Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last month a plaque highlighting the life of James Beaty was placed on the wall behind his statue. Visitors and passers-by will now have an opportunity to contemplate the achievements of a man who contributed much to early Toronto.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

James Beaty Statue Takes Shape

Watch the video above and see James Beaty's statue take shape. (Search "James Beaty" to follow it on YouTube.) Now, at the end of June a full-size clay model of the statue is complete. The next stage—now underway and shown in the last part of the video—is to make a rubber mold for the foundry, where the bronze statue will be finished.

In the beginning Adrienne Alison, a well-known Toronto sculptor commissioned for the project, started with some rough sketches. From these she moved on to the construction of two clay figures, called maquettes. The maquettes are about a foot in height. "I like to work in three dimensions," she said.

When they were finished Adrienne invited the client to choose the maquette he liked best. Next she made a larger replica about two to three times the size of the clay original. "A larger figure reveals details not evident in the smaller maquette, such as the way the clothing fits."

Using the blowup as a guide, Adrienne began work on a full-size model. Layers of builders' foam were assembled around a metal armature, which is a skeleton-like structure made of adjustable pipes. After the styrofoam had been built up Adrienne proceeded to shape it with knives and small saws. Finally a layer of wax was applied to the sculpted body. The purpose of the wax is to provide a binding surface to hold the clay that will be applied next. As the clay is applied it will be sculpted to match the exact shape and texture of the eventual seven-foot bronze statue.

The process of copying the clay-covered model to the final bronze one is both complex and ingenious.

The first step will be to make a rubber mold from the model. In the bronze casting business the rubber mold is called the "mother". Next, the foundry hired to cast the bronze statue will construct a wax form on the inside, or "negative", of the rubber mold. After the "mother" has been detached, the wax form will then be invested with a sand and silica composite. Sections of the impregnated wax form will then be cut away, the wax melted out and the hollow area between the layers of sand and silica composite filled with molten bronze. When all the sections have been completed, the parts will be welded together, the surface finished and the final patina applied resulting in the finished bronze statue of James Beaty.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Evening Telegram's Interview with James Beaty

Born 1798 in Killishandra, Ireland, James Beaty emigrated to New York at the age of seventeen where for a while he practised his trade as a shoemaker. Though he made money quickly in New York Beaty, a loyal subject of the King, preferred to live where the Monarchy still reigned and this prompted him to move to Canada, where at first he settled in Kingston. In Kingston he began to hear good things of the new settlement of Muddy York, as Toronto was then known. Sometime later, in an interview with the Evening Telegram newspaper, Beaty recalled his arrival in Toronto on Saturday March 17, 1818.

"I waited a long time for a chance to ride west, and at last the man who used to carry the mail agreed to take me in his rig. It was the month of March, but there was no snow in Kingston all that winter. A storm came on while we were on our journey, and when I reached York there was four feet of snow on the ground.

"We put up at a hotel kept by a man named Jordan, near where the market (St. Lawrence Market) now is. The Parliament of Upper Canada was sitting in an upper room of the inn at the time. I was introduced to the house as a leather merchant from New York. Toronto was then a little village (population 500) hemmed in on all sides by woods. I looked around and rather liked the place, so I concluded to open up a leather store. I rented a place and commenced business. After getting started in my shop I went back to New York and was the first man to purchase leather there for use in Toronto. Business was good in those days and as the people here wanted leather I made lots of money. I soon sold my business in New York and settled here, and here I have since remained."

169 King Street East, Site of Former Leader Newspaper

As the interview continues, Beaty affirms his strong belief in the future of Toronto and his adopted country:

"I always believed Toronto was going to be a great place, so I went into building houses on a large scale. Altogether since coming to Toronto I have had 57 houses built, so one can see I have done something to make the city what it is today. When the city council was elected in 1834 I was in New York, so did not take any part in the election; in 1835, I think, I was elected a councillor.

"What about 1837?" was asked. "Of course I was a loyalist; but mind you, I have always said we owe a great deal to William Lyon MacKenzie, who with all his faults, loved his country. I was one of those who went out as ambassadors, I suppose, when the rebels were at Montgomery's Tavern, to try and induce them to give up here when Lount and Matthews were hanged.

