attend a Committee of the House of Assembly for the reason therein 
stated, that I did not attend the said Committee, and that in con- 
sequence thereof, I have been committed this evening to the com- 
mon gaol of the Home District, by order of the House of Assem- 
bly I have therefore to pray that His Excellency will be pleased 
to direct that I may have the advice and assistance of the Crown 
Officers, to enable me take such steps as I may be instructed on 
the occasion. I have the honour, &c., N. Coffin, Adjt. Gen. of 

No redress was to be had. The Executive Council reported in 
regard to this letter that upon mature consideration they could not 
advise that the Government should interfere to give any direction 
to the Crown Officers, as therein solicited. Sir Peregrine Mait- 

! i 



Toronto of Old. 


land was removed from the Government in the same year Sir 
George Murray, who in that year succeeded Mr. Huskisson as 
Colonial Secretary, severely censured him for the line of action 
adopted in relation to the Forsyth grievance. 

Colonels Givins and Coffin afterwards brought an action against 
the Speaker of the House for false imprisonment, but they did not 
recover: for the legality of the imprisonment, that is the right of 
the House to convict for what they had adjudged a contempt, was 
confirmed by the Court of King's Bench, by a solemn judgment 
rendered m another cause then pending, which involved the same 

Although its hundred-acre domain is being rapidly narrowed 
and circumscribed by the encroachments of modern improvement 
the old family abode of Col. Givins still stands, wearing at this 
day a look of peculiar calm and tranquillity, screened from the 
outer world by a dark grove of second-growth pine, and oversha- 
dowed by a number of acacias of unusual height and girth 

Governor Gore and his lady, Mrs. Arabella Gore, were constant 
visitors at Pine Grove, as this house was named ; and here to this 
day IS preserved a very fine portrait, in oil, of that Governor It 
will satisfy the ideal likely to be fashioned in the mind by the cur- 
rent traditions of this particular ruler of Upper Canada. In con- 
tour of countenance and in costume he is plainly of the type of the 
English country squire of a former day. He looks good humoured 
and shrewd ; sturdy and self-willed ; and fond of good cheer 

The cavalier style adopted by Gov. Gore towards the local par- 
liament was one of the seeds of trouble at a later date in the his- 
tory of Upper Canada. - He would dismiss the rascals at once." 
Such was his determination on their coming to a vote adverse to 
his notions; and, scarcely like a Cromwell, but rather hke a Louis 
XIV., though still not, as in the case of that monarch, with a rid- 
ing-whip in his hand, but nevertheless, in the undress of the mo- 
ment, he proceeded to carry out his hasty resolve. 

The entry of the incident in the Journals of the House is as fol- 
lows : "On Monday, 7th April, at 11 o'clock a.m., before the 
minutes of the former day were read, and without any previous 
notice, the Commons, to the great surprise of all the members 
were summoned to the bar of the Legislative Council, when his 
Excellency having assented, in his Majesty's name, to several bills 
and reserved for his Majesty's pleasure the Bank bill, and another,' 

§ 23.] Queen Street— (Brock Street to the Humber. 36 1 

to enable creditors to sue joint debtors separately, put an end to 
the session by the following speech .—' Honourable Gentlemen 
of the Legislative Council, and Gentlemen of the House of Assem- 
bly -The session of the provincial legislature having been pro- 
tracted by an unusual intemiption of business at its commence- 
ment, your longer absence from your respective avocations must 
be too great a sacrifice for the objects which remain to occupy your 
attention. I have therefore come to close the session and permit 
you to return to your homes. In accepting, in the name of his 
Majesty, the supply for defraying the deficiency of the funds which 
have hitherto served to meet the charges of the administration of 
justice and support of the civil government of this province, I have 
great satisfaction in acknowledging the readiness manifested to 
meet this exigence.' " 

Upper Canadian society was, indeed, in an infant state ; but the 
growing intelligence of many of its constituents, especially in the 
non-official ranks, rendered it unwise in rulers to push the feudal 
or paternal theory of government too far. The names of the ma- 
jority m the particular division of the Lower House which brought 
on the sudden prorogation just described are the following — 
McDonell, McMartin, Cameron, Jones, Howard, Casev, Robin- 
son, Nelhs, Secord, Nichol, Burwell, McCormack, Cornwall Of 
the minority : Van Koughnet, Crystler, Fraser, Cotter, McNab, 
Swayze, and Clench. 

Six weeks after. Governor Gore was on his way to England not 
recalled, as it would seem, but purposing to give an account of 
hiniself in his own person. He never returned. He is understood 
to have had a powerful friend at Court in the person of the Mar- 
quis of Camden. 

One of the " districts" of Upper Canada was called after Gover- 
nor Gore. It was set off, during his regime, from the Home and 
Niagara districts. But of late years county names have rendered 
the old district names unfamiliar. In 1837, " the men of Gore '' 
was a phrase invested with stirring associations. 

The town of Belleville received its name from Gov. Gore. In 
early newspapers and other documents the word appears as Bell- 
ville, without the central e, which gives it now such a fine French 
look. And this, it is said, is the true orthography. " Bell," we are 
told, was the Governor's familiar abbreviation of his wife's name, 
Arabella : and the compound was suggested by the Governor joco- 





Toronto of Old. 



sely, as a name for the new village : but it was set down in earnest, 
and has continued, the sound at least, to this day. This off-hand 
assignment of a local name may remind some persons that Flos, 
Tay and Tiny, which are names of thYeenow populous townships in 
the Penetanguishene region, are a commemoration of three of Lady 
Sarah Maitland's lap-dogs. Changes of names in such cases as 
these are not unjustifiable. 

In fact, the Executive Council itself, at the period of which we 
are speaking, had occasionally found it proper to change local 
names which had been frivolously given. In the Upper Canada 
Gazette of March 1 ith, 1822, we have several such alterations. It 
would seem that some one having access to the map or plan of a 
newly surveyed region, had inscribed across the parallelograms 
betokening townships, a fragment of a well-known Latin sentence, 
'' Jus et mrma," placing each separate word in a separate compart- 
ment.^^ In this way Upper Canada had for a time a township of 
" Jus," and more wonderful still, a township of " Et." In the 
number of the Gazette of the date given above these names are for- 
raally changed to Barrie and Palmerston respectively. In the same 
advertisement, " Norma," which might have passed, is made " Cla- 

Other impertinent appellations are also at the same time changed. 
The township of " Yea " is ordered to be hereafter the township of 
" Burleigh," with a humorous allusion to the famous nod, probably. 
The township of " No" is to be the township of Grimsthorpe ; and 
and the township of " Aye," the township of Anglesea.— The name 
" Et " may recall the street known as '' Of" alley, on the south side 
of the Strand, in London, which "Of" is a portion of the name ' 
and title "George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham," distributed seve- 
rally among a cluster of streets in that locality. 

Gov. Gore was so fortunate as to be away from his Province 
during the whole of the war in 1812-13-14. He obtained leave of 
absence to visit England in 181 1, and returned to his post in 1815, 
the Presidents, Isaac Brock, Roger Hale Sheaffe, and Gordon 
Drummond, Esquires, reigning in the interim. 

Under date of York U. C, Sept., 30, 1815, we read the foUow- 
mg particulars in the Gazette of the day :— " Arrived on Monday 
last the 25th instant. His Excellency Francis Gore, Esq., Lieuten- 
ant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, to rea&sume the 
rems of government. His Excellency was received with a cordial 


§ 23-] Queen Street-^fBrock Street to the Number. 363 

welcome and the honours due to his rank ; and was saluted by his 
M. S. Montreal, and Garrison." 

We are also informed that "On Wednesday the 27th instant, he 
was waited on by a deputation, and presented with the following 
address : To His Excellency, Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor of the Provmce of Upper Canada, &c.,&c.,&c. We, the Judges 
Magistrates and principal Inhabitants of the Town of York in 
approaching your Excellency to express our great satisfaction at 
beholding you once more among us, feel that we have still greater 
reason to congratulate ourselves on this happy event. Our expe- 
nence of your past firm and liberal administration, by which the 
prosperity of the Province has been so essentially promoted, 
teaches us to anticipate the greater benefit from its resumption • 
and this pleasing anticipation is confirmed by our knowledge of 
that paternal solicitude which induced you while in England to 
bnng, upon all proper occasions, the interests of the Colony under 
the favourable attention of His Majesty's Government ; a solicitude 
which calls forth in our hearts the most grateful emotions. We 
rejoice that the blessings of peace are to be dispensed by one who 
IS so well acquainted with the wants and feelings of the Colony 
and we flatter ourselves that York, recovering from a state of war,' 
(during which she has been twice in the power of the enemy) will 
not only forget her disasters, but rise to greater prosperity under 
your Excellency's auspicious administration. York, September 
27th, 1815. Thos. Scott, C.J., W. Dummer Powell, John Strachan, 

J.Pm J. G. Chewett, W. Lee, Sam. Smith, W. Claus, Benjamin Gale,' 
D.Cameron, D. Boulton, jun., George Ridout, And. Mercer, Thomas 

f L w I'n" ^- ^^'^''' ^''- ^"^ ^'S-' S- J^'-vis, J.P., John Small, 
J.P., W. Allan, J.P., J. Givins, E. MacMahon, J. Scarlett, S. Heward, 
Thos. Hamilton, C. Baynes, John Dennis, P. K. Hartney, Jno 
Cameron, E. W. McBride, Jordan Post, jun., Levi Bigelow, John 
Hays, T. R. Johnson, Lardner Bostwick, John Burke, John Jordan, 
W. Smith, sen., W. Smith, jun., J. Cawthra, John Smith, Alex. 
Legge, Jordan Post, sen., Andrew O'Keefe, S. A. Lumsden, John 
Murchison, Thomas Deary, Ezek. Benson, A. NcNabb, Edward 
Wright, John Evans, W. Lawrence, Thos. Duggan, George Duggan, 
Benjamin Cozens, Philip Klinger, and Sheriff Ridout. To which 
His Excellency was pleased to make the following answer: Gen- 
tlemen : After so long an absence from this place it is particularly 




Toronto oj Old. 



gratifying to find the same sentiments of cordiality to me, and of 
approbation of my conduct, which I experienced during my former 
residence in this Province. It is but doing me justice to say that, 
while m Europe, I paid every attention in my power to promote 
your prospenty ; and such, you may be assured, shall be my future 
endeavour when residing amongst you; earnestly hoping that, under 
the fostering care of our Parent State, and under that security 
which Peace alone can bestow, this Colony will speedily become 
a valuable, though distant part of the British Empire. York, 27th 
September, 18 15." 

On the 7th of the following month, it is announced that " His 
Royal Highness, the Prince Regent acting in the name and on the 
behalf of His Majesty, has been pleased to appoint Thomas Eraser, 
Esquire, of Prescott, Neil McLean, Esquire, of Cornwall, Thomas 
Clark, Esquire, of Queenston, and William Dickson, Esquire, of 
Niagara, to be members of the Legislative Council ; Samuel Smith, 
Esquire, of Etobicoke, to be a member of the Executive Council, 
and Doctor John Strachan, to be an Honorary Member of the 
same Council." 

By one of the acts passed during the administration of Gov. Gore, 
the foundation was laid of a parliamentary library, to replace the 
one destroyed or dispersed during the occupation of York in 1813. 
In the session of 1816, the sum of ;^8oo was voted for the purchase 
of books for the use of the Legislative Council and House of As- 

The sum of ;^8oo for such a purpose contrasts poorly, however, 
with the ;^3,ooo recommended in the same session, to be granted 
to Gov. Gore himself, for the purchase of " Plate." The joint 
address of both Houses to the Prince Regent, on this subject, was 
couched in the following terms : " To his Royal Highness, George, 
Prmce of Wales, Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland, &c., &c., &c. : May it please your Royal High- 
ness : We, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legis- 
lative Council and House of Assembly of the Province of Upper 
Canada, in Provincial Pariiament assembled, impressed with a 
lively sense of the firm, upright, and liberal administration of Francis 
Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of this Province, as well as of his 
unceasing attenrion to the individual and general interests of the 
Colony during his absence, have unanimously passed a bill to 
appropriate the sum of three thousand pounds, to enable him to 


§ 23-] Queen Street— (Brock Street to the Humber. 365 

purchase a service of plate, commemorative of our gratitude Ap- 
prized that this spontaneous gift cannot receive the sanction of our 
beloved Sovereign in the ordinary mode, by the acceptance of the 
Lieutenant-Govenior in his name and behalf; we, the Legislative 
Council and Assembly of the Province of Upper Canada, humbly 
beg leave to approach your Royal Highness with an earnest prayer 
that you will approve this demonstration of our gratitude, and gra- 
ciously be pleased to sanction, n His Majesty's name, the grant 
of the Legislature, in behalf of i. e inhabitants of Upper Canad^ 
Wm. Dummer Powell, Speaker, Legislative Council Chambers, 26th 
March, 1816. Allan Maclean, Speaker, Commons House of As- 
sembly, 25th March, 1816." 
To which, as we are next informed, his Excellency replied: 
Gentlemen : I shall transmit your address to His Majesty's 
Ministers, m order that their expression of your approbation of my 
past administration may be laid at the feet of His Royal Highness 
TK '^"n' ^;^?^' ^^^^^'^ent House, York, 26th March, 1816."' 
Ihe Bill which suggested this allowance was popularly spoken of 
as the " Spoon-bill." The House that passed the measure was the 
same that, a few weeks later, was so abruptly dismissed. 

The name on the allotment following that occupied successively 
by Col. Couchette and Col. Givins, is " David Burns." Mr. Bums 
who had been a Navy surgeon, was the first Clerk of the Crown for 
Upper Canada, and one of the " Masters in Chancery." He died 
in 1806. In the Gazette er«^ C>mf/<f of Saturday, Feb. 15th, in that 
year, we have verses to the memory of the late David Bums, Esq. 
We make the following extract, which is suggestive :— 
'• Say, power of Truth, so great, so unconfined, 
And solve the doubt which so distracts my mind- 
Why Strength to Weakness is so near allied ? 
Perhaps 'tis given to humble human pride. 
At times perchance frail Nature held the sway, 
Yet dimm'd not it the intellectual ray: 
Reason and Truth triumphant held their course, 
And list'ning hearers felt conviction's force: 
No precept mangled, text misunderstood, 
He thought and acted but for public good: 
His reasoning pure, his mind all manly light. 
Made day of that which else appear'd as night. 
In him instruction aim'd at this great end-- 
Our fates to soften and our lives amend. 
Yet he was man, and man's the child of woe : 
Who seeks perfection, seeks not here below." 


Toronto of Old. 


