A Former Westonite (Westonian) Remembers

Don Brown is a retired elementary school principal currently residing in Grimsby, Ontario. He has considerable roots in the Weston area and has spent some time researching the genealogy of his family and sends this brief summary of his findings that may be of interest to local residents and history buffs.

My great great grandfather, John Porter (b. 1797 d. 1874) was adopted by Benjamin Davis (a blacksmith, who was Weston village’s first resident) and his wife, Elizabeth, following the death of his father George Porter while working as a carpenter in York (Toronto) in the early 19th C.

Benjamin Davis had moved his wife and three children from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) where he started working on the building of Fort George in 1794. His adopted son became known as John Davis Porter.

Following the death of Benjamin, John and his adoptive mother, Elizabeth donated land at the SE corner of the Weston Plank Road and King Street in 1821 to the Methodist Episcopal Church which is now Weston Central United Church. John built a home on the land across the street where the Weston Public Library now stands. He owned and operated a lumber mill on the nearby Humber River. He married Louisa Longstaff (b. 1897 d. 1882) in 1825

John and Louisa Porter’s 3rd daughter, Mary Emily (b. 1837 d. 1918), married Robert Spoor Brown (b. 1830 d. 1921), my great grandfather in 1856. They lived in a home they named “Elsmere” at what was then the north end of Elsmere Avenue.

Robert was one of the founding members of the Riverside Cemetery board. He carried on the family tradition of bookbinding started by his great grandfather in the late 18th C in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England as Vice President of the Brown Brothers Printing Company on Wellington Street in Toronto. Their son, my grandfather, Frederick William Brown (b. 1860 d. 1948) was their eldest son. Fred Brown started attending the original High School District #1, County of York in the year it burned, 1874. He worked locally as a bookkeeper and married Elizabeth Catherine Monkman (b.1865 d.1947) who had moved with her family from Albion Twp. to Rosemount Ave. in Weston.

His second eldest sister, Margaret Brown married Joseph Nason who, with Dr. F.D. Cruickshank authored the book “History of Weston”, first published in 1937. Joseph Nason was born in Weston in 1861 and died in 1944. He received a BA degree from the University of Toronto in 1881, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1886. He was the first chairman of the Weston Public Library Board in 1914.

My father, Victor Aubrey Brown (b. 1900 d. 1973) attended H.J Alexander Public School (originally King Street School) when the principal was Mr. H.J. Alexander. He was the manager of the Beaver Lumber (formerly Irvine Lumber) on Weston Road. My mother, Sadie Luverda Brown (b. 1902 d. 1970) moved with her family from a farm in Albion Twp. In the twenties, as had the family of her future mother-in-law, Lizzie Monkman. Sadie worked as secretary of Central United Church until her passing in 1970. Her sister Eveline McCort (b. 1899 d, 1982) and their mother Sarah McCort (b. 1864 d. 1959) who lived at #69 King Street were also members of the church following their move to Weston.

I lived at #93 King Street from the time of my birth in 1943 until my marriage to Sharon Ann Butler in 1966 in Central United Church. I attended Memorial P.S. from 1948 to 1955, Weston Senior P.S. (C.R. Marchant Middle School) from 1955 to 1957 and Weston Collegiate and Vocational School from 1957 to 1962). Those who were teens in the late 50s and early 60s may remember me as a founder of Club Central, a biweekly teen dance operating out of Central United. 

If anyone would like to get in touch with Don, please contact Weston Web with your details and they will be forwarded.

Joy to the world!

Edna Harding is bringing a little joy to the world this Christmas season; she and a group of volunteers from Central United Church are sponsoring two Syrian refugees. Edna says the project is “daunting, financially and time wise”, but “it’s part of what my faith moves me to do.”

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Central United is partnering with three other churches (Westway, Windermere, and Roncesvalles United Churches) to put together a private sponsorship. They are sponsoring a 24-year-old woman and her 6-year-old son.

The woman and child, whose names are not yet known, fled Syria and are living in a Beirut refugee camp. The UNHCR said that they need urgent resettlement.

Edna and the other volunteers will be responsible for every aspect of their care for at least a year. “You take them by the hand from the minute they arrive!” she says.

Harding is ready though; she and the other volunteers are waiting for the call to tell them the pair is en route. They expect it will be very soon—perhaps in January. In the meantime, she says they would love to find another volunteer who speaks fluent Arabic. Financial contributions would also be welcome.

If you are moved to help, send me an email, [email protected], and I’ll put you in touch. I’m sure you could also call the Central United at (416) 241-9049.


What’s Winter to You?

By Barbara Bisgrove, reprinted with permission from OneKing.ca

“Snow on snow” and “frosty winds may moan” as we sing? It was a cold and blustery day at the drop-in yesterday and I learned a thing or two about the changes in season for our program participants.

Now it is getting colder people want socks. Billy came looking for some to warm his bare feet in his running shoes with the soles falling off. I checked the supply cupboard – one white, two red and a grey pair. He took the grey pair which were a bit worn and small, saying it was better than nothing.

Cynthia was shivering when she came in and was looking for a coat. We only had one in the clothing room where we store the donated clothing. She is size zero and this padded jacket was probably a 14. “You don’t want that, it’s way too big” I said. “I need to keep warm at night, I’m homeless again. This is fine.” And she wrapped it around her and went off out to huddle overnight in an ATM kiosk or shelter made from cardboard boxes in the laneway.

Patsy, who is currently couch-surfing, only had flip flops. When you don’t have a permanent home you don’t keep much in hand. You’ve usually lost your possessions the last time you were kicked out. She found two pairs of dress shoes in the clothing room and drew a lot of teasing by wearing one of each for the next hour or so while deciding which felt the best. She found a skirt and sweater and a few other things, and asked to use the drop-in’s washers and dryers to clean them up before putting them on. When she left she looked like a new person.

If you have any seasonal items – socks, gloves, hats, scarves, coats, sweaters, etc. that need to find new homes please drop them off at Weston King Neighbourhood Centre 2017 Weston Road between 10:30 and 1:00 Monday to Saturday and 3:00 to 7:00 on Tuesdays.