Lydia Jane Orford is the daughter of Mary Ferguson Taylor Orford (1829 – 1903) and James Orford ( 1820 – 1880) and grand-daughter to Col. and Mrs. Taylor from Erie, Pennsylvania. Her father was a Irish immigrant and on her maternal side the family came from the United States of America. Lydia was born 1862 in Toronto on her father’s one acre farm, which was located near Dundas Street at 325 Parliament Street. Little is known abut Lydia’s childhood, but evidence suggests that by her adolescence and early adulthood, she had already established herself as a fixture within local charitable organizations and church groups in the Cabbagetown area. Lydia Jane Orford Fleming’s philanthropy and steadfast Christian beliefs would remain an essential part of her life until death. In 1888 she volunteered at the Sackville Street Mission and played the organ and piano at St. Peters Anglican Church; that same year she met and married Robert John Fleming.
The future mayor of Toronto and his wife had several children: Murray Fleming b.1889, Victoria ‘Queenie’ Fleming b. 1897, Evelyn Fleming b. 1900 (Surgeon), Stella b. 1891, Russell b. 1893, A. Lloyd b. 1894, and Goldwyn. In order to accommodate the growing family and farm, the family moved to the outskirts of the City of Toronto - to Bathurst and St. Clair - where they owned a large portion of land. Lydia raised her family and was involved with the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission (her daughter Evelyn was a Surgeon in India with the Z.B.M.M), and the Sackville Mission, and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. After becoming a widow, her commitment to charity took her overseas. She traveled to China, Egypt and was in India several times in the 1920s and 1930s. She oversaw the building and maintenance of the Canada Hospital in Nasik, India. A building at the hospital, which housed over a 100 beds, was named after Lydia Fleming. She died at the age of 75 on September 20th 1937, in Nasik, India of an apparent heart attack.