Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
2004 - Now in our 13th Year - 2017
To see what's new on this site, you can visit the Home Page
Looking at this page on a smartphone?
For best viewing, hold your phone in Landscape mode (Horizontal)
132 Front Street East
Photos by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted October, 2011
On the wall just inside a coffee shop, at the NW corner of Front and Frederick streets, is this 2008 Bruce Bell History Project plaque. This is what it says:
This Starbucks is located on one of the most famous corners in Canadian history. It's where the old way of doing things changed forever and the idea of a Canada run by its people was born. Three very distinct families lived in the little house that once stood on this site at different times between its construction in 1803 until its demise in 1855.
1) Robert Baldwin was born on May 12, 1804, in a log cabin that at one time stood here on the SW corner of Front and Frederick Streets. Robert Baldwin first introduced the concept of Responsible Government in Parliament in 1848 which lead to the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Today an historic plaque on the exterior next to the entrance of Starbucks commemorates this site.
2) In 1824 William Lyon Mackenzie moved into the house here at Front and Frederick Streets and began publication of a newspaper, The Colonial Advocate. In one particular article published in June 1826, Mackenzie, hell-bent on attacking members of the upper-class, the so-called Family Compact, published their scandalous private comings and goings and the ensuing uprising it caused - the so-called Types Riot - is remembered today in a plaque on the Frederick Street side of the condo that now stands there. William Lyon Mackenzie was elected Toronto's first mayor when the Town of York was incorporated into a city and renamed Toronto in 1834.
3) The next influential family to move here was the Cawthra family in 1828 who would later make their fortune in apothecary (pharmaceuticals). The Cawthras became the undisputed leaders of high society, marrying into other well-heeled families of 19th century Toronto. When William Cawthra died in 1880 and left no children to inherit the vast fortune, it was divided up among the many nieces and nephews. One of his nephews, Cawthra Mulock, who at the age of 21 inherited 8 million dollars, went on to build the still-standing Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1907.
Note: Your email address will be posted at the end of your comment so others can respond to you unless you request otherwise.
Note: Comments are moderated. Yours will appear on this page within 24 hours (usually much sooner).
Note: As soon as I have posted your comment, a reply to your email will be sent informing you.
To send me your comment, click email@example.com.
Alan L Brown
Note: If you wish to send me a personal email, click here.