ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Moss Park, Toronto, Ontario, adjacent to Moss Park Armoury: recalling some historical associations

Updated on July 17, 2014
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Moss Park, Toronto, Ontario
Moss Park, Toronto, Ontario | Source
Moss Park, Toronto, Ontario
Moss Park, Toronto, Ontario | Source
View of Toronto Armouries ("covered in frost") from University Avenue. Toronto, Canada, 1911
View of Toronto Armouries ("covered in frost") from University Avenue. Toronto, Canada, 1911 | Source
 Allen estate 'Moss Park' on Sherbourne, west side Toronto, Ontario, in 1889
Allen estate 'Moss Park' on Sherbourne, west side Toronto, Ontario, in 1889 | Source
William George Allen, 1888
William George Allen, 1888 | Source

Below the surface, the weight of the past

Moss Park is somewhat of an oasis of greenery close to Toronto's Downtown, lying adjacent to Moss Park Armoury at 130 Queen Street East.

The proximity of Moss Park to Toronto's Downtown — particularly the Financial District — means that at night particularly impressive views of the illuminated cityscape may be obtained from the Park: I have included (right) a photo which illustrates this.

The Park extends to 3.4 hectares.

The Park's name is instructive in various ways: not only does the Park give its name to the Federal Armoury / Manège militaire facility situated close by, it also the name by which a surrounding Toronto neighbourhood is known. The main photo (above) shows Moss Park with the Armoury / Manège militaire seen through the trees in the distance. This building replaced the former Toronto Armouries which were situated on University Avenue (demolished); I have also supplied a photo (right) depicting this former facility.

Historically, the name Moss Park also goes back to the thus named residence of prominent Torontonian Senator George William Allen (1822-1901). I have included (right) a view, dating from 1889 of this former residence on Sherbourne Street. George William Allen was very influential in the affairs of Toronto and Canada, serving as Speaker of the Canadian Senate, and Mayor of Toronto. He was a barrister and banker, who travelled widely, and was identified closely with railroad advocacy, and served also as President of the Upper Canada Bible Society. He was a son of Scottish-born William Allen (1777-1853), who served as first postmaster of York, Ontario (later renamed Toronto) and who became a distinguished merchant. William Allen began work on a Greek Revival residence in 1827, labours which continued over the next decades.

The name 'Moss Park', given to the Allen family residence, was on account of the prevalence of moss in its vicinity! The Allen Estate was eventually acquired by the City of Toronto, and partly broken up for development; the Moss Park residence was demolished.

Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, 1945
Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, 1945 | Source

Recalling also a now vanished former burial ground

Interestingly, close to the southern edge of the Allen Estate, south of Queen Street East, near Sherbourne Street, a former cemetery existed, known as Duchess Street Burial Ground. Burials are thought to have occurred here from 1797 and the last evidence of burial there seems to have been recorded in 1841. Remains from this burial ground were exhumed in 1911 and reinterred at Toronto's Necropolis.

Among those interred at Duchess Street Burial Ground, and later reburied, are known to have been three of the children of Toronto's reforming Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie King (1795-1861). It is noteworthy that on the death of Canada's longest-serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950)(1) arrangements had been made for Mr King to be buried at Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery, rather than at any of the places where he had variously lived for many years: Kitchener, Ottawa, Chelsea (Québec), etc. For Mr King, a lifelong bachelor, with a restricted family and social circle, retirement from public office in 1948 proved at a personal level to be a challenging experience. It may be said that in chosing to be buried in Toronto, he was returning to the city where his Mackenzie forebears had lived and were buried. The existence of this little, former Duchess Street Burial Ground close to the southern edge of the former Allen Estate in what is now Moss Park, was almost forgotten until recently (2), though presumably not forgotten by Mr. King.

July 10, 2013

Notes

(1) William Lyon Mackenzie King's years of Prime Ministerial office were 1921-1926, 1926-1930 and 1935-1948.

(2) For further details, see an article by Jane E. MacNamara, http://torontofamilyhistory.org/simcoesgentry/archives/836

Map location of Moss Park, Toronto
Map location of Moss Park, Toronto | Source

Also worth seeing

In Downtown Toronto itself, its many visitor attractions include: Old City Hall, Fort York, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, the CN Tower, the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building at Queen's Park, Union Station, and many others.

...

How to get there: Porter Airlines, flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and has wide North American connections. Car rental is available at Union Station. Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available, but visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. TTC Streetcars 501 and 502 pass 103 Queen Street East. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)