City Engineers Map 1892 Showing the boundaries of the City of Toronto as “City Limit” in red. The lot lines still show, but streets hadn’t been built on them yet. The lot lines were the farm boundaries and had muddy lanes the farmers used to access their fields. Coxwell Avenue is a rough dirt road.
In the 1896 map, E.H. Duggan, a real estate developer, now owns the farms between Woodfield Road at the east of the Ashbridge Estate and Coxwell Avenue. He has subdivided the area directly west of Coxwell Avenue that includes Rhodes and Craven, holding it for future development.
Erie Terrace is not yet built on. Houses show on the map as little black rectangles. Rhodes Avenue is very faintly marked between Gerrard and the railway tracks. Upper Gerrard exists as does lower Gerrard but they are both not much more that rutted dirt trails. If you look carefully at the very bottom of the map at the lower right you can see an estate marked “E. Simpson”. A knitting mill was built there in the 1860s by one of the most enterprising and important business men in the area, Joseph Simpson (1824-1898). I will write a separate story about this intriguing Jewish businessman from Charleston, South Carolina who panned for gold in the 1848 California Gold Rush and came to Canada as a “draft dodger” because he did not want to fight for the Confederacy. Ernest Simpson, the E. Simpson on the map, was his son.
In the 1893 map Reid Avenue (now Rhodes Avenue) has been laid out north of the track. The subdivision has been registered (the numbers in the oval). South of the tracks no road has been opened up yet Erie Terrace (Craven Road) is now a registered subdivision (see the number) and has been divided up into tiny lots on its side. Coxwell Avenue has also been subdivided all along its west side to Danforth Avenue. Duggan intentionally developed Erie Terrace as a “shacktown” with tiny houses on tiny lots and no infrastructure. At the same time, he held back the farm to the west, intending it to be developed later for more lucrative lots with more substantial houses. That is why the west side of Erie Terrace (Craven Road) was not built on.
In this 1903 map, Erie Terrace is not yet built on. Houses show on the map as little black rectangles. Rhodes Avenue is very faintly marked between Gerrard and the railway tracks. Upper Gerrard exists as does lower Gerrard but they are both not much more that rutted dirt trails. If you look carefully at the very bottom of the map at the lower right you can see an estate marked “E. Simpson”. A knitting mill was built there in the 1860’s by one of the most enterprising and important business men in the area, Joseph Simpson (1824-1898). I will write a separate story about this intriguing Jewish businessman from Charleston, South Carolina who panned for gold in the 1848 California Gold Rush and came to Canada as a “draft dodger” because he did not want to fight for the Confederacy. Ernest Simpson, the E. Simpson on the map, was his son. Joseph Simpson grazed his own sheep where Gerrard Square is today. Only the best wool was good enough for his Toronto Knitting Mills.
Duggan has developed Ashdale Avenue as a slightly more upscale working class street than Erie Terrace (Craven Road). The backyards of the houses on Ashdale extend to Erie Terrace. There are no houses, therefore, on the west of Erie Terrace — just a few sheds. The houses are little rectangular squares. The ones in yellow (all of them) are made of wood or are roughcast (stucco and wood). Erie Terrace is on the right. There are, of course, shacks scattered all over “Shacktown” but they were not considered even houses by the those who drew up this map for fire insurance purposes. So they are not marked. Morley Avenue is Woodfield Road. Applegrove became part of Dundas Street in the 1950’s.
The subdivision and lot numbers are clear on this 1910 map, making it easier to research the history of individual houses. Robin Burgoyne of Caerwent House Stories is that expert on this.
See more at http://www.housestories.ca/
I know many people may not enjoy maps. So I put this one last map in as a reward for those who don’t like maps but read this post anyway.
Well, to paraphrase as Leonard Cohen sang, “Everything has a crack in it, that’s how the light gets in…”
Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
From Anthem by Leonard Cohen
It appears I was “snookered” along with a whole lot of other people on the quote on our plaque.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
It appears that Harriet Tubman did not say the words attributed to her on the plaque.
Thanks to Toronto historian Kathy Grant, I’m aware of the problem with the plaque wording.
Here’s the back story. We did our best three years ago in terms of due diligence, believing our sources were valid and checking with various authorities. However, this was before the word was out there on the Net that this was very likely not Harriet Tubman’s words even though a scholar discovered that the quote didn’t begin to appear until 2007. http://www.harriettubmanbiography.com/harriet-tubman-myths-and-facts.html
Here was one of our original sources for the quote:
Our own [belated] search for original 19th century sources came up with nothing, no evidence that Harriet Tubman said this or anything like this. However, there is an eerie echoe from another leading Black American:
How easy, then, by emphasis and omission to make children believe that every great soul the world ever saw was a white man’s soul; that every great thought the world ever knew was a white man’s thought; that every great deed the world ever did was a white man’s deed; that every great dream the world ever sang was a white man’s dream. — W.E.B. Dubois, W.E.B. Dubois, Darkwater: voices from within the veil, 1920, p. 2
The sentiments in the quote purportedly from Harriet Tubman are still true though the quotes we have from her are generally pithy and too the point.
But the real value of the plaque is not that quote but the recognition of the people and families who came here and made their homes here after escaping slavery. Their lives were hard, marked by tragedy all too often.
I can personally vouch for the research on that and am more than happy to share the sources with anyone who is interested. If it brings a little more light to this history through this particular crack, then good.
“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven”.
Harriet Tubman, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman by Sarah Hopkins Bradford, 1869
PS We should say up front that the quote is “attributed to Harriet Tubman”.
We hope you will be able to join us for at 11:30 a.m. on November 19, 2019, at The Logan Residences, 899 Queen Street East. The Leslieville Historical Society and The Daniels Corporation will unveil a plaque recognizing the Underground Railroad and the families who made their way to freedom, forming a black community here from the early 19th century.