"You were deeply interested in public affairs in the early days, Mr. Beaty?"

"Yes. Since I first came to Toronto. Didn't you know I carried the first Orange flag through the streets here when the brethern marched on July 12. We were very few in number then. At a meeting the night before the 12th some of the members were against walking, but I stood out for the walk and the next day no one dare molest us. The Orangemen then were few in numbers, but we were backed by all the Protestants in the town. I have always thought it was a good omen for the city's success that the founders were not ashamed to carry the open Bible, with the words on their banners - The Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible. After 1837 I had something to do with nearly every movement in the city. I was one of the directors of the General Hospital and an Asylum Commissioner. I looked after the building of the Asylum, and remained in office until they commenced paying the Commissioners; I then resigned.

"I was a director of the Grand Trunk Railway, and was present at the opening of the Victoria Bridge, when the Prince of Wales gave me a silver medal. After I started the Leader and Patriot I was brought more prominently before the public, and had many a warm argument with my greatest antagonist, George Brown. He never agreed on any question, and although he used to make a great cry about 'Beaty and the York Hoods', I believe he was a great and good man. We were opponents, but I always respected him.

After Confederation I stood for the Dominion House in East Toronto and defeated Dr. Aikins, but I forgot the exact majority. I sat in Parliament until the next general election in l872, when John O'Donohue (now the senator) was put up against me. That was a hard and bitter fight, but my friends stuck with me, and I was elected by 84 majority. Then Sir John MacDonald went out of office in 1873 on the Pacific scandal issue, I retired from politics and gave my time to my papers until a cataract on my eye forced me in 1875 to give up business.

Since that time I have been doing nothing of public interest, but I am hopeful that I will be spared to see Toronto become a still greater city than it is at the present."

(Source: The Island Register

According to Wikipedia: The Toronto Telegram (previously the Toronto Evening Telegram) was a conservative, broadsheet afternoon daily newspaper published in Toronto, Canada, from 1876 to 1971.

Official Biography of James Beaty

The following text is the official biography of James Beaty, which can be found in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

BEATY, JAMES, shoemaker, politician, businessman, and office holder; b. 1798 in Killashandra (Republic of Ireland), the youngest of five sons of Robert Beaty; m. 26 Dec. 1822 in York (Toronto) Sarah Anne Armstrong (d. 1829), and they had two children; d. 5 March 1892 in Toronto.

James Beaty learned his trade in Ireland, and then emigrated to New York City about 1815. In the spring of 1818 he moved to York, where he entered into a partnership in bootmaking and shoemaking with William Armstrong. The two lived and worked in the same house, and their connections were further strengthened by Beaty’s marriage to Armstrong’s sister. In 1818 his brother John had begun to farm in Trafalgar Township, in Halton County. Later, a number of nephews, including several from John’s family, would work in Beaty’s Toronto enterprises; one, James Beaty Jr, had a distinguished legal and political career in Toronto.

Beaty, who later claimed to have carried the Orange flag in the town’s first Orange parade, took the reform side in politics, although Orangemen in Toronto were to be prominently associated with the conservatives. Reform in Toronto had, of course, its own links with Protestant Ireland, for example through the Baldwin family. Moreover, shoemakers had a strong tradition of radicalism. Beaty himself had left the Church of England for a dissenting sect, the Disciples of Christ [see James Black*]. Tories might criticize his “unpolished delivery,” but Beaty was effective in the sometimes rough debates of local politics. In 1836, when reformers regained a majority on Toronto City Council, he was elected a councilman for St Lawrence Ward, a particularly Irish district. It was he who moved that Thomas David Morrison* be mayor for the year. Equally, he played a role of some prominence in the public meeting on 10 Oct. 1836 at which the City of Toronto Political Union was established. He participated in organizing the Home District Mutual Fire Insurance Company and also the Bank of the People which had its office in a house he owned. In these ventures he came into close contact with Francis Hincks*. Beaty was important enough in boosting and perhaps, at times, financing Hincks in the 1840s to put the latter clearly in his political debt.

