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3 1833 03395 2349 

Gc 971 . 302 T63 j v. 2 
Jackes, Lyman B. 
Tales of north Toronto 

Price 50 cents 

The contents of this book are fully protected by 
Canadian copyright. All rights reserved. 


the man whose name was given to Yonge Street. 

He was Secretary for War in the British Gov- 
ernment when John Graves Simcoe was 
appointed first Governor of Upper Canada in 
1792. Sir George and Governor Simcoe were 
great friends, and when Simcoe cut the road 
through the forest from York to Cooke's Bay at 
the south extremity of Lake Simcoe he gave 
the new road the name of Yonge Street in honor 
of his friend. 

Before Niagara Falls 

NORTH TORONTO is. geologically speaking, very different from the 
remainder of the city. Some eight or nine thousand years ago what 
is now North Toronto was the beach land of a great lake. The level 
of the water is clearly marked today in the ridge of land that runs across 
the city. Balmoral Avenue, Wells Hill and the ridge that runs down to 
Scarborough Bluffs are all remnants of the old northern shore line. Farther 
to the west the shore line extended up into the present Caledon country. 

The Shoreline of an Ancient Lake 

The hill that crosses the city just below St. Clair Avenue 

is the shoreline of an ancient lake. It is known to modern 

geologists as Lake Iroquois and was formed after the last 

ice age some twenty thousand years ago. 

The southern shore of this ancient lake is well marked in the heights at 
Queenston and in the so-called Hamilton mountain. On the high escarp- 
ment immediately to the south of Grimsby the author has picked up fossil 
remains of fresh-water creatures that once lived and swam in this ancient 
lake. Geologists have given the lake a name. On geological maps it is 
marked as Lake Iroquois. The outlet was not through the St. Lawrence 
valley, as is the case with Lake Ontario. The waters of Lake Iroquois 
reached the sea by way of the Hudson River valley. When what is now 
central and down-town Toronto were "all wet", and' the site of North 


Toronto was beautiful beach land, the St. Lawrence River valley was all 
choked up with great masses of ice that had been left as debris when the 
ice of the last Ice Age commenced its northward recession. How long ago 
did these conditions exist? A study of the geology of the Niagara River 
gives some clew and pi-ovides a partial answer. There is ample evidence 
to indicate that Niagara Falls commenced at Queenston. The power of the 
falling water to cut away the rO'Ck is fairly well known. It is a fairly 
average amount each year. If the rate of cutting has been more or less 
constant, it has required the passage of some eight and a half thousand 
years for Niagara Falls to cut its way to the present position. But the 
problem is not quite so simple of solution. Near the Whirlpood there is a 
stretch of river that is much narrower than the rest of the stream. The 
rock Is similar, but something has happened to reduce the flow of water 
and retard the cutting action. That is one of the unsolved mysteries of 
Niagara. This reduced action may have continued for five hundred years 
or for five thousand years. No one knows today. That element makes the 
guess of the age of old Lake Iroquois rather an uncertain quantity. But 
the fact remains that the hill on Bathurst Street, Avenue Road and Yonge 
Street, just to the south of what is now St. Clair Avenue, is a very inter- 
esting geological relic. Modern motorists do not regard it with much 
favor, especially on wet and slippery days. 

What happened to this ancient lake? As the ice commenced to melt 
in the St. Lawrence Valley the water of Lake Iroquois gradually reached 
out and cleared a passage to the sea. This new channel reduced the level 
of the water. It gradually fell to a point where it was below the entrance 
to the Hudson Valley, and the St. Lawrence route continued as the only 
outlet to the sea. As the water of Lake Iroquois fell, the water of what is 
now Lake Erie commenced to spill over the escarpment at Queenston, and 
Niagara Falls was born. The waters of Lake Iroquois levelled off and the 
new level is the present Lake Ontario. 

Where there any human beings here at that time? There is some 
evidence to suggest that there were. North Toronto, as far as the author 
is aware, has not produced any direct evidence in support of such a theory. 
The Don Valley has. Some years ago, the late Professor Coleman, one of 
the greatest geologists that the Empire has evolved, received a telephone 
call from one of the foremen at the Don Valley Brick Works. The call 
suggested that the professor leave his desk and hurry out to the yards. 


Something had come to light as a result of blasting. When Professor Cole- 
man arrived he was directed to the remains of a charcoal fire with remains 
of animal bones in the immediate vicinity. The blasting powder had lifted 
the overburden and exposed a bit of strata that had once been level 
ground. The remains of the fire and the meal that had been cooked upon 
it had come to view. The discovery was carefully removed and is now on 
display in the Royal Ontario Museum. Professor Coleman estimated that 
the fire had been used twenty thousand' years ago. Were these hunters 
from the Mound Builders or from some unknown tribe who preceded them? 
No one knows today. Only human beings can light a fire and cook a meal 
upon it. This interesting relic is mute evidence that human beings of some 
kind roamed about what is now North Toronto many thousands of years ago. 


The Great Indian Village 

rp^HE story of the great Indian settlement that was recorded in the 
first publication of Tales of North Toronto, caused a great deal of 
interest in local history. The author received numerous telephone 
calls asking for more information and some of the local schools requested 
personal visits to tell the children more about the subject. 

In the first volume it was stated that the Minister of Education had 
ordered a report on the matter to be made by the Provincial Archivist 
of long ago — many persons have stated to the author that they have 
been unable to find that report in the Provincial Legislative Library. 

The report was made on December 20, in the year 1887. It is signed 
by David Boyle and reads as follows: 

As soon as the season was well enough advanced to make 
digging possible (April 30, 1887) I visited Lot 2, Con. 1. Township 
of York, within sight of Toronto, as many interesting relics had 
been picked up in this neighbourhood, it seemed a promising place 
in which to begin operations. 

On the rear of this lot, which is part of the Jackes' estate, 
is a mound evidently of artificial formation, although the only 
indications that remain are distinctive soil and considerable 


quantities of charcoal and ashes. The situation is high and dry, 
and the trees close to the mound are comparatively young. 

The discoveries of two or three fragments of what appeared to 
be corn cobs suggested the probability of this earth-heap having 
been employed by the Indians as a cache or deposit for maize. 

Indian Relics From North Toronto 
In Volume I of Tales of North Toronto, attention was called to 
the great Indian village that covered much of what is now North 
Toronto 300 years ago. These relics were unearthed during a 
recent excavation on Castlefield Avenue. The centrepiece is a 
tomahawk head of Iroquois manufacture. The arrowheads, the 
pipe bowl and the fragment of pottery are of Huron manufacture. 

The whole of the surrounding country abounds in traces 
of various aboriginal manufacture — flint chips, broken pottery 
and bone implements — and the museum of the Institute contains 
many fine specimens from the same neighbourhood presented by 


Mr. B. Jackes of Toronto, Mr. J. Long of Lansing and Miss 
Marshall, teacher of the school section in which the property is 

David Boyle, Toronto, December 20, 1887. Annual Report, to the 
Minister of Education of the Canadian Institute Session 1886-7. 













r ...,i 

The Outlines of North Toronto's Great Indian Settlement 

The dotted line on this map gives the location of the great 
pallisade fence that enclosed the village. Ih has been esti- 
mated that as many as 30,000 persons lived here about the 
year 1645. 

The Legislative Library in the Parliament Buildings at Toronto, 
also has another document that throws light on this great Indian story. 

This document is a large map of New France (Canada) prepared 
for Lord Halifax, Minister of War in the British government in the year 
1750. The map is large and! displays considerable detail. The section 


of the western portion of Lake Ontario shows the French fort "Fort 
Toronto" which was erected only one year prior to the preparation of 
the map. The site of Fort Toronto is marked by a stone cairn on the 
shores of Exhibition Park, near the southwest corner of the park. The 
map indicates a dotted area extending northward from a point east of 
Toronto and including all of what is now southwestern Ontario and the 
Georgian Bay ai'ea. The map states that the area thus enclosed has 
been overrun by the Iroquois Indians for more than a hundred years. 
The Iroquois wiped out the great Huron settlement at Fort Ste. Marie, 
near the present municipality of Midland, in the year 1649. Did they 
destroy the settlement in North Toronto on their way to or from that 
great slaughter? 

Recently the author was presented with a number of relics from 
this great village. These relics had come to light during excavation 
for a basement on Castlefield Avenue, west of Avenue Road. 

The collection consisted of two splendid flint arrow heads, a portion 
of a pipe, and a piece of decorated pottery. These were all of Huron 
Indian manufacture. Found near these relics was a splendid tomahawk 
blade of stone. The type of stone of this axe head is not native to 
this part of Canada. It is a common stone that is found in central 
New York State. The Iroquois came from what is now New York State. 
Does this indicate that the Iroquois attacked the great North Toronto 
Bettlement, and wiped it out sometime in the year 1648 or 1649? It is 
only from an intelligent study of such remains that these mysteries of 
history can be solved. 

The first industry known to North Toronto was a plant for making 
soft soap from hardwood ashes. This plant operated at a point that is 
now the Yonge Street entrance to Glengrove Avenue. It commenced 
operation in the year 1799. 

Many readers will recall a frame antique shop that stood on the west 
side of Yonge Street just to the north of the iron bridge that carries 
the C.N.R. tracks across Yonge Street. The old shop was demolished 
recently to make way for the T.T.C. subway. It was erected in 1832 by 
a retired navigator, who had sailed Lake Ontario for some years after 
coming to the town of York when he left ocean service. 


A Journey Up Yonge Street In 
The Days of Long Ago 

IN a story of this nature it is difficult to set definite boundaries which 
make a sharp mark-off for the various episodes that are recorded. A 
century ago the incorporated City of Toronto was creeping northward 
toward what is now Bloor Street. Underneath the old Huntley Street 
bridge is the site of a millpond and brewery that was operated by a man 
named David Bloor. His millpond backed up through the Rosedale ravine 
to a point a little to the east of Yonge Street. The name of Bloor has become 
associated with the roadway that fronted his industrial establishment. It 
has since been officially given to it. A century ago, what is now Bloor 
Street was known as the First Concession North. Yonge Street, in those 
days, was a mud roadway that stopped at Cook's Bay, at the extreme south- 
ern end of Lake Simcoe. It was crossed every mile and a quarter by a 
crossroad that was given a number as a Concession. These Concession 
roads numbered northward from Queen Street, which was the First Con- 
cession line. Bloor Street was the Second, St. Clair Avenue was the Third, 
Eglinton Avenue was the Fouth, and Lawrence Avenue was the Fifth. 

As Yonge Street wended its way northward there were various little 
communities along the way. Just to the north of Bloor Street was the 
Town of Yorkville. A space of open country was then encountered and the 
settlement of Deer Park came into view. More open space and the village 
of Davisville was entered. Then came the Town of Eglinton. The next 
settlement was around what is now Lawrence Avenue. More open space 
and the visitor came to the Village of Bedford Park, and to the north of 
that nestled the Village of York Mills. 

These were all separate little municipalities. They had no political 
or other connections with the City of Toronto. Each was run by its own 
and distinct council, and almost all of them had its own little newspaper 
that recorded local news and gave a hint of what was going on in the 
outside world when such very sparse information was available. There 
w^ere no cable or radio news services in those days. There were a few miles 
of telegraph wires in Upper Canada, but no telephones. A telegraph line 


stretched down from Toronto to Quebec, and news that was brought in by 
incoming ships was relayed when the telegraph operators got around to it. 
The news of some outstanding event that had occurred in England might, 
with good luck, reach Toronto some six or seven weeks later. 

