Toronto's Historical Plaques
Learn a little of Toronto's history as told through its plaques
Photo by the City of Toronto - Posted September, 2011
Photo and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted September, 2011
Plaque coordinates: 43.674231 -79.459730
A temperance movement was led by Reverend T.E. Egerton Shore of the Annette Street Methodist Church. Public encounters of drunkenness, fights and one murder were enough for the town of West Toronto to vote "dry" in 1904. Eliminating the sale of alcohol was thought to raise the "moral fibre" of the community. Taverns, hotels and inns were denounced as "cesspools of harlotry, vice and iniquity". When DW Clendenan, a teetotaler and the town's mayor, ran for provincial office in 1890, his rival, David Gilmour, pointed out that he also owned the Swan Hotel. The ban was upheld despite referendums held in 1966, 1972, 1984 and 1988. After rail and factories left, neighbours in support and opposition of the ban both wanted to revitalize their community. Allowing the sale of alcohol would attract people to restaurants, bars and other places of social life. This especially became important in two former City of West Toronto wards with an upcoming municipal election in 1997 - to include the wet/dry vote on the ballot. Over 90 years passed when the ban was lifted.
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