From 2014 to 2018 we are living through the 100th anniversary of World War One. There is usually a lot of talk about heroes when people talk of war. “Courage is found in unlikely places,” said J. R. R. Tolkien, and Woodfield Road is such an unlikely pace.
It was originally the farm lane running through the Ashbridge Estate and their extensive orchards. Known as Morley Avenue after George Morley (1865-1926). 1922 many people on Morley Avenue wanted the street renamed because of its poor reputation being so close to Toronto’s only sewer plant. The neighbourhood, to put it bluntly, stank. Some on the Civic Street Naming Committee, a City of Toronto committee of aldermen, wanted the name changed to “Lilley avenue”. It was suggested, perhaps in jest, that the proposed name “will call up more pleasant olfactory memories.” City Council considered calling Morley Avenue “Coulter street”. On January 22, 1923, City council approved a by-law authorizing the change of Morley avenue to Woodfield Road. The new street may have been named after a British passenger ship, The Woodfield, sunk by a German U-boat in November 1915. The steamer was carrying troops and there were a number of casualties.
In 1912 the Don Rowing Club moved here, building a club house at the south end of Morley Road. 1913 the Don Rowing clubhouse burned down. They rebuilt.
The Don Rowing Club regularly held regattas over its course on Ashbridges Bay. Rowers competed for the Flavelle trophy and gold medals. The “Dons” were known for having “crack scullers”, top rowers. After the regattas, the Dons hosted “an at-home” or party with music and dancing. Local men like Norman Lang and Bob Dibble, as well as members of the Russell brickmaking family competed. The Don Rowing Club also sponsored its own rugby club for a period. Their rivals in rowing and rugby were the Toronto Argonauts. The Don Rowing Club also had a hockey rink on Ashbridge’s Bay and here teams like the “East Riverdale Ladies’ hockey team” played other city teams like the one from Weston.
In 1925, the City tried to bill the Don Rowing Club for the rental of the land the Clubhouse sat on. There had been a gentleman’s agreement that the Dons would only pay a nominal rent so when, after 12 years, the City presented a bill of $1,200, the reaction was dismay and ridicule. Joseph Thompson, a Don who also happened to be Speaker of the Provincial Legislature, led a deputation to City Council, arguing that conditions were so bad because of sewage that “The city ought to pay us for staying there.” Membership in the Club was decreasing. In 1932 the Don Rowing Club’s rebuilt clubhouse again went up in flames. The Don Rowing Club disgusted, left for cleaner pastures, never to return.
MORLEY ROAD SEWER PLANT
In October 1908, City Council on October 16 passed a bylaw allowing the expropriation of property to build sewer new plant. 45 houses were torn down or moved. In December a large deputation of residents went to City Council to object to the plant. Members of the Kew Beach and Balmy Beach Association.
The Mayor suggested that the plant be placed south of Eastern Avenue, instead of near Queen Street. “No matter where you put the septic tanks there will be opposition,” the Mayor said, “but I think a good deal of the opposition would be removed if they were located south of Eastern Avenue.” Instead of moving the plant, Mayor Joseph Oliver moved Eastern Avenue about 100 feet north of the plant, a purely cosmetic solution if ever there was one.
March 1909 Rudolph Hering and John D. Watson, consulting engineers, promised the Protective Association and the Riverdale Business Men’s Association “a beautiful park over the tanks, with trees, flowers, and green grass.”
The Morley Avenue plant was begun on March 24, 1910 and completed on June 7, 1912. The system was expected to be ready for operation about June 21, 1912. However, the Medical Officer of Health Hastings, stepped in, demanding that the system not go into operation without chlorination. February 18, 2013, the thirteen miles of trunk sewer were finally ready. Chlorination in place. The system cost about $2,500,000. The plant had a capacity of only 40,000,000 to 45,000,000 a day – the amount of sewage the City produced the day it opened – built-in obsolescence.
By May 1914, it was clear that a new sewage system was needed. The plant had serious flaws. It was “unsanitary, antiquated, and far too small to cope properly with the large quantity of sewage to be treated.” Spectators at Woodbine racetrack at Coxwell and Queen smelled the stink from the grandstand.
On March 13, 1915, The New York Times reported that Toronto was being sued by the fisherman of Ashbridges Bay: On June 1, 1915, Crown Attorney Corley charged the City of Toronto with maintaining a nuisance. By this time, the City was talking about scrapping the Morley Avenue plant altogether. June 5, 1915, Toronto constable Dan Robinson served a summons on Mayor Church to appear before JP Jacob Cohen to answer to the charge of maintaining a public nuisance. June 7, 1915, the City appeared in Police Court to answer the charge. The case was adjourned for a week. June 9, 1915, City Solicitor Johnson asked the Board of Control for permission to contract experts to defend the City against the charges in Police Court. The Board of Control turned him down. The Police Court case was adjourned. June 14, 1915 the City Solicitor’s Department appeared before Magistrate Kingsford arguing that the Police Court had no jurisdiction and could not issue a summons to the City of Toronto. Kingsford adjourned the case while the City argued the issue of jurisdiction. By September, 1915, Judge Lennox had ruled a halt to the Police Court procedures, taking the pressure off of the City of Toronto.
December 26, 1916, the East End Ratepayers’ Association met to hear speeches from the candidates for the Boards of Control and Education. An audience member asked, “Why are guards placed around the Morley avenue plant – is it to keep the Germans from blowing the place up or is it to keep the citizens from investigating the farce?” Although the guards had already been there for two years, the politicians seemed not to know about their presence. George Shields from the Ratepayers’ Association claimed that the guards were put there after the Ratepayers went into the plant looking for information. Someone in the audience joked that the plant should be moved to Rosedale.
June 15, 1917, Morley avenue residents went to the Court of Revision to ask for a reduction in their assessment. 16 residents from the east side of the street argued their case. All of them lived south of Queen Street, closest to the plant, where the smell was worst. A sludge dump near their homes. One of the women present said, “Now that the weather has become warm the flies and odors are something awful, and it is almost unbearable.” Someone said, “There is no one living on the street that would not gladly move a mile away if he could, and we are all ashamed to own that we live on the street.” Someone from the Assessment Department argued that the official name of the plant was not “Morley Avenue”, but the “Eastern Avenue Disposal Plant”, but changing the name did not convince the residents that this meant changing the smell.
December 1917 Samuel E. Fieldhouse of 1558 Queen Street East was still pursuing his case and asked for $10,000 in damages because of the effect on his confectionary business. Ferguson argued on Fieldhouse’s behalf that: “the plant is inadequate, that 32,000,000 gallons of raw sewage pour into the bay within 3,500 feet of the intake pipe, and that the objectionable taste noticed at times in the city is not due to chlorine but to the sewage.” December 17, 1917, Chief Justice Mulock awarded damages of $2,000 to Fieldhouse in the Morley avenue case. The expression “Morley avenue perfume plant” came into usage around this time. In June 1919, Mayor Thomas Church and Commissioner of Works R.C. Harris received notice of a motion “to commit them to jail for contempt of court in connection with their failure to abate the nuisance at the Morley avenue sewage disposal plant.” The motion grew out of the Fieldhouse case. Fieldhouse asked that this time the court take the matter into its own hands and direct the steps “to abate the nuisance.” May 9, 1921, the Court assessed damages of $5,070 against the City of Toronto for maintaining a public nuisance at the Morley Avenue plant. The plaintiffs were Samuel Fieldhouse and George Martin, and this was a continuance of the original case. Apparently the City still hadn’t paid, dragging its feet.
“George Morley, 57 Morley avenue, after whom the street was named, said that the odors had disturbed his rest and driven sleep from his pillow.” “Jesse Ashbridge, said that the sewage smells “were worse than anything from the historic bay itself.”  “Mr. Shields, 24 Edgewood ave., lives within a quarter of a mile from the sewage plant. Asked if he knew of any other odors, he replied, “I know the 57 varieties of odors, but that from this plant has a nature all its own. Any one who has ever smelled it would never confuse it with any other.” By 1918, City politician Sam McBride said that “If the nuisance were not abated he feared a serious riot in the east end.”
In the Second World War, the provincial Department of Health tried to convince the City of Toronto to build a new treatment plant on Ashbridges’ Bay. They were concerned about effluent spreading polio at near-by beaches. The City agreed to build a new plant — eventually. 1951-52 the last of the marsh was filled in to make land for the Main Sewage Treatment Plant which opened in 1951. The official name of the Ashbridges Bay treatment plant was “the Main Treatment Plant”, but in December 1999, the name was formally changed to “the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant”.
A 20-FOOT BY 5-FOOT V BOTTOM RUNABOUT, SCRIPPS 2 FOUR MOTOR ABOUT 25 MILES PER HOUR, THE WHOLE OUTFIT ABSOLUTELY NEW PRICE, $1,500. APPLY DAWSON’S BOAT HOUSE, FOOT OF MORLEY AVENUE. GERRARD 5693. Globe Friday, August 7, 1925.
George Dawson ad of June 19, 1924 offered boats for sale: “Auxiliary centre-board cabin sloop, 24 feet, 300. Auxiliary keel yawl – toilet – cushions; $500, Dawson’s, Woodfield Road, Phone Gerrard 5693. Hump
heys Boathouse offered two rowboats for sale. They were also at the foot of Morley Avenue, now Woodfield Road. Dawson’s appears to be one of the most successful boatbuilding and boathouse operations on Ashbridges Bay. In August 1925, they offered “a 20-foot by 5-foot v bottom runabout, Scripps 2 four motor, about 25 miles per hour. The whole outfit, absolutely. New price $1,500. Apply Dawson’s boat house foot of Morley Avenue. Gerrard 5693.” In 1929 they were offering cabin cruisers and launches as well as schooners. They continued through the Great Depression and into the 1940s, selling cabin cruisers, runabouts and dinghies.
