History of Toronto King Street: Digression Northward At Church Street: The Old District Grammar School
Immediately north of the church plot, and separated from it...
Yonge Street From Hogg's Hollow To Bond's Lake
Beyond the hollow, Mr. Humberstone's was passed on the west...
Queen Street From The Don Bridge To Caroline Street
We return once more to the Don Bridge; and from that point ...
From Berkeley Street To The Bridge And Across It
We now propose to pass rapidly down "the road to Quebec" as...
The Harbour Its Marine 1800-1814
On the 15th of May, 1800, Governor Hunter arrives again in ...
Queen Street From George Street To Yonge Street
--MEMORIES OF THE OLD COURT HOUSE.
When we pass George S...
Yonge Street From Yorkville To Hogg's Hollow
Of long standing is the group of buildings on the right aft...
The Valley Of The Don
I.--From the Bridge on the Kingston Road to Tyler's.
From The Garrison Back To The Place Of Beginning
We now enter again the modern Fort; passing back through th...
The Harbour: Its Marine 1793-99
The first formal survey of the harbour of Toronto was made ...
In 1869, the survivors of the early occupants of York, Uppe...
King Street From Yonge Street To Church Street
Where Yonge Street crosses King Street, forming at the pres...
The Harbour: Its Marine 1828-1863
The Canada's advertisement for the season of 1828 appears i...
From Brock Street To The Old French Fort
Returning again to the front. The portion of the Common tha...
Queen Street From Brock Street And Spadina Avenue To The Humber
Immediately after the grounds and property of Mr. Dunn, on ...
King Street From John Street To Yonge Street
After our long stroll westward, we had purposed returning t...
Yonge Street: From Bond's Lake To The Holland Landing With Digressions To Newmarket And Sharon
We now speedily passed Drynoch, lying off to the left, on e...
The Harbour: Its Marine 1815-1827
Soon after the close of the war with the United States in 1...
King Street: Digression Southwards At Church Street: Market Lane
Across Church Street from Clinkunbroomer's were the wooden ...
Queen Street From The College Avenue To Brock Street And Spadina Avenue
Pursuing our way now westward from the Avenue leading to th...
Queen Street From Yonge Street To College Avenue Digression Southward At Bay Street Osgoode Hall Digression Northward At The Av
Leaving now the site of our ancient Court House, the spot at which we
arrive in our tour is one of very peculiar interest. It is the
intersection at right angles of the two great military ways carved out
through the primitive forest of Western Canada by order of its first
Governor. Dundas Street and Yonge Street were laid down in the first MS.
maps of the country as highways destined to traverse the land in all
future time, as nearly as practicable in right lines, the one from east
to west, the other from south to north. They were denominated "streets,"
because their idea was taken from the famous ancient ways, still in
several instances called "streets," which the Romans, when masters of
primitive Britain, constructed for military purposes. To this day it is
no unpleasant occupation for the visitor who has leisure, to track out
the lines of these ancient roads across England. We ourselves once made
a pilgrimage expressly for the purpose of viewing the intersection of
Iknield Street and Watling Street, in the centre of Dunstable, and from
our actual knowledge of what Canada was when its Yonge Street and Dundas
Street were first hewn out, we realized all the more vividly the
condition of central England when the Roman road-makers first began
their work there.
Dundas Street has its name from the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, Secretary
of State for the Colonies in 1794. In that year Governor Simcoe wrote as
follows to Mr. Dundas:--"Dundas Street, the road proposed from
Burlington Bay to the River Thames, half of which is completed, will
connect by an internal communication the Detroit and settlements at
Niagara. It is intended," he says, "to be extended northerly to York by
the troops, and in process of time by the respective settlers to
Kingston and Montreal." In another despatch to the same statesman he
says:--"I have directed the surveyor, early in the next spring to
ascertain the precise distance of the several routes which I have done
myself the honour of detailing to you, and hope to complete the Military
Street or Road the ensuing autumn." In a MS. map of about the same date
Dundas Street is laid down from Detroit to the Pointe au Bodet, the
terminus on the St. Lawrence of the old boundary line between Upper and
Lower Canada. From the Rouge River it is sketched as running somewhat
further back than the line of the present Kingston Road; and after
leaving Kingston it is drawn as though it was expected to follow the
water-shed between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence. A road is sketched,
running from the Pointe au Bodet to the Ottawa, and this Road is struck
at an acute angle by Dundas Street.