What was to be seen by the visitor as he wended his way over the bumpy 
mud road that was Yonge Street in the year 1851 There was a stage 
coach line that went as far as Richmond Hill. These coaches started north- 
ward from the famous Red Lion Hotel that stood on the east side of Yonge 
Street a few yards to the north of Bloor Street. Other coaches operated 
from the Red Lion, down through Toronto, and connected with the Market 

The Red Lion Hotel plays such an important part in the story of North 
Toronto that it is given a place of honor amongst the illustrations. A draw- 
ing of the Red Lion will be found on the two centre pages. This hotel was 
a few yards north of what is now Bloor Street. It did not take in the 
corner lot. Its 

frontage extended ^ *'*^'' 

for some two hun- 
dred feet on 
Yonge Street. 
Construction was 
commenced in the 
year 1807, and 
during the imme- 
diate years that 
followed there 
were several ad- 
ditions made to 
the original build- 
ing. This gave the place a rambling appearance. The upper floor 
of the central portion was given over to a large ball room that was 
heated by an immense fire place. In the days of the Town of York and the 
early years of incorporated Toronto, this Red Lion ball room rivalled the 
hall in the St. Lawrence Market. This hall was used for purposes other 
than dancing, and this will be dealt with in another section of this book. 
A century ago the Red Lion was the gateway to what is now North Toronto, 

The Home of Sir David MacPherson 

A stately home at the north-east corner of 

Yonge Street and MacPherson Avenue. About 

the year 1900 this building became the first 

home of St Andrew's College. 


and the author will ask the reader to assume that he has boarded a stage 
coach In the yard of the Red Lion and has commenced a journey up Yonge 
Street a century ago. What would the visitor see? 

As soon as the horse-drawn vehicle started north, the great brewery of 
George Severn would come into view. This great industrial establishment 
stood on the site now used by the Canada Tire Corporation, and the sloping 
runway that runs down from Yonge Street just to the north of Davenport 
Road was the actual roadway leading into the brewery. The millpond of 
Bloor's brewery came up to the eastern extremity of Severn's property. 
Severn did not depend upon water power to operate his grinding mills. A 
tall brick chimney gave evidence of early steam power. 

__^_^__ The coach, on its 

northward journey, 
then entered the Vill- 
age of Yorkville. On 
the east side of 
Yonge Street there 
is an ancient leather- 
working establish- 
ment with its store 
front unchanged in 
the century that has 
passed. On one or 
two of the streets 
running off Daven- 
port Road there may 
still be seen very 
ancient corner stores 
that once played an 
important part in the 
commercial life of 
this little village be- 
fore it was swallow- 
ed up by the expand- 
ing city to the south. 
As the visitors pass- 
ed through the 

The Elms 
stood on the east side of Yonge Street where 
the Baker Advertising Company has now 
located. It was built by John Rose, who gave 
the name to Rosehill Avenue. It was purchased 
by Mr. Joseph Jackes and his son, Mr. E. H. 
Jackes, gave the name to Jackes Avenue when 
he opened the property through to the Reser- 
voir some years ago. 



village he would notice on the left a dilapidated grave yard. The Yorkville 
fire hall now is located right in the centre of that once-forlorn spot. This 
was the Potters Field, the resting place of the homeless and the pennyless 
poor who had died in Toronto without the benefit of friends or relatives to 
see that their mortal remains were given a decent burial. It was in this 
field, and exactly under the site of the present Yorkville fire station, where 
the bodies of Lount and Matthews were placed after their untimely execu- 
tion in April of the year 1838. 

A Famous Yonge Street Hotel 

O'Halloran's Hotel on the south-east corner of St. Clair 

Avenue and Yonge Street was a landmark of North Toronto 

until it was demolished in 1923. It was originally operated 

by a Mr. Sellers. 

The coach proceeded northward. A short distance after leaving York- 
ville, the palatial country home of Sir David MacPherson comes into view. 
It stood on the north-east corner of what is now MacPherson Avenue and 
Yonge Street. The house was surrounded with well-kept lawns. It had a 
wind mill pump that gave a water system under pressure, and farm lands 
that belonged to the estate ran for a considerable distance eastward into 



what is now Rosedale. It was in this old MacPherson homestead that St. 
Andrew's College commenced operations in the very early years of the 
present century. After a few years of very successful operation there, a 
new building was erected some distance to the east, in Rosedale. Expand- 
ing growth soon called for additional extensions, and the college was moved 
to its present site near Aurora. The second college building was torn 
down and the lands turned into park space. Farm lands extended on both 
sides of Yonge Street and the coach passed the Third Concession line 
(now St. Clair Avenue). On the north-west corner of St. Clair Avenue and 
Yonge Street there was a well-developed farm. Before the coach proceeded 
across the concession line it made a stop at O'Halloran's Hotel on the 

The Building That Rose From the Ruins of the 

Famous Montgomery's Tavern 

When the Davisville Hotel was demolished, this structure 

was erected over the foundations of Montgomery's Tavern 

that had been burned by government troops during the 

Mackenzie Rebellion of December, 1837. . 



south-west corner of St. Clair and Yonge Street. Here there was full 
accommodation for man and beast. The mile and a quarter journey from 
the Red Lion had been made over bumpy, muddy roads, with steep hills to 
be negotiated, and a rest at O'Halloran's was quite in order. As the visitor 
refreshed himself he could look out through the north windows of the 
establishment and see something that few, if any, farmers in the district 
could boast of: a herd of tame deer that would come down to the corner 
of the farm property to be fed by visitors as the coach was making ready 
for its continued trip to the north. This herd of tame deer became so 
famous that they gave the name to the district. Ever since it has been 
known as Deer Park. 


The Davisville Post Office in 1900 

The Davis family, from which Davisville was named, were 

pioneers in North Toronto. One branch of the family ran 

this general store and Post Office at the north-east corner 

of Davisville and Yonge. 

On the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Yonge Street there 
was a curious sight for many years. In 1910 the Dominion Bank demolished 
the old stone structure that had been the Head Office at King and Yonge 
Street, for many years. The demolition was made to clear the way for 
the modern structure that is now seen at King and Yonge. 


The bank executives entertained an idea of reconstructing the old 
stone building, in part at least, at St. Clair and Yonge. 

For some years the massive stone figures and other huge blocks 
of stone were stored on the lot. When it came time to erect the 
branch building the architects advised against the scheme. The present 
modern branch was erected and the old stone work carted away. 

The author has often heard his father, the late Price Jackes, recall 
an incident in connection with the ancient tavern at St. Clair and Yonge. 

When my father was a boy he lived at Castlefield, a stately old 
home that stood on the west side ol^ Yonge Street, a short distance 
north of Eglinton Avenue. 

The young men of the family, after they had graduated from the local 
school, were sent to Upper Canada College; then located on King Street 
West just where the Royal Alexandra Theatre is located today. The time 
of this episode is in the early sixties of the last century — a time when 
the Civil War was raging in the United States. 

At that time there was a line of horse-drawn cars that went north 
on Yonge Stree as far as Bloor. The young lads from Castlefield were 
required to walk down as far as Bloor and then take the horse car down 
to King Street. Sometimes on market days some obliging farmer, returning 
from market, would give them a lift northward from Bloor Street. 

It was on one of these rides that they drew up before the old hotel 
and the farmer told the boys he was going inside to get a snack to eat 
to hold his appetite until he arrived home to his dinner. 

It was a cool autumn afternoon and the boys went in to keep warm 
while the farmer 'consumed his "snack". 

To the amazement of the boys from Castlefield the farmer sat 
down to a table and ate an entire roasted duck. That was just a snack 
to hold him until dinner time. 

The coach proceeds, and not far above St. Clair Avenue a country 
road leads off from Yonge Street. This road runs in a north-westerly 
direction and at its junction with Yonge Street a little frame church 
has been erected. This site today is used by the Toronto Trans- 
portation Commission for its Lawton loop. Christ's Church, the little 
frame church referred to, was painted red, and it made a vivid contrast with 
the dense foliage that surrounded it. There were farm lands where Mount 




The Municipal Machinery of North 
Toronto has Stopped ! 

Pleasant Cemetary is now fenced in, and when these farm lands were 
passed the visitor on the north-bound stage coach entered the Village of 
Davisville. The post office and general store were on the east side of 
Yonge Street, and on the south-east corner of Davisville Avenue and Yonge 
Street stood the Davisville Hotel. It was a two-storey brick structure with 

a verandah on the west and 
north sides, with ample stab- 
ling accommodation at the 
south end. Just to the north 
of the Davisville Post Office, 
about where the Imperial 
Bank stands today, the Davis- 
ville Pottery Works were 
located. This was one of the 
busiest industrial sites on 
Yonge Street of a century 
ago. There was a great open- 
air tank in which the clay 
was mixed, and a great 
wooden paddle was suspend- 
ed over it. This paddle was 
turned by the efforts of a 
horse which walked around 
and around the tank. In the 
rear of the property three 
great firing kilns had been 
erected, and in these the 
sewer pipes and the flower 
pots and other forms of pot- 
tery were fired and made 
ready for commerce. The east 
side of Yonge Street, at Davis- 
ville. was a large market 
garden, and one of the first 
greenhouses to be erected in 
North Toronto was on this 
property. There was a few 


25c. worth of Oil and a. Flail 


Sewerage and other Questions 


Ratepayers' Association Meeting 

Saturday Eve.. Oct. 9th 


As tliore are 50 extru chairs ordered (or tlie hall all 
are welcome. 

Kxcraitiye Committee ueet at 7 30. 



An Old Handbill of 1909 

This handbill was distributed in North 

Toronto in October, 1909. The meeting 

took place in the old Town Hall, north-west 

corner of Montgomery and Yonge. 



straggling houses and the Methodist Church between Davisville and Eglinton 
Avenue. At Eglinton Avenue, where the sheds of the Toronto Transporta- 
tion Commission are now located, there was a market garden. The north- 
west corner was occupied by Hull's butcher shop, and across the road on 
the north-east corner was the Little Palace, a grocei-y and general store. 
At Montgomery Avenue and Yonge Street two important buildings reared 
their heads. On the south-west corner stood Oulcott's Hotel that had been 
built, in part, on the foundations of the famous Montgomery's Tavern. 
Across the road on the north-west corner of Yonge and Montgomery, the 

North Toronto's Town Hall 

This building has been replaced by No, 12 Police Station, The 
original corner stone, bearing date 1882, has been incorporated 
in the new structure. The metal-clad shed was the first North 
Toronto fire station, and the barn in the rear was used as a 
storage shed for the Works Department. 

Town Hall was located. This structure contained the municipal offices of 
the Town of Eglinton, the police office, the fire station, and in the rear 
there was a metal-clad shed for the storage of other municipal equipment. 
The first fire engine consisted of a one-horse, two-wheeled rig that carried 
a few hundred feet of fire hose. 

On the west side of Yonge, a short distance above the Town Hall, stood 
the stately structure of Castlefield. The story of Castlefield has been fully 
covered in Volume One of the Tales of North Toronto. There is reproduced 
here one of the ten dollar notes issued by William Lyon Mackenzie to 
finance the rebellion of 1837. This note is made payable to James Hervey 



Price, who had built Castlefield, and at the time of the rebellion was the 
City Clerk of the then infant City of Toronto. These notes are now very 
rare. Following the failure of the fight at Montgomery's Tavern, persons 
who held these notes were quick to burn them so that they could not be 
used as evidence against them. Mr. Price backed Mackenzie with a great 

The Ellis Homestead in Bedford Park 

deal of money and as a consequence he was obliged to sell Castlefield in 
1842. It was purchased by Franklin Jackes, who resided there for ten 
years until his death in April, of 1852. Franklin Jackes was the first 
Warden of York County and held that office during 1850-51 and part of 1852. 
Continuing up Yonge Street the next structure of importance to come 
into view was the Methodist Church opposite Glengrove Avenue. Glengrove 
Avenue was a driveway leading into Glen Castle, a great, rambling structure 
of stone that stood just to the east of the present John Ross Robertson 
School. It had been built by the Ainsley family and was not demolished 
until 1925. On the south side of the pine-lined driveway that is now Glen- 
grove Avenue, a Mr. King Dodds erected a race track in the year 1887. It 
was back about three hundred yards from Yonge Street. It was not a 
financial su'ccess and was closed after two years of operation. 