Beaty and Armstrong were still listed as shoemakers in the 1837 city directory, and as late as 1842 the assessment roll showed them as joint owners of their King Street location. By 1843, however, the property was in Beaty’s name, and he was listed as a leather merchant. He had always traded in leather, having had connections in New York since his time there, but now he specialized in the trade, which chiefly involved selling American leather to the shoemaking and saddlery community in and around Toronto. In addition, he speculated modestly, apparently with success, in residential real estate.

The 1840s were not good years for reformers in Toronto, but in 1846 Beaty won a seat as an alderman for St Lawrence Ward. In 1847 no fewer than 14 of the 24 members of city council were Protestant Irishmen; the majority of the Protestant Irish in Toronto, including most of those on council in the mid 1840s, were conservative. Beaty was joined on council in 1847 by another Irish reformer with whom he would be much linked, Dr Joseph Workman. In the mid winter provincial election of 1847–48, Beaty was involved in Hincks’s campaign in Oxford, and then carried the reform colours alone, unsuccessfully, in Toronto. He described himself in December as “a mechanic [who] had risen to independence by his own industry, . . . a humble citizen untrammelled by any party ties – the advocate of equal rights and equal justice to all social classes.” In line with reform policy and to his credit, he made clear that French Canadians and Roman Catholics were among those entitled to equal justice. He had already earned ministerial gratitude in October 1843 by engineering a public meeting in Toronto that supported the reform government’s decision to move the seat of government from Kingston to Montreal. With Workman, he resigned from city council in July 1849 – others had resigned in April – in a belated response to its refusal to condemn a Toronto riot against the Rebellion Losses Bill [see James Bruce*]. In November 1853, however, a mass resignation of councillors protesting council’s refusal to condemn Mayor John George Bowes* for his role in a conflict of interest scandal, the “£10,000 job” [see Sir Francis Hincks], would lead to by-elections that returned Beaty briefly to council as a supporter of Bowes.

Beaty’s impeccable reform credentials and his “bosom” friendship with Hincks (as George Brown* described it to Robert Baldwin*) placed Beaty well to benefit from the reformers’ return to power in 1847–48, despite his personal defeat. He was, for example, soon appointed to the board of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, a position he would hold for at least a decade, undoubtedly in support of Workman, who became its superintendent in 1853. More significant were the business opportunities that began to appear at the municipal level as a consequence of municipal incorporation, assessment law reform (which facilitated the raising of tax revenue), and rapid local growth. Beaty had learned much from his years on city council and its committees. Thus, in 1848 he was one of the founding directors of the Consumers’ Gas Company, which successfully challenged Toronto’s existing gas company.

In 1850, in what appeared to be a coup, he used the knowledge he had acquired on council and his ties to Hincks, now provincial inspector general, to outmanÅ“uvre the York County Council and buy from the province the three main toll-roads leading into the city. The purchase was made by a chartered company, the Toronto Roads Company, of which he was effectively the sole proprietor. In a transaction defended by the Globe, then a government newspaper, but denounced in August by William McDougall*’s Clear Grit North American as “the boldest and most flagrant piece of corruption ever perpetrated by a Canadian government,” Beaty pledged to pay £75,100 over 21 years in return for the right to collect tolls on the roads as well as the obligation to maintain them. For two years this seemed to be a successful arrangement, as revenues rose rapidly, though only to a level that was not quite sufficient to cover interest charges on the capital. But the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Rail-road, completed in 1853, began to draw off trade from the Yonge Street route. Curiously, Beaty himself was considerably involved in railways, as a director of the Toronto and Guelph and then for a number of years of the Grand Trunk, and as president of an 1853 promotion, the Toronto Locomotive Manufacturing Company, the board of which also included Bowes and Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski.

By 1856 the roads company was substantially in arrears on its payments. It then made the first of at least two compromises with the provincial government. Neither worked out, and in 1863 the roads reverted to the province. They then passed to York County for a fraction of what the county would have paid 13 years before. In 1858, when he had explored the company’s default on its payments, John Langton, the respected provincial auditor, accepted its figures and at least part of its case. Two years later, however, the Globe, now an opposition newspaper, described Beaty’s original deal in scathing terms, despite his apparent failure to show a profit. “Of all the numerous cases of Executive malversation and actual stealing of public money, . . . the york road job . . . is, perhaps, the most daring and most flagitious.”

