The monument to Sir Casimir Gzowski (1813-1898), situated in a Toronto Park that also bears his name.

Gzowski was an engineer, lawyer and Ontario politician of Polish origin, a man of many talents by all accounts!

Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Gzowski followed in the footsteps of his father and pursued a military career, serving in the Imperial Corps of Engineers. He was deported to the USA in 1833 after escaping to Austria during the Polish November Uprising.

In America, Gzowski taught music, fencing and languages while graduating as a lawyer but ironically ended up working as an engineer on the Erie Railroad. He then moved to Canada in 1841 to further pursue a career in engineering.

Sir Casimir is notable for his work on the Welland Canal, the building of Younge Street (here in Toronto) and various railroads throughout Canada and the United States. He also briefly served as Lieutenant Governor for the province of Ontario and was the first Commissioner of the Niagara Parks Commission.

It seems that Gzowski also got on well with old Blighty — he gained British citizenship in 1846, became an honorary aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria in 1879 and was knighted in 1890.

Sir Casimir Gzowski died in 1898 in Toronto and is buried here at Saint James Cemetery, which is one I haven’t been to yet.

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