Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Charles Sauriol Article Contains Factual Errors

I came across an article in the East York-Riverdale Mirror written by Joe Cooper. It is entitled "The memory of Charles Sauriol must be preserved at Todmorden Mills". It talks about Sauriol, his Don River legacy and his connection with Todmorden Mills. Cooper wrote the article to emphasize his position that the Don Station now ensconced at Todmorden Mills should not be relocated to the Roundhouse down by the Skydome.

I am all for writing about history but he makes some important factual errors that I think are worth correcting. Last year I wrote Wikipedia articles on Charles Sauriol and Todmorden Mills so I know a few things about these topics.

Here's a rundown on the mistakes.

1. Cooper states that Sauriol formed the Don Valley Conservation Authority. It is true that he formed an environment group in 1949. However, it was called the Don Valley Conservation Association. The Don Valley Conservation Authority was formed in 1946 by the province through the Conversation Authorities Act. They have the same initials so it can be confusing.

2. Cooper claims that Sauriol's cottage in the valley was demolished due to the building of the Don Valley Parkway in 1961. In compensation he was made a member of Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (MTRCA). Sauriol actually joined the Don Valley Conservation Authority as a board member in 1954. In 1957 it was merged with other local conservation authorities to become the MTRCA (now the TRCA). Sauriol retained his cottage until 1968. Part of his 40 hectares was expropriated for the construction of the DVP but he stayed on his land for a further seven years.

3. The Don Station was located at Queen Street further south in the Don. In 1969 CN decided to add another track to the Don line and the station was in the way. Sauriol raised some funds locally to relocate the station to Todmorden Mills. As far as I know the TRCA had nothing to do with it. The station itself has no connection to East York. I think Sauriol placed it at Todmorden Mills because it was convenient to do so. Cooper also wrote an earlier article about the Don Station on July 26, 2007. He stated that the Belt Line Railway went through Todmorden Mills. As far as I know Todmorden Mills has had only road connections. It has never been serviced by railroad and has never had any kind of railway depot or station.

Cooper also got a few dates wrong concerning True Davidson, mayor of East York but they are minor. Cooper's main contention is that the Don Station is closely tied to East York heritage and should remain at Todmorden Mills. If you know your history you'll realize that the station has little to do with East York. Its only connection is that it has been located at Todmorden Mills for nearly 40 years. Clearly it is part of Toronto's railway heritage. If the Roundhouse is ever restored as a railway museum than this is where it should be located.

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