Here is the wording of the plaque:
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
Many families came to Toronto in the1800s to escape slavery, violence and oppression in the American South. They courageously followed the dangerous path to freedom via the Underground Railroad and some settled here, near the corner of Queen Street East and Logan Avenue. While a few returned south after the Civil War (1861-1865), many remained, helping to forge the identity of Leslieville today.
This plaque commemorates these families: the Barrys, Cheneys, Dockertys,Harmons, Johnsons, Lewises, Sewells, Whitneys, Wilrouses, Winders, Woodforksand others who came here from Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and other States.
BY THE LESLIEVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETYWITH THE
DANIELS CORPORATION AND THEIR PARTNER STANLEY GARDEN
In 1793 Upper Canada passed law banning the import of slaves (first such law in British Empire (9 July). The Abolition Act decreed slave children born in Upper Canada from this day forward are to be freed when they are 25. In the 1840s and 1850s a series of American court decisions and laws tightened slavery’s grip and made escape even more dangerous. Increasingly, refugees from slavery headed to Canada, many using the secret network known as The Underground Railroad, but most travelling alone or in small family groups with no help from anyone, using the Northern Star to guide their way.
By the mid-1860s 60 to 75 black people lived here, out of a population of Leslieville’s population of about 350. We honor their contributions to our community where their descendants still live and work today.
1965 Photographs of new Greenwood Yard follow
London, England has a BBC show, The Secret History of Our Streets. The series claims to explore “the history of archetypal streets in Britain, which reveal the story of a nation.” Our streets are just as interesting and our stories goes back millennia before Austin Avenue existed to when Leslie Creek was full of salmon and Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat gathered wild rice in Ashbridge’s Bay. I hope you enjoy this page. My research ends in 1919, a century ago. I have not explored the history of every family, Austin Avenue has more secrets to tell.
Here are some of those stories — those from 2 to 17 Austin Avenue
2 Austin Avenue
Walter Gray was born on November 9, 1857 in at Gray’s Mills, York Township, now part of the Donalda Golf and Country Club. He married Annie Emma Clifford on January 30, 1884 and they had five children in 11 years. The Grays had a grocery store at 2 Austin Avenue and lived above the store. They moved to 100 Boulton Avenue about ten years later.
His wife Annie Emma passed away on July 29, 1916, on Bolton Avenue, at the age of 49. They had been married 32 years. Walter Gray died on April 8, 1938, in Dunnville, Ontario, at the age of 80.
Son William John was born on December 19, 1885, in Toronto, Ontario. He Gray married Annie Mary Norris on June 28, 1907, in Toronto. They had two children during their marriage. He died in 1948 at the age of 63, and was buried near his parents. Annie Mary Norris died in 1960 and was laid to rest next to her husband. The Gray family plot is in Saint Johns Norway Cemetery and Crematorium, Woodbine Avenue.
Ironically both the Gray family homestead and Leslie Street School principal Thomas Hogarth’s house have been honoured with historical plaques.
4 Austin Avenue
4 Austin Avenue was the home of Henry Bowins in 1919 and, in 1921, by widow, Mrs. Louisa (Beckett) Greenslade and her five children, ranging in age from 7 to 17. in 1921. Her husband, William Henry Greenslade, a market gardener, had dropped dead of a heart attack in 1915. The family lived in Etobicoke at that time.
6 Austin Avenue
8 Austin Avenue
John Christopher Waldron married William Robertson Hodge’s sister Eveleen in 1919 and was lived with her, sister Jean, and their mother, Mary. Like his brother in law he was a tall man for the time (5’11”) and fit. He was an Irish Catholic while Eveleen Hodge was an Irish Protestant. Both were from Dublin. Unlike his brother-in-law, he was not conscripted but volunteered. Like his brother-in-law he was hit by shellfire. Clearly from the medical records doctors had a hard time identifying just what was wrong with Pte. Waldron, apart from flat feet which was easy. The blast buried Waldron completely under mud, timbers and rubble, causing a severe concussion and what was known as “shell shock “. He died in 1964.
10 Austin Avenue
It appears that Mrs. Robinson at 10 Austin Avenue took in lodgers, as many widows did. Since the lodgers were mostly young men who moved frequently, it is difficult to determine just which Frank Mulhern was responsible, but it appears to have been Frank Beauchamp Mulheron (1881-1917) who moved to the U.S. permanently shortly after this assault occurred. Strong-arm tactics to hijack valuable cargo was not uncommon though this was particularly audacious. Often the motive was to re-sell the produce and sometimes simply to get something to eat. The perpetrators usually knew their victims and counted on intimidation to keep the victims from reporting to the police. Gangs were a reality back then too. Timothy Lynch of 51 Austin Avenue took the law into his own hands shooting those who robbed his orchard. But that’s another story.
Dudley Seymour Robinson was born on July 6, 1892, in San Jose, California, USA,. Both his parents were English. He married Gladys Elsie Moffat on October 6, 1920, in Toronto. They had two children during their marriage. He died in March 1963 in Michigan, USA, at the age of 70. In 1911 he was living with his widowed mother Rosina Alice Robinson at 10 Austin Avenue and working as a Foreman in a leather shop. Dudley Seymour Robinson enlisted on February 16, 1916 and sailed to England where he became an Acting Sergeant but injured his left knee while training. A torn meniscus kept out of the trenches, he was discharged from the army on Dec. 17, 1916 and sailed on the troop ship Metagama back to Canada, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick on Christmas Day 1916. He married Gladys Elsie Moffat in Toronto, Ontario, on October 6, 1920, when he was 28 years old and they lived in an apartment on Silverbirch Avenue. His mother Rosina Alice passed away at home 10 Austin Avenue on November 9, 1922, at the age of 55 from pneumonia. After his mother’s death Dudley Robinson moved to Detroit and died at the age of 70 in March 1963 in Michigan, USA.