Between Glengrove Avenue and Lawrence Avenue, Yonge Street wended 
its way through rolling hills. On the south-east corner of Lawrence and 
Yonge there was a large farm operated by Mr. Frank Lawrence. On the 
south-west corner there was a rag carpet works operated by David Bell. 
On the north-west corner stood the general store of Mr. George Lawrence. 

Lawrence Avenue and Yonge Street in 1895 

George Lawrence kept a general store where the 

Dominion Bank branch is now located. 

On the west side of Yonge, a bit above Lawrence, there was a structure 
that still stands and operates. It is the grocery and hardware store of the 
Atkinson Brothers. This is the oldest continuing business in North Toronto 
and is a clear demonstration of what goodwill can do against the onslaught 
of the chain stores. On the north-west corner of Bedford Park Avenue and 
Yonge Street was the stately home of Mr. W. G. Ellis, and a little to the 
north of that was located the Bedford Park Hotel. A portion of this 
structure still stands, but the front has been modernized into stores. 

The next place of importance on the northward journey was York 
Mills. Another hotel was located there and also a grist mill. The story 
of this mill is of sufficient importance that a separate section of this book 
has been devoted to it. 


The Mill At York Mills 

GOVERNOR John Graves Simcoe, when he moved the capital of Upper 
Canada from Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York, in the year 
1793, gave very serious thought to the establishment of water power 
mills in the vicinity of his new settlement. The first of these mills to 
arise was the one whose ghostly walls still rise beside the Humber near 
Bloor Street. It was originally a saw mill but was later taken over by 
the Gamble family, enlarged and turned into a grist mill. Within a few 
years there were upwards of a dozen mills operating on the Don and 
Humber rivers. Some of these had been started with government aid and 
the others had been built and financed privately. 

It was in the year 1807 — the same year in which work was started 
on the Red Lion Hotel, that an asute settler saw the water power possibil- 
ities in the valley that is now known as Hogg's Hollow. It is true that 
there was no waterfall on the Don at that point but a high cliff to the 
north and several acres of flat land across the stream indicated that 
the water could be held back to create a large mill pond with considerable 

The great earthwork, which crosses the meadow below the modern 
motor highway, was thrown up and across the actual Don a dam of heavy 
logs was constructed. The northern face of these logs was anchored 
into the clay bank which still discloses its great bare scar to the visitor. 

From the southeast corner of the mill pond a sluice was cut. This 
was the mill race and brought the water from the pond to the mill. This 
old mill race is still to be seen and the path beside it, enclosed in cedar 
trees, is the famous lover's walk of York Mills today. 

The map is meant to make all this clear. The actual site of the mill 
is still marked by a small pile of rubble, beside the stream and almost 
below the viaduct. 

The original mills, as built by Hoggs, was a frame and log 
structure. It was a grist mill for the most part, though there was a power 
driven saw for cutting logs into boards. The reader must realize that 
during the first half of the last century there were stands of splendid 
timber to be found in many parts of what is now North Toronto. 

After some fifty years of operation it was found that the surplus water 



that spilled over the dam was eating into the clay bank and endangering 
the anchorage of the wooden portion of the dam. Over several years, 
frantic efforts were made to give the dam a stronger hold on the clay. But 
at last the stored up water, strengthened by spring floods, was too much. 

The Mill at York Mills 

This was the last of many mills on this site. The first mill 

was erected in 1807. This brick structure, destroyed by fire 

some twenty-five years ago, was used by the widow of a 

former Anglican bishop as a summer home. 

The entire wooden portion of the dam was washed away and when the 
flood of water had rushed down the Don all that was left of this great 
work was the earthen portion of the dam and the floor of the former 
mill pond a sea of mud. 



A study of the situation convinced the owners that the replacement 
of the washed-out dam was not practical. They decided on a bold move. 

The surrounding country was plentifully supplied with wood. Why not 
drive the mill with steam power and generate the steam from wood fires? 

Such a bold scheme as this required that much of the mill be rebuilt. 
While much of the original wooden structure was being replaced with 
stone and brick; a steam engine and boiler was being constructed in an 
Iron works at the southeast corner of Adelaide and Yonge Streets. 

How The York Mills Mill Worked 
This map shows the water power that oper- 
ated the mill. The earthwork that formed 
the millpond is intact, and the raceway 
may be traced through the trees. The mill 
was almost below the viaduct that crosses 
the river. 

This shop had built the first locomotives for the Northern Railway, the 
first steam line to opearte in and out of Toronto. They built the steam 
engine and boiler for the mill at York Mills. After a strenuous journey 
up the mud road, that was then Yonge Street, the engine was installed 
and the former mill pond turned into a potato patch. This was one of the 
earliest applications of steam power to industry in Canada. 


But time inarched on, and as the years past there was less and less 
wheat grown on the farms bordering Yonge Street to the north of the 
mill. After almost a century of operation the property was sold and the mill 
converted to a summer home for a well-known Toronto citizen. 

The author took a picture of this mill in the summer of 1923. The 
only reminder of its former greatness was the great square chimney that 
arose on the north side. 

One winter day, not long after the picture referred to was made, 
the old mill was gutted by fire and in the passing years its brick walls 
and the chimney have collapsed. 

However, time has not dwelt so unkindly with the earthwork and the 
mill race and the visitor has no difficulty in seeing how an old time 
water mill worked. 

The Beginning of Confederation 

NORTH Toronto has some relics that played a part in the very com- 
mencement of Canadian Confederation. These relics can be seen 
on the south side of St. Clair Avenue, a short distance west of 
Spadina Avenue. This is the story . 

A few months after the close of the War of 1812-15 one of the finest 
houses the Town of York had seen was erected at the southeast corner 
of Queen and John Streets. Shortly after the completion of this house 
it was purchased by Sir John Beverley Robinson and became known as 
"Beverley House". It was the centre of fashion for the Town of York 
and the infant City of Toronto. 

Lord Durham, who was appointed Governor after the term of office 
of Sir Francis Bond Head had expired, did not remain long In this 
country. He returned to England, presented his famous report on the 
rebellion of 1837, and then retired into private life. 

He was followed in the governorship by Lord Sydenham; and that 
gentleman took up his official residence in Beverley House. 

The illustration of Beverley House shows two massive chimneys, one 
at either end of the main structure. These were the outlets for gigantic 
and elaborate fireplaces. The one on the west was in the great ballroom 



located on the ground floor and the one on the east was in the state 
dining room. 

Lord Sydenham had his desk, and the desks of his secretaries, near 
the fireplace on the west as depicted on the righthand side of the 

An Old House Moves North 

Beverley House that stood for 100 years at the corner of Queen 
and John Streets was demolished in 1915. A new house was 
built by the owners on the south side of St. Clair Avenue, just 
west of Spadina. Much of the old material was incorporated 
in the new house, including the two great fireplaces. In 1840, 
Lord Sydenham sat before the great fireplace on the west and 
drew up the Act of Union, which was passed in 1841 and united 
Upper and Lower Canada. This was the first step toward 
Canadian Confederation. The St. Clair building is now used 
as a school by the Ursuline nuns. 

The year was 1840, the conditions of the country were unsettled 
following the recent political turmoil. Lord Sydenham arrived at the 
conclusion that much good might result if the English speaking people 
of Upper Canada and the French speaking people of Lower Canada 


could be brought closer together. Out of these contemplations he drew 
up the Act of Union which was passed in 1841 and made the two 
provinces the "United Canadas". He drew up the Act while seated in 
front of the massive fireplace. 

In 1915 the Robinson family sold the property to the governing board 
of the Methodist Church. The old building that had stood for a hundred 
years was demolished to make room for the new Methodist Book Room 
(now the United Church headquarters). 

But this demolition of the old building was no ordinary wrecking 
job. The Robinson family had decided, in as far as was possible, to 
reconstruct Beverley House on its new location on St. Clair Avenue. 

The original front door, much of the interior woodwork and the two 
massive fireplaces were carefully removed and incorporated into the 
new building. The new Beverley House was larger than the original 
structure. The design was similar and as much as possible of the 
original materials were used after the architects had certified to its 

The Robinson family have turned the St. Clair Avenue building over 
to the Ursuline Nuns for educational purposes. As the pupils look upon 
that big fireplace, it would be interesting to learn if any of them realize 
that they are standing at the birthplace of Canadian Confederation. 

Some of the early pioneers of North Toronto erected their buildings 
with sun baked blocks of clay. One of the last of these buildings was 
demolished on the east side of Yonge Street, just north of Sherwood 
Avenue, in 1932. The one story building had stood on the site for more 
than a hundred years. 

It will be a surprise to many readers to learn that mining was once 
an active industry in North Toronto. A century ago there were deposits 
of pottery clay on Eglinton Avenue where that roadway dips down to 
Don Valley. From these pits, which became quite deep, the Davisville 
Pottery works received its clay. The walls of these pits have since collapsed 
and the bridle path that leads down to the Don goes right through where the 
clay was mined a century ago. 


The Schools of North Toronto 

THE first school to be erected in what is now North Toronto was 
located on the site now used by the Consumers Gas Company as a 

show room at St. Clements and Yonge. It was a log structure and 
was opened in the year 1842. The one room was divided partially in 
two by a low partition which did not reach to the front of the room. 
This partition, however, did serve as a means of keeping the girls and 
boys apart but allowed the teacher to keep a sharp eye on both classes. 
There was a further division of the pupils in each of these two main 
sections. Pupils of different ages were divided into "classes' in the two 

One teacher was employed and it is evident that in the very early days 
this teacher was a man. His salary was at the rate of fifteen dollars a 
month. This school is referred to in the report on the Indian remains, 
made by David Boyle, 1886-7. He states that the school teacher, at that 
period, was a Miss Marshall and that she had been very active in 
gathering and collecting specimens of the remains of the great Indian 
village that was located to the rear of this school. It is too bad that her 
collection was not given proper care. It, like many other collecitons of 
these Indian relics, have vanished. There was a great collection of speci- 
mens that were exhibited in the hallway of Castlefield for many years. 
In the years that have passed this great collection has been broken up 
and vanished. 

The log school was replaced by a brick structure that was erected 
in the late 1880's of the last century. This brick school is still standing, 
at the time of writing. It is now the Orange Hall that is located immediately 
in the rear of the Capitol Theatre. This building was also the birthplace 
of many of the great churches which now adorn North Toronto. It ceased 
to be a public school shortly after the public school building was erected 
on Davisville Avenue, just to the east of Yonge Street. The Davisville 
school was the first proper school building that North Toronto had seen. 
Pupils came to it from as far north as Lawrence Avenue. Old photographs 
of this structure show that the exterior has been little changed in the 
past sixty years. The interior has been modernized, in as far as it is 
possible, to keep pace with the growing trends of education. 


The next school in the north end was the Deer Park School and as the 
present century got under way some of the schools in the vicinity of 
Egllnton Avenue were erected. The first High School was the present 
North Toronto Collegiate Institute but the present structure is the outcome 
of a very small commencement in one or two rooms. The Northern 
Vocational School was the next centre for advanced education and it was 
followed by the Lawrence Park, Collegiate. This last named structure 
has seen several additions made to it since it was opened and at the 
present time very extensive additions are contemplated for this centre of 
the community. 

Within recent months the section near St. Clair and Bathurst has 
seen great schools arise. These are under the direction of the Roman 
Catholic Church. 

The schools in Bedford Park and Leaside came as a direct result of 
the growing population. They were built at a time when school design 
was more or less standardized and are in strange contrast to the great 
school that has been erected near thq corner of Wilson Avenue and 
Avenue Road. This is the Amour Heights Memorial School and is one 
of the most modern educational structures to be seen north of Bloor Street. 

The large house on Sheldrake Blvd., which is now the Preventorium, 
was, some fifty years ago, the home of Miss Booth. She followed her 
famous father as the head of the Salvation Army. 

Many persons now residing in North Toronto are unaware that in the 
year 1912 the late mayor, H. C. Hocken, was approached by a group 
of North Toronto citizens, asking his interest in a proposed subway that 
was to give rapid transit to Toronto, on a single fare. This scheme 
reached the planning stage. 

