A Look Back...and Ahead

Back in 1900, the police covered Toronto with just 295 officers and a budget of $242,108.45. Toronto was still relatively small with only 200,000 people. Still, this was a major commercial centre, and traffic was starting to be a problem. The Chief of the day, H.J. Grasett, had complained about the carts and wagons that were congesting King, Queen and Yonge streets. Police were responding to calls faster than ever, limited only by the speed of their horses. Using four horse-drawn wagons, Toronto police travelled a total of 7,500 kilometres in 1900.

One hundred years later, as another new century begins, the police service budget is $520 million. Horses have long since been replaced by cars, for regular patrol. Police Vehicles travel over 33 million kilometres a year across this sprawling city. Alas, no one has solved the traffic problem yet.

By every measure, the Toronto Police Service and the city have grown immensely. Amidst all of the profound change, the fundamental philosophy of our Service has not changed.

Consider these timeless quotes -

  • “The primary objects of an efficient police are protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquility, and the absence of crime”.
  • “Police responsibility is principally in giving service. We are helping to enrich the life of our community - and I rejoice at the spirit being exemplified by all ranks of the force”.
  • “The foundation of community policing has been solidly laid. Continued community partnerships will foster the building of positive relationships between the police and the public”.

The first comment came from Chief Grasett in 1890, in his booklet, “Rules and Regulations for the Toronto Police Force”. The second was written by Chief Dennis Draper in 1932. And the third comment came from Chief David Boothby, in 2000. But the order could as easily have been reversed.

Any of the lines above could have been said about the service at any point in its history. The sentiments are timeless as is the ability of the Toronto Police, from 1834 to now, to work with the community to create the best and safest city possible.

Where to learn more

Interested in learning more about the Toronto Police Service and its history?

Visit us on the web at http://www.TorontoPolice.on.ca
Visit police headquarters at 40 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2J3, where you'll find the Toronto Police Museum and Discovery Centre in the atrium.

Call us at (416) 808-2222.
Admission is free. To schedule school or group visits, call 416-808-7020.

This Brochure was Designed by the Video Services Unit and written by Corporate Communications of the Toronto Police Service.

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