Northeast corner Front and Jarvis Sts., Toronto
The large round medallions of the Griffin and the St. Lawrence are mounted on a pedestal, along with extensive texts that tell the story:
“Rene-Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687). A dauntless explorer of the central wilderness of North America, was inspired to build the Griffin in his efforts to establish a French colony. This, the first European sailing ship to venture into the Great Lakes, was built in the winter of 1679 near Niagara Falls. Later that year, during her initial voyage on the Upper Lakes, she vanished without a trace.
“During the War of 1812, the British and American naval squadrons vied for superiority on Lake Ontario.The British, under the command of Admiral Sir James Yeo, won this contest in September 1814 when they launched HMS St. Lawrence at Kingston. The St. Lawrence, pierced for 112 guns, swung the balance of naval power overwhelmingly to the British for the remainder of the war.
“These bas-relief medallions were created by Canadian sculptor Emanuel Hahn (1881-1975) and were carved by Louis Temporale. Originally they were installed in the Memorial Arch (Clifton Gate) at Niagara Falls, Ontario, when it was erected in 1938, and dedicated to the early pioneers (including William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto). The Arch was demolished in 1967. The medallions were acquired recently from the Niagara Parks Commission, and later, following restoration, they were installed here, on the original waterfront of the Town of York”.