Yorkville Brick Yards

Some of the contours of Ramsden Park are the legacy of brick and tile manufacturing which flourished from the 1840s to the 1890s. The clay and sand deposits left by glacial lakes were used to make a yellowish-white brick which was used for many prominent buildings in the village and the city including the Yorkville Town Hall, the Asylum at 999 Queen Street West, St. Michael’s Cathedral, most of St. Lawrence Hall, St. James Cathedral and much of University College, to name only a few examples. “The clay hereabouts has been utilized now for about half a century to make brick which has been used in the construction of many buildings belonging to the city.” (York County Atlas 1889).

Among the brick makers were three families: the Pears, the Townsleys and the Nightingales. These families, which were intermarried, carried out brick making for several generations. In the mid 1880s they employed about sixty men and produced from four to six million bricks a year. In 1904, the City purchased the land and established a park named after Alderman J. George Ramsden, a local resident and who was active in city politics from 1903 until 1936.

The Pears also had a pottery in North Toronto where the Eglinton Park is now.

For more information on brick making go to Brick Manufacture.