George Gurnett

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George Gurnett
Kane George Gurnett.jpg
4th Mayor of Toronto
In office
Preceded by Thomas David Morrison
Succeeded by John Powell
In office
Preceded by William Henry Boulton
Succeeded by John George Bowes
Personal details
Born c.1792
Horsham or Lewes, Sussex, England
Died November 17, 1861
Toronto, Canada West

George Gurnett (c. 1792 – November 17, 1861) was a Canadian journalist and city of Toronto politician. He was also a member of the Orange Order in Canada.

Born in Sussex, England, he emigrated in the 1820s to Virginia and late moved to Ancaster in Upper Canada were he founded his first local paper, The Gore Gazette, and finally to York in 1829 where he founded the Tory paper The Courier of Upper Canada.[1] He sold The Courier in 1837.

When York was incorporated in May 1834 as the city of Toronto, Gurnett was elected to the city council as the representative for St. George’s Ward. During his 17 years on city council he served as mayor four times, in 1837, 1848, 1849, and 1850.[2] Due to his long service on council and his years as mayor he is often considered to be one of the founders of the City of Toronto.

Gurnett held many positions while on Council. In 1837 he was appointed as the cities first Tory mayor and as magistrate of the Home District and district clerk of the peace.[3] He held positions on committees that dealt with harbour and wharves, gas and waterworks, and education and was chairman of the board of health during the 1847 typhus epidemic [4]

Gurnett resigned from city council at the end of 1850, after having been appointed the first police magistrate of Toronto. He served as police magistrate until his death in 1861.[5]

Gurnett’s first wife died in 1835 and in 1841 he married Catherine Darby of Trafalgar. He had eight children, six died in infancy. When he died in 1861 he was survived by his second wife and two daughters.[6]


  1. ^ Hopkins, J. Castell (1898). An historical sketch of Canadian literature and journalism. Toronto: Lincott. p. 227. ISBN 0665080484. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bradburn, Jamie. "Meet a Toronto Mayor: George Gurnett". Torontoist. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Gurnett, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Russell, Victor Long (1983). Mayors of Toronto Volume 1: 1834-1899. Erin, Ontario: The Boston Mills Press. pp. 25–27. ISBN 0-919822-77-0. 
  6. ^ "Gurnett, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 21 February 2014.