Peter Rothwell Lamb

Section K, Lot 68
Toronto Necropolis

Peter arrived in Toronto in 1834. In 1848 he established the P. R. Lamb Manufactory at the east end of Amelia Street. The first major industry to establish west of the Don River between Queen and Bloor Streets, Lamb’s produced a number of well-known products. The business was very successful, with five buildings occupying the site in 1858, which eventually grew to 12 buildings. The factory was situated along Lamb’s Creek, which was known in mid-nineteenth century as the most polluted stream in Toronto due to the pollution derived from this enterprise. Peter Lamb and his son Daniel had a tannery, glue factory and stove black factory here from 1849 to 1888. There they made leather, blacking in cakes and tins, neatsfoot oil (made from cows), and ground bone which was used for manure. Daniel took over the running of the business in the 1860s. They dumped all sorts of noxious substances into the creek, but it was the terrible stench of the place that provoked the City Fathers to start negotiations to buy the property. Bargaining was not going well, until the factory was burnt to the ground. The buildings were grossly under-insured, so the Lambs had little reason to hold on. Also the area around the factory was becoming built up, and the residents objected to the smell. This put an end to the business. Along with Joseph Workman, Peter co-founded the Unitarian Church of Canada in 1846. Peter Lamb died on August 5, 1864. (See also Daniel Lamb, Plot X, Lot 50, Mount Pleasant Cemetery.)

 Story Archives »