From the paper of September, 1806, it appears that numerous 
books were missing out of the library of the deceased gentleman. 
His administrator, Alexander Burns, advertises : " The following 
books, with many others, being lent by the deceased, it is particu- 
larly entreated that they may be immediately returned :— Plutarch's 
Lives, 1st volume; Voltaire's Works, iith do., in French, half- 
bound ; Titi Livii, Latin, ist do. ; Guthrie's History of Scotland, 
ist and 2nd do. ; Rollin's Ancient History, ist do. ; Pope's Works, 
Sth do. ; Swift's Works, 5th and 8th do., half-bound ; Moli^re's, 
6th do., French." 

Of Col. W. Chewett, whose name appears next, we have made 
mention more than once. His name, like that of his son, J. G. 
Chewett, is very familiar to those who have to examine the plans 
and charts connected with early Upper Canadian history. Both 
were long distinguished attacks of the Surveyor-General's depart- 
ment. In 1802, Col. W. Chewett was Registrar of the Home 

Alexander Macnab, whose name occurs next in succession, was 
afterwards Capt. Macnab, who fell at Waterloo, the only instance, 
as is supposed, of a Canadian slain on that occasion. In 1868, 
his nephew, the Rev. Dr. Macnab, of Bowmanville, was presented 
by the Duke of Cambridge in person with the Waterloo medal due 
to the family of Capt. Macnab. 

Alexander Macnab was also the first patentee of the plot of 
ground whereon stands the house on Bay Street noted, in our 
account of the early press, as being the place of publication of the 
Upper Canada Gazette at the time of the taking of York, and sub- 
sequently owned and occupied by Mr. Andrew Mercer up to the 
time of his decease in 187 1. 

Of Messrs. Ridout and Allan, whose names are inscribed con- 
jointly on the following park lot, we have already spoken ; and 
Angus Macdonell, who took up the next lot, was the barrister who 
perished, along with the whole court, in the Speedy. 

The name that appears on the westernmost lot of the range 
along which we have been passing is that of Benjamin Hallowell. 
He was a near connection of Chief Justice Elmsley's, and father 
of the Admiral, Sir Benjamin Hallowell, K.C.B. We observe the 
notice of Mr. Hallowell's death in the Gazette and Oracle of the 
day, in the following terms :— " Died, on Thursday last (March 
28th, i7;9), Benjamin Hallowell, Esq., in the 75th year of his age. 

§ 23-] Qtieen Street— fBrock Street to the Humber. 367 

The funeral will be on Tuesday next, and will proceed from the 
house of the Chief Justice to the Garrison Burying Ground at one 
o'clock precisely. The attendance of his friends is requested." 

Associated at a later period with the memories of this locality is 
the name of Col. Walter O'Hara.— In 1808 an immense enthusiasm 
sprang up in England in behalf of the Spaniards, who were begin- 
ning to rise in spirited style against the domination of Napoleon 
and his family. Walter Savage Landor, for one, the distinguished 
scholar, philosopher and poet, determined to assist them in person 
as a volunteer. In a letter to Southey, in August, 1808, he says : 
"At Brighton, I preached a crusade to two auditors: /. e., a 
crusade against the French in Spain : Inclination," he continues, 
" was not wanting, and in a few minutes everything was fixed." The 
two auditors, we are afterwards told, were both Irishmen, an 
O'Hara and a Fitzgerald. Landor did not himself remain long in 
Spain, although long enough to expend, out of his own resources, a 
very large sum of money ; but his companions continued to do 
good service in the Peninsula, in a military capacity, to the close 
of the war. 

In a subsequent communication to Southey, Landor speaks of a 
letter just received from his friend O'Hara. " This morning," he 
says, "I had a letter from Portugal, from a sensible man and 
excellent officer, Walter O'Hara. The officers do not appear," he 
continues, " to entertain very sanguine hopes of success. We have 
lost a vast number of brave men, and the French have gained a 
vast number, and fight as well as under the republic." 

The Walter O'Hara whom we here have Landor speaking of as 
" a sensible man and excellent officer " is the Col. O'Hara at whose 
homestead, on a portion of the Hallowell park-lot, we have arrived, 
and whose name is one of our household words. Colonel O'Hara 
built on this spot in 183 1, at which date the surrounding region 
was in a state of nature. The area cleared for the reception of the 
still existing spacious residence, with its lawn, garden and orchards, 
remained for a number of years an oasis in the midst of a grand 
forest. A brief memorandum which we are enabled to give from 
his own pen of the Peninsular portion of his military career, will be 
here in place, and will be deemed of interest. 

"I joined," he says, "the Peninsular army in the year 181 i.having 
obtamed leave of absence from my British Regiment quartered at 
Canterbury, for the purpose of volunteering into the Portuguese 

i »-' 


Toronto of Old, 


army, then commanded by Lord Beresford. I remained in that 
force until the end of the war, and witnessed all the varieties of 
service during that interesting period, during which time I was 
twice wounded, and once fell into the hands of a brave and gener- 
ous enemy." 

From 1 83 1 Col. O'Hara held the post of Adjutant-General in 
Upper Canada. His contemporaries will always think of him as a 
chivalrous, high-spirited, warm-hearted gentleman ; and in our 
annals hereafter he will be named among the friends of Canadian 
progress, at a period when enlightened ideas in regard to govern- 
ment and social life, derived from a wide intercourse with man in 
large and ancient communities, were, amongst us, considerably mis- 

After passing the long range of suburban properties on which we 
have been annotating, the continuation, in a right line westward, of 
Lot Street, used to be known as the Lake Shore Road. This Lake 
Shore Road, after passing the dugway, or steep descent to the sands 
that form the margin of the Lake, first skirted the graceful curve of 
Humber Bay, and then followed the irregular line of the shore all 
the way to the head of the Lake. It was a mere track, represent- 
ing, doubtless, a trail trodden by the aborigines from time im- 

So late as 18 13 all that could be said of the region traversed by 
the Lake Shore Road was the following, which we read in the 
" Topographical Description of Upper Canada," issued in London 
in that year, under the authority of Governor Gore : — " Further to 
the westward (/. e. of the river Humber)," we are told, " the Etobi- 
coke, the Credil, and two other rivers, with a great many smaller 
streams, join the main waters of the Lake ; they all abound in fish, par- 
ticularly salmon the Credit is the most noted ; here is a small 

house of entertainment for passengers. The tract between the 
Etobicoke and the head of the Lake," the Topographical Descrip- 
tion then goes on to say, " is frequented only by wandering tribes 
of Mississaguas." 

" At the head of Lake Ontario," we are then told, " there is a 
smaller Lake, within a long beach, of about five miles, from whence 
there is an outlet to Lake Ontario, over which there is a bridge. 
At the south end of the beach," it is added, " is the King's Head, 
a good inn, erected for the accommodation of travellers, by order 
of his Excellency Major-General Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor. 


§ 23.] Queen Street-iSrock Street to the Humber. 369 

rti, beautifully ,i,ua.ed at a .m.II portage which lead, from the 
head of a natural canal connecting Burlington Bay w h Jke 
Ontano, and ,s a good landmark. Burlington Bav^' T u X 
rather boldly asserted, " i, perhaps as beaut", and rl ^.i '^ 
s.tua.,on a, any in interior America, particularly if we incMe with 
..a marshy lake which falls into it, and a nobfe promont^^!; ' 

.hX'keefsrorma::r'^' """ "^ """" ''°- '^"^'- •^-'' <" 

As to "the wandering tribes of Mississaguas,"who in ,8i, were 
sttll the only noticeable human beings west of the Etobicoke Z 
were m fact a portion of the great Otchibway nation From ime 

siderations of vanous amounts they surrendered to the local 
Government thetr nominal right over the regions which they sU 
occupted ,n a scattered way. In ,„, theysurrenderedVooLoo 

"the Mississagua tract Home District." consistin/of fi.« 

inl^o ' ' ^"'''' '"'' °' ^^^ C^^d'^ r^^erve, brought 

All circumstances at the respective dates considered, the values 
received for the tracts surrendered as thus duly enumerated mav 
by possibility, have been reasonable. Lord Ca^eret tllta'd 
proposed to sell all Ne. Jersey for ^5.000, 150 year ago But' 
there remains one transfer from Mississaga to Wh te ownershin tl 
be noticed, for which the equivalent, sometimes legirto'v 
been accepted, excites surprise. On the ist of aJZ « 

fhr T r- "^^^.^"^"^ ^"^°-^ - t^i .To^to^r 

wardtothe S k"T'""? ^^°'''° acres, and stretching east- 
Hard to the Scarboro' Heights ; and the consideration accepted 
therefor was the sum of ten shillings. Two dollars for the s te of 
loronto and its suburbs, with an area extending eastward to 

atr"f- ^'^^-P^---, however, is tLir: 
gather from ^a manuscnpt volume of certified copies of early 

Toronto of Old. 




Indian treaties, furnished by William L. Baby, Escj., of Sandwich. 
The Toronto purchase was really effected in 1787, by Sir John 
Johnson, at the Bay of Qaint6 Carrying-place ; and " divers good 
and valuable considerations," not specified, were received by the 
Mississagas on the occasion. But the document testifying to the 
transfer was imperfect. The deed of August i, 1805, was simply 
confirmatory, and the sum named as the consideration was merely 


On the early map from which we have been taking the names of 
the first locatees of the range of park-lots extending along Queen 
Street from Parliament Street to Humber Bay, we observe the 
easternmost limit of the "Toronto Purchase" conspicuously marked 
by a curved line drawn northwards from the water's edge near the 
commencement of the spit of land which used to fence off Ash- 
bridge's Bay and Toronto Harbour from the lake. 

In 1804, the Lake Shore Road stood in need of repairs, and in 
some places even of " opening" and " clearing out." In the Ga- 
zette and Orach of Aug. 4th, in that year, we have an advertise- 
ment for " Proposals from any person or persons disposed to 
contract for the opening and repairing the Road and building 
Bridges between the Town of York and the Head of Burlington 
Bay." " Such proposals," the advertisement goes on to say, "must 
state what prices the Party desirous of undertaking the aforesaid 
work will engage to finish and complete the same, and must con- 
sist of the following particulars : At what price per mile such per- 
son will open and clear out such part of the road leading from Lot 
Street, adjoining the Town of York (beginning at Peter Street) to 
the mouth of the Humber, of the width of 33 feet, as shall not be 
found to stand in need of any causeway. With the price also per 
rod at which such party will engage to open, clear out, and cause- 
way such other part of the same road as shall require to be cause- 
wayed, and the last-mentioned price to include as well the opening 
and clearing out, as the causewaying such Road. The causeway- 
ing to be 18 feet wide ; as also the price at which any person will 
engage to build Bridges upon the said Road of the width of 18 


" And the same Commissioners will also receive proposals from 
any person or persons willing to engage to cut down three Hills at 
the following places viz :— One at the Sixteen Mile Creek, another 
between Sixteen and Twelve Mile Creek, and the third at the 

§ 23-] Q«een "treet-'Brock Street to the Humber. 371 

Twelve Mile Creek. And also for repairing, in a good and suh 
*n„a manner , he Bridge a. the „„L o/krling on Bay A 1 

by™eRTc r^ :Jr7, -;-^^^^^ - "e given .hal. be paid' 
Alio. A rx '^^"^'^^^- i h's advertisement is ssiied bv William 

East Commkl , ' '"""" Applegarth, ofFlamboro' 

We no* return to that point on Queen Street where instead of 
a later era turned abruptly towards the north in order to nass into 

Ob::;; brthe'T,"' '"^ ■*"" ""■'"-'■^ "'**"• - - ■>" 

the earlfes^m °'''''°"""' "' ^^P" Canada and marked on 

,v!hT u "'"'P' """P' "' *= '"'ovince, but not made orac 
..c e for htnnan traffic until comparatively ;ecent times ' 

we I a"n that n"'r «''"*'''''''*''"'' '''''^''"'■^"8-'. '806, 

^^2 when K '"'^ '"'' ^°'' P"^'"S ^^^^"g'^ ^he Hon e 
of w S rJ^^ ad" Start ; T """"^' ^"' ^^^ ^he performance 
Clerk of he P xi '^°"' '' "°' ^"^^^^"^- Th°"i^s Ridout, 

xte^^^^^^^ York, 6th August, .8c6." ' 

by he ll Z ^77"^-'-" -ith the Head of the Lake Mas 

plrUott^M^Bofchl or'colT ""--f^^^^^^- ^'^ 
was opened up by Col G T n "' '"^ ^'^ ^'''^ ^"'•"^' 

of some nf th! K. . ^^"•^o"' senior, with the assistance 

oi some of the embodied mititia. 

the'forertr! ?r'"^ '!;' '"'^ ''^'' ^^ "^" ^^« '■"^^^^^ °" through 
the forest, was at first undertaken by a detachment of the regulars 




1 ! 



liii ' ■ 


Toronto of Old. 


under the direction of an officer of the Royal Engineers. The plan 
adopted, we are told, was first to fell each tree by very laboriously 
severing it from its base close to the ground, and then to smooth 
off the upper surface of the root or stump with an adze. As this 
process was necessarily slow, and after all not likely to result in a 
permanently good road, the proposal of Colonel, then Lieutenant, 
Denison, to set his militia-men to eradicate the trees bodily, was 
accepted — an operation with which they were all more or less 
familiar on their farms and in their new clearings. A fine broad 
open track, ready, when the day for such further improvements 
should arrive, for the reception of plank or macadam, was soon 

Immediately at the turn northwards, out of the line of Lot Street, 
on the east side, was Sandford's Inn, a watering place for teams 
on their way into York, provided accordingly with a conspicuous 
pump and great trough, a long section of a huge pine-tree dug out 
like a canoe. Near by, a little to the east, was another notable 
inn, an early rival, as we suppose, of Sandford's : this was the Blue 
Bell. A sign to that effect, at the top of a strong and lofty pole in 
front of its door, swung to and fro within a frame. 

Just opposite, on the Garrison Common, there were for a long 
while low log buildings belonging to the Indian department. One 
of them contained a forge in charge of Mr. Higgins, armourer to 
the Department. Here the Indians could get, when necessary, their 
fishing-spears, axes, knives and tomahawks, and other implements 
of iron, sharpened and put in order. One of these buildings was 
afterwards used as a school for the surrounding neighbourhood. 

