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

ime, 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

Burlington Bay."

In 1799 the Constellation, a paper published at Niagara, informs its

readers, under the date of Friday, August 2nd, in that year, that "the

wilderness from York to the Bay of 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.

Osgoode Hall.

The east wing of the existing edifice was the original Osgoode Hall,

erected under the eye of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, at the time Treasurer of the

Society. It was a plain square matter-of-fact brick building two storeys

and a half in height. In 1844-46 a 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

minute gas-jets.

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 whole town was that sufficiently already. Frederick

Street, besides, recorded his specific Christian name, and Duke Street

his rank and title. Although interesting now as a memento of a name

borne of old by Toronto, York Street, when Toronto was York, might well

have been otherwise designated, it seeming somewhat irrational for any

particular thoroughfare in a town to be distinguished by the name of

that town.--A certain poverty of invention in regard to street names has

in other instances been evinced amongst us. Victoria Street, for

example, was for a time called Upper George Street, to distinguish it

from George Street proper, so named from George, Prince of Wales, the

notable Prince Regent. It is curious that no other name but George

should have been suggested for the second street; especially, too, as

that street might have been so fittingly named Toronto Street, as being

situated within a few feet of the line of the original thoroughfare of

that name which figures so largely in the early descriptions of

York.--If in "York Street" a compliment had been intended to Charles

Yorke, Secretary at War in 1802, the orthography would have been "Yorke


After all, however, the name "York Street" may have arisen from the

circumstance that, at an early period, this was for teams on their way

to York, the beaten track, suddenly turning off here to the south out of

Dundas or Lot Street, the line of road which, if followed, would have

taken the traveller to Kingston.

The street on the west of the grounds of Osgoode Hall is now known as

University Street. By the donor to the public of the land occupied by

the street, it was designated Park Lane--not without due consideration,

as is likely. In London there is a famous and very distinguished Park

Lane. It leads from Oxford Street to Piccadilly, and skirts the whole of

the east side of Hyde Park. The position of what was our Park Lane is

somewhat analogous, it being open along its whole length on the left to

the plantations of an ornamental piece of ground. Unmeddled with, our

Park Lane would have suggested from time to time in the mind of the

ruminating wayfarer pleasant thoughts of a noble and interesting part of

the great home metropolis. The change to University Street was

altogether uncalled for. It ignored the adjoining "College Avenue," the

name of which showed that a generally-recognized "University Street"

existed already: it gave, moreover, a name which is pretentious, the

roadway indicated being comparatively narrow.

Of the street on the east side of the grounds of Osgoode Hall we have

already spoken. But in connection with the question of changes in street

names, we must here again refer to it. In this case the name "Sayer" has

been made to give place to "Chestnut." "Elm Street," which intersects

this street to the north, probably in some vague way suggested a tree

name. "Elm Street," however, had a reason for its existence. Many

persons still remember a solitary Elm, a relic of the forest, which was

long conspicuous just where Elm Street enters Yonge Street. And there is

a fitness likewise in the names of Pine Street and Sumach Street, in the

east; these streets, passing through a region where pines and sumachs

once abounded. But the modern Chestnut Street has nothing about it in

the past or present associated with chestnut trees of any kind. The

name "Sayer" should have been respected.

It is unfortunate when persons, apparently without serious retrospective

thought, have a momentary chance to make changes in local names.

Chancery might well be invoked to undo in some instances what has been

done, and to prohibit like inconsiderate proceedings in the future.

Equity would surely say that a citizen's private right should be

sustained, so long as it worked no harm to the community; and that

perplexity in the registration and description of property should not

needlessly be created.

Although we shall forestall ourselves a little, we may here notice one

more alteration in a street-name near Osgoode Hall. William Street,

immediately west of the Avenue leading to the University, has in recent

times been changed to Simcoe Street. It is true, William Street was

nearly in a line with the street previously known as Simcoe Street;

nevertheless, starting as it conspicuously did somewhat to the west of

that line, it was a street sufficiently distinct to be entitled to

retain an independent name. Here again, an item of local history has

been obliterated. William Street was a record on the soil of the first

name of an early Chief Justice of Upper Canada, who projected the street

and gave the land. Dummer Street, the next street westward, bears his

second name.

