LOUNT AND PETER MATTHEWS
corner King St. East and Toronto St., Toronto
the Court House and Jail stood back 1100 feet on the north side of
King Street, leaving the space called Courthouse Square. The prison
yard was to the rear (north) of the prison, facing present-day Court
St. The present-day Courthouse Square faced the jail yard in the
1830s and was known as “Hangman’s Square”.
1838, two of William Lyon Mackenzie’s most loyal supporters
executed here by hanging in a vengeful retaliation by then
Lt-Governor Sir George Arthur for their part in the 1837 Rebellion.
Mass petitions for clemency were ignored by Arthur, in order to make
an example of the two leaders for those who still sympathized with
Mackenzie’s aims for reform and independence from Britain.
deaths made them political martyrs, an outcome not expected by the
Colonial Office and which may have resulted in halting further
executions. Mackenzie was shocked by the hangings. Taking refuge in
the United States, he wrote bitter comments from Rochester:
martyrs-Royal mercy. Rob the people first, then murder ’em
recording the execution was located near the courthouse and jail for
many years, but has disappeared - an unsolved mystery to date. In
current days the Toronto Historical Board (now Heritage Toronto)
planned a new plaque for the parkette north of the
office buildings that have replaced the historic site. City Council
had been long considering turning the entire area into a memorial
park, but corporate demands for this prime real estate won the day.