Queen’s Park & the Majestic Beauty of Ontario’s Legislative Building

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2020 - Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building in Queen's Park. Officially opening in 1893, the Romanesque Revival style exterior features heavy stonework using Credit Valley pink sandstone
2020 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park. Officially opening in 1893, the Romanesque Revival style exterior features heavy stonework using Credit Valley pink sandstone

The Legislative Building is located at 111 Wellesley St W and is surrounded by Queen’s Park in the Bay-Cloverhill area of Toronto.

Land History

Queen’s Park resides on the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. In 1842, it became home to King’s College. The college existed from 1827 until 1850, when it was replaced by the University of Toronto. The King’s College building became the University/Provincial Lunatic Asylum for a time. In 1859, the City entered into a 999-year lease with the University and opened a park named after Queen Victoria a year later. Her son and future King, Edward VII, were in attendance to open the park.

The Design Competition

For some time, the location had been considered for the province’s new parliament buildings, the fourth of its kind, and in 1879/80, their construction was approved.

In the spring of 1880, an international design competition took place. None of the entries met the criteria when it came to lighting, heating and ventilation. The Ontario government then asked one of the competition’s three adjudicators, British-born American Richard A Waite, to submit a proposal to be judged along with reworked top entries. Mr Waite’s design was awarded the commission, and it caused quite a controversy among the entrants. Mr Waite resided in Buffalo and designed many buildings there.

The Architecture of the Legislative Building

Circa 1893 - Looking north towards the George Brown (1818-1880) statue in front of the Legislative Building in Queen's Park. This photo was taken around the time the building was officially opened
Circa 1893 – Looking north towards the George Brown (1818-1880) statue in front of the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park. This photo was taken around the time the building was officially opened (Toronto Public Library R-109)

In 1886, the construction of the massive edifice began and was completed in 1892. Officially opening in 1893, the Romanesque Revival style exterior features heavy stonework using Credit Valley pink sandstone. Other details include copper-domed towers, rounded arch entrances and windows, elaborate stone carvings and a slate roof.

Some of the interior elements of the Legislative Building include oak floors and panelling, as well as cast iron details and columns. Did you know the interior walls are made using more than 10 million bricks? Inside the Legislative Chamber, Art Nouveau master, Gustav Hahn, painted murals on the walls and ceilings. The Chamber also features magnificent mahogany and sycamore carvings.

Sir Oliver Mowat, Ontario’s longest-serving Premier (1872 to 1896), opened the first legislative session there on April 4, 1893.

The East, West & North Wings

2021 - Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Sir Oliver Mowat, Ontario’s longest-serving Premier (1872 to 1896), opened the first legislative session there on April 4, 1893
2021 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Sir Oliver Mowat, Ontario’s longest-serving Premier (1872 to 1896), opened the first legislative session there on April 4, 1893

On each side of the centre block are wings. The East Wing features the original Robert McCausland Company of Toronto skylight, which fills the warm oak-panelled hall with natural light. The carriage entrance or porte-cochère was traditionally known as the Premier’s entryway since it allowed for an easy carriage exit onto a landing and then into the building. Another architectural element of the East Wing is the hip roof supported by iron columns.

In 1909, the West Wing was destroyed by a fire thought to be caused by a spark from roof repairs. While MPPs, staff and firefighters saved the Legislative Chamber, the Legislative Library and 100,000 books and public records were ravaged. Renowned Toronto architect EJ Lennox was hired to redesign the West Wing. Lennox preserved much of Richard Waite’s exterior design while adding Italian marble to the interior. On top of the West Wing, two storeys were added. A flat roof made from glass bricks allows light to pour onto the stained-glass ceiling highlighting Ontario’s Coat of Arms.

Designed by another one of Toronto’s great architects, GW Gouinlock, the plans for the North Wing were already in progress when the blaze destroyed the West Wing. Completed in 1913, the North Wing became the new home of the Legislative Library. By the time the North Wing and some of the redesigned West Wing were constructed, sandstone from the Credit Valley quarry had been exhausted, so the new sandstone was mined from Sackville, New Brunswick.

The Legislative Building was one of the 490 buildings on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list in June 1973.

Haunted Tales

Inside the province’s parliament building is the desk of the Sergeant-at-Arms, responsible for the security within the Legislative Precinct. While each government appoints a Sergeant-at-Arms, there may be more than one watching over the House today.

