The Society recently received a special donation of an album of photographs taken at a re-enactment of the Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern which took place on December 4, 1971, near Don Mills Road and the 401.
The re-enactment was staged to raise money for the Moatfield Farm Foundation which was involved in the successful campaign to save the Duncan House, now a restaurant.
The original battle took place in December of 1837 at the Tavern, which stood on Yonge Street just north of Eglinton Avenue. The rebels were decisively defeated by troops under the command of Lieutenant Governor Francis Bond Head and the inn was burned. During the re-enactment, a replica of the inn was burned. Around 6,000 people attended the event.
The album and additional material were donated to the Society by Nicholas Jennings whose father Cedric Jennings was editor of the The Mirror and also founder of the Moatfield Farm Foundation.
We hope that in the near future we will be able to bring this unique album to a meeting for attendees to see!
Select any image to open photo gallery
The accompanying explanation by Cedric Jennings reads:
On Saturday, December 4, 1971, the Moatfield Farm Foundation was the sponsor of a re-enactment of the Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern.
The re-enactment took place in the valley of land west of Don Mills Road and south of Highway 401. A replica of Montgomery’s Tavern, a facade built by the CBC Properties Department, was duly burned by the loyal troops taking part, with the aid of the North York Fire Department. Metro Police assisted extensively in the ‘rebellion’.
The Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment) took part, as did their predecessors at the real battle in 1837. Other troops included the Fort York Guard and the Upper Canada rifles. Many members of George S. Henry School, nearby, played the part of rebels. Members of the public, including federal and provincial cabinet ministers, took part in period costume. Dennis Timbrell, MPP for Don Mills and later a Cabinet Minister in the Davis Government, played the role of Sir Francis Bond Head, the lieutenant governor of the day.
On the Friday previous, December 3, Prime Minster Pierre Elliott Trudeau reviewed a guard of honour of the Queen’s York Rangers, half dressed in Simcoe period uniform and half in combat uniform.
Some 6,000 people attended the re-enactment. It was the culmination of a long campaign to preserve an old farmhouse (the Duncan House) which used to stand at the corner of Don Mills Road and York Mills Road (Duncan Corners) in pioneer times and transform 140 acres of valley land west of Don Mills Road and south of 401 over to Leslie as parkland. Both objectives were eventually realized. The Duncan House was moved to a site west of Don Mills Road and became a restaurant with considerable additions. The valley land is parkland.
The Moatfield Farm Foundation was founded by a group of Don Mills businessmen, led by Cedric Jennings, then managing editor of The Mirror, then based nearby on Lesmill.
Christina, Nicholas and Alison Jennings assisted at the ‘rebellion’.