Righteous Toronto

Following the War of 1812, Toronto was governed by the power and opinions of the conservative establishment known as the Family Compact. When Toronto became known as the City of Churches because of its many steeples, it was also a city with tremendous problems related to drunkenness, poverty, unsanitary streets and water, workers’ rights, prostitution, business and political corruption, and crime. William Holmes Howland, a business man and Evangelical Christian, served as Toronto’s mayor in 1886 and 1887, elected on a reform platform aimed at making Toronto good. Toronto became known as “Toronto the Good,” a name that stuck well into the 20th century.

The stories and sites under the theme “Law and Order” show the high moral overtone in Toronto’s culture that lasted into the 1960s, contrasted with some of the city’s high profile crimes and acts of intolerance.

This trail highlights both the roots of the legal profession in Ontario and the crimes that would ultimately change attitudes and laws in the city. It begins with the Bathhouse Raids, whichput the city’s homophobia on centre stage but ultimately became a catalyst in the fight for gay rights.

The Stories