Day Name Plates Ltd was at 4 Woodfield Road ad from the Globe, Sept. 10, 1927. they made plates and dials for use on radios, cars, signs, carts and novelties. Day Name Plates, 4 Woodfield Road, was a two storey brick and steel building on a lot 70 x 50. In March, 1930, it was sold by L.S. Day and R. Wakefield for about $13,000 to a vinegar factory.
Brown’s Bread plant was located here as well. Toronto Star Feb. 19, 1930
Eastern to Queen
8 Morley Avenue
IN HOSPITAL TWICE: Sergt. Harvie Grieve, 8 Morley avenue, has been twice in hospital, once last September and again May 4. His last wounds were slight, in shoulder and leg. Born in Cobourg 27 years ago, he came to Toronto about seven months before he enlisted, went overseas in June, 1915, and had been at the front about 6 months. For eight years previous he had been a prospector in Northern Ontario. His brother Walter is at the front also A brother-in-law, Charles Duncan, from the same Toronto address, is overseas in a Highland unit which left here last May. Toronto Star May 17, 1917
In 1917, the Canadian Army awarded Grieve the Military Medal. “This N.C.O. did extremely good work during the attack on Fresnoy on 3rd May, 1917, and later in the consolidation of our position at our objective. he rendered valuable service in keeping the left flank intact under most intense enemy fire and the most difficult circumstances. (Citation on Honour or Award Form). On March 20, 1918, Charles Duncan returned by train to Toronto after serving overseas (and probably been wounded). On April 27, 1918 Harvey Grieve returned. Grieve was married on November 26, 1921, in Toronto to Anna Isabelle McAdam.
Numbers 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 Morley Avenue are a terrace of homes owned by Annie (nee Keane) Moore. They were left by Mrs. Moore, a widow, in her will in 1920. She owned a number of other rental properties. She was relatively well off, leaving an estate of almost $37,000. Her daughter Bessie inherited the houses from 8 to 24 Morley Avenue. Her son was Charles A. Moore. Her husband Edward Moore had been a broker as had her son. Annie was herself from Anglo-Irish landed gentry from Beech Grove, Ennis, County Clare.
11 Morley Ave
Son William Lindsay was born 22 September in Larkhall, Scotland. His father was Robert Lindsay and his mother Margaret Arthur. Father died at the beginning of the war. “Lindsay – At his late residence, 11 Morley avenue, Toronto, on September 25, 1914, Robert Lindsay, a native of Larkhall, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Funeral from above address Sept 23, at 2:30 p.m. to Norway Cemetery.”
”To Learn Knitting Mrs. Lindsey will teach anyone to knit socks free of charge, and will supply the wool if they will go to her home, 11 Morley avenue, any afternoon from 2 to 6 o’clock. She will start them, turn heels, and take off at the toes. Toronto Star Nov. 12, 1914
Letter from the Front: “’Bill’ Lindsay has withstood many gas attacks on Morley avenue, so naturally this little do is right in his line. He is Brownie’s second in command; and the nearest he has ever been to losing his job was when No. 8 crew fished him out of a shell-hole on Passchendaele, “spare parts” and everything intact. He is the only married man in the gang and gives us lots of fatherly advice. “Ole Bill” of “Bairnsfather” fame has nothing on him for finding “better ‘oles’” Toronto World, March 31, 1918
“Corp. Wm. Lindsay, of 11 Morley avenue, who went overseas in 1916 with the 124th “Pals” Battalion, has been killed in action. He leaves a widow and baby girl. His services at the front included duty with the Princess Patricias.” Toronto World, September 14, 1918
He was killed by a sniper’s bullet, during a bombing attack on Friction Trench on the evening of August 27, 1918. He was a Lance Corporal with the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry and a Presbyterian. #769652 (Circumstances of Casualty Card.) She remarried — to Thomas James Sewell in 1920.
16 Morley Avenue Toronto Man Killed, Princess Pats. Bullen, William, 16 Morley Ave. Bullen Toronto Star May 29, 1915
Few men have figured so much in the casualty lists as Lance-Corporal William Bullen, P.P.C.L.I., who is one of the Canadians reported by the German authorities as being a prisoner in their hands. Lance-Corporal Bullen was first reported on February 1st, when he was officially announced slightly wounded. Later came the news of his death. Again on June 28 he was reported wounded and prisoner, and now the Germans settle the matter by announcing that they have him.
Lance-Corp. Bullen lived, while in Toronto, at 16 Morley avenue, and a brother, Alfred, now resides at 972 Eastern avenue. 16 Morley Avenue Toronto Star July 3, 1915 Bullen
16 Morley Avenue Princess Pats. Officially reported prisoner at Hanover, wounded and suffering from paralysis: Lance-Corp. Wm. Bullen, 16 Morley avenue, Toronto. Toronto World, July 20, 1915
William Bullen born April 16 1884 in Tooting, Surrey, England. He grew up in London England and came to Toronto where he was a policeman. Died July 13 1915, in a POW camp, Hanover, Germany.
17 Woodfield Road As Leslieville grew with thousands of bungalows, new churches were required. Bloor St. Presbyterian Church sponsored a small congregation that began meeting in a tent at the corner of Gerrard Street East and Reid Avenue in 1906. That same year they built a small brick church. Rev. D. Wallace Christie (1876-1948), just graduated from Knox College, became its first minister in 1907. In 1909, with the annexation of Midway, the City of Toronto changed the name of Reid Avenue to Rhodes Avenue. In 1909 volunteers added an annex to the church. In 1924, the Rhodes Avenue congregation voted for Union in 1924 and some members left to start St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church on Eastwood Avenue.
He lived at 17 Woodfield Road among his poorest parishioners and worked to better their lives spiritually and physically. For example, he was a Santa Clause Superintendent and raised money for the Toronto Star’s Santa Claus Fund to buy toys for kids who would have had none.
1915 Dec 6 LEAGUE OF SOLDIERS’ FRIENDS.
New Organization Launched at Rhodes Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Rev. D. Wallace Christie, of Rhodes Avenue Presbyterian Church, at yesterday morning’s service organized a League of Soldiers’ Friends, the purpose of which is to correspond regularly with the boys at the front to keep them in touch with the home news and from time to time send them comforts. To date 130 members of the church have enlisted for active service and the church expects to get at least one hundred and thirty members for the society.
At the close of last night’s service over forty members had been enrolled and a large number are on the waiting list. Globe, Dec. 6, 1915
1916 6 Oct THIRD OF CHURCH IN KHAKI
Conscription Wouldn’t Affect Rhodes Ae. Presbyterian Congregation.
Rhodes Avenue Presbyterian Church, which has to-day a total membership of 730, has given 260 men to the colors. All of these have either gone to the front or are now in training. Sixteen of them have been killed in action, 23 have been wounded, and seven are prisoners of war. The men who have gone belong both to the membership and the adherents of the church. Many of them are members in good standing. “We have done about all we can do,” said Rev. D. W. Christie, pastor of the church. “Possibly by running our congregation through a sieve we could get two or three more, but it would have to be a very coarse sieve indeed. Most of the men who are still with us are men who, for various reasons, are not eligible or who, under conscription, would not be taken anyway.” Toronto Star, Oct. 6 1916
GROWS FROM TENT TO CHURCH, GIVES 270 MEN TO COLORS
Rhodes Ave. Presbyterian Congregation Has Increased From 40 to 700 in Twelve Years.
“CHURCH MILITANT, AND EVANGELICAL”
Rev. D. Wallace Christie, Pastor for Eleven Years, Is Proud of His Charge.
“A living illustration of the church militant and evangelical” is a term which might fitly be applied to Rhodes Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dating from a tent which stood, twelve years ago, on the corner of Rhodes avenue and Gerrard street, its membership has increased since from 40 to over 700; and from its congregation, which is not one of the largest in the city, over 270 men have joined the colors. Most of these have gone overseas. Seventeen have been killed in action, 21 have been wounded, 2 are missing, 5 are known to be prisoners of war in Germany. Two men, Sergt.-Major David Forgie (one of a family of six brothers) and Pte. Andrew Gillespie have one the Military medal. Another, Sergt. Frank Fraser, won the D.C.M.
For the Boys at Front.
This Christmas time the members of the church got together and sent 230 parcels to their boys at the front. At home, in the church itself, those boys are remembered on one of the most unique, and probably one of the most costly, honor rolls in the city. Behind the pulpit a large green banner, and one on each side of it, are two others of the same material in a frame, on which are inscribed in gold letters each one-half inch high the names of the enlisted men. The work of lettering has not yet been completed; sixty names remain to be put on
“We have done about all that is possible in the way of enlistments,” said Rev. D. Wallace Christie, who has been pastor of the church and has been largely responsible for its growth during the past eleven years. “I doubt if a recruiting sergeant could secure six more men in our congregation, unless he induced a few more elderly married men to enlist. But for all that, my experience of military matters lend me to say that some form of national compulsion is absolutely necessary. When we have boys of seventeen or younger killed, wounded, or maimed for life on the battlefield there is something wrong with a system which permits so many men of mature years to go free.”
The pastor of Rhodes Avenue Presbyterian Church is doing his own bit in a military way. Twice a week he drills squads of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, respectively, in the church, and he himself is corporal in No. 2 Company 48th Highlanders, preparing to eventually take out his commission.
THE HONOR ROLL.
Killed in Action.
