Berczy Park in Toronto
A fountain in Berczy Park
Wedged between two converging streets and tucked away behind the Gooderham Building, Toronto’s famous flatiron building, is the small, almost triangular Berczy Park. This little neighbourhood green space is named after William Berczy, one of the founders of Toronto.Berczy was born Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll in Bavaria, located in current-day southern Germany, in 1744. He grew up in Vienna and spent time in Italy and England, where he worked as a painter. While in England, he heard about the opportunity to settle and develop land in America. After recruiting peasants from northern Germany to assist in colonisation, Berczy moved with his colonists to Pennsylvania in 1792. Unfortunately, upon arrival, the land owners refused to provide Berczy and his settlers with the land and supplies they were promised, so they decided to try again in Upper Canada. John Graves Simcoe, often credited as the founder of Toronto, was Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada at the time. He felt the then-capital of Upper Canada, Niagara-on-the-Lake, was too close to the US-Canadian border considering possible hostility between the United States and Britain. Simcoe temporarily moved the capital to the north shore of Lake Ontario to a site he named ‘York’. This would eventually become Toronto, but was undeveloped wilderness when selected for its strategic location.