Morse Street opens and first house built Globe July 24 1883
John Brickenden lived on Morse Street. Toronto Star March 11, 1899 The Brickendens were well known butchers, carriage makers and builders.
Alderman Stewart lived on Morse Street and improved his grounds and painted his house in 1894. Toronto Star July 27, 1899 Before the soap factories, tanneries and other heavy industries moved in on Eastern Avenue, Morse Street was a desirable middle class location.
“There is considerable stir in real estate east of the Don.” George C. Gilmore purchased 102 Morse and a Mr. Tarlton bought 111 Morse for their own residences. Toronto Star Oct. 25, 1900
The population in the area around Morse Avenue boomed in the 1890s as heavy industry moved in and workers came to be near their job sites. Referring to schools, the Toronto Star noted, “The most crowded districts in the city are east of the Don, and in the neighborhood of the Gladstone avenue school.” Toronto Star March 12, 1901
”A progressive euchre party was given by Mr. Wm. Booth, of Morse street, at his home last evening.” Toronto Star March 15, 1901 Local butcher, ice merchant and builder, William Booth, was the source of the street name Booth Avenue.
“Mr. John Beamish, of Morse street, who was injured by falling off a load of barrels Thursday evening, is somewhat improved.” Toronto Star April 15, 1901 Many new immigrants, primarily from Britain, moved onto Morse and the nearby streets. However, many old Leslie families like the Beamish also had a continous presence early on. The Beamish had worked in George Leslie’s nurseries in the early days.
”Miss Kingston, of Morse street, and Miss Clifford, of Louis street, are leaving to visit Niagara Falls friends.” Toronto Star April 27, 1901 Newspapers were full of items like this before 1920 as were small town newspaper right up into the 1960s. Full of what we consider gossip, they are valuable sources of genealogical and local history.
Miss and Master Arthur Ayre, of Morse street, will return from Hawkstone to-morrow.” Toronto Star June 25, 1901 The Ayres owned the hotel at Eastern and Morse for many years.
Toronto Star June 25, 1901“Mr. and Mrs. W. Fitzgerald, of Morse street, will leave this evening on a …” Toronto Star Aug. 9, 1901 It wasn’t always wise to announce when you would be away, considering, that is, if the burglars were literate.
”For the convenience of East End residents, a four-foot sidewalk and a railing is being carried out from the end of Morse street, to Ashbridge’s Bay, to reach the Island boat.”Toronto Star Oct. 16, 1901 Lol Solman, operator of the Toronto Island ferries and the baseball stadium on the Toronto Islands, ran a ferry for a short time from the foot of Morse Street. However, Ashbridges Bay was too shallow and it kept grounding on shifting sand bars. The service didn’t last long.
Letta Fox, a 15-year old staying with her family on a summer’s cottage on the sandbar on Ashbridges Bay, saved a man from drowning in the deep water at the foot of Morse Street. She was on Morse Street and ran out to the end of the sewer pipe which extended into the Bay and pulled a drowning man’s head to the surface.
“The girl had not the strength to draw the victim to the wharf, but pluckily held on and shouted until assistance came.”
She had also saved another man the summer before. Her family, including father Robert Fox, were known for rescues:
“Other members of the Fox family have also rescued persons from drowning and an uncle holds the Royal Humane Society’s medal.” The so-called “water rats” of Leslieville and Fisherman’s Island were skilled boats operators, fisherman and strong swimmers — lucky for those who weren’t.
”The East End merchants are decorating for the Christmas trade.
“Mr. James Frame, of Morse street, is likely to be a candidate for alderman.”
”TRUE BLUES MEET.
There was a special meeting of the members of the True Blues last night at the residence of the Grand Master, Mr. W. Fitzgerald, Morse street, to discuss important matters to be brought up at the Grand Lodge meeting next week in Barrie.”
It must have come as a deep shock to her employers when Mary O’Connor, a “drummer’ or travelling sales person, was deported back to Canada from the US on very flimsy grounds despite the fact that she had become an American citizen. Clearly misogyny was at work as the US Customs official De Barry had no valid grounds for his decision. Unmarried women were unusual in the sales business back then. Her employers, J. H. Farr and Company, had a large soap manufacturing plant at the foot of Morse Avenue on Ashbridge’s Bay near what is now Lakeshore Blvd. O’Connor had been working as a “drummer” for Farr’s in the States for some time but, as the Toronto Star sarcastically reported, “Inspector De Barry of buffalo fancied that her presence would paralyze the trade and commerce of the whole United States” and come back to Toronto, “And Miss O’Connor had to return to the land of freedom from the land of guff”.
191 Booth Ave, City of Toronto Archives, Billie Hallam, Miss Toronto 1937