Geo. Adamson, 75th; Alex. Dempster, P.P.C.L.I; Jas. Douglas, 75th; Hugh Davidson, 1st Con.; Herbert Green, 3rd; John King, 75th; Thos. Morris, reservist (killed at the Marne); Chas. State, 58th; Peter Stewart, 84th; Reuben Sinclair, 3rd; Edgar Sangster, 15th; Robt. Woodward, 14th; David White, 10th Hampshires (killed at Gallipoli); Arch. M. Wright, 75th; Fred Matthews, 1 Scottish Camerons; Herbert Rogers (killed at Langemarck); Wm. Jones, 75th.
Frank Bayes, 81st; S. Dods, 1st; Sam. Forgie, 92nd; John Forgie, 92nd; Francis Fraser, 13th; Geo. Fitton, 58th; John Fox, 2nd Can. Pioneers; Andrew Gillespie, 4th; Jas. Gibson, 58th; Joseph Hand, 38th; David Irwin, 92nd; Wm. Lawson, 86th; Chas. Langfeldt, 4th C.M.R. (twice wounded); Oswald Morall, 4th C.M.R.; Neil Munro, 92nd; Peter M. Morrison, 73rd; J. Mills, 92nd; John McIntosh, 1st C.M.R.; Carl Olson, 3rd; John V. Proctor, 35th; Wm. John Price, 12th; Jas. Proctor, 60th; Sergt. Fred. H. Pittam, Q.O.R. (home); Chas. E. Pottle, 58th; James Robertson, 8th Battery; Chas. Rowe, 1st C.M.R.; Robert Square, 14th; Chas. Sinclair, 3rd; Wm. Sleath, 83rd; Andrew Stilley, 92nd; Geo. Telfer, 8th C.M.R.
Hugh Forgie, 92nd; Geo. Jack, 35th Battalion.
On January 18, 1918, David Wallace Christie enlisted as an army chaplain.
25 Woodfield Road Pearl Morley
Tiny Tot Wins Hearts In “Shirley Temple” Movie-Double Contest
“Winner yesterday was Pearl Morley, six years old, one of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. F. Morley of 25 Woodfield Road, who took her win of a big Shirley Temple doll with all the dignity of a veteran trouper. P
Little Pearl’s first appearance in public was at the Globe and Mail’s contests, and she had been entered by her family more to give her stage presence than for the prize, her older sister said after the audience had shown in warm applause its appreciation of the judge’s decision. She had appeared at the contests earlier in the week and had been in the finals several times, and had a shy ingenuous manner that made her firm friends with the audience. Globe and Mail Sept. 10, 1937
30 Morley avenue, Previously reported as missing, Pte. W. Bouldry of Sheffield, Eng., was reported as killed in action on Sunday. Four years ago he came to Toronto from England and became connected with the furniture trade here. Mrs. Bingham, 30 Morley avenue, Toronto, is a sister. His mother is still living in Sheffield. Globe, Tuesday, July 27, 1915
He was with the 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders of Canada. He was killed in action on April 29 1915 in France. His body was never found and his name is on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium. He originally from Truro, Cornwall, England.
Saved H.E. Moriarty From Drowning in Ashbridge’s Bay, and Now Gets Hero Medal and $2,000 in Cash.
Rowland Frederick Bell, the Toronto boy, who was awarded a bronze medal and $2,000 for educational purposes by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for rescuing at the risk of his own life, H.E. Moriarty from drowning on Sunday, June 27th, 1909, was seen by The Star to-day, while at his work, paperhanging, at 162 Bolton avenue. His story of the rescue is as follows:
“There were a number of us swimming in Ashbridge’s Bay on the day in question. A friend and I were diving off a dinghy anchored near the shore. I was about ready to quit when a shout attracted my attention to a man in distress about forty yards away. I at once plunged in and when I reached him, his frantic efforts to grab me warned me to be cautious so I circled around him looking for an opening.
As it was he succeeded in pulling me under twice, and had it not been for the poor material of my bathing suit, which tore away in his death-like grasp, it might have been all over with both of us.
“However, he was fast weakening and I was able to get a food grip on him and keep afloat till John Franklin came along with a punt. I was pretty near all in and Moriarty – I found out his name later, although I have not seen him since – was by this time unconscious. It required half an hour or more hard work to resuscitate him.
Mr. Bell stated that he had always wanted to take a university course and although his extent of schooling ended with the Public school, he intended as soon as his present job is completed to start right in.
I am not fully decided yet as to whether I will go to S.P.S. and take up mechanics, or to study law. My tastes are all for applied science, however. That $2,000 is a godsend, inasmuch as it will let me realize one of my fondest ambitions”
Mr. Bell is the eldest of the eight children of Mr. and Mrs. John Bell, of 97 Morley avenue. he is in his twenty-second year and was born in Toronto. On passing the entrance he at once went to work with his father as a paperhanger and painter.
He has already received a medal for life-saving from the Royal Humane Society. NEW
His younger brother, John, is also said to be one of Toronto’s strongest swimmers, as is his uncle, Wm. R. Bell, who has saved people from drowning at Wingham, Gorefield, and Centre Island. At the latter place he saved the life of a drowning man at the Bathurst Street Mission’s Sunday School picnic four years ago. The rescuer was 54 years old at the time.
As an evidence of his mechanical mind, it might be cited that he spent the evenings of three years in constructing an automobile.
His mother’s happiness knows no bounds. There were tears in her eyes when she told The Star how she and her husband had always wished that they could let their son go to college.
“He was always a great reader,” she said. “Whenever he could lay his hands on a text book on law or science he would study it diligently.” Toronto Star Oct. 19, 1911
41 Morley Ave. POW Frank Woodcock
“If anyone doesn’t believe how Germans treat their prisoners then let them go to German,” declared Pte. Frank Woodcock, who was severely wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of the Somme, October 8, 1916, and who was repatriated on June 14, 1918. Pte. Woodcock returned to his home, 41 Morley avenue, last night.
Fed on Raw Fish.
Speaking of the food received in Germany, Pte. Woodcock declared that it would not be possible to live without the parcels from the Red Cross. Pte. Woodcock stated that while in the German hospital, the prisoners were given raw fish now and again, which was in the estimation of the Germans a luxury to their captives. On one occasion Pte. Woodcock mentioned how he and other prisoners had been without food of any kind for five days. At the end of that period the much needed Red Cross parcel arrived. In a brief reference concerning German cruelties Pte. Woodcock told of how his chum was blind, but he added, “blinded deliberately by the Germans.” he enlisted in the 74th Battalion but was transferred to the 74th Cameron Highlanders. Toronto Star Oct. 30, 1918
42 Woodfield Rd. Lewis Rootham (1868-1942) was a builder. The family arrived in Canada Oct. 7, 1905, aboard The Virginian from Liverpool to Quebec. They were from Bedfordshire, but the mother, Elizabeth Butterworth, was from Morley, Yorkshire. I talked to my dad today about Woodfield Road…he is 89 and lived on the street in his grandfather’s when he was little..late 1920s. He remembers being there. His uncle and cousins moved in after him.
I am sure you know more than he remembers but in case you are interested…he told me his grandfather (who was a builder) built the house in early 1900s. He talked about the area being like old English countryside at first with grass and creek that ran into Asbury Bay. His dad and uncle used to swim there.
He talked about Ashbridge…united empire loyalist with royalty connections who was deeded land…but apparently my dad thought him a bit odd because he cut the grass in the rain.
My dad said the whole atmosphere of the neighbourhood changed with the relentless advance of civilization. He cited three major steps in the areas development. First stores opening on south side of Queen street…bringing more people to street…then building of TTC barn yard…that changed atmosphere from English countryside to mechanical….and the building of school north of Ashbridges place..Duke of Connaught…that started building boom. Apparently Ashbridge kept 200 FT.
He describes houses on south side of 42 as being low class row houses..but said other side had pretty good houses. He said his grandfather’s house was big..but unique in design because it had multiple levels..master, living and front hall were on one level..but you went down two steps to dining and kitchen..up to bath and two bedrooms and up again to two more bedrooms…a great big house with only one bathroom. He remembers the fireplace as marvellous…wood panelling and brick…classic English styling.
He said times were tough and his grandfather replaced back yard with garages he could rent out to people with automobiles to have some money…he said the driveway was cinder and he was always getting hurt on it. Liz Rootham
Jonathan Ashbridge Park
December 1909, the City realized that a block of land 230 feet deep on Morley Avenue, purchased or expropriated for building the plant would not be needed. In the future it would some of this land would become Jonathan Ashbridge Park.
Charles S. Petty petitioned asking that city land on the south side of Queen street east of Woodfield running to Eastern avenue, used as a park, be sold for commercial purposes. A deputation that addressed the committee said that if sold and developed, it would stimulate business there.
“The land does not belong to us,” said the park commissioner, explaining that it was under the works department, being part of the eastern sewge disposals works. He said that the parks department was holding [it] until it was ascertained for what purpose it could be used.
“I wonder if this deputation could get an offer for this land?” asked Ald. Boland. “Will you give us that privilege?” asked a lady eagerly.
Con. Robbins said there were seven or eight hundred feet on Queen street. Eastern avenue ran through it and the tenders to pave the latter had been let.
“If we have any park property which is not used, we should sell it,” opined Ald. Benson.
The committee decided to get a report on the proposal from the works, parks and assessment commissioner who will report to the works committee.’ Toronto Star Feb. 28, 1928
Real Estate Boom before World War I
1907 the Ashbridges began to divide their estate into lots for residential building lots. Morley Avenue was quickly developed for housing.
1909 the City of Toronto annexed the area south of the Danforth between Greenwood Avenue and the Beach. It included the area called “Midway”, on the former Ashbridge’s farm, between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues. The boom was on. Developers subdivided Midway into an almost all English working class suburb, a Little Britain.
