Davisville in 1907 - part of "Toronto's Healthiest and Most Beautiful Suburb"

Davisville in 1907 - part of "Toronto's Healthiest and Most Beautiful Suburb"

The following is a transcription of the article "Town of North Toronto: Toronto's Healthiest and Most Beautiful Suburb" from the Sunday Morning edition of The Toronto World newspaper dated September 15, 1907 by John M. Letsche.


"A good deal is being heard of this most beautiful of Toronto's suburbs, North Toronto, but few people indeed know where it is situatied and when the question is asked, "Where is North Toronto?" the answer generally received is, "Well, between Bloor-street and the nothern city limits." This answer is altogether wrong.

Two-and three-quarter miles north of the corner of Yonge and Queen streets the traveler reaches the norther city boundary and enters the Township of York, that portion of it which is known as Deer Park. Continuing north on Yonge-street for another four-fifths of a mile the southern boundary of the Town of North Toronto is reached and the next three miles of Yonge-street are within the corporate limits of the subject of this discription [sic].

If the traveler leaves the boat on the Yonge-street wharf and travels five miles north on Yonge-street he will stand almost in the centre of the town, and will have reached an elevation of 375 feet above the level of Lake Ontario.

This high altitude secures the town's inhabitants pure air, as the atmasphere [sic] is not contaminated with coal smoke and other foul-smelling, disease-producing and death-dealing odors; and consequently makes it a very desirable spot to live in.

The municipality was incorporated a town by a special act of parliament in the year 1894, and the act was granted, not so much for the large population at that time, as for the area it contains, as 2500 acres of land are within its corporate limits.

At the time of the incorporation of the town there was only a village population, but now the latest census shows that 3,260 souls constitute the town's make-up. That the town enjoys prosperity can be gathered by scanning over the photogravures in these columns, for few places with a like population can boast of as large a number costly, cozy and attractive residences as North Toronto. The town is divided into three post office districts, namely, Davisville, Eglinton and Bedford Park. 

Pure Air and Good Water

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Respecting the question of health attention has already been given to the high location of the town, thus securing fresh and pure air. Next to fresh air comes pure water, which the town has in abundance. The water works pumping station is situated at the foot of Sherwood-avenue, where the water is taken direct from the springs as it gurgles out of the hillside and is pumped into the steel reservoir 100 feet high and 20 feet diameter, with nearly 200,000 gallon capacity.

The waterworks system has made considerable headway in the last two years under the chairmanship of Councillor W. J. Lawrence. A new pump, of equal capacity with the first one, was installed last winter and as the wooden water reservoir collapsed about a year ago the steel structure took its place at a cost of about $8000. There are about twenty miles of water mains laid to all parts of the town and about 14 miles of permanent sidewalks.

 It is needless to say that there are a large number of desirable building lots to be had in town at very reasonable rates.


Town Council

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The council is presided over by Mayor John Fisher, who enjoys the confidence of the electors and has held the office of mayor for 13 years. With him on the council board are the following gentlemen: S.J. Douglas, chairman of the finance committee; W.J. Lawrence, chairman of the water, fire and light committee; Chas. Murphy, chairman of the board of works, and Councillors J.M. Anderson, A.J. Brown and J. Brownlow, with W.J. Douglas as clerk and treasurer and J.M. Whaley, assessor.

Wm. W. Cordingly is chariman of the board of health, with Dr. Jeffs as medical health officer.


School Equipment

The town has two first-class school buildings with six teachers each. One cut of the town's schools does not show to the best advantage as the artist could not get any other view of it owing to trees surrounding the building. The school board is presided over by Jas. Logie and with him on the board are Trustees Thos Le Gras, E.C. Brown, H. Spittel, Frank Howse and John Cook, with F. Boulden as secretary-treasurer.

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Prominent Business Men

An introduction to a few of the town's business men would not come amiss. In real estate business there is Waddington & Grundy, two gentlemen whose integrity are without a question, Mr. H Waddington having served on the town council board for several years and was chairman of the finance committee, and Mr. F. Grundy is a member of the local board of health.

Mr. Joseph S. Davis, who was born in town is a successful manufacturer at Davisville, has represented the town as mayor in the years 1896-1900; previously to that time he represented the town in the county council as reeve of North Toronto for six years. Mr. Davis opend up a new street thru his property, known as Joseph-avenue, the plan of which appears in these columns. These lots make very desirable residential building lots and prices of the same will be made known on application.

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The Stibbard estate, Crescent and Sheldrake-avenues, is still offering some choice high level lots. John S. Stibbard, the proprietor, who represented the town in council and county council for a number of years, since he opened his property a few years ago, was successful in having a desirable class of residences built on his estate and the new lots that are available will soon be taken up.

James Childs, Eglinton's pioneer blacksmith, is also doing a flourishing real estate business and has several desirable properties for sale.

Stores of all kinds and description are all over the town; a few of them will be made mention of:

Twiddy's Drug Store

A first-class drug store is situated in the centre of the town, on the south-east corner of Eglinton-avenue and Yonge-street. The proprietor, W.A. Twiddy, is a graduate of the Ontario College of Pharmacy, Toronto.

Prescriptions are given the most careful attention, being dispensed by graduate druggists and only the purest drugs are used.
A full line of popular patent medicines are kept and sold a the lowest prices.

The line of rubber goods and sponges is complete, only the best is kept in stock and guaranteed to give satisfaction.