14 Austin Avenue
William Edward Harrold was born in March 1873 in Monkton Combe, Somerset, England, his father, William, a wheelwright, was 54 and his mother, Amelia Ann, was 29. Though in 1871 the family owned their own home and even had a servant, Ten years later family was destitute and he was educated in a pauper school. In 1881 his father was in the Poor House as a pauper, as was William and his brothers, Alfred and Henry, but there was no sign of his mother. His father died in 1887. In 1890, at the age of 17, he immigrated alone to Canada. He was related to the Billing family, another Somerset family, for whom Billings Avenue is named. William Harrold married Ellen Sophia Eva Cox on June 15, 1897, in Toronto, Ontario. They had two children during their marriage: Alfred William Badgerow Harrold and John E Harrold. He died at home 14 Austin Avenue on November 11, 1936 of heart disease. Though he spent his working life in a foundry, his death certificate lists his true vocation: musician.
The Wheelwright’s Arms pub in Monkton Comb, now part of the City of Bath, was likely the family home of the Harrolds. To see photos of the pub go to: https://the-wheelwrights-arms-gb.book.direct/en-us/photos
17 Austin Avenue
Every family has stories and secrets. We don’t know why 17-year-old Kate Wellings mysteriously left home, alarming her parents. But perhaps the numerous articles about the Wellings family might hold a clue. My sympathies are with Kate. I was a teenage daughter of a man with some “unique” ideas, obsessed with politics and who wrote numerous Letters to the Editor. I was sometimes proud of him and sometimes embarrassed. Perhaps Kate felt the same or perhaps there was another reason.
The Wellings family were the first to live at 17 Austin Avenue and built the house there where Katherine “Kate” Wellings was born on January 31, 1887, but their story, like every family’s, goes back further.
Father George Washington Wellings was born in 1855 in Birmingham, England, the centre of Britain’s steel industry. His grandfather had been a blacksmith. His father, George Wellings Sr., was a “steel toy maker”. However, at the time, “toys” were not the playthings we think of today, but the term meant small metal items like buttons and buckles, and was part of the jewelry trade.
In 1830 Thomas Gill described the production of steel jewelry in Birmingham, from cutting the blanks for the steel beads or studs, to final polishing in a mixture of lead and tin oxide with proof spirit on the palms of women’s hands, to achieve their full brilliance. Gill comments: No effectual substitute for the soft skin which is only to be found upon the delicate hands of women, has hitherto been met with.” — from Revolutionary Players Making the Modern World, published by West Midlands History at https://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/birmingham-toys-cut-steel/
George Sr. also worked as a gun maker during the 1850’s and 1860’s. This was a lucrative business during that period. Between 1855 and 1861, Birmingham made six million arms most went to the USA to arm both sides in the American Civil War. Not long after George Wellings Sr. father retired from gun making and opened a pub, The Wellington, in the Duddeston at 78 Pritchett Street. German aircraft bombed the area heavily in World War. The pub no longer remains.
For more about Birmingham’s gun making history go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2009/02/18/birmingham_gun_trade_feature.shtml
George Jr. became a jeweller specializing in engraving on gold.
George Washington Wellings married Anna Maria Johnson in 1875 in Birmingham. They and their five children immigrated to Toronto in 1884. They would have seven more children, all born in Toronto.
Walter was their first child born in Canada – at home 13 Munro Street. Dr. Emily Stowe delivered the baby. Florence was born at home 17 Austin Avenue in 1889 and was soon joined by sister Hilda Marie was born on October 4, 1891. Harold was born on July 14, 1893. Another son Howard George was born on January 1, 1896, but died two years later on March 21, 1898. Irene Wellings was born on September 18, 1897.
In 1896 George Wellings ran for Alderman for the first time and was beaten badly by brick manufacturer John Russell.
Wellings a proponent of the ideas of Henry George, popular at the time, but still on the fringes. For more about the Henry George Club, go to:
A tireless activist, George Wellings persevered. In the days before social media, Letters to the Editor had to fill the need for expressing political ideas.
Unsuccessful in his attempt to enter municipal politics as an Alderman, in business George Wellings prospered, renovating his home at 17 Austin Ave and building a new factory downtown on the site of his previous manufacturing plant.
Katherine “Kate” Wellings married Albert Edward Ward in Toronto, Ontario, on November 13, 1911, when she was 24 years old.
Wellings Manufacturing Company continued to proper, turning out buttons, badges, etc., what were known as “toys” in Birmingham in the mid-nineteenth century. Many thousands of Wellings cap badges, buttons and medals went overseas on the uniforms of Canadian soldiers during World War One.
Kate’s husband died of a heart attack on January 8, 1927 at their farm on the 3rd Line West, Chinguacousy, Peel, Ontario.
George Washington Wellings passed away on May 31, 1930, in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 75. Though he tried and tried again, he never succeeded in becoming a Toronto alderman.
Katherine Wellings married James Templeman in York, Ontario, on March 27, 1937, when she was 50 years old. Both were widowed. Katherine was living at 17 Austin Avenue at the time of her marriage. James Templeman was a truck driver from Todmorden Mills. Her mother Ann Maria passed away on April 12, 1938 at her son-in-law’s home on Oakdene Crescent. Kate Wellings died in 1960 when she was 73 years old. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 67 Richmond Street East is now a Domino’s Pizza take-out.