FOR SALE – Solid brick house, detached, on Morley avenue, just north of Queen, ten rooms, two gas mantels, one coal mantel, bath, hardwood floors, hot air heating, sold cheap for quick sale. Apply Mr. Healy, owner, 37 Prince Arthur Avenue. Toronto Star April 19, 1909
$1,500 – Queen and Morley avenue, good detached home, on 35-foot lot, fine healthy locality, north of Queen, owner going to Vancouver, close to car. Toronto Star March 1, 1911
1911 Dec 15 Water For Morley Avenue. The residents of Morley avenue will continue to drink water supplied by the city water carts. The Street Commissioner is of the opinion that it is not safe to allow them to use the well supply on that street. The cost of it will be charged to the Waterworks Department.
$42.25 FOOT – South-east corner of Queen and Morley Avenue. 118 ½ x 120. Best bargain on the street. All cash wanted. Easily worth $50 foot now. Don’t miss this. Toronto Star Aug. 8, 1912
1912 April. Sewer constructed Woodfield. 1914 The Hiawatha avenue sewer, after starting from Apple Grove up Hiawatha avenue, will run to Gerrard street, along Gerrard to Morley avenue, and up that street to Danforth where it joins the larger sewer. It is not known just when the work will be completed, but many teams, engines and men are rushing the work through, and splendid progress is being made. Toronto Star January 15, 1914
In the fall of 1913, the City of Toronto put out a call for tenders to build the Midway Sewer System which would run down Hiawatha Avenue, Gerrard Street, and Morley Avenue, using the hydraulic pressure of a buried Ashbridges Creek.
The street system expanded and improved as the population grew. In 1915 Morley Avenue was paved with asphalt from Eastern Avenue to Gerrard. Morley Road (now Woodfield Road) was built up right to the GTR tracks.
THE ASHBRIDGE ESTATE
1793 Sarah Ashbridge and her three daughters, Mary (1766-1841), Elizabeth (1758-1801) and Sarah (1775-1801) left their homes. Mary’s husband, Parker Mills (1762-1837), Elizabeth’s husband, Paul Walcott (1752-1825), and daughter Sarah Ashbridge’s husband, Samuel Heron, left with the Ashbridges. Two sons, John (1761-1843) and Jonathan Ashbridge (1772-1845), also traveled up the Mohawk Trail with the family and crossed Lake Ontario by boat. They arrived in Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake).The men carefully scouted good locations and soon the party traveled on to York. The family spent its first winter in York within the ruins of the old French Fort Rouillé (on what is now the Canadian National Exhibition grounds). From there they sailed across Toronto Harbour and Ashbridge’s Bay to the land they had chosen. The Ashbridges were among the first Europeans in Leslieville. When their boat entered the Ashbridge’s Bay, one of the family trumpeted a blast on a big conch shell (later used for a dinner horn). Thousands of ducks flew up making a noise like thunder. The Ashbridges chose good land on the north shore of the bay and settled there. Since they did not have legal title, one might consider them squatters though the practice was not at all unusual. Three years later they gained title to their land when the Crown granted them in total 600 acres of land between Ashbridge Bay and present-day Danforth Avenue. Sarah Ashbridge, her sons and son-in-laws received free land grant Patents of 200 acres each. The Ashbridges quickly became respectable despite their suspect origins. They were successful farmers, growing wheat and planting orchards. They had chosen a farm lot with good soil fronting on the Bay and on a trail. 1809 and 1811, the Ashbridge brothers built a large frame house for the family. Both the log cabin and the frame house were on Farm Lot Nine, close to the Kingston trail. In 1854 Jesse Ashbridge had another house, this one of brick, probably made on his own land. 1903 City Directory there were ten Leslieville area brick manufacturers: including Morley & Ashbridge (George Morley and Jesse Ashbridge) 165 Greenwood Avenue. 1913 the Ashbridges tore down the log cabin and the 1809 clapboard house. Jesse Ashbridge Jr. built a new house at 54 Woodfield Avenue. The family replaced the 1809 frame house with a rose garden. Elizabeth Rooney Ashbridge died in 1919. The house and remaining land passed to Wellington and his wife Mable Davis (1879-1952). Their daughters were Dorothy (1905-1996) and Betty (1907-2002).
54 Woodfield Rd 1962 In the early 1960s Dorothy and Betty Ashbridge began running an unregulated retirement home in the Emma Ashbridge House, 54 Woodfield Road, with five senior ladies living there. Tragedy struck in 1962 when a fire raged through the home killing three of the elderly women: Alice Jamieson, Marian Towers and Mrs. Frank Cocker. Katie Sprackett and Mrs. William Daniels escaped. “The women were in bed when the fire occurred. Smoke and heat caused them to run to balconies outside their windows before firemen arrived. A neighbor, Everton Cuyler, tried to break down the front door to rescue the women but was unable to do so. When he ran to the back door flames prevented him from entering. he could hear the women screaming inside.” In 1965 A brick bungalow was built on the Ashbridge estate at Woodfield Road on the site of 1962 fire. Dorothy (Ashbridge) Bullen worked as a librarian until she retired in 1965. Her sister Betty Ashbridge married Carman Edgar Burton in the 1960s. Later in life Betty returned to live on the Ashbridge Estate. In 1972 the sisters gave the house to the Ontario Heritage Foundation [since 2005 the Ontario Heritage Trust] with the proviso that they could live there as long as they wanted. They also gave the 2.3-acre grounds. By this donation, they ensured that this special place would be protected from development. In 1973 the Ashbridge house was placed on the City of Toronto’s Inventory of Heritage Properties.
In 1997 University of Toronto at Scarborough archaeologist Marti Latta, with Dena Doroszenko of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, worked with students to excavate the site of the original Ashbridge log cabin, probably the first white settler’s cabin in Leslieville. About 120,000 artifacts were found. In addition to artifacts from the Ashbridges, the team found First Nations artifacts on the site. These included ceramics (from 1300-1400 Common Era or CE), ground stone tools, and projectile points ranging in age from 500 CE to what may be a stone point from 8,000 years ago.
57 Morley avenue George Morley, son of Walker Morley, grandson of John Morley. Family of brickmakers. From Lancashire.
Silas Henry Armstrong attended the University of Toronto after graduating from Parkdale Collegiate Institute. He studied Natural Science at the University and was heavily involved in athletics. He played goal for the Varsity football team and was secretary-treasurer of the Varsity Association team. After graduating from university, he attended the Ontario Normal College at Hamilton.
In 1908 City of Toronto for first time pays for playgrounds thanks to Silas Armstrong and the Playground Movement. In 1909 Silas H. Armstrong, Principal of Wellesley School (now closed), became the first City of Toronto Superintendent of Playgrounds and began Canada’s first public recreation program. He is remembered today through the S. H. Armstrong Community Centre. In 1913 the City of Toronto creates the Playgrounds and Recreations Branch (of Parks Dept) under Silas H. Armstrong.
Son, historian Frederick Henry Armstrong, described his father:
In 1849 the Armstrongs migrated from the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia to York County, and by 1894 they had moved on to the City of Toronto itself. My father, Silas Henry Armstrong, was superintendent of playgrounds from 1913 to 1947 and during the Depression his blow-by-blow account of how the city politicians were butting the parks and playgrounds budget was standard fare at home. Their theory seemed to be simple – trees and kids don’t vote, so cut there. But on one occasion, when the budget for boys’ basketball was pared, Father managed to strike back by cutting some women’s evening classes in Cabbagetown instead. When a deputation arrived at his Shuter Street office demanding reinstatement of the classes, he explained that it was either classes or baseball. If the latter went, their sons would be home underfoot or out on the streets up to goodness knows what. Pressed on how the money for the classes could be reinstated, he told the women that they would have to go to the city Council. They went –and virtually invaded a Council meeting. An alderman was hit on the head with an umbrellas and, miraculously, the funds for the classes were restored, Depression or not!
Silas H. Armstrong died on August 30, 1954.
70 Woodfield Road DUKE OF CONNAUGHT SCHOOL 1911 The Board of Education offered $27,000 for 6 ½ acres of Ashbridges land. They ended up paying $33,127.50 to Mrs. E. ASHBRIDGE for $33,127.50. At that time 3,000 students were in temporary school rooms. One of the schools recommended was Morley Avenue, 23 rooms, to cost approximately $115,000.  The Duke of Connaught School was meant to relieve over-crowding at the Leslie Street School & the Roden School and was first in a two room portable on the south west corner opposite Vancouver Ave. The Board of Education named their Morley Avenue School after the Duke of Connaught. November 29 John. C. Eaton loaned his limousine to the Board of Education so that the Duke & Duchess of Connaught could ride in it when they dedicated schools that week. The Royal party went to the Queen Alexandra School. The Duke used a silver spade to break ground at the Morley street site. The band of the 48th Highlanders were present.
The Duke laid the cornerstone in 1912 and formally opened the School. Woodfield Senior School was added in the late 1950s. The Junior and Senior schools combined in 1989 to form Duke of Connaught Public School.
81 Morley Avenue: Pte. Albert Blackburn, whose mother resides at 81 Morley avenue has been admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds in the thigh. He was born in Leeds, England, but came to Canada 11 years ago. He enlisted with the 39th Battalion in February and was awarded the Military Medal for distinguished conduct shortly after reaching France. He is 21 years of age.
Military Medal 30-12-17 #412663 For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in front of Passchendaele Nov. 9th and three following days. During the four days tour and particularly on Nov. 10th when an attack was in progress on the left flank Pte. Blackburn displayed great courage persistency in carrying messages to the front line Companys. All roads and paths were heavily barraged by artillery and machine gun fire and although three accompanying runners became casualties Pte. Blackburn by his persistent courage was able to maintain communication throughout the day. (Medal card citation).
