Robert Home Smith (1877 – 1935) was a lawyer, business man, civil servant, and land developer.   In the early 1900’s he acquired 3000 acres of land along the Humber River, from Lake Ontario north to what is now Eglinton Ave. 

 A mural has been painted by Emilia Jajus on Royal York Road as it passes under the train tracks close to Dundas West.  The east side of the underpass is finished and it depicts Robert Home Smith and some of the effects that he had on the area.

below:  At the south end of the mural there is a portrait of Robert Home Smith.  A young girl can be seen hiding behind the trunk of a large tree.   Because the tree is painted on the corner, you can’t see the young boy who is hiding on the other side of the tree until you get closer to the mural.

part of a mural on an underpass, including a portrait of a man, Robert Home Smith

part of an historical mural on an underpass, two kids are playing, one on either side of a large tree that has been painted on the corner.

 below: Part of the mural, fishing in the Humber River by the bridge at the Old Mill.  The bridge was built in 1916 after an older bridge was washed out in a storm.  It is still there.

part of a mural showing a stone bridge over a river, the Humber River.  A man is fishing in the river from the shore.

Part of the land that he owned was the site of the King’s Mill.  This mill was built in 1793 on orders from Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe.  It was to mill lumber for the proposed town of York.    Here, Home Smith built the Old Mill Hotel as well as the  the Old Mill Tea Room.  The tea room was opened on 4 Aug 1914, the same day that Britain declared war on Germany.

below:  Part of the mural, the Old Mill Hotel

part of a mural that shows the Old Mill hotel, a tudor style two storey building with the lower part being made of stone

below: The Old Mill hotel in 1945

Copy of a 1945 photo of the Old Mill hotel in Toronto

photo from the City of Toronto Archives

Robert Home Smith planned to develop the land on both sides of the Humber River (known as the Humber Valley Surveys) into residential lots that were aimed at affluent buyers.  Although he died before the completion of this project, the neighbourhood of Kingsway as well as parts of Swansea, Baby Point, and Humber Village, still stand.

part of a mural showing a two storey stone house with fake tudor upper storey, in autumn, with tree with orange leaves beside the house.

The parkland that is adjacent to the Humber River as it curves around Baby Point is named Home Smith Park in memory of this man.

below:   A poor quality photo showing a view of the whole mural.   A replacement photo is needed, one taken on a day when there aren’t so many shadows!

picture of a mural painted an the wall of an underpass.

  1. Roger Pocock says:

    Reblogged this on Windows into History (Reblogs and News) and commented:
    Suggested reading – a beautiful mural and the history behind it. Reblogged on Windows into History,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s