One of the key benefits of being a village separate from Toronto, was the ability to set and manage bylaws specific to your municipality. If the goal was to maintain not only order, but the image of being orderly, bylaws were certainly an useful tool. Believing it would contribute to the overall health and comfort of the village, the Parkdale town council enacted a bylaw prohibiting domestic animals from running at large. A measure aimed to reduce the likelihood of residents keeping pigs, cows, and poultry. Interestingly, according to the Parkdale Council minutes from August 6th 1879, this almost immediately lead to the Medical Officer of Health’s own cow being impounded, then released, after paying a fine.
Somewhat more controversial were a set of morally based bylaws which were passed by Parkdale’s village council in the same year:
“Bylaw 18, adopted in May 1879, made it illegal to give intoxicating drink to a child, an apprentice, an insane person, or a servant if forbidden by his or her employer; to circulate indecent prints or placards; to use profane language; to appear on the street in a disorderly manner; to keep a house of ‘ill-fame’ or to harbour ‘bad characters’; to gamble; or to expose oneself near a public highway or other public place.” (Whitzman 2009)
Considering this push for a set of sometimes overly strict bylaws, it is no surprise that the Parkdale Council was not pleased with the proposition of a new hotel being built across the Dufferin tracks. To halt the establishment of the Gladstone Hotel, Parkdale Council sent a deputation to Toronto City Council to argue against the hotel’s construction, and flatly prohibited the sale of “intoxicating liqours” within the village. Oddly, this by-law was quickly disregarded by the Union Hotel (and a number of grocers), who a few months later obtained a license from the village’s council to serve liqour.
Whitzman, C. (2009). Suburb, slum, urban village transformations in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, 1875-2002. Vancouver: UBC Press.