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Waterfront Planning : King's Harbour

Olde Village of Port Union



Under the copyright laws, neither the document as presented in the KING’S HARBOUR MARINE PARK (Olde Village of Port Union) "the concept" may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, transported, or reduced to an electronic medium in machine readable form, in whole or in part, aside from the supportive comments provided by the Regeneration Trust or the City of Scarborough and the Metropolitan Toronto Regional Conservation Authority without the prior written consent of The NANCY-GRIFFON Fund Inc.

King’s Harbour Marine Park (The Olde Village of Port Union)

 Executive Summary:

 Let us if you will, ask you to shut your eyes and picture yourself in the countryside making a right hand turn and finding that you are driving down a road that you don’t remember being there before, a roadway yet still familiar and well trodden. As you proceed you will discover that this road is liken to a door that leads you back in time to the past, full of the familiar sights and sounds accompanied by the smells and feelings that you remember from long ago. You hear the laughter of people, the bustle of village life, the bells of churches and the sounds emanating from the busy little harbour. You hear the voices of many people and of the great many people who come to fill this great new Country of ours. A land where people are born, where they live and toil and are buried beneath its mantle. A Country, a nation like so many, but unlike so many, a Country free and tolerant, hard working and respective of others.

 KING’S HARBOUR is a replica of so many Great Lake settlements which existed long before we had inland towns and village communities. The olde towne site was called Port Union and was situated on the Adams Creek between the Rouge and Highland Creek valleys. How appropriate for an olde village which is to be reborn. The new community will be full of people from around the world just as it was before. We were diverse, yet then, as now, and as it will be in the future, we are a union of people, we are Country, we are above all Canadian, a Canadian union.

 What is this Canadian union at KING’S HARBOUR. We are a people who know that we can not do it alone. But we believe in the strengths of our community. We work hard to preserve all that is best and bright, that quality of character, our heritage and our past and to do what we can do to preserve that certain image. We take ourselves seriously. We dedicate ourselves to the land first above all; and above all we have a logical and sensible attitude to growth and to our future. We keep pride in the soul whatever the religion, and above all we keep pride in the family and in the family of families, the Community. We honour our ancestors and the precursors in life and their works which helped to shape this great land and our Community.

 KING’S HARBOUR will be a key regional amenity for our Community just as Port Union was so many long years ago when it was originally built in 1834 and included the Scarborough Markham Pickering Wharf Company. We at the Foundation ask you to support us and to become a proud sponsor. We ask that you as a tax paying citizen think of the economic benefits that will accrue to our community and the impact that it will have on job creation, both directly and indirectly. This facility will operate year round and will affect you both directly and indirectly. For those of you who live in the greater Toronto area, both individually and as a company, you are an equity holder and a stake holder. This project is one of the few projects that will actually create a positive return for the taxpayer.

The Concept:

 KING’S HARBOUR marine park is a concept dedicated to the restoration of the olde village of Port Union and its harbour which was first initiated under the Statutes of Queen Victoria in 1834, and financed by the local early settlers. The new village and the harbour will be akin to a commercialized marine form of the Black Creek Pioneer Village on the same scale as Bluffers Park, with period architecture from 1760 to 1860 to encompass the late French period along with the early English period. There are two major differences here and they are that this site actually existed and that it will be the only true regeneration project within the GTA area along the waterfront. The other major aspect to this project is that it will be self funding. So much so that it will have a major beneficial impact on the operations of the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, in terms of attracting tourist dollars, which like so many other Provincially funded projects can not operate without Provincial support. In this regard the "new" olde village of Port Union will be like a period sailing village and anything you see in the village will be available for sale, as as it was nearly 160 years ago. In this fashion, each visitor will be able to take a little piece of early Canadian history home with them. The "why" in being a Canadian.


 The Olde Village of Port Union:

The KING’S HARBOUR marine park is a full scale functional marine facility with museum quality which is open daily, year round, except on Christmas and New Years day.

 Summer Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with admission to the general grounds closed at 6 p.m. Special evening hours are from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. from May to the October Thanksgiving Day weekend.

 Winter Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to grounds and exhibits.

 Admission: Adults $5.00 (18-65),Children $2.00 ( 8-17) ,and Seniors $1.00

(Those dressed in appropriate costumes are admitted free)

Children under the age of eight and service men in uniform are admitted free. Adults and children’s groups reservations and rates are available on request. All Canadian history teachers will be required to write a basic history test. Those failing will be admitted at twice the going rate.

