Mount Hammond (West side of Farnham Ridge)
“No man in Toronto hated humbug more than H.C. Hammond … Mr Hammond was a rough diamond but he was real.”15
The path to the naming of Mount Hammond, located near Mount Farnham, is somewhat circuitous. It is the second mountain in the area to be given the name Mount Hammond. The first was named in 1902: the name given to the prominent mountain overlooking Hammond’s mining interest in the Paradise Basin.1 It remained Mount Hammond for only a decade, reverting in 1912 to the name given to it by David Thompson in 1807: Mount Nelson (3,313 m). The name Mount Hammond was instead given to another peak (3,387 m) about seven miles northwest.
So who was the person considered so important as to be the namesake for one of the most prominent peaks in the Windermere Valley, and later for that name to be moved to one of the highest peaks in the area?
Herbert Carlyle Hammond
Herbert Carlyle Hammond was a Toronto area based banker, stock broker, and financier. He comes across in various newspaper reports as a genuinely well-liked man with a reputation for philanthropy. Born in Grafton, Ontario on 19 October 1844, Hammond began his career at the Cobourg branch of the Bank of Montreal, then moved to work as an accountant in the head office of the Quebec Bank.2
In 1872, Hammond became instrumental in the operation of the Bank of Hamilton as the bank’s first cashier; a position which he held for a decade.3 Upon his resignation, Hammond entered into partnership with Edmund Boyd Osler (later a Member of Parliament) as stock brokers and financial agents (Osler and Hammond). It was while in this position that Hammond became interested in the Windermere Valley.
Hammond’s Influence in the Valley
The earliest investment I found in the Valley by Hammond and Osler was in 1891 on Vermont Creek (a tributary of the Spillimacheen River). The two bonded the Vermont Claim that summer, a bond which they released the following year.4 It is unlikely that this was Hammond’s first property in the area. There is some indication that Hammond had been interested in the Jumbo mining claim from about 1890, and over time he invested some $5,000 in the claim.5
Hammond continued to invest in various ventures in the area, setting up a syndicate of investors to speculate in different mining properties. He hired mining engineer Robert Randolph Bruce as the local manager of that syndicate.6 Together they developed a number of mines including the Sitting Bull Mine (1898, on Bruce Creek), the Delphine Mine (1899, Delphine Creek), and most lucratively the Paradise Mine (located August 1899, bonded June 1900).7 The amount of money Hammond put into the area was substantial: in the 1900 season alone the Hammond syndicate was estimated to have invested at least $30,000 in various mines in the district.8
For a time, Hammond’s mining investments in the area made him a well-known and popular figure in the Windermere Valley. He and his family, including his wife and two sons, visited the Valley in June 1900, and in both 1903 and 1904 Mrs Hammond sent Christmas presents to the children in Wilmer.9 Hammond also gave substantial money toward the construction of the Presbyterian Church in Wilmer in 1904, and two years later gifted the church a bell.10 Sadly, Hammond’s eldest son Frederick Sidney Hammond was on the Lusitania on 7 May 1915 when it was sunk, and was one of those lost at sea.11
In addition to his mining interests, Hammond acquired extensive ranch land near Windermere. He purchased a property in 1905 from John H. Harris and Robert Jackson, and immediately planned additions to the farm, including a large new barn and an apple orchard.12 The ranch was sold in 1912 after Hammond’s death to William Heap Holland, who in turn held it until early 1947, when it was sold to Fritz Trachsel.13
Closer to his home in Toronto, Hammond had a life-long interest in improving treatment and care of people with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease, primarily targeting the lungs, in which patients slowly lose their health over the course of years. After TB was determined to be contagious in the 1880s, patients were encouraged to isolate in sanatoriums to slow the spread of the disease. These facilities were also intended to offer care and treatment, although in reality only those geared towards the upper classes did so to any extent.
In 1907 Hammond gave funds (along with Robert Mulholland, who also had mining interests in the Windermere Valley) to establish a sanatorium in Weston, Ontario. The opening of the complex, on 28 August 1907, was presided over by the Governor General of Canada at the time, Earl Grey. The buildings were built for the care of wealthier, paying patients, in contrast Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives for poorer patients.14
Upset with the continued lack of attention being given to TB treatment in general, just a few months before his death Hammond took out full page advertisements in a number of newspapers asking the public to subscribe funds to establish sanatoriums for tuberculosis treatment.15 Following that plea up until the time of his death, over $60,000 was pledged.16
Hammond died, not unexpectedly, in 1909 from throat cancer. Tributes were generous, describing him as “industrious, shrewd, possess[ing] of a high sense of honor, and a kindly disposition that won welcome for him everywhere.” 17 An editorial in the Globe stated: “No man in Toronto hated humbug more than H.C. Hammond, … who was best known to the people of Toronto as the forceful advocate and generous benefactor of all projects for mending the sad lot of consumptives. Mr Hammond was a rough diamond but he was real. From the newsboys, whom he staked after they had plunged and lost, from young men, whom he drove from evil courses, often by scornful words, and from patients at … sanatoriums for whose benefit he strove almost with his dying breath, will so up that best of all praise. He helped us when he most needed help.” 18
Hammond’s estate was valued at over one million dollars, and included public bequests to the Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives, the Sick Children’s hospital, the Home for Incurables in Toronto, and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.19