The large house on Blythewood Avenue, directly behind the Hyland 
Motors faced Yonge Street for many years. A new foundation was 
constructed on Blythewood and the house was moved back. There were 
also many houses moved to new foundations when Duplex Avenue was 
cut through. 


William Lyon Mackenzie 


played a very important part in 
the history of North Toronto. 
To properly set forth this story 
it is necessary to consider his 
place in the story of Toronto 
generally. His name is closely 
connected with the rebellion of 
December, 1837; and he has to 
some extent gone down upon 
the pages of history as "the 
little rebel". It is not the in- 
tention of the author, at this 
time, to delve into the political 
issues of long gone years. I 
think it is safe to suppose that 
during the years that have pass- 
ed since he was so active on the 
scene of present day North To- 
ronto that his admirers have 
grown in number while his de- 
tractors have diminished. Recent 
years have seen a monument 
erected to his memory on the lawn to the west side of the Parliament 
Buildings, in Toronto. His first printing shop, at Queenston, has been 
restored by the orders of the Ontario Government and his last home, on 
Bond Street, in Toronto, has been turned into a civic shrine. He must 
have left a lasting imprint on his generation. His ideals were of a high 
order but his methods may have been at fault. There can be little doubt, 
however, that from his faulty methods great and beneficial fruits ripened. 
He was born in the small settlement of Springfield, not far from the 
city of Dundee, in Scotland, on March 12th, 1795. As he grew into boyhood 
he was sent to the local parish school and about the age of fifteen years 
he was given a clerk's post in a Dundee shop at a very meagre stipend. 


Fifteen years of age would bring the story to the year 1810. Unknown 
to the young clerk, at that time, there was a British general, by the name 
of Sir Isaac Brock, in the far away land of Upper Canada, who was telling 
his fellow citizens to get ready for an impending war. The war came in 
the summer of the year 1812 and continued until the end of the year 1814. 
During those two years the British newspapers carried some small accounts 
of the events that were taking place in Canada. It is true that the 
struggle with Napoleon filled most of the news. But the struggle that was 
taking place in Upper and Lower Canada did not go unrecorded in the 
British newspapers. 

These accounts of events in the far away land of Upper Canada aroused 
the interest of the young clerk and he commenced to carefully hoard his 
meagre earnings toward the cost of journeying there. In the year 1819, 
he had gathered sufficient funds to pay for a passage from Glasgow and 
arrived in the town of York, Upper Canada, in the spring of 1820. There 
is very little record of what he did in the little settlement that was to 
grow into the city of Toronto during his first two years here. Within 
two years he had gathered sufficient resources to enable him to go into 
partnership with a Mr. Leslie. On the north side of King Street, two 
doors west of Frederick Street, in a brand new building, one of the first 
brick buildings to be erected at York, they opened a combined drug and 
book store. Mr. Leslie and his sons looked after the drug interests and 
William Lyon Mackenzie ran the book store end of the venture. This 
was the first drug store in Toronto and one of the very early ones of 
Canada. The reader is aware of the trend of some modern drug stores to 
offer for sale. Items that do not appear, at first hand, to be directly 
connected with the drug trade. This is by no means a modern innovation. 
In a printed poster, announcing the opening of this combined drug and 
book store venture; the fact is proudly displayed that the firm dealt in 
books, stationery, drugs, hardware, cutlery, jewellery, toys, carpenters' tools, 
nails, groceries, confectionery, dye stuffs, paint and other items. It is 
quite evident, therefore, that the "department store atmosphere" that 
overhangs so many modern drug stores is another one of the "inventions" 
that must be recorded to the credit of William Lyon Mackenzie. 

This venture prospered but it must not be supposed that there was 
much resemblance to this pioneer drug store and a modern establishment. 



The building was of two and a half storeys but there was no modern shop 
front to the store. A flight of steps led up to the central doorway and two 
ordinary, shuttered, windows were displays on either side of the front 
door. Across the front of the building a sign had been painted. It read: 
Leslie & Sons & Mackenzie. 

In December of 1822, the firm opened a branch store in Dundas and 
Mr. Mackenzie went there to conduct the business. The following year, 
1823, the Leslies bought out the interests of Mr. Mackenzie for the sum 
of £625. With this capital he moved to Queenston and opened a general 
store. Again good luck was with him for within a few months he received 
an offer to sell this business at a figure which represented a clear profit. 

Montgomery's Tavern 

Erected in 1830, it stood on the site now used by the North 

Toronto Post Office. It was burned to the ground by government 

troops on December 7, 1837. 

Mackenzie accepted the offer and then decided to visualize an idea that 
had been taking shape since his first book store venture in the town of 
York. In a nearby stone building he set up a printing press and commenced 
to engage, not only in general job printing, but in editing and publishing 


a paper that was destined to 
spread his fame, in the years 

the first editions of the Colonial Advocate; 
stir up all the political animosity and to 
that were to follow. 

Some years ago this original stone building, at Queenston, became 
badly delapidated. A little granite shaft had been planted in the adjoining 


Mackenzie's Home During the Stormy Days of 1837 

When Mackenzie became the first Mayor of Toronto in 1834, 
He bought himself a home on the west side of York Street, 
between Queen and Richmond Streets. This was a new 
and fashionable district that was then opening up. He lived 
here during the stormy days of 1837. 

soil and the face of the shaft told the visitor that this ruin was the first 
printing plant of William Lyon Mackenzie. In recent years the Queen 
Victoria Niagara Falls Park Commission have restored the building, and 
it is kept open during the summer season as a tourist attraction. As far 
as has been possible the interior has been restored to resemble an ancient 



printing shop. However, the iron press that is displayed there is not the 
press that was used by Mackenzie. Sometime during the closing years of 
the last century the original press used by William Lyon Mackenzie fell 
into the hands of the late John Ross Robertson and tvas displayed for some 
time in one of the Melinda Street windows of the Telegram. Later, Mr. 
Robertson presented it to the Normal School Museum, in Toronto, and it 
was on display there until the building was taken over, early in the Second 
World War, for the training of technical air force men. Many years ago 

Mackenzie's First Printing Shop in Toronto 
When Mackenzie moved his printing shop from Queenston 
to York in 1825, he set up home and shop in this log struc- 
ture on the north-west corner of Front and Frederick 
Streets, It was this place that was attacked by the mob 
who threw his type into the bay. 

the author photographed this old press. It was made of wood for the 
most part. Iti was probably built about the year 1800 and Mackenzie 
secured it from the United States in 1824, when he opened his shop at 
Queenston. The iron press now displayed at Queenston, and reputed to be 
the press of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie was manufactured about the year 1850. 
There is a duplicate of it on display in the hallway of the Graphic Arts 


section of the Ryerson Institute of Technology, in Toronto, at the present 
time. The original press that was in the Normal School Museum was 
supposed to have been handed over to the Royal Ontario Museum. The 
author has been unable to trace its location from that source. 

Mr. Mackenzie soon discovered that Queenston was not an advantagious 
point for the publication of a newspaper. The mail that was carried by 
stage coach and ship, from Queenston, was very tardy in reaching other 
portions of Upper Canada. After a few months of publication at Queenston; 
he packed his press, type and personal belongings on board ship and 
sailed for the town of York. At the north west corner of F'rederick and 
I, Front Streets he found a one storey dwelling house that was empty at the 
time. This became his combined dwelling and printing shop and it had two 
great advantages over the Queenston site. The mail service, into and out 
of the town of York, was superior to the service offered from Queenston; 
and he was right on the tail of the "Family Compact" that he commenced 
to loathe. The seat of government was right in the town of York and 
he was able to print "news" in his paper at a much earlier date than 
waiting for second hand reports to reach him at Queenston. By the early 
weeks of 1825 his little printing plant at York was completed and he con- 
tinued the publication of the Colonial Advocate which had been disrupted 
by reason of the move from Queenston. The fame of the paper grew apace. 
It spread up through what is now North Toronto and York County. It 
went east and it went west and over into the Niagara peninsula. 
Mackenzie's editorials became bolder and bolder and, as they increased 
in directness, the ire of the Family Compact rose. On the evening of 
June 8th, 1826, while Mackenzie was out of town, a crowd of young 
bloods broke into his home and printing shop. They upset the press and 
dumped his type into piles which were carried across Front Street and 
thrown into the bay. At that time there was no Esplanade. Front Street 
was exactly what its name implied. It was the front street. The Esplanade 
was not built until the time of the Civil War in the United States. It 
was built to the design of Sandford Fleming, the man who had designed 
Canada's first postage stamp in 1851, as a means of giving the growing 
steam railway systems a proper entrance and exit into the growing city. 
A small portion of the dumped type was recovered after the fury of the 
mob had spent itself. The rest lies under several feet of mud that was 
thrown on top of it when the Esplanade was built. 






This famous hostelry stood on the east side of Yonge Street a h 
for the stage coaches that connected with the numerous muDip; 
commenced in 1807 and numerous additions were made during 
a great ball room and this room was the political headquarte 
Compact candidate on numerous elections preceding the arnd 




Iv yards to the north of Bloor Street. It was the starting point 
jDipalities up Yonge Street. Construction on this building was 
3 following thirteen years. The upper central portion contained 
ei of William Lyon Mackenzie when he defeated the Family 
mil revolt at Montgomery's Tavern. Building demolished in 1888. 



Unknown to the mob that attacked his printing plant; there were 
several of Mackenzie's friends who witnessed the unlawful attack. They 
quietly made note of who was present and what certain parties did during 
the fracas. A few weeks later Mackenzie won a court action against 
certain parties and was awarded damages to the extent of £700. This 
money was used to refurnish the plant and to extend the circulation of 

$10 • Mk: 


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Paper Money of Long Ago 

This note is dated December 27, 1837, and was made out at 
Navy Island. This was almost three weeks after the battle 
on north Yonge Street. It suggests that many of Mackenzie's 
backers in Toronto had not lost faith in the rebellion idea. 

the paper. By the year 1828 the fame of Mackenzie and what he w^as fighting 
for had reacted to such an extent, with much of the populace, that 
Mackenzie was asked to stand for election to the legisalture as one of the 
members for York County. It is at this point in the story where he enters 
North Toronto. His political headquarters was the Red Lion Hotel. In 
an earlier portion of this booklet, in the section that describes a trip up 
Yonge Street a century ago, mention has been made of this famous building. 
It stood on the east side of Yonge Street, just north of Bloor Street. The 
exact site is now used by Woolworth's and the row of modern stores that 
extends up to Britnell's book shop. 

In the years 1797 and 1798 the Crown made large grants of land in 
the vicinity of what is now Bloor and Yonge and St. Clair and Yonge. In 


1798 Daniel Tiers was granted two hundred acres tliat spread along Avhat is 
now Bloor Street East and up along the east side of Yonge Street. In the 
year 1807 he erected the central portion of the Red Lion Hotel and during 
the years that followed he made additions to the south and the north of the 
original central structure. Business, at first, could not have been very 
brisk. In 1808, one year after he had put up the first portion of the Red 
Lion, he offered the hotel and the two hundred acres of land for sale. 
The price asked for the land and building was four hundred dollars. He 
almost got a "sucker" down in the town of York to buy it. Friends of the 
would be purchaser warned him of the great risk he was taking in investing 
in this land aw^ay out that might never amount to anything and the deal 
fell through. Tiers kept his land and the hotel and the would be purchaser 
kept his money. A short time prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812 
the government placed a toll gate outside the Red Lion and it, by reason of 
this, became the starting point for the stage coaches that operated up 
and down Yonge Street. 

When it became known to the Family Compact that Mackenzie was 
standing for election in York County, to the Upper Canada legislature, they 
girded their loins and decided to try and prevent his election. They did 
not like his ideas on reform. This election took place in the year 1828. 
The Red Lion Hotel was the polling place and when the votes were counted 
it was found that Mackenzie had been elected by a very large majority. 

With this public backing he stepped up the tempo of his editorials 
in his newspaper. During 1831 his editorials had become so pointed that 
the Compact members of the legislature declared that he had committed 
a libel against the house and ordered the Sergeant to expell him from the 
legislative meetings and declared his seat open. 

