Jeremiah Annis
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Scarboro Heights
Historic Sites Walking Tour
Part 3 -- The Annis Trail

What: The Pioneers' Kingston Road Historic Walk. Following the old route blazed by the Annis brothers over 200 years ago and finishing up at Washington United Church, 3739 Kingston Rd. for a Corn Roast / BBQ (modest extra cost). The historic walk is the fourth led by Bruce and Bea McCowan.

When: Sept. 20 2003, 2:00 pm (Rain date is the following day, 2 pm)

Where: For starting location and other details, call 416-447-4895.

Why: Fundraiser for Scarborough's oldest public art -- to help restore damaged Annis and other gravestones at Washington United Church. 2003 is the 200th Anniversary of Washington United Church. This walk is a joint project of the Scarboro Heights Record and the Bi-Centennial Committee.

More Information here.


The Annis Family of Scarborough

As shown below in Jeremiah's obituary, the Annis family arrived in Scarboro Heights in 1793. Not only were they the first non-native Canadians to live in the Bluffs area, but they were also very probably the first in the entire Township.  David and Mary Thomson did not live in Scarborough until four or five years later.

This date, 1793, is one of the twenty carefully selected dates that are represented in "Passage", the sculpture in honour of Doris McCarthy at the edge of Lake Ontario.


Passage 00008_1.jpg (24377 bytes)

Photo: Marlene Hilton-Moore, Sculptor, 2002

One Interpretation of Passage

Art is all about interpretation. It would not be art if there was but one "right" answer to the question "what does it mean"?  Bruce and I have the following interpretation of "Passage".

There is a concept in some computer programming languages called "pointers". These pointers actually "point" to places in a computer's memory where information is stored. Using the pointers, the computer accesses that information to perform processes which, ultimately, do useful things for people.

Similarly, the twenty-plus pairs of ribs pointing upwards on Passage are also pointers to valuable information. Each pair of ribs is associated with a date. Each of the dates represented in Passage is the key to a significant event in the evolution of Doris McCarthy's Place by the Bluffs and the People who lived in the area.

Not unlike those programming languages, Passage philosophically points to valuable information that we can process with our minds and interpret for the benefit of society. Passage points to written works such as Neigh the Front, to stage productions such as With I Hope a New Face, to heritage interpretive programs such as Walking Tours and Exhibitions, to educational tools such as the Information Processing program, to the Toronto Lost  Sites Project and to many other efforts to tell the story of humanity's journey through time in this place.

Indeed, Passage itself is a perfect example of what we spoke about in our Walking Tour preamble:

...But we think there should also be a strong expression of "What can be done in the context of developing Toronto that continues the good works represented in the report" -- historic plaques, parks, interpretive educational programs, walking tours, publications, easements for significant sites, reproduction construction, stage production and public art...

Just as computers do useful things for people, so too can our heritage resources -- if we take the time to understand and interpret our heritage. To some extent, "History" is synonymous with "Experience".  We've all heard the phrase, "learn from experience".  For example, engineers learn how to avoid mistakes in structures by gathering, categorizing and analyzing data associated with failures in the past.

One of our challenges is to find other effective ways to make our heritage "useful". We can't just point to it -- we must do something with it to make our world a better "Place" to live. 

Please join us for our Walking Tour to Passage.

From The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #5


Jeremiah Annis

Another of Scarboro's oldest and best esteemed residents passed away early Monday morning [October, 1902]. The well-known farmer and Justice of the Peace, Jerry Annis, died at the old homestead... Mr. Annis, who was in his 81st year, was born in Scarboro, where his father settled in 1793. He grew up with the country, and witnessed with patriotic pride its steady progress from the unbroken forest to present prosperity. He was honored by the confidence of his neighbors and a place at the Council Board during several years. The Ministers of the [Washington] Methodist Church, to which he belonged, always regarded his house as their home; and the Liberal party owe him a large debt of gratitude for the part he took in its early struggles in the County.

From the Fanny Annis Scrapbook as cited in
The Scarboro Heights Record V1 #4

PS: The old Jeremiah Annis home is now the "Olde Stone Cottage".


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