Immediately across from Sandford's, on the park lot originally 
occupied by Mr. Burns, was a house, shaded with great willow- 
trees, and surrounded by a flower-garden and lawn, the abode for 
many years of the venerable widow of Captain John Denison, who 
long survived her husband. Of her we have already once spoken 
in connection with Petersfield. She was, as we have intimated, a 
sterling old Englis'i gentlewoman of a type now vanishing, as we 
imagine. The house was afterwards long in the occupation of her 
son-in-law, Mr. John Fennings Taylor, a gentleman well-known to 
Canadian M.P.'s during a long series of years, having been at- 
tached as Chief Clerk and Master in Chancery first to the Legis- 
lative Council of United Canada and then to the Senate of the 

§ 2^.] Queen Street— .(Brock Street to the Humber, 373 

To the right and left, as we passed north, was a wet swamp, 
filled with cedars of all shapes and sizes, and strewn plentifully 
with granitic boulders : a strip of land held in light esteem by the 
passers-by, m the early day, as seeming to be irreclaimable foragri- 
cultural purposes. ^ 

But how admirably reclaimable in reality the acres hereabout 
were for the choicest ;human purposes, was afterwards seen when 
for example, the house and grounds known as Foxley Grove came 
to be established. By the outlay of some money and the exercise 
of some discrimination, a portion of this same cedar swamp was 
rapidly converted into pleasure ground, with labyrinths of full- 
grown shrubbery ready-prepared by nature's hand. Mr Tames 
Bealey Harrison, who thus transformed the wild into a garden and 
Plaisaunce, will be long remembered for his skill and taste in the 
culture of flowers and esculents choice and rare : as well as for his 
eminence as a lawyer and jurist. 

He was a graduate of Cambridge; and before his emigration to 
Canada, hadj attained distinction at the English bar. He was the 
author of a work well known to the legal profession in Great Britain 
and here, entitled " An Analytical Digest of all the Reported 
Cases determined in the House of Lords, the several Courts of the 
Courts of the Common Law in Banc and Nisi Prius, and the Court 
of Bankruptcy,^: from Michaelmas Term, 1756, to Easter Term 
1843 ; including also the Crown Cases Referred : in Four Volumes '' 
During the regime of Sir George Arthur, Mr. Harrison was Secretary 
of the Province and a member of the Executive Council ; and at 
a ater period he was Judge of the County and Surrogate Courts. 
Ihe memory of Judge Harrison as an English Gentleman, genial, 
frank and straightforward,f;is cherished among his surviving con- 
temporaries. ^ 

On turning westward into Dundas Street proper, we were soon in 
he midst of a magnificent pine forest, which remained long undis- 
turbed The whole width of the allowance for road was here for 
a number of miles completely cleared. The highway thus well- 
defined was seen bordered on the right and left with a series of 
towering columns, the outermost ranges of an innumerable multitude 
of similar tall shafts set at various distances from each other, and 
circumscribing the view in an irregular manner on both sides, all 
helping to bear up aloft a matted awning of deep-green, through 
Which, here and there, glimpses of azure could be caught, looking 





Toronto of Old. 


bright and cheery. The yellow pine predominated, a tree remark- 
able for the straightness and tallness of its stems, and for the height 
at which its branches begins. 

No fence on either hand intervened between the road and the 
forest ; the rider at his pleasure, could rein his horse aside at any 
point and take a canter in amongst the columns, the underwood 
being very slight. Everywhere, at the proper season, the ground 
was sprinkled with wild flowers — with the wild lupin and the wild 
columbine ; and everywhere, at all times, the air was more or less 
fragrant with resinous exhalations. 

In the heart of the forest, midway between York and the bridge 
over the Humber, was another famous resting place for teams — 
the Peacock Tavern — a perfect specimen of a respectable wayside 
hostelry of the olden time, with very spacious driving-housi s and 
other appropriate outbuildings on an extensive scale. 

Not far from the Peacock a beaten track branched off westerly, 
which soon led the equestrian into the midst of beautiful oak woods, 
the trees constituting it of no great magnitude, but as is often the 
case on sandy plains, of a gnarled, contorted aspect, each present- 
ing a good study for the sketcher. This track also conducted to' 
the Humber, descending to the valley of that stream where its 
waters, now become shallow but rapid, passed over sheets of shale. 
Here the surroundings of the bridle-road and foot-path weie like- 
wise picturesque, exhibiting rock plentifully amidst and beneath 
the foliage and herbage. 

Here in the vale of the Humber stood a large Swiss-like structure 
of hewn logs, with two tiers of balcony on each of its sides. This 
was the house of Mr. John Scarlett. It was subsequently destroyed 
by fire. Near by were mills and factories also belonging to Mr. 
Scarlett. He was well connected in England ; a man of enlightened 
views and fine personal presence. He loved horses and was much 
at home in the saddle. A shrewd observer when out among his 
fellow men, at his own fireside he was a diligent student of books. 



HE tourist of the present day, who, on one of our great 
lake-steamers, enters the harbour of Toronto, observes, 
as he is borne swiftly along, an interesting succession 
of street vistas, opening at intervals inland, each one 
of them somewhat resembling a scene on the stage. 
He obtains a glimpse for a moment of a thoroughfare gently 
ascending in a right line northward, with appropriate groups 
of men and vehicles, reduced prettily to lilliputian size by distance. 
Of all the openings thus transiently disclosed, the one towards 
which the boat at length shapes its course, with the clear intention 
of thereabout disburdening itself of its multifarious load, is quickly 
seen to be of preeminent importance.'^l'Thronged at the ooint 
where it descends to the water's edge with steamers and other craft, 
great and small, lined on the right and left up to the far vanishing- 
point with handsome buildings, its pavements and central roadway 
everywhere astir with life, its appearance is agreeably exciting and 
even impressive. It looks to be, what in fact it is, the outlet of a 
great highway leading into the interior of a busy, populous country. 
The railway station seen on the right, heaving up its huge semicir- 
cular metal back above the subjacent buildings, and flanking the 
very sidewalk with its fine front and lofty ever-open portals, might 
be imagined a porter's lodge proportioned to the dignity of the 
avenue whose entrance it seems planted there to guard. 

We propose to pass, as rapidly as we may, up the remarkable 
street at the foot of which our tourist steps ashore. It will not be 
a part of our plan to enlarge on its condition as we see it at the 







p» ft ' 


Toronto of Old. 


present time, except here and there as in contrast with some cir- 
cumstance of the past. We intend simply to take note, as we 
ramble on, of such recollections as may spring up at particular 
points, suggested by objects or localiVies encountered, and to recall 
at least the names, if not in every instance, characteristic traits and 
words and acts, of some of the worthies of a byegone generation, ta 
whose toil and endurance the present occupants of the region which 
we shall traverse are so profoundly indebted. 

Where Yonge Street opened on the harbour, the observer some 
forty years ago would only have seen, on the east side, the garden, 
orchard and pleasure grounds of Chief Justice Scott, with his 
residence situated therein, afterwards the abode of Mr. Justice 
Sherwood ; and on the west side the garden, orchard, pleasure- 
grounds and house of Mr. Justice Macaulay, afterwards Chief Justice 
Sir James Macaulay, and the approaches to these premises were, in 
both cases, not from Yonge Street but from Front Street, dr from 
Market Street in the rear. 

The principal landing place for the town was for a ff6nes of 
years, as we have elsewhere stated, at the southern extremity of 
Church Street : and then previously, for another series of years, 
further to the east, at the southern extremity of Frederick Street. 
The country and local traffic found its way to these points, not by 
Yonge Street, south of King Street, but by other routes which have 
been already specified and described. 

Teams and solitary horses, led or ridden, seen passing into Yonge 
Street, south of King Street, either out of King Street or out of 
Front Street, would most likely be on their way to the forge of old 
Mr. Philip Klinger, a German, whose name we used to think had in 
it a kmd of anvil ring. His smithy, on the east side, just south of 
Market Street, now Wellington Street, was almost the only attrac- 
tion and occasion of resort to Yonge Street, south of King Street. 
His successor here was Mr. Calvin Davis, whose name became as 
familiar a sound to the ears of the early townsfolk of York as Mr. 
Klinger's had been. 

It seems in the retrospect but a very short time since Yonge 
Street south of King Street, now so solidly and even splendidly 
built up, was an obscure allowance for road, visited seldom by any 
one, and for a long while particularly difficult to traverse during and 
just after the rainy seasons. 

Few persons in the olden time at which we are glancing ever 

§24.] yonge Street— from the (Bay to Yorkville. 377 

dreamed that the intersection of Yonge Street and King Street was 
to be the heart of the town. Yet here in one generation we have 
the Carfax of Toronto, as some of our forefathers would have called 
it-the Quatrevoies or Grand Four-cross-way, where the golden 
milestone might be planted whence to measure distances in each 

What are the local mutations that are to follow ? Will the needs 
of the population and the exigencies of business ever make of the 
intersection of Brock Street and Queen Street what the intersection 
ot Yonge and King Streets is now ? 

In the meantime, those who recall the very commonplace look 
which this particular spot, viz. : the intersection of King Street and 
Vonge Street, long wore, when as yet only recently reclaimed from 
nature, cannot but experience a degree of mental amazement when- 

ZonlT ^^"'^ ^°' ^ """""""^ °" °"' °^ *^^ "^'"'"'"S' ^"^ ^ool' 

A more perfect and well-proportioned rectangular meeting of 
four great streets is seldom to be seen. Take the view at this point, 
north, south, west, or east, almost at any hour and at any season of 
the year, and it is striking. 

It is striking in the freshness and coolness and comparative quiet 
of early morning, when it^^ are astir. 

It is striking in the brightness and glow of noon, when the sons 
and daughters of honest toil are trooping in haste to their mid-day 
meal. •' 

A few hours later, again, it is striking when the phaetons, pony- 
carnages, and fancy equipages generally, are out, and loungers of 
each sex are leisurely promenading, or here and there placidly 
engaged in the inspection and occasional selection of "personal 
requisues,"-of some one or other of the variegated tissues or artifi- 
cial adjuncts demanded by the modes of the period,-while the 
westering sun is now flooding the principal thoroughfare with a 
niisty splendour, and on the walls, along on either side, weirtf 
shadows slanting and elongated, are being cast. 

Then, later still, the views here are by no means ordinary ones 
when the vehicles have for the most part withdrawn, and the pas- 
sengers are once more few in number, and the lamps are lighted 
and the gas is flaming in the windows. ' 

Even in the closed up sedate aspect of all places of business on 
a Sunday or public holiday, statutable or otherwise, these four 



Toronto of Old. 


streets, by some happy charm, are fair to see and cheery. But when 
drest for a festive gala occasion, when gay with banners and festoons, 
in honour of a royal birth-day, a royal marriage, the visit of a prince, 
the announcement of a victory, they shew to special advantage. 

So, also, they furnish no inharmonious framework or setting, 
when processions and bands of music are going by, or bodies of 
military, horse or foot, or pageants such as those that in modem 
times accompany a great menagerie in its progress through the 
country — elephants in oriental trappings, teams of camels clad in 
similar guise, cavaliers in glittering mediaeval armour, gorgeous cars 
and vans. 

And again, in winter, peculiarly fine pictures, characteristic of 
the season, are presented here when, after a plentiful fall of snow, 
the sleighs are on the move without number and in infinite variety; 
or when, on the contrary, each long white vista, east, west, north, 
and south, glistening, perhaps, under a clear December moon, is a 
scene almost wholly of still life — scarcely a man or beast abroad, 
so keen is the motionless air, the mercury having shrunk down 
some way below the zero-line of Fahrenheit. 

But we must proceed. From the Lake to the Landing is a long 

In the course of our perambulations we have already noticed 
some instances in the town of long persistency in one place of 
business or residence. Such evidences of staidness and substan- 
tiality are common enough in the old world, but are of necessity 
somewhat rare amid th» chances, changes, and exchanges of young 
communities on this contment. An addition?] instance we have 
to note here, at the intersection of King Street and Yonge Street. At 
its north-east angle, where, as in a former section we have observed, 
stood the sole building in this quarter, the house of Mr. John 
Dennis, for forty years at least has been seen with little alteration 
of external aspect, the Birmingham, Sheffield and Wolverhampton 
warehouse of the brothers Mr. Joseph Ridout and Mr. Percival 
Ridout, A little way to the north, too, on the east side, the name 
of Piper has been for an equal length of time associated uninter- 
ruptedly with a particular business ; but here, though outward ap- 
pearances have remained to some extent the same, death has 
wrought changes. 

Near by, also, we see foundries still in operation where Messrs. 
W. B. Sheldon, F. R. Dutcher, W. A. Dutcher, Samuel Andrus, 

§ 24.] Yonge Street— from the (Bay to Yorkville. 379 

J. Vannorman and B. Vannorman, names familiar to all old inhabi- 
tants, were among the foremost in that kind of useful enterprise in 
York. Their advertisement, as showing the condition of one 
branch of the iron manufacture in York in 1832, will be of interest. 
Some of the articles enumerated have become old-fashioned. "They 
respectfully inform their friends and the public that they have lately 
made large additions to their establishments. They have enlarged 
their Furnace so as to enable them to make Castings of any size 
or weight used in this province, and erected Lathes for turning and 
finishing the same. They have also erected a Steam Engine of 
ten horse power, of their own manufacture, for propelling their 
machinery, which is now in complete operation, and they are pre- 
pared to build Steam Engines of a size, either high or low pres- 
sure. Having a number of experien. cd engineers employed, whose 
capability cannot be doubted, they hope to share the patronage of 
a generous public. They always keep constantly on hand and for 
sale, either by wholesale or retail. Bark Mills, Cooking, Franklin, 
Plate and Box Stoves, also, a general assortment of Hollow Ware, 
consisting of Kettles, from one to one hundred and twenty gallons ; 
Bake-Ovens, Bake-Basins, Belly-Pots, High Pans, Tea Kettles, 
Wash-Kettles, Portable Furnaces, &c. Also are constantly manu- 
facturing Mill-Gearing of all kinds ; Sleigh Shoes, 50, 56, 30, 28, 
15, 14, and 7 pound Weights, Clock and Sash Weights, Cranes, 
Andirons, Cart and Waggon Boxes, Clothiers' Plates, Plough Cast- 
ings, and Ploughs of all kinds." 

In 1832 Mr. Charles Perry was also the proprietor of foundries 
in York, and we have him advertising in the local paper that " he 
is about adding to his establishment the manufacture of Printing 
Presses, and that he will be able in a few weeks to produce Iron 
Printing Presses combining the latest improvements." 

We move on now towards Newgate Street, first noticing that 
nearly opposite to the Messrs. Sheldon and Butcher's foundry were 
the spirit vaults of Mr. Michael Kane, father of Paul Kane, the 
artist of whom we have spoken previously. At the comer of New- 
gate Street or Adelaide Street, on the left, and stretching along the 
southern side of that Street, the famous tannery-yard of Mr. Jesse 
Ketchum was to be seen, with high stacks of hemlock-bark piled 
up on the Yonge Street side. On the North side of Newgate 
Street, at the angle opposite, was his residence, a large white build- 
ing in the American style, with a square turret, bearing a railing, 


Toronto of Old. 


rising out of the ridge of the roof. Before pavements of any kind 
were introduced in York, the sidewalks hereabout were rendered 
clean and comfortable by a thick coating of tan-bark. 

