First Parliament Site Saved for Future Generations
by
EB Lapointe

The Ontario government—in partnership with the City of Toronto and with the support of local heritage groups—has acquired a significant part of the site of Upper Canada's first parliament, Cultural Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced on December 21, 2005.

The province and a private landowner have agreed to a land exchange to secure a portion of the historic first parliament site at 265 Front Street East in downtown Toronto.

"The site of Ontario's first parliament buildings is our cradle of democracy and a site of historical significance," said Meilleur.

"We are delighted to assume the lead role in the preservation of this significant heritage site," said the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Ontario Heritage Trust chairman and former lieutenant-governor. "It is the birthplace of our systems of courts, land ownership and civil freedoms - democratic traditions that are the very measure of our strength as a province and as a society."

Artifacts now lying underground mark the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings. The brick buildings built specifically for the legislative assembly in the late 18th century were burnt to the ground by the invading American troops during the War of 1812.

The British retaliated by attacking Washington and setting the president's house on fire. It was consequently painted white to cover up the fire damage.

04 February, 2006


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