Thomas W. Thompson

Section 32, Lot 864
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

Born in 1914 next door to Toronto’s famous Casa Loma, where his father worked as a groundskeeper, young Tommy Thompson obtained after-school employment looking after the gardens at Prospect Cemetery (another member of the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries) on St. Clair Avenue West. After graduating from high school, Thompson enrolled at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph and having completed courses there in 1936, was hired as a gardener at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. With the outbreak of war, Thompson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and trained as a navigator-bombardier.
    After the war, he spent some time in the Ontario Department of Education advising communities on the care of parks, arenas and playgrounds, before becoming Parks Superintendent for the city of Port Arthur (now part of Thunder Bay), Ontario. Thompson returned to Toronto in 1955 and became the first Parks Commissioner for the newly established Metropolitan Toronto Parks Department, a position he held for more than 20 years. Soon after the new Metro Zoo in Scarborough opened, Thompson was appointed director and helped “get the bugs” out of the new facility. He retired in 1981, but kept busy serving on numerous committees and leading public walks around his beloved city. Some of his most popular forages were through Mount Pleasant Cemetery where he loved to talk about the unique collection of trees and shrubs. 71-year-old Tommy Thompson died at the Western Hospital on March 1, 1985. Carved on his memorial stone is a likeness of Tommy’s famous walking stick and the words that will always remind us of his love of parks and green spaces, “Please Walk on the Grass.”

Mike Filey
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded

 Story Archives »