Toronto's Historical Plaques
2004 - Now in our 10th Year - 2014
The Royce Family and Earlscourt Park
Photo by the City of Toronto - Posted September, 2011
Photo and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted September, 2011
Attached to this eastbound St. Clair Avenue West transit shelter at Lansdowne Avenue is this City of Toronto plaque. Here's what it says:
Plaque coordinates: 43.676321 -79.450230
When Earlscourt was annexed to Toronto in 1910, locals petitioned for a public park. Originally, Earlscourt Park was called Royce Park. Allan Royce, born 1835 in Rutlandshire, England, emigrated to Canada in 1856 to join his uncle, George Cooper. In the 1830s, George bought lots 32 and 33 from Honourables John McGill and George Crookshank. Wealth was made from the oak and elm trees, and clay deposits located on the 80 ha between Dufferin and Dundas Streets, Bloor Street to St. Clair Avenue.
Before selling lands south of Davenport and building Preston Villa, George was considered to be the father of Davenport community as he provided the area's first church and Davenport Station. In 1884, Allan Royce took over the farm and became one controller in the Davenport Street Railway Company, which planned to connect Toronto with the Junction.
By 1894, this company joined with the Suburban Street Railway to become Toronto Suburban Railway Company. Incidentally, Allan's nephew co-founded the Rolls-Royce Company in 1906. The Royce family grounds became a park in 1920 and Preston Villa became the recreation centre.
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Alan L Brown