Horatio Clarence Hocken (1857-1937)
The Sash Our Forefathers Wore
Horatio Hocken was born October 12th, 1857 in Toronto, Upper Canada.
He was a Canadian politician, Mayor of Toronto, social reformer, a founder of what became the Toronto Star and Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of British America from 1914 to 1918.
In 1880, Horatio married Isabella Page in Toronto, Ontario and they would have four children.
Horatio had a media career as a printer, publisher and journalist for the Toronto Globe, Toronto News and the Evening Star. In 1905 he purchased The Orange Sentinel, the weekly newspaper serving supporters of the Orange Association.
He served on the Toronto Board of Control from 1907 until 1910 when he made his first unsuccessful bid for the mayor's office and again from 1911 until 1912. He served as mayor from 1912 to 1914. He is credited with approving the Bloor Viaduct.
As mayor, Hocken supported opening city parks to public use rather than being restricted to the use of athletic societies arguing that parks are for "walking in, not for athletic sports". He built public baths, installed a sewage treatment plant and a filtration plant, and the extension of the sewer system. Hocken's term also saw the distribution of free milk to children living in slums and the establishment of a public health nursing program. His reforms saw the death rate from communicable disease drop from 114 per 100,000 to 27 per 100,000. Hocken also supported the creation of a public housing company that built houses and rented them for cost. The city, under his stewardship, also purchased an abattoir and cold storage facility to help keep small butchers from being driven out of business by "the great meat trust."
Horatio's career in federal politics began when he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada for the Unionist Party at the Toronto West riding in the 1917 federal election. He was re-elected in Toronto West in the 1921 federal election, this time under the Conservative Party. When the riding boundaries were changed in 1924, he was re-elected in the Toronto West Centre riding in the 1925 and 1926 federal elections. He served in the 13th to the 16th Canadian Parliaments consecutively until he left federal politics in 1930.
Horatio was appointed a member of the Senate of Canada from 30 December 1933 and remained in that office until death.
Horatio passed away on February 18th, 1937. He was laid to rest at Saint James Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario.