North York entrepreneur Aggie Hogg was ahead of his time

Susan Goldenberg is a trustee and president of the membership of the North York Historical Society, which preserves North York’s heritage.
  • Aggie Hogg store and Don Library, circa 1925, on Don Mills Road.

“Aggie Hogg Gardens,” a small indoor street running along the green space amid the Don Mills stores on Lawrence Avenue and Don Mills Road, is named after a 19th-century North York notable who was ahead of the curve. on his time.

According to Patricia W. Hart’s “Pioneering in North York,” published in 1968, Aggie Hogg boldly entered the male-dominated business world rather than the then-usual female role of housewife. She never married.

Born in 1834, Aggie was the daughter of John Hogg, a Scottish immigrant who owned a farm and a sawmill where the Shops are now located. He donated part of his property for Don Mills ‘first school, a log cabin, erected in 1837. He had a general store and was Don Mills’ first postmaster.

Aggie lived apart, in a brick house built on her father’s property; hers had been a frame house. As her father was retired, she decided to copy him and establish her own post office combined general merchandise store.

His house was quite large; she used the ground floor for her business. She reserved space for a lending library, the first at Don Mills, with books provided by the local Literacy Society. She took the teachers upstairs. It was generous because the underpaid teachers could not afford to pay low rents. In her own way, like her father, she enabled the pioneers of North York to obtain a formal education.

Customers of all ages called her “Aggie” rather than Miss Hogg, and, according to Hart’s story text, she spoke in a Scottish brogue, greeting the children with “Well, yes, yes, how are you. the day ? “And mothers with” How are the little ones? ” ”

Idiosyncratic, she often wore her two pairs of glasses on top of each other. The store had a bell to call her when she was in the back garden.

Children flocked to Aggie for candy. A single penny was enough for many caramels with vanilla cream inside, called “bull’s eye”, or sugar sticks of different colors.

Naughty children have stolen icing sugar from an open box. To stop this, Aggie substituted similar Epson salts. Eating Epsom salts caused diarrhea. Aggie no longer had any problems with the children.

Susan Goldenberg is a trustee and president of the membership of the North York Historical Society, which preserves North York’s heritage. For more information, visit www.nyhs.ca.


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