A manuscript note appears on the map, "The Dundas Street is laid out
from Oxford to the Bay of Quinte; it is nearly finished from Oxford to
In 1799 the Constellation, a paper published at Niagara, informs its
readers, under the date of Friday, August 2nd, in that year, that "the
wilderness from York to the Bay of Quinte is 120 miles; a road of this
distance through it," it then says, "is contracted out by Government to
Mr. Danforth, to be cut and completed by the first of July next; and
which, when completed, will open a communication round the Lake by land
from this town [Niagara] with the Bay, Kingston, &c. Hitherto," the
Constellation continues, "in the season of winter our intercourse with
that part of the province has been almost totally interrupted. Mr.
Danforth has already made forty miles of excellent road," the editor
encourages his patrons by observing, "and procured men to the number
sufficient for doing the whole extent by the setting in of winter. It
would be desirable also," Mr. Tiffany suggests, "were a little labour
expended in bridging the streams between Burlington Bay and York; indeed
the whole country," it is sweepingly declared, "affords room for
amendment in this respect."
It is plain from this extract that if the men of the present generation
would have a just conception of what was the condition of the region
round Lake Ontario seventy years ago, they must pay a visit to the head
of Lake Superior and perform the journey by the Dawson road and the rest
of the newly-opened route from Fort William to Winnipeg.
The Gazette of December 14, 1799, was able to speak approvingly of the
road to the eastward. "The road from this town (York) to the Midland
District is," it says, "completed as far as the Township of Hope, about
sixty miles, so that sleighs, waggons, &c., may travel it with safety.
The report which has been made to the Government by the gentlemen
appointed to inspect the work is," the Gazette then proceeds to say,
"highly favourable to Mr. Danforth, the undertaker; and less
imperfections could not be pointed out in so extensive a work. The
remaining part," it is added, "will be accomplished by the first of July
next." The road to which these various extracts refer, is still known as
the Danforth Road. It runs somewhat to the north of the present Kingston
Road, entering it by the town line at the "Four Mile Tree."
Yonge Street, which we purpose duly to perambulate hereafter, has its
name from Sir George Yonge, a member of the Imperial Government in the
reign of George III. He was of a distinguished Devonshire family, and a
personal friend of Governor Simcoe's.
The first grantee of the park-lot which we next pass in our progress
westward was Dr. Macaulay, an army surgeon attached successively to the
33rd Regiment and the famous Queen's Rangers. His sons, Sir James
Macaulay, first Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Colonel John
Simcoe Macaulay, a distinguished officer of Engineers, are well
remembered. Those who have personal recollections of Dr. Macaulay speak
of him in terms of great respect. The southern portion of this property
was at an early period laid out in streets and small lots. The
collection of houses that here began to spring up was known as Macaulay
Town, and was long considered as bearing the relation to York that
Yorkville does to Toronto now. So late as 1833 Walton, in his Street
Guide and Register, speaks of Macaulay Town as extending from Yonge
Street to Osgoode Hall.