Of "Powell," his third name we have already spoken elsewhere, and shall

again almost immediately have to speak.

When it shall be proposed to alter the name of Dummer Street, with the

hope, perhaps, of improving the fame of the locality along with its

name, let the case of March Street be recalled. In the case of March

Street, the rose, notwithstanding a change of name, retained its

perfume: and the Colonial Minister of the day, Lord Stanley, received

but a sorry compliment when his name was made to displace that of the

Earl of March. (It was from this second title of the Duke of Richmond

that March Street had its name.)--It is probable that the Dummer Street

of to-day, like the March Street of yesterday, would, under another

name, continue much what it is. In all such quarters, it is not a change

of name that is of any avail: but the presence of the schoolmaster and

home-missionary, backed up by landlords and builders, studious of the

public health and morals, as well as of private interests.

Digression Northward at the College Avenue.

The fine vista of the College Avenue, opposite to which we have now

arrived, always recalls to our recollection a certain bright spring

morning, when on reaching school a whole holiday was unexpectedly

announced; and when, as a mode of filling up a portion of the

unlooked-for vacant time, it was agreed between two or three young lads

to pay a visit to the place on Lot Street where, as the report had

spread amongst us, they were beginning to make visible preparations for

the commencement of the University of King's College. The minds of

growing lads in the neighbourhood of York at that period had very vague

ideas of what a University really was. It was a place where studies were

carried on, but how or under what conditions, there was of necessity

little conception. Curiosity, however, was naturally excited by the talk

on the lips of every one that a University was one day to be established

at York; and now suddenly we learned that actual beginnings were to be

seen of the much-talked-of institution. On the morning of the fine

spring day referred to, we accordingly undertook an exploration.

On arriving at the spot to which we had been directed, we found that a

long strip of land running in a straight line northwards had been marked

out, after the manner of a newly-opened side line or concession road in

the woods. We found a number of men actually at work with axes and

mattocks; yokes of oxen, too, were straining at strong ploughs, which

forced a way in amongst the roots and small stumps of the natural

brushwood, and, here and there, underneath a rough mat of tangled grass,

bringing to light, now black vegetable mould, now dry clay, now loose

red sand. Longitudinally, up the middle of the space marked off, several

bold furrows were cut, those on the right inclining to the left, and

those on the left inclining to the right, as is the wont in primitive


One novelty we discovered, viz., that on each side along a portion of

the newly-cleared ground, young saplings had been planted at regular

intervals; these, we were told, were horse-chestnuts, procured from the

United States expressly for the purpose of forming a double row of trees

here. In the neighbourhood of York the horse-chestnut was then a rarity.

Everywhere throughout the North American continent, as in the numerous

newly-opened areas of the British Empire elsewhere on the globe's

surface, instances, of course, abound of wonderful progress made in a

brief interval of time. For ourselves, we seem sometimes as if we were

moving among the unrealities of a dream when we deliberately review the

steps in the march of physical and social improvement, which, within a

fractional portion only of a retrospect not very extended, can be

recalled, in the region where our own lot has been cast, and, in

particular, in the neighbourhood where we are at this moment pausing.

The grand mediaeval-looking structure of University College in the

grounds at the head of the Avenue, continues to this day to be a

surprise somewhat bewildering to the eye and mind, whenever it breaks

upon our view. It looks so completely a thing of the old world and of an

age long past away. To think that one has walked over its site before

one stone was laid upon another thereon, seems almost like a mental


A certain quietness of aspect and absence of overstrain after

architectural effect give the massive pile an air of great genuineness.

The irregular grouping of its many parts appears the undesigned result

of accretion growing out of the necessities of successive years. The

whole looks in its place, and as if it had long occupied it. The

material of its walls, left for the most part superficially in the

rough, has the appearance of being weather-worn. An impression of age,

too, is given by the smooth finish of the surrounding grounds and

spacious drives by which, on several sides, the building is approached,

as also by the goodly size of the well-grown oaks and other trees

through whose outstretched branches it is usually first caught sight of,

from across the picturesque ravine.

