Throwback Thursday: The Nasmith Family and Nasmith Avenue

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The Nasmith Family and Nasmith Avenue

This week’s look back to the past of our neighbourhood is about the Nasmith family, and the possible connection to the naming of Nasmith Avenue in Cabbagetown.

Nasmith Avenue (and Gifford St.) are located entirely on the grounds of the former Toronto General Hospital which occupied the location from 1856 to 1913 before it moved to its College St. location (interesting fact: the building the hospital occupied in 1913 is now known as the MARS building). This is what it looked like when viewed From Gerrard Street East and Sackville Street (facing North East):
Toronto General Hospital - Taken From Gerrard St. East and Sackville St. (facing North East)

Many locals had thought it likely that Nasmith Avenue was named after the famous sports educator, basketball inventor and Ontarian, James Naismith. The first game of “basket ball” was played in 1891 and was already popular by the time Nasmith Ave. was being planned in the early 1920s, however the spelling isn’t correct and unlike horseshoes – but very like basketball – close doesn’t count in the street-naming game.

This leaves two known contenders behind the naming of Nasmith Avenue and there’s a family connection:
– Nasmith Bakery – John Nasmith and Son J.D. Nasmith
– Doctor, Colonel George Gallie Nasmith C.M.G.

nasmith bakery wagon 1908?

Read more about the naming of Nasmith Avenue… (

1 reply on “Throwback Thursday: The Nasmith Family and Nasmith Avenue”

My guess is GG Nasmith, who was heavily involved in public health, a descendant of Mungo Nasmith, brother of John Drysdale Nasmith, and son of John Nasmith who founded the Nasmith bakery. Or it could be both as the family was prominent in Toronto then.

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