Banner photo is of Queen St. W., looking east, in 1897. From the City of Toronto Archives.
I love this marker. I love that it is there to celebrate a subway of the kind you’d least expect – literally that they’d built a sub-way under the bridge – as in an underpass. And I especially love that it has the Mayor of the day’s name on it, a Mr. R. J. Fleming.
Robert John Fleming, if you’re interested, was Mayor of Toronto not once but twice: first from 1892-1893 and again from 1896-1897.
A devoted Temperance man, he fought to reduce the number of liquor licenses issued in the city and it was on this platform that he was first elected mayor in 1893:
Still, not all was rosy during his first go-round as mayor. He managed to raise some ire with his ideas for the Health Department:
But on the whole Fleming proved a popular politician. He was considered a champion of the working class, and had fought for a minimum wage for public workers. Also of interest, he was a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement – something that always makes me feel rather warmly towards an early Torontonian.