A portrait of William Lyon Mackenzie stares down at passengers from a mural on the wall of the Queen Street subway station, his face as round and orange as a wheel of cheese. He served as Toronto's first mayor, led the 1837 Rebellion of Upper Canada, and was grandfather to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's tenth prime minister, whose own orange-pink face graces the Canadian $50 bill. Three blocks from the station, Mackenzie died in the upstairs bedroom of a house w open as a heritage museum, part of a network of historic homes and other buildings from early Toronto. Inside the Museums tells their stories. We learn how James Scott Howard lost his job as Toronto's first postmaster, why John G. Howard, who deeded High Park to the city, was so anxious to be remembered, why Eliza Gibson risked her life to save a clock, and why Spadina House has always been tinged by the original owners' unhappy relationship.
John Goddard is an author, magazine writer and former Toronto Star reporter with a specialty in exploring little-known Ontario wonders. His books include Rock and Roll Toronto, with pop critic Richard Crouse, a cheeky guide to the city's rock-and-roll historic sites. He lives in Toronto.