Ontario's Historical Plaques 

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Robert F. Gourlay 1778-1863

Robert F. Gourlay 1778-1863

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2004

Robert F. Gourlay 1778-1863

Photo from Google Street View ©2010 Google - Posted November, 2010

Plaque Location

The County of Oxford
The Township of South West Oxford
In Mount Elgin, on the southwest corner of
Mount Elgin Road (Road 18) and Plank Line (Highway 19)

Coordinates: N 42 57.500 W 80 47.554


Plaque Text

Gourlay was a radical Scot who crusaded for social reform in Britain in the early nineteenth century. His activities in Upper Canada sent shock waves through the province. He arrived in 1817 to examine property he owned just east of here and became interested in promoting settlement. To encourage immigration, Gourlay began compiling his "Statistical Account of Upper Canada" (1822). He soon decided that government favouritism and mismanagement were stifling growth. Gourlay challenged the authorities, organizing protest meetings and publishing colourful, heated attacks on office holders. Cleared of charges of seditious libel in Kingston and Brockville, he was charged under the Seditious Alien Act late in 1818 in Niagara, jailed for eight months, then banished.

Related Ontario plaque
Court-House and Gaol 1817-1866

Related Toronto plaque
Robert Gourlay 1778-1863



South West Oxford Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted December 26, 2012
The name Gourlay is not necessarily misspelled. I am John Gourley and my ancestors when living in Normandy spelled the name DeGourlay.....around 1200, give or take, they moved to Scotland and somewhere after settling in Scotland, the De was dropped from the name and changed to Gourlay......some time later the Gourlay spelling was changed to Gourley. I can be contacted at azaudi@gmail.com

> Posted July 30, 2012
I think that the notice sign on #19 for this plaque misspells the name making it difficult to track this person. "Gourley" vs. "Gourlay".

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