Of the still virgin condition of the surrounding soil, however, we have

some unmistakeable evidence in the ponderous granitic boulders every

here and there heaving up their grey backs above the natural greensward,

undisturbed since the day when they dropped suddenly down from the

dissolving ice-rafts that could no longer endure their weight.

Seen at a little distance, as from Yonge Street for example, the square

central tower of the University, with the cone-capped turret at its

north-east angle, rising above a pleasant horizon of trees, and outlined

against an afternoon sky, is something thoroughly English, recalling

Rugby or Warwick. On a nearer approach, this same tower, combined with

the portal below, bears a certain resemblance to the gateway of the

Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, as figured in Palgrave's "Anglo-Saxons;" and

the elaborate and exquisite work about the recessed circular-headed

entrance enables one to realize with some degree of certainty how the

enriched front of that and other noble mediaeval structures, seen by us

now corroded and mutilated, looked when fresh from the hands that so

cunningly carved them.

In the two gigantic blind-worms, likewise, stretched in terrorem on the

sloping parapets of the steps leading to the door, benumbed, not dead;

giving in their extremities, still faint evidence of life, we have a

sermon in stone, which the brethren of a masonic guild of Wykeham's day

would readily have expounded. As we enter a house devoted to learning

and study, is it not fitting that the eye should be greeted with a

symbol of the paralyzing power of Science over Ignorance and


Moreover, sounds that come at stated intervals from that central tower,

make another link of sympathy with the old mother-land. Every night at

nine, "swinging slow with solemn roar," the great bell of the University

is agreeably suggestive of Christ Church, Oxford, St. Mary's, Cambridge,

and other places beyond the sea, which to the present hour give back an

echo of the ancient Curfew.

And if to this day the University building, in its exterior aspect and

accidents, is startling to those who knew its site when as yet in a

state of nature, its interior also, when traversed and explored, tends

in the same persons to produce a degree of confusion as between things

new and old; as between Canada and elsewhere. Within its walls are to be

seen appliances and conveniences and luxuries for the behoof and use of

teacher and student, unknown a few years since in many an ancient seat

of learning.

In a library of Old World aspect and arrangement, is a collection rich

in the Greek and Latin Classics, in Epigraphy and Archaeology, beyond

anything of the kind in any other collection on this continent, and

beyond what is to be met with in those departments in many a separate

College within the precincts of the ancient Universities--a pre-eminence

due to the tastes and special studies of the first president and other

early professors of the Canadian Institution.

Strange, it is, yet true that hither, as to a recognized source of

certain aid in identification and decipherment, are duly transmitted, by

cast, rubbing and photograph, the "finds" that from time to time create

such excitement and delight among epigraphists, and ethnologists, and

other minute historical investigators in the British Islands and


There used to be preserved in the Old Hospital a model in cork and

card-board, of the great educational establishment to which, in the

first instance, the Avenue was expected to form an approach. It was very

curious. Had it been really followed, a large portion of the park

provided for the reception of the University would have been covered

with buildings. A multitude of edifices, isolated and varying in

magnitude, were scattered about, with gardens and ornamental grounds

interspersed. These were halls of science, lecture-rooms, laboratories,

residences for president, vice-president, professors, officials and

servants of every grade. On the widely extended premises occupied by the

proposed institution, a population was apparently expected to be found

that would, of itself, have almost sufficed to justify representation in

Parliament--a privilege the college was actually by its charter to

enjoy. We should have had in fact realized before our eyes, on a

considerable scale, a part of the dreams of Plato and More, a fragment

of Atlantis and Utopia.

When the moment arrived, however, for calling into visible being the

long contemplated seat of learning, it was found expedient to abandon

the elaborate model which had been constructed. Mr. Young, a local

architect, was directed to devise new plans. His ideas appear to have

been wholly modern. Notwithstanding the tenor of the Royal Charter,

which suggested the precedents of the old universities of "our United

Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland," wherever it should be practicable

to follow them, the architecture and arrangements customary in those

places were ignored. Girard College, Philadelphia, seems to have

inspired the new designs. However, only a minute fragment of one of the

buildings of the new plan was destined ever to exist.