There have been sightings of a ghostly soldier standing beside the Sergeant-at-Arms desk. While there is no proof of who the spirit may be, some think it could be Charles Smith Rutherford. He served as the Sergeant-at-Arms in the Legislative Building from 1934 to 1940; however, he may be more well-known as a veteran and decorated hero of World War I.

In 1918, Lieutenant Rutherford was a distance ahead of his command in northern France when he wandered into the midst of over 30 German soldiers. Lt Rutherford thought quickly. He boldly told the Germans that Canadian soldiers surrounded them, and they were now prisoners. The Germans were so intimidated they surrendered, and Lt Rutherford took them back to his company. It was a masterful bluff. Lt Rutherford earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery. He passed away in 1989 as the last surviving Canadian veteran of WWI to have received such an honour.

Queen’s Park is also rumoured to be haunted by three former residents of the asylum, including:

  • The Lady in White – her sad presence is said to roam the halls in a white, long flowing robe.
  • The Maiden – wearing a gingham dress, she hides her face with her apron.
  • The Hanging Woman – in the basement tunnel, her apparition appears suspended from a noose—those who have seen her describe her clothing as ragged and the ghastly colour of her skin.

The Legislative Buildings and Park Today

This historic landmark is home to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to this day. The park is filled with statues, monuments, memorials, beautiful gardens and trees. It’s a great place to walk and explore Ontario’s history.

The Early Legislative Assembly & Buildings

Sketch of the first Parliament Houses (1797-1813), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St
Sketch of the first Parliament Houses (1797-1813), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson – 1894)

In 1792, Upper Canada’s first elected Legislative Assembly session took place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was then called Newark. Under the administration of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, bills were passed establishing English property and civil law along with trial by jury (to name a few) during the first session. In 1797, the Assembly moved from Newark to York (Toronto) as it was seen as being less exposed to the US border.

From 1797 to 1813, Upper Canada’s first Parliament Buildings were located at the southwest corner of Parliament and Front Sts. They were called the Palace of Government, York. During the War of 1812, American troops burned them down. The Legislative Assembly then held meetings at Jordan’s York Hotel, once located on King St.

In 1820, Upper Canada’s second Parliament Buildings were constructed in the same location as the first; however, after only four years, the structures were destroyed by fire—this time from an overheated chimney flue.

From 1829 to 1832, the Legislative Assembly met in the courthouses at Church and King Sts until the new buildings were ready. From 1832 to 1892, sessions were held at the third Parliament Buildings, once located on the north side of Front St, at Simcoe St.

