The 1946 Toronto Orange Parade
The City of Toronto and before that the Town of York have seen many colourful Orange Demonstrations during their long histories. The Toronto Orange Parade of 1946 was no exception.
The headline of the Toronto Star blared “Over 5,500 Marchers Make Six Mile Trek”. The Annual Orange Parade of 1946 was held on Friday July the 12th beginning at 9:00 AM from Queen’s Park. It is noted here that until the early 1950’s the Toronto Parade was indeed held on July (Sundays excepted) and not on the closest Saturday. The Parade consisted of 79 Men’s Lodges, 63 Ladies, 32 Juvenile and J.O.L., and 28 from the Loyal True Blue Association. The route was much longer than today’s being north from Queen’s Park to Bloor Street, east on Bloor-Danforth to Coxwell Ave, south on Coxwell to Queen Street, then east on Queen Street to Kew Gardens (east of Woodbine Ave). The Ladies Lodges joined the procession at Monarch Park in the Coxwell and Danforth area.
Leading the procession was Mayor Robert Saunders and ex-mayor Tommy Church, M.P. both Brother Orangemen. They accompanied County Master Earl Hunt and Past County Master Tommy Addy. An address following the parade was given by A.H.Birmingham the Grand Master of Ontario West. Sporting events were enjoyed at Kew Gardens following various greetings from lodge dignitaries.
Returning servicemen from overseas duty swelled the ranks of the 1946 parade. It is noted that the previous year saw approx. 4,000 marchers. Officials were pleased with the increase though a far cry from the record 12,600 who walked the 12th in 1925.
The oldest member on parade was 91 year-old Merrill Brown of Belfast Purple Star L.O.L. #875 who had joined that lodge in 1893. Also noted was retired City of Toronto assessment commissioner George Farley who made his 63rd consecutive walk.
Today as we take part in North America’s longest consecutively held parade, let us not only “Remember the Deeds of Our Forefathers”, but also of the men and women of the Toronto Orange Community who have so richly contributed to the economic, religious and cultural life of the city over these many years.
This article appeared in the 2006 Toronto County Parade Programme