Mr. Ketchum emigrated hither from Buffalo at an early period. 
In the Gazette of June 11, 1803, we have the death of his father 
mentioned. " On Wednesday last (8th June), departed this life, 
Mr. Joseph Ketchum, aged 85. His remains," it is added, " were 
interred the following day." In 1806 we find Jesse Ketchum named 
at the annual "town meeting," one of the overseers of highways and 
fence viewers. His section was from " No. i to half the Big Creek 
Bridge (Hogg's Hollow) on Yonge Street." Mr. William Marsh, 
jun., then took up the oversight from half the Big Creek Bridge to 
No. 17. In the first instance Mr. Ketchum came over to look 
after the affairs of an elder brother, deceased, who had settled here 
and founded the tannery works. He then continued to be a house- 
holder of York until about 1845, when he returned to Buffalo, his 
original home, where he still retained valuable possessions. He 
was familiariy known in Buffalo in later years as "Father Ketchum," 
and was distinguished for the lively practical interest which he took 
in schools for the young, and for the largeness of his annual con- 
tributions to such institutions. Two brothers, Henry and Zebulun, 
were also eariy inhabitants of Buffalo. 

Mr. Ketchum's York property extended to Lot Street. Hospi- 
tal Street (Richmond Street) passed through it, and he himself pro- 
jected and opened Temperance Street. To the facility with which 
he supplied building sites for moral and religious uses it is due that 
at this day the quadrilateral between Queen Street and Adelaide 
Street, Yonge Street and Bay Street, is a sort of miniature Mount 
Athos, a district curiously crowded with places of worship. He 
gave in Yorkville also sites for a school-house and Temperance 
Hall, and, besides, two acres for a Children's Park. The Bible 
and Tract Society likewise obtained its House on Yonge Street on 
easy terms from Mr. Ketchum, on the condition that the Society 
should annually distribute in the Public Schools the amount of 
the ground rent in the form of books — a condition that continues 
to be punctually fulfilled. The ground-rent of an adjoining tene- 
ment was also secured to the Society by Mr. Ketchum, to be dis- 
tributed in Sunday Schools in a similar way. Thus by his generous 
gifts and arrangements in Buffalo, and in our own town and neigh- 
bourhood, his name has become permanently enrolled in the list of 

§ 24.] Yonge Street— from the ^Bay to Yorkville. 381 

public benefactors in two cities. Among the subscriptions to a 
"Common School" in York in 1820, a novelty at the period, we 
observe his name down for one hundred dollars. Subscriptions 
for that amount to any object were not frequent in York in 1820. 
(Among the contributors to the same school we observe Jordan 
Post's name down for £l^ 6s. 3d. ; Philip Klinger's for ;^2 los. ; 
T^irdner Bostwick's for £,2 los.) 

Mr. Ketchum died in Bufifalo in 1867. He was a man of quiet, 
shrewd, homely appearance and manners, and of the average 
stature. His brother Seneca was also a character well known in 
these parts for his natural benevolence, and likewise for his desire 
to offer counsel to the young^on every occasion. We have a dis- 
tinct recollection of being, along with several young friends, the 
objects of a well intended didactic lecture from Seneca Ketchum, 
who, as we were amusing ourselves on the ice, approached us on 

It seems singular to us, in the present day, that those who laid 
out the region called the " New Town," that is, the land westward 
of the original town plot of York, did not apparently expect the 
great northern road known as Yonge Street ever to extend directly 
to the water's edge. In the plans of 1800, Yonge Street stops short 
at Lot Street, /. e., Queen Street. A range of lots blocks the way 
immediately to the south. The traffic from the north was expected 
to pass down into the town by a thoroughfare called Toronto 
Street, three chains and seven links to the east of the line of Yonge 
Street. Mr. Ketchum's lot, and all the similar lots southward, were 
bounded on the east by this street. 

The advisability of pushing Yonge Street through to its natural 
terminus must have early struck the owners of the properties that 
formed the obstruction. We accordingly find Yonge Street in due 
time " produced " to the Bay. Toronto Street was then shut up, 
and the proprietors of the land through which the northern road 
now ran received in exchange for the space usurped, proportionate 
pieces of the old Toronto Street. In 18 18, deeds for these frag- 
ments, executed in conformity with the ninth section of an Act of 
the local Parliament, passed in the fiftieth year of George III., were 
given to Jesse Ketchum, William Bowkett, mariner, son of William 
Bowkett, and others, by the surveyors of highways, James Miles 
for the Home District, and William Richardson Caldwell for the 
County of York, respectively. 


Toronto of Old. 


i I 

The street which supplied the passage-way southward previously- 
afforded by Toronto Street, and which now formed the easterly 
boundary of the easterly portions of the lots cut in two by Yonge 
Street, was, as we have had occasion already to state in another 
place, called Upper (ieorge Street, and afterwards Victoria Street. 

(The line of the now-vanished Toronto Street is, for purposes of 
reference, marked with fine lines on the map of Toronto by the 
Messrs. H. J. and J. O. hrowne.) 

What the condition of some of the lots to which we have been 
just referring was in 1 801, we gather from a surveyor's report of that 
date, which we have already quoted (p. 64), in another connection. 
We are now enabled to add the exact terms of the order issued to 
the surveyor, Mr. Stegman, on the occasion; "Surveyor General's 
Office, 19th Dec, 1800, Mr. John Stegman : Sir, — All persons 
claiming to hold land in the town of York, having been required 
to cut and burn all the brush and underwood on the said lots, 
and to fall all the trees which are standing thereon, you will 
be pleased to report to me, without delay, the number of the 
particular lots on which it has not been done. D. W. Smith, 
Acting Surveyor General." 

The continuation of the great northern highway in a continuous 
right line to the Bay, from its point of issue on Lot Street, /. e., 
Queen Street, was the circumstance that eventually created foi 
Yonge Street, regarded as a street in the usual sense, the peculiar 
renown which it popularly has for extraordinary length. A story 
is told of a tourist, newly arrived at York, wishing to utilize a stroll 
before breakfast, by making out as he went along the whereabouts 
of a gentleman to whom he had a letter. Passing down the hall of 
his hotel, he asks in a casual way of the book-keeper — " Can you 
tell me where Mr. So-and-so lives ? (leisurely producing the note 
from his breast-pocket wallet). It is somewhere along Yonge Street 
here in your town." " Oh yes," was the reply, when the address had 
been glanced at — " Mr. So-and-so lives on Yonge Street, about 
twenty-five miles up !" We have heard also of a serious demur on 
the part of a Quebec naval and military inspector, at two agents 
for purchases being stationed on one street at York. However 
surprised, he was nevertheless satisfied when he learned that their 
posts were thirty miles apart. 

Let us now direct our attention to Yonge Street north of Queen 

§ 24.] Yonge Street— from the ^ay to Yorkville. 383 

For some years previous to the opening of Yonge Street from 
Lot Street to the Bay, the portion of the great highway to the north, 
between Lot Street and the road which is now the southern boun- 
dary of Yorkville, was in an almost impracticable condition. The 
route was recognized, but no grading or causewaying had been 
done on it. In the popular mind, indeed, practically, the point 
where Yonge Street began as a travelled road to the north, was at 
Yorkville, as we should now speak. 

The track followed by the farmers coming into town from the 
north veered oti at Yorkville to the eastward, and passed down in 
a hap-hazard kind of way over the sandy pineland in that direction, 
and finally entered the town by the route later known as Parlia- 
ment Street. 

In 1800 the expediency was seen of making'the direct northern 
approach to York more available. In the Crtz^//^ of Dec. 20th, 1800, 
we have an account of a public meeting held on the subject. It 
will be observed that Yonge Street, between Queen Street and 
Yorkville, as moderns would phrase it, is spoken of therein, for the 
moment, not as Yonge Street, but as '• the road to Yonge Street." 
" On Thursday last, about noon," the Gazeite reports, " a number 
of the principal inhabitants of this town met together in one of the 
Government Buildings, to consider the best means of opening the 
road to Yonge Street, and enabling the farmers there to bring 
their provi ,ions to market with more ease than is practicable 
at present." The account then proceeds : " The Hon. Chief- 
Justice Elmsley was called to the chair. He briefly stated the 
purpose of the meeting, and added that a subscription-list had been 
lately opened by which something more than two hundred dollars 
in money and labour had been promised, and that other sums 
were to be expected from several respectable inhabitants who were 
well-wishers to the undertaking, but had not as yet contributed 
towards it. These sums, he feared, however, would not be equal 
to the purpose, which hardly could be accomplished for less than 
between five and six hundred dollars. Many of the subscribers 
were desirous that what was already subscribed should be imme- 
diately applied as far as it would go, and that other resources 
should be looked for." 

A paper was produced and read containing a proposal from 
Mr. Eliphalet Hale to open and make the road, or so much 
of it as might be required, at the rate of twelve dollars per acre • 


Toronto of Old. 

I 1 



[§ ='4. 

for clearing it where no causeway was wanted, four rods wide, 
and cutting the stumps in the two middle rods close to the 
ground; and seven shillings and sixpence, provincial currency, 
per rod, for making a causeway eighteen feet wide where a cause- 
way might be wanted. Mr. Hale undertook to find security for 
the due performance of the work by the first of February following 
( 1 80 1 ). The subscribers present were unanimously of opinion that 
the subscription should be immediately applied as far as it would go. 
Mr. Hale's proposition was accepted, and a committee consisting 
of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, Mr. William Allan, and Mr. James Playter, 
was appointed to superintend the carrying of it into execution. 
Additional subscriptions would be received by Messrs. Allan and 

At the same meeting a curious project was mooted, and a 
resolution in its favour adopted, for the permanent shutting up 
of a portion of Lot Street, and selling the land, the proceeds to be 
applied to the improvement of Yonge Street. There was no need 
of that portion of Lot Street, it was argued, there being already 
convenient access to the town in that direction by a way a few 
yards to the south. We gather from this that Hospital Street (Rich- 
mond Street) was the usual beaten track into the town from the 

"It had been suggested," says the report of the meeting, 
" that considerable aid might be obtained by shutting up the street 
which now forms the northern boundary of the town between To- 
ronto Street and the Conmon, and disposing of the land occupied 
by it. This street, it was conceived, was altogether superfluous," 
the report continues, "as another street equally convenient in 
every respect runs parallel to it at the distance of about ten rods j 
but it could not be shut up and disposed of by any authority less 
than that of the Legislature." A petition to the Legislature em- 
bodying the above ideas was to lie for signature at Mr. McDougall's 

The proposed document may have been duly presented, but the 
Legislature certainly never closed up Lot Street. Owners of park 
lots westward of Yonge Street may have had their objections. The 
change suggested would have compelled them to buy not only the 
land occupied by Lot Street, but also the land immediately to the 
south of their respective lots ; otherwise they would have had no 
frontage in that direction. 

5 24.] Yonge Street—from the (Bay to Yorkville. 385 

In the Gazette of March 14, 1801, we have a further account of 
the irnprovement on Yonge Street. We are informed that " at a 
meeting of the subscribers to the opening of Yonge Street held at 
the Government Buildings on Monday last, the 9th instant, pur- 
suant to public notice, William Jarvis, Esq., in thi chair, the follow- 
mg gentlemen were appointed as a committee to oversee and inspect 
the work, one member of which to attend in person daily by 
rotation : James Macaulay, Esq., M.D., William Weekes, Esq., A. 
Wood, Esq., William Allan, Esq., Mr. John Cameron, Mr. Simon 
McNab. After the meeting," we are then told, " the committee 
went in a body, accompanied by the Hon. J. Elmsley, to view that 
part of the street which Mr. Hale, the undertaker, had in part 
opened. After ascertaining the alterations and improvements 
necessary to be made, and providing for the immediate building of 
a bridge over the creek between the second and third mile-posts, 
the Committee adjourned." All this is signed " S. McNab, Secre- 
tary to the Committee. York, 9th March, 1801." 

A list of subscribers then follows, with the sums given. Hon. J. 
Ehnsley, 80 dollars ; Hon. Peter Russell, 20 ; Hon. J. McGill, 16 ; 
Hon. D. W. Smith, 10 ; John Small, Esq., 20 ; R. J. D. Gray, Esq.,' 
20; William Jarvis, Esq., 10; William Willcocks, Esq., 15; D.' 
Bums, Esq., 20 ; Wm. Weekes, Esq., 15 ; James Macaulay, Esq., 
20 ; Alexander Macdonell, Esq., the work of one yoke of oxen for 
four days; Alexander Wood, Esq., 10 ; Mr. John Cameron, 15; 
Mr. D. Cameron, 10 ; Mr. Jacob Herchmer, 5 ; Mr. Simon Mc- 
Nab, 5 ; Mr. P. Mealy, 5 ; Mr. Elisha Beaman, 10 ; Thomas Ri- 
dout, Esq., 4 ; Mr. T. G. Simons, 4 ; Mr. W. Waters, 5 ; Mr 
Robert Young, 10 ; Mr. Daniel Tiers, 5 ; Mr. John Edgell, 5 ; Mr. 
George Cutter, 10 ; Mr. Tames Playter, 6 ; Mr. Joseph McMurtrie, 
5 ; Mr. William Bowkett, 6 ; Mr. John Horton, 4 • Mr. John Kerr, 
2. Total, 392 dollars. 

The money collected was, we may suppose, satisfactorily laid out 
by Mr. Hale, but it did not suffice for the completion of the con- 
templated work. From the Gazette of Feb. 20 in the following 
year (1802), we learn that a second subscription was started for the 
purpose of completing the communication with the travelled part 
of Yonge Street to the north. 

In the Gazette just named we have the following, under date of 
York, Saturday, Feb. 20, 1802 : <' We whose names are hereunto 
subscribed, contemplating the advantage which m ;t arise from the 






Toronto of Old. 


rendering of Yonge Street accessible and convenient to the public, 
and having before us a proposal for completing that part of the said 
street between the Town of York and lot No. i, do hereby respec- 
tively agree to pay the sums annexed to our names towards the 
carrying of the said proposal into effect ; cherishing at the same 
time the hope that every liberal character will give his support to 
a work which has for its design the improvement of the country, 
as well as the convenience of the public : *the Chief Justice, loo 
dollars ; *Receiver-General, 20 ; *Robt. J. D. Gray, 20 (and two 
acres of land when the road is completed) ; John Cameron 40 ; 
* James Macaulay, 20; *Alexander Wood, 20; *William Weekes, 
20; John McGill, 16; Wilson, Humphreys and Campbell, 15 ; 
D. W. Smith, 10 ; Thomas Scott, 10 ; *Wm. Jarvis, 10 ; *John 
Small, 10 ; *David Bums, lo ; *Wm. Allan, 10 ; Alexander Mc- 
Donell, 10; Wm. Smith, 10; Robert Henderson, 10; *SimonMc- 
Nab, 8 ; John McDougall, 8 ; D. Cozens, 8 ; Thomas Ward, 8 ; 
*Elisha Beaman, 6 ; Joseph Hunt, 6 ; Eli Playter, 6 ; John Ben- 
nett, 6; *George Cutter, 6; James Norris, $% ; Wm. B. Peters, 
5 ; John Leach, 5 ; John Titus, 5 ; Wm. Cooper, 5 ; *Wm. Hunter, 
5 ; J. B. Cozens, 5 ; •Daniel Tiers, 5 ; Thomas Forfar, 5 ; Samuel 
Nash, 5 ; Paul Marian, 3 ; Thomas Smith, 3 ; John McBeth, 3." 
It is subjoined that " subscriptions will be received by Mr. S. Mc- 
Nab, Secretary, and advertised weekly in the Gazette, Those 
marked thus (*) have paid a former subscription." 

