Like so many women in history Jemima Howard’s story has been lost. If we hear about her at all, it is only as John Howard’s wife. But what about that spirited young woman who arrived in the little frontier town of York, a settlement with only 9,000 people? What do we hear about this gifted and energetic woman who made a significant contribution to the young city of Toronto, by working alongside her husband to build his successful architectural practice?
At a time when women were mainly confined to the home, Jemima was out in wilderness, riding with John, shooting, fishing, and tramping around with her sketchbooks, drawing what she saw.
In this book, Jemima’s Legacy, Maxanne Ezer has used research, historical information and her insight into human nature to bring Jemima to life once more and allow her to tell her own story of life in the tumultuous early days of Toronto, spousal companionship and betrayal, and the influences that led to the lasting and invaluable gift to the city: the lands and nature of High Park.
Born and raised in the city, and a graduate of the University of Toronto, Maxanne Ezer has always been fascinated by stories of Old Toronto. Being appointed to the Board of the Historic Homes of the city piqued her interest in the life of Jemima Howard. She taught English and Creative Writing in inner city schools for thirty-five years. After retiring, she became a facilitator with the Toronto Writers Collective and in helping marginalized writers, she found her own writer’s voice. Maxanne lives in an old Victorian house in Toronto.