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