PILLORY, STOCKS AND WATER WELL
Market Lane, just south of King St. East, west of the St. Lawrence Hall, Toronto
A series of marble blocks, extending for 12 feet and rising to 8 feet in height, make up a wall on the site of the original town centre of York, a five and a half-acre site dedicated as a market in 1803.
The holes in the wall represent the pillory, whipping post and stocks. The nearby original town well is represented by a hand pump. Two symbolic holes stand for the pillory, two holes for hands, and a centre hole for the head of the victim suffering public punishment. The stocks were a variant sit-down construction with holes for hands and feet, and one presumably for the head. The practice of public branding was also carried out here. The stocks were moved to the front of the old jail on King St. East, north side, but in 1834 City Council abolished the use of such means to punish offenders. The first market building (a 24 by 30 foot single-storey wooden structure) was built nearby in 1814, and the town's first public well was dug here in 1823.
This structure was the winning submission in an open sculpture competition sponsored by the City of Toronto in June 1985 and won by Morry Edelstein and Brian McLaren, who titled it “Return of the Magri Stecchi”. Unfortunately the accompanying plates and photos at the rear of the wall inadequately convey the meaning of the memorial.