Toronto, Ontario – Mary Pickford (1892-1979) might have been known as “America’s Sweetheart” but she was Canadian, born in 1892 in a home where the Hospital for Sick Children now stands on University Avenue near Gerrard. Her name was Gladys Mary Smith and parents were actors. Her father died when she was quite young and left her family near-destitute. Mary’s mother took in sewing and was working on costumes when Mary was spotted and offered the opportunity to be in a play with a Toronto stock theatre. This became her acting debut at the age of five. Not only did she eventually rise to fame as an academy-award winning actress, she was one of the founders (with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks) and the vice-president of United Artists.
The sculpture and plaque for Mary Pickford is located near the sidewalk in front of Sick Children’s Hospital, on the east side of University Ave., south of Queen’s Park.
525-531 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G, Canada