Lieutenant Francis Gwillim Simcoe 1791 - 1812

First Private Owner of Land in Cabbagetown

Plaque located at: Riverdale Park, Winchester Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

Francis Simcoe was the eldest son of John Graves Simcoe and Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe. John was the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. Elizabeth drew sketches and painted watercolours as well as 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’ 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’ 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.

Francis' mother, Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe

Francis’ mother, Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe

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 Regiment. Francis Simcoe died at the age of twenty-one while leading a storming party under the command of the Duke of Wellington, during the Siege of Badajoz, Spain (one of the great Napoleonic Battles).


Castle Frank. Watercolour by Elizabeth Simcoe

Castle Frank. Watercolour by Elizabeth Simcoe, Archives of Ontario

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