By: Frederick H. Armstrong
Together with the British lieutenant-governor and his aids, three groups of men — the major provincial administrative and legal officials, the clerical leaders and the most prosperous businessmen — dominated the provincial and local governments. Almost all of them held the office of magistrate, sometimes simultaneously with many other appointments. The Magistrates were “the hinge between the people and the provincial government at York/Toronto…they oversaw the local administrative, financial and basic judicial services.” Many were financially secure and held multiple offices. The magistrates and the sheriff met quarterly and made decisions on their district’s administration, set taxes, decided on financial expenditures and public works and heard appropriate court cases.
In this companion to The Chronology of Upper Canada, you will find listed the 1,999 men who formed the backbone of the justice system in Upper Canada. Many were from the “Family Compact” families with intertwined business and personal relations. Their names frame the history of Ontario — Osgoode, Strachan, Ryerson, Talbot, Van Kleek, Baby, Adamson.
Upper Canada Justices of the Peace 1788-1841