 How To Reach The KING’S HARBOUR Marine Park

The KING’S HARBOUR marine park is located at the southern end of Port Union Road in Scarborough along with the waterfront and extends from the GO Station on the east to just east of the mouth of Highland Creek on the west. The park is minutes away from the 401 and Hwy 2 (Olde Kingston Road) interchange. It is twenty minutes away from the Metro Toronto Zoo and the Don Valley Expressway. This new and expanding full facility marine park is based upon the olde village of Port Union that was first established in 1834. The first settler of the area was Thomas Adams who emigrated from Oswego in the United States in 1808 and later helped to establish a new and thriving ship building center which lasted the better part of 60 years. Just north of KING’S HARBOUR is the Thomas Adams Park.

 Purpose of The KING’S HARBOUR Marine Park

 The KING’S HARBOUR marine park is operated by the NANCY-GRIFFON Fund as a non-profit educational marine museum facility that preserves and expands man’s knowledge and understanding of Canada’s marine heritage and shows its impact on the social and cultural life of the Nation. The primary emphasis is on the marine and commercial aspects of the Great Lakes and Upper Canada from the late 16th century to the mid 18th century.

 History of The KING’S HARBOUR Park

 The KING’S HARBOUR marine park and museum is a functional outdoor marine facility which includes historic vessels, boats, buildings and formal indoor exhibits that relate to Ontario’s marine history. The exhibit area consists of 10 hectares of land and 10 hectares of water.

In 1978 a number of residents of Toronto and Scarborough decided that it was necessary to formulate plans for the development of a truly functional marine museum in the Metropolitan Toronto area for the purpose of establishing a unique marine facility with full scale vessels to preserve some of the more praise worthy objects of Canada’s marine past. Through the generosity of friends from all over the world, the facility will grow to include more than 8 historical buildings including two at the KINGS SHIP YARD, four major vessels, more than twenty boats, a research library, a planetarium, substantial collections of marine artifacts and extensive educational programmes in conjunction with local institutions and marine groups.

 History of The Toronto Area

 The community of Toronto (greater metropolitan Toronto consists of a number of municipalities from Scarborough on the east to Etobicoke on the west) was historically a shipbuilding center. From the early French period to the present day, sloops and schooners were built in the Toronto area. In fact Lord Simcoe’s first boat yard was on the Humber River on the east bank just south of Bloor Street. For Scarborough residence the first yards were on the Rouge and Highland Creek Rivers. From the simple bargues of the French to the great warships of the War of 1812; from the graceful Victorian schooners to the simple Corvettes of two world wars. When wooden shipbuilding was at its peak, the Toronto yards were jammed with hundreds of sailing vessels both large and small. At one point there were more schooners sailing the great lakes around Ontario than there were around the maritime Provinces of Canada.

Shipbuilding was a major industry utilizing most of the major rivers in the area and when the graceful period of the Victorian schooner gave way, the small pleasure craft carrying immense spreads of canvas brought fame and glory to the Province. The CANADA was one such vessel and gave us the now famous CANADA’s Cup. For historians, you’ll remember that the CANADA was built on the 16 in Oakville from oak logs retrieved from the bottom of the river.

Shipbuilding from the early sloops and the graceful schooner SIMCOE which was built at the KING’S SHIPYARD in addition to the TORONTO which was built in 1799 as "one of the handsomest vessels...fair to be one of the swiftest sailing vessels..." There was another vessel called the TORONTO built on the banks of Toronto harbour during the War of 1812, an 18 gun brig. However this vessel was burned on the "stocks" when the Americans arrived and was burned along with most of the rest of the village of York at the time. The guns from the TORONTO were later removed from the mud and shipped back to Kingston and placed on board the new 110 gun H.M.S. St. LAWRENCE ( bigger than Nelson’s VICTORY ) which effectively brought the war on Lake Ontario to an end.

Although 19th century Toronto (York) was a merchant shipping port, it was also the home to some of the greatest merchant families in Canada and great fortunes were both won and lost. Indeed the economy and future well-being of the Province of Ontario was built on the keels of wooden ships.