To see all of this large table drag the bar below across. The table shows who lived where and when on this part Austin Avenue from 1887 when the street was born to 1921. The 1888 City Directory was based on 1887 date and there were no street numbers as it did not get mail delivery. Postal service required numbers. Joanne Doucette
|1888 City Directory||Lot # Subdivision 549||#||1889 Directory||1890 Tax Assessment Roll Occupier||1890 Tax Assessment Roll Owner||1890 Directory||1891 Directory||1894 Directory||1895 Directory||1900 Directory||1903 Directory||1904 Directory||1905 Directory||1906 Directory||1907 Directory||1912 Directory||1919 Directory||1921 Directory||1921 Census|
|Vacant lots||3 frontage on Pape||2||Vacant lots||Gray Walter, grocer||Gray Walter, grocer||Gray Walter, grocer||Gray Walter, grocer||Gray Walter, grocer||Hannigan & Gunn, grocers||Best Wilbert E||Wells George A, Hardware|
|Vacant lots||3||4||Vacant lots||Lowman Charles||Lowman Charles E||Lowman Edwin C||Pettit John E||Pettit John E||Pettit John E||Pettit John E||Burkholder Albert/Pettit John E||King Samuel||Bowins Henry||Greenslade Louisa Mrs||Greenslade Louisa|
|Vacant lots||3||6||Vacant lots||Perkins Charles E||Fortier William J||Overdale Christian S||Overdale Christian S||Overlade Pauline Mrs||Overlade Pauline Mrs||Mundy William||Mundy William||Vacant||Bruce Charles||Bruce Charles||Bruce Charles|
|Vacant lots||3||8||Vacant lots||Field Emma G||Farmery Charles||Booth Albert||Booth Albert||Booth Albert||Halliburton James||Pettit William H||Pettit William H||Brittain Rev David||Hodge Mary Mrs||Hodge Mary Mrs||Hodge Mary|
|Vacant lots||3||10||Vacant lots||Vacant||Cosgrove John J||Mulheron Mrs Sarah||Turner Joseph||Robinson Frederick||Robinson Frederick||Robinson Frederick||Robinson Frederick||Robinson Rose Mrs||Robinson Rose Mrs||Robinson Rose Mrs||Robinson Rose|
|White Henry||3||12||White Henry||White Henry||White Henry||White Henry||Jarrett George||Doxsee George W||Vacant||Crawford Walter L||Crawford Walter L||Crawford Walter L||Montgomery Norman H||Montgomery Norman H||Montgomery Norman H||Nicholson John||Macdonald Wm||Ireland Louis||Ireland Lewis|
|Vacant lots||3||14||Vacant lots||Private Grounds||Vacant||Kordell George H||Liley Henry||Taggart Thomas R||Montgomery Norman H||Stewart William H||Stewart William H||Stewart William H||Harrold William E||Harrold William E||Harrold William E||William Harrold|
|Vacant lots||3||16||Vacant lots||Private Grounds||Vacant||Stewart William||Simmonds Alfred||Simmonds Alfred||Murphy John||Ridley Joseph||Ridley Joseph||Ridley Joseph||Ridley Joseph||Ridley Mark||Ridley Joseph||Ridley Joseph|
|Vacant lots||4 frontage on Pape||1||Vacant lots||Store, s e||Store, s.e.|
|Vacant lots||4||3||Private Grounds|
|Vacant lots||8||15||Unfinished house||Taylor Edward||Clifford C H||Taylor Edward S||Taylor ES||Clifford James||Fredenburg George A||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Caroline Mrs||Clifford Charles||Clifford Charles||Clifford Charles|
|Vacant lots||8||17||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings, Annie M. and George Wellings||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George||Wellings George W||Wellings George W||Wellings George W||Wellings George W||Wellings George W||Wellings George W|
|Private Grounds||Private grounds|
by Joanne Doucette
There is an urban legend that Myrtle, Ivy and Harriet Streets were named after local women (true) who argued so much that they could never meet so the streets don’t meet (not true). The deep ravine called “the Devil’s Hollow” had more to do with keeping the streets from meeting. The women were all members of local brickmaking families who actually seemed to have got along quite well.
Canada’s immigration policy was openly racist and specifically sought white Scottish, Irish and English immigrants to counter the feared “Yellow Peril” — immigration from China and, to a lesser degree, Japan. This is clearly and, none to subtly, reflected in the poem below. John Wilson Bengough (1851-1923) was one of Canada’s leading cartoonists.
British immigrants crossing the “Bridge of Tears” over the railway tracks at Union Station around 1911. It was called this because here people said goodbye to loved ones or cried because they had left everything they had to gamble on a new start in a new country. Everything they own is in their hands.
Most came in family groups like this. Mother has baby in her arms. Dad is at the back. Two teens carry the luggage and grandmother is at the back carrying another child. The grinning child on the right reflects the hope they had, but others don’t look so enthralled with Toronto.
At the same time that a Shacktown was growing outside the city, families like the Andersons built brick and brick-fronted houses like these west of Greenwood Avenue. The City of Toronto imposed stricter building requirements due to the danger of fire. The so-called “Fire Limits” required brick construction at least on the street facade and fire resistant cladding on the other walls. Much of that cladding was Insulbrick, a kind of asphalt impregnated with asbestos. There is still a lot of that material around, often covered with newer aluminum siding.
The Andersons, professional builders from Scotland, preferred to build solid brick, sturdy houses, like these three. Many of those still stand today near Riverdale Collegiate. (Photos courtesy of Guy Anderson)
After 1905 a Shacktown developed east of Greenwood Avenue on land that was still outside of the limits of the City of Toronto. A flood of impoverished British immigrants arrived here to start new lives only to find that while jobs were available (at least at first), there was no housing for them. So they bought lots at around $5 to $10 a foot of frontage and scrounged bits of lumber, old crates, tarpaper, tin and whatever could use to create their own homes. These are on Coxwell Avenue.
