Victoria Memorial Park was the military cemetery, established in the time of Lieutenant Governor Simcoe. The first known internment was of the Simcoe’s infant daughter Katherine; the last was Private James McQuarrick in 1863. It was replaced by subsequent millitary cemeteries. The park contains a memorial to those who fought in the War of 1812 and in particular in the defence of York in 1813. On the top is “Old Soldier, a statue by Walter Allward.
Looking east from Victoria Square one sees Clarence Square, which was conceived in the early 1800s as an urban park surrounded by houses. Wellington Street between the two squares was meant to be a stylish residential area in the then “New Town”. The only remaining residential buildings are Clarence Terrace, which faces the park from the north.
There is a special treat in store when you walk along Wellington Street between the squares. Running south for a block is Draper Street, a residential street that managed to escape the industrialization that spoiled the rest of the area and is now a heritage conservation district. It is lined with cottages in the empire style from 1881 and 1882, as well as some larger houses built between 1886 and 1889. Most of the dwellings have signs designating their heritage status the date of building, the first resident and the architects. Many of the residents’ occupations are also given. It was on this street that the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario was born in 1922. Draper Street is completely charming, and a pleasant spot for a little of touring in one’s own city.
Draper Street has personal associations for me. It was named for Sir William Henry Draper (1801-1877), a lawyer and politician, who headed the administration of Canada for a time before Confederation and after leaving politics was a judge and eventually Chief Justice. In 1862 he presided over the trial of Mr and Mrs Aylward for the murder in Hastings County of William Munro (my great-great-grandfather), and on their conviction sentenced them to death, the first husband and wife to be executed together in Canada. There is a bust of Draper in the Narthex of St James Cathedral.
[Toronto has lots of information about its history on line.
For Victoria Memorial Park, see: http://www.toronto.ca/culture/victoria-square/index.htm.
For Clarence Square & Wellington St., see http://www.toronto.ca/planning/urbdesign/pdf/15kingspadina.pdf.
For Draper Street see http://www.torontohistory.org/Pages_DEF/Draper_Street.html.
There is a life of Sir William Henry Draper at : http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=39079.]