A second election was carried out and Mackenzie stood for election 
again to the vacant seat. An account of this election, written at the time, 
states that upwards of five thousand people milled about the Red Lion Hotel 
on that eventful day. The Family Compact were somewhat abashed to 
learn that the followers of Mackenzie, in York County, had swept him to 
a second victory. When he took his seat in the legislature, following this 
second victory, he was ordered to be expelled again. This election pro- 
cedure followed again and again and during the next two years he was 
expelled and re-elected a total of five times. In each of these elections the 
central polling place was the famous Red Lion and at this passage of 



time it seems strange that the Compact could not realize that a large 
section of the voters were supporters of the reform programme. The 
voter at that time were not "riff raff", as has so often been charged, by 
those who would defend the Compact. The voters were solid citizens, all 
land owners. 

Mackenzie had married in 1822, shortly after the business venture 
of the drug and book store had indicated that it was to develop into a 
profitable investment. His growing printing business had left him cramped, 
together with his increasing family, in the one storey log structure at 
Front and Frederick Streets. During all the election excitement he had 
found time to remove to larger quarters and he had opened a combined 
printing business and book store at 173 King Street (east) near the present 

St. Lawrence Market. At first he 
lived above the book store here but 
by 1833 the expanding business 
forced him out. A new and some- 
what fashionable district was open- 
ing up in the town of York in those 
days; and Mackenzie took over a 
modest brick house on the west side 
of York Street, between Richmond 
and Queen Streets. 

Early in the year 1834, the 
legislative passed a bill that would 
enable the citizens of the town of 
York to incorporate under a city 
charter. On the 6th day of March, 
1834, the Town of York became the 
City of Toronto. In the elections 
that had preceded the incorporation 
William Lyon Mackenzie had been 
elected an alderman. There were two types of civic representatives. 
There were aldermen and councilmen. Carefully preserved in the vaults 
of the present day City Clerk in the City Hall, are the minutes of 
that first civic council. On page one it is recorded that Franklin 
Jackes (a grandfather of the author) stood up and moved that William 
Lyon Mackenzie be elected by the Council at Mayor. This motion 

The First Coat of Arms 

of Toronto 

In 18 3 4 Mackenzie ordered 

wood blocks to be made from 

this design. 


was seconded and carried. That is how Toronto got its first Mayor. The 
next step was to raise some cash. There was in Toronto of that day a 
stone bank building, which still stands at the time of writing, on the north 
east corner of Frederick and Duke Streets. In 1834, it was the head office 
of the Bank of Upper Canada. The council approached this bank with the 
object of securing a loan. Again the Family Compact showed its hand and 
advised the bank to have nothing to do with the brand new city so long as 
it was under the direction of Mackenzie, as mayor. 

At that time, in Toronto, there was another smaller bank known as 
the Farmers' Joint Stock Bank. The council approached this bank and 
was informed they could have the money if each individual member of 
the Council would sign a note to guarantee its repayment. This was done 
and the bank advanced a loan to the city of ten thousand Spanish dollars. 

In 1834, the Town Hall of York and the first City Hall of Toronto was 
a small frame structure that stood on the south side of King Street where 
the St. Lawrence Market stands today. The lower portion of the building 
was given over to market space and butchers' stalls and the upper floor 
contained the hall and the business offices. Market Street ran southward 
from King to the immediate west of the first Town Hall. On the west 
side of Market Street, about the year 1833, a man by the name of John 
Sleigh built a three and half storey brick hotel and opened for business 
under the name of "John Sleigh's Hotel." 

One warm afternoon, in the spring of 1834, Mackenzie stepped into 
this hotel to refresh himself before starting the long walk home to northern 
York Street. He was surprised to see a gathering of men about a stooped 
figure on the floor of the bar room. This man had a piece of chalk in his 
hand and was drawing various objects as asked for by the crowd. The 
man had talent and Mackenzie called him to one side and asked him if 
he would prepare a design for a civic coat of arms for the new City of 
Toronto. A piece of sheet metal and some paints and brushes were secured 
for the wandering artist and he commenced to work. The design was 
painted on the metal sheet and from it Mackenzie had a wood block made. 
He also commissioned the artist to paint the picture of the crest on the 
back of the chair which he used in the council chamber. This chair and 
crest has been preserved and may be seen today in the Mackenzie Museum 
on Bond Street. 


In 1834, John Sleigh changed the name of his hotel to the City Arms 
Hotel. The original sheet metal plate, upon which the wandering artist 
had painted the civic arms, hung for many years on the wall of the bar 
room. At the time of writing, 1951, this structure was standing and was 
used as a wholesale fruit warehouse. The north aspect displays an ancient 
gateway that formerly led to the coach yards. This addition to the hotel 
was added later and over the doorway is displayed the wording "John 
Sleigh, 1840". Sometime in the 1860's, Sleigh gave up the management of 
this hotel and moved with his daughter to Yorkville. Many years ago I 
made enquiries concerning the metal plate that contained the origin of 
Toronto's civic crest and was informed that it had been taken to Yorkville, 
during the moving, and had been stored in the attic. After many years 
it had been tossed out in the garbage. 

During 1834, Mackenzie had devoted his time to civic matters and the 
publishing of his newspaper. In 1835 the voters of York County asked him 
to stand once more for election to the legislature and once again, at a 
polling held in the Red Lion, he was declared the victor. It was during 
the early part of the year 1837 that the idea of a resort to arms, as a 
means of carrying out his reform programme, first crystalized in his mind. 
Discussions with several of his supporters convinced him that the idea 
was sound. 

The suggestion has been made that it was merely the "riff-raff" of 
the Upper Canada population that were behind Mackenzie in his desperate 
bid for responsible government.. In Toronto one of his main backers was 
John Doel, who lived in a large frame house on the northwet corner of 
Adelaide and Bay Streets. Doel was a brewer, in the rear of his house 
he had erected his extensive brewing vats. Under these vats, during 
the dark autumn evenings of 1837, several meetings were held where the 
aspects of the forthcoming armed rising were discussed and planned. 

Up Yonge Street, just where the Newmarket Road turns to the right, 
stood the dwelling and blacksmith shop of Samuel Lount. He had been 
there for many years and was a highly respected member of the com- 
munity Down toward the village of Pickering there was a prosperous 
farmer by the name of Peter Matthews. He had been a captain in the 
armies of General Brock, during the War of 1812. There was James 
Hervey Price, who lived at Castlefield, in Eglinton, and who was the City 



in? ^ vn " 

t.2V"^ W' «... 

I r^ r-i t lis « " 4: '^ f i ^j 

Clerk of Toronto. There was 
Col Gibson and Franklin 
Jackes who lived on the west 
side of Yonge Street, just a 
little bit to the south of the 
present Glengrove Avenue. 
There were many more: but 
one more name must be re- 
called. That is John Mont- 
gomery, owner of the famous 
Montgomery's Tavern that 
stood on the site now used 
by the North Toronto Post 
Office. At the time of the 
rebellion, Montgomery did not 
operate the tavern. He had 
leased it to a man named 
Llngfoot; and was living in 
retirement on the north side 
of what is now Montgomery 
Avenue. The best answer to 
the riff-raff suggestions come 
from a statement that was 
made by Mackenzie himself, 
in writing, after he had en- 
tered the United States, fol- 
lowing his flight from the 
battle on Yonge Street. He 
was given a horse and saddle 
by one of the farm hands at 
Castlefield and between his 
departure from Castlefield to 
his crossing of the Niagara 

River he was seen and aided by more than two thousand persons. Despite 
the fact that there was a standing reward for his capture of £1,000 no one 
betrayed him or gave the Compact authorities a hint of his whereabouts 
during that hectic journey from North Toronto to Niagara. That sounds like 

The City Arms Hotel 
This structure, west side of Market Street, 
across from the first City Hall, is the rep- 
uted place where an old soldier drew the 
first city arms for Mackenzie. The original 
was painted on a thin sheet of metal and 
hung for many years over the bar of this 


a lot of real folks who were either definitely with him or interested in his 
fight for responsible government. 

At this late date it is not possible to ascertain with any degree of 
accuracy the number of men who gathered at Montgomery's Tavern 
during the first week of December, 1837. I have examined all the various 
accounts of this gathering that I have seen; and have come to the con- 
clusion that at no time the force exceeded eight hundred men. I am of the 
opinion that not more than two hundred men marched down Yonge Street 
to meet the militia coming up from the city under the command of Col. 
MacNab. I do not think that there were more than two hundred muskets 
available for the entire assembly. I think that a force of about four hundred 
men remained behind at the tavern and that they were armed only with 
axes and pikes. 

It is not generally known that William Lyon Mackenzie printed his own 
money to finance the uprising. This was in the form of promissary notes 
in the denomination of ten Spanish dollars each. These were made out 
in the name of the Provisional Government of Upper Canada and were 
exchanged for hard cash. These notes are now very rare. Following the 
failure of the affair at Montgomery's, those that had. them destroyed them 
as soon as they reached home, so that they could not be used as evidence 
against them if they fell into the hands of government searchers. The 
exact amount of money that was raised by means of these notes is not now 
known. The lists showing to whom payment was due were destroyed by 
fire on the Sunday morning following the clash of arms. I have seen one 
or two specimens numbered in the eight hundreds and that would indicate 
that the war fund was something between eight and ten thousand Spanish 
dollars or a total of about £12,000. 

What happened after the flight of Mackenzie? The government troops 
sought to take as many prisoners as possible and within the days that 
followed the gaol at King and Toronto Streets was packed with prisoners. 
Montgomery's Tavern was put to the torch. Col. Gibson's home w-as burned 
and there was much burning and pillage throughout York County. The 
home of Mackenzie, on York Street Avas searched and searched again. On 
the Sunday morning following the armed clash; the mother-in-law of 
Mackenzie appealed to the authorities for a respite of these searchings 
during the hours of Divine service. This was granted and she used the 



precious time to destroy the lists of Mackenzie's supporters. By this act 
of hravery she removed the wrath of Francis Bond Head from hundreds 
of homes that might otherwise have felt his fury. 

A full report of the uprising was forwarded to the Colonial Office In 

England. It was sent by the government and it may have been 
biased. In the few years that 
had preceeded the uprising 
Mackenzie had presented the 
British government with 
several addresses setting 
forth his views of the state 
of affairs in Upper Canada. 
In some manner the Compact 
always managed to get in a 
counter address. When news 
of the armed uprising reached 
London the British govern- 
ment decided that the time 
had come to make an impar- 
tial investigation of the mat- 
ter. They appointed John 
George Lambton, the Earl of 
Durham, to proceed to Upper 
Canada as Governor in place 
of Sir Francis Bond Head. 
He arrived in Canada during 
the early summer of 1838. 
He was in Toronto one day 
only, July 17th, 1838. He was 
not in the country very long 
and without being recalled 
or resigning returned to Eng- 
land and presented the now 
famous Durham Report to the 
British government. He had 
many private conferences 
with British cabinet ministers 



Mackenzie's Last Home In Toronto 

In 1849, twelve years after the Rebellion, 
Queen Victoria signed a bill which granted 
a full pardon to all who had taken part in 
the Rebellion. Mackenzie returned to 
Toronto and his friends and admirers 
bought him this house on the west side of 
Bond Street, just south of what is now 
Dundas Street. While he lived here, his 
friends in Parliament forced through a bill 
granting him full back pay for the many 
times he had been elected to Parliament 
during the stormy days preceding 1837. 


and was also called before Queen Victoria to state what he had seen. 
The result of his visit and report was the Act of Union of 1841, which 
united the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada into the United Canadas. 
There were many other changes which were no tto the liking' of the 
Family Compact and in 1849 an Amnesty Bill was passed which restored 
all rights of citizenship to those who had taken up arms in 1837. It 
was under the protection of this Bill that William Lyon Mackenzie 
returned to Toronto and his friends bought him a home on Bond 
Street. His friends also succeeded, despite the violent opposition of 
the remnants of the Compact, to have him voted by the legislature the monies 
due him for his election to the legislature during the stormy days of the five 
elections that he won in York County. In 1851, two years after his return 
to Toronto he stood for election as member for Haldimand County and 
was elected. 

