SUPPORTING THE LIVING
The incorporation of the City of Toronto in 1834 and subsequent rise in population generated a need for more institutional facilities. In 1852 "Victoria Square" (named in May 1837 to honour the princess who, the very next month, became queen) was proposed as a location for a home for orphans and unwed mothers. The Crown Land Department of the United Province of Canada granted one acre to the Protestant Orphans' Home and Female Aid Society. However, protests from the military Ordnance Department and local citizens halted the plans, and the society found a new site several blocks north on Sullivan Street near Spadina Avenue.
DETAIL OF A PLAN OF THE MILITARY RESERVE, 1833
(CAPTAIN R.H. BONNYCASTLE)
Edith Firth, ed., Town of York, 1815-1834, 1966
Many people had long felt a need for a garrison church near Fort York, and they at last were gratified in 1858 when the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist opened at the northeast corner of Victoria Square. St. John's was a popular parish in the 19th century, and in 1893 a larger brick church designed by the famous Arts and Crafts architect, Eden Smith, replaced the original wooden structure.
In the first half of the 20th century, industrialization drove away the area's more affluent residents, and a poorer and disadvantaged population took their place. The clergy and congregation of St. John's began to provide charitable services for the community; however, financial troubles ultimately forced the Anglican Diocese to sell the land, and the church was demolished in the early 1960s.
THE GARRISON CHURCH, TORONTO
Church designed by Eden Smith and erected in 1893.
Aquatint etching done by Nicholas Hornyansky in the 1950s,
and reproduced with thanks to Michael Hornyansky.
When officials pronounced the cemetery at Victoria Square full in 1863, a second military burial ground opened west of the fort, on the grounds of modern Exhibition Place. After a short time the bodies at the new location had to be exhumed due to wet soil conditions. They were reinterred at a site just west of Fort York at the Strachan Avenue Burial Ground. It was the third and last military cemetery near the fort, and saw use from 1863 to 1911 and is home to approximately 150 graves.
STRACHAN AVENUE MILITARY BURYING GROUND,
1880s (JOHN ROSS ROBERTSON)
John Ross Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, Vol.1, 1894
Continue reading the Heart and Stone exhibit
Preserving the Past