JOHN SCARLETT father/founder of the Junction?

By 1815 Scarlett owned over 1000 acres in the area west of Keele Street and north of Dundas Street. In 1820 he purchased a road built by Michael Miller some 15 years earlier which led from just south of the Village of Weston south to Dundas Street. This was rechristened Scarlett Road, a name it bears to this day.[4]  This paragraph Wikipedia.

Below from the,  neighbourhood in change southwest Junction report. (See access link image below)

But even with only roads and clay to commend it, the Junction was subject to early land speculation.  John Scarlett, a wealthy English immigrant to York in 1810, was the most successful investor.  In approximately 1820, he bought 400 acres of land northwest of the Junction on the east side of the Humber River.

Mr. Scarlett may, indeed, be regarded as the father of Toronto Junction; he built almost, if not the very first house in the locality [building in 1838 at the south-east corner of Keele and Dundas].  He was for a long time (expecting the farmers) the only employer of labour in the neighbourhood, he having extensive brick yards on Dundas Street, near the [Weston] Plank Road, and was besides the first owner of nearly all the land in the vicinity (Robertson, 1968).

An 1860 map of York County shows C.C. Keele and Col.E.W. Thomson as the major landholders in the study area (Tremaine, 1860). Keele purchased his property in 1830, Thompson in 1846 (Cherry, 1939).  Col. Thomson served in the War of 1812 and was a member of Parliament; C.C. Keele “was a solicitor of high character and repute” (Robertson, 1968).  None of these three men-Keele, Thomson and Scarlett-were simple farmers, all had either wealth or status or both.  Their estates were not on good farm land (Rice, September 8, 1949) perhaps because they did not have to concern themselves with farm income.

A fourth developer was Marcus Rossin who in 1856, bought and sub-divided the present day area between Jane, Clendenan, Annette and St. Clair Avenues, naming it Runnymeade Estates (Cherry, 1939; Kure, 1975; Termaine, 1860).  It was, however, vacant until 1878 (Kure,1975),

Click 4 full size, source report TPL spine

I believe their speculation was based upon three factors.  First, they believed that railroads would eventually be built into Toronto and that a route along Dundas Road was probable.  Second, that desirable building lots along the lakeshore west of Toronto would be bought up and, to avoid the High Park ravines, development would move northwest.  Third, the area provided good sites for estates.

The speculators, however, suffered more initial setbacks.  The first was in 1851 when John Scarlett, Samuel’s son, lost out to Weston in a bid to have the Toronto and Guelph Railway company route its line through his property.

When the Toronto and Guelph Railway Company (later Grand Trunk) was incorporated in 1851, Samuel Scarlett offered to give the railway a right-of-way through his extensive property on the Etobicoke side of the Humber…(L)arge property owners in the village (of Weston) on the east side (of the Humber) River went Samuel Scarlett one better by buying sufficient property in addition to what they owned, to give the railway a right-of-way through the community.  This enterprising action secured the first railway which brought industry to Weston.  The Toronto Grey and Bruce (C. P. R.) came later using the Grand Trunk track from Weston to Toronto with a third rail in between because it was a narrow gauge railway.  (Given, 1973:  57).

The speculators suffered a further setback in 1856 with the general financial depression in Canada and the depression of the Bank of Upper Canada in particular.  (Glazebrook, 1971:  109; Kure, 1975).  Perhaps because of this setback, William Keele, C.C. Keele’s son, in 1856 rented part of his estate to a company which set up a horse racing track.  The track, called the Carleton Race Ground, was located at Humberside and Keele, and operated until 1872 (Robertson 1968).

The Railroad

John Scarlett’s desire to sell land to the railroad was not fulfilled until the late 1870’s when the Credit Valley railroad built its line from London to Toronto paralleling Dundas Street.  Service on the line began September 19, 1879.

Both lines, however, gave through service, and, except for a small station on Davenport, there were no stops in the area.  Aside from fulfilling some land speculators’ dreams, the railroad did not yet have much impact on the Junction.

The railways’ impact on the Junction began with the purchase of the Credit Valley and the Toronto, Grey and Bruce by the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.).  Thus, the C.P.R. was competing with the Grand Trunk, later bought by the Canadian National Railway (C.N.R.), for the western entrance to Toronto.  The C.P.R. also wanted an eastern approach to Union Station for its Ontario and Quebec Division operating between Toronto and Montreal.  It was not able to obtain one.  So, it chose the only other option; it built a line north of the city, paralleling Davenport Road, that would meet with its western approach, allowing Montreal trains to enter and leave Toronto from the west.  The line was completed May 10, 1884 (Salmon, 1961:  3).

It is not coincidental that the three major rail routes into the Junction—west from Lambton, northwest from Weston, and east skirting the northern edge of Toronto—paralleled the three major roads through the Junction—Dundas, Weston, and Davenport.  Both the early roads and the railroads sought the most level route:  Dundas Street crossed the Humber River at a fordable point and continued to Toronto on the plateau north of the ravines extending into the lake; Weston Road sought the easiest ford of Black Creek and followed high ground to Toronto; Davenport Road ran on a plateau between the lake ravines to the south and the steep ridge of Lake Iroquois’ shoreline to the north.  (Spelt, 1973 : 7).

Anticipating the junction of their eastern and western lines, the C.P.R. purchased 46 acres of land northwest of Keele and Dundas (Salmon, 1961: 3).  The land boom began in earnest for land buyers now had more reason to be confident of the area.  The C.P.R.’s decision to build a railyard meant the creation of jobs.  But also, the routing meant that all C.P.R. Toronto trains would pass through and stop at the Junction.  Industries could and would, it was believed, locate in the Junction to enjoy as good rail service as in Toronto with cheaper land.

The man who realized this and acted upon it was Daniel Webster (D.W.) Clendenan, a lawyer from Jordon, Ontario.  Having the opportunity to buy the 80 acres of land that was the Carleton Race Track for $80,000 but lacking the money, Clendenan formed a partnership with his uncle, John Laws, a merchant in Jordon.  Laws was silent partner, putting up the capital for Clendenan.  In 1882, Clendenan and Laws bought the tract, subdivided it, naming streets after themselves, and reselling the lots.  (See Map 1)5

The Junction Industrial Area in 1890 Source: Heidenreich, 1961 Reproduced without the author’s permission in the original report /  neighbourhood in change southwest Junction Wekerle TPL 30776097 N24


4Keele Street and Scarlett Road are named after two of these early speculators.

5Jones, (1976) says 240 acres of land were initially developed.  Unfortunately, I have not come across any references to any initial developers other than Clendenan and Laws.


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