|Lieutenant Francis Gwillim Simcoe
First Owner of Land in Cabbagetown
Plaque location: SW corner of Riverdale Park
at Carlton and Sumach Streets
Francis Simcoe was the eldest son of John Graves Simcoe and Elizabeth Gwillim. His father was the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. His mother painted watercolour sketches and wrote detailed diaries.
Francis was a year old in 1792 when the family came to Newark, now known as Niagara-on-the-Lake.
In 1793 they moved to York, later to be named Toronto. Francis’s father selected a 200-acre lot for his son was well-located on a height of land and looking down upon the Don River. By law, a home had to be built in order to secure Francis’s title to the land. This was done, the home was called “Castle Frank,” and Francis became the first private owner of these lands, which encompass present day Cabbagetown and surroundings.
Letters written by his mother, sisters, and by Francis himself tell about his childhood at Eton, in London England.
At sixteen, he was an ensign on the 27th Inniskilling Regime. Francis Simcoe died at the age of twenty-one while leading a storming party under the command of the Duke of Wellington, in the Trinidad Breach at Badajoz, Spain.