Toronto's Historical Plaques
Learn a little of Toronto's history as told through its plaques
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted July, 2007
In Taber Hill Park (also spelled Tabor Hill Park) on the east side of Bellamy Road just north of Lawrence Avenue East is a large hill. It's actually an ancient Indian ossuary. On the rock are two plaques, one on each side. One is this 1961 plaque erected by the Township of Scarborough. The other is an Iroquois Prayer by White Cloud approved by the Iroquois Council February 2, 1960. Here's what they say:
Plaque coordinates: 43.759797 -79.234471
Site of an ancient Indian ossuary of the Iroquois Nation. Burials were made about 1250 A.D. This ossuary was uncovered when farm lands were developed into residential properties in 1956. This common grave contains the remains of approximately 472 persons.
O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I am a man before you, one of your many children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunsets. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so I may know the things you have taught my people, the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, O Creator, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eye, so that when life fades as the setting sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
> Posted April 19, 2013
When I was 9 a Iroquois chief came to our school, St. Rose of Lima and told us the history of the hill and invited us to the dedication. We were told the developers who had bought the land donated it back to the tribe when they first found the bones, when they started to bulldoze for a housing development. I grew up within walking distance of the burial mound as did many of my cousins. Kids all played on that hill in the winter and the chief told us it was okay to continue.
> Posted July 31, 2012
Having moved to the Markham Rd & Lawrence Ave area in 1955, I can remember the discovery of this sacred site when Bendale Subdivision was first being developed. Once it was realized that this was an Iroquois burial site, an annual gathering of the Six Nations, was held at the site, complete in all of their feathered finery, and the bones were rededicated to Mother Earth. This ceremony was open to the public, and I often participated as a local resident, even to the point of consuming their corn soup and beans.
> Posted June 29, 2012
I was at this site with my scout troop a few years ago as part of some badge work. After discussing the history, and meaning of the ossuary with the Scouts, we had a discussion regarding what the area might have looked like at that time. Also discussed was the site of a first nations village by Thompson Park, and at the mouth of the Rouge River. I was amazing to see youths become so interested in history, so close to home. They especially appreciated the prayer, and we all recited it again together.
> Posted June 7, 2011
That should be a national prayer. It makes sense for any generation
> Posted June 10, 2010
The next question is naturally anticipated: What prompted the Iroquois to use the immediate area as an ossuary as early as 1250 and how did they know it was the remains of ancestors? My guess is that it would appear the Iroquois people had an oral recollection of that location being a repository of bones, 175 years after they left and the area put to the plow. I would also guess that farmers, upon uncovering a bone that was obviously of human origin and not wishing to desecrate anything further, would offset them to a pile that may have eventually developed into something like the mound that's now there - although much smaller. That's what farmers usually did with things they plowed-up. I have old rock piles outlining my property north of Port Hope in testimony of the practice.
> Posted April 11, 2010
I know there was a school called Tabor Park Voc. School located at Midland & Eglinton area. I believe it's now an Educational Bldg? I went to Tabor Park Voc. School located at above address in Scarborough back in the 60's. Anyone out there that went there too?
> Posted July 28, 2009
Thank you for honouring this sacred place.
> Posted June 22, 2009
That's a beautiful prayer. I think it may show up at our next Scout's Own.
> Posted April 26, 2009
What's the history of Taber Hill?
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