128 Woodfield Road
Class G, best twins, either sex, or boy and girl, 6 months and under, 12 months; 1st, William and James Caldwell, aged 10 months; Mrs. James Caldwell, 128 Woodfield. Height, 19 inches, weight, James, 20 pounds, 10 ounces, and William, 19 pounds, 10 ounces. CNE Baby Competition, Toronto Star, Sept. 7, 1926
133 Morley Ave Edward James Williams gassed Toronto Star Sept 25 1918 He had five children and died in 1955.
THE KIDDIES THOUGHT DADDY COMING HOME
But Telegram From Ottawa Announced That Pte. E. J. Williams Had Been Gassed
Riverdale, Sept. 24 – There was great excitement among the four little kiddies in the home of Pte. Edward J. Williams, 133 Morley ave., when Ottawa’s official telegram arrived; they thought daddy was coming home. Instead of that, daddy was injured overseas – shell gassed, Sept. 3, ater 21 months active service. Before enlisting he was a postie here; for nine months afterwards he was with the Canadian Postal Corps, despatching soldiers’ mail from England to the front. He is a Toronto man, only 26 yet. His brother-in-law, W. J. Humphrey, went overseas in the 232nd Battalion.
135 Morley Avenue EAST END BARGAIN. $4,500 – DETACHED, brick front, 6 rooms, three-piece bath, electric, gas, furnace, full size cellar, balcony, verandah, three minutes’ walk to car, good cash payment. Apply owner, 135 Morley Ave. Toronto Star Sept. 14, 1920
201 Morley Ave
Over 300 New “Flu” Cases are Reported at the City Hall.
LIST OF THE DEATHS
Increase Reported in the Schools – 50 Per Cent Absent From Some of Them.
Dr. Hastings issued strict orders to-day that under no conditions must conventions of any kind be held in Toronto until the present epidemic of influenza has died out.
There were forty new cases reported to the Department of health this morning, while others will come in during the day. Up to date, 170 have been reported to the department. This, however, does not by any means represent the number of cases in the city, as there are over 300 cases in the hospitals alone….Up to date, there have been 40 deaths from influenza reported to the City Hall, and 32 deaths from pneumonia…Up to noon to-day the following deaths from pneumonia and influenza had been reported since yesterday.
201 Morley Avenue Nellie McNelley, died of influenza Toronto Star Oct. 11, 1918
…Walter J. H. Barber, 15 years, 206 Ashdale avenue. …Henry Hunter, 87 years, 589 Erie terrace. …Agnes M. Ferguson, age 17, of 114 Logan avenue. …Nellie McNelley, 201 Morley avenue.
The epidemic of Spanish influenza in the Toronto schools is on the increase, according to information received by The Star this morning. in many of the larger schools as many as 50 per cent of the pupils are away and in practically every school in the city a large percentage is away sick. Toronto Star Oct. 11, 1918
202 Morley Avenue William Jennings DCM
HONORED AFTER DEATH Sapper W. Jennings is given the D.C.M. for Gallantry at the Battle of Arras. Word has been received that Sapper W. Jennings, 202 Morley avenue, who was recently reported to have died of wounds, has been awarded the D.C.M. for gallantry during the battle of Arras. Sapper Jennings was reported wounded and missing on August 8th last. Shortly afterwards his brother, Leonard, who is also serving in France, came across his grave and erected a cross to his memory. Leonard notified the relatives at home of his brother’s death and sent home a sketch of his grave, but it was not until Wednesday last that Ottawa officially reported the death of Sapper Jennings. During the whole time the brothers served in France they never me. Toronto Star, November 19, 1918.
Jennings, W. L/Sgt. 171911 This NCO single-handed rushed two enemy machine gun posts and bayoneted the crew. On nearing the final objective there was a machine gun at some cross roads which held up the right flank of the advance. He worked round it, tackling the entire crew of six men by himself. He bayoneted five, but the last man wounded him severely. His work and cheerfulness when sounded was an inspiration to his men. Nov. 11, 1918 (Citation, Medals Card)
8 Aug 1918 William Jennings DCM 1886-1918 “Died of Wounds” During Military operations South of Amiens, he was hit in the stomach by a machine gun bullet and died whilst being carried out. (Circumstances of Casualty).
On February 17, 1919, Sapper Leonard Jennings returned by train to Toronto and his home at 202 Morley avenue. Toronto Star Feb. 17, 1919 On October 12, 1918, their niece Iris Irene Marker 21 months old died of the flu. She had been ill seven days. Toronto Star Oct 12 1918
During the Great Depression the homeowners at 202 Woodfield Road defaulted on their mortgage and the family home was sold by Public Auction on December 1, 1931.Toronto Star Nov. 12, 1931
In 1941 Leonard Jennings and his family were living at 1311 Gerrard St E, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
238 Woodfield Road Child Dies of Diphtheria. Two-year-old Audrey Gregory, 238 Woodfield Rd., died to-day in the Isolation hospital from diphtheria. Coroner Dr. H.W. Burgess is investigating. Toronto Star April 13, 1931
239 Morley Ave THREE BROTHERS SERVE, ONE REPORTED KILLED Private Harry Brown Pays the Supreme Sacrifice After 18 Months in Trenches. Riverdale, Nov. 2 – Word has been received by his parents, of 239 Morley avenue, that Pte. harry Brown was killed in action October 11. He had been 18 months in the trenches with the 19th Battalion. He was in his 20th year, and was a former employee of Eaton’s . Two brothers were wounded in the Battle of Lens. One, Frank, returned to France, and the other returned home. Toronto Star Nov. 2, 1918
242 Morley Ave Pte. Robert W. Brooks, formerly of 242 Morley avenue, who has been wounded, enlisted because of the Zeppelin raids over England. With his wife and children, Brooks came to Canada from hull, England, four years ago. He went overseas in April and went to France August 27. Toronto Star Oct. 11, 1916
251 Woodfield Road, $5,800 – New, 6-roomed, detached, square plan, oak throughout, drive, everything modern, low taxes. See this at 251 Woodfield road. Grover 1460. Toronto Star June 16, 1924
252 Woodfield Rd 1944 Flying Officer J.W. May, 252 Woodfield Rd., won a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross. Globe and Mail. This was for outstanding bravery. Globe and Mail, Nov. 16, 1944
258 Woodfield Road STRIKER IS ARRESTED ON ASSAULT CHARGE
Arthur Dowey Held for Attacking Wm. Stronach, One of New Carriers
CASES OF VIOLENCE
Women With Brooms and Water Gave Some New Posties a Trying Time
The first arrest in the postal workers’ strike was made yesterday afternoon when Arthur Dowey, a letter carrier on strike, living at 7 Wellesley avenue, was arrested in the Metropolitan church grounds by Detective Waterhouse for an assault on Wm. Stronach, 14 Ross street, one of the new carriers, who was delivering letters on Yonge street.
The man attacked has defective sight and is partially crippled. Police say that he received several blows in the face and his mail bag was torn from his shoulder. It is also said that there were four or five men who stood about and witnessed the assault. Stronach, despite the blows and his physical handicap, picked up the scattered letters and went on with his delivery. The strike officers got Dowey out on bail of $800.
Attacked by Men in Car
Arthur Reese, 258 Woodfield road, while delivering letters on Riverdale avenue and Pape avenue, was attacked, he says, by a number of men who were driving in a motor car. he suffered several blows on the mouth. The attackers got away in their car just before two police officers arrived on the scene. Reese picked up his letters and went on.
A mail carrier on Bertmount avenue is reported to have had his coat torn from him.
Another on Ashdale avenue was attacked by women with brooms and met with cries of “blackleg” and “Why didn’t you go to the front?”
On Dagmar avenue the women mauled a new carrier. As he handed some letters to a woman she threw them back in his face and pushed him… Toronto Star, June 28, 1924
261 Morley Avenue OLD SOLDIER FATALLY INJURED. George Neale, 261 Morley Avenue, who was fatally injured yesterday afternoon when he was crushed in the elevator shaft at the Salisbury Electric Company, 615 Yonge street. He was 63 years of age, and prior to coming to Toronto two years ago, had been one of the foremost men in recruiting the 94th Overseas Battalion from Fort William, Ontario. Toronto Star Feb. 26, 1919
Edward James Neale, George Neale’s son, was killed in Belgium on Dec. 15, 1914.
EIGHTY YARDS FROM TORONTO EIGHTY MILES FROM $1,000
This is the Unvarnished Story of a Soldier’s Widow, a Soldier’s Death, and of the Babe Which He Never Knew.
THREE OTHER CHILDREN LEFT FATHERLESS
This, in brief, is the tragedy of one of Toronto’s war widows, as expressed by herself:
“My husband died in action. I intended to try and buy a little cottage with the $1,000 insurance I expected, and thus to save rent, but the money is not forthcoming. It seems as if I must give up that idea now. My husband has done his duty, and it is mine to bring up his children. We all have our duty to do for our country.”
Tremulously, but with a sweet and gentle voice, Mrs. Lily Neale uttered her disappointment at the action of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in deciding she was not entitled to the $1,000 insurance for Toronto soldiers on active service, because she lives just outside the city. Even in war times, few women have as much tragedy crowded into a few months of their life as this little widow. On August 17 her husband Edward James Neale, received 24 hours’ notice to join his regiment, the East Surreys. Three weeks later he was at the front in General French’s Army. On December 13th he was killed in the trenches and on New Year’s Day his widow received the news of his death from the British War Office. Wednesday the Board of Control decided they could do nothing to help her. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company decided that she was not entitled to the $1,000 insurance the city paid for because she lives about 80 yards outside the city limits.
