Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Toronto - Garrison Common
Location: N 43° 38.292 W 079° 24.538 Found in Garrison Common Park, off Garrison Street, beside Fort York.
Taken from a plaque on the memorial wall:
This cemetery opened in 1860 and was the third military burial ground in Toronto. It replaced one situated a short distance to the west, which was abandoned after a few burials and the bodies were moved to this location. The last known interment here was in 1911.
The following is an extract from Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto, Vol. 1, 1894:
There are about two hundred graves distinguishable by the mounds of earth. In the whole cemetery there are only twenty-eight stones or wooden slabs standing to tell who lies beneath. A few broken stories have fallen; most of them are indecipherable and the rest are nameless. All the headstones are of the simplest and plainest character. There is not a monument or shaft in the yard. On a few graves are simple wooden crosses without any inscription. Here and there is a square picketed enclosure about a grave, the fence in a very dilapidated condition and overgrown with grass, thistles and ivy. But one grave bears token that its occupant is still cherished in memory. The grave is that of Sergeant-Major F.W. Gathercole, of the Canadian School of Infantry, who died at the new fort, Toronto, February 13, 1883, aged forty-two years. A neat marble slab, simple but quite as pretentious as any in the cemetery, bears the inscription that it was erected by his comrades in affectionate remembrance. About the grave the grass and thistles have been cleared away, and four pots of geraniums in bloom had been placed on it. The stone marking the resting place of assistant Commissary-General, John Moirs McLean Sutherland, is broken and down. Everything about the grounds bears evidence that they are seldom visited. The proportion of soldiers drowned among the twenty-eight whose names are decipherable is large. They are John Manley Rattle, Deputy Assistant Commissary-General, J. Ramsey Akers, Ensign in the 16th Regiment, James Walsh, Private in the 30th Regiment, and Corporal John Smeeton, of the 13th Hussars. Several graves are those of the wives and children of soldiers. The head stones range in date, from 1860 down to that of Private E. A. Heath, of the Canadian School of Infantry, who died in 1885, being the most recent. Among the graves is one of Walter Toronto Lewis, the one year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Lewis, who died in 1868. The 13th Hussars has the greatest number of burials. At two graves are tiny marble slabs, not over five inches wide and a foot high, bearing simply the inscriptions: "G. M. and G. F. S.". They are evidently remembered, for loving hands had recently propped up the broken and fallen memorials with pieces of wood. Most of the stones bear inscriptions to the effect that they were erected by comrades. But little attempt at decoration has been made on the slabs. Here and there is a flag, a pair of crossed swords, a wreath, a cross, a crown, and other usual emblems of this character all very simply executed. Among the dead who lie here are: Trumpeter James McMahon, 13th Hassars; Rachel, wife of Sergeant-Major William Ross, of the 4th Artillery; Isabella Thompson, Private George Miller, 13th Hussars, and Colour-Sergeant John Hanney, 47th Regiment.
This memorial area was created to preserve the remaining headstones and to commemorate all those who lie here.