Downsview today is one of the most racially diverse neighbourhoods in the country. But it wasn’t always thus.
“Nearly all Downsview folk were of British birth, and anyone of foreign extraction was conspicuous,” writes William Perkins Bull in his book “From Oxford to Ontario: A History of the Downsview Community”, published in 1941. Bull, the grandson of one of the area’s original non-indigenous settlers, provided a rich source of information and gossip about life in 19th century Downsview.
And he gives us an intriguing glimpse of the man who may well have been the first black person to settle in Downsview.