Howard Memorial Gates 100 Year Anniversary

You are invited! On Sunday March 23, 2014 a celebration will be held for the anniversary of the Howard Park Gates. Colborne Lodge staff are co-hosting the event with Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette.  The formal activities will be based on the March 19, 1914 opening.  At 2 p.m. a parade of dignitaries and groups representing those in attendance in 1914 will march along Deer Pen Road towards the stage set up in front of the Howard Memorial Gates.  After the stage ceremony, refreshments will be served in a tent in front of the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground.

A number of High Park-based groups, including; the High Park Nature Centre; the Children’s Garden and Training Kitchen; Park Watch; and the High Park Walking Tour Group are also providing programming prior to the event.  Community groups including the Horticultural Society of Toronto and Parkdale; local Scout troops; the Swansea and Runnymede Village Historical Societies; and High Park and Runnymede branches of the Toronto Public Library are involved in the event as well.

On March 19, 1914, the gates were opened to great fanfare.  Among the attendees were the Governor General, Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and his wife, Princess Louise Margaret, the Duchess of Connaught; Mayor Horatio Clarence Hocken and his wife; Sir Henry M. Pellatt of Casa Loma; and a number of members of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire.  The Westminster Chapter of the I.O.D.E fundraised half of the $4,500 cost of building the gates and City Council provided the matching funds.

The March 20, 1914 editions of the The Mail and The World newspapers covered the event.  “High Park Boulevard, at the foot of which the gates stand, presented a gay appearance.  From every residence floated flags and streamers, while near the gates the Royal Standard was flying from a staff erected for the occasion.” “The Boy Scouts, headed by Highland pipers, were drawn up in line.  The Duke arrived shortly before 4 o’clock, and as he walked from this motor to the platform the 48th Highlanders’ Band struck up “God Save the King.”  “At the moment of unveiling the band struck up “Rule Britannia,” and afterward the Boy Scout Stanbury sang “O Canada”.

Cheryl Hart, museum co-ordinator at Colborne Lodge

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