"I have never before seen, in any city, in any land, more people of prominence living in so small an area."
Anson Gard, 1904
From the dawn of Confederation to the present-day, Sandy Hill has been home to more influential Canadians than any other neighbourhood in the country, many of whose homes remain standing. As you walk through the extraordinary architecture of this place, past the old mansions and the stunning row houses, the grand dame apartments and the imposing churches, you’re actually walking in the footsteps of our national leaders, of our global influencers and our international figures, of the men and women from Canada and abroad who have not only borne witness to history but have actually made it.
People who roamed the halls of power by day and the back alleys of Sandy Hill by night. People like Sir Henry Newell Bate, Sir Sanford Fleming and Senator Cairine Wilson. Like Barbara Ann Scott and Billy Bishop and Ed Broadbent and Elizabeth May. And like the Fathers of Confederation and the country’s Prime Ministers – 15 of them in total – who have all called Sandy Hill home.
When you wander through contemporary Sandy Hill you’re wading through an invisible web of connections, events and people that make it one of the most unique and important cultural landscapes in the country. A place where Canada began as a nation, where all of the Allied code-breaking took place during WWII in the top-secret Examination Unit and where the Canadian Security Establishment was born. A place where Sir Robert Borden debated both conscription and women’s suffrage, where Sir Winston Churchill came to drink with old war comrades and where Tommy Douglas and John Diefenbaker lived as neighbours. A place where Sir John A. kept pet peacocks, where Pearson conceived of a solution to the Suez crisis and where Mackenzie King held seances with his dead mother to make sense of it all.
Simply by being in Sandy Hill, you’re connecting with a social history that helped transform the very foundations of our nation. And now, we want to build on that connection with our past to forge a way ahead for our future.