Thomas Dick

Section K, Lot 81
Toronto Necropolis

Born in Scotland in 1809, Thomas Dick went to sea as a youth and earned his master’s certificate. He immigrated to Upper Canada about 1833 and went to work at the newly established Niagara Harbour and Dock Company in Niagara-on-the-Lake. By 1835 Dick was sailing the schooner Fanny, and he commanded HMS Experiment at the battle of the Windmill, on November 12. 1838. During the 1840s and 1850s Thomas Dick commanded several popular passenger steamers, some of which are said to have been built under his supervision. In 1850 he purchased the City of Toronto, the first of a number of ships he was to own and command in a day when steamboat skippers enjoyed considerable prestige in the community. In 1858, He and his brother James are said to have inaugurated the first mail service between Collingwood and Fort William (Thunder Bay) with the steamer Rescue. He is said to have operated the first steamship along the north shore of Lake Superior, in 1858. In 1843, Dick purchased a parcel of land and built Ontario Terrace, four brick houses soon occupied by Knox Theological College. In subsequent years, the building was refurbished, renamed, sold, and renamed again. In 1862 Dick bought back the property, renovated again, and renamed it the Queen’s Hotel, which became an integral part of the boomtown on Front Street from 1862 to 1874. The Fairmont Royal York occupies the site today. Dick served as an alderman for St. George’s ward in 1871-72, as was also a director of the St. Lawrence Bank and the Toronto, Grey Bruce railway. He was chairman of the Toronto Necropolis Building Committee when Henry Langley was overseeing construction of the chapel, superintendent’s lodge and porté cochére. He died on November 6, 1874.

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