UrbanToronto has partnered with Heritage Toronto to capture a moment in Toronto's past. On a weekly basis, we highlight historic photos of the city's people, places and events, and tell the stories behind them.

Ernest MacMillan is among the brightest stars in the history of music in Canada. He was born in Mimico in 1893 and began studying organ at the age of eight.

Famous Toronto composer Sir Ernest MacMillan

With his first public performance at age 10, MacMillan went on to an incredible career as organist, pianist, composer, educator and writer. After studying at prestigious schools around the world, MacMillan relocated to Toronto and took on a job as organist and choirmaster at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, a position he held from 1919 to 1925. Around the same time he worked and later became Principal at the Toronto Conservatory of Music, later the Royal Conservatory of Music. MacMillan was also a Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto.
A gifted conductor, MacMillan was a conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and also the Mendelssohn Choir. MacMillan was President of the Canadian Music Council and of the Canadian Music Centre. In 1935 he was knighted for his services in music in Canada.
MacMillan remains a familiar name today. Sir Ernest MacMillan Public School in Toronto was named in his honour.
Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developments and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research.

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