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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part IV: Toronto: Commission Merchants, Produce, Auctioneers


D. W. Alexander, dealer in sole leather and hides, 65 Front Street East. This business was established in 1877, and assumed such dimensions that Mr. Alexander' now does the largest sole-leather trade m Western Canada. He has tanneries located in Bracebridge and Port Elgin. His warehouse on Front Street has a frontage of forty-four feet, is one hundred and fifty feet deep, and four storeys high. Mr. Alexander was born i» Scotland and coming to Canada in 1866, earned on a commission business until 1877.

William Barrett, produce and commission merchant, 81 Colborne Street. Mr. Barrett first opened out at 42 George Street, where he remained for five years. He then removed to Colborne Street and in 1883 purchased Irs present warehouse which is five storeys high, and has a frontage of twenty-five feet by ninety feet deep. Mr. Barrett was born in the County Cavan, Ireland. He came to Canada iin 1858, where he engaged in the wholesale and retail liquor business at the corner of St. Urbain and Vitre Streets, Montreal, known as the " Royal Oak Inn." He came to Toronto in 1870. Mr. Barrett is one of the oldest members of the Prince of Wales Rifles, and held for ten years a certificate issued by Col. Bond. He was to the front with No. 6 Company during the Fenian raid.

E. Bendelari (Vice Consul of Italy), was born in the City of Naples, Italy. He came to Canada in 1868, and commenced business in Toronto as a commission merchant and importer of Mediterranean and West Indian produce. Since 1878 he has devoted his energies entirely to the commission business, buying direct from places of growth for account of the leading wholesale houses throughout Canada. This business has grown to such importance of late years that the purchases from England and New York, which were the main sources of supply, have been almost entirely superseded by direct importations. In addition to his Canadian business Mr. Bendelar also imports for some of the leading houses in the Western States.

L. Coffee & Co., produce and commission merchants, 30 Church Street. The business was established in 1845, being first located on Front Street East, then known as Palace Street. In 1858 it was removed to 80 Front Street East. In 1873 the present premises on Church Street were first occupied. The firm, which is composed of Lawrence Coffee and Thomas Flynn, makes a speciality of grain and flour, and is the oldest one in this line in Toronto. Mr. Coffee was born in Ireland, and came to Mr. Flynn is a Canadian, and became associated Toronto at an early date, with Mr. Coffee in 1857.

G. S. Donaldson, commission merchant and grocery broker, representing Henry Chapman & Co., of Montreal. Mr. Donaldson was the senior member of the firm of Donaldson. Sinclair & Co., wholesale grocers, and for the past seven years has been engaged in the grocery brokers business. He is agent for a large number of Old Country houses. Mr. Donaldson travelled through the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, representing a hardware firm of Montreal as far back as 1850, and thinks at that time there were not more than a dozen travellers in Canada. He is a Canadian by birth, and has been a resident of Toronto for the past nineteen years.

Wm. Galbraith, commission merchant, flour and produce dealer, 80 Front Street East. This business was established in 1859 by the firm of Swan & Galbraith on Colborne Street, where it was continued for two years. It was then removed to Church Street. In 1866 Mr. Swan retired, leaving the business to be carried on by Mr. Galbraith. In the following year Mr. Galbraith removed to the Manning Block 011 Front Street East, and in 1870 he purchased the warehouse ti which he is now located. This warehouse has a frontage of twenty-six feet and is ninety-eight feet deep. Mr. Galbraith has a flouring-mill at Allandale, Ontario, and makes a speciality of flour and grain. He was born in Scotland, and coming to Canada in 1856 located in Toronto.

J. Good\ll, grain, seed and commission merchant, first located at 83 Front Street East, where he established Ins business in 1873. remained ever since. He makes a specialty of grass seeds and grain, and exports barley, wheat and clover seed. The warehouse has a frontage of thirty feet and is one hundred feet deep. Mr. Goodall was born m Toronto.

Hagarty & Co., steamboat owners and commission merchants. Mr. Hagarty was formally a partner in the firm of Clarkson & Hagarty, which continued up to 1874, ^hen it was known as Hagarty & Grasett. In March of the present year, Mr. Grasett retired from the firm. The firm of Hagarty & Co., own the Cuba and Armenia, both large steamers Mr. John Hagarty is the son of Chief Justice Hagarty.

