Friday, February 01, 2008

Black History and the Don River

The winter is always a period of slow activity for the Don so don't expect much action on this blog until late March. Now that February is here there is a sudden flurry of media activity because February is designated as Black History Month. Of course once March rolls around we won't here a peep about this subject until next year. I'm a little ambivalent about the designation, after all any day of the year is a good one to make history.

Even though I am fairly well versed in the history of the Don Valley, I was surprised to find a connection between the river and "black history". About 130 years ago, George Brown, the well-known editor of the Globe, a forerunner of the Globe and Mail was travelling south on Don Mills when something spooked his horses and they bolted. He found himself tossed into the Don River. It just so happened that William Hubbard was nearby and witnessed the accident. Hubbard promptly jumped in and rescued Brown. Thus started a friendship between the two that led to Hubbard being elected to Toronto City Council.

Hubbard, the son of a former slave made his mark on council and served as an alderman for about 20 years off and on before retiring in 1915.

And that's pretty much all there is to it.

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