Charles Unwin

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Charles Unwin
Born 1829
Mansfield, England
Died 1918-01-05
Nationality United Kingdom, Canada
Known for prominent surveyor

Charles Unwin (b.1829 d.1918-01-05) was a prominent surveyor for the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto.[1] Unwin was born in the United Kingdom, and emigrated to Toronto in 1843, and lived with his uncle -- also named Charles Unwin.[2] Unwin attended the prestigious Upper Canada College, a private high school attended by many of the leading elements of Ontario's administration. After graduation he apprenticed with John Stoughton Dennis, completing his apprenticeship in 1852.[3] He spent the next nine years surveying Muskoka County.

Unwin entered into a partnership with Vernon Bayley Wadsworth in 1968.[4]

Unwin never married. He worked as a surveyor for Toronto from 1874 to his death, at 88 in 1918.[1]

Unwin Avenue, the southernmost street in Toronto's Portlands, is named after Unwin.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Charles Unwin was for many years on Civic Staff". The Toronto World. 1918-01-05. p. 17.,2194291. Retrieved 2013-08-20. "The late Mr Unwin was a Dominion and Ontario surveyor, and for the last forty-four years was in the service of Toronto. Having laid out a vast portion of the city, he possessed a great deal of knowledge concerning points and boundaries." 
  2. "Landmarks of Canada. What art has done for Canadian history; a guide to the J. Ross Robertson historical collection in the Public reference library, Toronto, Canada". Toronto Public Library. 1917. Archived from the original on 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-08-20. "UNWIN, CHARLES, O.L.S.— Born at Mansfield, Eng., in 1829. In 1843 he came to Canada, his uncle, Charles Unwin, being at that time a clerk in the Toronto Registry Office. Subsequent to his coming to Canada, young Unwin attended Upper Canada College for several years, and on leaving that institution, went to Weston to learn surveying with Colonel John Stoughton Dennis. In 1877 he was appointed attorney for the city to settle disputes between the corporation and property owners, with reference to the boundary between the Marsh, a survey of which he had made in 1872, and the broken front lots. From 1872-1905 he held the position of assessor, and city surveyor, 1905-10. He still (1917) resides in Toronto." 
  3. John Ladell (1993). "They left their mark: surveyors and their role in the settlement of Ontario". Dundurn Press. pp. 3,4,7. ISBN 9781550021608. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  4. "Mapping Toronto's First Century: 1787-1884" (in English). Toronto Public Library. Retrieved 2013-08. "Vernon Bayley Wadsworth (1842-1940) and Charles Unwin (1829-1918) were prominent surveyors in Toronto in the latter half of the century. Both were pupils of J.S. Dennis. They were in partnership from 1868 to 1876 when Wadsworth left the firm to work for the London and Canadian Loan and Agency Company. Unwin also held the position of an Assessor for the City from 1872 to 1905, when he was appointed City Surveyor. The firm from which he retired in 1896, Unwin, Murphy, and Esten, is still in existence today." 
  5. Ilona Valcov, Andrey Chernykh, Michael Sudiacal (2010-06-17). "Cities for People — Toronto Port Lands". Retrieved 2013-08-20. "Unwin Avenue: named after a pioneer provincial land surveyor, Charles Unwin. In late 1800s there was a community of fishermen who took up residence in a collection of shanties fabricated from scrap pieces washed ashore from the lake. Toronto Harbour Commission forced them to move to make way for the industry to move in. It is characterized by derelict buildings, garbage and chainlink fences."