James & Furnacfe, general produce and commission merchants, 72 and 74 Colborne Street. This business was established in i860 under the name of J. B. Boustead & Co. In 1870 Mr. James entered the firm, and on the retirement of Mr. Boustead in 1876. 't was continued by Mr. Crawford and Mr. James, Mr. Furnace succeeding the former gentleman. The warehouse has a frontage of 50 x 120 and is-three storeys high. For the last four years the business has been conducted by Air. John James.

W. H. Knowlton, general commission merchant, 27 Church Street. This business was established in 1852 by S. A. Oliver, and was located at 317 Queen Street West. In i860 Air. Knowlton entered the employ of Air. Oliver, and n 1866 was taken into partnership, the style of the firm being S. A. Oliver & Co. This continued up to 1872 when Air. Oliver retired leaving Air. Knowlton to continue the business which is now quite extensive. The warehouse has a frontage of thirty feet, is one hundred feet deep and five storeys high. Air. Knowlton was born in Montreal and came to Toronto about 1848.

James Lobb, 56 Front Street East, Lloyd's agent and commission merchant, was born in Plymouth, England, 1832, and is the eldest son of James Lobb, of that city. In 185s he came to Canada and settled in Toronto. In 1857 he went to Oshawa and entered into partnership with Messrs. T. N. and W. II. Gibbs of that town under the style of Gibbs, Lobb & Co. He returned to Toronto in 1872, and established the present business, representing several eminent English exporters in teas, sugars, hops, etc. In 1880 and 1881 Air. Lobb was elected to the City Council for St. David's Ward. He then retired from municipal work, but in 1884 was brought out tor St. Lawrence Ward, by an influential requisition, the result being that he was elected at the head of the poll. He is a member of the Finance, Railway, and other important committees of the Council.

P. McIntosh & Son, produce dealers and commission merchants, 93 Front Street East, established their business m 1875. Their warehouse has a frontage of 40 x 400 feet, and is composed of three flats. This firm makes a specialty of feed and grain and have a mil in connection with their warehouse. Mr. McIntosh is by birth a Canadian, and since 1875 been a resident in Toronto.

W. D. AIcIntosh, general flour and produce merchant, 209 Yonge Street, established his business in 1857 at his present warehouse, which has a frontage of 25 x 80 feet, and is four storeys height, part of which is occupied and known as the "Orange Hall." Mr. McIntosh is a native of Roxburgshire, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1857, it being worthy of note that he is not located at the same place he commenced business thirty years ago. As a neighbour he is held in high esteem; as a trader his integrity is thoroughly recognized.

Oliver, Coath & Co. This business was established by Mr. Wm, Wakefield and Fred. Wm. Coate in 1834. The firm was first known as Wakefield, Coate & Co., which continued up to the retirement of Mr. Wakefield n 1868. Mr. Oliver then went into partnership with Mr. Coate as general auctioneers, commission merchants and real estate agents. This well known firm still occupies the same store in which the business was started fifty years ago. Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Coate were both born in England. The former came to Canada ;n 1833, the latter in 1834. Mr. Oliver was born in Hamilton, Canada, in 1847; Mr. Coate retired from business in 1880, since which time Mr. Oliver has been the sole member of the firm under the name and style of Oliver, Coate & Co.

R. H. Ramsay & Co., wholesale produce and commission merchants' 68 Front Street East. The business was established in 1864 under the name of Gardner & Ramsay, and was continued up to 1874 when the former retired. Mr. Ramsay has since carried on the business. The firm deal largely in all kinds of country produce and provisions; also hops, baled and pressed. Their large warehouse has a frontage of thirty feet, is one hundred and thirty feet deep, and is four storeys high. Mr. Ramsay was boin in Scotland, and came to Canada in 1859, when he located in Toronto.

Reford & Hughes, 28 Church Street, brokers and commission merchants, dealers in teas, sugars, and dried fruits. The firm is composed of William Reford, and J. W. Hughes. The business was established m 187-at 76 Colborne Street. In 1881 it was removed to 65 Front Street East. In the present year Messrs. Reford & Hughes removed to the quarters they now occupy. Mr. Reford was born in Ireland, and came to Canada some thirty years ago, locating in Toronto. Mr. Hughes was born in the Count\ of York, and has resided in Toronto since 1866.

