1852 Fleming/Wilkinson/Walker: Plan shewing the Boundaries . . . of the Military Reserve [Detail]

Painting: Fort at York, 1821 by John Woolford
Fort York’s East Gate (p4) by the mouth of Garrison Creek
FORT AT YORK, 1821. John Woolford
Image courtesy Library and Archives Canada C-99558 
Garrison Creek, named eponymously for the military fortification at its base, was once the foremost waterway in Toronto between the Humber and the Don. Its sloped ravine banks influenced the location and configuration of the northern ramparts of the Garrison, providing a natural defence from attack. Flowing south-easterly from roughly St. Clair down to Lake Ontario, and fed by numerous tributaries, the Creek and its topography played an important role in the evolution of the Common.

South of Queen, the curve of the Creek literally shaped the surrounding neighbourhood; its contours formed the western boundary of Colborne’s subdivision of the Reserve, resulting in Niagara Street. Industry was quick to avail itself of this convenient source of water. For example, on this plan the breweries of John Farr and Thomas Baines (p3) may be discerned flanking the sides of the stream.

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Map: Toronto Plan shewing the Boundaries... of the Military Reserve belonging to the Ordnance, 1852, Sandford Fleming

Detail from: Canada Toronto Plan shewing the Boundaries marked on the ground of the Military Reserve belonging to the Ordnance in the City of Toronto. County and Township of York, Canada West; as surveyed by Mr. Sandford Fleming, Provincial Land Surveyor, between the months of Novr. 1851. & May 1852.

Image courtesy Library and Archives Canada: NMC11449
Winearls, MUC no. 189 (22)

[See also the similar NMC11448, discussed here.]

Also of interest on the above plan:
  • The Barracks at Queen and Bathurst [1842-1858] could accommodate 108 officers and men. The site was briefly the home in 1841 of Canada’s first magnetic and meteorological observatory.
  • The ‘Old Military Hospital’ lay on the opposite side of the Creek from the Fort, separate.
  • The lighthouse shown at the end of Queen’s Wharf would later be replaced by a pair of lighthouses in 1861. The larger of the two still exists and was relocated to Fleet Street in 1929.
  • The fanciful notion of a Promenade ‘Reserved for the Public’ along Front street was rapidly extinguished in the 1850s by the voracious appetite of the railway companies.
  • The notation for Victoria Square reads: “In which Churches may hereafter be erected, but without grounds attached thereto.” The Anglican church of St. John the Evangelist (a.k.a. the ‘Garrison Church’) would be built on Stewart in 1858.
  • The Engine House of the Asylum Water Works appears on the shoreline west of the Old Fort, lower left. A previous idea to supply the Asylum with water from Garrison Creek proved unworkable [see John Howard’s 1851 Survey of Garrison Creek]. 

Next map: ca.1854 Cumberland & Storm: Proposed Alterations . . . to 'Lyndhurst' villa residence of F. Widder, Esq.
Back to: East of Garrison Creek