Friday, April 23, 2010

Miles Park - Miles Road

Miles Park straddled both sides of present day Miles Road down to Lake Ontario.  Miles Park was the creation of Arthur Miles.   Miles was born in Toronto in 1873. He originally worked on a dairy farm before leaving for South Africa in 1894 to seek his fortune in the gold fields of South Africa. Within a few years he obtained a senior position with the Crown Deep Mine Company owned by Paul Kruger.

He returned to Toronto in 1900 and founded A.W. Miles Company, Undertakers, setting up the first funeral chapel in Toronto and modernizing the undertaking business in Canada. He introduced the first motorized hearse and handled the funeral of many of Canada's most notable statesmen and citizens including Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Sir William Mulock, Sir Joseph Flavelle, Sir Henry Pellatt and Sir William Hearst to name a few.

He established his 3 acre lakefront estate in Mimico in 1912 complete with a private zoo. The zoo was established on the north side of the street and included birds, monkeys, ostriches, horses, donkeys, camels and an elephant. On the south side of the street was the pleasure grounds including a dancing pavilion, picnic area, snack building and a baseball diamond. The Park was open to the public for use by all.  Many community and church groups availed themselves of Mr. Miles' hospitality.  At the foot of the street he built a large "U" shaped wooden pier into the lake which held a number of decorative swans.

At the foot on the street on the south side he built his large home at 11 Miles Road. Mr. Miles was generous with his good fortune, and the grounds were open to the public free of charge. Many organizations availed themselves of his warm hospitality over the years. However, as the Town of Mimico grew, complaints about the smell of the zoo grew in number. In the early 1930s Mimico Council asked him to consider leaving. Reluctantly, he left and purchased a large 200 acre estate in Erindale, to which he was able to move the zoo animals.

1 comment:

  1. A W Miles also being in attenance at the T P Loblaw funeral, as well as many of the neighbours from that area.

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