James Street retains the Christian name of Dr. Macaulay. Teraulay Street
led up to the site of his residence, Teraulay Cottage, which after
having been moved from its original position in connection with the
laying out of Trinity Square off Yonge Street, was destroyed by fire in
1848. The northern portion of Macaulay Town was bounded by Macaulay
Lane, described by Walton as "fronting the fields." This is Louisa
Of the memorable possessor of the property on the south side of Queen
Street, opposite Macaulay Town, Mr. Jesse Ketchum, we shall have
occasion to speak hereafter, when we pass his place of abode in our
proposed journey through Yonge Street. The existing Free Kirk place of
worship, known as Knox Church, stands on land given by Mr. Ketchum, and
on a site previously occupied by a long oblong red brick chapel which
looked towards what is now Richmond Street, and in which a son-in-law of
his, Mr. Harris, officiated to a congregation of United Synod
Presbyterians. The donor was probably unconscious of the remarkable
excellence of this particular position as a site for a conspicuous
architectural object. The spire that towers up from this now central
spot is seen with peculiarly good effect as one approaches Toronto by
the thoroughfare of Queen Street whether from the east or from the west.
Digression Southward at Bay Street.
Old inhabitants say that Bay Street, where we are now arrived, was at
the first in fact "Bear Street," and that it was popularly so called
from a noted chase given to a bear out of the adjoining wood on the
north, which, to escape from its pursuers, made for the water along this
route. Mr. Justice Boulton's two horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, were
once seen, we are told, to attack a monster of this species that
intruded on their pasture on the Grange property a little to the west.
They are described as plunging at the animal with their fore feet. In
1809, a straggler from the forest of the same species was killed in
George Street by Lieut. Fawcett, of the 100th regiment, who cleft the
creature's head open with his sword. This Lieut. Fawcett was afterwards
Lieut.-Col. of the 100th, and was severely wounded in the war of 1812.
Bay street, as we pass it, recalls one of the early breweries of York.
We have already in another place briefly spoken of Shaw's and Hugill's.
At the second north-west corner southward, beer of good repute in the
town and neighbourhood was manufactured by Mr. John Doel up to 1847,
when his brewery was accidentally burnt. Mr. Doel's name is associated
with the early post-office traditions of York. For a number of years he
undertook and faithfully accomplished the delivery with his own hands of
all the correspondence of the place that was in those days thus
distributed. His presence at a door in the olden time was often a matter
of considerable interest.
In the local commotions of 1837, Mr. Doel ventured in an humble way to
give aid and comfort to the promoters of what proved to be a small
revolution. We cannot at this hour affirm that there was anything to his
discredit in this. He acted, no doubt, in accordance with certain honest
instincts. Men of his class and stamp, shrewd in their ideas and sturdy
against encroachments, civil and religious, abound in old Somersetshire
where he first drew breath. His supposed presumption in having opinions
on public questions induced the satirists of the non-progressive side to
mention him occasionally in their philippics and pasquinades. His name
has thus become associated in the narrative of Upper Canadian affairs
with those of the actual chiefs of the party of reform. In 1827, Robert
Randal, M.P., was despatched to London as a delegate on the part of the
so-called "Aliens" or unnaturalized British subjects of United States
origin. A series of burlesque nominations, supposed to be suggested by
Randal to the Colonial Secretary, appeared at this time, emanating of
course from the friends of the officials of the day. We give the
document. It will be seen that Mr. Doel is set down in it for the
Postmaster-Generalship. The other persons mentioned will be all readily
"Nominations to be dictated by the Constitutional Meeting, on Saturday
next, in the petition for the redress of grievances to be forwarded to
London by Ambassador Randal. Barnabas Bidwell--President of Upper
Canada--with an extra annual allowance for a jaunt, for the benefit of
his health, to his native State of Massachusetts. W. W. Baldwin--Chief
Justice and Surgeon-General to the Militia Forces--with 1,000,000 acres
of land for past services, he and his family having been most shamefully
treated in having grants of land withheld from them heretofore. John
Rolph--Attorney-General, and Paymaster-General to the Militia--with
500,000 acres of land for his former accounts as District Paymaster,
faithfully rendered. Marshall S. Bidwell--Solicitor-General--with an
annual allowance of as much as he may be pleased to ask for, rendering
no account--for the purpose of 'encouraging emigration from the United
States,' and a contingent account if he shall find it convenient to
accompany the President to Massachusetts. The Puisne Judges--to be
chosen by ballot in the Market Square, on the 4th of July in each and
every year, subject to the approval of W. W. B., the Chief Justice.
