William Allan built his small wharf in 1802, at the foot of Frederick Street, the first privately built wharf in the city’s history. Until then, all wharves were built by the military. In 1803, a year after building the wharf, Allan received the patent to the water lot where the wharf was located. His clients were sailing cargo vessels carrying such items as potash, pearl ash, and flour headed for the U.S.A. or Britain. He was also “Collector of Duties and Inspector of Pot Ashes and Pearl Ashes and Flour” and postmaster, President of the Bank of Upper Canada, Acting Magistrate, Commissioner, and a colonel in the militia.
Allan’s home was Moss Park, and his name was given to the lands donated for the development of Allan Gardens.
On June 8, 1826, while William Lyon Mackenzie was away in Queenston. Samuel Peters Jarvis led a group of the town’s well-heeled young bloods who broke down the door of Mackenzie’s office, destroyed his printing press, and heaved the type into the harbour from this wharf. The press and type have never been retrieved. They are probably still there along with the wharf and some marine history, buried under fill and newer buildings as development encroached the harbour.
Information from A Glimpse of Toronto’s History, MPLS#069.