On today’s date in 1792, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe convened the first meeting of the legislature of Upper Canada at Newark (present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.).
The first session of the legislative assembly was held at Newark from Sept. 17-Oct. 15 and introduced a limited form of representative government to the newly created colony of Upper Canada. The elected assembly formed part of the first legislature under the administration of Simcoe, then-lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. Statutes of the first session established English property and civil law as well as trial by jury.
In 1794, Simcoe ordered a halfpenny token to be struck for Upper Canada. He was an esteemed military officer who earned recognition during the American Revolution and after establishing the capital at Toronto, which he renamed York. His regiment still exists today as the Queen’s York Rangers. It’s believed only a handful of these tokens ever existed. Struck by the Soho Mint in silver and copper, the tokens were engraved by the die-engraver Ponthon.
Simcoe died in England in 1806. He was buried in Wolford Chapel on the Simcoe family estate near Honiton, Devon.