ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Castle Frank Historical Marker, Toronto, Ontario: remembered and forgotten history

Updated on November 11, 2015
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Castle Frank Historical Marker, Toronto
Castle Frank Historical Marker, Toronto | Source
Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

A vanished, Georgian-style structure apparently unused after 1796

This attention-arresting cairn monument relates to Castle Frank.

So where is Castle Frank? the traveller may ask.

Well, though the name lives on in various guises in Toronto, Ontario, yet as a structure Castle Frank is nowhere; it does not exist, and has not done so since the year 1829.

Castle Frank used to be a property, with a pillared, Georgian frontage, belonging to John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806), who served as Upper Canada's Lieutenant-Governor from 1791 to 1796 (1). The cairn itself bears a rough outline of the pillared frontage of the former structure, which was destroyed by a fire in 1829. This historical marker was erected by the Don Valley Conservation Authority in 1957 near the site of the original building.

The property to which the historical marker alludes has thus been out of sight and out of mind for nearly two centuries, but in remembering Castle Frank, it is really the historical link with Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe that is also — even mainly? — being commemorated.

Castle Frank was used by Governor Simcoe as a summer residence, but though it stood near the Don River for decades afterwards, empty walls containing forgotten memories of a family long since removed, it had ceased to be a residence by the end of the 18th century.

So what does the word 'Frank' in 'Castle Frank' recall?

John Graves Simcoe and his wife, the artist and diarist Elizabeth Postuma Gwillim Simcoe (1762-1850)(1), had five children, one of whom, their only son, was Francis Gwillim Simcoe. It is thus to Francis — Frank — that the name of the former Castle refers. Francis — Frank — was to predecease his mother by nearly 40 years, but in an interesting development of history, his name has survived in memory to the present day in the topography of Toronto.

The name lives on also in Castle Frank Brook, which is a submerged creek, a tributary to the Don River. The nearby Castle Frank Station, situated at 600 Bloor Street, East, opposite the historical marker, is a Toronto Transit Commission station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Nearby roads are also called Castle Frank Road and Castle Frank Crescent.

Close to the Castle Frank Historical Marker is also the Prince Edward Viaduct, or Bloor Viaduct, over the Don Valley. In some ways the Viaduct is a sombre location, because from its heights about 500 people are known to have committed suicide, since its opening in 1920.

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) famously said that history is what we wish to remember and wish to forget.

So who remembers Frank Simcoe, and why? Who remembers the now non-existent Castle Frank? and, if we do, what causes us to do so? Who remembers the poor creatures — some 500 of them — who have fallen to their deaths from the adjacent Bloor Viaduct? and, if we remember them, what does it say about the human condition and our society?

For history is also about why we remember — and forget.


(1) John Graves Simcoe is widely remembered for introducing, as Lieutenant-Governor, various legal and administrative measures to Upper Canada. These measures included a courts system, trial by jury, English common law and the abolition of slavery.

(2) North, East and West Gwillimbury are Ontario townships named for the Gwillim family.

Also worth seeing

Toronto 's historic properties and visitor attractions are far too numerous to summerize adequately, but a few of these include: Old City Hall; the Legislative Assembly Building Queen's Park, home of the Parliament of Ontario; Campbell House; Osgoode Hall, Old Fort York, and many others.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, Toronto may be suitably explored on foot or by public transit. Castle Frank Station (see above) is on the Bloor-Danforth Subway line. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. 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


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

Show Details
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 or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
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)
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.
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)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)