The success of the Consumers’ Gas Company had prompted a group, including a number of men closely tied to Hincks such as Samuel Zimmerman*, James Hervey Price*, Frederick Chase Capreol*, and Joseph Curran Morrison*, to organize the Metropolitan Gas and Water Company in 1853. There was no mention of Beaty in its charter, but by late 1856, if not sooner, he controlled it, although Capreol continued to act as its spokesman. The company had powers to build gasworks and waterworks in Toronto and other municipalities, and, following the then-developing practice of municipal support for railways, with which Zimmerman and others were abundantly familiar, the company hoped to raise initial capital by selling shares to municipalities. A revision of the charter in 1855 provided that Toronto might set a water-rate to be collected by the company. Under the original charter, the city was authorized to buy the company, but only if it paid a premium of not less than 20 per cent of the “amount actually expended.” By the time the city obtained the power to build its own waterworks, in 1857, the company was in a position to claim that it possessed vested rights, which the city was required to buy out should it wish to collect a water-tax in support of municipal works.

The promoters had a strong basis for a profitable franchise, provided the city could be persuaded to support the company. There was widespread dissatisfaction with the service provided by the existing waterworks, and in 1856–57 Toronto’s options appeared to be to build municipally owned works or to assist the Metropolitan company by buying shares in it and setting a water-rate for it to collect. Early in 1857 the company announced that it was ready to proceed, having already signed a contract with experienced English builders. Critics, familiar with recent railway projects, considered the £400,000 cost figure in the contract to be inflated. Alderman Alfred Brunel*, a proponent of a city-built system, was not alone when in June 1857 he attacked “the dangerous character of these speculators” and charged that there was a “deep under-current” in the support given by fellow councillors to the Metropolitan proposal. The company, however, had denounced the city in April for its “repudiation” of earlier support, given in the form of backing for the company’s petitions for its charter and later amendments. In the end, the depression of 1857 defeated both schemes. Under its charter, the Metropolitan company could not buy stock in rival companies, but in 1858 it bought the works of the existing water company, owned by Albert Furniss. As with the roads, however, Beaty had overestimated future revenues. When he fell behind on payments, Furniss resumed ownership and management of the works.

Through all these episodes, Beaty’s views were put before the public in his newspaper, the Toronto Leader, which he had established in July 1852 to support the government of Hincks and Augustin-Norbert Morin*. It is unclear what prior knowledge of publishing Beaty possessed, though in 1836 and in the late 1840s he had served on city council’s committee on printing. The paper added a daily edition in the summer of 1853 and Beaty bought its conservative rivals the Patriot in December 1854 and the British Colonist in September 1860. After the provincial election and the subsequent formation in 1854 of the coalition government of Sir Allan Napier MacNab* and Morin, the Leader supported it, emerging as the chief Liberal-Conservative organ in Upper Canada, and sharing the Toronto market with its larger rival, the reform Globe. Ably edited by Charles Lindsey*, who was occasionally and provocatively spelled off by George Sheppard*, the paper was an effective voice for the government and for Beaty. With a job-printing plant (in 1856–59 Beaty was the printer to the Legislative Council), the Leader was also profitable, netting as much as $10,000 a year for Beaty in the 1860s. Credit for this result was due in part to Beaty’s nephew Robert, who handled the day-to-day management of the journal from 1862 to 1867, when he left to found a banking, brokerage, and exchange business. As the Leader showed in its excellent and rather independent-minded coverage of the confederation negotiations and debates, it was at times one of Canada’s best newspapers.

Following Lindsey’s departure in 1867, the editorship was assumed by Charles Belford*, a great nephew of Beaty and a fine journalist. But the Conservatives were increasingly dissatisfied. In November 1871 Sir John A. Macdonald complained, “The ‘Leader’ is so completely run down as to be of no value, but Beaty keeps it going as a toy to play with and will neither sell nor take any steps to make it an efficient paper.” As a result, Macdonald and his allies arranged for the foundation of a new party organ in Toronto, the Mail, which started under Belford in the spring of 1872. For the remaining six years of its life, the Leader was of diminishing influence in the city, and increasingly tended towards strident Protestant nationalism.

