One-time Mayor of TORONTO, president of the city’s horticultural society and long-time senator, GEORGE WILLIAM ALLAN donated a five-acre oval parcel of land to the city in 1858. It’s an early example of public philanthropy.
The botanical reserve was meant to be the centerpiece of a subdivision of villa estates – patterned after Regent Park in London & Gramercy Park in New York.
A rickety pavilion was built in the centre of the oval as a concert and horticultural venue. It was torn down in 1878 and replaced by a grand three-storey enclosed structure. <PHOTO – Toronto Public Library>
A tall, cascading fountain went up outside. Management of both the park and pavilion was passed on to the taxpayers of TORONTO.
ABOVE – a rare photo of the Horticultural Gardens photographed by OCTAVIUS THOMPSON and published in his “Toronto in the Camera” in 1868. The maple planted by the Prince of Wales, in 1860, is just to the left of the pavilion in front of the fence. <Toronto Reference Library>
Then the pavilion burned down, as a lot of buildings did in those days, replaced by today’s Palm House and conservatory.
For more information on Allan Gardens and its history – https://torontofamilyhistory.org/simcoesgentry/5/allan-gardens