William Holmes Howland

Section M, Lot 101
Toronto Necropolis

William Holmes Howland, who became known as “the man who made Toronto the Good,” was born on June 11, 1833 at Lambton Mills, Ontario, the son of Sir William Pearce Howland, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, 1861-73; and brother of Oliver Aiken Howland, Mayor of Toronto, 1901-2. Educated at Upper Canada College, he joined the family business (the grain trade) at the age of 16, before striking out on his own. By age 28, he was involved in numerous financial enterprises, and was head of two insurance companies – President of Queen City Insurance. At age 30, in 1874 he was elected President of the Board of Trade. He converted to evangelical Christianity. An Ardent temperance advocate, he spent nearly all his spare time and most of his fortune on the Toronto General Hospital, the Christian Missionary Union, and the Mimico Industrial School for boys, etc. He also took an interest in the slum dwellers of the city. In 1886 and ’87, running on a moral reform platform, he was elected Mayor of Toronto. His two terms in office were beset by scandal and controversy. He retired from civic politics at age 43. Following his retirement, he tried to sort out his business affairs, but was never able to recoup his losses. On December 12, 1893, Howland died of pneumonia.

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