Friday, August 12, 2016

High Park

August 2016 - Toronto ON

Not a very long walk, it's another steamy hot day. 4,000 steps or 1.61mi as we drove over and then drove from the restaurant to Colborne Lodge. Not a long walk but a very long post full of information.

Click here for more photos and history of High Park.

Drive by shooting from the car on our way to High Park. Looks like a police car hiding behind.

We set out to explore High Park starting with breakfast at the Grenadier Restaurant. No photos, just regular homey breakfast, omelet and BLT. You place your order inside, get a number and then sit on the patio and wait for your order.

It spans 161 hectares (400 acres), and is a mixed recreational and natural park, with sporting facilities, cultural facilities, educational facilities, gardens, playgrounds and a zoo. One third of the park remains in a natural state, with a rare oak savannah ecology. High Park was opened to the public in 1876 and is based on a bequest of land from John George Howard to the City of Toronto. It is the largest park entirely within the city.

Howard bought some land of his own, including the property now known as High Park, intended as a sheep farm. To the east of High Park, Howard owned Sunnyside Farm, on which he built Sunnyside Villa. It is now the site of St. Joseph's Health Centre. The area retains the nickname of 'Sunnyside'.

He planned to sell off parcels of this land as farmland, however it is so hilly as to be unsuitable for farming.

From there we wandered over to the Hillside Gardens.

From the hilltop John spotted this. Canadian, eh!

I notice that I have a smudge on some of my photos. When I got home it was on the outside of my lens, so easily cleaned.

It is hot as we climb down to the zoo.
Established in the 1893 for deer, the Zoo’s animal paddocks have always been a popular attraction. Today, over 120 years later, the Zoo’s eleven paddocks are home to a variety of animal species from around the world including bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle, wallabies, emus and sheep. The Zoo is free to the public and attracts over 600,000 visitors each year. The Zoo is open every day from 7:00 am to dusk.

I love the descriptive signs.

This guy made me laugh, he looked like a statue.

Next stop Colborne Lodge also in the park. BONUS a brain, this is what I'm talking about!!!
Darn smudge!

Wicked wallpaper, recreated to look like the originals that they found.

Born John Corby in Bengeo, Hertfordshire, England in 1803, Howard was the fourth of seven children of John and Sarah Corby. He attended a boarding-school in Hertford and spent two years at sea as a sailor before return to England to become a carpenter and joiner. In 1824, he entered the architecture profession, articling for three years to a London architect, William Ford, who became his brother-in-law, marrying Howard's older sister in 1825. Corby remained with Ford until his departure for Canada. In London, Howard met and married his wife 21-year-old Jemima Frances Meikle on May 7, 1827.

In 1832, Corby met Mr. Cattermole of the Canada Land Company, leading to John and Jemima immigrating to Canada in 1832. It was at this time that Howard adopted the Howard surname. He himself gave two explanations. On February 11, 1834, when his change of name was revealed in a court case Howard wrote to Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne’s secretary, explaining that he was illegitimate, that when he was about 18 he had adopted the name Corby after the man his mother had subsequently married, and that he had assumed 'his proper name' when he left England. Later in life he claimed direct descent from Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, through a 17th-century Howard who had adopted the name Corby from the ancestral estate Corby Castle, because of a family quarrel.

John and Jemima remained married until death, however John maintained a lifelong relationship with Mary Williams, with whom he had three children. John and Jemima themselves had no children.

The children donated a cabinet that Howard had made to the museum. They weren't enthralled to be related to the man according to our guide.

Sewing room. They employed two married servants who were responsible for the housekeeping and raised their family in the house. They also had a groomsman who remained with them throughout.

However they he managed to keep young servant girls for only a matter of weeks. He was a known philanderer.

They found this board in the house, the back of it had a board game much like steeplechase. This side had the original wallpaper that they had copied for the room.

They even had an indoor toilet. This wallpaper is original and used to make the copy.

They are not sure if he installed the shower head or the servants who he had willed that they could continue to live in the house after he died.

When Howard arrived in Toronto (at that time still the town of York) in 1833, he was the first professional architect in Toronto. His first public appointment was a teaching master at Upper Canada College (UCC), while developing an architectural practise. He remained affiliated with UCC until 1856. His practise thrived with commissions ranging from cottages to banks to public projects, including Queen's College of Kingston, Ontario, and the Provincial Lunatic Asylum in Toronto (modelled on the National Gallery (London)).

Howard started surveying work in 1836, become Toronto's official surveyor in 1843, a position he held until 1855. He surveyed Toronto harbour, laid out the 'Esplanade' on the waterfront, and subdivided the harbour's peninsula (now known as Toronto Island). He also did surveying work for cemeteries and private land sub-divisions. In 1883, the Governor-General of Canada conferred upon him the dignity of "Royal Canadian Academician."

In other endeavours, Howard was involved with the militia which put down William Lyon Mackenzie's 1837 rebellion. Howard is recorded as leading the scouting party which found the rebels' location on December 7, 1937. He would become a lieutenant the following year. 

In 1877, Jemima died of cancer. Howard lived until 1890, dying at home at Colborne Lodge in High Park. She was confined to this guest room as she had a habit of wandering the grounds. She didn't like being locked up.

A padded door in her room.

A box of medicines.

A toilet for her convenience.

A chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with useful household appendages such as scissors, thimbles, watches, keys, vinaigrette, and household seals. Jemima's even had a flask.

Chateleine bags refer to bags suspended from a waistband by cord or chain, which were popular from the 1860s to the end of the 19th century

Not the original china anything that was small enough to remove was taken by the servants after his death.

Summer kitchen, again nothing original.

The icebox, below would have been the most expensive item in the house.

In 1873, in return for a yearly pension of CA$1,200, Howard deeded 120 acres (0.49 km2) of his High Park property to the city as a public park. The remaining 45 acres (180,000 m2) and Colborne Lodge became city property at his death. Howard was appointed forest ranger by the city in 1878, with responsibility for improving the park.

The Howards are buried in High Park; their cairn monument is near to Colborne Lodge. The monument was designed by Howard. The fence was brought from London, England. It dates to the 1700s and was formerly part of the fence around St. Paul's Cathedral and was designed by Christopher Wren. During its transport from England, the ship carrying the fence sank in the St. Lawrence River and Howard arranged for the fence to be salvaged from the wreck.


  1. Lovely shots, but thanks for the explanation of the smudge on some of them!

    I should really explore this park myself.

  2. Cute animals there and stunning place! #photofriday

  3. Love the wallpaper! And I like the sewing room too, but I hate sewing. :) Many thanks for linking, Jackie.

  4. Thank for taking us on this amazing must have been so much fun.

  5. The lodge looks gorgeous! I really enjoy visiting places like that - gives you such a great insight into what life must have been like back then!

  6. Enjoyed the cyber tour very much. Thanks for posting.

  7. Oh wow there is so much history in this place! That poor girl being locked up though :( Thanks for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRt

  8. What a fabulous place to visit, that park is breath taking. So much to enjoy, history, wildlife and views looks like you had a fantastic day #EatSleepBlogRT

  9. Fascinating place to visit - the sort of trip we like to do as well.

  10. Great write up, so much information! This looks like a great place to visit. I love the sign about what happens to poo at the zoo! :D

  11. Great tour, thank you . . .and so so pleased for you that the smudge was just a smudge and not damage to the lens.


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