Shortly after his return to Toronto he did what could be done to pay 
some last and proper respects to the bodies of Lount and Matthews who 
had been executed in Toronto, in April of 1838. After the execution their 
bodies had been placed in the Potters Field. The exact site of their burial 
was under the site of the Yorkville Avenue Fire Station. One dark night 
in 1849 Mackenzie and some of his friends removed the bodies of the two 
patriots to the Necropolis Cemetery and had a decent head stone erected 
to mark the site. Mackenzie died at his home on Bond Street, August 
28th, 1861. 

Samuel Lount was the eldest son of the late Gabriel Lount, an English- 
man, who emigrated to Pennsylvania in the middle of the Eighteenth 
century, and of Philadelphia Hughes, his wife, a Quakeress. He emigrated 
to Upper Canada and settled near Newmarket in 1811. In 1834 he repre- 
sented the County of Simcoe in the Upper Canada Legislature and served 
for two years. In 1836 he became a candidate again and was defeated by 
corrupt practices used by his political opponents. A petition of 8,000 people 
asked for a reprieve which was refused. 

Peter Matthews was the son of Peter Matthews, Sr., a United Empire 
Loyalist who fought on the British side in the Revolutionary War, and at 
its close settled with his wife and family in the townsite of Pickering in 
the (then) County of York. Peter Matthews, the son, belonged to Brock's 
volunteers during the war of 1812 to 1815 and fought in various battles in 



Upper Canada of that war. He was known and respected as an honest and 
prosperous farmer. 

John Montgomery was one of a group sent to Fort Henry, at Kingston, 
to await transportation. They dug under the walls of the prison fort and 
escaped to the United States. 

A Great Pioneer of North Toronto 

James Hervey Price was one of the leading pioneers of North Toronto. 
He came to the Town of York just ten years after the close of the War of 
1812-15. When he arrived, the town was just rebuilding after the devasta- 
tion resulting from two enemy attacks during that conflict. He opened 
one of the first law offices in what 
is now Toronto. He made numerous 
journeys into the country surrounding 
York and came to the conclusion, 
even at that early date, that the ulti- 
mate growth would be toward the 
north. He secured two large tracts 
of land: one of these included what 
is now the north side of Eglinton 
Avenue, between Yonge Street and 
Avenue Road; the other was a large 
tract of land that ran through from 
Yonge Street to Bathurst Street, It 
was on this lot that he built Castle- 
field in 1830. He was appointed City 
Clerk when Toronto was incorpor- 
porated in March, 1834. He loaned 
large sums of money to William Lyon 
Mackenzie, and as a consequence was 
obliged to sell Castlefield to Franklin 
Jackes in 1842. Price Street, running 
east from Yonge just below the C.P.R. 
crossing, is named after him. 

His coachman was John Montgomery, and Mr. Price gave him a plot of 
ground on Yonge Street, upon which John Montgomery erected the famous 
Montgomery's Tavern. 

James Hervey Price 



IN a growing community, transportation plays a very important part. In 
an earlier portion of this book attention has been drawn to the stage 

coach that ran up Yonge Street from the Red Lion Hotel to Richmond 
Hill. In the year 1884, the Metropolitan Railway Company commenced to 
make use of the franchise that had been granted to it. Tracks were laid 
"between the steam lines of the Canadian Pacific Railway, where they cross 
Yonge Street a little to the south of Summerhill Avenue, to the Eglinton 
Town Hall at the corner of Yonge Street and Montgomery Avenue. Horse- 
drawn cars were operated on this track by the Metropolitan Railway 
Company for seven years. In the year 1891 the tracks were electrified and 
extended to Glengrove Avenue. This was the first electrified railway in 
the vicinity of Toronto, and as far as my researches have indicated, the first 
electric railway to be operated in Canada. The first electric cars did not 
make an appearance on the tracks of the old Toronto Street Railway 
Company until the year 1893. The first of their lines to be electrified was 
the Church Street line. 

During the seven years in which the Metropolitan was running its horse- 
drawn cars up and down north Yonge Street, there was another ambitious 
transportation scheme in the making. This was the Toronto Steam Belt 
Line Railway that had been granted a charter In the year 1889. As there 
are some remnants of this old line still visible in North Toronto, the story 
of this great undertaking will be outlined here. 

The directors and promoters of the line prepared some very dazzling 
and attractive posters and other literature to induce the working man to 
turn his back on his home in Toronto, amid the dirt and grime of the city, 
and take up his residence in the open country where fresh air abounded 
and taxes were almost as nothing, and where the home-grown vegetables 
and hen fruit would cut his living costs to a point where he could put 
almost his entire wages in the savings bank. In addition to all these bene- 
fits the directors of the Steam Belt Line Railway offered to transport him 
quickly and cheaply from his abode in the pleasant countryside to his place 
of employment in the city. The original plans called for a line of track 
that would run east and west from the old Union Station on Front Street 
and encircle the city by way of the Humber and Don Valleys and join 



these two valleys by a line that rambled across the north end, reaching as 
far as Eglinton Avenue at one point. 

When the promoters of the line received their charter they went out in 
the city to sell stock in the enterprise, and quite a bit of stock was sold and 

The Steam Belt Line Railway 
The stations were: (1) Union Station; (2) Church Street; 
(3) Berkeley Street; (4) Don; (5) Winchester Street; (6) Rose- 
dale; (7) Moore Park; (8) Merton Street; (9) Upper Canada 
College; (10) Eglinton; (11) Davenport; (12) Spadina Avenue; 
(13) Swansea; (14) St. Clair. 

paid for. But history was repeating itself in a somewhat reverse manner. 
Many readers of this story will recall the effort that was made a few years 


ago to raise money for a North Toronto Community Centre, and how it 
appeared that some of its money was used up in "promotional expenses", 
and when the remaining cash was counted there was not enough left to build 
the hall. The promoters of the old Steam Belt Line Railway appear to have 
been able to present some rather healthy bills for "promotional expenses", 
and when the time came to build the line there was not enough money left. 
But in their case a good angel stepped into the picture. The Grand Trunk 
Railway offered to take over all the assets of the Toronto Steam Belt Line 
Railway, build and complete the line and operate it. The original stock in 
the Steam Belt Line Railway was exchanged for Grand Trunk Railway paper 
which did not reimburse the original investors, and considerable money was 
lost in the transaction. 

However, the Grand Trunk did build and complete the line. The only 
important changes made in the original plans were that instead of one loop 
they built two. One loop was known as the western or Humber loop, and 
the other was known as the eastern or Don Valley loop. A spur line 
joined them together some distance to the north of St. Clair Avenue and it 
was possible for trains to operate from one loop to the other. 

As soon as it became known that the Grand Trunk Railway had taken 
over the prospect there was a great activity in real estate at various points 
along the line. What is now known as Moore Park was laid out in lots, 
and much of what is now Forest Hill Village was surveyed and staked out. 
The important suburb of Swansea owes it beginning to this real estate fever 
that swept across the confines of suburban Toronto. 

The line commenced business in the summer of the year 1892 under the 
full control of the Grand Trunk Railway. The eastern loop employed the 
main line of the Grand Trunk between the Union Station and the Don. The 
line then ran northward beside the Don to Winchester Street. It then 
struck off to the north-west, using a natural ravine for most of the right of 
way. It came through Mount Pleasant Cemetery and continued westward 
along the south side of Merton Street and was carried across Yonge Street 
on a bridge. The original Yonge Street bridge, like all other bridges on the 
old Belt Line Railway, was made of timbers. This has been replaced by the 
iron bridge that now crosses Yonge Street. From Yonge Street the line 
continued in a northwesterly direction until it ran under the Fourth Con- 
cession line (Eglinton Avenue), in the vicinity of what is now Spadina Road. 



The line then extended westward for some distance and curved southward 
to join into the main line of the old Great Northern Railway at Davenport 
Station. From there the Belt Line continued to the Union Station. 

The Western loop left the Union Station on the tracks of the Toronto 
Hamilton and Buffalo Railway as far as what is now Swansea. New tracks 
were laid northward through a ravine that ran to the east of the Humber 

Yonge and Castlefield in 1910 
The Metropolitan car is coming north on the mud road. The 
structure on the right is the first movie in North Toronto. 
It was the York-Eglinton, and had a mud floor and kitchen 
chairs. The admission was five cents. It is now the Capitol 

River. This western loop curved to the east some distance above the Third 
Concession line (St. Clair Avenue), and came over to join the main northern 
line of the Grand Trunk, running into Parkdale and the Union Station. There 
was a spur line that connected the two loops together north of St. Clair 


The Toronto Belt Line Steam Railway continued to operate until the 
year 1894. From a revenue standpoint it was a failure. The exodus that 
had been planned did not materialize and many real estate speculators w^ere 
trying frantically to unload the lots that had been bought or optioned. 

On the eastern loop there were numerous stations at which the working 
man could board the trains. There were stations at Church Street, Berkeley 
Street, the Don, Winchester Street, Rosedale, Moore Park, Yonge Street, 
Upper Canada College, Eglinton, Davenport, Parkdale, and Spadina Avenue. 
The Yonge Street station stood on the site now used by the Milnes Coal 
Company, and the Moore Park station stood beside the trackless right of 
way just to the south of Moore Avenue. It was not demolished until 1945 
and had been used for dwelling purposes for some time prior to its demo- 

In the year 1921 a local engineering firm was given the task of making 
a full report on the conditions of the right of way of the old Toronto Steam 
Belt Line Railway. The last passenger trains to operate on this line tooted 
their way from station to station in the late summer of 1894. Twenty-seven 
years had elapsed between that date and the making of the engineering 
report in 1921. Twenty-seven years of neglect can lay heavy havoc on an 
undertaking of this nature. The report states that on the Humber loop 
there were a few sections of the track then in place. The wooden bridges 
had decayed to a point where they were unsafe. Some sections of the line 
had reverted to the municipality in default of taxes, and in some places the 
owners of adjoining property had extended their fences across the right of 
way. The line from Davenport Station to Mount Pleasant Avenue was still 
in operation and was used for the transport of coal, wood and other heavy 
freight. The old wooden bridge crossing Yonge Street, at Merton Street, 
had been replaced by a steel structure. Between Mount Pleasant Road and 
Winchester Street the dilapidated condition of the line was a repeat of con- 
ditions that had been found on the Humber loop. At the time of writing 
(1951), the author found one of the massive timber bridges that once span- 
ned this old steam line. This bridge crosses the right of way about one 
hundred yards south of Moore Avenue. It has long since been condemned, 
but an examination of its massive timbers give some representation of the 
engineering skill expended on the line by the Grand Trunk Railway. When 
the Grand Trunk was taken over by the Canadian goverment and formed 


one of the lines that now make up the Canadian National Railways; what 
remained intact of the old Steam Belt Line became part and parcel of the Can- 
adian National System. That is why they still operate the line, as a freight 
spur, that crosses Yonge Street at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. In more 
recent years a portion of the western loop right of way was used by the 
Toronto and Guelph Electric Radial Railway to give entrance to West 
Toronto. That line is now nothing but a right of way. Over the past few 
years several suggestions have been made for the use of the old right of 
way between Moore Avenue and Winchester Street for a motor highway. 
It would certainly be a scenic route and might withdraw traffic from the 
overcrowded streets that must be used at present in driving from North 
Toronto to the eastern sections of the city. 

The Beginning Of Leaside 

LEASIDE and Forest Hill Village, although both separate municipalities 
from a history standpoint, may be considered as part of the area 
covered by this book. 

Forest Hill Village had its birth in the great real estate boom that 
developed as a result of the projection of the steam Belt Line Railway, 
some sixty years ago. Moore Park is another section of North Toronto 
which owes its start to the same transportation scheme. 