In the Gazette of March 6, 1802, an editorial is devoted to the 
subject of the improvement of Yonge Street. It runs as follows : 
" It affords us much pleasure to state to our readers that the neces- 
sary repair of Yonge Street is likely to be soon effected, as the 
work, we understand, has been undertaken with the assurance of 
entering upon and completing it without delay ; and by every one 
who reflects upon the present sufferings of our industrious commu- 
nity on resorting to a market, it cannot but p^ove highly satisfac- 
tory to observe a work of such convenience and utility speedily 
accomplished. That the measure of its future benefits must be 
extreme indeed, we may reasonably expect ; but whilst we look 
forward with flattering expectations of those benefits we cannot but 
appreciate the immediate advantage which is afforded to us, in being 
relieved from the application of the statute labour to circuitous by- 
paths and occasional roads, and in being enabled to apply the same 

§ 24.] Yonge Street—from the (Bay to Yorkville. ^^y 

to the improvement ot ihe streets, and the nearer and more direct 

approaches to the Town." ^ 

The irregular track branching off eastward at Yorkville was an 

example of these "circuitous by-paths and occasional roads." 

mo IT ^r'' T '" '^' ^''''''" °^ '^^ P^"°d- Had there been 
ir^K 1""' '"^'"'i"^"* investigators would have been better 
able than they are now, to produce pictures of the olden time. Chief 
Justice Elmsley was probably the inspirer of the article just given 
The work appears to have been duly proceeded with. In the 
following June, we have an advertisement calling a meeting of the 
committee entrusted with its superintendence. In the Gazette of 
June 12 i8o2, weread : "The committee for inspecting the repair of 
Yonge Street requests that the subscribers will meet on the repaired 
part of the said street at 5 o'clock on Monday evening, to take into 
consideration how far the moneys subscribed by them have been 

beneficially expended. S. McNab, Secretary to Committee. York 
loth June, 1802. ' ' 

In 1807, as we gather from the Gazette of Nov. ir, in that year 

^J^vrr.''^? "'^^' *° ^P'^^" *" '•°"** ^' *h^ BJ"e Hill. A presenJ 
of Fifty Dollars from the Lieutenant Governor (Gore) to the object 
IS acknowledged in the paper named. " A number of public-spirited 
persons ih^ Gazette s^ys, "collected on last Saturday to cut down 
the Hill at Frank's Creek. (We shaU see hereafter that the rivulet 
here was thus known, as being the stream that flowed through the 
Castle Frank lot.) The Lieutenant-Governor, when informed of it 
despatched a person with a present of Fifty Dollars to assist in 
improving the Yonge Street road." It is then added by "John 
Van Zante, pathmaster, for himself and the public,"-" To his 

rnnT'w !; ^''' ^" "^''"^ ^°"'*^°"' ""^ *° '^' S^^^lemen who 
contnbuted, we return our warmest thanks." 

These early efforts of our predecessors to render practicable the 
Smembmnce" ^^^'"''^ *° ^^^ '°''"' ^'^ "^"''"^'"^ °^ rt^V^ciM 

The death of Eliphalet Hale, named above, is thus noted in the 
Gazette of Sept 19, 1807 =-" Died on the evening of the 17th 
instant, after a short illness, Mr. Eliphalet Hale, High Constable of 
the Home District, an old and respectable inhabitant of this town 
From the regular discharge of his official duties" the Gazette snhxoxm 
he may be considered as a public loss." 

The nature of the soil at many points between Lot Street and the 


Toronto of Old. 



modem Yorkville was such as to render the construction of a road 
that should be comfortably available at all seasons of the year no 
easy task. Down to the time when macadam was at length applied, 
some twenty-eight years after Mr. Hale's operations, this approach 
to the town was notorious for its badness every spring and autumn. 
At one period an experiment was tried of a wooden tramway for a 
short distance at the worst part, on which the loaded waggons 
were expected to keep and so be saved from sinking hopelessly in 
the direful sloughs. Mr. Sheriff Jarvis was the chief promoter of 
this improvement, which answered its purpose for a time, and Mr. 
Rowland Burr was its suggester. But we must not forestall our- 

We return to the point where Lot Street, or Queen Street, inter- 
sects the thoroughfare to whose farthest bourne we are about to be 

After passing Mr. Jesse Ketchum's property, which had been 
divided into two parts by the pushing of Yonge Street southward 
to its natural termination, we arrived at another striking rectangular 
meeting of thoroughfares. Lot Street having happily escaped ex- 
tinction westward and eastward, there was created at this spot a 
four-cross-way possessed of an especial historic interest, being the 
conspicuous intersection of the two great military roads of Upper 
Canada, projected and explored in person by its first organiser. 
Four extensive reaches, two of Dundas Street (identical, of course, 
with Lot or Queen Street), and two of Yonge Street, can here be 
contemplated from one and the same standpoint. In the course of 
time the views up and down the four long vistas here commanded 
will probably rival those to be seen at the present moment where 
King Street crosses Yonge Street. When lined along all its sides 
with handsome buildings, the superior elevation above the level of 
the Lake of the more northerly quadrivium, will be in its favour. 

Perhaps it will here not be out of order to state that Yonge Street 
was so named in honour of Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War in 
1 791, and M.P. for Honiton, in the county of Devon, from 1763 
to 1796. The first exploration which led to the establishment of 
this communication with the north, was made in 1793. On the 
early MS. map mentioned before in these papers, the route taken by 
Governor Simcoe on the memorable occasion, in going and returning 
is shewn. Explanatory of the red dotted lines which indicate it, the 
following note is appended. It reveals the Governor's clear per- 





§ 24.] Yonge Street— from the (Bay to Yorkville. 389 

ception of the commercial and military importance of the projected 
road : " Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route on foot and in canoes to ex- 
plore a way which might aflFord communication for the Fur-traders 
to the Great Portage, without passing Detroit in case that place 
were given up to the United States. The march was attended with 
some difficulties, but was quite satisfactory : an excellent harbour 
at Penetanguishene : returned to York, 1793." 

(On the same map, the tracks are given of four other similar ex- 
cursions, with the following accounts appended respectively : 

1. Lieut-Gov. Simcoe's route on foot from Niagara to Detroit and 
back again in five weeks ; returned to Niagara March 8th, 1793. 

2. Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route from York to the Thames ; down 
that river in canoes to Detroit ; from thence to the Miamis, to build 
the fort Lord Dorchester ordered to be built : left York March 1 794 ; 
returned by Lake Erie and Niagara to York, May 5th, 1794. 3. 
Lieut-Gov. Simcoe's track from York to Kingston in an open boat, 
Dec. 5th, 1794. 4. Lieut-Gov. Simcoe's route from Niagara to 
Long Point on Lake Erie, on foot and in boats : returned down the 
Ouse [Grand River] : from thence crossed a portage of five miles 
to Welland River, and so to Fort Chippawa, September, 1795.) 

The old chroniclers of England speak in high praise of a primeval 
but somewhat mythic king of Britain, named Belin : 

•' Belin well held his honour, 
And wisely was good govemour." 

says Peter de Langtoft, and his translator, Robert de Brunn ; and 
they assign, among the reasons why he merited such mention at 
their hands, the following : 

" His land Britaine he yode throughout, 
And ilk county beheld about ; 
Beheld the woods, water and fen. 
No passage was maked for men, 
No highe street thorough countrie, 
Ne to borough ne citi6. 
Thorough mooris, hills and valleys 
He mad4 brigs and causeways, 
Highe street for common passage, 
Brigs over water did he stage. " 

This notice of the old chroniclers' pioneer king of Britain has 
again and again recurred to us as we have had occasion to narrate 
the energetic doings of the first ruler of Upper Canada, here and 




Toronto of Old. 

B 24. 

previously, vv'hat Britain was when Belin and his Celts were at 
work, Canada was in the days of our immediate fathers — a trackless 
wild. That we see our country such as it is to-day, approaching 
in many respects the beauty and agricultural finish of Britain itself, 
is due to the intrepid men who faced without blenching the trials 
and perils inevitable in a first attack on the savage fastnesses of 

A succinct but good account is given of the origin of Yonge Street 
in Mr. Surveyor General D. W. Smith's Gazetteer of 1 799. The 
advantages expected to accrue from the new highway are clearly 
set forth ; and though the anticipations expressed have not been 
fulfilled precisely in the manner supposed, we see how comprehen- 
sive and really well-laid were the plans of the first organizer of 
Upper Canada. 

" Yonge Street," the early Gazetteer says, " is the direct commu- 
nication from York to Lake Simcoe, opened during the adminis- 
tration of his Excellency Major-General Lieut. -Governor Simcoe, 
who, having visited Lake Huron by Lake aux Claies (formerly 
also Ouentaronk, or Sinion, and now named Lake Simcoe), and 
discovered the harbour of Penetanguishene (now Gloucester) to 
be fit for shipping, resolved on improving the communication from 
Lake Ontario to Lake Huron, by this short route, thereby avoiding 
the circuitous passage of Lake Erie. This street has been opened 
in a direct line, and the road made by the troops of his Excellency's 
corps. It is thirty miles from York to Holland's river, at the Pine 
Fort called Gwillimbury, where the road ends ; from thence you 
descend into Lake Simcoe, and, having passed it, there are two 
passages into Lake Huron ; the one by the river Severn, which 
conveys the waters of Lake Simcoe into Gloucester Bay ; the other 
by a small portage, the continuation of Yonge Street, to a small 
lake, which also runs into Gloucester Bay. This communication 
affords many advantages ; merchandize from Montreal to Michili- 
mackinac may be sent this way at ten or fifteen pounds less expense 
per ton, than by the route of the Grand or Ottawa River ; and the 
merchandize from New York to be sent up the North and Mohawk 
Rivers for the north-west trade, finding its way into Lake Ontario 
at Oswego (Fort Ontario), the advantage will certainly be felt of 
transporting goods from Oswego to York, and from thence across 
Yonge Street, and down the waters of Lake Simcoe into Lake 
Huron, in preference to sending it by Lake Erie." 

§24.] yonge street—from the (Bay to Yorkville. 391 

We how again endeavour to effect a start on our pilgrimage of 
retrospection up the long route, from the establishment of which 
so many public advantages were predicted in 1799. 

The objects that came to be familiar to the eye at the entrance 
to Yonge Street from Lot Street were, after the lapse of some years 
on the west side, a large square white edifice known as the Suii 
Tavern, Elliott's; and on the east side, the buildings constituting 
Good's Foundry. ** 

The open land to the north of Elliott's was the place generally 
occupied by the travelling menageries and circuses when such ex- 
hibitions began to visit the town. 

The foundry, after supplying the country for a series of years with 
ploughs, stoves and o^her necessary articles of heavy hardware, is 
memorable as having been the first in Upper Canada to turn out 
real railway locomotives. When novelties, these highly finished 
ponderous machines, seen slowly and very laboriously urged through 
the streets from the foundry to their destination, were startling 
phenomena. We have in the Canadian Journal (vol. ii. p. 76), 
an account of the first engine manufactured by Mr. Good at the 
Toronto Locomotive Works, with a lithographic illustration " We 
have much pleasure," the editor of the Canadian Journal says "in 
presenting our readers with a drawing of the first locomotive engine 
constructed in Canada, and indeed, we believe, in any British 
Colony. The ' Toronto' is certainly no beauty, nor is she distin- 
guished for any peculiarity in the construction, but she affords a 
very striking illustration of our progress in the mechanical arts, and 
of the growing wants of the country. The ' Toronto' was built at 
the Toronto Locomotive Works, which were established by Mr 
Good, m October, 1852. The order for the ' Toronto' was received 
m February, 1853, for the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad. 
The engine was completed on the i6th of April, and put on the 
track the 26th of the same month. Her dimensions are as follows : 
cyhnder 16 inches diameter, stroke 22 inches, driving wheel 5 feet 
6 inches in diameter, length of internal fire box 4 feet 6 inches, 
weight of engine 25 tons, number of tubes 150, diameter of tubes 
2 inches." 

With property a little to the north on the east side, the name of 
Mcintosh was early associated, and— Canadian persistency again— 
is still associated. Of Captains John, Robert and Charles Mcintosh, 
we shall have occasion to speak in our paper on the early Marine 


Toronto of Old. 


of York harbour. It was opposite the residence of Captain John 
Mcintosh that the small riot took place, which signalized the return 
home of William Lyon Mackenzie, in 1849, after the civil tumults 
of 1837. Mr. Mackenzie was at the time the guest of Captain 
Mcintosh, who was related to him through a marriage connexion- 
Albert Street, which enters Yonge Street opposite the Mcintosh 
property, was in 1833 still known as Macaulay Lane, and was 
described by Walton as " fronting the Fields." From this point a 
long stretch of fine forest-land extended to Yorkville. On the left 
side it was the property partly of Dr. Macaulay and partly of Chief 
Justice Elmsley. The fields which Macaulay Lane fronted were 
the improvements around Dr. Macaulay 's abode. The white entrance 
gate to his house was near where now a street leads into Trinity 
Square. Wykham Lodge, the residence of Sir James Macaulay 
after the removal from Front Street, and Elmsley Villa, the resi- 
dence of Captain I. S. Macaulay, (Government House in Lord 
Elgin's day, and subsequently Knox College,) were late erections 
on portions of these spacious suburban estates. 

The first Dr. Macaulay and Chief Justice Elmsley selected two 
adjoining park lots, both of them fronting, of course, on Lot Street. 
They then effected an exchange of properties with each other. 
Dividing these two lots transversely into equal portions, the Chief 
Justice chose the upper or northern halves, and Dr. Macaulay the 
lower or southern. Dr. Macaulay thus acquired a large frontage on 
Lot Street, and the Chief Justice a like advantage on Yonge Street. 
Captain Macaulay acquired his interest in the southern portion of 
the Elmsley halves by marriage with a daughter of the Chief Justice. 
The northern portion of these halves descended to the heir of the 
Chief Justice, Capt. John Elmsley, who having become a convert 
to the Church of Rome, gave facilities for the establishment of St. 
Basil's college and other Roman Catholic Institutions on his estate. 
Of Chief Justice Elmsley and his son we have previously spoken. 

