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December 13th, 2017
A Man Of Many Firsts

A Man Of Many Firsts



Just east of Markham Road was the home of a historic farm house on the north side of Kingston Road. This distinguished heritage home is the Cornell home, sometimes called Cornell-Campbell House. It was build in 1836 on a 19 acre of land, by William Cornell.

The first Cornell on this property was William Cornell who settled nearby in about 1800. He is credited with a number of "firsts" in Scarborough. He planted the first orchard in the township in about 1802. He built the first grist and sawmill in Scarborough, helped clear the first alignment of Kingston Road, and even built a potash works, or "ashery", in 1820.

Potash was a highly valued "industrial" product of the countryside. It was a by-product of burning hardwood and leaves, which were in plentiful supply as settlers cleared the primeval forests. By boiling and straining ashes, people like Cornell could produce potash, a fertilizer, and lye, which was used in soap-manufacture and glassmaking.

The Cornell family descendents lived in the house and contributed to public life for many decades. Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department now owns the historic Cornell-Campbell House and is transforming it into a horticultural centre.

In recent years it was the home of Albert M. Campbell, a municipal political leader from 1957-1973, and his wife Helen, a descendent of the distinguished Cornell family.

Today you will find a historical plaque.

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