St. George’s On-The-Hill Cemetery is located in Etobicoke on the north side of Dundas St West, east of Islington Ave, and operated by St. George’s On-The-Hill Anglican Church.
St. George’s was formally consecrated in 1847 and the first burial was of a girl named Hanna Trist in August of that year. While the exact location went unrecorded, notes suggest that Hanna Trist rests at St. Mary’s Place directly across the front doors of the church. Interestingly though is that none of her family members were ever buried here at St. George’s, which leads to thoughts on who this young lady was, why she was buried here, and whether her family left the area after her death.
In the old days, the church caretaker used to dig all graves by hand and tidy up each fall and spring, cutting down weeds with a scythe, burning deadwood, leaves and dry grass on site. Also, gravestones used to be made of marble, but over time, accelerated by acid rain, the engraved names faded away. Today, all headstones and markers are made of granite, which is sourced from mines all over the world.
While each of the over 3,000 people buried in the cemetery’s 2.9 acres are dear members of mostly local families, there are some individuals of note resting in peace at St. George’s Cemetery (map of graves of historic interest).
In alphabetical order:
† Appleby, John
Mr. Appleby purchased a 200-acre farm from the Musson estate in 1887. The land was located between present-day Islington and Kipling, north of Burnhamthorpe, up to Bywood. In 1900, Mr. Appleby retired, moved to Lambton Mills, and left the farm to his son, William. When his father died, William sold the land for the development of the Islington Golf Course, which was delayed by World War I. William was the first person in Islington to own a car: a 1917 Chevrolet. In 1920, he built a new, modern home with a furnace, indoor plumbing, an ice house and a garage with a box stove to keep the car radiator from freezing. His daughter, Mary, obtained a law degree and helped create the Etobicoke Historical Society. She was also involved in the preservation of The Montgomery Inn. Mary died in 2003 at age 93.
† Creech, Meade
Mr. Creech moved to Lambton Mills in 1843. Although he had no formal training, he became a builder and built a brick school on the northwest corner of Bloor and Hwy 27, which is the location of Lambton Kingsway Junior Middle School today. He also erected a Masonic Lodge where the Mastermind toy store is located now, and Lambton Mills Methodist Church on Dundas. That church building is still standing in its original location although a retail store front was added. However, the round church window can still be seen above the addition. Mr. Creech’s home was located just west of Gibson’s cleaners but was ultimately torn down.
† DeCoursier, Robert and Edward
In September 1879 Robert left his home at the southwest corner of Dundas and Prince Edward carrying a double-barreled gun, walking a short distance to his brother’s workplace and shot him dead. Robert was then seen ingesting prussic acid or hydrogen cyanide in front of the Methodist Church. The local doctor saved his life and Robert was arrested only to be sentenced to death by hanging. The day before his execution he ingested prussic acid again, and this time he died. His body was buried in the family plot at St. George’s Cemetery along with his parents and brother Edward.
† Dunn, William
Mr. Dunn purchased the Islington General Store at the corner of Dundas and Burnhamthorpe, close to his family’s home on Burnhamthorpe Crescent. In 1906 he took over the position of local postmaster from Elizabteh Musson (see below Musson, Edward).
† Evans, John Dillon
Mr. Evans came to Islington in 1879 and married Isabella Beatty. He was involved in local politics as a Justice of the Peace, a councilor, a reeve. His home was located on the south side of Dundas next to the Methodist Church manse but was later torn down. The building housing the manse still stands at
4879/4881 Dundas St West where a mural of the manse can now be found.
† Glover, Ann
Mrs. Ann Glover was married to Joshua Glover, a slave in St. Louis, Missouri. Jushua escaped in 1852 and made his way to Canada through the Underground Railway, ending up in Islington in 1854. There were 39 black people living in the area when Joshua married Ann, a white Irish woman. Ann died ten years later at age 35 and was buried at St George’s Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Joshua re-married another white Irish woman, Maryann, who is also buried here at St. George’s. Joshua rests in peace at St James Cemetery.
† Guest, John Schofield (1906 – 1972)
Mr. Guest won a Silver medal in double sculls rowing at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.
† Hamilton, Reg (1914 – 1991)
Mr. Hamilton won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942 and 1945.
† Irwin, Henrietta (1907 – 2019)
At 112 years, Mrs. Irwin was the second oldest person in Canada.
† Musson, Edward
Mr. Musson acquired a 200-acre parcel of land in 1843 which now is home to the Islington Golf Course. Mr. Musson was the owner of the general store at the corner of Dundas and Burnhamthorpe and operated a sawmill on Mimico Creek. His son, Thomas, was the postmaster of the area until his death in 1899. His wife, Elizabeth, took over the position until her death in 1906, when William Dunn (see above) took over from her.
† Tier, Robert
Mr. Tier purchased a 15-acre plot of land at the southwest corner of Dundas and Islington in 1872. The land was very fertile muck soil, which allowed him to grow a variety of vegetables. However, Mr. Tier’s most important crop was celery. He covered the stalks with white paper resulting in plants that produced less chlorophyll and had a sweeter taste. Every summer retailers drove for miles to buy Mr. Tier’s high-quality product that only the wealthy could afford. In 1910, Mr. Tier hosted the Ontario Celery Association’s annual meeting on his property. Cheaper varieties of celery were introduced by the 1920s and the vegetable became less desirable.
† Wood, Samuel
Mr. Wood made his fortune in the New York and Philadelphia textile markets in the 1830s. Silk fabric was often stained by salt when transported on sailing ships. Mr. Wood developed a steam process to restore the damaged silk. Mr. and Mrs. Wood left the textile business and moved to rural Islington in the 1840s where they owned 50 acres of land. This area became known as Wood’s Corners. A few years later, the Wood family purchased 30 more acres in the triangle between Bloor and Dundas. Mr. Wood helped with building St George’s on-the-Hill Anglican Church in 1844 and was instrumental in hiring the first rector. Samuel Wood died in 1881. Between various members, the family eventually owned five of the six points at the crossroads of Bloor, Dundas and Kipling. Ultimately though, the land was sold to developers in the 1940s and the family home was demolished in 1965 in order to build the Six Points Plaza. Most of Wood’s Corners was expropriated to accommodate the widening of Dundas, Bloor and Kipling. There are two windows dedicated to the Wood family at St. George’s on-the-Hill Anglican Church.