Their salaries to be settled when going out of office. Jesse Ketchum,
Jos. Sheppard, Dr. Stoyell, and A. Burnside--Executive and Legislative
Councillors. Joint Secretaries--William Lyon McKenzie and Francis
Collins, with all the printing. John Carey--Assistant Secretary, with as
much of the printing as the Joint Secretaries may be pleased to allow
him. Moses Fish--Inspector of Public Buildings and Fortifications. J. S.
Baldwin--Contractor-General to the Province, with a monopoly of the
trade. T. D. Morrison--Surveyor-General and Inspector of Hospitals.
Little Doel--Postmaster-General. Peter Perry--Chancellor of the
Exchequer and Receiver-General. The above persons being thus amply
provided for, their friends, alias their stepping stones," the document
just quoted proceeds to state, "may shift for themselves; an
opportunity, however, will be offered them for 'doing a little business'
by disposing of all other public offices to the lowest bidder, from whom
neither talent nor security will be required for the performance of
their duties. Tenders received at Russell Square, Front Street, York.
The Magistracy, being of no consequence, is to be left for after
consideration. The Militia, at the particular request of Paul Peterson,
[M.P. for Prince Edward,] to be done away altogether; and the roads to
take care of themselves. The Welland Canal to be stopped immediately,
and Colonel By to be recalled from the Rideau Canal. N.B. Any
suggestions for further improvements will be thankfully received at
Russell Square, as above."--(The humour of all this can of course be
only locally understood.)
Mr. Doel arrived in York in 1818, occupying a month in the journey from
Philadelphia to Oswego, and a week in that from Oswego to Niagara, being
obliged from stress of weather to put in at Sodus Bay. At Niagara he
waited three days for a passage to York. He and his venerable helpmeet
were surviving in 1870, at the ages respectively, of 80 and 82.--Not
without reason, as the event proved, they lived for many years in a
state of apprehension in regard to the stability of the lofty spire of a
place of worship close to their residence. In 1862, that spire actually
fell, eastward as it happened, and not westward, doing considerable
damage. Mr. Doel died in 1871.
By the name of the short street passing from Adelaide Street to Richmond
Street, a few chains to the west of Mr. Doel's corner, we are reminded
of Harvey Shepard, a famous worker in iron of the former time, whose
imprint on axe, broad axe or adze, was a guarantee to the practical
backwoodsman of its temper and serviceable quality. Harvey Shepard's axe
factory was on the west side of this short street. Before his
establishment here he worked in a smithy of the customary village type,
on King Street, on the property of Jordan Post. Like Jordan Post
himself, Harvey Shepard was of the old fashioned New England mould,
elongated and wiry. After a brief suspension of business, a placard hung
up in the country inns characteristically announced to his friends and
the public that he had resumed his former occupation and that he would,
"by the aid of Divine Providence," undertake to turn out as good axes as
any that he had ever made; which acknowledgement of the source of his
skill is commendable surely, if unusual. So also, there is no one who
will refuse to applaud an epigrammatic observation of his, when
responding to an appeal of charity. "Though dealing usually in iron
only, I keep," he said, "a little stock of silver and gold for such a
call as this." The factory on Shepard Street was afterwards worked by
Mr. J. Armstrong, and subsequently by Mr. Thomas Champion, formerly of
Sheffield, who, in 1838, advertised that he had "a large stock of
Champion's warranted cast steel axes, made at the factory originally
built by the late Harvey Shepard, and afterwards occupied by John
Armstrong. As Shepard's and Armstrong's axes have been decidedly
preferred before any others in the Province," the advertisement
continues, "it is only necessary to state that Champion's are made by
the same workmen, and from the very best material, to ensure for them
the same continued preference."--We now return from our digression
southward at Bay Street.