December 22, 1919 Boys playing hockey on Hastings Creek. Hastings Creek crossed the Danforth just east of Jones and cut a ravine at Ravina Crescent in “The Pocket” and another gully, known as the “Devil’s Hollow” between Jones & Greenwood.
The creek continued south through the Hastings’ farm (Hastings Avenue to Alton Avenue) and across where Greenwood Park is to enter Ashbridge’s Bay between Leslie Street and Laing Street. The City filled the ravine in a number of times and finally buried the creek in the sewer system in the early 1920’s.
A staff member at the East End Garden Centre recalled when her grandfather caught fish in this pond. Others have told me of their grandparents tobogganing down the hill or skating on the pond.
Cattle and pigs were driven along roads leading into Leslieville from very early in the 19th century. The men and boys who managed the cattle en route were called “drovers”. Later they were brought in by train. When they reached Leslieville the animals were let loose to graze on the nutritious meadow grasses along Ashbridge’s Bay.
Some were even fed on the leftovers from the Gooderham Worts Distillery. Then they were slaughtered by butchers in the many abattoirs that were feature of Leslieville’s economy. Of the cattle that were fed on whisky mash, it is said that they died happy.
This is looking west along Jones Avenue just north of Riverdale Collegiate. Heavy industry lined the track, including a pork packinghouse on the west side of Jones where pigs where slaughtered. The stench was incredible especially on hot days, making nearby houses and the high school even more uncomfortable in the days before air conditioning,
ON A WHEEL.
A Trip for Cyclists in Eastern Suburbs.
DOWN THE KINGSTON ROAD.
Beauties of Nature Which Many Miss.
SIGHTS ALONG THE WAYSIDE.
A Run From Little York to Wexford.
The Agricultural Wealth of York County viewed From the Saddle of the Bicycle.
It is questionable if one out of every ten of those in this city who possess bicycles really appreciates a quarter of the opportunities for enjoyment which it places within his reach, and it is certain if he does that he makes little attempt to improve them.
With the average rider the question of largest moment seems to be that of covering the greatest amount of space in the least possible time, and in the runs into the country which he takes once or twice a week the terminal point of his trip, and the desire to reach it as soon as possible, usually possesses his mind to the exclusion almost of everything else. He is carelessly conscious, perhaps, of a pretty country through which he may be passing, but he is so indifferent to such matters that no considerations of this kind would tempt him to deviate from the straight road leading to his goal.
There are many, too, who are not constantly attempting to make or break a record, and who in their leisurely journeys succeed in obtaining all the benefit and delight which a healthy exercise and charming surroundings can give them, but who always keep to the same beaten track over which they repeatedly pass, oblivious to the fact that there is a wealth of scenic beauty lying all about them if they would only rouse themselves to seek it out.
There are indeed few cities which contain in their outskirts so many delightful spots as does Toronto.
To the north, the west and the east are successions of wooded ravines, and, running along the hilltops above them shaded and, in the main, well-made roads, from which may be obtained in hundreds of places outlooks over lake and stream and meadow too beautiful for the brush of any painter adequately to portray.
All the enjoyment, whether real or fancied, which can be gathered from contact with nature and from communion with her in the secret recesses of her home, are obtainable by the people of Toronto if they would but care to know what they possess. To the bicycle rider, especially during the long summer days, these charming places should be as familiar almost as the street on which he lives. A number of the points will be indicated in other articles, and in the meantime, several of the favorite runs on the wheel will be spoken of.
A POPULAR TRIP.
Among the popular trips from the city is that along the Kingston road to Whitby, to which place and back again a fair rider can “wheel” without fatigue in one day.
The road throughout almost is good; here and there occasionally heavy, and in some places cut up by the traffic which passes over it, but in general such as no bicyclist can reasonably complain of.
The most difficult part of it, by reason of the hills which have to be climbed, is that from the Woodbine to Highland Creek, but this, too, is the prettiest portion, containing many charming bits of scenery, and having in view the broad, blue stretch of the lake to the right.
Leaving the Woodbine, what is, perhaps, the least agreeable piece of the journey is immediately met with.
This is the half mile hill at Norway, which is certainly full of ruts at the present time and anything but pleasant wheeling especially to experienced riders. A good shower of rain, however, remedies this, and also lays the heavy dust; and when in this condition no better place could be found for practice in hill-climbing.
To the left of this hill, along which the electric road to Victoria Park runs, the deep and thickly-wooded ravine presents as charming a bit of scenery as could well be wished for, but at this point the rider is usually too much occupied to give it the attention it deserves.
At Norway the climb and the ravine both terminate, and an excellent run is offered to a considerable distance beyond the Halfway House, almost eight miles from the city.
On the short stretch from Norway to this point the road is gradually rising till the rider can command a view of the lake from the elevation of Scarboro’ Heights and especially on a fresh summer morning, before the heat of the day brings fatigue with it, the sight presented is worth a hundred-fold the labor of the run. The strong, fresh breeze from the water, carrying with it the odor of the fir trees over which it blows from the shoe; the awakening voices of the new day and the half-solitude of the country make up a condition of things the pure delight of which those who have never experienced it are unable to imagine.
At the Halfway House the rider usually halts for refreshment, and, perhaps, for breakfast or dinner. Many there are, too, who in the morning or evening run out here for the short trip, and when this is the case it is not unusual for them to seek the lake shore and enjoy a dip in the water. At this point, however, the land is some hundreds of feet above the level of the water, and the descent to the shore is somewhat of a task. From the Halfway House to Highland Creek numerous hills are met with, and one of them especially taxes the strength of the riders to surmount, but once over this part of the road the run to Whitby is easy and rapid.
