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John Graves Simcoe Monument 1901–3

John Graves Simcoe Monument, 1901–3

Walter S. Allward, John Graves Simcoe Monument, 1901–3
Bronze and granite
Queen’s Park, Toronto

Allward’s monument commemorating John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, was his second for Queen’s Park and solidified his reputation as one of Toronto’s most promising sculptors. The work is a realistic depiction of Simcoe in uniform in a standing pose, his hat in his left hand and a walking stick in his right. The design had been selected from among nine proposals submitted by sculptors from France, Scotland, the United States, and Canada.


Unveiling of the John Graves Simcoe Monument, Queen’s Park, Toronto, May 27, 1903, photographer unknown. Allward is visible seated among the dignitaries.

In attempting to depict Simcoe accurately, Allward was initially impeded by a lack of information about his appearance and uniform, but a reproduction of a memorial to Simcoe in the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter, England, gave him the details he needed.  He worked on the sculpture in his studio in the former Technical School on College Street throughout 1902, and in early 1903 he sent a plaster model to the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company in New York City, the leading bronze-casting facility in the United States. Allward spent several days at the foundry that March, supervising the finishing details.  The bronze, measuring nine feet high, was then shipped to Toronto, where it was mounted on a granite pedestal that Allward had designed, in time for the unveiling ceremony on May 27.  Although most of the speeches focused on Simcoe’s accomplishments, Premier George William Ross commended Allward for producing “a beautiful illustration of the sculptor’s art.”  The Globe noted that the monument presented Simcoe “in both his military and civic capacities” and was “of exceptional beauty, and both the originality of the conception and the treatment accorded it by Mr. Allward excited the greatest admiration.”



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