 The Vessels

 Four major vessels, H.M.Schooner NANCY, a national historical vessel and the Canada’s greatest War Schooner from the War of 1812; the FRONTENAC, a national historical vessel from 1675 and the first European sailing ship (bargue) built and sailed on the great lakes and the first vessel to sail into what became Toronto harbour; the GRIFFON, a national historical vessel from 1679 which appeared on our coinage and was the first European vessel to sail on the upper great lakes; and finally H.M.S. St LAWRENCE, the greatest ship that ever sailed the Lakes and which was built in 1813 and never fired a shot in anger, brought final and lasting peace to Upper Canada at the end of the War of 1812. Interestingly enough the remains of these vessels now form part of the landfill for their respective waterfronts. These replicated vessels will be berthed at period wharfs and docks where they may be boarded by visitors. The little museum steamboat COLBOURNE will again make half-hour passenger runs across the waterfront to Toronto, and may be seen at her pier or underway.

Approximately 20 small craft, the largest such collection in Canada and one of the largest in the world are also preserved at the facility. Many are on display in the Small Craft Exhibit and the North Boat shed. Others are in storage and may be seen by arrangement with the Curatorial department. Some of the smaller craft afloat at the facilities’ piers would include the Collingwood and Mackinaw skiffs and various Batteau developed in early Canada.

 Indoor Exhibits

Several large buildings along the North Pier are devoted to the display of maritime art and artifacts. The two and a half story exhibition building houses ship models, paintings, scrimshaw and an exhibit called "Upper Canada York and the Great Lakes which traces the development of the major communities of Upper Canada and their maritime heritage from the 17th century through to the 19th century. The exhibits in the Faubert Building explain the shipping businesses of the great merchant families during the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as the shipbuilding industry in the Province of Ontario. The Crombie Building houses an exhibit of wooden figureheads and carvings along with a changing gallery exhibits of museum paintings, prints, and other marine art or folk art both past and present.

A separate building contains the Fisheries Exhibit where boats and fishing gear help to tell the story of North America’s oldest industry. There is also a scale model of a stone-hooker, a vessel which gathered stones from the lakeshore and used for the foundation stones for some of the oldest buildings and homes in and around Toronto. The model was donated by local builders.

 The Village Exhibit Area

 The village area is intended to give visitors a microcosmic impression of the 17th-19th century marine crafts and industries. Trades of a marine community are demonstrated in the sail loft, rigging loft, shipsmith shop, and shipbuilders shop along the north pier.

Other buildings in this area could include a Bank, shipping office, trade and customs shop, grocery and hardware store, printers and book shop, chapel, schoolhouse, apothecary, cooperage, tavern and ships chandlery. The Canadian Coast Guard and members of the Provincial Marine could also have a resource oriented building in the village area.

Many of the shoppes and store fronts could be brought to the museum area from other locations and integrated with the existing structures to help generate a period environment. Other buildings can be brought to the area and preserved around the village common area to complete the village environment. This would include the village lighthouse and the re-constructed Queen’s Bastion originally situated on the Toronto Islands opposite Fort York.

Children’s Museum

 The children’s museum would afford a view into the lives of the children who lived by the Lakes in the late 18th century. A representation of a vessel’s cabin would depict the living quarters of a captain’s family, complete with furnishings typical of a large sailing craft. Children can climb into the bunks and look through port holes at representative Lake vistas, or play with reproduction toys, dolls, clothing and games like those of the 19th century children. Most of these games and toys would be available for sale at our gift center as limited production pieces.

Lakeport Planetarium

Since early times navigators have used the heavenly bodies to determine their ships position at sea and on the great lakes, and even in this electronic age, mariners can still rely on them for their positional findings.

The Planetarium with its dome and projection equipment acquired from the Royal Ontario Museum planetarium, is designed to show the basics of astronomy and celestial navigation.

Groups of children or adults may, by arrangement with the Educational Department have special presentations.

Classes in celestial navigation, piloting and dead reckoning, meteorology and astronomy for adults and astronomy classes for children would be offered by the planetarium staff for a small tuition. The same facilities would be used by both Universities and Colleges along with the Canadian Power and Sail squadrons for classes.

 Small Boat Shoppe 

The purpose of the Small Boat Shoppe is to study, teach and encourage the construction and use of traditional small sailing and rowing boats. This is accomplished through field work and research into small craft plans and construction and use, the publication of articles and books both past and present from and by the bookshop and print house, the sale of line drawings and construction drawings, along with boat building instructions in classes held at the KING’S HARBOUR facilities and sponsored by local corporations and the ships lofting room.

Replicas of historically significant small craft (Collingwood Skiff) are built by the staff for use in the harbour and for instruction and demonstration of boat building techniques. Many will be available for sale in kit form. A small craft engine programme will also be available.

The annual Small Craft Workshop, a three day gathering of traditional boat owners, professional and amateur builders and enthusiast would allow participants to compare boat ideas and to learn more about wooden boat construction methods, preservation, restoration, tools and materials. The festivities would end with teams building bateaux from scratch and racing them across the harbour from the Queens Bastion to the Lighthouse quay.

