Warring Kennedy

Plot J, Lot 16
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

Born in County Down, Ireland on November 12, 1872, young Kennedy went to school in Londonderry before apprenticing in the dry goods business in a small shop in the town of Kilrea. Then it was on to Belfast, and ten years later the thirty-year-old immigrated to Toronto, Upper Canada, where he obtained employment in the Golden Lion dry goods emporium located on the south side of King Street — on the site of today’s King Edward Hotel. After a time, he joined the firm of Senator John Macdonald, “The merchant prince,” and worked there for a short time before he joined two other young gentlemen in the same company to form the new dry goods firm of Samson, Kennedy and Gemmel. Later, as simply Samson and Kennedy, the firm came to be regarded as one of the finest in the country. In 1871, Kennedy tried his hand at municipal politics and was elected alderman for St. John’s ward. He ran for the mayor’s chair in 1877, but was defeated. He returned for another try in 1894 when he defeated R. J. Fleming (Plot O, Lot 14). He defeated Fleming again in 1895 by the slimmest majority in the city’s political history, forty-five votes.
   Following his second term as Toronto’s chief magistrate, Kennedy returned to private life and accepted a number of company directorships. He was the first president of the Commercial Travellers’ Association and sat on the boards of the House of Industry, Hospital for the Incurables, and the Irish Protestant Association. He was also a trustee of the Toronto General Burying Grounds Trust (now Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries), a position he held for 1876 until 1904. It was early in the morning of June 25, 1904 when Warring Kennedy passed away at the home of his sister at 91 Spencer Avenue in Parkdale.

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

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