Beaty had not confined his political interests to commentary. In 1856, when the Legislative Council had been made elective, he had contested the Saugeen division, which included Grey County where he held property. He had become a supporter of Macdonald; indeed, the meeting at which a key group of Hincksite reformers resolved that Sir Allan MacNab had to be deposed as premier in favour of Macdonald was held at Beaty’s house on 14 April. Beaty ran third in the 1856 contest, behind James Patton and John McMurrich*. In the election for the first dominion parliament, in 1867, he ran successfully as a Conservative in Toronto East, one of the few ridings in Canada where the working class was an important electoral factor. In his maiden speech in the House of Commons that December he evoked laughter with his description of himself as “a young member.” Re-elected in a close contest in 1872, he did not run in 1874.

While he was an MP Beaty joined, in 1871, American promoters George William McMullen and Charles Mather Smith in an effort to secure a commission to build the projected railway to the Pacific. That July they presented their proposal to Macdonald and Hincks in Ottawa. Beaty, however, was no longer associated with the syndicate when Smith and McMullen in the fall allied themselves with Sir Hugh Allan*. Indeed, in November 1872 he and William Kersteman, with whom he had also been associated in the 1871 negotiations, were urging Macdonald to abandon the “rings” of both Allan and David Lewis Macpherson in favour of a group they represented, which would be “all English.”

Beaty was a man of considerable wealth (the credit reporter for R. G. Dun and Company showed his worth at $150,000 in 1873, down from $250,000 in the previous report), but in the political and business circles of the 1870s within which he moved his chief capital was influence. Although he is often described in the context of events in that decade as a leather merchant or manufacturer, he had left the leather business in 1857. He was a politician-capitalist, finding his opportunities on the ill-defined but attractive borders between the two spheres. The failure of his water and road franchises, from which he evidently escaped without having to commit his personal fortune, and the gradual decline of the Leader accounted for a considerable reduction in his wealth. He disposed of his remaining real-estate holdings in the city in the 1870s. Nevertheless, he seems to have been at least comfortable in his retirement.

Wealth did not prevent his being hailed in 1872 as a hero of the working class. The occasion was the emerging “nine hour” movement, which led to a sharp confrontation between the typographers of Toronto and most of the city’s printers, organized into the Master Printers’ Association by George Brown of the Globe. Beaty declined to join the association, and when, in March, a strike began, he accepted the union’s terms and brought out the Leader in support of the strikers. His columns provided them with direct access to the public, and his decision to back them was important to Sir John A. Macdonald’s decision in April to introduce legislation legalizing trade unions. There were both commercial and political benefits for Beaty in his stand, which may also have owed something to the intensity of his long-standing rivalry with Brown. But the Leader had been a union shop from its beginning, and Beaty claimed that he had always been a sincere supporter of working men’s rights. Many workers might not have agreed that all of his stands justified this claim; in 1871, for example, the Leader had virulently denounced the Knights of St Crispin, then engaged in an intense dispute with the owners of Toronto’s shoe factories, portraying the union as seditious and condemning it for being American-led. For a time, this side of his record was overlooked. On 11 July 1872 Beaty, Andrew McCormick (president of the Toronto Trades Assembly), and Sir John and Lady Macdonald [Bernard*] were drawn through the streets in triumph.

It may seem ironic that Beaty began his public career with political unions and ended with trade unions, for in its middle years few represented more than he the “politics of enterprise” that were the hallmarks of Hincksite reform at mid century. Yet, when viewed in the context of his entire career, with its Irish, entrepreneurial, and artisan dimensions, these positions were neither inconsistent nor illogical. Like Hincks, Beaty was one of those quick to see opportunities created by the changing shape of municipal and provincial politics in Canada in the era of responsible government. That he was perhaps more attuned to the new rules of politics than to those of business, however, is indicated by the fact that, of his politico-business ventures, only the Leader was truly profitable.

