Ridley’s Funeral Home

 

The Advertiser

Thursday, May 21, 1925:

WORKMEN UNEARTH FIVE SKELETONS

While Excavating on 5th Street

Dug Up Bones Supposed to be Remains of

EARLY SETTLERS

Council is to Excavate More Ground in the Vicinity

 

New Toronto is experiencing a real thrill this week, and excitement will be kept up for some time yet, as further developments are looked for.

Workmen, employed by Contractors Hyslop and O’Grady, while excavating on Sixth Street, between Morrison St. and the Highway, unearthed human skeletons on Tuesday afternoon.

In a space of less than twenty feet in diameter five skeletons have been dug out by the workmen.  Four of the skeletons are those of adult persons, and one is that of a child.

The bones were given to Chief Johnston and examined by Coroner Dr. A.D. Roberts, who says that they have been buried for at least 75 years, and also states that the bones are of white people and not Indians, as many here are inclined to believe.

Mr. O’Grady says he believes the bodies must have been buried at least 75 years ago, and is of the opinion that on this very spot a bloody scene has been enacted in the early days.  He claimed that the remains had the appearance of being thrown roughly in a hole, and that all bodies must have been buried at the same time as all the bones were in the same state of decomp. 

 

Mr. O’Grady is having his solicitor search the crown titles as far back as possible in the hope of getting some clue of the original owners of this property.

Mr. J.A. Campbell, who was raised on the farm on which this property is, tells of finding a skull while at play near a stone pile exactly over the spot were the skeletons were found this week.  Mr. Campbell lived on this property over 33 years ago and their barn was just beside the place where the bones were found.  J. Murchison owned the farm before the Campbell family, but there is no record of this place ever being used as a burying ground, and this leads Mr. O’Grady to think that a massacre has taken place here, committed either by Indians or hold-up men of the early days.  The old Hamilton stage coach road ran very near to this property, and Mr. O’Grady says it may have been that a whole load of travellers were killed.  The skeletons were found lying in all directions, no order was maintained in the burial, that is certain, and while a piece of decayed wood was found near the remains of one of the skeletons, it does not look as if any coffins had been used.

The contractors appealed to the council to excavate all the earth between the basement and the street, and Deputy Reeve McCullum, of the Works Committee, is making arrangements to excavate this ground and clean up any more remains that may still be under the ground.  All the bones that have been found were only a few feet below the surface.

W.E. Baycroft & Sons have taken the bones and will give them a new resting place.

Ridley’s Funeral Home has been a long standing business in New Toronto.  It started off as W.E. Baycroft and Sons.  An interesting article in The Advertiser mentioning Baycroft is noted to the left. 

 

Below is the history of the funeral home, reprinted by permission from Ridley’s Funeral Home:  Please visit their website at:  www.RidleyFuneralHome.com.

 

Ridley Funeral Home was the first funeral home in the area, and has been an integral part of the Lake Shore Community in southern Etobicoke since it was opened by the Baycroft family in 1921.

 

It originally consisted of a converted farmhouse with the addition of a small chapel alongside. Art Ridley and his family purchased the Baycroft family business, known as Errol Baycroft and Son, in the summer of 1947. The funeral home continued to operate under the Baycroft name until 1953 when Frank Nill, his wife Marion, and son George joined Art. Frank and Art knew each other during the time Art operated the then Ridley Funeral Home in Brighton, Ontario. Art Ridley encouraged Frank to pursue his Funeral Director's License, and Frank in turn encouraged him to change the name of the business to “Arthur B. Ridley Ridley Funeral Home, circa 1960Funeral Home.”

 

Four years later in 1957 Art Ridley decided he wanted to move out west and Frank and his family purchased the funeral home on October 1, 1957. Frank loved working with the diverse community he had adopted as his own and soon realized that as the community grew, the funeral home's facilities also needed to grow in order to better serve the needs of the community.

 

 

 

 

In 1961, Frank was joined by his son George, who had by then completed his graduate work at the Banting Institute and was licensed to provide funeral service to the community.  The year 1961 also marked the beginning of numerous renovations and additions to the existing building. Additional office space and visitation areas were added that year, and in 1963 a larger selection room and receiving area was also added. A new coffee lounge and washrooms were added in 1965 and 1967 saw extensive redecorating and the installation of central air conditioning.

 

 

The warm weather in 1972 heralded the start of new construction at the Ridley Funeral Home. A new 150 seat chapel, larger visitation facilities, and a new entrance changed the façade of the building to its now familiar shape. Eleven years later in 1983, a modernization of the building was completed.

 

Alongside his son George, Frank remained active in his profession until his sudden death in 1982 at the age of 66. Continuing in the style of his father, George brought computers on stream in 1986, and concurrent with the demolition of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant next door, added another 1000 square feet of space in 1990. This encompassed handicap facilities along with enhanced consultation space for at-need and pre-need funeral arrangements. The central air conditioning system was upgraded in 1999, the lounge washrooms were renovated in 2001 and interior areas of the funeral home were redecorated in 2004. In July 2005, the interior of the funeral home saw the installation of new broadloom throughout and beautiful new stonework was installed at the front of the property. We also now have available a video room for young children available to parents during visitation.

 

George has inherited his father's drive and things will continue to change and grow at the Ridley Funeral Home, always striving to serve families in the community in the best possible way.

 

 

John Baycroft kindly donated the following pictures of the transformation of original house to a business