The return trip is especially pleasant by reason of the fact that a great portion of it is down grade.
Instead of gong on to Whitby from the Halfway House, the rider, if he chooses, can take the side line across to the Don and Danforth road, and run by it to Woburn. This road is on the whole superior to the Kingston road, being built of excellent gravel, and not being cut up so much as the other, over which a far greater amount of travel continually goes. If the bicyclist should take this road, however, he would do better by running up Broadview avenue where he meets it, take the sidewalk as far as it goes, and soon on through Little York, than by way of Norway, as he would by doing so avoid the heavy climb at the half-mile hill. From Little York half way to Scarboro-station a long ridge of gravel on the centre of the roadway, placed there for purposes of repair, renders this part not quite as good as the rest of the way, but with reasonable care a path on either side can be picked out by the rider.
These two roads, however – the Kingston and the Don and Danforth – are well known and continually travelled by bicyclists.
LITTLE YORK TO WEXFORD
A trip that offers many attractions and can be accomplished in a few hours is from Little York straight north to the pleasant hamlet of Wexford, about three and a half miles’ run, and, after crossing the bridge over the C.P.R., west along the side line to Millen’s Hollow, nestling beneath the hills which enclose the east branch of the Don, up the opposite bank, and along for some miles further to the west fork of the Don, and on to the second concession, which is a mile and a quarter from and runs parallel with Yonge street; due south along the second concession to Moore Park road, and by way of Reservoir Park to Yonge street.
This run is principally over clay roads, and there is no more accommodation, by the way, than is afforded by forest shade and the pure water from the farm house pumps, but the trip is only a matter of from fifteen to eighteen miles and can be covered leisurely in two hours.
The roads are excellent during dry weather, except at the passages of the river, where the rider will find it to his advantage to dismount, at least in descending into the valleys, as the highway at these spots is steep, circuitous and rocky. After rain the road will be found less easy and pleasant to run on, as the farmers’ waggons are apt to cut it up while the clay is soft. The whole road, however, is full of interest to a visitor from the city, and the crossings at the river are picturesque in the extreme.
The run form Little York to Wexford gives one a fairly good idea of the excellence and wealth of the County of York as an agricultural section. The houses of the farmers are substantial brick structures, erected with some attention to style and possessing pleasant and tasteful surroundings. The growing or ripening crops evince the richness of the soil, and the sleek and contented stock show the care which they receive at the hands of their owners. The same condition of things, indeed, prevails all along the route, broken only by the wide and untillable valley of the river.
At the point at which the Don is reached jut about Millen’s Hollow the river makes almost a half circle, opening up a wide stretch of valley, along which between the branches of the trees one catches glimpses of the running water. It is indeed a pleasant place, seated in the shade, from which to enjoy the cool breeze and pretty picture, after a sharp run.
IN MILLEN’S HOLLOW.
In the hollow beneath is Millen’s factory, in which blankets and other woollen goods are made, and where the families who live there rejoice in coolness in summer and shelter from the blasts of winter. The road up the opposite bank can be made in the saddle by a good rider, but the average man will find more comfort and quite as much satisfaction in walking. The road to the other fork of the Don is somewhat sandy in places, but otherwise good.
Once across the other valley and on to the second concession there is a fine road and a beautiful run to the turn to Moore Park.
From the highway the rider catches a magnificent view of the southeastern portion of the city over the ravines running through Rosedale, and the eye travels with pleasure over house and garden and church steeple and away across the lake, dimly descrying the line of coast on the other side.
The sidewalk, of generous size and in good repair, which was laid down along Moore Park road during boom days, makes good way for the rider, and he takes it without hesitation, knowing that in that spot he is little apt to meet any pedestrians. A stop at Reservoir Park for a cup of water, a short run down Yonge street, and a two-hours’ pleasant ride is brought to a conclusion.
Globe, August 2, 1894
Afterword: After the Toronto Golf Club moved to Etobicoke
|DATE||Time line to 1912 Toronto Golf Club (Toronto Golf Club)|
|1801||July 18 Paul Wilcott sold 200 acre property to John Small|
|1859||Scotland hosts the first Open Golf Championship|
|1869||James Lamond Smith introduced golf to Toronto|
|1873||Royal Montreal is the first golf club formed in Canada, and in the present is the oldest continuously operating golf club in North America.|
|1876 – 1879||James Lamond Smith, Captain (President) & founder|
|1876||Toronto Golf Club established|
|1876-1889||Toronto Golf Club played just north of the Woodbine racetrack on leased land|
|1880||Toronto Golf Club had 30 members|
|1880 – 1888||R. H. Bethune, Captain (President)|
|1881||Organization incorporated as “The Toronto Golf Club”|
|1886||Aug. 7 Woodbine fire destroys Toronto Golf Club clubs and other equipment|
|1889||Charles Hunter, Captain (President)|
|1889||Toronto Golf Club evicted & Course near Queen north of Woodbine subdivided for housing.|
|1889||Toronto Golf Club had 6 hole short course at Woodbine|
|1890 – 1891||Col. G. A. Sweny, Captain (President)|
|1892 – 1893||Sir E. B. Osler, Captain (President)|
|1894 – 1908||Judge W. Cassels, Captain (President)|
|1894||Incorporated as the “Toronto Golf Club Association”|
|1894||Fernhill Land Company incorporated to manage the Fernhill property|
|1894||Fernhill Land Company purchased 30 acres Fernhill & Opened Club House|
|1894||Osler Cup presented to the Toronto Golf Club|
|1895 – 1910||William Troughton, Steward Toronto Golf Club|
|1895||Archie Smith, Toronto Golf Club Professional|
|1895||April Toronto Golf Club leased fields to the east, bringing course up to full 18 holes|
|1895||June Five Toronto Golf Club members charged with violating “The Lord’s Day Act”|
|1895||First Royal Canadian Golf Association annual tournament|
|1896||150 members (plus 125 lady associates)|
|1896||A. W. (Andy) Smith returned to Scotland|
|1899||Dec. 12 Five caddies charged under “Lord’s Day Act”|
|1899||May Clubhouse remodeled with an extension on the back known as “the new clubhouse”.|
|1900||George Cummings Toronto Golf Club Professional March 20 arrives from Scotland.|
|1900||George Cummings redesigned the course|
|1901||In and Out Gun Club|
|1905||George Cumming wins Canada Open|
|1909||Charles Cockshutt, Captain (President)|
|1909||A new charter and name is again officially “The Toronto Golf Club”|
|1909||City of Toronto annexed Midway|
|1910 – 1912||Col. G. A. Sweny, Captain (President)|
|1910 – 1912||J. Williams, Steward|
|1911||Jan. Toronto Golf Club purchased land Etobicoke Creek|
|1912||Oct. 12 Farewell dinner Club House|
|1912||Dec. 16 Civic Car line opened|
|1912||Jan. F. B. Robbins & Henry Pellatt buy Toronto Golf Club land for Kelvin Park Subdivision|
Preserve Queen Street’s great buildings. Developers have their eye on almost all of them, if not all of them and the development business is already making its views known.
