This is the third and final episode, in which I speculate wildly on the reasons for the animosity between Toronto bookseller Magnus Shewan and his niece Margaret Fraser. If you’re new to the story, it will all make more sense if you read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
In the last episode, we read
Continue reading The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The will in the way”, part three
Sometimes it is what is left out of a will—intentionally or not—that provides the intriguing story.
Magnus Shewan was a Toronto bookseller who operated a shop in the arcade of St. Lawrence Market from about 1845, and from about 1862, on King Street. At the time of his death on February 4, 1884, the bookstore
Continue reading The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The Will in the Way”
Whenever you’re doing urban research, particularly in North America, city directories should be a first stop.
For Toronto, the first directory was published in 1833—a year before the Town of York even became the City of Toronto. Over the next 25 years, five more directories were issued by various publishers. Directories were commercial ventures and
Continue reading Toronto ancestors? Check the city directories.
The invasion is over! Well, it was a small invasion—ten Genealogy Summer Campers and their camp leaders visited archives and libraries all across Toronto last week.
Genealogy Summer Camp started on Sunday, August 12, with a picnic supper in the peaceful quad of the University of Toronto’s Massey College. We met the campers, who came
Continue reading Genealogy Summer Camp 2012 rides into the sunset
Capturing images of original documents at a library or archives has never been easier. There are so many choices of technology it is tough to keep up—for both researchers and the library and archives staff who make policies about their use.*
Next week, I’ll be leading Genealogy Summer Camp participants to archives and libraries around
Continue reading Using cameras and scanners at archives and libraries in Toronto
A life-size portrait of the undoubtedly charismatic Mayor Angus Morrison, painted by John Colin Forbes, greats visitors to the art vault. (City of Toronto Art Collection 01-02-01-02-00-A75-15)
On Saturday, May 26, 2012, as part of Doors Open Toronto, I got a peek inside the fine art vault containing a portion of the
Continue reading Toronto’s Cultural Services collects art and artifacts
Charles Ashworth Pipon was not a politician or a celebrity, but the circumstances of his death and funeral were major news events in his hometown of Toronto in the summer of 1906.
Right, the modest stone of Charles Pipon in St. James Cemetery, Toronto. The granite that should top the marker is buried beside
Continue reading The Unfortunate Mr. Pipon
I’ve spent several hours this week—and endless hours over the years—perusing items from the manuscript collection in the Toronto Reference Library’s Baldwin Room. This week, my explorations have been in preparation for a hands-on class I’m teaching there. Rather than chasing a specific fact, my aim has been for variety in subjects and time periods,
Continue reading Baldwin Room manuscripts: breathtaking and heartbreaking
Ad for the Savarin, Friday March 10, 1944, Toronto Star
Sunday’s lunch and the distinctive fragrance of sweet peppers and tomatoes took my mother back some 68 years to another Spanish omelet in 1944. The setting was the Savarin restaurant in Toronto, and she was dining with her fiancé, my dad. There were some
Continue reading The scent of a Spanish omelet
You never know what you might find in the records of the dry-sounding “Department of the Provincial Secretary”at the Archives of Ontario. The Department was an all-encompassing, catch-all arm of the Ontario government from which other departments “hatched” when they were needed.
Motor vehicle license 48, Archives of Ontario RG 14-48, MS 261
Continue reading Runabout, Phaeton or Touring Car?