Dr. Macaulay's clearing on the north side of Macaulay lane was, 
in relation to the first town plot of York, long considered a locality 
particularly remote ; a spot to be discovered by strangers not without 
difficulty. In attempting to reach it we have distinct accounts of 
persons bewildered and lost for long hours in the intervening marshes 
and woods. Mr. Justice Boulton, travelling from Prescott in his 
own vehicle, and bound for Dr. Macaulay's domicile, was dissuaded, 
on reaching Mr. Small's house at the eastern extremity of York, 

§ 24.] Yonge Street—from the ^ay to Yorkville. 395 

from attempting to push on to his destination, although it was 
by no means late, on account of the inconveniences and perils to 
be encountered ; and half of the following day was taken up in 
accomplishing the residue of the journey. 

Dr. Macaulay's cottage might still have been existent and in good 
order ; but while it was being removed bodily by Mr. Alexander 
Hamilton, from its original site to a position on the entrance to 
Trinity Scjuare, a few yards to the eastward, it was burnt, either 
accidentally or by the act of an incendiary. Mr. Hamilton, who 
was intending to convert the building into a home for himself and 
his family, gave the name of Teraulay Cottage— the name by whii . 
the destroyed building had been known— to the house which he 
put up in its stead. 

A quarter of a century sufficed to transform Dr. Macaulay's gar- 
den and grounds into a well-peopled city district. The " fields," of 
which Walton spoke, have undergone the change which St. George's 
Fields and other similar spaces have undergone in London : 

St. George's P'ields are fields no more ; 

The trowel supersedes the plough ; 
Huge inundated swamps of yore 

Are changed to civic villas now. 
The builder's plank, the mason's hod, 

Wide and more wide extending still, 
Usurp the violated sod. 

The area which Dr. Macaulay's homestead immediately occupied 
now constitutes Trinity Square— a little bay by the side of a great 
stream of busy human traffic, ever ebbing and flowing, not without 
rumble and other resonances ; a quiet close, resembling, it is plea- 
sant to think, one of the Inns of Court in London, so tranquil 
despite the turmoil of Fleet Street adjoining. 

Trinity Square is now completely surrounded with buildings; 
nevertheless an aspiring attic therein, in which many of these collec- 
tions and recollections have been reduced to shape, has the advan- 
tage of commanding to this day a view still showing within its range 
some of the primitive features of the site of York. To the north an 
extended portion of the rising land above Yorkville is pleasantly 
visible, looking in the distance as it anciently looked, albeit beheld 
now with spires intervening, and ornamental turrets of public 
buildings, and lofty factory flues : while to the south, seen also 
between chimney stacks and steeples and long solid architectural 




Toronto of Old. 



ranges a glimpse of Lake Ontario itself is procurablc-a glimpse 
especially precious so long as it is to be had. for not only recalling 
as It does, the olden time when "the Uke" was an element in 
so much of the talk of the early settlers-its sound, its aspect, its 
condition being matters of hourly observation to them-but also 
suggesting the thought of the far off outer ocean stream-the silver 
moat that guards the fatherland, and that forms the horizon in so 
many of its landscapes. 

To the far-off Atlantic, and to the misty isles beyond-the true 
/J.x«/.. ^../,,«^/^_we need not name them-the glittering slip 
which we are still permitted to see yonder, is the highway-the 
route by which the fathers came-the route by which their sons 
from time to time return to make dutiful visits to hearthstones and 
shnnes never to be thought of or named without affection and 

Z"'Tru *^'' °'^'' '^^"' ocean-stream, too. and of that 
other Ideal home, of which the poet speaks, our peep of Ontario 
may Jikewise, to the thoughtful, be an allegory, by the help of 

In a season of calm weather, 

Though inland far we be, 

Our souls have sight of that immortal sea 

Which brought us hither ; 

Can in a moment travel thither— 

Ami see the chiWren sport upon the shore, 

And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore ! 

of?" ^^T^ ""''^ ""' '"''" *"""^^' "°^ ^^^" ^" '^e "Middle space 
of Trinity Square, was a gift of benevolence to Western Canada in 
.846 from two ladies, sisters. The personal character of Bishop 
Strachan was the attraction that drew the boon to Toronto 
Through the hands of Bishop Longley of Ripon, afterwards Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, a sum of ^5,000 sterling was transmitted by 
the donors to Bishop Strachan for the purpose of founding a church, 
two stipulations being that it should be forever, like the ancient 
churches of England, free to all for worship, and that it should bear 
the name of The Holy Trinity. The sum sent built the Church 
and created a small endowment. Soon after the completion of 
he edifice, Scoresby, the celebrated Arctic navigator, author of 
An Account of the Arctic Regions, with a History and 
Description of the Northern Whale Fishery," preached and other- 
wise officiated within its walls. Therein, too, at a later period was 

§ 24-] Yonge Street— from the (Bay to Yorkville. 395 

heard the voice of Selwyn, Bishop of Lichfield, but previously the 
eminent Missionary Bishop of New Zealand. Here also, while the 
Cathedral of St. James was rebuilding, after its second destruction 
by fire in 1849, '-ord KIgin was a constant devout participant in 
Christian rites, an historical association connected with the build 
ing, made worthy of preservation by the very remarkable [Hiblic 
services of the Karl afterwards in China and India.— We recall at 
this moment the emprtssemmt with which an obscure little chapel 
was pointed out to us in the small hamlet of Tregear in Cornwall, 
on account of the fact that John Wesley had once preached there. 
Well then : it may be that with some hereafter, it will be a matter 
of curiosity and interest to know that several men of world-wide 
note, did, in their day, while sojourning in this region, " pay their 
vows " in the particular " Lord's House " to which we now have 
occasion to refer. 

In the grove which surrounded Sir James Macaulay's residence, 
Wykham Lodge, we had down to recent years a fragment of tht 
fine forest which lined Yonge Street, almost continuously from Lot 
Street to Yorkville, some forty year« since. The ruthless uproot- 
ing of the eastern border of this beautiful sylvan relic of the past, 
for building purposes, was painful to witness, however quickly the 
presence of rows of useful structures reconciled us to the change. 
The trees which cluster round the great school building in the rear 
of these improvements will long, as we hope, survive to give an 
idea of what was the primeval aspect of the whole of the neigh- 

The land on the opposite side,* a little to the north of the point 
at which we have arrived, viz., Carleton Street — long remaining in 
an uncultivated condition, was a portion of the estate of Alexander 
Wood, of whom we have already spoken. His family and 
baptismal names are preserved, as we have before noted, in 
" Wood " Street and " Alexander " Street. 

The streets which we passed southward of Wood Street, Carleton, 
Gerrard, Shuter, with Gould Street in the immediate vicinity, had 
their names from personal friends of Mr. McGill, the first owner, 
as we have seen, of this tract. They are names mostly associated 
with the early annals of Montreal, and seem rather inapposite here. 

Northward, a little beyond where Grosvenor Street leads into 
what was Elmsley Villa, and is now Knox College, was a solitary 
green field with a screen of lofty trees on three of its sides. In its 


f. II 

' I 



Toronto of Old. 


! I 


midst was a Dutch barn, or hay-barrack, with movable top. The 
sward on the northern side of the building was ever eyed by the 
passer-by with a degree of awe. It was the exact spot where a 
fatal duel had been fought. 

We have seen in repeated instances that the so-called code of 
honour was in force at York from the era of its foundation. 
"Without it," Mandeville had said, "there would be no living in 
a populous nation. It is the tie of society ; and although we are 
beholden to our frailties for the chief ingredient of it, there has 
been no virtue, at least that I am acquainted with, which has proved 
half so instrumental to the civilizing of mankind, who, in great 
societies, would soon degenerate into cruel villains and treacherou* 
slaves, were honour to be removed from among them." Mande- 
ville's sophistical dictum was blindly accepted, and trifles light as 
air gave rise to the conventional hostile meeting. The merest 
accident at a dance, a look, a jest, a few words of unconsidered 
talk, of youthful chaff, were every now and then sufficient to force 
persons who previously, perhaps, had been bosom friends, com- 
panions from childhood, along with others sometimes, in no wise 
concerned in the quarrel at first, to put on an unnatural show of 
thirst for each other's blood. The victim of the social usage of the 
day, in the case now referred to, was a youthful son of Surveyor- 
General Ridout. 

Some years after the event, the public attention was drawn afresh 

to it. The surviving principal in the affair, Mr. Samuel Jarvis, 

underwent a trial at the time and was acquitted. But the seconds 

were not arraigned. It happened in 1828, eleven years after the 

incident (the duel took place July 12, 1817), that Francis Collins, 

editor of the Canadian Freeman, a paper of which we have before 

spoken, was imprisoned and fined for libel. As an act of retaliation 

on at least some of those who had promoted the prosecution, which 

ended in his being tlms sentenced, he set himself to work to bring 

the seconds into court. He succeeded. One of them, Mr. Henry 

John Boulton, was now Solicitor-General, and the other, Mr. James 

E. Small, an eminent member of the Bar. All the particulars of 

the fatal encounter, were once more gone over in the evidence. But 

the jury did not convict. 

Modern society, here and elsewhere, is to be congratulated on 
the change which has come over its ideas in regard to duelling. 
Apart from the considerations dictated by morals and religion, 

§ 24.] Yonge Street—from the (Bay to Yorkville. 397 

common sense, as we suppose, has had its effect in checking the 
practice. York, in its infancy, was no better and no worse in 
this respect than other places. It took its cue in this as in some 
other matters, from very high quarters. The Duke of York, from 
whom York derived its name, had himself narrowly escaped a bullet 
from the pistol of Colonel Lennox : " it passed so near to the ear 
as to discommode the side-curl," the report said : but our Duke's 
action, or rather inaction, on the occasion helped perhaps to 
impress on the public mind the irrationality of duelling : he did not 
return the fire. " He came out," he said, " to give Colonel Lennox 
satisfaction, and did not mean to fire at him ; if Colonel Lennox 
was not satisfied, he might fire again." 

Just to the north of the scene of the fatal duel, which has led to 
this digression, was the portion of Yonge Street where a wooden 
tramway was once laid down for short distance ; an experiment 
interesting to be remembered now, as an early foreshadowing of 
the existing convenient street railway, if not of the great Northern 
Railway itself. Subterranean springs and quicksands hereabout 
rendered the primitive roadmaker's occupation no easy one ; and 
previous to the application of macadam, the tramway, while it lasted, 
was a boon to the farmers after heavy rains. 

Mr. Durand's modest cottage and bowery grounds, near here, 
recall at the present day, an early praiseworthy effort of its owner 
to establish a local periodical devoted to Literature and Natural 
History, in conjunction with an advocacy of the cause of Tem- 
perance. A diligent attention to his profession as a lawyer did not 
hinder the editor c f the Literary Gem from giving some of his 
leisure time to the observation and study of Nature. We accordingly 
have in the columns of that periodical numerous notes of the fauna 
and flora of the surrounding neighbourhood, which for their 
appreciativeness, simplicity, and minuteness, remind us of the 
pleasant pages of White's " Natural History of Selborne." The 
Gem appeared in 185 1-2, and had an extensive circulation. It 
was illustrated with good wood-cuts, and ns motto was " Humanity, 
Temperance, Progress." The place of its publication was 
indicated by a square iabel suspended on one side of the front 
entrance of a small white office still to be seen adjoining the cottage 
which we are now passing. 

The father of Mr. Durand was an Englishman of Huguenot 
descent, who emigrated hither from Abergavenny at a very early 

1 'I'. 



Toronto of Old. 

[§ 24. 

period. Having been previously engaged in the East India 
mercantile service, he undertook the importation of East India 
l)roduce. After reaching Quebec and Montreal in safety, his first 
consignments, embarked in batteaux, were swallowed up bodily 
in the rapids of the St. Lawrence. He nevertheless afterwards 
prospered in his enterprise, and acquired property. Nearly the 
whole of the eastern moiety of the present city of Hamilton was 
originally his. He represented the united counties of Wentworth 
and Halton in several parliaments up to 1822. A politic^'' journal, 
entitled T/ie Bee, moderate and reasonable in tone, was, up to 181 2, 
edited and published by him in the Niagara District. Mr. Durand, 
senior, died in 1833, at Hamilton, where he filled the post of 
County Registrar. His eldest son, Mr. James Durand, when, in 
181 7, member for Halton, enjoyed the distinction of being expelled 
from the House of Assembly. A Parliament had just expired. He 
offered some strictures on its proceedings, in an address to his late 
constituents. The new House, which embraced many persons who 
had been members of the previous Parliament, was persuaded to 
vote the Address to the electors of Halton a libel, to exclude its 
author from the House, and to commit him to prison. His instant 
re-election by the county of Halton was of course secured. We 
observe from the evidence of Mr. James Durand before the 
celebrated Grievance Committee of 1835, that he was an early 
advocate of a number of the changes which have since been carried 
into effect. This Mr. Durand died in 1872 at Kingston, where he 
was Registrar for the County of Frontenac. 

We have been enabled to present these facts, through the kind- 
ness of Mr. Charles Durand, who, in a valuable communication, 
further informs us that besides being among the earliest to engage 
in mercantile enterprises in Upper Canada, his father had also in 
1S05, a large interest in the extensive flour mills in Chippawa, 
known as the Bridgewater Mills : mills burnt by the retreating 
American army in 181 2, at which period Mr. Durand, senior, was 
in the command of one of the flank companies of Militia, composed 
of the first settlers in the neighbourhood of the modern Hamilton : 
moreover he was the first who ever imported foxhounds into Upper 
Canada, a pack of which animals he caused to be sent out to him 
from .England, being fond of the hunter's sport. With these he 
hunted near Long Point, on Lake Erie, in 1805, over a region 
teeming at the time with deer, bears, wolves and wild turkeys. 

§ 24.] Yonge Street—from the (Bay to Yorkville. 399 

Mr. Peter Des Jardins, from whom the Dundas Canal has its 
name, was, in 1805, a clerk in the employment of Mr. Durand 
(Omitted elsewhere, we insert here a passing notice of Mr J M 
Cawdell, another well-remembered local pioneer of literature He 
published for a short time a magazine of light reading, entitled the 
Rose harp, the bulk of which consisted of graceful compositions in 
verse and prose by himself. Mr. Cawdell had been an officer in 
the army. Through the friendship of Mr. Justice Macaulay (after- 
wards Sir James), he was appointed librarian and secretary to the 
Law Society of Osgoode Hall. He died in 1842.) 

