We went on this walk because we wanted to learn about Toronto in the Victorian Era.
It was a large group at the beginning but by the end there were only 8 of us because the walk finished a little late.
We started out at Queen's Park.
At Queen's Park they talked about the Typographical Workers (Newspaper Workers) strike in 1872. They wanted a 9 hour work day instead of the really long days that they had. When they went on strike, the newspapers stopped printing. Then they had a march which started with 2,000 people. But by the time they got to Queens Park they had 10,000!
George Brown had 24 people from the march arrested the next day. It was illegal to have 12 or more people at a gathering.
John A. MacDonald passed a bill that made unions legal and had the 24 people set free.
The workers won the right to have 9 hour work days.
At King's College they talked about the Student Strikes at University of Toronto in 1895. The students were upset because an event they organized was cancelled and a popular professor was fired. The students didn't go to class until the government agreed to investigate. At the end of the strike there was a 'conversazione' where dancing was banned. The students decided to dance anyway and they danced in whichever room the President of the University wasn't in.
William Lyon MacKenzie King was involved in the strike and he made political contacts. It helped him get into politics. He became Prime Minister in 1921.
At George Brown House they talked about abolitionists. George Brown wrote articles in the Globe newspaper about slavery in the United States. He helped slaves escape to Canada. The case of John Anderson was very important. The Americans wanted John Anderson to go back to the U.S. but when he was arrested in Canada, Britain tried to intervene. After that, Britain didn't try to intervene in court cases in the British Empire any more.
At the Grange they talked about the Orange Order. They were very influential. They were from Ireland. The person who built the Grange, William Henry Boulton, was an Orangeman.
In 1841 there was a parade to celebrate the election of a couple members of parliament who were not Orangemen. There were shots fired and some bagpipers were attacked. Shots were fired from a pub that Orangemen went to and someone in the parade was killed. People thought that the Mayor and other Orangemen knew there would be trouble.
They were also involved in the Jubilee Riots of 1875. The Catholics were being attacked on their journeys between churches. The mayor asked them to stop attacking the Catholics and he apologized to them that he couldn't legally stop the Catholics from doing their processions.
At Campbell House, they talked about the Family Compact. It was criticized in William Lyon Mackenzie's Newspaper a lot. The sons and nephews of the Family Compact members broke into Mackenzie's print shop and they destroyed his printing plates. Officials watched when this was happening.
Judge Campbell, who was a member of the Family Compact, sided with Mackenzie and awarded damages of £600. He was able to restart his newspaper. Before the men did that to Mackenzie, he was facing debtor's prison! But after he was able to stay in business.
(By the way, William Lyon Mackenzie King - the Prime Minister was the grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie - Toronto's First Mayor)
I talk about Mackenzie House in another blog post.