With Leaside, the story is different. When the trains were running 
around the Belt Line, what is now the splendid municipality of Leaside 
was mostly farm land, and remained so for some years after the old 
Belt Line became a memory and a set of rusty tracks. 

There were three land marks of early Leaside. One of these was 
a roadhouse on Bayview Avenue. This was a white stucco structure that 
stood on the west side of the road and which vanished about 1926. 

Where Bayview Avenue runs north from Rosedale, and just across 
from the new school which has been erected, there stands an ancient 
house of red brick. This house is a duplicate of a similar house that 
stood on the north west corner of St. Clair Avenue and Yonge Street. 
Both houses were built from the same set of plans. 



What may be considered to be the actual beginning of Leaside is the 
old Jones homestead on Bayview Avenue, The farm, of which this ancient 
building was the farm house, extended for many acres. The Jones house 
was purchased and modernized by the Hon. Dr. Herbert Bruce. 

The first factories of Leaside 
commenced to arise on what is 
now the north end of Laird 
drive. One of the first 
large factories to oper- 
ate was that of the 
Durant Motor Car Com- 
pany. One of the pio- 
neers of the district was 
William MacLean, who 
published the Toronto 
world for many years. 
For years he advocated 
the erection of the great 
bridge that crosses the 
Don between Leaside 
and the Danforth 
Avenue. The battle 
waged by the Toronto! World for the construction of this bridge was 
bitterly opposed by some of the other Toronto papers. William MacLean 
was cartooned and lampooned as the man with the "Big Eyes". Tmie has 
disclosed the fact that this bridge was one of the best municipal invest- 
ments made in the Toronto area in many years. It "made" Leaside and 
during World War II its industrial potential grew apace. 

Since the war many of the war time industries have been converted 
to peace time channels. It must not be overlooked, however, that the 
Dominion government keeps a small pilot plant operating in Leaside. 
Thxs plant is ready to expand upon a moment's notice should international 
conditions suddenly turn for the worse. 

But let us hope that the crowds of citizens who enjoy shopping in 
the splendid shops of Leaside may long enjoy seeing the district expand 
without the necessity of great and sprawling plants again turning out 
the equipment for war. 

The old Jones homestead on Bayview 
Avenue as it appeared a century ago. This 
house was purchased and modernized by 
the Hon. Dr. Herbert Bruce. 


North Toronto Churches 

WHEN the War of 1812-15 came to a close there were many veterans 
to whom an appreciative government gave land grants in many parts 
of what is now North Toronto. Many of these veterans were from 
Great Britain and some had been treated in a generous manner by the 
Earl of Eglinton before they set sail across the stormy Atlantic. The 
Earl, out of his private purse, had seen that his men were supplied with 
many items that were not included in the regulation military kit. As 
a token of esteem towards their patron, these new veteran land owners 
decided to give the name of their benefactor to the district. From 1816 on- 
ward it became known as Eglinton. In later years this name applied, not to 
the entire district, but to a certain portion of North Toronto which now 
bears that name. 

In 1316 there was one church in this portion of Upper Canada. That 
was the log structure that had been erected at the corner of Church and 
King Streets in 1803, and has since grown into the stately St. James' 

These new comers to the north gave much thought to church matters, 
but there was one great difficulty. 

In the very early legislation of Upper Canada, Governor Simcoe had 
set aside a great many tracts of land that were meant to form the basis 
for the financial support of a Protestant clergy. The words "Protestant 
Clergy" are used in the bill, but by the year 1816 the Anglican Church 
had exercised a monopoly on their administration. There were many of 
these clergy reserves up and down Yonge Street. One of the last to be 
disposed of was the lot where the Glebe Manor apartments now stand. 

When the new veteran land owners suggested to the Anglican bishop, 
in the town of York, that there was room for a church in this new district, 
he did not wish to disturb these clergy reserves. He did, however, give 
some aid and shortly after these veterans had commenced to clear their 
ground a little frame church was erected at York Mills. It was given 
the name of St. Johns'. For many years there were no churches between 
this one and St. James' on King Street. 

The frame church of St. John served its purpose for some sixteen years 
when it was replaced by the present structure. This church is well 



worth a Sunday afternoon visit. The old fittings are intact and there is 
no structure in North Toronto which can compare with this as an example 
of early North Toronto pioneering. 

It is not to be supposed that all these new settlers had leanings toward 
the Anglican Church. There were many missionaries of the Methodist 

The Original Christ Church 
It stood just where the Lawton loop of the T.T.C. is now located 
just to the north of St. Clair Avenue. This church was put on 
sleds and pulled over to form the beginning of Grace Church. 
It was then taken down to Danforth Avenue and Main Street 
vicinity where it is still in use. 

faith that visited the district. In fair weather meetings were held outdoors 
and when this was not possible the farm house with the largest kitchen 
was used for services. 

By the year 1830 the Methodist following in what is now North Toronto 
had expanded to an extent where it was decided to erect a church. A 



lot was secured on the east side of Yonge Street opposite what is now 
Glengrove Avenue and a modest structure erected upon it. 

A second Methodist Church soon arose in the town of Davisville. A 
portion of this structure still stands although much of its original front 
has been sheared off to permit the widening of Yonge Street. 

North Toronto's First Methodist Church 
Eglinton Methodist Church was erected in 1830 and 
stood where the Hydro sub-station is located across 
from Glengrove Avenue. In 1925 it became the 
Eglinton United Church, and the new structure on 
Sheldrake Boulevard was erected. 

Then the Anglicans stepped into the church picture once again. 
A short distance north of St. Clair Avenue, a winding road came down 
and joined with Yonge Street, at this junction a frame church was erected 
which was a landmark of North Toronto for many years. It was given the 
name of Christ Church. 

When the Toronto Transportation Commission were extending their 
rails up Yonge Street in 1922, they decided that the site of this frame 
church would make an ideal loop. 

In the meantime the congregation of Christ Church had far outgrown 
the original frame structure and work was progressing on the splendid 
stone structure nearby. 

The original frame Christ Church was not demolished. An Anglican 
Church on Elm Street, in central Toronto had been sold. This was known 


as Grace Church and as many of the former congregation had moved 
northward it was decided to use the purchase money for the erection of a 
new and modern structure. They had secured a lot in Forest Hill village, 
and they had the money to proceed. Time is required to build a stately 
church; and to hold the congregation together and to make a definite start, 
it was decided to make a bold "move". The old frame Christ Church was 
lifted from its foundations and powerful sleds inserted under it. Many 
horses were harnessed and at the first fall of snow the procession started 
down Yonge Street and along St. Clair Avenue. This original Christ Church, 
moved to the new location was the first church home of Grace Church on 
the Hill. In the new ediface there is a brass plate which states His 
Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught stood below this plate as he laid 
the corner stone for the new structure. 

But the original frame church that had centered the founding of two 
great congregations in North Toronto, was not finished with its pioneer 
work. As soon as Grace Church on the Hill was ready for service the 
sleds were again inserted under the old red frame church and it was 
sledded down to the vicinity of Danforth and Main Streets where it is 
still used for service. 

The Baptist congregation of North Toronto present a story that is 
somewhat different from that of thei other congregations. While many 
of the Baptist Churches, in this section of the city, have had to struggle 
up to their present important position, there is one North Toronto Baptist 
Church which emerged without much of the pioneering effort that forms 
the story of the others. 

For many years there was a large Baptist Church on Bloor Street 
West at the corner of St. Vincent Street. You will not find that street 
there now for it was swallowed up in the great street extention of the 
early 1920's that cut the present Bay Street through the city from Queen 
to Bloor. This extension drew the eyes of big business to the property 
of the Bloor Street Baptist Church. It was sold and arrangements were 
made with the late Mr. Elias Rogers to erect a new and imposing church 
on his property in Deer Park. The great church that stands there today 
is York Minister Baptist Church 

On the other side of the story, showing something of the faith and 
struggle of the early settlers in North Toronto, Castlefield Avenue Baptist 



Church is a splendid example. They did not have well filled money bags, 
resulting from the sale of other property, behind them when the acorn was 
planted that has since grown into the church on Castlefield Avenue. 

The start of Castlefield Baptist Church was made in Davisville, in 
1887, when Mrs. George Clarke gathered in a few children and com- 

.I'.r-^^m^^''''' ' 

Castlefield Avenue Baptist Church 
This church has been enlarged twice since the original 
structure on the left was started almost forty years ago. 
This church is typical of many in North Toronto that 
have grown and expanded from a small beginning. During 
their growth several of these struggling churches were 
able to extend aid to other small congregations that were 
starting up in Bedford Park and other sections of the 
north end. 

menced a Sunday school. A demand was created for organized services 
and the Town Hall at Montgomery and Yonge was rented for Sunday 
services. The corporation charged the congregation sixty cents rent per 
Sunday. After a year of service there, with students from McMaster 
University as preachers, the congregation took over a frame building 


at the corner of Castlefield and Yonge Streets. This was known as the 
Yonge Street Baptist Church. 

The early 1890's of the last century were an era of hard times and 
the little congregation was forced to close the doors and revert to the 
Town Hall for services. Some of the land surrounding the frame church 
was sold and this money used to re-open the frame church and to install 
an organ. In 1911 a plot of land was purchased in the rear of Castlefield, 
the stately old structure that had given the district its name. Work was 
commenced on a new church building and the original structure has 
since been enlarged twice. 

Until recent months there were a number of stately elm trees to 
be seen just to the east of Castlefield Avenue Church. Those elm trees 
once formed the border of the driveway that led up to Castlefield from 
Yonge Street. 

I wonder how many of the present congregation of the church realize 
that as they worship in the church they are sitting directly above the 
rear of old Castlefield were a group of government troops seeking William 
Lyon Mackenzie after the battle of December 7, 1837, were stopped in their 
search by an Irish cook armed with a hefty rolling pin. She had hidden 
Mackenzie in a large cradle in the kitchen of Castlefield and dared the 
soldiers to "wake" the baby. That night Mackenzie was given horse and 
saddle from Castlefield and started his flight to Navy Island. 

The story of the Presbyterian Church in North Toronto has a com- 
mencement not unlike the story just related. In 1879 the Presbyterian 
mission rented the old frame school building on the site of the Consumers 
Gas show rooms. 

After 10 years service here with considerable aid from a Presbyterian 
Church near Yonge and St. Clair, it was decided to organize a congrega- 
tion in North Toronto. Worship was held in the Town Hall and the old 
Y.M.C.A. hall (now the Orange Hall). In 1898 the Eglinton Presbyterian 
Church bought this property for $1,500. In 1899, the first year of worship 
in the hall, it was reported that the total receipts from the congregation 
were $548.93. 

The annual receipts of St. George's United Church (which grew out 
of this early Presbyterian effort) are in the neighbourhood of $100,000. 

In March of 1909, the Eglinton Presbyterian Church, having sold 



the Orange Hall, opened their new church at St. Clements and Yonge 
Streets. This is now the branch Public Library. 

In 1921 work was started on a new church building on Lytton Boulevard. 
In 1925 the majority of the congregation voted in favour of joining the 
United Church. 

There were groups in the congregation who were not in favour of 
this amalgamation and many of these minority groups withdrew and gave 
their support to those who wanted the Presbyterian Church to continue. 
These groups held services for some time in the Capitol Theatre 
and then centred their energies on the erection of the charming building 
on Glenview Avenue near Yonge Street. 

While the Anglicans were the first denomination to organize church 
services in North Toronto, there can be little doubt that priests of the 
Church of Rome conducted services here before the first Anglican Church 
was built at York Mills. " 

In another section of this book the story of transportation has been 
told but there is one phase of transportation that has been held back to 
appear here This is the batteaux route of the great North West Fur 
Company, with head quarters at Fort William. 

