1842 Cane Topographical Plan of the City and Liberties of Toronto

“This, the first major map of the city and the first detailed portrayal of Toronto since 1818, indicates that the village had become a city. The urban core, which had moved west to King and Yonge, consisted of compact rows of shops and dwellings. The "house in a garden" had moved to the suburban fringe. The inverted-T shape of Toronto's built-up area was already evident as growth followed the main roads out of the city: Yonge Street, Lot (Queen) Street, and Kingston Road. Note the oversupply of building lots - typical after subdivision booms, such as that of the 1830s.

The main buildings on the map - churches, banks, and institutions are keyed to the list on the left. On the right is a list of societies without prominent buildings, as well as other information about the city.

A few features, such as the diamond-shaped square on Spadina, and Richmond Square near Lot and Parliament, were never implemented.”
- Isobel Ganton & Joan Winearls, MAPPING TORONTO'S FIRST CENTURY 1787-1884

In August of 1842, Cane wrote to Toronto City Council to ask for assistance in the printing and publication of the map, but several weeks later withdrew his request. It was the first major map of the city.

I really enjoy the delicate lines, tinting and details in this map!

Click the image to view a full-size version.

1842 Topographical Plan of the City and Liberties of Toronto, James Cane - colour

Topographical Plan of the City and Liberties of Toronto, In the Province of Canada, Surveyed Drawn and Published by James Cane Tophl Engr 1842 / Dedicated by special permission To His Excellency The Right Hon. Sir Charles Bagot, G.C.B. Gov'r Gen'l of British N. America by his very obedient, humble & devoted servant James Cane.

Engraved and printed by Sherman & Smith (NY). Lithograph; 1 inch to 7 chains.

Image courtesy TPL: T1842/4Mlrg c1. Winearls, MUC no. 2077

The Toronto Archives has a very high-resolution scan that is not coloured. This scan is excellent for examining the tiniest of details:

Click the image to view a full-size version (4+ MB).

1842 Topographical Map of the City and Liberties of Toronto - James Cane

Original image scan courtesy City of Toronto Archives (1933 Duplicate: Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 15, Item 76; Original is MT255, Records Centre box 591507). Large version liberated by W. Xavier Snelgrove. Also: U of T has a mediocre scan here.

If you’d like to see this copy in person, visit the City of Toronto Archives: go up the main stairs and look inside the meeting room to the left of the top of the stairs. The map hangs on the wall there.

“James Cane was a civil engineer and artist, who worked in Toronto and Montreal in the late 1830s and 1840s. This plan was printed in New York for lack of local lithographers of maps. In 1846 he produced a similar map of Montreal. Little is known about his background, but the great care with which the map has been executed suggests considerable training in surveying and map-making.”
- Ganton/Winearls, ibid.

The coat of arms graphic is fascinating to examine:

This graphic is a stylized version of Toronto’s old coat of arms, which was chosen by William Lyon Mackenzie and city council during his term as Toronto’s first mayor.

“The shield consisted of four quarters between a white cross charged with a red maple leaf. The first quarter was red and charged with three golden lions as an allusion to the coat of arms of England, the second was blue with a white stylized rose to allude to York, the third was also blue with a white cog wheel for industry and the final fourth quarter showed a scene of a steam boat in red and gold to represent the importance of the lake and water ways in and around the city. The crest was a beaver atop a gold mural crown. The supporters were a First Nations warrior (likely representing the local Mississaugas) with bow on the viewer’s left and the personification of Britannia with trident and shield painted with the Union Jack to the viewer’s right. The motto was “Industry, Intelligence, Integrity”.

In an even earlier version, a beaver was in place of the white rose and a sheaf of wheat instead of the cog wheel. As well the earlier coat of arm's First Nations supporter was a Chief holding an axe and both supporters were facing directly across to one another.” [Wikipedia]

It makes for an interesting contrast to the current coat of arms. Full description here.

Please ‘Like’ and Share these maps with other Toronto history enthusiasts! (+1s are also welcome!)