Please write in support of saving our buildings to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the background info: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2021.PB22.3
Please pass on to the Toronto Preservation Board and you have my permission to add it to the official published record.
Dear Toronto Preservation Board,
I am the author of Leslieville: Pigs, Flowers and Bricks, a history of area and am currently working on a history of Queen Street through the east end which is available digitally online at http://www.leslievillehistory.com
Consequently, I am very familiar with the buildings proposed for listing and strongly support the listing of these buildings.
We are in danger of losing our built heritage at a fast pace and listing these buildings would provide at least a minimum of protection. I should note that there is a distinct paucity of listed buildings in Leslieville. Queen Street through Leslieville has a “main street” feel thanks to these older buildings and this ambience is vital to the growth and sustenance of the businesses along the street, making it very special.
Please contact me if you require any further information as I’ve been researching the history of Queen Street for decades and have a vast amount of information.
Thank you, Joanne Doucette leslievillehistory@gmailcom
When we look at a photo, especially an old photo, we get the big picture but often miss the details that make the shot tell a story. And there’s even more details that unfolded once I dug into my files. They say that the devil is in the details, but so is the treasure!
When I looked at the photo in high resolution it was clear that Logan Avenue was paved with cylindrical cedar blocks. Cedar is rot-resistant but broke down over time and the heavy loads of bricks that horses hauled over the blocks. The ruts are visible in the picture.
Better roads were an important enticement for residents who contemplated amalgamation with Toronto. At that time most roads were either dirt, planked or covered with wood blocks. The wood blocks, about eight inches in diameter, were laid down on the street, and held together with tar. Poor people stole the blocks in winter and used them for firewood. Even without these thefts, cedar block roads did not last long. However, obtaining gravel for roads was a problem. The gravel pits at Ben Lamond were treasured. By 1886 the City had laid almost 48 miles of cedar block pavements and 121 miles of sewers. In that year cedar block was laid down on Kingston Road from the Don Bridge to Greenwood’s Lane, the City’s eastern limit. Even walking was not easy. There were few sidewalks in Leslieville and they often were wooden, ramshackle affairs.
Toronto’s Progress in 1886. Public Works constructed during the year. There are now 47.83 miles of cedar block Pavements and 121.2 Miles of Sewers in Toronto. Some interest figures showing increase in all Directions. During the year just past there have been no less than 8.75 miles of cedar block pavements constructed in the city of Toronto. During 1885 there were 6.03 miles of block pavements constructed. There are now 47.83 miles of paved streets in the city. The total mileage of streets in Toronto is 172. The following cedar block pavements have been constructed during 1886:– Kingston Road [now called Queen Street East], Don Bridge to Greenwood’s…Globe, Jan. 1, 1887
Aldermen often preferred the cedar blocks because they were cheaper than many of the alternatives as did some property owners who resented having to pay for the “improvements” in their neighbourhood. But developers wanted good streets, good sidewalks, sewers and the City to pay for all this. John Russell must have found himself conflicted from time to time.
FAVORS CEDAR BLOCK. Mr. George Gooderham Says That Queen Street Cannot Pay For a Better Pavement.
Mr. George Gooderham has addressed a letter to the Council regarding the proposed new pavement in Queen street from the Grand Trunk tracks to Greenwood avenue The Engineer has recommended a block pavement, but several property owners are agitating for asphalt. Mr. Gooderham states that he is a heavy property owner on that part of Queen street, and declares that as much of the land is vacant it cannot maintain the burden of a high local improvement tax. He writes; “I consider that the Engineer has no doubt thought out what was best for the street, and for the ratepayers; further, that the property immediately benefited is not of sufficient value to warrant the laying of a more expensive pavement, and further, I consider a cedar block pavement is quite well suited for the traffic on that part of Queen street.” Toronto Star, September 8, 1900
In June the City of Toronto called for tenders to pave Logan Avenue with cedar blocks from Queen to Gerrard. Globe June 27 1888. By August John Poucher was offering “Semi-detached, brick-fronted, six-room houses, east end” for $750 and still selling lots. (Globe Aug 11 1888) John Love was a well known contractor and may have been the builder. In September, sidewalks went on Booth (now formerly Bangor) to Paisley (formerly Jemima).
