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Chapter 236
Front Street of Old.

Table of Contents



Title Page
203 The Island Lighthouse.
204 Two Western Piers.
227 The Island in the Forties.
236 Front Street of Old.
237 Canadian Lake Navigation
238 1766 to 1809.
239 Six Eventful Years, 1809-15
240 A New Era, 1816 to 1819
241 A Progressive Enterprise, 1819 to 1837.
242 The Rebellion of 1837-38
243 Complaining Travellers
244 The Trade of the Lake Still Continues to Expand
245 The Royal Mail Line, 1840 TO 57
246 Storms and Shipwrecks -- Great Destruction of Life and Property -- The Commercial Distress in 1857.
247 Gloomy Anticipations for the Spring Trade
248 The Niagara Steamers, 1874-78.
249 Niagara Falls Line - 1883 to 1893.
250 Hamilton Steamboat Co. '87-'93
251 The General History of the Lake Shipping Continued
252 New Steamers
253 Lorne And Victoria Parks.
254 Toronto Ferry Co. 1890-93.
255 Royal Canadian Yacht Club.
256 Canadian Pacific Steamers.
257 The Rochester Route -1889-'93
258 The Ottawa Steamers, 1864-93
259 The R. & O. Company.
260 Tabulated Statements of Various Vessels from 1678 to the Present Time.
Table of Illustrations
Index

The Gooderham Wharf and Mill--The Fair Ground -- 0ther Notable Buildings -- The Old Fort.

Less than half a century since so recently as 1851 or '52, any one might have strolled from the east to the west of the city along Front street, from Gooderham's mills to the Old Fort, at almost any hour of the day, without meeting more than a score or so of people in the entire length of the promenade, or a single incident happening to attract any attention.

View of Front Street, from the Old Windmill to the Old Fort, in 1849-52
Beginning one's walk towards the west, the first prominent buildings reached would be those numbered 1, 2 and 3 in the engraving. These were the wharf and storehouse, the mill ana the residence, of a veritable pioneer of commerce in the city of Toronto, the late Mr. William Gooderham.

Mr. Gooderham was born in Scole, Norfolk, England, on August 29th, 1790. In his very early days he was under the care of a relative engaged in the East Indian trade in London, England.

That did not continue very long though for when yet a very young man, Mr. Gooderham enlisted in the Royal York Rangers, an Imperial corps long since disbanded, and went with them to the West Indies. It was not long before he learned something of the grim realities of a soldier's life, as his regiment was hotly engaged at Martinique and also in Guadaloupe. However, he came safely through the campaign, but on his voyage home to England narrowly escaped death by drowning, if not by fire.

His Majesty's ship Majestic, on which he had embarked, took fire, and only with the greatest difficulty were those on board saved. For some little time after his return to the old country Mr. Gooderham remained in H. M. service, employed on the recruiting staff, where he amassed a considerable sum of money. Eventually quitting the army he, in 1832, came to Toronto, accompanied by no less than fifty-four other relatives.

But Mr. Gooderham was something more than a mere colonist, he was a very considerable capitalist, as in addition to his relatives he had with him 3,000 sterling, equivalent to $15,000, or very nearly so, and for those days a very large sum. It was, indeed, when Mr. Gooderham deposited it in the Bank of Upper Canada, the largest sum that Mr. T. G. Ridout, the cashier of that institution, had ever received over his counter to the credit of a private account.

Almost as soon as he arrived in TorontoMr. Gooderham entered into partnership with his relative, Mr. James Worts, and they traded as millers under the style of Worts & Gooderham.

Hanging up in the counting house of the present firm, framed and glazed, is an invoice headed "Wind Mills, York. U. C." and dated January 30th, 1834, made out to "Mr. Murrow, near Colonel Wells' office," for one barrel of flour, the amount charged being 1 2s 6d currency or $4 50. This invoice is the only one that is known to exist, Mr. G. Gooderham, the present head of the firm, having obtained it as a curiosity a few years ago.

Mr. James Worts, like Mr. William Gooderham, was also a Norfolk man, having been born in Yarmouth, that seaport famous for its parish church, (the largest in England) its ''bloaters" its beach,and its "rows." He died in 1834, in the prime of life and the firm became William Gooderham.

The windmill was built by this Mr. Worts, and for a number of years was solely worked by windpower, but about 1846, the sails were taken off, steam being introduced. A few years afterwards, in 1852 or 1853. the top was blown off during a storm that swept over the city: descending to the ground "like an umbrella," so its fall was described by an onlooker. It was then rebuilt, and finally disappeared, owing to the march of modern improvements in mills as in everything else in 1866.

In 1845, William Gooderham took into partnership his nephew (the son of his first partner), James Gooderham Worts, and this partnership existed until the death of the former.