Proceeding now onward a few yards, we arrived, in former times 
at what was popularly called the SandhiU-a moderate rise, showing 
where, in by-gone ages, the lake began to shoal. An object of 
interest in the woods here, at the top of the rise, on the west side 
was the "Indian's Grave," made noticeable to the traveller by a' 
little civilized railing surrounding it. 

The story connected therewith was this : When the United States 
forces were landing in 1813, near the Humber Bay, with the inten- 
tion of attacking the Fort and taking York, one of Major Givins' 
Indians, concealed himself in a tree, and from that position fired 
mto the boats with fatal effect repeatedly. He was soon discovered 
and speedily shot. The body was afterwards found, and deposited 
with respect m a little grave here on the crest of the Sandhill, where 
an ancient Indian burying ground had existed, though long 
abandoned. It would seem that by some means, the scalp of this 
poor Indian was packed up with the trophies of the capture of York 
conveyed by Lieut. Dudley to Washington. From being found in 
company with the Speaker's Mace on that occasion, the foolish story 
arose of its having been discovered over the Speaker's chair in the 
Parliament building that was destroyed. 

" With the exception," says Ingersoll, in his History of the War 
of 181 2-14, "of the English general's musical snuff-box, which was 
an object of much interest to some of our officers, and a scalp which 
Major Forsyth found suspended over the Speaker's chair, we gained 
but barren honour by the capture of York, of which no permanent 
possession was taken." 

Auchinleck, in his History of the same war, very reasonably 
observes, that "from the expertness of the backwoodsmen in 
scalping (of which he gives two or three instances), it is not at 
all unlikely that the scalp in question was that of an unfortunate 



Toronto of Old. 


Indian who was shot while in a tree by the Americans, in their 
advance on the town." It was rejected with disgust by the 
authorities at Washington, Ingersoll informs us, and was not allowed 
to decorate the walls of the War Office there. Colonel W. F. 
Coffin, in his *' 181 2 : The War and its Moral," asserts that a 
peruke or scratch-wig, found in the Parliament House, was mis- 
taken for a scalp. 

Building requirements have at the present day occasioned the 
almost complete obliteration of the Sandhill. Innumerable loads 
of the loose silex of which it was composed have been removed. 
The bones of the Indian brave, and of his forefathers, have been 
carried away. In a triturated condition, they mingle now, perhaps, 
in the mortar of many a wall in the vicinity. 

A noble race 1 but they are gone, 

With their old forests wide and deep, 
And we have built our houses on 

Fields where their generations sleep. 
Their fountains slake our thirst at noon, 

Upon their fields our harvest waves, 
Our lovers woo beneath thsir moon — 

Then let us spare at least their graves ! 

Vain, however, was the poet's appeal. Even the prosaic pro- 
clamations of the civil power had but temporary effect. We quote 
one of them of the date of Dec. 14th, 1797, having for its object 
the protection of the fishing places and burying grounds of the 
Mississaga Indians : 

"Proclamation. Upper Canada. Whereas, many heavy and 
grievous complaints have of late been made by the Mississaga 
Indians, of depredations committed by some of his Majesty's sub- 
jects and others upon their fisheries and burial places, and of other 
annoyances suffered by them by uncivil treatment, in violation of 
the friendship existing between his Majesty and the Mississaga 
Indians, as well as in violation of decency and good order : Be it 
known, therefore, that if any complaint shall hereafter be made of 
injuries done to the fisheries and to the burial places of the said 
Indians, or either of them, and the persons can be ascertained 
who misbehaved himself or themselves in manner aforesaid, such 
person or persons shall be proceeded against with the utmost 
severity, and a proper example made of any herein offending. 
Given under my hand and seal of arms, at York, this fourteenth 

. §24-] ^o»Se Street—from the may to Yorlmlle. 401 

tLlif'T*^'' *" *' >"" °f °" I^"i 0°' thousand seven 
hnndred and mnety-seven, and in the thirtyeighth year of Z 

Off to the eastward of the sandy rise which we ar^ 5,«r.«^- 
Funher to the North on the same side was another Mr AW 

hTiX" "■ ""' "' *- "-^ ---o:rs3 

the^tTf F°"'v'. *"• ^'°"*°»''=> *« grounds of which occupy 
«L on hL^ T"^ «"^'°' ^ ^ "■"Pamtively modem 
SS ri r* f""" "'""" "« ' ™ ^'^W'wtural object reg^dM 
mft no kmdly glance by the final holder, of shares in the Ck^ 
Upper Canada-an institution which in the infancy of the c^unt^ 
had a m,ss.„n and fulfiUed it, but which grievously betmye^T^ 
of the second generation who, relying on its traditionZttlw 
repute, continued to trust it. With K,„,„„x, ^. "« 

^In^^a^d d°n ■"" ^ '^"'^' '"^^^-^ « -ni ^C 

chi^roi'roSerrrrvr:'^ ""/f ^'"^ -" ^ -- 

preceded Kearsny Hr^l^ 'rnr^ ;'-te" eTt^ 

;enr:Sr;°a:''" I'^t"" '" '"= --^^a^: f'S 
sCms 7wh r !^''- *'."?''• "'*°"8h the smgular unobtru- 

S tltf ^'"""^ '"" *"'" «™« -"■» a'-" to 

Ths residue of the Sandhill rise that is sHU to h. Hi., j 

wes^ard of Yonge Street hasitswinsomeLme!cToveHmtm 

the designation borne by the home of r„«i„ E-n-'-- -T 

2 " ^ — '" ^^Hiaic/, son Qi the 

J ■ t!K 

••■; i 


Toronto of Old. 


Chief Justice, situate here. The house still stands, overshadowed 
by some fine oaks, relics of the natural woods. The rustic cottage 
lodge, with diamond lattice windows, at the gate leading in to the 
original Clover Hill, was on the street a little further on. At the 
time of his decease. Captain Elmsley had taken up his abode in a 
building apart from the principal residence of the Clover Hill 
estate ; a building to which he had pleasantly given the name of 
Barnstable, as being in fact a portion of the outbuildings of the 
homestead turned into a modest dwelling. 

Barnstable was subsequently occupied by Mr. Maurice Scollard, 
a veteran attach^ of the Bank of Upper Canada, of Irish birth, 
remembered by all frequenters of that institution, and by others for 
numerous estimable traits of character, but especially for a gift of 
genuine quiet humour and wit, which at a touch was ever unfailingly 
ready to manifest itself in word or act, in some unexpected, amusing, 
genial way. Persons transacting business at the India House in 
London, when Charles Lamb was a book-keeper there, must have 
had the solemn routine of the place now and then curiously varied 
by a dry " aside " from the direction of his desk. Just so the 
habitu6s of the old Bank, when absorbed in a knotty question of 
finance, affecting themselves individually, or the institution, would 
oftentimes find themselves startled from their propriety by a droll 
view of the case, gravely suggested by a venerable personage sure 
to be somewhere near at hand busily engaged over a huge ledger. 

They who in the mere fraction of a lifetime have seen in so many 
places the desert blossom as the rose, can with a degree of certainty, 
realize in their imagination what the whole country will one day be, 
even portions of it which to the new comer seem at the first glance 
very unpromising. Our Sandhill here, which but as yesterday 
we beheld in its primeval condition, with no trace of human labour 
upon it except a few square yards cleared round a solitary Indian 
grave, to-day we see crowned along its crest for many a rood east- 
ward and westward with comfortable villas and graceful pleasure- 
grounds. The history of this spot may serve to encourage all who 
at any time or anywhere are called in the way of duty to be the 
first to attack and rough-hew a forest-wild for the benefit of another 

If need were to stay the mind of a newly- irrived immigrant friend 
wavering tss to whether or not he shoiVK; venture permanently to 
cast in his lot with us, we should be :£.' lined to direct his regards, 

§24-] ^°nge street— from the <BayloYorkville. 403 
for one thing, to ,he gardens of an amateur, on the southern slooe 
of U,e nse, at we are pausing, where choice fruits anrflowe« 
are year after year produced equal to those grown in Kenro" 
Devon; we should be inclined to direct his regards, like^se "o 
the amateur cultivator himself of those fruits and fioJe" Mr 

?oZUS^'eltr ^" "'" ' "''"""''''' '" ^"^' -' 
But we must push on.-To the north of our Sandhill a short 
distance, on the east side, was a sylvan halting place Lweary 
teams, known as the Gardeners' ^rms. It was an unpretendZ 
rural mn, furnished with troughs and pump. The hoTs! 
lay a httle way back from the road. Its sign exhibLd an herald c 
arrangement of horticultural implements. Another ruml inn whL 
homely name, might have been noted, while we were neare'r Lot 
Street : the Green Bush Tavern. But this was a name transfe^d 
from another spot, far to the north on Yonge Street, when the 
andlord Mr. Abrahams, moved into town. In the original 
locality the sigi, was a painted pine-tree or spruce of formal shape 
-not the ivy-bush, the sign referred to by the ancient proverb 

whenitsaid, "Wine needeth it not "-" Vino vendibili non op s 
est suspensa hedera." ^ 

On the right beyond the Gardeners' Arms, appeared in this 
region at an early date, at a considerable distance from each other 
two or perhaps three flat, single-storey square cottages, clapboarded 
and painted white, with flat four-sided roofs, dooi^in the centre and 
one window on either side : little wooden boxes set down on the 
surface of the soil apparently, and capable, as it might seem of 
being readily hfted up and transported to any other locality. They 
were the first of such structures in the outskirts of York, and were 
speedily copied and repeated in various directions, being thought 
models ofneatness and convenience. 

Opposite the quarter where these little square hutches were to be 
seen, there are to be found at the present day, the vineyards of Mr. 
Bevan ; to be found, we say, for they are concealed from the view 
of the transient passenger by intervening buildings. Here again 
we have a scene presenting a telling contrast to the same spot and 
Its surroundings within the memory of living men : a considerable 
area covered with a labyrinth of trellis work, all overspread with 
hardy grapes m great variety and steadily productive. To this 
signt likewise we should introduce our timid, hesitating new comer 


!; M 

I ' I'*" 


Toronto of Old. 


as also to the originator of the spectacle— Mr. Bevan, who after a 
forty years' sojourn in the vicinity of York and Toronto, continues 
as genuinely English in spirit and tone now as when he first left 
the quay of his native Bristol for his* venture westward. While 
engaged largely in the manufacture of various articles of wooden 
ware, Mr. Bevan adopted as a recreation the cultivation of ti 
grape, and the making of a good and wholesome wine. It is 
known in commerce and to physicians, who recommend it to invalids 
for its real purity, as Clintona. 

Just before reaching the first concession-road, where Yorkville 
now begins, a family residence of an ornamental suburban character, 
put up on the left by Mr. Lardner Bostwick, was the first of that 
class of building in the neighbourhood. His descendants still 
occupy it. Mr. Bostwick was an early property owner in York. 
The now important square acre at the south-east angle of the 
intersection of King Street and Yonge Street, regarded probably 
when selected, as a mere site for a house and garden in the out- 
skirts of the town, was his. The price paid for it was ;^ioo. Its 
value in 1873 may be ;^i 00,000. 

The house of comparatively modem date, seen next after Mr. 
Bostwick, is associated with the memory of Mr. de Blaquiere, who 
occupied it before building for himself the tasteful residence — The 
Pines — not far off, where he died ; now the abode of Mr. John 

Mr. de Blaquiere was the youngest son of the first Lord de 
Blaquiere, of Ardkill, in Ireland. He emigrated in 1837, and was 
subsequently appointed to a seat in the Legisiative Council of 
Upper Canada. In his youth he had seen active service as a 
midshipman. He was present at the battle of Camperdown in the 
Bounty, commanded by Captain Bligh. He was also in the Fleet 
at the Nore during the mutiny. He died suddenly here in his new 
house in i860, aged 76. His fine character and prepossessing 
outward physique are freshly remembered. 

Thus again and again have we to content ourselves with the 
interest that attaches, not to the birth-places of men of note, as 
would be the case in older towns, but to their death-places. Who 
of those that have been bom in the numerous domiciles which we 
pass are finally to be ranked as men of note, and as creators con- 
sequently of a sentimental interest in their respective birth-places^ 
remains to be seen. In our portion of Canada there has been 

§ 24.] Yonge Street— from the (Bay to Yorkville. 405 

time for the application of the requisite test in only a very few 
instances. ' 

The First Concession Road-line derived its modem name of 
Bloor Street from a former resident on its southern side, eastward 
of Yonge Street. Mr. Bloor, as we have previously narrated, was 
for many years the landlord of the Farmers' Arms, near the market 
place of York, an inn conveniently situated for the accommodation 
of the agricultural public. On retiring from this occupation with a 
good competency, he established a Brewery on an extensive scale 
m the ravine north of the first concession road. In conjunction 
with Mr. Sheriff Jarvis, he entered successfully into a speculation 
on land, projecting and laying out the village of Yorkville, which 
narrowly escaped being Bloorville. That name was proposed • as 
also was Rosedale, after the Sheriff's homestead; and likewise 
"Cumberland," from the county of some of the surrounding 
inhabitants. The monosyllable "Blore" would have sufficed 
without having recourse to a hackeyned suffix. That is the name of 
a spot m Staffordshire, famous for a great engagement in the wars 
between the Houses of Lancaster and York. But Yorkville was 
at last decided on, an appellation preservative in part of the name 
just discarded in 1834 by Toronto. 

Mr. Bloor was an Englishman, respected by every one. That 
his name should have become permanently attached to the Northern 
Boulevard of the City of Toronto, a favourite thoroughfare, several 
miles in extent, is a curious fact which may be compared with the 
case of Pimlico, the famous west-end quarter of London. Pimlico 
has its name, it is said, from Mr. Benjamin Pimlico, for many years 
the popular landlord of a hotel in the neighbourhood. Bloor Street 
was for a time known as St. Paul's road : also as the Sydenham 

While crossing the First Concession Line, now in our northward 
journey, the moment comes back to us when on glancing along the 
vista to the eastward, formed by the road in that direction, we first 
noticed a church-spire on the right-hand or southern side. We had 
passed that way a day or two before, and we were sure no such 
object was to be seen there then; and yet, unmistakeably now, 
there rose up before the eye a rather graceful tower and spire, of 
considerable altitude, complete from base to apex, and coloured 

The fact was : Mr. J. G. Howard, a well-known local architect, 


! I 


Toronto of Old. 


had ingeniously constructed a tower of wood in a hori 'ontal, or 
nearly horizontal, position in the ground close by, somewhat r s a 
shipbuilder puts together "the mast of some vast ammiral," and 
then, aft. j.u .ij! ,,. to the external finish of, at least, the higher 
porti^t> cf it. e ,• TJ to a coating of lime wash, liad, in the space of 
a few hours, by means of convenient machinery raised it d end, 
and secured it, permanently, in a vertical position. 