Legislative Building & Queen’s Park Photos

Circa 1893 - Looking north towards the George Brown (1818-1880) statue in front of the Legislative Building in Queen's Park. This photo was taken around the time the building was officially opened
Circa 1893 – Looking north towards the George Brown (1818-1880) statue in front of the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park. This photo was taken around the time the building was officially opened (Toronto Public Library R-109)
2020 – The centre block of the Legislative Building located at 111 Wellesley St W, surrounded by Queen's Park in the Bay-Cloverhill area of Toronto
2020 – The centre block of the Legislative Building located at 111 Wellesley St W, surrounded by Queen’s Park in the Bay-Cloverhill area of Toronto
May 27, 1925 - Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen's Park. In 1886, the construction of the massive building began. It was completed in 1892 and officially opened in 1893
May 27, 1925 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. In 1886, the construction of the massive building began. It was completed in 1892 and officially opened in 1893 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3783)
2021 - The Legislative Building in Toronto's Queen's Park is the province's fourth parliament building. The previous structures were located at Parliament St and Front St E (1797-1813 and 1820-1824) and at Church St and King St E (1832-1892)
2021 – The Legislative Building in Toronto’s Queen’s Park is the province’s fourth parliament building. The previous structures were located at Parliament St and Front St E (1797-1813 and 1820-1824) and at Church St and King St E (1832-1892)
March 31, 1971 - Looking northwest from Queen's Park Cres towards the statue of Sir John A Macdonald and the Legislative Building in Toronto. Notice the Oldsmobile Cutlass on the right
March 31, 1971 – Looking northwest from Queen’s Park Cres towards the statue of Sir John A Macdonald and the Legislative Building in Toronto. Notice the Oldsmobile Cutlass on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 62, Item 57)
2022 – The Legislative Chamber in the Legislative Building at Queen's Park during Doors Open. The chamber is decorated in a green colour scheme and features two-sided seating for over 120 MPPs along with gallery seating for the public
2022 – The Legislative Chamber in the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park during Doors Open. The chamber is decorated in a green colour scheme and features two-sided seating for over 120 MPPs along with gallery seating for the public
2022 – The Throne inside the Legislative Chamber at the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto
2022 – The Throne inside the Legislative Chamber at the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto
1972 - Looking northwest from University Ave and College St towards the Legislative Building in Queen's Park
1972 – Looking northwest from University Ave and College St towards the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 56, Item 26)
2020 - Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building in Queen's Park. Officially opening in 1893, the Romanesque Revival style exterior features heavy stonework using Credit Valley pink sandstone
2020 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park. Officially opening in 1893, the Romanesque Revival style exterior features heavy stonework using Credit Valley pink sandstone
Circa 1905 - The Legislative Building at Queen's Park was designed by Richard A Waite. Architectural details of the massive building include copper-domed towers, rounded arch entrances and windows, elaborate stone carvings and a slate roof
Circa 1905 – The Legislative Building at Queen’s Park was designed by Richard A Waite. Architectural details of the massive building include copper-domed towers, rounded arch entrances and windows, elaborate stone carvings and a slate roof (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, File 568, Item 420)
2021 - Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Sir Oliver Mowat, Ontario’s longest-serving Premier (1872 to 1896), opened the first legislative session there on April 4, 1893
2021 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Sir Oliver Mowat, Ontario’s longest-serving Premier (1872 to 1896), opened the first legislative session there on April 4, 1893
2022 – Inside the East Wing of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park during Doors Open
2022 – Inside the East Wing of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park during Doors Open
2022 – The stained glass laylight in the East Wing of the Legislative Building. It's made of glass panels that are set flush with the ceiling which lets natural light to come in from the skylights
2022 – The stained glass laylight in the East Wing of the Legislative Building. It’s made of glass panels that are set flush with the ceiling which lets natural light to come in from the skylights
Circa 1893 – Horses and carriages in front of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park. This photo was taken around the time of the building's completion
Circa 1893 – Horses and carriages in front of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. This photo was taken around the time of the building’s completion (Toronto Public Library R-101)
1929 - Spotlights in Queen's Park highlighting the statues and the Legislative Building at night
1929 – Spotlights in Queen’s Park highlighting the statues and the Legislative Building at night (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 41, Item 274)
Circa 1912 - Newsreel photographers and politicians in front of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park
Circa 1912 – Newsreel photographers and politicians in front of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 8015)
1939 – Decorations on the Legislative Building at Queen's Park for the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
1939 – Decorations on the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park for the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, Item 83)
2021 - Looking northwest towards the centre block of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. The Legislative Building was one of the 490 buildings on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list in June 1973
2021 – Looking northwest towards the centre block of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. The Legislative Building was one of the 490 buildings on Heritage Toronto’s initial induction list in June 1973
2021 - Looking northwest towards the centre block of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park. British-born American architect Richard Alfred Waite designed the Romanesque Revival style building completed in 1892, and the first legislative session took place on April 4, 1893