Chief Justice Elmsley was the first possessor of the hundred acres
westward of the Macaulay lot. He effected, however, a certain exchange
with Dr. Macaulay. Preferring land that lay higher, he gave the southern
half of his lot for the northern half of his neighbour's, the latter at
the same time discerning, as is probable, the prospective greater value
of a long frontage on one of the highways into the town. Of Mr. Elmsley,
we have had occasion to speak in our perambulation of King Street in
connection with Government House, which in its primitive state was his
family residence; and in our progress through Yonge Street hereafter we
shall again have to refer to him. In 1802 he was promoted from a Puisne
Judgeship in Upper Canada to the Chief Justiceship of Lower Canada.
The park-lot which follows was originally secured by one who has
singularly vanished out of the early traditions of York--the Rev. T.
Raddish. His name is inscribed on this property in the first plan, and
also on part of what is now the south-east portion of the
Government-house grounds. He emigrated to these parts under the express
auspices of the first Lieutenant-Governor, and was expected by him to
take a position of influence in the young colony of Upper Canada. But,
habituated to the amenities and conveniencies of an old community, he
speedily discovered either that an entirely new society was not suited
to him or that he himself did not dovetail well into it. He appears to
have remained in the country only just long enough to acquire for
himself and heirs the fee simple of a good many acres of its virgin
soil. In 1826 the southern portion of Mr. Raddish's park-lot became the
property of Sir John Robinson, at the time Attorney General.--The site
of Osgoode Hall, six acres, was, as we have been assured, the generous
gift of Sir John Robinson to the Law Society, and the name which the
building bears was his suggestion.
The east wing of the existing edifice was the original Osgoode Hall,
erected under the eye of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, at the time Treasurer of the
Society. It was a plain square matter-of-fact brick building two storeys
and a half in height. In 1844-46 a corresponding structure was erected
to the west, and the two were united by a building between, surmounted
by a low dome. In 1857-60 the whole edifice underwent a renovation; the
dome was removed; a very handsome facade of cut stone was put up; the
inner area, all constructed of Caen stone, reminding one of the interior
of a Genoese or Roman Palace, was added, with the Court Rooms, Library
and other appurtenances, on a scale of dignity and in a style of
architectural beauty surpassed only by the new Law Courts in London. The
pediment of each wing, sustained aloft on fluted Ionic columns, seen on
a fine day against the pure azure of a northern sky, is something
Great expense has been lavished by the Benchers on this Canadian Palais
de Justice; but the effect of such a pile, kept in its every nook and
corner and in all its surroundings in scrupulous order, is invaluable,
tending to refine and elevate each successive generation of our young
candidates for the legal profession, and helping to inspire amongst them
a salutary esprit de corps.
The Library, too, here to be seen, noble in its dimensions and aspect,
must, even independently of its contents, tend to create a love of legal
study and research.
The Law Society of Osgoode Hall was incorporated in 1822. The Seal bears
a Pillar on which is a beaver holding a Scroll inscribed Magna Charta.
To the right and left are figures of Justice and Strength (Hercules.)
An incident associated in modern times with Osgoode Hall is the
Entertainment given there to the Prince of Wales during his visit to
Canada in 1860, on which occasion, at night, all the architectural lines
of the exterior of the building were brilliantly marked out by rows of
Here, too, were held the impressive funeral obsequies of Sir John
Robinson, the distinguished Chief Justice of Upper Canada, in 1862. In
the Library is a large painting of him in oil, in which his finely cut
Reginald Heber features are well delineated. Sayer Street, passing
northward on the east side of Osgoode Hall, was so named by Chief
Justice Robinson, in honour of his mother. In 1870 the name was changed,
probably without reflection and certainly without any sufficient cause.
The series of paintings begun in Osgoode Hall, conservative to future
ages of the outward presentment of our Chief Justices, Chancellors and
Judges, is very interesting. All of them, we believe, are by Berthon, of
Toronto. No portrait of Chief Justice Osgoode, however, is at present
here to be seen. The engraving contained in this volume is from an
original in the possession of Capt. J. K. Simcoe, R. N., of Wolford, in
the County of Devon.