The formal commencement of the abortive work took place on the 23rd of

April, 1842--a day indelibly impressed on the memory of those who

participated in the proceedings. It was one of the sunniest and

brightest of days. In the year just named it happened that so early as

St. George's day the leaves of the horse-chestnut were bursting their

glossy sheaths, and vegetation generally was in a very advanced stage.

A procession, such as had never before been seen in these parts, slowly

defiled up the Avenue to the spot where the corner-stone of the proposed

University was to be laid.

A highly wrought contemporary description of the scene is given in a

note in Curiae Canadenses: "The vast procession opened its ranks, and

his Excellency the Chancellor, with the President, the Lord Bishop of

Toronto, on his right, and the Senior Visitor, the Chief Justice, on his

left, proceeded on foot through the College Avenue to the University

grounds. The countless array moved forward to the sound of military

music. The sun shone out with cloudless meridian splendour; one blaze of

banners flushed upon the admiring eye.--The Governor's rich

Lord-Lieutenant's dress, the Bishop's sacerdotal robes, the Judicial

Ermine of the Chief Justice, the splendid Convocation robes of Dr.

McCaul, the gorgeous uniforms of the suite, the accoutrements of the

numerous Firemen, the national badges worn by the Office-bearers of the

different Societies, and what on such a day (St. George's) must not be

omitted, the Red Crosses on the breasts of England's congregated sons,

the grave habiliments of the Clergy and Lawyers, and the glancing lances

and waving plumes of the First Incorporated Dragoons, all formed one

moving picture of civic pomp, one glorious spectacle which can never be

remembered but with satisfaction by those who had the good fortune to

witness it. The following stanza from a Latin Ode," the note goes on to

say, "recited by Master Draper, son of the late Attorney-General, after

the ceremony, expresses in beautifully classical language the proud

occasion of all this joy and splendid pageantry:--

"Io! triumphe! flos Canadensium!

Est alma nobis mater; aemula

Britanniae haec sit nostra terra,--

Terra diu domibus negata!"

Another contemporary account adds: "As the procession drew nearer to the

site where the stone was to be laid, the 43rd Regiment lined the way,

with soldiers bearing arms, and placed on either side, at equal

intervals. The 93rd Regiment was not on duty here, but in every

direction the gallant Highlanders were scattered through the crowd, and

added by their national garb and nodding plumes to the varied beauty of

the animated scene. When the site was reached," this account says, "a

new feature was added to the interest of the ceremony. Close to the

spot, the north-east corner, where the foundation was to be deposited, a

temporary building had been erected for the Chancellor, and there,

accompanied by the officers of the University and his suite, he took his

stand. Fronting this was a kind of amphitheatre of seats, constructed

for the occasion, tier rising above tier, densely filled with ladies,

who thus commanded a view of the whole ceremony. Between this

amphitheatre and the place where the Chancellor stood, the procession

ranged itself."

The Chancellor above spoken of was the Governor General of the day, Sir

Charles Bagot, a man of noble bearing and genial, pleasant aspect. He

entered with all the more spirit into the ceremonies described, from

being himself a graduate of one of the old universities. Memories of

far-off Oxford and Christ Church would be sure to be roused amidst the

proceedings that rendered the 23rd of April, 1842, so memorable amongst

us. A brother of Sir Charles' was at the time Bishop of Oxford. In his

suite, as one of his Secretaries, was Captain Henry Bagot, of the Royal

Navy, his own son. Preceding him in the procession, bearing a large

gilded mace, was an "Esquire Bedell," like the Chancellor himself, a

Christ Church man, Mr. William Cayley, subsequently a member of the

Canadian Government.

Although breaking ground for the University building had been long

delayed, the commencement now made proved to be premature. The edifice

begun was never completed, as we have already intimated; and even in its

imperfect, fragmentary condition, it was not fated to be for any great

length of time a scene of learned labours. In 1856 its fortune was to be

converted into a Female Department for the over-crowded Provincial

Lunatic Asylum.

The educational system inaugurated in the new building in 1843 was, as

the plate enclosed in the foundation-stone finely expressed it,

"praestantissimum ad exemplar Britannicarum Universitatum." But the

"exemplar" was not, in practice, found to be, as a whole, adapted to the

genius of the Western Canadian people.