In February, 1887, John Russell, local brick manufacturer, bought lots No. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, 300 feet on the north side of Natalie (Melford) west to what become Booth and 200 feet north on Logan and Booth. Globe 5 Feb 1887 Land Titles Act, 1885. Land ownership was transferred through registering title instead of using deeds. In April John Poucher, real estate agent (on behalf of John Russell) began offering lots for sale on Logan and Booth (Bangor), stating that all of the lots must be sold within a month. In August the City called for tenders to open Booth Avenue from Queen to Natalie. At the same time the City of Toronto was opening a major trunk sewer up Logan Avenue to the Danforth, creating the infrastructure necessary for housing development.
By October Poucher was offering “choice building lots” on Logan and Booth, cheap if the buyer built at once. Lots on Logan and Booth were still available in January 1888.
In February 1888 the City of Toronto decided to build a sewer from Natalie to Paisley (Jemima) on Booth. By May of 1888, construction of the Russell Terrace on Logan, Natalie and Booth was under way. “There are upwards of 100 houses now under construction on the lots we have already sold” (Globe 24 May 1888) These were free-hold properties.
Here are a details from Goad’s Atlas plan from 1884 showing the crossing and the neighbours Thomas Mitchell (poultry dealer), John Logan (market gardener), Daniel Brook (absentee landowner and merchant), and John Russell (brick manufacturer).
The H-shaped wooden (yellow) building on Logan’s farm is likely a greenhouse. Ambrose Rudd was also a market gardener and those are very probably greenhouses as well.
A. RUDD is a native of Devonshire, England, where he was born in 1833. In 1853 he emigrated to Canada, and took up his residence in Quebec, where he stayed two years, afterwards coming to Toronto and entering into the employment of the Bank of Upper Canada. He remained two years at the bank, and then settled on what is now Logan’s Lane, where he acquired nine acres of land, and commenced the gardening business, in which he has been successfully engaged for over twenty-eight years. In 1828 he married Miss Elizabeth Tulford, of Cumberland, England, the marriage being productive of only one child, a daughter. ( Mercer Adam, History of Toronto and County of York, 1885, vol. II, p. 203)
Like Ambrose Rudd, Thomas Mitchell has a brick house (red) as well as a barn for his chickens. He may have got the bricks to build his house from his near neighbour across the tracks John Russell.
THOMAS MITCHELL is a native of Devonshire, England, where he was born in 1822, and emigrating to Canada in 1849, located first in London, Middlesex County, where he was employed by Judge Allen. The Judge removing to Toronto after Mr. Mitchell had been in his service six months, he removed with him and continued in his employment for three years. He subsequently engaged with Mr. John Cull, as foreman in the Starch Factory, with whom he remained eight years. He then began business for himself as grocer on Kingston Road, and built the first brick store east of the Don (1858). This was on the corner of Kingston Road and Scadding Street, and was known as “Mitchell’s Corner”. In 1861 he purchased a lot on Market Square, Barrie, Ontario, and built thereon the Victoria Hotel, which he afterwards sold. In 1871 Mr. Mitchell retired from business which is now carried on by his son. He purchased a private residence known as Rose Lawn, in St. Matthew’s Ward, where he now lives in ease and comfort. Mr. Mitchell married in 1852 Miss Mary Ann Joslin, of Devonshire, England, by whom he has one son and four daughters. Once only since leaving it has Mr. Mitchell revisited his beautiful native county which, with pardonable pride, he maintains is the “Garden of the World”. This trip he made in 1874. (Mercer Adam, History of Toronto and County of York, 1885, vol. II, p. 201)
Leslieville gardener, John Logan, (Logan Avenue is named after his family) was active in the City of Toronto Horticultural Society After John Logan Sr. died, his wife Elizabeth (1828-?) continued the market gardening business with the help of daughter Annie and sons William, George and John who became a brick manufacturer on Greenwood Avenue. They also owned a cottage downtown which Elizabeth operated as a store, selling their produce. John Logan, a tall shy man, preferred to look after the gardening, leaving his wife to handle the customers. John Ross Robertson describes the Logans in his Landmarks, Vol. 1, p. 126-127. What he doesn’t mention is that John Logan was instrumental in making Leslieville a welcoming place for refugees from slavery.
John Russell (1838-1912) was probably the first to introduce new kiln technology to Leslieville. In 1894, he built a continuously-feeding kiln that could burn all year around, abolishing the brickmaker’s season. However, periodic or ‘beehive” kilns would continue to be used in Leslieville as well as the downdraft rectangular kilns The new kilns were more energy-efficient, but were not cheap, like scoved kilns. John Russell used 150,000 bricks to build the foundation for his kiln. Leslieville’s traditional brickmaking families passed down their knowledge from father to son (and from mother to daughter). They may not have welcomed innovations, but to compete with outsiders if not each other, they had to adopt new ways. Russell also was a contractor, building many houses in the neighbourhood, including the terraces on Logan Avenue and Booth Avenue. He was also a City of Toronto alderman and was characterized as a Sphinx because he rarely said a word.
John Russell married Mary Smith. They had ten children: nine girls and one boy. Their son, Joseph (1868-1925) was the brick manufacturer, politician and dog fancier who ran the brickyard where Alton, Hiltz, Dorothy, Parkfield, Stanton, and Sawden are today. The death of John Russell in 1912 triggered the sale of the brickyard at Greenwood and Queen. Real estate had to be liquidated in order to divide the Estate amongst his ten children.
Most of the Russell land was clay pit. The largest brick house on Kingston Road (now Queen Street East) was his home and the wooden buildings around it were brick kilns, drying sheds and outbuildings for his business. Value Village is there now.
Street names have changed and it can be, and is, in this case, confusing. Natalie was Melford. Booth was Bangor. Jemima is now Paisley. Logan was Fitzroy, Blong, and Sewell’s Lane.