Monday, 25 May 2009

St John’s Ward—Chapter Two

St John’s extended from Yonge Street west to what is now called University Avenue (then Park Lane), and from Queen St West north to Bloor Street West. The population in total was 8102 and covered 1604 schedules or census entry forms. It was divided into seven divisions, each of which had an enumerator, if not a team of enumerators.

Only one enumerator’s name is retained on the microfilm for each division and there are no descriptions outlining the division borders. Did he work alone or as the head of a team? There is no evidence on the film one way or the other.

The “doorstep” part of his job might have been outlined as dropping off the census schedules and collecting them again a few days later, but the enumerator would also have had to come to the aid of those who could not write, and to the assistance of the government in persuading everyone to fill in the form, including those who did not understand why a census should impinge on their privacy.

Once the schedules were collected they had to be numbered and each one had to have the division and ward written along the top and the street written along the side. That must have been boring. Enumerators sometimes lost track in numbering and two of the divisions lacked their street descriptions. It took careful comparison of a list of the streets gleaned from all the schedules with a map of the time to work out just where those two divisions were.

Division One started in the southwest corner. The first street was Park Lane. Before Mitchell’s Directory of 1864 was compiled it had been renamed University Street, the eastern side of today’s University Avenue. There were no private addresses on Queen Street West, so the division must have been the two-block wide area that extends north from Osgoode Hall. The most northern street mentioned on the schedules was Edward Street.

Division Two lacked street descriptions, except for one or two places where an inhabitant had actually written down his address. From these and since there was no reference to Elizabeth Street in Division One, I came to the conclusion that this area must have had Elizabeth Street as its backbone.

Division Three continued from Terauley (present-day Bay Street) to Yonge, starting at Queen and going north to Agnes (Dundas)—the area covered by the Eaton Centre today.

I thought I was halfway through as I reached the end of Division Three, but it wasn’t followed by Four, but by Division 3-1/2 with about 200 schedules in it! It turned out to go straight across the ward from Yonge to Park Lane covering the area north of Agnes up to Elm Street. It must have been set up at the last minute, perhaps because the enumerators rebelled at the size of their territory. Perhaps the original plan was for the first three divisons to have their northern boundaries at Elm Street.

Division Four was the second unnamed section which had to be identified by a process of elimination.

Division Five was located north of Gerrard and south of College and included Yonge and Terauley addresses, but nothing further west. After identifying this area it was quite easy to establish that Division Four was west of it, streching from Terauley to Park Lane and Elm to College.

Division Six was the area north of College Street (then known as College Avenue) containing only 85 houses. I found a map with the western boundary north of College denoted as Surrey Place, a street stretching from College to Bloor. I don’t think this street was ever laid out to its full length. Today it is two blocks long and is just west of Women’s College Hospital. Wellesley Street west of Yonge was only a lane. North of Wellesley, St Michael’s College was still a seminary with no entries in the Ward enumeration. It will probably be found within the file “institutions”. Victoria College had not yet arrived in Toronto from "the old Ontario Strand".

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