Coming To Ontario

In 1837, George left Scotland at the age of 18 with his father, Peter, and set sail for New York City in search of business opportunities. There, they started a weekly newspaper for British emigrants.

Six years later, George and his father moved to Toronto, an emerging city of about 30,000 people. They renamed their newspaper the Banner, a defender of Free Kirk Presbyterianism in the religious sphere and Reform principles in political matters. From these beginnings, George, who was becoming increasingly involved in political affairs, launched The Globe newspaper in 1844. It soon became the most-read paper in Ontario.

Hon. George Brown, ca. 1860s
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View of King Street, Toronto, Canada West (Ontario), ca. 1842
Thomas Glegg fonds
F 596
Archives of Ontario, I0006709

Front page of The Globe, 21 May 1844
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Front page of The Globe, 21 May 1844
Microfilm reel N11
Archives of Ontario, N11Reel1p_0009

In 1862 George returned to Britain for the first time in 25 years. While reconnecting with family and friends in Edinburgh, the 43-year-old bachelor met his future wife - Anne Nelson.

Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
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Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 4, pages 734 to 735
Library and Archives Canada, I-89400-001
[Page 1]

Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 4, pages 734 to 735
Library and Archives Canada, I-89400-002, I-89400-003
[Page 2 & 3]

Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Anne Nelson (Brown), 12 November 1862
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 4, pages 734 to 735
Library and Archives Canada, I-89400-004
[Page 4]






“This is the first time I have addressed you in writing … you have my whole heart – and if the life devotion of an ordinary mortal, inspired by love [and] thorough respect, can make you a happy wife – that, I promise you, you shall have …”

-George to Anne, 12 November 1862

Anne, nine years younger than George, came from a wealthy publishing family. Intelligent, well-travelled, and fluent in French and German, she became his confidant in life and politics. They married in November 1862 and started their life together in Ontario.

Letter from George Brown to Peter Brown (George’s father), 29 November 1862
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Letter from George Brown to Peter Brown (George’s father), 29 November 1862
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-2-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-2-1_001
[Page 1]

Letter from George Brown to Peter Brown (George’s father), 29 November 1862
Click to see a larger image

Letter from George Brown to Peter Brown (George’s father), 29 November 1862
George Brown family fonds
F 21-1-2-1
Archives of Ontario, F21-1-2-1_002, F21-1-2-1_003
[Page 2 & 3]








“I am persuaded you will find my dear Anne all you could desire her to be. I feel myself the most fortunate of men – and am ready to begin a new career very different from that I have so long pursued.”


-George to his father, 29 November 1862

The Browns were a happy household, but as this letter shows, Anne missed life in Scotland.

Letter from Anne Brown to George Brown, 28 February 1865
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Letter from Anne Brown to George Brown,
28 February 1865
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 6, pages 1167-1168
Library and Archives Canada, I-89404-001
[Page 1]

Letter from Anne Brown to George Brown, 28 February 1865
Click to see a larger image

Letter from Anne Brown to George Brown,
28 February 1865
George Brown papers
MG 24 B 40, volume 6, pages 1167-1168
Library and Archives Canada, I-89404-002, I-89404-003
[Page 2 & 3]







“You may think as you like, but you must never speak of settling down here for life … The idea of being buried here is dreadful to me.”

-Anne to George, 28 February 1865

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