The Toronto Fire Brigade Post 1855
- No. 1 Engine, Phoenix Company — Situated at Court Street consisted of 29 men
- No. 2 Engine, Rescue Company — also at Court Street and also 29 men
- No. 3 Engine, British America Company — at Bay Street 30 men
- No. 4 Engine, Victoria Company — at old St. Patrick's Market 17 men
- No. 5 Engine Company (Deluge) — at Berkeley Street 24 men
- No. 6 Engine, Provincial Company — at Bay Street 35 men
- Hook and Ladder Company, Union Company — at Court Street 23 men
- Hose Company — at Bay Street 45 men
It was in the spring of 1861 that a by-law was passed allowing for a brigade of volunteer firemen and perhaps this was when John McEwan joined. He would have been twenty years of age at that time.
The Great Fires of Toronto
This fire was the third major fire in Toronto since the beginning of the year. Simpson’s Department store rented other premises but within ten months had rebuilt on the original site and re-opened to its customers.
The area of Toronto affected by "The Great Fire" of 1904
While they succeeded in stopping the blaze at Melinda to the north, it spread southward, and to the east and west.
In just two hours it had reached Front Street and was starting to engulf Esplanade. At this point neighbouring cities were sent an SOS.
Thanks to the success of the pleas, the fire was put under control shortly before dawn the following morning. The rubble would smoulder for weeks.
Though no cause was ever discovered, it is remarkable that not one life was lost. The extent of the damage was massive and over 100 buildings were destroyed in the very core of the city. Every building from Melinda Street in the north to the Lakeshore and between York and Yonge were destroyed or severely damaged. The repercussions from 5000 of the population being put out of work, and the cost to rebuild would represent close to $7,000,000,000 today.