Boy Would be a Soldier.
“What are you going to be when you grow up to be a man, Walter?” the widowed mother asks. “A British soldier,” answered the little fellow.
“What will you do?” “Shoot Germans,” lisps the wide-eyed son of a soldier.
“What was your father, Walter?” she asks. “A British soldier,” and the boy places his head upon his mother’s breast, and she sobs as if her heart would break.
It is the only time she breaks down completely during the interview, although many times the tears well up behind her eyes. May, a fair-haired girl of five years, plays with the baby, while Lily, two years of age, is asleep. May, the eldest girl, seems to have a dim consciousness when her mother speaks of her father, that something dreadful has happened, but her childish mind doesn’t grasp the full significance of the loss.
The baby, called after its father, Edward James Neale, was born after its daddy left for the war, and was three weeks old when he was killed in the trenches.
…One of the last letters the husband wrote was to his aunt in England, and this was forwarded to the widow when he was killed. In the letter, referring to his little son’s advent, he says, “How I wish I could be there to cheer her up, but my service was needed out here to help protect England’s right, which I am doing with a good heart, and trusting to God to guide me safe home again, to my wife and children which are so dear to me.
Had Proudly Told of Son.
His letters to his wife are full of loving tenderness, into, which it would be almost sacrilege to intrude. Mrs. Neale, after his death, wrote to the color-sergeant of the regiment; she was anxious to know the details of his death and burial, and if he knew of his son’s birth. One can fancy the soldier sitting down with his comrades to pen an epistle which would not hurt the feelings of the little widow 80 yards out of the city limits of Toronto. The sympathy of the whole company is sent, and tenderly the letter reads: “I know take the opportunity of answering your letter and will endeavor to give you the information you ask as far as I possibly can. You must pardon me though if I cause pain, and can only hope it will relieve you somewhat as you assure me it will. Your late husband, Corporal Neale, met with is wound, which unfortunately proved fatal, whilst in the trenches, and died in the Regimental Hospital quite peacefully and without pain, about half an hour later. He was not mutilated in any way, but received quite a clean wound. He was given a soldier’s funeral, a chaplain of the forces officiating. The same evening I have made enquiries for you and fell quite sure he was aware of the birth of his son, as he had mentioned it to several men of his company. Any articles found on him will no doubt be forwarded to you in due course by the authorities who deal with these matters. Again trusting this information will ease your mind, and heartily sympathizing with you in your sorrow.”
Her husband gave his life, secure in the confidence that his family would be cared for. he sleeps in Belgium, and possibly his dying vision was the little home on Croyne avenue, 80 yards outside the City of Toronto – yards that seem to be as efficacious as miles in barring a widow and four children from the ownership of a home. Toronto Star March 18, 1915 [The Neale family returned to England.]
269 Woodfield Rd Arthur H. Lightfoot For many years a clerk in the Toronto postal service, Arthur Harley Lightfoot, 74, died yesterday at this home, 269 Woodfield Rd. he retired some years ago. Mr. Lightfoot was born near Hamilton and had lived for 40 years on Woodfield Rd. He leaves his wife; two sons, Dr. Lewis T. Lightfoot, Chicago, and Dr. A. Stanley Lightfoot, Toronto, and two sisters, Mrs. Mayme Taylor, Toronto, and Anna Stanton, Detroit. Globe and Mail, Dec. 11, 1953
The Lightfoot Family lived on Morley Avenue, which in 1924 became Woodfield Road. Josiah Henson (the model for “Uncle Tom” in Uncle Tom’s Cabin), was the conductor who led the Lightfoot brothers up the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Jefferson Lightfoot settled in Hamilton. Later some of the family moved to Toronto for better educational opportunities. Lewis, graduated in 1944 from the U of T dentistry school. Later he moved to Chicago, Illinois. I show Arthur Lightfoot as living at 269 Woodfield Road from at least 1921 as he is listed in the City Directory there at that date. (In the 1913 City Directory, William Joseph Young lived there.)
Truth Stranger Than Fiction. Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life: Electronic Edition. Henson, Josiah, 1789-1883
I was once attending a very large meeting at Fort Erie, at which a great many
colored people were present. In the course of my preaching I tried to impress upon them the importance of the obligations they were under; first, to God, for their deliverance; and then, secondly, to their fellow-men, to do all that was in their power to bring others out of bondage. In the congregation was a man named James Lightfoot…When the service was concluded he begged to have an interview with me, to which I gladly acceded, and an arrangement was made for further conversation on the same subject one week from that time. He then informed me where he came from, also to whom he belonged, and that he had left behind a dear father and mother, three sisters and four brothers; and that they lived on the Ohio River, not far from the city of Maysville. He said that he never saw his duty towards them to be so clear and unmistakeable as he did at that time, and professed himself ready to cooperate in any measures that might be devised for their release. During the short period of his freedom he had accumulated some little property, the whole of which, he stated, he would cheerfully devote to carrying out those measures; for he had not had any rest, night nor day, since the meeting above mentioned.
… I consented to commence the painful and dangerous task of endeavoring to free those whom he so much loved. I left my own family in the hands of no other save God, and commenced the journey alone, on foot, and travelled thus about four hundred miles. …
I was an entire stranger to them, but I took with me a small token of their brother who was gone, which they at once recognized; and this was to let them know that he had gone to Canada, the land of freedom, and had now sent a friend to assist them in making their escape. This created no little excitement. But his parents had become so far advanced in years that they could not undertake the fatigue; his sisters had a number of children, and they could not travel; his four brothers and a nephew were young men, and sufficiently able for the journey, but the thought of leaving their father, and mother, and sisters, was too painful; and they also considered it unsafe to make the attempt then, for fear that the excitement and grief of their friends might betray them; so they declined going at that time, but promised that they would go in a year, if I would return for them.…
I REMAINED at home, working on my farm, until the next autumn, soon after which time I had promised to assist in the restoring to liberty the friends of James Lightfoot, the individual who had excited my sympathy at the meeting at Fort Erie. In pursuance of this promise, I again started on my long journey into Kentucky.
On my way, that strange occurrence happened, called the great meteoric shower. The heavens seemed broken up into streaks of light and falling stars. I reached Lancaster, Ohio, about three o’clock in the morning, and found the village aroused, and the bells ringing, and the people exclaiming, “The day of judgment is come!” I thought it was probably so; but felt that I was in the right business, and walked on through the village, leaving the terrified people behind. The stars continued to fall till the light of the sun appeared.
… On landing a wonderful providence happened to me. The second person I met in the street was Jefferson Lightfoot, brother of the James Lightfoot previously mentioned, and one of the party who had promised to escape if I would assist them. He stated that they were still determined to make the attempt, and the following Saturday night was named to put it into execution, and preparations for the journey were at once commenced. …
For fear of being detected, they started off without bidding their father or mother farewell, and then, in order to prevent the hounds from following on our trail, we seized a skiff, a little below the city, and made our way down the river. It was not the shortest way, but it was the surest…. Our boat sprung a leak before we had got half way, and we narrowly escaped being drowned; providentially, however, we got to the shore before the boat sunk. We then took another boat, but this detention prevented us from arriving at Cincinnati in time for the stage. Day broke upon us when we were about ten miles above the city, and we were compelled to leave our boat from fear of being apprehended. This was an anxious time. … We went first up and then down the river, trying to find a convenient crossing place, but failed. I then said to my company, “Boys, let us go up the river and try again.” We started, and after going about a mile we saw a cow coming out of a wood, and going to the river as though she intended to drink. Then said I, “Boys, let us go and see what that cow is about, it may be that she will tell us some news.” I said this in order to cheer them up. One of them replied, in rather a peevish way, “Oh that cow can’t talk;” but I again urged them to come on. The cow remained until we approached her within a rod or two; she then walked into the river, and went straight across without swimming, which caused me to remark, “The Lord sent that cow to show us where to cross the river!” This has always seemed to me to be a very wonderful event.
..soon the white sail of our little bark was laying to the wind, and we were gliding along on our way, with the land of liberty in full view. Words cannot describe the feelings experienced by my companions as they neared the shore;–their bosoms were swelling with inexpressible joy as they mounted the seats of the boat, ready, eagerly, to spring forward, that they might touch the soil of the freeman. And when they reached the shore, they danced and wept for joy, and kissed the earth on which they first stepped, no longer the SLAVE–but the FREE.
KNIT 115 PAIRS SOCKS ALTHOUGH SHE’S 80
Grandma Bond Began to Do Her Bit When War Started, and Still Goes Strong.
Over 80 years of age, retired from the busy round of life, but very active in the cause for which the Empire is fighting, “Grandma” Bond sits in her arm chair at the Morley Apartments, 279 Morley avenue, knitting socks for soldiers. her record is an enviable one. Up to date she has knit 115 pairs, and is still going strong. “I began knitting when the first contingent went away, and I have been knitting ever since,” was the way she expressed it, when The Star called this morning.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bond, to give Grandma her full name, was born in Derry, Ireland, but spent most of her life in St. Catharines, Ontario. With her husband she looked after the Trust and Loan Building. When Mr. Bond died some years ago she moved to Toronto and has resided since with her only child, who is now Mrs. Bradley, wife of the janitor of the Morley Apartments. Mrs. Bradley has a son, George, at the front, who has been wounded three times. Grandma’s only regret is that she has no sons fighting beside her grandchild on the firing line. “However, I’ve used up a good deal of wool since the war began,” she smiled. Grandma has never worn glasses, and is still blessed with good eyesight and very nimble fingers. She can knit a pair of sox in three days “without hurting herself,” as she put it. The sox are turned over to the Red Cross Society, Daughters of the Empire, and Salvation Army to be forwarded.