Educational Programmes

The KING’S HARBOUR facility would offer a variety of special eductional programmes in marine history and other fields of marine interest through the Educational Department. School groups may make day trips or overnight stays at the facilities including accommodation in the square rigged vessels. Facility instructors and teachers will travel to the classrooms to give marine based programmes tailored to the needs and levels of the students.

The Mariner Programme, for young people ages 13 to 18, gives young people exposure to a variety of nautical subjects. Living aboard the ship H.M.S. ST. LAWRENCE, the students learn the fundamentals of sailing, rowing, small boat safety, weather patterns, marlinspike, seamanship and various aspects of marine history. Those who have successfully completed the H.M.S. ST. LAWRENCE phase of the programme are eligible to go aboard the 89 foot H.M. Schooner NANCY which takes young people around the Great Lakes during the summer season to give them the experience of life aboard a functional sailing vessel and to participate in the rich and vibrant marine heritage of this great Province. We will also be visiting other centers such as Erie Pennsylvania to sail with US Commodore Perry’s recently restored USS NIAGARA, also from the War of 1812.

Basic sailing courses for the adults and the children are offered in the spring and fall semester through the Education Department. In addition, we will be offering related courses to the officer training programmes for both the Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast guard.

The C.H.J. Snider Memorial :

Institute of Canadian Marine Studies

Each summer graduate level courses in Canadian marine history would be offered at the KING’S HARBOUR marine facilities through the University of Toronto and Wilfred Laurier University. Designed primarily for secondary school history teachers, the course would be accredited through our facility. Before any teacher of Canadian history can be admitted to our premises, they would have to write and pass a basic Canadian history test.

The College related KING’S HARBOUR marine studies programme in Canadian Marine Studies is a semester long undergraduate programme consisting of courses in Canadian marine history, art, literature, mythology, oceanography, marine biology and culinary arts as well as a one week working cruise on board the NANCY. In addition, options in basic naval architecture and drafting (lofting) will also be available. Accredited by the two universities, these programmes will be open to students enrolled at the 9 other liberal arts colleges affiliated with the programme.

Special Events And Programmes

A presentation on the 18th and 19th century fishing industry called "Lakes, Lakers and Lakemen" would be given in the General Brock Room beneath the Lakeport Planetarium.

Demonstrations such as sail-setting and furling, longboat and bateau rowing and sailing, shanty singing, a Coast Guard rescue drill and competition among the Provincial Marine boat rowing teams may be seen during most of the year on the grounds including the Commons, and in the KING’S HARBOUR boat basin. Open hearth cooking would be demonstrated throughout the year in the Simcoe House kitchen where people can sample Lloyalist era cuisine. Recipes and cookbooks will also be available at the gift shoppe.

Special events include evening band concerts in the summer, a mid-summer Antique and Classic Boat Rendez-Vous, schooner race in the fall and a 19th Century Christmas banquet in December along with the Yule Tide log in the Georgian Room. There will be other seasonal events which would emphasize activities for children would be offered around Easter, the summer solstice and Thanksgiving along with other vacation periods. Every five years the facility would host the Tall Ship Festival.


The publications department in conjunction with the Library and the Print Shoppe of KING’S HARBOUR would be responsible for all of the facilities publishing efforts including the production of periodicals research and the publishing of a newsletter for subscribing members. It would also be responsible for the restoration, storing and re-issuing of Canadianna books and manuscripts related to marine history and culture as well as new issues, including prints, posters, recipes and books dealing with the War of 1812 especially those dealing with the marine nature of the conflict. In addition we will be responsible for collecting olde Log books from the related vessels.

Lastly, the publications department will be involved in protecting copyrighted material as well as maintaining our new web site access to a worldwide audience.

KING’S HARBOUR Museum Stores

The KING’S HARBOUR stores are presented in a museum like setting however in keeping with our mandate to be self-sufficient they will be commercially based. The stores are located in the harbour square and on board H.M.S. ST LAWRENCE. The variety store is located at the north entrance. These stores provide an excellent range of gifts ranging from period reproductions to contemporary items with a nautical flavour.

The stores within this amenity are open year-round during normal hours, and the Quarter Masters Shoppe is open March to November to help service the marine and marina needs both for the KING’S HARBOUR and for the local marinas in the vicinity. There will be a two-year subscription to the mail order catalogue which will be available for $10.00. This catalogue will include such items as furniture and the NANCY’s pewter tableware.

