George Taylor Denison
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He was born in England, the son of Captain John Denison and Sophia Taylor. He traveled to Upper Canada and the town of York, Upper Canada in 1796 with his parents and two brothers. He inherited the bulk of his family property and after the War of 1812 purchased and acquired land through marriage around what is now the Kensington Market neighborhood of Toronto. At the end of his life he held 556 acres (2.25 km2) in York and was one of the wealthiest landowners in Upper Canada. He married four times and fathered thirteen children; Esther Borden Lippincott in 1806, Maria Taylor in 1828, Elizabeth Eleanor Caldwell in 1835 and Mary Priscilla Coates in 1850.
In 1815 he built an estate Belle Vue, including an orchard and farm named on the south side of Russell Creek that followed the style of Georgian architecture. The 156-acre (0.63 km2) property on which he built his new home, lot 17 and the eastern portion of lot 18 ran north from present day Queen Street West to Bloor Street and west from Lippincott Street to Augusta Avenue. Belle Vue (where the Kiever Synagogue now stands across from Denison Square) stood at the head of a mile long carriage path, present day Denison Avenue.
He served with the British militia in the War of 1812 and from 1822 to 1837 organized and financed a voluntary cavalry troop which he commanded during the Rebellions of 1837. The troop later became the Governor General's Horse Guards. In 1846 he was given command of the 4th Battalion of the Toronto militia, a post he held until his death at Toronto in 1853. Denison is buried at St. John's Cemetery on the Humber.
Given the number of children he fathered and the vast land holdings the Denison family features prominently in the early history of Upper Canada and Ontario. Denison family names abound in the area, including the present day names of Denison Square, Denison Avenue, Bellevue Avenue, Major, Robert, Borden, and Lippincott Streets.
- Lundell, Liz (1997). The Estates of Old Toronto. Boston Mills Press.