Toronto Harbour-The Passing Years

Toronto Harbour-The Passing Years

Toronto Harbour – The Passing Years, A Sesquicentennial Project

  • Created by: Toronto Harbour Commission
  • Date: 1985
  • Provenance: Scanned by Ted English; PDF by Eric Zhelka
  • Notes: Includes an extensive text and photo summary of Toronto Harbour and Island History and development.
    The last page recounts the sinking of the QCYC’s boathouse (1920).

Mary Ann Hanlan – Obituary

Mary Ann Hanlan – Obituary

Mary Ann Hanlan – Obituary (1939)
Provenance: From the collection of Ted English
Digitized by: Ted English
Document: Newspaper. From an original copy of the article from
the Globe and Mail
Date of Document: 08-19-1939

Mary Ann Hanlan - Obituary (1939)

Miss Mary Hanlan Dies Severing Island Link
Miss Mary Ann Hanlan, sister of Ned Hanlan, one-time world champion oarsman, died yesterday in a Toronto nursing home, in her ninety-sixth year. The Hanlan family as pioneers settled on Hanlan’s Point, Toronto Island.
Miss Hanlan was born at Kingston, the daughter of John and Mary Ann Gibbs Hanlan. When she was 12, her father, a shipbuilder, received a commission to repair a schooner at Toronto. Accompanied by his wife and two daughters, John Hanlan sailed to Toronto in his own boat, which for some time provided living quarters.
During a gale one night the Hanlan boat slipped its moorings at Cherry Street and drifted across the bay to a sandy point on the Island. The site appealed to the shipbuilder and his family and they settled there permanently.
Ned Hanlan and his brother John were born shortly after. When John was 4 years old their mother died, and it became Miss Hanlan’s task to care for the two brothers and the sister, Emily, who eventually became the mother of Eddie Durnan, the famous sculler.
Although more than thirty years ago Miss Hanlan moved to the mainland, living for many years on Huron Street, she never lost her interest in the old homestead at Hanlan’s Point. The trees which today give shade and beauty to Hanlan’s Point were like old friends. Miss Hanlan, her sister and her two brothers planted in the sand many of the seedlings which later became stalwart trees.
Until stricken with illness two years ago Miss Hanlan had been an active church worker, and for many years was a member of Queen Street United Church. She was also an ardent supporter of the W.C.T.U.

Lawrence Solman, Canada’s Uncrowned Amusement King

Lawrence Solman, Canada’s Uncrowned Amusement King

From: The Toronto Star Weekly, November 18, 1926


◊ Profile of the remarkable Toronto-born entrepreneur Lawrence “Lol” Solman (1866-1931), who was managing director of the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Sunnyside Amusement Park, Hanlan’s Hotel, Hanlan’s Point Amusement Park and the Mutual Street Arena in Toronto; owner of the Toronto Ferry Company and the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club; and vice-president of Loews Canadian theatres. Born Jewish, he married Emily Hanlan, sister of rower Ned Hanlan, and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.

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Bill Durnan, Fixture on the Islands

Bill Durnan, Fixture on the Islands
Fixture on the Toronto Islands – William Arthur “Bill” Durnan
  • Created by:  Toronto Star
  • By-line:  Ashante Infantry
  • Date:  2003-06-02
  • Provenance:  From the collection of Ted English, digitized by Eric Zhelka
  • Notes:  Obituary

Bill Durnan, 87, Fixture on the Islands
Born, Lived, and Worked There
Last of 4 Islands Generation
Ashante Infantry, Obituary Writer

In retrospect, one’s childhood often seems idyllic. Bill Durnan recalled his as utopian.
He was born on Hanlan’s Point into an Irish family that was among the earliest settlers of the Toronto Islands.
When he was growing up — prior to World War II and the development of the island airport — people flocked to the 10,000-seat Hanlan’s Point Stadium, where baseball Keep reading →

H. James Jim Watt

H. James Jim Watt
H. James ‘Jim’ Watt of Watt’s Coffee Shop
  • Created by: Globe and Mail
  • Date: 2001-11-12
  • Provenance: From the collection of Ted English, digitized by Eric Zhelka
  • Notes: Obituary

H. James Watt Haematologist, oncologist, father, sailor. Born Oct. 24, 1950, in Toronto. Died Sept. 4 in Tuscany, Italy, of cardiac arrest, aged 70.
My sister Martha says that my father wanted to be a physician from the age of 4. I once asked him if he had ever wanted to be anything else and he said, No, I like what I’m doing, and besides I’m good at it. And he was right. Dr. H. James Watt grew up on Toronto Island and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse where he accelerated twice. His parents were of Scottish/English ancestry and owned Watt’s Coffee Shop on Centre Island. Little Jimmy, as he was known, grew up peeling potatoes while his mother Dolly baked as many as 30 pies on a summer’s morning. As a teenager, Jim Watt was a member of the Island Canoe Club and began paddling competitively, finally winning the Canadian Championships in 1947. He started at Jarvis Collegiate at 11, small and terrified, but by graduation had won 1 the 1947 Optimus Jim Watt Trophy. He also won a scholarship for medical school which he entered at the unprecedented age of 16. In 1953, he opened his first practice on Toronto Island making house calls on a bicycle, charging $2 a visit. When times were tough, his patients paid him with eggs and chickens. His career at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto began in December, 1958. At 28, he was the youngest specialist on staff, specializing in both oncology and hematology. He also founded the oncology/hematology department at the health centre. During his 43-year career, Dr. H. James Watt served as Chief of Staff for six years, Chief of Medicine for 10, and was also an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto from 1978 until his death. I always thought of my father as a doctor of the old school. He had a healing touch. He was kind and compassionate and lent an ear to all who were ill or in trouble. At the dinner table, he loved to discuss bone marrow transplants. He hated suffering, no doubt from having lost his own father at an early age. He rarely lost his temper, but he would become furious if the nurses had refused to give a dying patient morphine. My mother told me that he used to cry whenever his patients died.
For a man who faced death every day, he managed to cheat death more than once. He began having trouble with heart disease in the 1950s, culminating in an extensive bypass operation 18 months ago. He was not without faults, my father. He was impatient and forgetful. He was messier than a small child and way too fond of Scotch. But he loved people and had a great sense of fun. Summers he floated down the Credit River in a tube with his buddies. As an adult, he became a member of the RCYC and crewed on the Bristol Fashion. He travelled the world and Snapped a million badly focused photos. He took adversity in stride. When he was no longer able to sail, he bought a small motorized sail-boat and started the second RCYC, the “remote controlled yacht club,” with his friend George Stein.
He was married twice, initially to Janet Newman and, after her death, to Audrey Walsh. He leaves behind four children: Kelly Watt, Martha Watson, Andrew Watt, Cameron Watt, and grandson Robbie Watson.
He wanted to go out with fanfare and so, at the scattering of his ashes on Sept. 18, there was a New Orleans-style funeral procession (complete with jazz band) and a flock of white doves were set free into a blue sky. One week earlier, a memorial had been held for him at the hospital. A woman named Joyce got up to say how she had been diagnosed with cancer several years before, and, being a new arrival to Canada, did not have a health card nor the $28,000 for her treatment. My father treated her for free and saved her life. I have always adored my father but have never been more proud of him than I was in that moment. We will miss him always.
Kelly Watt is James Watt’s eldest daughter.