Elizabeth Simcoe’s Diary Finds “Scarborough” on August 4: Snapshots in History

August 5, 2016 | John P.

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450px-ScarboroughBluffs10

Scarborough Bluffs (August 2006) – Credit: Swatigsood (Public Domain)

 

On August 4 and beyond, take a moment to remember the beginnings of that part of the City of Toronto known as Scarborough. On August 4, 1793, writing in her diary, Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe made reference to “the highlands of Toronto” with a bold shore exhibiting the appearance of chalk cliffs (but probably white sand). Elizabeth Simcoe and her husband, John Graves Simcoe, mused about the possibility of building a summer residence there and naming the area “Scarborough” after Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England. As John Ross Robertson noted in a published version of the Simcoe diary, Mr. and Mrs. Simcoe actually ended up with a residence at Castle Frank but the name “Scarborough” (applied to the east end of what is now the amalgamated City of Toronto) remained:

 

The diary of Mrs John Graves Simcoe reference to Scarborough on August 4 1793

 

Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe’s diary makes interesting reading for those interested in the early days of Toronto’s history. Click on the title page below to place a hold on a copy of the Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

The diary of Mrs. John Graves Simcoe, wife of the first Lieutenant-Governor of the province of Upper Canada 1792-6

Book

 

Or, read Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary online through archive.org .

Elizabeth Simcoe’s observations concerning a “Scarborough” in British North America have been acknowledged in local history books pertaining to the Scarborough (at one time a township and then a borough and a city in the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto) that now forms an integral district of the amalgamated City of Toronto. Readers interested in the history of Scarborough, Ontario should consider the following standard books on the subject:

 

A History of Scarborough edited by Robert R Bonis

eBook (PDF)

 

A History of Scarborough edited by Robert R Bonis

Book

 

A History of Scarborough reference to Elizabeth Simcoe and Scarborough

Source: The History of Scarborough edited by Robert R. Bonis

 

The people of Scarborough a history Barbara Myrvold

eBook (PDF)

 

The people of Scarborough a history Barbara Myrvold

Book

 

 

The people of Scarborough a history Barbara Myrvold with Elizabeth Simcoe quotation

Source: The People of Scarborough: a history by Barbara Myrvold

 

For more detailed information on Elizabeth Simcoe, please visit Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1762-1850 on the North York Central Library blog. For more information on John Simcoe, please visit Snapshots in History: February 25: Remembering John Graves Simcoe and York on the Local History & Genealogy blog.

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