James G. Worts had accompanied his father to Canada in 1832 when only fourteen years of age, and was an active member of the firm of Gooderham & Worts from 1845, till his death in 1882. He was for many years one of the Wardens of Trinity church, King street east, and for thirty-nine years a member of the congregation He was also a Harbor Commissioner, and at all times a much esteemed business man.

Mr. William Gooderham built the large dwelling house to the west of the mill, about 1850, and there resided until his death thirty one years later. He was Warden of Trinity church for 38 years, and was an English churchman of the old fashioned evangelical type, a Tory of no doubtful color and an ardent Freemason. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, numbered no less than 90 when he, on August 20, 1881, having all but completed his ninety-first year, passed away.

Leaving the Gooderham house, proceeding west, the tower of Trinity church, King-street (number four on the engraving), is seen in the distance, while still further off "pointing to the skies," is the spire of St. Paul's Roman Catholic church on Power street (5)

At Trinity church has labored now for exactly forty-one years the Rev. Alexander Sanson, he being the senior rector in point of service in the city of Toronto, if not in the diocese. The first rector was the Rev. W. H. Ripley, who was also second classical master at Upper Canada College. A marble

tablet is erected on the western wall of the interior of the church to his memory. He died in 1849.

St. Paul's, on Power street, recalls to memory Bishop Power, and his self-devotedness in trying to stem the tide of sorrow and suffering he saw around him He fell a victim to the immigrant fever of 1847, contracted while ministering to the dying and burying the dead.

Going further west, Mr. Henry Lathom's house (6) is passed, and next to it that one for some time occupied by Captain Atherley (7). Mr. Lathom was a well-known solicitor, having been a pupil in the office of Mr. C. C. Small.

Next comes what is apparently a necessary evil in modern civilization, the Jail (8), and as it is passed we reach the Fair green (9).

On this green were held till late in the "fifties" not only cattle and produce fairs, but also wild beast shows, circuses and occasionally it was also utilized as a mustering place for societies, who wished to make a demonstration by marching through the streets of the city.

One of the most notable, if not indeed the most notable, exhibition held on the Fair Green, was that of the renowned P. T. Barnum in 1852. It was described thus :

P. T. BARNUM'S

GRAND COLOSSAL MUSEUM AND MENAGERIE.

Tile largest travelling EXHIBITION in the World, being a combination of all the most popular and unexceptionable amusements of the age--enlarged and improved for the season of 1852.

A TEAM OF 10 ELEPHANTS

Will draw the Great CAB OF JUGGERNAUT.

A BABY ELEPHANT

only one year old and but 3 1/2 feet high, will carry upon his back, around the interior of the immense Pavilion, the Lilliputian GEN. TOM THUMB. The magnificent cortege comprises 110 horses and 90 men. The Pavilion of Exhibition has been enlarged until it is capable of accommodating 15,000 spectators at once. --The collection of living Wild Beasts includes the most splendid specimens ever exhibited in America. Among many others will be found

SIX BEAUTIFUL LIONS,

fresh from their native forests.

A SACRED BURMESE BULL,

from the Island or Ceylon, worshipped there by the Pagan Natives, and recently taken from an Idolatrous Temple.

A monster WHITE or POLAR BEAR !--of prodigious size and ferocity.

A magnificent ROYAL TIGRESS--the largest one ever captured alive.

AN INFANTILE CAMEL,--only six months of age, the first one ever born in America, etc.

The DROVE OF ELEPHANTS were captured in the jungle of Central Ceylon, by Messrs. S. B. June and Geo. Nutter, assisted by 260 natives, after a pursuit of three months and four days in the jungles. They were finally entrapped and secured in an Indian Kraal or Trap, of enormous dimensions and prodigious strength, where they were subdued. The calf elephant accompanies its dam, and was weaned on its passage from India.

A NATIVE CEYLON CHIEF, of high caste in his own country, has charge of the elephants, having accompanied them from Ceylon.

But for fear these attractions should not prove sufficient, it was advertised in addition to the above wonders that the real, genuine, original

GEN. TOM THUMB

is attached to this exhibition, and will appear, in all his performances, as given before the principal crowned heads of Europe, including Songs, Dances, Grecian Statues and his admired personations of Napoleon and Frederick the Great. The little General is twenty years of age, weighs only fifteen pounds, and is but twenty-eight inches high. Then besides all the foregoing attractions there was

MR. NELLIS,

the man without arms, who executed his extraordinary feats of loading and firing a pistol with his toes; cut profile likenesses ; shot at a mark with a bow and arrow; played upon the accordion and violoncello, etc.

And in addition to all these marvels a fine military band performed the most popular airs of the day, as the procession entered town, and also during the hours of exhibition.