We gather some further particulars of the achievement from a 
contemporary account. The Yorkville spire was raised on the 4th 
of August, 1841. It n i, Q^ ieet igh, composed of four entire 
trees or pieces of tinker, each of that length, bouid together 
pyramidically, tapering from ten feet base to one foot at top, and 
made to receive a turned ball and weather-cock. The base was 
sunk in the ground until the apex was raised ten feet from the 
ground ; and about thirty feet of the upper part of the spire was 
completed, coloured and painted before the raising. The operation 
of raising commenced about two o'clock p.m., and about eight in 
the evening, the spire and vane were seen erect, and appeared to 
those unacquainted with what was going on, to have risen amongst 
the trees, as if by magic. The work was performed by Mr. John 
Richey; the framing by Mr. Wetherell, and the raising was super- 
mtended by Mr. Joseph Hill. 

The plan adopted was this : three gin-poles, as they are called, 
were erected in the form of a triangle; each of them was well 
braced, and tackles were rove at their tops : the tackles were 
hooked to strong straps about fifty feet up the spire, with nine men 
to each tackle, and four men to steady the end with following poles. 
It was raised in about four hours from the commencement of the 
straining of the tackles, and had a very beautiful appearance while 
rising. The whole operation, we have been told, was conducted 
as nearly as possible in silence, the architect himself regulating by 
signs the action of the groups at the gin-poles, being himself 
governed by the plumb-line suspended in a high frame before him. 

"No workman steel, no ponderous axes rung ; 
Like some tall palm, the noiseless fabric sprung." 

Perhaps Fontana's exploit of setting on end the obelisk in f-ont of 
St. Peter's, in Rome, suggested the possibility of causing a tower 
and spire complete to be suddenly seen rising above the roof of 
the Yorkville St. Paul's. On an humble scale we have Fontana's 

§ 24-] Yonge Street— from the ^Bay to Yorkville. 407 

arrangements reproduced. While in the men at the gin-poles 
worked in obedience to signs, we have the old Egyptians over 
again — a very small detachment of them indeed — as seen in the 
old sculptures on the banks of the Nile. 

The original St. Paul's before it acquired in this singular manner 
the dignified appurtenance of a steeple, was a long, low, barn-like, 
wooden building. Mr. Howard otherwise improved it, enlarging 
it by the addition of an aisle on the west side. When some twenty 
years later, viz., in 1861, the new stone church was erected, the 
old wooden structure was removed bodily to the west side of 
Yonge Street, together with the tower, curtailed, however, of its 

We have been informed that the four fine stems, each eighty-five 
feet long, which formed the interior frame of the tower and spire 
of 1841, were a present from Mr. Allan, of Moss Park ; and that 
the Rev. Charles Matthews, occasionally officiating in St. Paul's, 
gave one hundred pounds in cash towards the expense of the 
ornamental addition now made to the edifice. 

The history of another of Mr. Howard's erections on Yonge 
Street, which we are perambulating, illustrates the rapid advance 
and expansion of architectural ideas amongst us. In the case now 
referred to it was no shell of timber and deal-boards that was taken 
down, but a very handsome solid edifice of cut-stone, which might 
have endured for centuries. The Bank of British North America, 
built by Mr. H oward, at the corner of Yonge Street and Wellington 
Street in 1843, was dehberately taken down, block by block, in 
1 87 1, and made to give place to a structure which should be on a 
par in magnificence and altitude with the buildings put up in 
Toronto by the other Banks. Mr. Howard's building, at the time 
of its erection, was justly regarded as a credit to the town. Its 
design was preferred by the directors in London to those sent in by 
several architects there. Over the principal entrance were the 
P yal Arms, exceedingly well carved in stone on a grand scale, 
and wholly disengaged from the wall ; and conspicuous over the 
parapet above was the great scallop-shell, emblem of the gold- 
digger's occupation, introduced by Sir John Soane, in the archi- 
tecture of the Bank of England. (The Royal Arms of the old 
building have been deemed worthy of a place over the entrance to 
the new Bank.) 

The Cemetery, the gates and keeper's lodge of which, after 


1 " ' 




: >., 

11 m 


Toronto of Old. 


v^tn~ 'P'"V°''"'^"™8'«'"" Its ofticUl style was "The 
York General or Strangers' Burying Ground." In practice it Z 

Walton's Directory for ,833, gives the following information 
w .'ct ^e^a^^' »f -.aswellfor the slight degree'of quits' 

names which ,t contains. " This institution," Walton says " owes 
^ ong,„ to Mr. Carfrae, junior. I, comprises six acrefjf gro^" 
and has a neat sexton's house buil, dose by the gale. The name 
of the sexton is John Wolstencroft, who keeps a registry rf It 
person buned thereia Persons of all creeds and petons of n^ 
creed, are allowed burial in this cemetery : fees to the sex on « 
I. was .nsftuted in the fall of .8.5, and incorporated by Act '^f 
Parhament, 30th January, ,8.6. It is managed by five trusts 
who «e chosen for life ; and in case of the dfath of any onh m 
a pubhc meeting of the inhabitants is called, when7ey elta 

TtZ:: r r '°" ■" *"' l"^^^- ^^ P'-^' trustees'^ 3 
are Thomas Carfrae, ,un., Thomas D. Morrison, Peter Palerson 
John Ewart, Thomas Helliwell." ralerson, 

Po!r,^f Y^" Th/T""! '"'" *' '*"" "f Customs of the 
rortof York. The other trustees named were respectively the ' 

A remote sequestered piece of gromid in ,825, the Potter's Field 
m 1845 was more or less surrounded by buildings, and reg^ded 
as an .mped,ment in the way of public improvement In efmente 
were accordmgly prohibited. To some extent i, has been" 
ofhuman remains, and in due time will be built over, to^t 
c ssor and representative is die Toronto Necropolis, the ^stTes 

rJlu^ ,r! ™1P°"=«''' ^ft'' *e lapse of hventy^ne y ^ to 
sell the old burying.ground. ' ' 

Proceeding on, we were immediately oDPOsite the Rwi r;™ 
^ern anciently Tiers', subsequently PricS,Tth"de .™ 
krge and very .Rotable halting-place for loaded teams after he ;,^ 

§ 24.] Vonge Street— from the ^Bay to Yorkville. 409 

In old European lands, in times by-gone, the cell of a hermit, a 
monastery, a castle, became often the nucleus of a village or town. 
With us on the American continent, a convenient watering or 
baiting place in the forest for the wearied horses of a farmer's 
waggon or a stage-coach is the less romantic punctum saliens for a 
similar issue. Thus Tiers's, at which we have paused, may be 
regarded as the germ of the flourishing incorporation of Yorkville. 
Many a now solitary way-station on our railroads will probably in 
like manner hereafter prove a centre round which will be seen a 
cluster of human habitations. 

We discover from a contemporary Gazette that so early as 1808, 
previous, perhaps, to the establishment of the Red Lion on Yonge 
Street, Mr. Tiers had conducted a public house in the Town of 
York. In the Gazette of June 13, 1808, we have the following 
announcement. It has an English ring : " Beefsteak and Beer 
House. — The subscriber informs his friends and the public that he 
has opened a house of entertainment next door to Mr. Hunt's, 
where his friends will be served with victualing in good order, on 
the shortest notice, and at a cheap rate. He will furnish the best 
strong beer at 8d. New York currency per gallon if drank in his 
house, and 2s. 6d. New York currency taken out. As he in- 
tends to keep a constant supply of racked beer, with a view 
not to injure the health of his customers, and for which he will 
have to pay cash, the very small profits at which he offers to sell, 
will put it out of his power to give credit, and he hopes none will 
be asked. N.B. He will immediately have entertainment for man 
and horse. Daniel Tiers. York, 12th January, 1808." 

The singular Hotel de Ville which in modem times distinguishes 
Yorkville, has a Flemish look. It might have strayed hither from 
Ghent. Nevertheless, as seen from numerous points of view, it 
cannot be characterized as picturesque, or in harmony with its 
surroundings. — The shield of arms sculptured in stone and set in 
the wall above the circular window in the front gable, presents the 
following charges arranged quarterly : a Beer-barrel, with an S 
below ; a Brick-mould, with an A below ; an Anvil, with a W 
below ; and a Jackplane, with a D below. In the centre, in a 
shield of pretence, is a Sheep's head, with an H below. These 
symbols commemorate the first five Councillors or Aldermen of 
Yorkville at the time of its incorporation in 1853, and their trades 
or callings ; the initials being those respectively of the surnames 

' ?i 



Toronto of Old. 



of Mr. John Severn, Mr. Thomas Atkinson, Mr. James Wallis, Mr. 
James Dobson, and Mr. Peter Hutty. Over the whole, as a crest, 
is the Canadian Beaver. 

The road which enters from the west, a little way on, calls up 
memories of Russel-hill, Davenport and Spadina, each of them 
locally historic. We have already spoken of them in our journey 
along Front Street and Queen Street, when, in crossing Brock 
Street, Spadina-house in the distance caught the eye. It is a pecu- 
liarity of this old bye-road that, instead of going straight, as most 
of our highways monotonously do, it meanders a little, unfolding 
a number of pretty suburban scenes. The public school, on the 
land given to YorkviUe by Mr. Kctchum, is visible up this road. 

In this direction were the earliest public ice-houses established 
in our region, in rude buildings of slab, thickly thatched over with 
pine branches. Spring-water ice, gathered from the neighbouring 
mill-ponds, began to be stored here in quantities by an enterpris- 
ing man of African descent, Mr. Richards, five-and-thirty years 

On the east side of Yonge Street, near the northern toll-gate, 
stood Dr. R. C. Home's house, the lurid flames arising from which 
somewhat alarmed the town in 1837, when the malcontents of the 
north were reported to be approaching with hostile intent. Of Dr. 
Home we have already spoken, in connexion with the eariv Dress 
of York. ^ ^ 

Were the tall and very beautiful spire which in the present day 
is to be seen where the Davenport Road enters Yonge Street, the 
appendage of an ecclesiastical edifice of the medieval period— as 
the architecture implies— it would indicate, in all probability, the 
presence of a Church of St. voiles. St. ^gidius or Giles presided, 
it was imagined, over the entrances to cities and towns. Conse- 
quently, fancy will always have it, whenever we pass the inte- 
resting pile standing so conspicuously by a public gate, or where 
for a long while there was a pubHc gate, leading into the town, 
that here we behold the St. Giles' of Toronto. 



F long Standing is the group of buildings on the right 
after passing the Davenport Road. It is the Brewery 
and malting-house of Mr. Severn, settled here since 
1835. The main building over-looks a ravine which, 
as seen by the passer-by on Yonge Street, retains to 
this day in its eastern recess a great deal of natural 
beauty, although the stream below attracted manufacturers at 
an early period to its borders at numerous points. There is a pictu- 
resque irregularity about the outlines of Mr. Severn's brewery. 
The projecting galleries round the domestic portion of the build- 
ing pleasantly indicate that the adjacent scenery is not unappre- 
ciated: nay, possibly enjoyed on many a tranquil autumn evening. 
Further on, a block-house of two storeys, both of them rectan- 
gular, but the upper turned half round on the lower, built in con- 
sequence of the troubles of 1837, and supposed to command the 
great highway from the north, overhung a high bank on the right. 
(Another of the like build was placed at the eastern extremity of 
the First Concession Road. It was curious to observe how 
rapidly these two relics acquired the character and even the look, 
gray and dilapidated, of age. With many, they dated at least 
from the war of 181 2,) 

A considerable stretch of striking landscape here skirts our route 
on the right. Rosedale-house, the old extra-mural home, still 
existent and conspicuous, of Mr. biephen Jarvis, Registrar of the 
Province in the olden tirae, afterwards of his son the Sheriff, of 
both of whom we have had occasion to speak repeatedly, was 

I Si 








Ml |^H[ 







Toronto of Old. 


always noticeable for the romantic character of its situation • on 
the crest of a precipitous bank overlooking deep winding ravines 
Set down here while yet the forest was but litcle encroached on' 
acwss to It was of course for a long time, difficult and laborious. ' 
The memorable fancy-ball given here at a comparatively late 
period, but during the Sheriff's lifetime, recurs as we go by On 
that occasion, in the dusk of evening, and again probably in the 
gray dawn of morning, an irregular procession thronged the high- 
way of Yonge Street and toiled up and down the steep approaches 
to Rosedale-house-a procession consisting of the simulated 
shapes and forms that usually revisit the glimpses of the moon at 
masquerades,-knights, crusaders, Plantagenet, Tudor and Stuart 
pnnces, queens and heroines ; all mixed up with an incongruous 
ancient and modem canaille, a Tom of Bedlam, a Nicholas Bottom 
with amiable cheeks and fair large ears," an Ariel, a Paul Pry a 
Pickwick, &c, &c., not pacing on with some veri-similitude on 
foot or respectably mounted on horse, ass, or mule, but borne 
along most prosaically on wheels or in sleighs. 

This pageant, though only a momentary social relaxation, a tran- 
sient but still not unutilitarian freak of fashion, accomplished well 
and cleverly ,n the midst of a scene literally a savage wild only a 
ftj years previously, may be noted as one of the many outcomes 
of precocity characterizing society in the colonies of England. 

In a burlesque drama to be seen in the columns of a contem- 
porary paper (the Colonist, of 1839) we have an aiMusion to this 
memorable entertainment. The news is supposed to have kist 
arrived of the union of the Canadas, to f^ dismay, as k is pre- 
tended, of the official party, among whom there will henceforth be 
no more cakes and ale. A messenger, Thomas, speaks : 

List, oh, list— the Queen hath sent 
A message to her Lords and trusty Commons— 
All — What message sent she? 
Thomas.— Oh the dreadful news ! 
That both the Canadas in one be joined.— (/a/«/j.) 

Sheriff William then speaks : 

Farewell ye masquerades, ye -,parkling routs : 

Now routed out, no more shall routs be ours ; 

No gilded chariots now shall roll along ; 

No sleighs that sweep across our icy path,— - 

Sleighs ! no : this news that slays our warmest hopes, 

Ends pageantry, and pride and masquerades. 

§ 25-] Yonge St., from Yorkville to Hogg's Hollow. 415 

The characters in the dramatic j'eu d'esprit, from which these 
lines are taken, are the principal personages of the defeated party, 
under thinly disguised names, Mr. Justice Clearhead, Mr. John 
Scott, William Welland, Judge Brock, Christopher, Samuel, Sheriff 
William, as above, and Thon^as, &c. Rosedale is a name of plea- 
sant sound. We are reminded thereby of another of the same 
genus, but of more recent application in these parts — Hazeldean —