William Lyon Mackenzie
Morang and Company Limited (Toronto)
after John Wycliffe Lowes Forster (Canadian, 1850-1938),
after E.J. Palmer (firm, Toronto), 1900.
William Lyon Mackenzie was born in Scotland in 1795 and emigrated to Canada in 1820 where he soon settled in the town of York. There he began writing for the York Observer under the name “Mercator” and by 1824, was publishing his own paper, the Colonial Advocate.
Newspaper. October 16, 1820
Newspaper. March 13, 1834
Mackenzie was opposed to the Family Compact, a small group of men connected by family ties, Tory sympathies and adherence to the Church of England. They held political and social power in York.
After the incorporation of York as Toronto on March 6, 1834, Mackenzie ran for Alderman in the first election, held on March 27. Both the Tories and Reformers ran a slate of candidates. His fellow Reform councillors, who held the majority on the newly elected council, chose him as the city’s first mayor.
Click here or on the image to the right to see the full page.
Ordinances of the City of Toronto, 1834
352.0713 T594.2 \B BR
After the election, fractious divisions on council reflected the divisions in the community between those who supported the status quo and those who sought reform.
...The Corporation of Toronto is a burlesque! Very few of the members have either knowledge or respectability neither Mayor, aldermen, nor common council individually or collectively command respect, and while they are quarrelling, the streets remain dirty as ever, a reproach to them and an annoyance to everybody else. I think they do but little good!
[L54. Letter from John Mann to F.L. Walsh, Vittoria, 29 Apr. 1834]
Today, Mackenzie is perhaps best known as the leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, in which some hundreds of supporters marched down Yonge Street from Montgomery’s Tavern, north of Eglinton Avenue, and were met with armed resistance by Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis and a group of loyalists.
John Strachan (1778-1867)
photograph - Albumen print
John Strachan, a staunch supporter of the Family Compact, would go on to become Toronto’s first Anglican bishop in 1839. Toronto was very much a Protestant town and, in 1834, he was preaching against the character and genius of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Poor Man’s Preservative Against Popery. Part I.
by John Strachan.
265.3 P58 \B BR
St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church
The 1834 map shows the original St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church at the corner of what is now Queen St. East and Power St. (on the map the streets are labelled Lot Street and Chapel Street), one block east of the city boundaries.
St. Paul’s Basilica
St. Paul’s Basilica still occupies the same site but with a building in the Italian Renaissance style built in 1889.