In 1894 a group of men formed the York Riding and Driving Association. This organization received a provincial charter permitting it to hold "race meets." In 1908, A. M. (Abe) Orpen bought the company and acquired the charter which he used to organize horse races at Dufferin Park (a race track located on the present site of the Dufferin Mall and not to be confused with Dufferin Grove Park across the street.) In 1909, the Globe newspaper began running articles that claimed the provincial charter had expired. After an inquiry, the provincial government revoked the charter, but almost immediately Orpen acquired a federal charter that allowed him to hold races at Dufferin as well as in Montreal, Quebec and Winnipeg. The controversy over Orpen's charter was part of a larger debate over race-track gambling. Some of the Globe articles below are specifically about the Dufferin Park race track. Others are about the more general issue of race-track gambling, although some of these mention Dufferin Park in passing.
June 15, 1909 - Hon. Mr. Foy asks for the records Looking Into Dufferin Race-track Charter - A delay was granted - But Inquiry Will be Resumed This Morning. - Counsel for the York Riding and Driving Club Protests Against the Short Notice Given - How The Charter Was Obtained. This article provides some important background information about the dispute concerning the provincial charter under which horse racing operated at the Dufferin track
August 14, 1909 - New Race Tracks in Four Cities in Canada - Toronto Men Secure Incorporation of Metropolitan Racing Association of Canada - Will Probably Use Dufferin Park for Toronto - This article mentions Abe Orpen
February 2, 1910 Not a compromise, but a surrender To allow betting on race-courses, says Mr. Shearer - Herbert Spencer's view - Quoted before parliamentary committee on Miller bill - An old racing man does not consider bookmaking necessary to breeding - Mr. E. C. Drury declares racetrack betting is of no benefit to the farming community Abe Orpen is mentioned briefly at the end of the article.