A careful selected stock of perfumes with the most delicate and lasting odors to choose from.

A first-class assortment of popular toilet articles at reasonable prices.

A full line of stationary and cigars is always kept and last, but not least, the ice cream parlor and soda fountain where cool and refreshing drinks are served is always well patronized. 

Up-to-Date Groceries

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On the northeast corner of Yonge-street and Eglinton-avenue is where G.E. Coon conducts a grocerty and feed business and in his eight years of trading with the general public has made him a favorite so much so that his business increased year by year. 

The Eglinton post office store is situated at the corner of Yonge-street and Woodward-avenue. Whaley Bros., the proprietors, are the sons of J.M. Whaley, postmaster, town assessor and tax collector, and altho they are only a short time in business, yet they step with the increase of the town's population and prompt and strict attention to business is their motto.

About a mile north of Eglinton is situated the store of John Atkinson & Sons, dealers in groceries, hardware, dry goods and last, but not least, all kinds of feed. Standing as it does on Yonge-street, with a big agricultural district all round it, Messrs. Atkinson are in a position to buy large quantities of produce and retail the same at prices considerably below the usual ones charged, and with their wagons delivering goods as far south as Davisville every day, and with unfailing attention to customers at the store they have built up a large and lucrative business. In the illustration are seen the two sons, Messrs. George A. and Harry B. Atkinson, with their clerk, and one of the wagons about to be loaded. 

J.J. Davis, whose photo of his private residence appears in these columns, conducts the Davisville post-office store. He is postmaster of Davisville and as a store keeper for groceries, flour and feed and fresh meats of all description, he is hard to beat.

Brick-Making Industry

Ex-Councillor James Pears and speak out of personal experience as to the town's growth, for it is he who supplies the bricks for the erection of North Toronto's dwellings. This season he had his brick-making plant enlarged and yet he is pretty hard run to fill his contracts.


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Thomas E. Leeder is keeping a well equipped livery stable at the corner of Yonge-street and Albertus-avenue; aso an express business, double and single moving vans, and conducts a general business. Any order entrusted to him will be promptly executed.


Lawrence the Florist

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One of the most progressive and successful men in North Toronto is Councillor H.J. Lawrence. Born in Toronto in 1866, and making floriculture his lifelong study, following therein the vocation of his father and his grandfather before him; commencing actual work when 14 years of age as an apprentice at Chestnut Park, the residence of the late Sir David L. Macpherson. In 1902 he moved to Eglinton and by his enterprise, energy and ability has built up one of the largest businesses in the town. His establishment now consists of 12 large greenhouses, having about 60,000 square feet of glass (a partial view of which appears in this issue), all of the most modern steel and cement construction. They are planted with about 12,000 roses, 10,000 carnations, 20,000 chrysanthemums and 3000 violets. And about 150,000 bulbs are forced annually. The entire plant being devoted to the production of cut flowers with the exception of one house of palms and azaleas, etc. of which a large number are grown for the Christmas and Easter trade. Mr. Lawrence is president of the Canadian Horticultural Society for the current year, and is one of the most progressive members of the town council, believing the town has a great future before it. As chairman of the water, fire and light committee, which position he has occupied for the past two years, he has done much to improve the waterworks system of the town and put it on a safe and permanent basis, by the installing of duplicate boilers and pumps, etc. and when the old wooden tank collapsed last fall he at once advocated the erection of the fine steel tower which has recently been completed.


A.H. St. Germain's Residence

Fronting on Yonge-street, North Toronto, with two acres of lawns and graveled driveway, together with brick carriage house, under which is a large, well lighted and drained stone cellar. Along side of the brick residence is a well-kept garden, with six acres of orchard attached, and one hundred and seventy-seven acres of farm land, a rich soil, and has been well cultivated - all thoroly [sic] fenced - and kept in first-class shape by and under Mr. St. Germain's personal supervision for twenty nine years past.

Mr. St. Germain sold one hundred and thirteen acres of the above named one hundred and seventy-seven acres to Messrs. Blake, Lash and Cassels for $250 per acre, and already paid for. At the time of the sale of the above purchase an agreement was entered into that for a consideration given Mr. St. Germain was to continue to have the use of the one hundred and thirteen acres he sold to Messrs. Blake, Lash and Cassels until they sold the same. In the meantime the Hon. S.H. Blake has sold his tow partners (Messrs. Lash and Cassels), his third share at a good advance in price.

A.H. St. Germain still owns free of all encubrances the balance of the "St. Germain Park" estate, of over sixty acres, with all buildings, namely; four private dwellings (two brick and two frame houses), three of which are rented, including the farm land, by the year, from the first of April list The brick residence and brick carriage house, with lawn, kitchen garden, etc. etc. with continue to be occupied until sold by the owner, A.H. St. Germain, who is now ready to sell if he gets his price for this valuable property, all level and not a food of waste land, so well adapted to lay out in suburban lots, the Col. McGillivray farm has been and known as "Northern Heights," and directly opposite Mr. St. Germain's homestead. The horse and cow stables, grain and hay barns and other necessary farm buildings, together with the four residences belong to and go with the sixty acres remaining unsold, and are insured for over seven thousand dollars in the Western Assurance Company of Toronto.”

Mount Pleasant Road: A Short History

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The Davis Family of Davisville

The Davis Family of Davisville