Keeping The Gardens Safe
Stop 10 was known to Kingston Radial travellers as West's for the West family whose members owned a property there. Today it is the site of lovely Rosetta McClain Gardens, a gift to Scarborough by Rosetta's husband Robert Watson (Wat) McClain. Wat and Rosetta's brother Joseph are responsible for much of the beautiful design and landscaping of the park. Today, its pathways and stunning lookout views are a magnet for nature lovers and photographers
Toronto Safe WorksIn the late 1900s Rosetta McClain's father, Thomas West, purchased J & J Taylor Ltd., also known as Toronto Safe Works, from its founder John Taylor. J & J Taylor safes were justifiably famous throughout North America. They continue to be found today – one was salvaged from Maple Leaf Gardens during its renovation. The company's headquarters were in a building at 145 Front Street East that still stands at the southwest corner of Front and Frederick streets.
As the business prospered, Thomas West (there was no McDonald middle name, despite the sign at the Gardens) purchased a farm at Glen Everest and Kingston in 1904. The farm was later divided among Thomas's four children, including daughter Rosetta. Rosetta married Robert Watson (Wat) McClain and the couple later added the share of her brother Howard to their property.
Bill West, Rosetta's nephew, has written this about the creation of Rosetta McClain Gardens: "Rosetta and Wat had only one child, son John, who never married. Thus there were no grandchildren. Rosetta died on November 4th, 1940, at the age of 70. (The historical plaque incorrectly states that she died in December, 1940). Their only son, John, contracted leukemia and died on January 21st, 1955. Thus Wat found himself, almost 88 years of age, with no heirs.