Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

West End


History of Earlscourt

The Earlscourt neighbourhood was settled in 1906 by labourers from the British Isles. In addition to their work at the local factories, Earlscourt families would toil day and night building meagre tar and paper shacks, as temporary homes until enough money was saved to build a proper brick house.

The spiritual leader of the Earlscourt community during these difficult times was the Reverend Peter Bryce. Each night, Bryce would trek through Earlscourt's muddy streets, aided only by a lantern and a pair of high boots. His visits were said to have offered hope and inspiration to many families.

The quality of life in Earlscourt began to improve once it was annexed by the City of Toronto, in 1910.

Ed Note: During World War I, Earlscourt's enlistment rate per capita was among the highest in the British Empire. This wave of patriotism prompted the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) to visit the Veterans' section of Prospect Cemetery in 1919. The Prince of Wales planted a Silver Maple tree which is still standing and from whose seeds a great number of Prospect Cemetery's majestic maples have been propagated.


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