David Breakenridge Read

In 1881 Read retired from his legal practice and devoted himself to preserving Ontario's history. He wrote articles, gave lectures and participated in historical societies.

Read, David
David Breakenridge Read, Mayor of Toronto (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/SC267-72).

Read, David Breakenridge

 David Breakenridge Read, lawyer, politician, historian (b at Augusta Twp, Upper Canada 13 Jun 1823; d at Toronto 11 May 1904). Born into the Loyalist squirearchy of eastern Ontario, Read was educated at UPPER CANADA COLLEGE in Toronto and called to the bar in 1845. After establishing a successful law practice, he was elected an alderman in 1858 and served as an interim mayor of Toronto for only 50 days, the shortest term in Toronto's history. He was elected a bencher (1855-81) of the Law Society of Upper Canada and lectured for over 25 years to law students at Osgoode Hall.

In 1881 Read retired from his legal practice and devoted himself to preserving Ontario's history. He wrote articles, gave lectures and participated in historical societies. He also published biographies of John Graves SIMCOE and Sir Isaac BROCK, histories of the REBELLIONS OF 1837 and Ontario's lieutenant-governors. However, his most enduring legacy was a book entitled The Lives of the Judges of Upper Canada and Ontario from 1791 to the Present Time (1888), which has become a classic of Canadian legal history. Read's pioneering books did much to stimulate wider interest in Ontario's past (see William Renwick RIDDELL) and are still cited by historians.