Early Days in Upper Canada

By John Langton

Early Days in Upper Canada, is the letters of John Langton, founding figure of Fenelon Township, the University of Toronto and Canada’s First Auditor General. John came from a wealthy English gentry family and was raised for a public life, but his family lost their fortune while on the Grand Tour of Europe to educate their children. Forced to migrate to Upper Canada, he settled on the North Arm, and was among the very first deeded settlers in the township.

Conditioned to live as a country gentleman, he tried to hire labourers to create an agricultural estate, as was customary in Britain for someone of his class aspirations. However, many labourers crossed the Atlantic seeking freedom, and John struggled to find enough help and manage his debts. Though he succeeded in creating a farm that was far larger than any of his contemporaries, he was forced to sell and became a successful politician.

An excellent writer, John’s letters are filled with wit, humour, and a very real perspective of the struggles to create a farm from the Backwoods of Upper Canada.

Originally published in 1926, available as a reprint at the Museum Gift Shop.

Early Days in Upper Canada: Available Online