Toronto Celebrates!

Toronto 175 Years - 1834-2009

Toronto is celebrating its 175th anniversary by engaging the community to a number of events. The city’s celebrations include museum tours, literary reading and book launches, music, art, festivals and a song competition.

How have we celebrated in the past?

Looking back to 1884, a young Toronto’s celebration promoted its founding and highlighted the greatest events of its first 50 years. A Semi-Centennial committee planned celebrations that kicked off the official day of the anniversary on March 6th. From June 30th to July 5th, a week of summer festivities each day highlighted a theme, Municipal and Historical, Military, Trades and Industrial, the United Empire Loyalists, various Benevolent Societies and Education.

With the help of the Special Collections at the Toronto Reference Library, we can look at the celebration through the eyes of two prominent Torontonians:

portrait of Henry Scadding

Dr. Henry Scadding was born in England in 1813 and came to Canada in 1821. He taught at Upper Canada College for several years and was the rector of Holy Trinity Church from 1847 to 1875. Scadding was very interested in history and was the President of the York Pioneers Association of Toronto and a member of the United Empire Loyalist society. Scadding wrote many books and pamphlets on Toronto history as well as religious and literary topics. He described the events of the celebration in his 1884 publication, Toronto, Past and Present: Historical and Descriptive (Memorial Volume 1834-1884). He was the Chairman of the committee that produced this volume for the semi-centennial. He died in 1901.

Scadding, Henry
ca 1885

portrait of Larratt Smith

Larratt Smith was born in England in 1820 and came to Canada in 1833. He was educated at Upper Canada College. He became a lawyer in the 1840s. He later worked at the Consumers Gas Company and he was a director of many businesses and the Bank of Upper Canada. He was also a vice-chancellor of the University of Toronto. His home was in the Summerhill area of Toronto. He participated and enjoyed the social and cultural life of the city. He died in 1905.

Smith, Larratt William


Source: Special Collections, Toronto Public Library.