History Repeats Itself...
After years of study by city landuse and transportation planners, there will finally be some streetscape changes to the Scarborough portion of one of the most historic roads in all of Ontario, "The Kingston Road".
Historically, Kingston Road was the "gateway" to Toronto. In about 1800, the Annis brothers, the Cornells and other Scarboro Heights pioneers blazed a winding trail through the bush, connecting with small settlements to the east. Throughout the 19th century, hotels (and their associated taverns) were numerous along the entire route -- Jonathan Gates' and John Muir's being among the best-known. At the turn of the century, the radial line took city folk out to the "country parks" in Scarborough -- and the rural curlers could go the other direction for their bonspiels in the city. By the 30's the market gardeners of West Hill were using Kingston Road -- and small trucks -- to take their produce into the city, as the earlier farmers had done on their spring wagons. By the second war, motels began to complement the collections of travellers' cabins, all doing a lively business, particularly during "The Ex".
But then the 401 came along. "For Downtown, Use Don Valley Parkway" the sign said. For the past five decades Kingston Road hasn't been the "Gateway" to the city that it had once been. But perhaps that will change again under the new planning provisions. It is expected that sections of Kingston Road might soon look more like a Parisian Avenue, with a grassy median and park benches.
Not everyone will be happy with the changes -- greater population density and, probably, greater flow of traffic. But perhaps Kingston Road will return to it's glory days as the Gateway to the City.
If you are interested in following the route of the original "winding trail" of 1800, please join us on our Sept. 20 "Pioneers' Kingston Road Historic Walk".
Kingston Road, 1913
The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #7
Setting Legal Precedent
Pherrill v. Scarboro
This was an action brought by the plaintiff, Tilmoth Pherrill, against the municipality of the Township of Scarboro for damages sustained through the plaintiff having been upset from his sleigh on Feb. 18, 1901. The road west of the Halfway House was blocked with snow and a slide had formed at the bottom of the drift. When the sleigh struck it, it slewed over with such rapidity that the plaintiff had no warning of what was going to happen. The Township Council defended the action, on the ground that they were not bound to shovel the road out or look after dangerous spots like this caused by snowdrifts. Ever since the toll gates have been taken off, the Councillors have treated the Kingston Road as if the road was in a backwoods township and treated the ratepayers and residents as if they had no right to drive out from their houses during the winter months.
The case came on for trial before His Honor Judge Morgan and he held that the Township of Scarboro was liable. The Township appealed to the Divisional Court. They dismissed the appeal with costs and sustained the judgement of His Honor Judge Morgan, allowing the plaintiff $150.00 and costs of the action.
This settles the law that municipal councillors have certain duties to perform to endeavour to keep a highway such as the Kingston Road open, and in a state so that any person may drive over it with a reasonable degree of safety. G. F. Shepley, K. C., and J. Baird, for plaintiff and W. Proudfoot and W. H. Grant for defendant.
Newsclipping in the Fanny Annis Pherrill Scrapbook
The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #2
Kingston Road Study
On April 19 1994 I attended an informal introductory session of the "Kingston Road Study". This planning study of a section of one of Ontario's most historic roads, between Brimley and Livingston, is being conducted by the City Planning Department -- in consultation with you. This is a unique opportunity -- and a novel approach in the history of Scarborough landuse planning. As Bruce pointed out at the meeting, these fertile farms were subdivided 40 years ago with relatively little "planning" at all -- get rid of the houses and trees, put in the roads (as straight and predictable as possible, if you please) and bury the water main. It is a tribute to you, the residents, that your community between Brimley and Bellamy is more attractive now than at any time in the last forty years.
Perhaps you've heard of the "Main Street, Small Town" programs in other centres in Ontario. Well, Kingston Road is "Main Street" in Scarboro Heights. What do you want your "Main Street" to look like? Should, indeed, we give Scarboro Heights a wholesome, friendly "small town" look by making "Main Street" more inviting to cyclists, joggers, tourists & shoppers?
And remember, a vibrant small town main street will have, not only economic and commercial activity, but healthful social institutions as well. Churches, recreation facilities, service clubs and self-help groups should all have a spot to call home in your Scarboro Heights. How can we give these valuable institutions the "store front" exposure that they need -- so that they can most effectively serve you?
How about rebuilding one of those beautiful Queen Anne style farmhouses that dotted Kingston Road only 40 years ago? One of these could easily be home to 2 or 3 of our vital social institutions. And, for a park, we could re-create a colourful Scarborough Victorian garden around the replica farmhouse.
Should the Kingston Road Study focus perhaps on the fact that this is the most historic part of our City -- from the 10,000 year-old Indian village to the Annis brothers' log shanty to William Cornell's potash works? How can we use our community's past to build a better community future? What planning mistakes did we make before? To what successes can we turn for guidance?
Please recall from my Fall/93 issue that, by a wide margin, you voted in favour of an Indian Village as your choice for a wall "Mural" in Scarboro Heights -- the study team now knows about your feelings on this, so maybe now's the time to start the project! And, remember my article on Public Art Policy in the same issue? How can we take advantage of art to beautify our main street?
From economic activity to user-friendly sidewalks to public safety, I want your opinion on the future of Kingston Road. Let's start with this survey.
What would you prefer on a half acre "vacant lot" on this part of Kingston Road?
Please register your vote with me by contacting me.
From The Scarboro Heights Record V2 #3