Restaurants And Taverns

The Mariners Room located amid-ship on H.M.S. ST LAWRENCE near the facilities north entrance offers luncheons and dinner throughout the year. A "Rum-tot-Brunch" is served from 12 noon to sunset week days except Sundays. The authentic 19th century pubs, the Quarter Deck and the Grog Shoppe offers sea foods, light meals and hearty drinks featuring products from our Corporate sponsors. During the summers, meals are available on the main deck during the evening hours, while members of the Provincial Marine crew dances the Horn Pipe. Private parties, meetings, lectures in the lecture hall and receptions may be arranged through the Mariners Room staff who are also available through our web site.

The Slop-Shoppe and Scuppers located at the North and South end of the west pier offer quick food service year round with our "hot-toddies" (rum or cider) being made available in the winter served in commemorative H.M.Schooner NANCY mugs. An excellent refresher during our winter festival days.

Patrons of the KING’S HARBOUR facility will be served with products from those commercial sponsors that support the facility and the heritage of the H.M. Schooner NANCY. This will also include the licenses for the operations of the commercial establishments, including the general association and marketing of trade names and trade marks. As well, only those contractors and suppliers who support the NANCY and the programmes of the KING’S HARBOUR will be allowed to bid on service contracts and/or enter the premises.

Funding Programmes

Most of the operating budget for the KING’S HARBOUR facility (approximately 70%) will come from visitor admission fees based on 500,000 a year as an average. Other revenues would include membership dues for the Provincial Marine, tax deductible contributions from industry and commercial interests who wish to be associated with the facility and the major vessels, and those that supply marine products wishing endorsement from the facility. Income will also come from tax deductible endowments for life insurance, estate bequeaths, funds from the three levels of government to support tourism and culture, advertising contracts, film residuals, sale of publications as well as fees from licensed operations on the grounds and from the fees raised by the time-sharing of vessels with other municipalities and marine centers around the Great Lakes and the eastern seaboard. There will also be fees generated with educational institutions for course given at the facility. Lastly there will be revenues generated from the sale of products related to the facility and its exhibits.


The KING’S HARBOUR facility through membership enrolement in the Provincial Marine would have an estimated 25,000 members from across Canada and will base its membership on the olde Mariners Association as well as membership from other countries. All members of the KING’S HARBOUR marina would also be members. Members would be entitled to

unlimited admission to the grounds during regular facility hours and discounts at the facility stores. With the purchase of guest ticket books, members’ guests may be admitted at reduced rates, and special docking privileges are available on a temporary basis. Members are eligible for special KING’S HARBOUR programmes and will receive the facilities newsletter.


The KING’S HARBOUR MARINE PARK is governed by a board of trustees, headed by a President. The principal staff officers would be professionals and would require a Property Manager, Administration Manager for personnel, a Development Manager, and an Education Manager who would oversee the C.H.J. Snider Institute, Public Affairs, Ship Conservation, Library, Publications and External communications operations. The NANCY-GRIFFON FUND Inc and its directors would be responsible for the operational vessels and NANCY House. The FUND would receive 12.5% of all operating revenue of the KING’S HARBOUR operations for the maintenace, up-keep, concurrent restoration and insurance of all operational vessels. The NANCY-GRIFFON FUND Inc will be responsible for the operation and ownership of the NANCY and the GRIFFON, with all revenues from the operations of these vessels utilized for the vessels upkeep and maintenance. The NANCY-GRIFFON FUND Inc will also be responsible for all advertising aspects of the KING’S HARBOUR facility.

The average size of the facility staff would be approximately 35 persons during the late spring and summer months, and 15 during the late fall and winter months.

Other Places of Interest

Also within the KING’S HARBOUR area accessible from the local GO and Bus stop is the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, the Dome Stadium, CN Tower and Convention Center, Fort York and Colbourne Lodge along with the new Maple Leaf Gardens. In addition, there are many large shopping malls at the Scarborough Town Center, Yorkdale Shopping Center and the downtown shopping Concourse with plenty of accommodation for all.


Please note that the tenses used in the foregoing have been both of a present and future tense for the purposes of effect to give you the feeling of what could and what might be a truly wondeful amenity readily within our grasp. The CIBC has pledged $1 million to the Waterfront Trail programme and the City of Scarborough has budgeted $9 million for the new grade separation. But we still need your financial support. Remember all donations are tax deductible. Thank you for visiting KING’S HARBOUR Marine Park.

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