2021 – Looking northwest towards the centre block of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. British-born American architect Richard Alfred Waite designed the Romanesque Revival style building completed in 1892, and the first legislative session took place on April 4, 1893
2021 - The Seal of Ontario and stonework details on the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
2021 – The Seal of Ontario and stonework details on the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park
2021 - Intricate stonework details on the Legislative Building in Toronto's Queen's Park
2021 – Intricate stonework details on the Legislative Building in Toronto’s Queen’s Park
2021 - A beaver and the year the building was completed (1892) carved into the sandstone on the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
2021 – A beaver and the year the building was completed (1892) carved into the sandstone on the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park
2021 - A lions head sculpture on the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
2021 – A lions head sculpture on the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park
2020 - Looking southwest towards the back of the Legislative Building in Queen's Park. The exterior walls are made of pink sandstone quarried from Credit Valley
2020 – Looking southwest towards the back of the Legislative Building in Queen’s Park. The exterior walls are made of pink sandstone quarried from Credit Valley
2020 - The North Wing entrance of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park. This portion of the building was designed by architect GW Gouinlock and completed in 1913
2020 – The North Wing entrance of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. This portion of the building was designed by architect GW Gouinlock and completed in 1913
1893 - The reception room at the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
1893 – The reception room at the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park (Toronto Public Library R-3366)
1893 – The library at the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
1893 – The library at the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park (Toronto Public Library R-3363)
2022 – The library entrance in the north wing of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park during Doors Open
2022 – The library entrance in the north wing of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park during Doors Open
Circa 1930 - An aerial view looking east towards the Legislative Building (in the centre of the photo) at Queen's Park and the surrounding area
Circa 1930 – An aerial view looking east towards the Legislative Building (in the centre of the photo) at Queen’s Park and the surrounding area (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1746)
June 13, 1934 - The bandstand once in Queen's Park
June 13, 1934 – The bandstand once in Queen’s Park (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 1, Item 1285)
June 5, 1925 - A sightseeing bus in front of the Legislative Building at Queen's Park
June 5, 1925 – A sightseeing bus in front of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3814)
2022 – The Legislative Building is designed in the Romanesque Revival style and features a centre block with east, north and west wings
2022 – The Legislative Building is designed in the Romanesque Revival style and features a centre block with east, north and west wings
September 1909 - The North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen's Park with the Legislative Building in the background. The monument was installed in 1896. It was designed by J Wilson Gray and sculpted by Walter Seymour Allward
September 1909 – The North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen’s Park with the Legislative Building in the background. The monument was installed in 1896. It was designed by J Wilson Gray and sculpted by Walter Seymour Allward (Toronto Public Library PC_4717)
2023 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto. Construction on the massive edifice began in 1886. It was completed six years later and officially opened in 1893
2023 – Looking northwest towards the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Construction on the massive edifice began in 1886. It was completed six years later and officially opened in 1893
2022 – A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II next to the doors of the Legislative Chamber. Notice the lead-paned glass and the beautifully crafted woodwork
2022 – A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II next to the doors of the Legislative Chamber. Notice the lead-paned glass and the beautifully crafted woodwork
2022 – There are over 120 desks for the Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) along with gallery seating for the public inside the Legislative Chamber. The photo was taken in the Legislative Building during Doors Open
2022 – There are over 120 desks for the Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) along with gallery seating for the public inside the Legislative Chamber. The photo was taken in the Legislative Building during Doors Open
2022 – The ceiling of the Legislative Chamber features a painted maple leaf motif by artist Gustav Hahn. In 1912, it was covered over during building updates and in the 1990s, the ceiling was uncovered in a restoration
2022 – The ceiling of the Legislative Chamber features a painted maple leaf motif by artist Gustav Hahn. In 1912, it was covered over during building updates and in the 1990s, the ceiling was uncovered in a restoration
2022 – The laylight in the West Wing of the Legislative Building features the Ontario Coat of Arms. Natural light comes through the skylight's glass bricks. This photo was taken during Doors Open
2022 – The laylight in the West Wing of the Legislative Building features the Ontario Coat of Arms. Natural light comes through the skylight’s glass bricks. This photo was taken during Doors Open
2022 - The Reception Room on the first floor of the Lieutenant Governor's Suite in Ontario's Legislative Building. The photo was taken during Doors Open
2022 – The Reception Room on the first floor of the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite in Ontario’s Legislative Building. The photo was taken during Doors Open
2022 – The Music Room on the second floor of the Lieutenant Governor's Suite during Doors Open. The suite is located at the northwest corner of the Legislative Building in Toronto's Queen's Park
2022 – The Music Room on the second floor of the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite during Doors Open. The suite is located at the northwest corner of the Legislative Building in Toronto’s Queen’s Park
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads: 

