Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
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Photos by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted October, 2012
In front of this 223-year-old (as of 2017) house at Exhibition Place can be seen this 2012 Heritage Toronto / York Pioneer and Historical Society plaque. (A sign near the door mentions that the house is open during the CNE from 12 noon to 7 pm daily; other times as announced.) Here's what the plaque says:
Coordinates: 43.630709 -79.423996
This log cabin, Toronto's oldest known surviving house, was constructed for John Scadding in 1794 during the first years of British settlement. Scadding was a government clerk and close friend of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe. The cabin stood on the west side of the Don River on a 102 ha land grant that stretched north from Lake Ontario to present-day Danforth Avenue. Scadding lived there until he went back to England with the Simcoes in 1796.
When Scadding returned to York in 1818, he sold the cabin and its property to farmer William Smith, who used the cabin as an outbuilding. In 1879, the Smith family offered the cabin to the 10-year-old York Pioneers Association; Scadding's son Henry, a prominent Toronto historian, was a founding member.
In the summer of 1879, in an early act of Toronto heritage preservation, the York Pioneers dismantled the cabin and reassembled it at this location for the inaugural Toronto Industrial Exhibition, now the Canadian National Exhibition.
> Posted August 5, 2012
Does anyone know where I would be able to find out information about the Smith family who originally bought the cabin from Mr. Scadding? I believe there is a good possibility that this may be someone in my family and I would like to know where I could find the names of the Smith family who actually lived there before it was eventually donated to the York Pioneers by Mr. William Smith. Is any of this on file anywhere that anyone would be aware of? Thanks for your assistance!
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