In the early days of the last cen- 
tury the supplies for the head office 
were sailed up from Montreal to 
York. They were then placed on 
batteaux and floated up the Don 
River to York Mills. From that 
point scores of husky boatmen 
carried the supplies, by pack sack, 
to Holland Landing, where they 
were loaded into the great canoes 
for transporation to Fort William. 
There can be little doubt that 
this route was often used by mis- 
sionaries of the Church of Rome 
and that services were held en- 
route amongst these voyageurs. 
While the Anglican congregations of Christ Church and St. John's at 
York Mills were growing, the members of the church in the town of 

The First St. Clement's Church 
This brick structure, built in the 
early 1880's at a cost of $3,500.00, 
was the commencement of the 

stately St. Clement's of today. 


Eglinton commenced to think of a church of their own. In 1888 services were 
held in the Orange Hall — where so many of the local churches had been 

Beside the main doorway. Duplex Avenue, of St. Clements Church there 
is a stone with the date 1891 cut deeply into it. That is the corner- 
stone of the first St. Clement's Church that grew out of the preliminary 
services held for three years in the Orange Hall in the rear of the present 
Capital Theatre. The first church was of red brick and stood on the 
southern portion of the lot. A comparison of building costs in 1952 as 
compared with 1891 are of interest. It cost $3,500 to build the first St. 
Clement's Church in 1891 That sum today would hardly pay for a 
four-roomed shack. The present St. Clement's Church was erected in 
1925 at a cost of $130,000. Since 1925 additions have been made and 
plans have been completed for very extensive expansion. 

However, the Xhurch of Rome, as established congregations, were 
late in organizing in North Toronto. In the early years of the present 
century the Rev. Father Player, C.S.B., did a great deal of missionary 
work in the district just to the North of Eglinton Avenue. In 1906 he 
saw his( labours blossom into fruit with the erection of St. Monica's 
Church on the north side of Broadway Avenue. 

Within twenty years of the establishment of this church, the Roman 
Catholic population of North Toronto had increased to a point where 
additional points of service were necessary. In 1926 the Blessed Sacrament 
Church was erected on the west side of Yonge Street, overlooking Lawrence 
Park. Also about that time the Roman Catholic Church secured the 
large house and grounds that had been the home of R. J. Fleming, the 
genial general manager of the old Toronto Street Railway Co. The old 
Fleming house ,at the time of writing (1952) is still intact but extensive 
educational buildings have been erected on the rear of the property. 

These house the Holy Rosary School and St. Michaels' College High 
School. The Ursuline Nuns also operate a school on St. Clair Avenue, 
but as this is one of the most historic buildings in North Toronto, a 
special section of this book has been devoted to it under the heading "The 
Beginnings of Canadian Confederation". 

For many years several of the Jewish congregations of Toronto 
have used the western sections of St. Clements Avenue for burial 
purposes. It is, however, only within recent years that they have erected 



places of worship in the north end. Some very fine structures have 
arisen on Bathurst Street. As the author looks on these new and 
inspiring structures the question has often arisen in his mind concerning 
the great temple built by King Solomon, in Jerusalem, some three thou- 
sand years ago. 

I have often wondered how many of the worshippers in these new 
Synagogues realize that a fragment of Solomon's temple is still in existence. 

It is a fragment from one of the elaborately carved pillar heads. It is 
overlaid with gold and was discovered in Babylon (Mesopotamia) by a 
British archeological party some years ago. This interesting fragment 
has been inserted in the basement masonry of St. Paul's Cathedral, in 

Its exact location is at the bottom of the circular stairway that leads 
down to the crypt. An engraved brass plate is also inserted in the stone- 
work. The plate reads: 

"The only known fragment of the great temple erected 
in Jerusalem by King Solomon." 

The plate, in smaller type, then sets out the information as above. 
The temple of Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezar after serving the 
Jewish people for some 400 years. Much of the loot was carried away 
to Babylon. 

Early Fire Engine 

The gleaming, motor-driven fire engines which now roar through the 
streets of North Toronto had, like many other things, a very humble begin- 
ning. North Toronto's first fire engine was housed in a metal shed that 
stood on Montgomery Avenue, just 
behind the Eglinton Town Hall. It 
consisted of a two-wheeled cart, with 
a seat for two men, and was drawn 
by one horse. The cart carried about 
200 feet of hose. When this fire 
engine operated there were a few 

hydrants on Yonge Street supplied ., .. ^ ^ , ^- . .-■ ,- . 

. ^^ . ^ . ^ , North Toronto's Frrst Fire Engine 

from a water tower at Roselawn and ^ ^as housed in the metal shed 
Avenue Road. behind the Town Hall. 



Municipal Services 

In 1895 a great artesian spring that spilled its waters near what is 
now the corner of Roselawn and Avenue Road was selected as the site 
of the first water works in North Toronto. 

A large storage tank was erected and a steam pump installed to raise 
the water from the spring to the tank. A separate engine and dynamo 
were also housed in the shed and this current was used to light a few arc 


lamps on a small section of Yonge Street. Shortly after this early electric 
service commenced to operate a fire damaged the dynamo and it was 
necessary to construct temporary power lines to a plant that was supplying 
the Fairbank district, some distance to the west. 

An election poster, which was circulated in the late months of 1907, 
gives a vivid picture of municipal matters in North Toronto at that time. 

The question of water supply is uppermost. The artesian spring on 
Roselawn Avenue is not able to give proper supply to the growing 
community. The poster states that the candidate, seeking re-election for 
municipal office, has succeeded during 1907 in having a proper engineering 
office installed in the Town Hall. The poster states that the gigantic sum 
of five hundred dollars has been expended on this office and that it is 
complete with draughting tables, filing cabinets, desks and all other neces- 
sary furniture. 

The engineer at that time was the late E. A. James and he was 
giving much thought to the linking up of a number of wells on the east of 
the J. R. Strathy property. He proposed that the water from these numerous 
sources be gathered in a central tank and then pumped, by steam, over to 
Yonge Street. The estimated cost of this scheme was placed at $135,000. 

The candidate, seeking re-election, in his poster is all for drawing a 
water supply from Lemonville at a cost of $300,000. He paints a vivid 
picture of this supply which he describes as "pure and never failing". 
This candidate is also out for turning "darkness into light". He proposes 
that the electric current supply be supplemented so that the householders 
may have electric light in their homes. 

He also swings his axe at the condition of the roads, including Yonge 
Street. He calls the roads "quagmires" and proposed drastic action (short 
of paving) to end this abuse. He is also very much "let-up" over the 
fact that high school students are obliged to attend classes in what he 
describes as "one or two unsatisfactory class rooms". He promises, if 
elected, to see that a proper high school is erected. 

And in due time it all came to pass. The North Toronto High School 
was erected. Water Services, not from Lemonville, but from Lake Ontario, 
flowed into the area. 

The streets were paved and the Toronto Hydro-Electric System was 
extended to end the household darkness. 



North Toronto Real Estate 

THERE are few sections of Toronto which have seen real estate 
values increase in a greater proportion than has been the case in 
North Toronto. Reference has been made, in an earlier section, of 
how the owner of the Red Lion Hotel, with 200 acres of land, on the 
north east corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets, was unable to sell the lot 

.JAC O/i /-Av^'if'^C( 

Z>i Tf/l l nn ^( 

\s, f ^ U £ 

a/OHfJ I. /\Y^fte rvcC 

J K /VJI^ 

J R. STAi/ij, 

Jo /"v 57-/,ga AR o 

r^iii wc/CL 

JO^f^ S-^^f\TnlY 

AL£X B/iO- 

A V £ A/ u E- 

mv/ivau Po^TofFicj. 

A Map of North Toronto in the 1870's 


and building for $400 in 1807. At the present time this property is worth 
several million dollars. 

There were no streets running east and west of " Yonge between 
Eglinton and Lawrence Avenues. The property was all held in large blocks. 
Map shows the land owners just after the middle of the last century. 

On the map is shown the location of Castlefield and the Jackes estate 
which ran from Yonge to Bathurst Street. On this property there are 
now St. Clements, Briar Hill, Castlefield and Craighurst Avenues. In 1883 
this block of land and the great house known as Castlefield were sold 
for $16,000. The value of that land today is in excess of fifteen millions. 
During the low curve of the depression of the 1930's there were many 
houses in the "good" sections offered for as little as $6,000. Those same 
houses today, renovated and oil heated, are selling for prices between 
fifteen and twenty four thousand. 


During the battle of Montgomery's farm December 7, 1837, when the 
government troops engaged the forces of William Lyon Mackenzies, 
the conflict was witnessed by a farm hand from Castlefield. His 
name was John McCillucuddy, and he stood well back, and to the west 
side of the conflict. John had never seen a cannon fired. The government 
troops had a small field piece and during the fight this small gun was 
fired a few times. This left a lasting impression on John and in after 
years he told and retold the story and with each recaption the details 
became more vivid. 

When Franklin Jackes took over Castlefield from J. H. Price, in 1842, 
John stayed on as one of the farm hands. By this time, five years after 
the conflict, his version of the fired cannon had developed to a point where 
he declared that he was standing over near Bathurst Street and the wind 
created by the cannon ball going up Yonge Street, blew him off his feet. 
Old John died soon after the story had developed to that length. Had he 
lived it is interenting to speculate as to what dire depths the cannon 
ball story might have developed. 

This is a publication of the Canadian Historical Press, 
159 Albertus Avenue, Toronto 12, Ontario. 



The following North Toronto firms have aided in the research 
and illustrations for this book: 

THE DOMINION BANK and its 10 branches in the area covered in 
this book. 

TRULL FUNERAL HOMES, 2704 Yonge Street. 

PARKES, McVITTIE & SHAW, General Insurance, 2436 Yonge Street. 

BELYEA BROTHERS, LTD., and Alderman Roy Belyea. 

BELSIZE JEWELLERS, 1977 Yonge Street. 

MILWIN RADIO & APPLIANCES, 3145 Yonge Street. All types of 
radio and electrical household appliances. 

S. R. CARDISH, FURS, 2605 Yonge Street. 

EMPIRE WALL PAPERS, LTD., 2512^^ Yonge Street. 

HYLAND MOTORS, LTD., 2673 Yonge Street. 

RUTTLE & RUTTLE, Real Estate Dealers in North Toronto for 
30 years. 

Eglinton Avenue West. 

THE CAPITOL THEATRE, North Toronto's First. 

THE EVANGALINE SHOPS, Women's Wear and Accessories. 

POLLACK SHOES, LTD., and their numerous stores in the area 
covered in this book. 

ROSS KNOWLES & CO., complete investment service, 330 Bay 
Street, Toronto. 

MILNES COAL CO., on the Old Belt Line. 

HONEY DEW COFFEE SHOPS, numerous stores in the area described. 

FRAN RESTAUEANT and DINING ROOM, For good eating in North 
Toronto, 21 St. Clair Avenue West; Yonge and Egllnton. 

WM. MITCHELL, 2 hardware stores, Fairlawn and Yonge and 2425 
Yonge Street. 

F. C. BURROUGHES FURNITURE CO., 529 Bayview Avenue. 


PETE WOODS, 2500 Yonge Street, men's furnishings. 

J. ATKINSON & SONS, 3164 Yonge Street, North Toronto's oldest 

S. BASSIN, oldest tailoring establishment in North Toronto. 

PARKERS DYE WORKS & CLEANERS, 791 Yonge Street, Established 


R. B. RICE & SONS LTD., 2069 Yonge Street. 


EGLINTON THEATRE, 400 Eglinton West. 

5 I.D-A. Druggists in North Toronto: 

LILLICO PHARMACY, 2619 Yonge Street. 


J. M. MERRICK, Avenue Road and Fairlawn. 

FOREST HILL PHARMACY, 521 Eglinton West. 

YOUNG'S DRUG STORE, 265 Eglinton West 

PIGOTT MOTORS (CANADA) LTD., Buick, Pontiac, GMC Trucks, 
2424 Yonge Street. 

LITTLE PIE SHOP, Wedding and birthday cakes, choice pastry, 
2568 Yonge Street 

SAMPSON MATTHEWS LTD., 1189 Yonge Street. 

WELSH LUMBER CO. LTD., 2219 Yonge Street. 

«^^ 80 McCallum Press Ltd., 1601 Queen Street East 


MAR 99 

Bound -To -Pleas^ INDIANA 46962