Let's approach the question, "Jarvis WHO?" in three stages:
- Where did Jarvis Collegiate get its name?
- Where did Jarvis Street get its name?
- Why did Samuel Jarvis need money so urgently that he would sell off his beloved estate, Hazel Burn, thus creating Jarvis Street?
First question: "Where did Jarvis get its name?"
The school was named after the street. Take note of that, please—after the STREET!
It was not named in honour of William and Samuel Jarvis. They did give the name Jarvis to the street, and it might be natural to believe that the school was given the name in their honour. But it was NOT! It was named after the street, definitely not the men.
In fact, William and Samuel were such nasty pieces
of work that a school would have a hard time being
proud of them. You can read lots of about them
later in this document and in other documents linked
to this one. But for now, let's finish the story of
how the school took on the name of its street.
hen the school opened in 1807, it wasn't on Jarvis
Street because, simply, there was no Jarvis Street. The new province of Upper Canada was in its infancy, and the very first high schools ("grammar schools") were being established, one
for each district of the province. Our first name, consequently, was the Home District Grammar School, since the Toronto area was called the home district.
The school grew as the years and decades passed, and
the name changed a number of times. In 1873 it was
given a rather grand title, Toronto Collegiate
Institute. But that name lasted only 5 years until the city got its second collegiate in 1888(Jameson Avenue High School, which took the name Parkdale in 1889).
In 1888 the almost-final name appeared—Jarvis STREET Collegiate Institute.
Second question: "Where did Jarvis Street gets its name?"
o answer this question, there's no getting
around it, we HAVE to mention the Jarvises.
Jarvis Street was named after a person, of
course—Samuel Jarvis, the man who owned the land on
which the street was first built.
Samuel Jarvis owned quite a large estate in what is now Toronto, a 100-acre block of land, most of it undeveloped, north from Queen Street all the way to Bloor Street. He called it Hazel Burn, because it had hazel trees and a little stream ("burn"). An interesting pen-and-ink drawing of Hazel Burn was made before it was broken up and sold:
Click here to see larger image and description
Samuel inherited the land from his father, William
Jarvis, who had received it free of charge. William
had been given a senior government job, Secretary
and Registrar, when the new province of Upper
Canada was created in 1791. At that time it was
the custom to pay officials with land grants,
in addition to their salaries and fees. You can see William Jarvis's land grant stretching from Queen Street north to Bloor Street in the following document, copied from a map made in 1800:
But about 50 years after the original land grant, in
1845, Samuel suddenly needed money urgently. He decided
he had to sell off a large part of Hazel Burn, his
family inheritance. He kept the land north of
Wellesley Street for himself, but subdivided the southern
portion into lots. The buyers of the lots needed
a way to reach their property, so Samuel had a new
north-south road built—and that road became Jarvis Street.
Third question: "Why did Samuel Jarvis
need money so urgently that he would sell
off his beloved Hazel Burn?"
es, well, then . . . Before 1845, Samuel lived a
comfortable and complacent life, enjoying the
income and status of a high government office
as chief superintendent of Indian affairs
for Upper Canada. Unfortunately for Samuel,
his superiors had grown suspicious of him
and had been investigating his operations,
especially the way he handled money in his
department. In 1845 they issued their
report, which accused him of stealing
large sums of money from the government. The
actual amount varied in the estimates, with
a low estimate of 4,000 pounds and a high
of 9,000. This public condemnation spelled
the end of Samuel Jarvis's career. He
was forced to resign in disgrace.
Among the very few things Samuel Jarvis left to the
public was the name, Jarvis Street.
That's the short answer to the question "Who was Jarvis?" But
there are more interesting stories about William and Samuel Jarvis who, if nothing else, were "colourful" characters.
stories of William and Samuel Jarvis
Starting with nothing, William was catapulted into
the top ranks of officialdom in Upper Canada.
His son, Samuel, shared his father's disinterest in ethics but had his own violent temper.