Honourable George Brown 1818-1880  

"Born near Edinburgh, Scotland, Brown emigrated with his father to New York in 1837. In 1843 he moved to Toronto and the following year founded the "Globe" newspaper which achieved great political influence. Elected to the Legislature as a Reform member in 1851, Brown became a leader of his party in Canada West. In 1858, with A.A. Dorion, he formed a short-lived government. In 1864 he entered the "Great Coalition" government with his adversary, John A. Macdonald, and played a leading part at the Quebec Conference which led to the establishment of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Appointed to the Senate in 1873, Brown remained interested in politics until his death."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Honourable George Brown 1818-1880

“Born near Edinburgh, Scotland, Brown emigrated with his father to New York in 1837. In 1843 he moved to Toronto and the following year founded the “Globe” newspaper which achieved great political influence. Elected to the Legislature as a Reform member in 1851, Brown became a leader of his party in Canada West. In 1858, with A.A. Dorion, he formed a short-lived government. In 1864 he entered the “Great Coalition” government with his adversary, John A. Macdonald, and played a leading part at the Quebec Conference which led to the establishment of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Appointed to the Senate in 1873, Brown remained interested in politics until his death.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads: 

Lieutenant-General John Graves Simcoe 1752-1806 

"Born in Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, Simcoe entered the army in 1770, and during the American Revolution commanded the 1st American Regiment (Queen's Rangers). In 1791 he was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of the newly formed Province of Upper Canada. During his energetic administration, he improved communications, encouraged immigration and founded York (Toronto). In 1796 he returned to Wolford, his estate in Devonshire, England, but during 1797 served as Governor and military commander in British-occupied St. Domingo (Haiti). He commanded the Western Military District, 1801-06, when England was threatened with a French invasion. Appointed Commander-in-Chief of India in 1806, Simcoe died before taking up that post."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Lieutenant-General John Graves Simcoe 1752-1806

“Born in Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, Simcoe entered the army in 1770, and during the American Revolution commanded the 1st American Regiment (Queen’s Rangers). In 1791 he was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of the newly formed Province of Upper Canada. During his energetic administration, he improved communications, encouraged immigration and founded York (Toronto). In 1796 he returned to Wolford, his estate in Devonshire, England, but during 1797 served as Governor and military commander in British-occupied St. Domingo (Haiti). He commanded the Western Military District, 1801-06, when England was threatened with a French invasion. Appointed Commander-in-Chief of India in 1806, Simcoe died before taking up that post.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads:

 Sir John A. Macdonald 1815-1891

"Canada's first Prime Minister was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and emigrated with his family to Kingston, Upper Canada, in 1820. A successful lawyer, he was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1844 and became leader of the Conservative Party. He played a leading role in the effort to achieve a federal union of Britain's North American colonies which resulted in the formation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Macdonald served as Prime Minister, 1867-73 and 1878-91, and under his administration large territories were added to Canada, a transcontinental railway built and settlement of the West encouraged. At his death Canada's autonomy, based on rapid economic development and a close British-Canadian relationship, was assured."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Sir John A. Macdonald 1815-1891

“Canada’s first Prime Minister was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and emigrated with his family to Kingston, Upper Canada, in 1820. A successful lawyer, he was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1844 and became leader of the Conservative Party. He played a leading role in the effort to achieve a federal union of Britain’s North American colonies which resulted in the formation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Macdonald served as Prime Minister, 1867-73 and 1878-91, and under his administration large territories were added to Canada, a transcontinental railway built and settlement of the West encouraged. At his death Canada’s autonomy, based on rapid economic development and a close British-Canadian relationship, was assured.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads: Sir James Pliny Whitney 1843-1914 "Born in Williamsburg Township, Dundas County, and educated at the Cornwall Grammar School, Whitney was called to the Bar in 1876. He was elected to the Provincial Parliament as Conservative Member for Dundas in 1888. A noted orator, he was the Leader of the Opposition, 1896-1905. In the latter year the liberal government headed by the Hon. G. W. Ross was defeated and Whitney became the sixth Prime Minister of Ontario. He held that post, 1905-14, and his administration was noted for its introduction of extensive legislation relating to agriculture, labour, education and public utilities. Whitney received his knighthood in 1908."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Sir James Pliny Whitney 1843-1914

“Born in Williamsburg Township, Dundas County, and educated at the Cornwall Grammar School, Whitney was called to the Bar in 1876. He was elected to the Provincial Parliament as Conservative Member for Dundas in 1888. A noted orator, he was the Leader of the Opposition, 1896-1905. In the latter year the liberal government headed by the Hon. G. W. Ross was defeated and Whitney became the sixth Prime Minister of Ontario. He held that post, 1905-14, and his administration was noted for its introduction of extensive legislation relating to agriculture, labour, education and public utilities. Whitney received his knighthood in 1908.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads:
Sir Oliver Mowat 1820-1903
"Born in Kingston, Mowat studied law under John A. Macdonald. After moving to Toronto in 1840, he was elected a liberal member of the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1857 and served as Provincial Secretary in 1858 and Postmaster General, 1863-64. He took part in the Quebec Conference of 1864 which led to confederation in 1867. Mowat became Ontario's third Prime Minister in 1872, succeeding the Hon. Edward Blake, and retained that post for almost 24 years. Resigning in 1896, he accepted a seat in the Senate, and became Minister of Justice, 1896-97, in the cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Mowat served as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1897 until his death."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Sir Oliver Mowat 1820-1903

