From the Parkdale Villager Feb. 27, 2014, P. 11: InsideToronto.com Parkdale by Erin Hatfield with permission.
The town of Parkdale was annexed by the City of Toronto on March 23, 1889.
Parkdale resident Jack Gibney, one of the forces behind a burgeoning Parkdale Village Historical Society (PVHS), said in his research and reading, Parkdale residents resisted annexation into Toronto. Had the rules around the vote on the annexation not favoured absentee landlords, the outcome may have been quite different.
“Parkdale joined Toronto because election rules favoured absentee landlords,” Gibney said.
Parkdale was a settlement in 1850 and then an incorporated village with 73 landowners and 788 residents in 1879. By 1888, Parkdale had built a full set of services and governing structures to serve a population of 1,091 property owners and 5,651 residents.
“They had accomplished a lot and had much to be proud of when the issue of annexation came to a vote in October 1888,” Gibney said. Although many of the city’s surrounding communities welcomed becoming part of Toronto, Parkdale resisted annexation for 10 years.
“The anti-annexationists decried bad Toronto waters, bureaucracy, wire pulling and greedy speculators,” Gibney said. “The pro-annexation side offered improved underpasses at rail lines, more services and debt relief. They also offered transportation assistance to non-resident property owners, who were in fact, the majority of the voters.”
With the non-resident owner majority, annexation won with 467 votes against 339. “If they had used modern election rules that include non-property owners, the vote would probably have gone the other way,” Gibney said.
The election was followed by accusations and lawsuits, but Parkdale officially joined Toronto in 1889.
The PVHS is looking for people who would like to join their efforts.
Read more of the Parkdale Villager. All factual information is based on ‘Parkdale in Pictures’ by Margaret Laycock and Barbara Myrvold. Inferences were my own, Jack Gibney.