John George Howard
The magnificent view of the lake from the northern end of the property inspired John Howard, an English-born architect, painter and city surveyor, to call his vast estate High Park. He became the greatest single benefactor in Toronto history when he gave the city both his park and his home, Colborne Lodge, in 1873.
John Howard married Jemima Frances Meikle in 1827. Jemima (1802-77) sometimes prepared copies of specifications in John's architectural and engineering practice. She also was an amateur watercolourist, but did not document the city's life, focusing instead on romantic images. The Howards' relationship seems to have been incomplete: John engaged in a long-term clandestine relationship with another woman, Mary Williams, with whom he had three children, whereas he and Jemima had none. Yet during Jemima's final illness - with cancer - John did his utmost to find a cure and to care for her, and seems to have grieved her loss with deep sincerity.