Here are a few photos from the Jane’s Walk on May 6 – The Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood – since 1793. Thanks to Dhruv and Calvin.
Site of the first Ashbridge log cabin (1794). Archeological digs found evidence of Native inhabitants from 6000 B.C. and around 1400 A.D. In her diary, Lady Elizabeth Simcoe described visiting the Ashbridge family here in 1796, at the “settlement below the town (of York).” She made other references to the Pennsylvanians (Ashbridge family) who lived east of the Don. At that time, there were few settler families – like the Ashbridges, Scaddings and Playters – east of the Don.
The stones here are the foundation of the Ashbridge’s second home, built in 1809. Family members continued to live in this house until the 1920s; the foundation was preserved as a rock garden.
The third Ashbridge home, built in 1854. (See the top of this page for a photo of the front of this house.) The family lived in this house for the next 143 years, until 1997. The Ashbridges left it to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which rents it as office space to the Ontario Society of Artists, Ontario Archeological Society and other organizations.
Duke of Connaught Public School opened in 1912 – 100 years ago. The school site is 6.5 acres, largest in Toronto when the school was built. This land had been the Ashbridge orchard for the previous 118 years. On November 30, 1911 the Governor-General of Canada came to “turn the sod” for the new school. He was the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria, known as Prince Arthur in his youth. Find out about the events celebrating Duke’s 100th birthday.
On the “new” wing of Duke of Connaught, which opened in 1960, we look at the “reading, writing and arithmentic” sculptures by E.B. Cox. These are referenced in a book on the work of Mr. Cox, who passed away in recent years. His studio was on Broadview Avenue.
This copper beech tree on the Ashbridge Estate is sadly at the end of its very long life.
East Riverdale Recreation Centre was a community hub for 40 years on this site in Jonathan Ashbridge Park on Queen Street East. Built in 1915 it was closed in the 1950s and recreational activities moved over to S.H.Armstrong Recreation Centre which was built as an annex to Duke of Connaught School at 56 Woodfield Road.
Where the parking lot beside Le Papillon on the Park restaurant is now, Bob Greer remembers skating on Ashbridge’s Bay when it extended that far north – almost to Eastern Avenue. Bob and lifelong friend Rick Rae (back to camera) graduated from Duke of Connaught in 1949 — thanks for your great stories throughout the neighbourhood walk.
Who would have thought we’d be climbing hills? This is the second hill we climbed en route to Ashbridge’s Bay. Until the 1950s this was still water. All the “land” has been brought in.
From the top of that hill, we had this view of Ashbridge’s Bay Skateboard Park, which opened in 2008. Because this was originally open water and marsh, construction took much longer than originally planned.
Also from that hill, looking south to Ashbridge’s Bay. The bay was much larger originally – it stretched from present-day Kew Gardens to Cherry Beach, separated from the lake by a kilometres-long sandspit. In her diaries of 1796 Elizabeth Simcoe wrote about riding her horse along the sand, which was beyond the bay water seen here. In the 1800s, the Coatsworth Cut was opened across the sandspit to give boats access to Lake Ontario. The other remaining part of the original Ashbridge’s Bay is the ship channel south of Commissioners Street.