Weslayan Methodist Church and “Centennial” church at Kingston Road at Centennial Road was built in 1891.
The community was built on the former Annis farm and since much of the planning and construction took place in 1967, the community was named in honour of the 100th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. The Charlottetown Conference gave the community, street and school its name. Other street names recognize several of Canada’s 1867 Fathers of Confederation: D’Arcy McGee, Samuel Tilley, J.C. Chapais, Ambrose Shea, Hector Langevin, Thomas Haviland, J. Cockburn, Charles Tupper, J. McCulley. Oliver Mowat was also recognized in the naming of the Collegiate Institute.
Centennial Road is often mistakenly associated with this street name program but despite the fact that the community was named in recognition of Canada’s Centennial, Centennial Road was actually named in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the death of John Wesley in 1891. Wesley founded the Wesleyan Methodist Churches and the “Centennial” Wesleyan church at Kingston Road and Centennial Road North was built in 1891. The church was named to honour its founder and Centennial Road named after the church.
The church building today.
Sir Charles Tupper
Tupper was a doctor, politician, Father of Confederation, and street in our neighbourhood just north of Mowat Collegiate. In 1843, he established a medical practice and drug store in his home town of Amherst, Nova Scotia. He entered politics in 1855 by unseating Joseph Howe. His political career saw the development of the railway, the Free School Act in Nova Scotia and Confederation. Tupper was the premier of Nova Scotia from 1864 to 1867 and the sixth prime minister of Canada serving for 69 days in 1896. He was the last surviving Father of Confederation and died in 1915 at age 94.
Closson street, which runs north of Lawson and west of Centennial Rd., is named after the Closson family who were pioneer settlers in southeast Scarborough. John Closson came from the State of New York and he settled in Highland Creek in the early 1800s. John was a tanner and shoemaker by trade. His son, Stephen, served as one of the first Clerks of the Township from 1851 to 1854 and he operated a sawmill in Highland Creek.
Colonel Asa Danforth Jr.
In 1799, American entrepreneur Colonel Asa Danforth Jr. was granted the contract to build a road connecting the new town of York (Toronto) to Kingston through the virgin forests north of Lake Ontario. He was to be paid $90 per mile to oversee construction, but conflicts with the local administrators soon emerged. When Col. Danforth completed his road in December 1800, it was deemed substandard and he was never fully paid for the work. There was much controversy around American entrepreneurs exploiting opportunities to enrich themselves in Upper Canada. Danforth returned to the United States a bitter and bankrupt man. Danforth Road, Danforth Village and Danforth Ave. are named for Asa Danforth, Jr. Colonel Danforth Park is also named after him for his contribution to the “expansion of the Toronto road network.”
Thomas D’Arcy McGee
This street runs between Centennial Rd. and Conference Blvd. The correct spelling of the name is D’Arcy McGee after Thomas D’Arcy McGee, who was born in Ireland in 1825. After some time in the United States, McGee immigrated to Montreal in 1857. McGee was an outspoken critic of American institutions and of the American way of life. In 1858, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada and he advocated for the creation of an independent Canada. McGee became minister of agriculture, immigration and statistics in the Conservative government formed in 1863. He was a Canadian delegate to the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864. Following the Confederation of Canada, McGee had lost much of his Irish Catholic support. On April 7, 1868, McGee was assassinated by a single shot to the neck from a handgun held by Patrick J. Whelan. There were conspiracy theorists who questioned Whelan’s guilt suggesting that he was a scapegoat for a Protestant plot. McGee was given a state funeral in Ottawa, which was known to be one of the largest funerals in Canadian history.
Thomas Heath Haviland
Haviland, which runs just east of Centennial Road south of Lawson, is named after Thomas Heath Haviland. He was born in Charlottetown, P.E.I., in 1822. A lawyer, politician, land owner, and lieutenant governor, Haviland was one of the Masonic Fathers of Confederation. A staunch supporter of Confederation, Haviland was quoted as saying ‘’the provinces would, ere long, be one great country or nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”
Sir Oliver Mowat
Our high school was named after Sir Oliver Mowat (1820 to 1903), a lawyer, politician and Liberal Party leader who served for nearly 24 years as the third premier of Ontario. He was the eighth Lieutenant Governor of this province and a Father of Confederation. Mowat was born in Kingston, trained as a lawyer in the law office of John A. Macdonald, then settled in Toronto. He entered politics as an alderman in 1857 and a year later became a member of the Legislative Assembly. Mowat was a member of the Great Coalition government of 1864, which brought Canada East and Canada West together. He was also at that year’s Quebec Conference where he helped work out the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. As premier in the 1880s, he was involved in a series of disputes that decentralized Canada and gave the provinces far more power than Macdonald had intended.