“Born in Kingston, Mowat studied law under John A. Macdonald. After moving to Toronto in 1840, he was elected a liberal member of the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1857 and served as Provincial Secretary in 1858 and Postmaster General, 1863-64. He took part in the Quebec Conference of 1864 which led to confederation in 1867. Mowat became Ontario’s third Prime Minister in 1872, succeeding the Hon. Edward Blake, and retained that post for almost 24 years. Resigning in 1896, he accepted a seat in the Senate, and became Minister of Justice, 1896-97, in the cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Mowat served as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1897 until his death.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads:
Honourable John Sandfield Macdonald 1812-1872
“Born in St. Raphael, Macdonald was first elected to represent Glengarry in the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1841. He became one of the leaders of the Reform Party and served in several administrations prior to Confederation in 1867. Prime Minister of the Province of Canada, 1862-64, he later served as the first Prime Minister of Ontario, 1867-71. Always independent in his political thinking, he had a first opposed the federation of the provinces. Later, he co-operated with Sir John A. Macdonald, Chief Architect of Confederation, at whose request he formed a coalition ministry in Ontario.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Honourable John Sandfield Macdonald 1812-1872

“Born in St. Raphael, Macdonald was first elected to represent Glengarry in the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1841. He became one of the leaders of the Reform Party and served in several administrations prior to Confederation in 1867. Prime Minister of the Province of Canada, 1862-64, he later served as the first Prime Minister of Ontario, 1867-71. Always independent in his political thinking, he had a first opposed the federation of the provinces. Later, he co-operated with Sir John A. Macdonald, Chief Architect of Confederation, at whose request he formed a coalition ministry in Ontario.”
2020 – The plaque on the North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen's Park reads:

"Erected in the memory of the officers and men who fell on the battlefields of the North-West in 1885. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" 
 
The monument was installed in 1896 and is situated in the northeastern part of Queen's Park, directly in front of Grosvenor St. The figure represents Miss Canada with an attitude of peace. Her right arm is extended, holding an olive branch, her left arm commands silence, and she has a wreath of maple leaves around her head. On the upper part of the base are the crests of every regiment which took part in the rebellion. On each corner is a slab bearing in bronze letters the name of engagements in the Northwest, namely, Battleford, Batoche, Cut Knife and Fish Creek. Then on the three sides are the names of the unfortunate young soldiers. The design was by J Wilson Gray and sculpted by Walter Seymour Allward when he was about 20
2020 – The plaque on the North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen’s Park reads:

“Erected in the memory of the officers and men who fell on the battlefields of the North-West in 1885. Dulce et decorum est pro patria more”

The monument was installed in 1896 and is situated in the northeastern part of Queen’s Park, directly in front of Grosvenor St. The figure represents Miss Canada with an attitude of peace. Her right arm is extended, holding an olive branch, her left arm commands silence, and she has a wreath of maple leaves around her head. On the upper part of the base are the crests of every regiment which took part in the rebellion. On each corner is a slab bearing in bronze letters the name of engagements in the Northwest, namely, Battleford, Batoche, Cut Knife and Fish Creek. Then on the three sides are the names of the unfortunate young soldiers. The design was by J Wilson Gray and sculpted by Walter Seymour Allward when he was about 20
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads: 

Queen Victoria 1819-1901 

"Born at Kensington Palace, the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, King George III's fourth son, Alexandrina Victoria became Queen at the death of her uncle, King William IV, in 1837. Although she never visited Canada, her son, Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), toured the country extensively in 1860. She chose the site of the national capital, Ottawa, in 1857. During her long and exemplary reign of some sixty-three years, she came to be regarded with the same devotion and affection by the Canadian people as by her subjects in Great Britain."
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Queen Victoria 1819-1901

“Born at Kensington Palace, the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, King George III’s fourth son, Alexandrina Victoria became Queen at the death of her uncle, King William IV, in 1837. Although she never visited Canada, her son, Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), toured the country extensively in 1860. She chose the site of the national capital, Ottawa, in 1857. During her long and exemplary reign of some sixty-three years, she came to be regarded with the same devotion and affection by the Canadian people as by her subjects in Great Britain.”
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen's Park reads: 

Equestrian Statue of King George VII 

"Originally standing in Edward Park, Delhi, India, this statue was erected on the present site through the generous subscriptions of the citizens of this area. This gift to the City of Toronto was made possible by the Government of India and the former Canadian High Commissioner to India, His Excellency the Right Honorable Rolland Michner, C.C., C.D., Governor General of Canada, and brought to this City through the personal generosity of Henry R. Jackman., Esq., Q.C." 

May 24, 1969 - William Dennison Mayor
2020 – The plaque on the statue in Queen’s Park reads:

Equestrian Statue of King George VII

“Originally standing in Edward Park, Delhi, India, this statue was erected on the present site through the generous subscriptions of the citizens of this area. This gift to the City of Toronto was made possible by the Government of India and the former Canadian High Commissioner to India, His Excellency the Right Honorable Rolland Michner, C.C., C.D., Governor General of Canada, and brought to this City through the personal generosity of Henry R. Jackman., Esq., Q.C.”

