Daniel Lamb 1842 - 1920

Businessman, City Father, A founder of Toronto’s First Zoo

Plaque located at: 156 Winchester Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

Daniel Lamb was the son of Peter Rothwell Lamb, founder, in 1848, of Lamb’s Blacking and Glue Manufactory, a local tannery and glue and stove black factory, which made leather, blacking in cakes and tin boxes, neatsfoot oil (made from cattle), paste black, and ground bone for manure. In the 1860s Daniel Lamb took over his father’s factory which was located at the end of Amelia Street on what is now Wellesley Park. He owned a number of workers’ cottages in the area that were rented to some of the employees. Many of the bricks from the original factory were used to build the Hillcrest Park houses.

Daniel Lamb entered politics a few years before fire destroyed the buildings of the Lamb’s Blacking and Glue Manufacturing in 1888. He served two terms as alderman, until his retirement from public office in 1902.


Elephant at the Riverdale Zoo. Note the Necropolis monuments in the background
City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 524

Daniel Lamb donated additional land to Riverdale Park and in 1894 became founder of the Riverdale Zoo, which quickly developed an excellent reputation for the quality and range of its international wildlife. Daniel Lamb inspired friends and eminent citizens to donate animals or money to extend the collection, which started with only a few deer and two wolves. He was also responsible for many civic engineering innovations, including the Rosedale Valley Road and the first public water works on the Toronto Islands, which continue to function to this day. He was also instrumental in providing the main railway routes from the east end, and returning Ashbridge’s Bay to a suitable condition for use.

Daniel Lamb was President of the York Pioneer Society in 1896.

The Lamb family has a monument located in the Necropolis which can be seen from the east windows of the Lamb original home on Winchester Street.  Peter R. Lamb is buried in an unmarked grave in the Necropolis about a hundred yards from the family monument while Daniel Lamb is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Party at the Lamb’s


Wedding at the Lamb’s House in the 1890s

The Lamb House today

The city dredge Daniel Lamb was used to deepen the harbour clogged by silt carried down by the Don and Humber rivers. Toronto Archives,

Fonds 200, Series 376, File 5, Item 47

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