“What do I think about the war,” said Grandma. “Why, I think everybody should turn in and lick them Germans; they are nothing but villains.” Then she fell to knitting. Toronto Star June 17, 1918
Gerrard Street Intersects
RED Indian Gas Station
“It is probable that a gas station will be erected upon the vacant parcel of land on the northwest corner of Gerrard St. E. and Woodfield Rd., which was purchased by the McColl Bros. for a price of $10,000, paid to Harold I. Simpson. The land has a face on Gerrard St. of about 50 feet and a depth of nearly 120 feet along Woodfield Rd. Toronto Star June 9, 1928
CHANGED HANDS AFTER THE RUTH TAYLOR MURDER
Bill Wilson Cities Service Station Queen and Woodfield Extends heartiest Season’s Greetings Globe and Mail, Dec. 26, 1938
Harry O’Donnell, Age 25, married, mechanic was arrested for the murder of Ruth Taylor on Nov. 4, 1936. Clues were found in his home. He murdered her in the ravine of Small’s Creek (Williamson Park). He was a gas station attendant at the Red Indian gas station at Woodfield and Gerrard. At the time of his arrest his wife was in hospital with a new born baby. It was a dark and rainy night. She was walking east along Gerrard from Coxwell and “as she passed the ravine the killer jumped her.” She put up “a furious struggle”. She was sexually assaulted. It was around 11 pm. Her body was found by young boys. O’Donnell lived on Hollywood Crescent near the ravine. Taylor was a complete stranger. Ruth Taylor died from a blow to the head – hit with a rock. The police found a heavy, blood-stained rock – the murder weapon. 
O’Donnell wrote a confession in the Don Jail on the night before he was hung for the murder of Ruth Taylor. He had attacked a number of other women. He was a serial rapist. He was hung in the Don Jail on May 6, 1936. Only officials were present at the execution. O’Donnell was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery with only his family and his priest there.
CARS AND CHILDREN Children and grown-ups were unused to automobiles and there were an astonishing number of fatalities to young children from the introduction of cars and trucks. It had been acceptable for children to play on the street especially when there were few public parks.
298 Woodfield Rd LITTLE GIRL KILLED IN SIGHT OF MOTHER ON WOODFIELD ROAD
Shirley Miller, Aged 3, Run Over by Car While Playing, MOTORIST IS ARRESTED
In sight of her mother, who stood on the sidewalk calling her to stop running, Shirley Miller, aged 3 years, 198 Woodfield Road, was instantly killed at 6.30 last evening when run over in front of her home by an automobile. The car, police said, was being driven on the wrong side of the street by Alexander Cochrane, 128 Ivy Avenue, who was arrested on a charge of manslaughter. The little girl, with another child, was playing in front of her home. Mrs. Morris Miller was watching her little girl, when suddenly the other child darted across the street. Shirley followed, and in doing so was knocked down and run over by the motor car coming south on Woodfield Road.
Dr. Dowling, 1231 Gerrard Street Est, was called to the scene. He examined the child and reported her dead. Coroner H. Burgess ordered the body removed to the morgue. The skull was fractured, police were told. Dr. Burgess will conduct an inquest on June 4. Sergeant Gunnell interviewed witnesses of the accident, who said the car was being driven on the wrong side of the street. Constable Alexander, police brake expert, tested the brakes of Miller’s car and is said to have found them in good shape. Globe, May 29, 1929
DRIVER DISTRACTED BY MOTHER’S SCREAM FAILS TO SEE CHILD
Jury Decides Woodfield Road Auto Fatality Was Unavoidable BABE RAN ACROSS STREET
“The same old story – children playing in the streets and automobiles now so numerous,” said Assistant Coroner Dr. H.W. Burgess at an inquest last night on the death of Shirley Miller, aged 3, of 298 Woodfield Road, fatally injured by an automobile in front of her home last Tuesday. The Coroner’s jury decided that the accident was unavoidable after hearing witnesses tell how the little girl, hearing her mother call, ran directly in the path of the moving automobile. Witness included neighbors of the Miller family, who were sitting on their verandas and saw the child break away from its companions and run toward its home on the opposite side of the street.
Blames Sand Pile Alexander Cochrane, of 128 Ivy Avenue, an insurance agent, testified he was distracted by Mrs. Miller’s scream and blamed a sand pile and wooden barricades set up by workmen for preventing him from seeing the child. The Crown was represented by James McFadden, while W. Horkins represented Cochrane, and W.D.M. Shorey the Miller family.
326 Morley Avenue
On Feb. 8, 1915, when Carrie Davies shot Charles Bert Massey to death at the Massey home on Walmer Road. The Masseys were one of the most powerful families in Canada, but Bert belonged to one of the humbler branches of that powerful family. She was an 18-year old maid from Britain; he was her employer. She was poor; he was from one of the richest and most powerful families in Canada. Carrie Davies claimed that she shot him because she was afraid he wanted to sexually assault her. Charles Albert (Bert) Massey was a car salesman with a reputation as a womanizer.
Caroline Davies (1897-1961) stayed with her sister Maud Walbeoff Davies (Mrs. Edmund Fairchild), 326 Morley avenue, throughout the trial.
The trial became Canada’s trial of the century. She was found not guilty. She went on to die in 1961. Part of the reason the jury found her not guilty was that her lawyer, and some of the media, depicted her in a very sympathetic way: as an innocent, virtuous, and helpless young girl, preyed upon by a lecherous spoiled rich man, used to having his way. She had worked for the Masseys for two years.
Here is how the Toronto Star described her as she sat in the prisoner’s dock:
With a fair face swollen and flushed from a night of weeping, Carrie Davies sat on the prisoners’ bench in the Women’s court…She has soft, fair hair, blue eyes, and the pink and white skin of the English girl…she shuddered and cried continuously. Toronto Star Feb. 9, 1915
Some think she was a heroine; others think she got away with murder.
Charlotte Gray, wrote a book, The Massey Murder, and she has some interesting things to say in her blog. After the book came out she learned more about Carrie Davies. Margaret Grainger, who came to her reading at Runnymede Library in Toronto, is the granddaughter of Carrie Davies, the 18-year old English servant whose murder trial is the centerpiece of my book. She told Charlotte Gray “that she had clear memories of her grandmother: “She was a happy, smiling person,” she said. Although Margaret’s grandfather proved to be an unsuccessful businessman, and the family was never financially secure, Margaret recalled a loving grandma and a harmonious household where she often stayed as a little girl. But when Margaret was barely in her teens, Carrie died – too young to collect a pension. In the words of Margaret’s mother: “She died of hard work.”
330 Morley Avenue (My home) BUILDING IS BOOMING Permits have been granted as follows: …W. Mitchell to make addition to dwelling at 330 Morley avenue at a cost of $1,000.
Toronto Star August 17, 1917
|City Directory||City Directory||Voters’ List|
|Harry Cooper||William Mitchell||Mitchell, William, machinist|
|Mitchell, Mrs. William|
|Ferguson, Jack, mechanic|
|Ferguson, Mrs. Jack|
FRED LANSDOWNE the well-known bantamweight boxer, who leaves for the front tom-morrow with the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Lansdowne was one of the cleverest amateurs in Canada. He won two city, a Provincial, and a Canadian title. After he turned professional, Lansdowne held the pro. bantam title for three years. Toronto Star, Feb. 15, 1915
Fred Lansdowne Toronto Star March 30 1915 Members of C Squadron, 7th Canadian Mounted Rifle
A well-known local boxer, who has seen four years of the heaviest fighting on the western front, returned to Toronto yesterday, when Fred Lansdowne, the former Canadian featherweight champion, came back to his home [332 Woodfield Road, then 332 Morley avenue]. Lansdowne went overseas with a cavalry unit in the spring of 1915, but transferred to the artillery, and was wounded at the Somme, from which he has fully recovered. His brother, Dick, who used to aspire to the 125-pound title, is also overseas, but is expected home very soon. Freddie Lansdowne will get into shape and be ready for the fall bouts. Toronto Star May 29, 1919
FALLS FROM VIADUCT EX-BOXER IS KILLED
Fred Lansdowne, Aged 33 Is Fatally Injured When Woodwork Collapses
Falling some 80 feet from the Don river C.P.R. viaduct shortly after 10.00 o’clock tod-day, Frederick Lansdowne, age 33, of 332 Woodfield Rd., a former city lightweight boxing champion, was instantly killed. Dr. J. McDonald of 638 Broadview Ave., was called and announced that death was instantaneous.
Employed by the Nelson River Construction Co., who are repairing the bridge that is situated just north of the Bloor St. viaduct, Lansdowne, with his helper, S. Velter, of 325 Manning Ave., was employed in putting a roof for an engineer’s bench on the bridge.
Velter had left Lansdowne to get a few planks when without warning the woodwork on which Lansdowne was standing suddenly collapsed, hurling him to the ground. No one actually saw Lansdowne fall. The York township police were called and the county coroner after viewing the body ordered it removed to the county morgue.
Mr. Lansdowne was single and lived with his mother and sister.
