Sir John Lefroy 1817-1890

A pioneer in the study of terrestrial magnetism, Lefroy was director of the magnetic observatory here from 1842 to 1853. Born in Hampshire, England, he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery at the age of seventeen and, because of his aptitude for science, was posted to St. Helena in 1839 to establish a magnetic observatory. Three years later, he was transferred to Toronto. During 1843-44, Lefroy conducted the first comprehensive magnetic and meteorological survey in British North America, making observations of exceptional scope and scientific value. Before returning to England in 1853, he was instrumental in persuading the provincial government to assume responsibility for the observatory. Following a distinguished career as a soldier, scholar and colonial administrator, Lefroy was knighted in 1877.


In front of the Sandford Fleming Building, the site of the former magnetic observatory, 10 King's College Road, University of Toronto, Toronto

Region: Greater Toronto Area

County/District: City of Toronto (District)

Municipality: City of Toronto