William Ryan, produce, commission and provision merchant, 72 Front Street East. This business was established in 1870, being first located at 23 Church Street. In 1875, Mr. Ryan removed to his present warehouses, which have a frontage of sixty feet, is one hundred and twenty feet deep and four storeys high. Mr. Ryan was born in County Limerick, Ireland, and came to Canada in 1840. He has been in Ontario since 1855.

W. H. Smith, fruit dealer and commission merchant, 86 King Street East. Mr. Smith established his business in his present quarters in 1874. He does a large retail as well as wholesale business. The premises have a frontage of twenty-four feet and a depth of one hundred and ninety. Mr. Smith was horn m the County Antrim, Ireland. He went to Australia, and after returning to Ireland, came to Canada.

J. H. Sproule, grain and- commission merchant, and exporter of barley, 19 Wellington Street East. Business was established.. Mr. Sproule was born in Toronto, and the eldest son of John Sproule, deceased, who came to Canada :n 1824. At one time was one of the leading grocery-men in Toronto.

N. Weatherston & Co., dealers in grain, flour, hops, and imported malt. This firm is composed of N. Weatherston. The business was established m 1875, and was located on Church Street until 1879, when it was removed to its present quarters, No. 8 Exchange, Imperial Bank Buildings. Mr. Weatherston was previously engaged in railway management. For seven years he was general agent for the Great Western Railway Company. He was in their service for about eighteen years. He was afterwards General Superintendent of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway, and Grand Junction Railway, having the management of the last-named until it was sold to the Grand Trunk Railway. He also carried on a grain business, and was connected with steamship lines, representing the "White Star" and "Anchor" lines for passenger business and for freight traffic to Europe, on through Bills of Lading, before the present business had grown to such an extent that the despatch companies now have their own independent agents. Mr. Weatherston was born m Scotland, and came to Canada n 1834.

William Werden, general grain and commission merchant, 60 Front Street East. Established ti 1883. His specialty is grain and flour, m which he does a large trade in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. Mr. Werden is a native of Devonshire, England, and came to Canada with his parents in 1847. Before commencing business in this city he was engaged as buyer and seller for A. W. Oliver & Co., of Montreal, thirteen years, and for A. P. Howland five years.

James Young, commission merchant and broker, 32 Church Street, came to Canada in 1837, in company with his father, Captain Tames Young. In 1845 he entered the employ of William P. Howland, and remained with him until 1852. He then went to Holland Landing to take charge of a store and a mill. In 1854 he returned to Toronto and established his present business in 1856.

John Young & Co., commission merchants, 60 Front Street East, and 23 Church Street. This firm makes a specialty of salt, sugar and cured meats. The business was established in 1873, and was first located on Colborne Street. Since 1877 it has been at the present quarters. Mr. Young was born in Scotland, and came to Canada in 1857. In 1867 he returned to Scotland and remained there until 1873, when he came back to Toronto.

Alfred Chipman, proprietor City Elevator, Esplanade, built in 1873. It was badly burned in January of this year (1884)—damage over $8,000— since which time he has very much improved his whole property. The capacity of the elevator is 120,000 bushels. Mr. Chapman was born in England, and came to Canada in 1859.

Geddes' Wharf, located at the foot of Yonge Street, 240 x 150 feet front. This is a general merchandise and passenger wharf, and has been leased by Mr. W. A. Geddes since 1876. It is one of the oldest in the city. Mr. Geddes is a Canadian by birth and resilient in Toronto since 1873.

Robert B. Hamilton, of 22 Earl Street, and George Street Elevator, is by birth a Canadian, and eldest surviving son of Sidney S. Hamilton, also a Canadian (L"tle York), of Scotch descent. Joined his father in business in 1878, in which he still remains. He was Alderman in 1879 for St. Lawrence Ward, and School Trustee n 1881-84 for St. Thomas' Ward. Mr. Hampton married Mary Kate, daughter of Henry Pellatt, broker, Toronto.

Sylvester Brothers, Church Street Wharf. This is more commonly known as Sylvester's Wharf, and is nearly half a century old. The present firm have been proprietors since 1869, doing a large storage and general forwarding business. The firm is composed of Solomon and David Sylvester.


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