May 24, 1969 – William Dennison Mayor
2023 - The plaque on the bronze bust in Queen's Park reads:
William Lyon Mackenzie 1795-1861 
"Born near Dundee, Scotland, Mackenzie came to Upper Canada in 1820, and four years later founded a political newspaper, the "Colonial Advocate", at Queenston. Sharply critical of the ruling oligarchy in the province, he entered politics, became leader of the radical wing of the Reform Party, and in 1834 was elected Toronto's first mayor. The rejection of his demands for reform drove him to lead an armed rebellion in Upper Canada in 1837. Defeated by government forces, he escaped to the United States where he found many sympathizers. In 1849 he was permitted to return to Canada and settled in Toronto. Before his death, he witnessed the firm establishment of a system of responsible government."
2023 – The plaque on the bronze bust in Queen’s Park reads:

William Lyon Mackenzie 1795-1861

“Born near Dundee, Scotland, Mackenzie came to Upper Canada in 1820, and four years later founded a political newspaper, the “Colonial Advocate”, at Queenston. Sharply critical of the ruling oligarchy in the province, he entered politics, became leader of the radical wing of the Reform Party, and in 1834 was elected Toronto’s first mayor. The rejection of his demands for reform drove him to lead an armed rebellion in Upper Canada in 1837. Defeated by government forces, he escaped to the United States where he found many sympathizers. In 1849 he was permitted to return to Canada and settled in Toronto. Before his death, he witnessed the firm establishment of a system of responsible government.”
1886 - King's College was located on the west side of Queen's Park Cres E, between Grosvenor St and Wellesley St W. King's College was built in 1842. The building later became the University/Provincial Lunatic Asylum. The photo shows the building just before its demolition
1886 – King’s College was located on the west side of Queen’s Park Cres E, between Grosvenor St and Wellesley St W. King’s College was built in 1842. The building later became the University/Provincial Lunatic Asylum. The photo shows the building just before its demolition (Toronto Public Library R-3203)
Sketch of the first Parliament Houses (1797-1813), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St
Sketch of the first Parliament Houses (1797-1813), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson – 1894)
Sketch of the third Parliament Houses (1832 to 1892), which were located on the north side of Front St at Simcoe St
Sketch of the third Parliament Houses (1832 to 1892), which were located on the north side of Front St at Simcoe St (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 5 by J Ross Robertson – 1908)
Sketch of the second Parliament Houses (1820-1824), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St
Sketch of the second Parliament Houses (1820-1824), which were located at the southwest corner of Parliament St and Front St (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson – 1894)
2023 - The heritage plaque reads:  

Queen's Park, Toronto  

"Officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) during the Royal Tour of 1860, Queen's Park is an early example of the public park movement in Canada. Landscaped according to a picturesque design, its sweeping drives curved past maple, oak, elm and white pine, which Taddle Creek ravine and McCaul's Pond formed the park's western boundary. Located to the northwest of the city, visitors gained access to the park through two gated, tree-lined avenues, one leading west from Yonge Street (today's College Street) and the other leading north from Queen Street (today's University Avenue). The legislative building, opened in 1893, brought a new public purpose to the park and significantly altered the original landscaping of its southern grounds. By then, the city encircled the park." 

Unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II July 6, 2010  

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario
2023 – The heritage plaque reads:

Queen’s Park, Toronto

“Officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) during the Royal Tour of 1860, Queen’s Park is an early example of the public park movement in Canada. Landscaped according to a picturesque design, its sweeping drives curved past maple, oak, elm and white pine, which Taddle Creek ravine and McCaul’s Pond formed the park’s western boundary. Located to the northwest of the city, visitors gained access to the park through two gated, tree-lined avenues, one leading west from Yonge Street (today’s College Street) and the other leading north from Queen Street (today’s University Avenue). The legislative building, opened in 1893, brought a new public purpose to the park and significantly altered the original landscaping of its southern grounds. By then, the city encircled the park.”

Unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II July 6, 2010

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario
2022 - The heritage plaque reads: 
Queen's Park 
"In 1859 the city leased land here from King's College, and in 1860 a park, named after Queen Victoria, was opened by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. Queen's Park was long considered as a location for new parliament buildings and in 1879-80 their construction was authorized by the Ontario Legislature and city council, and an inconclusive design competition was held. In 1886 the commission was awarded to Richard Waite of Buffalo, one of the adjudicators. This decision generated considerable controversy among Ontario architects. The main block of the massive Romanesque Revival structure, with its towering legislative chamber, was completed in 1892 and on April 4, 1893, the first legislative session in Queen's Park was opened under Premier Sir Oliver Mowat."
Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Communications
2022 – The heritage plaque reads:

Queen’s Park

“In 1859 the city leased land here from King’s College, and in 1860 a park, named after Queen Victoria, was opened by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. Queen’s Park was long considered as a location for new parliament buildings and in 1879-80 their construction was authorized by the Ontario Legislature and city council, and an inconclusive design competition was held. In 1886 the commission was awarded to Richard Waite of Buffalo, one of the adjudicators. This decision generated considerable controversy among Ontario architects. The main block of the massive Romanesque Revival structure, with its towering legislative chamber, was completed in 1892 and on April 4, 1893, the first legislative session in Queen’s Park was opened under Premier Sir Oliver Mowat.”

Erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Communications
2022 - The heritage plaque reads:  

First Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada 

"The first session of the Legislative Assembly held at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) from 17 September to 15 October 1792, introduced a limited form of representative government to the newly created colony of Upper Canada. The elected assembly formed part of the first legislature under the administration of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Statutes of the first session established English property and civil law, and trial by jury. In 1797 the seat of government was moved to York (Toronto)." 

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada  
Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
2022 – The heritage plaque reads:

First Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada

“The first session of the Legislative Assembly held at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) from 17 September to 15 October 1792, introduced a limited form of representative government to the newly created colony of Upper Canada. The elected assembly formed part of the first legislature under the administration of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Statutes of the first session established English property and civil law, and trial by jury. In 1797 the seat of government was moved to York (Toronto).”

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
2023 - The heritage plaque reads:  

The Royal Tour of 1939

"The Royal Tour of 1939 was the first visit to Canada by a reigning British monarch. Between May 15 and June 15, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth travelled by train across the country. They arrived at the North Toronto Station on May 22 and, at Queen's Park, Lieutenant Governor Albert Matthews and Premier Mitchell Hepburn officially welcomed Their Majesties to the provincial capital. Throughout their visit, the King and Queen were greeted with brilliant pageantry and crowds of cheering spectators. The Royal Tour released an outpouring of loyalty and affection for the monarchy and support for Great Britain." 

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario
2023 – The heritage plaque reads:

The Royal Tour of 1939

“The Royal Tour of 1939 was the first visit to Canada by a reigning British monarch. Between May 15 and June 15, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth travelled by train across the country. They arrived at the North Toronto Station on May 22 and, at Queen’s Park, Lieutenant Governor Albert Matthews and Premier Mitchell Hepburn officially welcomed Their Majesties to the provincial capital. Throughout their visit, the King and Queen were greeted with brilliant pageantry and crowds of cheering spectators. The Royal Tour released an outpouring of loyalty and affection for the monarchy and support for Great Britain.”

Ontario Heritage Trust, an agency of the Government of Ontario
 2022 - The heritage plaque reads:  

The First Provincial Parliament 1792 

"On September 17, 1792, Colonel John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, opened in this community, then the capital, the first provincial parliament. The legislature consisted of an appointed Legislative Council and an elected Legislative Assembly. Its opening marked the introduction of a form of representative government into this province. Previously, both the French and British regimes had been directed by a royal governor advised by an appointed council of officials and prominent citizens. This first parliament held all its sittings in "Newark", as Simcoe had re-named Niagara, but the second was summoned to meet in 1797 at York (Toronto), the new seat of government." 

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario 
Located in front of the old courthouse building, 26 Queen St in Niagara-on-the-Lake
2022 – The heritage plaque reads:

The First Provincial Parliament 1792

“On September 17, 1792, Colonel John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, opened in this community, then the capital, the first provincial parliament. The legislature consisted of an appointed Legislative Council and an elected Legislative Assembly. Its opening marked the introduction of a form of representative government into this province. Previously, both the French and British regimes had been directed by a royal governor advised by an appointed council of officials and prominent citizens. This first parliament held all its sittings in “Newark”, as Simcoe had re-named Niagara, but the second was summoned to meet in 1797 at York (Toronto), the new seat of government.”

Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario
Located in front of the old courthouse building, 26 Queen St in Niagara-on-the-Lake
2022 - John Graves Simcoe statue in Niagara-on-the-Lake
2022 – John Graves Simcoe statue in Niagara-on-the-Lake
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