See a dark figure. A figure draped in flapping black robes, coursing from East Toronto to Queen and University. This wasn’t, as some supposed, the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz”. This was Fred Dashwood, the founding Dashwood of Dashwood & Dashwood in 1926. Saving money by riding his bike, fully-robed, to the courthouse. Simultaneously acknowledging the constraints of the thirties, and demonstrating the fiscal probity that’s always defined the firm.
Fred was the son of Joseph Dashwood, who’d emigrated from England at the turn of the last century, settling in the rapidly growing Beach (Beaches) area of Toronto. Joseph had been a clerk in the English Court in London, England and continued as a clerk to the Ontario Surrogate Court.
After serving in World War 1, in which his brother John was killed at Vimy Ridge in 1917, Fred Dashwood obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall. From 1926, when he first put out his shingle on Kingston Road, until the 1950s, Fred practiced law as a general Barrister and Solicitor. Refusing to take on family law cases on the grounds that they were ‘immoral’, he mainly handled real estate, estates, and various torts and contract-related cases.
In the mid-1950s Fred’s son, John, received his law degree from Osgoode Hall and joined the practice, as the second Dashwood in Dashwood & Dashwood. The firm continued as a general practice, taking on more matrimonial law and fewer general litigation matters. While John was a well known and effective barrister, lawyers were starting to specialize as Toronto boomed. The Beaches were now filled up with homes and east Scarborough was growing by leaps and bounds. As one of the few law firms in the east end, real estate became a major part of the practice.
Fred Dashwood died in the mid-1970s. The firm continued under John Dashwood. When his son, Geoffrey, was called to the bar in 1986 and joined the practice, the firm was again truly Dashwood & Dashwood – practicing extensively in real estate and wills and estates, while various litigation matters were increasingly referred to experienced barristers. John Dashwood retired in 2001.
Geoffrey Dashwood continues to practice under the name Dashwood & Dashwood. The oldest law firm in Toronto east of the Don River (and one of the city’s oldest firms, period) the firm thrives on its deep-rooted east end reputation, specializing in the practice of real estate and wills and estates law.