Finally, the charge for admission was only 25 cents to the whole of this immense establishment, including General Tom Thumb, the entire collection of wild animals, wax statuary, Mr. Pierce's performances in the dens, the baby elephant, Mr. Nellis' performances, etc., no extra charge under any pretence whatever, let the reports be what they may. Doors open from 1 to 4, and from 7 to 9 o'clock p.m.

Some little distance to the north of the Fair green is seen the back of the house occupied for so many years by the late C. C. Small (10) which has been fully described on a previous occasion.

Following that is the residence of the late Dr. Christopher Widmer (11) in early life an army surgeon, seeing hard service in the Peninsula under Wellington, attached to the 14th Light Dragoons, a regiment rendered famous by the novelist Charles Lever as being the one in which served that hero of fiction Charles O'Malley.

Afterwards he become a leading man both as medical practitioner and politician in Upper Canada. He was for some time a member of the Legislative Council, but for many years before his death, which occurred nearly forty years since, he had ceased to take an active part in politics.

As Dr. Widmer's house is left behind Lamb's glue factory appears, (12) built in or about 1846, then three dwelling houses, (13) erected by Dr. Widmer, that in the centre occupied for some years by one of Mr. William Gooderham's sons, and that on the west by the late F. A. Whitney, a grandson of Dr. Gamble, of the Queen's Rangers.

Mr. Thomas Collier's residence (14) Russell Abbey (15) and the Toronto Gas Works (16), are all close together, and then comes John Snarr's steam saw and planing mills (17).

Mr. Collier just named was a much esteemed official belonging to the Canada Company.

Cull's starch factory and shipyards (18) are next passed, and then the cupola of St. Lawrence Hall comes into view. This building, when first erected after the great fire of 1849, was much used for balls, receptions and public meetings.

It was there that the Mayor and City Council welcomed Sir Edmund Head en his first visit to Toronto as Governor-General. It was there also that Major Wells and Lieutenant Dunn, V. C., were feted on their return from the Crimea, and it was in the same building in 1855 that one of the most enthusiastic meetings which was ever held in the city took place in aid of the patriotic fund for Britain's sick and wounded soldiers then serving in the east.

The Commercial Mills and Messrs. Borst & Halliday's distillery (20) and Leak's soap works (21) are next, close together. They hare long ago disappeared.

The City Hall (22) looking in 1893 very little changed from what it was forty years ago, is next,while on the water's edge is seen the building once occupied as a fish market (23). It has disappeared and those who remember it and its unsavoury surroundings and noisy occupants are aware how little there is to regret now that it has gone. The Wellington Hotel (24), famous as a resort for farmers, market gardeners and others frequenting the markets of the city on business was a little to the west of the City Hall, and then is seen what was always expressively bat inelegantly described (owing to its peculiar shape) as the Coffin Block, (25.)

Maitland's wharf comes next (27) and then, with its front door and windows facing the wharf, is the North American Hotel. The proprietor of this house for many years was Mr. G. C. Horwood, a quiet but popular man with all who knew him. In this hotel Capt. Gaskin, commanding the sailing vessel Cherokee, the first ship that ever sailed direct from Toronto to Liverpool, was publicly banquetted before he set out on his voyage, by the citizens of Toronto.

The Bank of Montreal (28) Brown's (29) and Yonge street wharves are further westward, in close proximity to one another. Yonge street (30), sometimes called Gorrie's wharf brings to mind many notable men who were often met there, or in its immediate vicinity. Of these Captain Richardson, first commander of the Niagara steamers and then Harbor master is well remembered; F. W. Barren, principal of Upper Canada College, and Dr. Hodder, both as cool yachtsmen as they were respectively clever schoolmaster and surgeon. Colonel E. G. O'Brien, who might well have served Thackeray as the original of Colonel Newcome in his novel "The Newcomes," was also a well-known face, as were also those of G. B. Holland and Captains James and Thomas Dick, the Twohys and many more.

We are getting to the end of our stroll though. Tinning's wharf (31) comes next with some distance further west the Queen's (32).

The Tinnings, both father and son, were active pushing business men, and deservedly enjoyed a high reputation, Occasionally they were jocularly spoken of as the "horse marines," in allusion to their fondness for horses and horse racing. They were largely interested in if they did not actually own, a race course to the east of the city over the Don river.

Queen's wharf was always called into use in the days of the Niagara steamers all through the winter, by the owners of the steamer Chief Justice Robinson. This vessel ran to and from Toronto and Niagara throughout the winter season on more than one occasion, sailing from the Queen's wharf.

The Old Fort, (33), is now reached. Its memories are legion. Many a sad story, many a romance and many a bitter parting has it known and witnessed, but sorrowful as same of the recollections of the Old Fort are it has also many joyous ones and it is well to remember that of many of those who went out of its gates, it could be said--

"The path of duty was the way to glory,"

 


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This electronic edition is based on the original in the collection of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.