Contributor: McCALLA, DOUGLAS. Professor and chair, Department of History, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

Sources for the material in this entry are listed in the online dictionary.

© 2000 University of Toronto/Université Laval

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

James Beaty's Contemporaries

Like James Beaty, many other spirited young men and women came to Toronto to make their mark on the new city. Many of them established their businesses and homes in close proximity to Beaty. Brief biographies of a few such notables are contained in the following paragraphs.

Thomas Dalton Publisher of The Patriot and Visionary

Thomas Dalton ran a successful brewery in Kingston before establishing the "Patriot" newspaper in Toronto in 1832. As well as running the brewery, Dalton was the director of the first bank of Upper Canada and did not hesitate to express his opinions in the form of letters to newspapers or pamphlets he published on his own. In 1828 the brewery burnt down and Dalton eventually sold the land to Thomas Molson.

"The Patriot" was established in 1829 in Kingston and was not immediately profitable. Dalton attempted to sell the paper but was unsuccessful. He decided to move to York [as Toronto was known before 1834] instead. Here, Dalton was successful although his views and his papers no longer seemed reform. Something of a visionary, Dalton foresaw a great future for his adopted country and he did his utmost to make his fellow citizens too. For example, he is credited with being, in 1834, the first to dream of a British North America spanned from sea to sea by a transportation network driven by steam. The Patriot became one of the leading Conservative newspapers at the time. Dalton died in 1840 of a stroke and the running of the paper was handed to his wife, Sophia Sims Dalton, the first female editor in York.

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

154 King St. E., Former Site of "The Patriot Newspaper"

Sophia Sims Dalton, Canada's First Female Publisher

Sophia Sims married Thomas Dalton in Newfoundland before moving to Kingston in 1817. The Daltons moved to York in 1832 and established "The Patriot" as the most popular Conservative newspaper. Dalton ran the Patriot until his death during which time Sims edited his editorial content to avoid lawsuits and other legal issues.

In 1840, Thomas Dalton died of a stroke and Sophia Sims took over the management of the paper. During the time that Sims ran The Patriot, it remained the leading Conservative newspaper. Sims retired in 1848 and sold the paper which would later be purchased by "The Leader" owner, James Beaty.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Library and archives Canada (

James Austin, Rebel and Businessman

James Austin was a printer by trade and apprenticed under William Lyon MacKenzie in 1829. After the rebellion, Austin left Canada as he felt it was no longer safe for him.

In 1843, however, James Austin returned and developed a grocery store [on the premises of 154 King Street, where The Patriot newspaper was also located] with fellow proprietor Patrick Foy. This was an off partnership as Foy was a Catholic Tory and Austin a Methodist reformer. Nevertheless, the partnership was successful. A fire destroyed their store in 1849 but the pair bought and rented out space in the St. Lawrence Hall, which was very successful.

In 1871, Austin became president of the Dominion Bank. [In 1955 the Dominion Bank founded in 1869 merged with the Bank of Toronto to form the Toronto Dominion Bank, which today is Canada's second largest bank.] He also later invested in important companies such as Consumer's Gas Company of Toronto and proved to be a very profitable, successful businessman. Austin's home, the Spadina Museum, is already a celebrated part of the history of Toronto and a popular tourist site thanks to the preservation of Austin's descendants.

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Hugh Miller, Founding Member Canadian Pharmaceutical Society

Hugh Miller moved to Toronto in 1841 and opened a retail pharmacy. Miller became one of the founding members and vice president of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Society, established in 1867, which changed the regulation of pharmaceutical drugs permanently.

Miller helped draft the pharmacy legislation. This legislation eventually became the Ontario Pharmacy Act of 1871. This act created a system that would issue licenses to distribute medicine as well as regulating the sale of poisons and the opening of pharmacies. The legislation also promoted education for licensed pharmacists, altering the convenience of the profession in Toronto permanently.

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

167 King St. E., Site of Former Hugh Miller Pharmacy

Hugh Miller & Co. Pamphlet circa 1877

Last month a plaque highlighting the life of James Beaty was placed on the wall behind his statue. Visitors and passers-by will now have an...