John Ross Robertson 1841 - 1918
Newspaper publisher, politician, historian, and philanthropist
Text from plaque in front of his Sherbourne Street house:
“Publisher and philanthropist, John Ross Robertson lived in this house, 1881-1918. He was born in Toronto and while at Upper Canada College he started The College Times, the first school newspaper in Canada. He became city editor of The Globe in 1865 and the following year, with James B. Cook, established The Daily Telegraph, published until 1872. Four years later Robertson founded The Evening Telegram which quickly became one of Toronto’s leading newspapers. Financial success enabled him to make substantial contributions to the building and operation of the Hospital for Sick Children and to gratify his life-long interest in history. He assembled an invaluable historical and pictorial collection and published such notable works as Landmarks of Toronto and History of Freemasonry in Canada”.
Another strong Cabbagetown association is the fact that it is Robertson who discovered Elizabeth Simcoe‘s watercolours at the British Museum. He also edited her diaries and had them published in 1911. Simcoe’s diaries and watercolours afford us an invaluable glimpse into the early days of Upper Canada (the 1790s). Elizabeth Simcoe was the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. The Simcoes lived in Fort York but had built a summer home overlooking the Don Valley that they called Castle Frank.