Toronto Star June 14, 1928
332 Woodfield Rd MOTHER OF LATE FREDDY LANSDOWNE IS DEAD Mrs Lansdowne, mother of the late Freddy Lansdowne, well known local boxer who was killed June 14, 1928 by falling off the Scarboro viaduct, died yesterday at her home, 332 Woodfield Rd., at the age of 72 years. The funeral will be held from St. Monica’s church in Ashdale Ave., at 2 o’clock Monday afternoon. Toronto Star March 8, 1930
James Wren lived at 345 Woodfield Road. His brother, Hugh Wren, was killed in the Great War and another brother, Drummond, was badly wounded and taken prisoner. When he returned from the war Drummond Wren helped found the Workers’ Educational Association to provide adult education. They met in the Ashdale Library. Drummond Wren went on to fight the use of hidden clauses in mortgages, called “restrictive covenants”. He had purchased a house with a clause: “Land not to be sold to Jews or persons of objectionable nationality.” He fought it in court. In 1945 the judge declared restrictive covenants void. Drummond Wren was vilified as a “Commie” and “Red” in his lifetime and his ashes lie in an unmarked grave in St. James Cemetery.
NOW REPORTED MISSING Pte. John Crook, 347 Morley avenue, who was reported wounded on October 8th, is officially reported missing since that date. He leaves a wife and two small children. He was English by birth, a carpenter by trade, a member of Court Rouille, C.O.F., and had been in Canada 6 years. He joined the army because, as he said, “I can’t look an honest man in the face unless I go.” His brother is also in khaki and his brother-in-law, Pte. J. O’Brien, is in the Grenadier Guards, Imperial Army. Toronto Star Jan. 4, 1917 Crook
PTE. J. CROOK DEAD. Official word to Mrs. Crook, at 347 Morley avenue, states that her husband, Pte. J. Crook, who was missing October 8, last, is now presumed dead. A letter of sympathy from a chum in France states that he saw Pte. Crook fall at the Somme. He was 27 years of age and a carpenter by trade. A brother, harry, is now training in England and Mrs. Crook’s brother, Corp. J. O’Brien, is now instructing in England after being wounded. Toronto Star Sept. 19, 1917 Crook
His body was found and identified and he was reburied in a Adanac Military Cemetery, 6 1/4 Miles North East of Albert, France .
354 Woodfield Road
Jeffrey Baldwin died of pneumonia on Nov. 30, 2002, six weeks before his six birthday.
“On the last day of November in 2002, not quite two months before his sixth birthday, Jeffrey Baldwin died. He died from acute bacterial bronchial pneumonia with terminal septicemia, which occurred as a complication of prolonged starvation”. (R. v. Bottineau, para 1)
His grandparents Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman were convicted in his death.
387 Woodfield Road IMPERIAL ARMY MAN I. WILLIAMS, 84, DIES
A veteran of many years’ service with the Imperial army, Ivor Williams, Woodfield Rd., died yesterday. He was 84. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow from the McDougall and Brown chapel, Danforth Ave., for interment in St. John’s cemetery, Norway.
Mr. Williams was born in New South Wales [Australia], and served with the Royal Horse Artillery in Egypt, India and Austrialia. he came to Canada when discharged in 1906. He was the oldest member of the Baron Byng branch, Canadian Legion, and a member of the Sons of England and St. Monica’s Anglican church. He was an artificial limb manufacturer and was associated with the J.E. Hangar Company. Surviving are his son, John, and grandson, David. Toronto Star Jan 2, 1949
395 Morley Avenue
Wilkes returned to his home by train on October 29, 1918 only to find that his wife was dead. “To arrive home safe and sound from the dangers of war and find that his wife had in the meantime died in the “flu” epidemic, was the sad experience of Pte. G. Wilkes, one of the party of 175 Toronto men who returned home from overseas at North Toronto last night.
Pte. Wilkes’ little cottage at 395 Morley avenue, which he formerly looked upon as home, is deserted, for his wife was buried last Wednesday in Norway Cemetery, a victim of the influenza, while his little two-year-old boy is being looked after by neighbors. Sympathetic friends met Pte. Wilkes at the station last night and took him to Todmorden. Before enlistment he was employed at the Union Bank, corner of Kind and Bay streets. A sister-in-law resides in Todmorden. Pte. Wilkes has seen much hard fighting in France. Toronto Star Oct. 30, 1918
LOCAL IMPROVEMENT NOTICE: Walpole Ave (formerly Vernon Road) to be graded from Greenwood to Morley Avenue. Toronto World, Aug. 2, 1911
Pte. Hugh Forgie, missing since last November, is now presumed dead. he was one of the six soldier sons of Mrs. Hugh Forgie, 445 Morley avenue. Before enlisting he was a conductor on the Toronto Civic Railway. Globe, July 7, 1917
Private Hugh Forgie was killed on October 8, 1916. His brother Thomas Forgie was killed on August 8, 1918.
Two sisters, living at 445 Morley Avenue (now Woodfield Road) both lost their husbands, killed in action. Thomas Forgie was killed on August 8, 1918. Hugh Forgie was killed on October 8, 1916. The Toronto World, August 24, 1918.
- David Forgie (1883-?)
- Thomas Forgie (1886-1918)
- Samuel Forgie (1888-?)
- Hugh Forgie (1891-1916)
- John Forgie (1893-?)
- James Miller Forgie (1897-?)
457 Woodfield Rd Simpson Coal Company Limited 457 Woodfield. Hargrave 1112. Toronto Star Oct. 27, 1930
457 Woodfield Rd. CAUGHT IN COALSLIDE MAN ESCAPES UNHURT
James Keir Has Narrow Escape When Buried By 25 Tons of Coal
Pulled into a coal pit by the sudden rush of 25 tons of coal being unloaded from a coal car in the yards of the Simpson Coal Co., 457 Woodfield Rd., to-day, James Keir, 36, 255 Springdale Ave., miraculously escaped death when the rush of coal was stopped just as it reached the level of his neck.
Firemen from Greenwood Ave. and Kew Beach fire halls and police of Pape Ave. division helped to extricate the man, who climbed from the pit seemingly none the worse for his experience.
Keir, a laborer employed by the coal company, was standing beside the car, which stood over a coal pit eight feet deep. As the bolt was pulled, releasing the coal, Keir was dragged into the pit with a sudden rush of the coal. his fellow workers, however, were powerless to stop the flow.
Handicapped by the coal around his body, Keir struggled vainly to reach the top of the pit. This he was unable to do and not until firemen arrived was he extricated.
Half blinded and slightly bruised he climned from the pit and picked up his shovel. He suffered slightly from shock but refused hospital treatment and remained on duty. Toronto Star June 3 1931
457 Woodfield Rd Barnes Coal Company, 457 Woodfield Road declared bankruptcy Globe and Mail, Oct. 17, 1957
”Decided to build foot subway at Ashdale avenue and grade the approaches at estimated cost of $33,870. Toronto Star, Tuesday February 22, 1916
Cost of Ashdale Avenue Subway.
In reporting to the Civic Committee on Works with reference to the construction of a pedestrian subway under the Grand Trunk Railway at Ashdale avenue, and the grading of the street to the north and south of the proposed subway, Works Commissioner Harris and Assessment Commissioner Forman state that the cost of the subway and grading will be $33,870. Of the total cost [most] will have to be borne by the city at large. The properties directly benefited, and which may be specially assessed, are those fronting on Ashdale avenue, north of the G.T.R., and lying to the south of Felstead avenue. The plans of the subway and grading have been approved by the Dominion Railway Board. Toronto Star Friday June 28, 1916
…$40,000 for a subway on Morley avenue to afford a roadway into Monarch Park. This improvement was authorized by Council on Monday. Globe Feb. 7, 1923
BREAK IN CITY SEWER CAUSED BIG TORRENT
Mad Waters Rushed Down Ravine, Flooding Valley
PIPE CUT IN TWO
Pump House of Brick Yards Submerged – Job For the City
With a loud crackling sound and the rush of mighty waters a six-foot sewer on Felstead Ave. at the foot of Lamb Ave., burst during the electric storm yesterday afternoon.
Nearby residents say that the pipe was struck by lightning and it was not the pressure of water which caused the pipe to split open for a distance of fifty feet and sent its contents in a raging torrent down the deep ravine to flood the works of the Toronto Brick Co. in the valley.
The break occurred in an exposed portion of the sewer which twenty feet below the level of the street runs east and west, crossing the valley which runs on a steep declivity south from the foot of Lamb Ave. to the great excavation made by the brick company on the east side of Greenwood Ave.
The conduit was cut cleanly in two for that distance, the southern half of the pipe which runs east and west, falling down the slope in large chunks.
In a moment a great volume of muddy water rushed from this opening and surged madly down the ravine west of Monarch Park.
In its pathway it gouged out great holes in the muddy earth. Rushing down the ravine it created a large deep pond in the brickyard. A pump house located at the bottom of the valley for the purpose of pumping out ordinary surface water was submerged and the water rapidly rose as the storm water continued to flow down from the sewer opening.
May residents gathered at the top of the surrounding hills to witness the scene of the accident and the flood below. Were it not for the nature of the fluid, it might have been considered a picturesque view. The ravine is deep and rough and wild, covered with long grass and shrubbery. Even after the first rush was over and the storm had spent itself the water continued to flow in considerable volume.
“We did not see it,” said a resident. “But we heard it. We heard a loud report as the pipe burst asunder and a man came running up and cried, ‘Come down and see what has happened.’ I hurried down and saw that the whole side of the pipe had been blown out by the lightning. The water was gushing out like Niagara Falls down the bank. If any person had been on that pipe or down below, he would certainly not have lived to tell the tale.”
“I don’t’ know why the pipe was left exposed,” said another resident. “It had no protection and boys crossed it to get to the park. I think that they intended to fill inover it for a roadway. If it had been protected I don’t think this would ever have happened. Luckily, there were no houses in the way or the damage might have been considerable. I don’t think that it was the pressure of the water that caused the break. It must have been the lightning which played havoc in this section.”
About 50,000 gallons flowed into the valley and the city, The Star was informed, will put in pumping equipment to-day to pump it out. Toronto Star, Wednesday, July 4, 1928
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