John Doel

Section M, Lot 46
Toronto Necropolis

Born in 1790 in Wiltshire, England, John Doel moved with his family to Philadelphia in 1817, then to York in 1818. For a while Doel worked delivering mail, but he soon established a brewery and a tavern at the rear of his home at the north-west corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. This, along with profitable investments in real estate, provided him with a comfortable living. A radical Reformer in politics, St. Andrew’s ward elected him in 1834 to the Toronto City Council, where he voted for William Lyon Mackenzie as mayor; he was re-elected in 1835 and 1836. It is usually stated that when, in October, Mackenzie presented his plans for seizing the lieutenant governor and establishing a provisional government, Doel would not assent to them and took no part in the uprising. However, there is some evidence that Mackenzie’s supporters in Toronto used Doel’s brewery as a gathering place as late as 5 December. Doel was arrested three times, and on each occasion imprisoned for several days; his home was subjected to repeated searches and soldiers were billeted with the family. The brewery continued to operate until it burned down on April 11, 1847. Doel died in 1871. His home was demolished in 1925. Looking at the intersection today, it’s hard to believe a brewery was ever there, much less one which harboured secrecy and rebellion!

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