After filling the office of Chief Justice in Upper Canada, Mr. Osgoode
was removed to the same high position in Lower Canada. He resigned in
1801 and returned to England. Among the deaths in the Canadian Review
of July, 1824, his is recorded in the following terms:--"At his Chambers
in the Albany, London, on the 17th of February last, Wm. Osgoode, Esq.,
formerly Chief Justice of Canada, aged 70. By the death of this
gentleman," it is added, "his pension of L800 sterling paid by this
Province now ceases." It is said of him, "no person admitted to his
intimacy ever failed to conceive for him that esteem which his conduct
and conversation always tended to augment." Garneau, in his History of
Canada, iii., 117, without giving his authority, says that he was an
illegitimate son of George III. Similar tattle has been rife from time
to time in relation to other personages in Canada.
A popular designation of Osgoode Hall long in vogue was "Lawyers' Hall:"
"Farewell, Toronto, of great glory,
Of valour, too, in modern story;
Farewell to Courts, to Lawyers' Hall,
The Justice seats, both great and small:
Farewell Attorneys, Special Pleaders,
Equity Draftsmen, and their Readers.
Canadian Laws, and Suits, to song
Of future Bard, henceforth belong."
Thus closed a curious production in rhyme entitled Curiae Canadenses,
published anonymously in 1843, but written by Mr. John Rumsey, an
English barrister, sometime domiciled here. In one place is described
the migration of the Court of Chancery back from Kingston, whither it
was for a brief interval removed, when Upper and Lower Canada were
re-united. The minstrel says:
"Dreary and sad was Frontenac:
Thy duke ne'er made a clearer sack,
Than when the edict to be gone
Issued from the Vice-regal Throne.
Exeunt omnes helter skelter
To Little York again for shelter:
Little no longer: York the New
Of imports such can boast but few:
A goodly freight, without all brag,
When comes 'mongst others, Master Spragge.
And skilful Turner, versed in pleading,
The Kingston exiles gently leading."
To the last three lines the following note is appended:--
"J. G. Spragge, Esq., the present very highly esteemed and
respected Master of the Court of Chancery; R. T. Turner, Esq., a
skilful Equity Draftsman and Solicitor in Chancery. See
Journals of House of Assembly, 1841."
The notes to Curiae Canadenses teem with interesting matter relating to
the laws, courts, terms, districts and early history, legal and general,
of Lower as well as Upper Canada. A copious table of contents renders
the volume quite valuable for reference. The author must have been an
experienced compiler, analyst and legal index maker. In the text of the
work, Christopher Anstey's poetical "Pleader's Guide" is taken as a
model. As a motto to the portion of his poem that treats of Upper Canada
he places the line of Virgil, "Gensque virum truncis et duro robore
nata," which may be a compliment or not. The title in full of Mr.
Rumsey's brochure, which consists of only 127 octavo pages, is as
follows:--"Curiae Canadenses; or, The Canadian Law Courts: being a Poem,
describing the several Courts of Law and Equity which have been erected
from time to time in the Canadas; with copious notes, explanatory and
historical, and an Appendix of much useful Matter. Itur in antiquam
sylvam, stabula alta ferarum; Procumbunt piceae, sonat icta securibus
ilex, Fraxineaeque trabes: cuneis et fissile robur Scinditur: advolvunt
ingentes montibus ornos.--Virgil. By Plinius Secundus. Toronto: H. and
W. Rowsell, King Street, 1843." The typography and paper are admirable.
The Curiae, in a jacket of fair calf, should be given a place on the
shelves of our Canadian law libraries.
We pause for a moment at York Street, opposite the east wing of Osgoode
It rather puzzles one to conceive why York Street received its name. If
a commemoration of the Duke of York of sixty years since was designed,
the name of the w