Queen St. Subway Marker

Banner photo is of Queen St. W., looking east, in 1897.  From the City of Toronto Archives.

Queen St. Subway marker
The Queen St. Subway marker at Queen and Dufferin – 1897.  Photo by K Taylor.

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:

Montreal Daily Witness January 7 1893
From the Montreal Daily Witness, January 7th, 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:

The Toronto Daily Mail March 8th 1893
From the Toronto Daily Mail, March 8th, 1893.

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.

Queen St. looking East to Dufferin 1897
Looking east along Queen St. W. in 1897. From the Toronto City Archives.
The Queen St. Subway stone marker from the above photo would’ve been laid around the time this photo was taken.  It rests just on the other side of the bridge.  As for R. J. Fleming, he’s been resting in Mount Pleasant Cemetery since 1925.
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3 thoughts on “Queen St. Subway Marker

  1. Interesting! So is the Canadian use of subway generally the same as the British use, or is this a rare exception? I know I was slightly weirded out when I first moved to London, and people would talk about taking the subway when they meant crossing the street using an underground passage, not taking the Tube.

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    1. How neat! I had no idea people still used ‘subway’ in that way. I’d be weirded out by it too – there’d be crickets chirping as I stared blankly, trying to figure out what they meant. This marker is the only example of the usage I’ve come across in Toronto. It’s only ever used to mean our underground train system, at least since it opened in 1954.

      Liked by 1 person

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