Early Settlers -
Remains of York/Toronto's Early Settlers Moved to the Necropolis
Plaque located at: 200 Winchester Street, Toronto, ON M4X 1B8, Canada
Potter’s Field was a six-acre plot in what is now the Yorkville district of Toronto, and was the first non-sectarian burying ground in the Town of York. People in the mid-nineteenth century didn’t want a cemetery in the middle of their village, believing that “germs and disease” came from cemeteries.
The most common causes of death at that time were fever and childbirth. So, Potter’s Field was closed, and the remains of 984 of the 6,685 early settlers buried there were moved to their final resting place in the Necropolis. Some bodies were also moved to Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Only those bodies with head stones were moved.
The Necropolis (Greek for City of the Dead) was situated on the west slope of the Don Valley between Winchester and Amelia Streets. Although Winchester Street was one of the main crossing points across the Don River, there were only a few houses in the area and a hotel (the infamous Donvale House) located part way down the hill towards the bridge connecting Cabbagetown to, what is now, Riverdale.
Between 1851 and 1881 the remains of these early settlers were re-interred in a section of the cemetery designated, “The Resting Place of Pioneers”.