1868 Gehle, Fawkes & Hassard: Reconnaissance Sketches of Toronto Area

‘These reconnaissance maps were made to help the military to meet the threat of raids by the American-based Fenians on Toronto, now the capital of the new Province of Ontario. The military nature of the maps is evident (see "References") in the type of information recorded: roads passable for artillery, farms able to supply horses and to accommodate soldiers, and sources of fresh water.

These maps are the first to show the topography of the region in detail. They reveal the close relationship between river valleys and uncleared land. The routing of roads around physical barriers is clear as well.

Although most major buildings are shown, only those important to the military, such as the taverns and hotels along the roads out of town, are identified. A few industrial sites, such as the brickyards along Kingston Road and in Yorkville, are also noted.

Two Royal Engineers produced this set of maps. The difference in their styles is evident...’

- Isobel Ganton & Joan Winearls, MAPPING TORONTO'S FIRST CENTURY 1787-1884

Click the images to view full-size versions (PDF). 


Sketch Sheets of a Winter Reconnaissance of the Country W. of Toronto to the Humber River, and North to the Davenport Road
[Surveyed by:] H.J.W. [Henry John Wolsteyn] Gehle, Lt. R.E. 11/1/68
[Signed] F.C. [Fairfax Charles] Hassard, Lt. Col. 15/1/68

Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada: NMC20712

Note in the above map the Sandy beach, good landing for boats (Americans landed here in 1812).


Sketch Sheet of a Reconnaissance of Ground in the neighbourhood of Toronto lying in the 2nd and 3rd Concessions from the Bay, east and west of Yonge Street. December Quarter 1868

[Surveyor:] F.H. Fawkes, Lt. R.E. 22.1.69
[Signature] F.C. Hassard, Col. R.E. 26.1.69

Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada: NMC20710


Sketch Sheets of a Winter Reconnaissance of the Country East of Toronto, between the Don River; & the Township of Scarboro, on the E. & the Don & Danforth Road. on the N. to the Lake Shore. Office Copy - original to Montreal, 20 Apl. 68. 
[Surveyor:] H.J.W. Gehle, Lt. R.E. 17/Apl. 68.

Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada: NMC20711


Sketch of a Reconnaissance of ground in the neighbourhood of Toronto being the Eastern extremity of the 2nd and 3rd Concessions from the Bay  [This map is essentially the eastern continuation of NMC20710 above. -N.]

Surveyed by: F.H. Fawkes, Lt. R.E., June Quarter 1869.
F.C. Hassard, Lt. Col. R.E. 20 August, 1869.

Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada: NMC22847 [via Derek Hayes’ Historical Atlas of Toronto]


Sketch Sheet of a Reconnaissance of ground in the neigbourhood of Toronto lying principally in the Third Concession from the Bay and extending from the Humber Eastward. September Quarter 1868

[Surveyor] F.H. Fawker, Lt. R.E. 15 Oct 1868
[Sgd] F.C. Hassard 16 Oct 1868

Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada: NMC22845 with assistance from Ed Dahl and City of Toronto, Culture Division


Bonus: Etobicoke


Toronto District Sketch Sheets of a Reconnaissance of the Country between the rivers Humber and Etobicoke from the shore of Lake Ontario to Dundas Street on the North.  1867. [Sgd] H.J.W. Gehle, Lt. R.E., 16/7/67

Note: Unfortunately the only high-resolution scan available is in black and white. If you'd like to pay for a colour scan, let me know.
Colour Thumbnail courtesy Library and Archives Canada: NMC26685
B&W expanded Scan courtesy University of Toronto Map and Data Library: NMC26685


Sketch Sheets of a Reconnaissance in the County of York, Township of Etobicoke, between the Humber & Etobicoke Rivers, N. of Dundas Street 
[Sgd] H.J.W. Gehle, Lt. R.E. 16/10/67.

Image courtesy University of Toronto Map and Data Library: NMC26681. [LAC record: NMC26681]

See also
1865 Jervois: Toronto, Canada West, Shewing Existing & Proposed Defences

Please ‘Like’ and Share these maps with other Toronto history enthusiasts! (+1s are also welcome!)