The revision of the University scheme with a view to the necessities of

Western Canada, was signalized by the erection in 1857 of a new building

on an entirely different site, and a migration to it bodily, of

president, professors and students, without departing however from the

bounds of the spacious park originally provided for the institution; and

it is remarkable that, while deviating, educationally and otherwise, in

some points, from the pattern of the ancient universities, as they were

in 1842, a nearer approach, architecturally, was made to the mediaeval

English College than any that had been thought of before. Mr.

Cumberland, the designer of the really fine and most appropriate

building in which the University at length found a resting place, was,

as is evident, a man after the heart of Wykeham and Wayneflete.

The story of our University is a part of the history of Upper Canada.

From the first foundation of the colony the idea of some such seat of

learning entered into the scheme of its organization. In 1791, before he

had yet left England for the unbroken wilderness in which his Government

was to be set up, we have General Simcoe speaking to Sir Joseph Banks,

the President of the Royal Society, of "a college of a higher class," as

desirable in the community which he was about to create. "A college of a

higher class," he says, "would be eminently useful, and would give a

tone of principles and of manners that would be of infinite support to

Government." In the same letter he remarks to Sir Joseph, "My friend the

Marquis of Buckingham has suggested that Government might allow me a sum

of money to be laid out for a Public Library, to be composed of such

books as might be useful in the colony. He instanced the Encyclopaedia,

extracts from which might occasionally be published in the newspapers.

It is possible," he adds, "private donations might be obtained, and that

it would become an object of Royal munificence."

It was naturally long before the community of Upper Canada was ripe for

a college of the character contemplated; but provision for its ultimate

existence and sustenance was made, almost from the beginning, in the

assignment to that object of a fixed and liberal portion of the public

lands of the country.

In 1819-20, Gourlay spoke of the unpreparedness of Upper Canada as yet

for a seat of learning of a high grade. Meanwhile, as a temporary

expedient, he suggested a romantic scheme. "It has been proposed," he

says, "to have a college in Upper Canada; and no doubt in time colleges

will grow up there. At present, and for a considerable period to come,

any effort to found a college would prove abortive. There could neither

be got masters nor scholars to ensure a tolerable commencement for ten

years to come; and a feeble beginning might beget a feeble race of

teachers and pupils. In the United States," he continued, "academies

and colleges, though fast improving, are yet but raw; and greatly

inferior to those in Britain, generally speaking. Twenty-five lads sent

annually at public charge from Upper Canada to British Universities,

would draw after them many more. The youths themselves, generally, would

become desirous of making a voyage in quest of learning.--Crossing the

ocean on such an errand would elevate their ideas, and stir them up to

extraordinary exertions. They would become finished preachers, lawyers,

physicians, merchants; and, returning to their native country, would

repay in wisdom what was expended in goodness and liberality. What more

especially invites the adoption of such a scheme is the amiable and

affectionate connection which it would tend to establish between Canada

and Britain. But it will not do at present to follow out the idea."

Gourlay's prediction that "in time colleges will grow up there" has been

speedily verified. The town especially, of which in its infant state he

spoke in such terms of contempt, has been so prolific of colleges that

it is now become a kind of Salamanca for the country at large; a place

of resort for students from all parts. It is well probably for Canada

that the scheme of drafting a batch of young students periodically to

the old country, was not adopted. Canada would thereby possibly, on the

one hand, have lost the services of some of the cleverest of her sons,

who, on obtaining academic distinction would have preferred to remain in

the mother country, entering on one or other of the public careers to

which academic distinction there opens the ready path; and, on the other

hand, she should, in many an instance, it is to be feared, have received

back her sons just unfitted, in temper and habit, for life under

matter-of-fact colonial conditions.

In the original planting of the Avenue, up whose fine vista we have been

gazing, the mistake was committed of imitating nature too closely.

Numerous trees and shrubs of different kinds and habits were mingled

together as they are usually to be seen in a wild primitive wood; and

thus the growth and fair development of all were hindered. The

horse-chestnuts alone should have been relied on to give character to

the Avenue; and of these there should have been on each side a double

row, with a promenade for pedestrians underneath, after the manner of

the great walks in the public parks of the old towns of Europe.