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Historicist: The Toronto Settler Who Failed to Build a Hemp Empire

An early resident of the Town of York saw prestige and prosperity slip through his grasp.

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William Bond’s report on hemp. Royal Society of Arts, Transactions of the Society Instituted at London for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, 24(1807): 143-58.

William Bond was a Queen’s Ranger, one of the early residents of the Town of York, and among the first settlers granted lands along Yonge Street. Bond Lake in today’s Richmond Hill was on that property. Bond also owned York’s first tree nursery, located at Ontario and Duchess (now Richmond) Streets, and, among other minor roles, he served as York’s Town Clerk in 1803. Three years later, he would travel to England on behalf of a newly established organization at York, win accolades from the top echelons of England’s scientific community, and meet with influential gentlemen and powerful imperial officials that few residents of York—or colonials anywhere across the British Empire—would ever dream of meeting. After having spent more time and money in England than he had planned, Bond returned to York in 1809, only to find any rewards from his work in London become lost in a cloud of scandal, not of his making, leaving him ultimately disillusioned and utterly disappointed.

Keep reading: Historicist: The Toronto Settler Who Failed to Build a Hemp Empire

culture

Reel Toronto: Life

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

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Toronto has been a big part of Robert Pattinson making the shift from dreamy-eyed vampiric hunk to bona fide actor. He shot two movies here with David Cronenberg—Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars—before returning with Anton Corbijn to shoot last year’s Life. It came and went without too much fuss, but the story, about Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock and his relationship with James Dean, isn’t so bad.

If nothing else, it’s a cool opportunity for us to see our city portray mid-century New York City.

Keep reading: Reel Toronto: Life