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Mackenzie House

On May 4th I went on Jane's Walk: Conflict and Change in 19th Century Toronto. We finished our walk at Mackenzie House.

At Mackenzie House we talked about the Rebellion in Toronto in 1837. It was led by William Lyon Mackenzie who was the first Mayor of Toronto. (The Town of York became the city of Toronto in 1834.)

Mackenzie would use his newspaper to criticize the Family Compact. The Family Compact was a small group of rich men who were very influential and used their positions for their own benefit.

The people who were elected didn't really have any power. There was a small group of appointed people who vetoed all of the bills that were passed by the elected legislature. Before the rebellion there were 325 bills that were vetoed!

Mackenzie wanted more responsible government. Mackenzie felt that an armed rebellion was the only way to change things. He was joined by Samuel Lount, David Gibson, Peter Matthews and others.

The Lieutenant Governor sent most of the professional British soldiers to Quebec to help with the Papineau Rebellion. Mackenzie saw a chance to overthrow the government. But it was poorly organized and they changed the date so a lot of people didn't show up because they didn't know when it was taking place. The rebellion happened on December 5th.

They lost to the Loyalist Militia. The rebels were tried and found guilty. Mackenzie escaped to the United States and Peter Matthews and Samuel Lount were hanged.
Mackenzie was a wanted man!

Mackenzie moved back to Toronto in 1850 after he was pardoned for his involvement in the rebellion.

I went on a tour of Mackenzie House on May 8th.

This is a picture of a relief outside of Mackenzie house of Mackenzie presenting the Seventh Report to the Legislature in 1835.

They have gas lamps in the style that would have been used in the 1800s.

This arch is original to the house. I liked the corbels with the faces.

The Mackenzies had a piano in the parlour. Their children would most likely have learnt how to play.

This game table is interesting.

It opens up to reveal storage space!

Here is a picture of the parlour stove that would have been used for heating.

Upstairs, this is the bedroom that the daughters would have shared.

In the master bedroom there were these two containers that have a nice design on them.

In the kitchen downstairs they had a coal stove.

This is a picture of a washbasin that would have been used for laundry.

I found these bottles most interesting of all!
  • Saleratus is Baking Soda.
  • Isinglass was used in desserts like fruit jelly before gelatin became cheaper.
  • Pearlash was used in making soaps

They had Jamaica Pepper (or allspice) and curry was very popular in the Victorian times.

Here is a picture of the gasolier in the kitchen downstairs.

After the tour of the House, we went to the Historic Printing shop where Mark showed us around.
We got to make a print while we were there.

Here is a case of upper and lower case letters.

I put the letters of my name in the composing stick. The letters had to be upside down and left to right.

Mark put my name into a plate which would have been used for a book. He inked the plate and put a paper down.
And then, I got to use the printer!

Here's what it looked like when we were done.

(Sorry that this blog post took so long for me to write but I was learning a lot about Toronto's history and I wanted to really understand before I wrote it. I confused my parents with asking them all sorts of questions about meanings of words like veto and amnesty and asking questions like 'what's the difference between a gasolier and a chandelier?')

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