The Military Reserve

Origins of the Military Reserve Surrounding Fort York

From the start Lt. Gov. John Graves Simcoe's plans for Toronto included a large Reserve for military purposes west of the townsite. Initially it was said to be 'about 1000 acres,' but was shown later to likely contain 1040 acres. Usually it was called the Military Reserve, but the name Garrison Reserve was used too. Some preferred Ordnance Reserve. In the 1870s Henry Scadding distinguished between the Reserve west of Fort York, and the Garrison Common between Peter Street and Garrison Creek.

It took two hundred years but the Reserve was whittled away bit by bit until it ceased to exist. The first grants to private owners were made in November, 1810; the last was the transfer of Victoria Memorial Square from the Government of Canada to the City of Toronto in July 2011.

1793 Aitken: Plan of York Harbour Surveyed by order of Lt Govr Simcoe

1813 Williams: Sketch of the ground in advance of and including York Upper Canada

1817 Smith: Plan of York, U.C.

1818 Phillpotts: Plan of York

1827 Walpole & Phillpotts Sketch of the Military Reserve at York shewing the position [...] of the Government Buildings

1833 Bonnycastle: No. 1 Plan of the Town and Harbour of York
1834 Chewett: City of Toronto and Liberties

1846 Gray: Toronto, C.W. Sketch shewing the Harbour and Ordnance Property, with the Encroachments...

1848 [Howard: Plan for the Western Park]

1851 Fleming: Topographical plan of the city of Toronto, in the province of Canada, from actual Survey
1852 Fleming/Wilkinson/Walker: Verification Plan shewing the Boundaries as marked on the ground of the Military Reserves belonging to the Ordnance in the City of Toronto, County and Township of York, Canada West

1853 Pilkington: Toronto. Rough Sketch showing tinted Green the portion of the Military Reserve leased to the Corporation [...]

1856 Dennis & Boulton: Plan of the Proposed Improvements on part of the Ordnance Reserve Toronto

1862 Dennis: Plan of the Ordnance Reserve at Toronto Canada

Proceed to Next Chapter: ‘Old’ Fort York