Friday, November 25, 2011

Lake Shore Road/Sussex Drive Homes - 1926

Harold R. Watson, Architect - Lake Shore Road/Sussex Drive Project
base map courtesy of Toronto Maps

In 1926 the large lakefront estate lot on the south east corner of Church Street (present day Royal York Road) and the Lake Shore Road (present day Lake Shore Blvd West) was subdivided by Plan M 494.

Harold R. Watson, Architect was engaged to design the new houses for the majority of the lots.  Watson had already designed the homes on Eighth Street for the New Toronto Housing Commission in 1918, an unbuilt project on Murrie Street for the Mimico Housing Commission in 1919, as well as the Mimico Public School in 1922.  The construction of these smaller homes on this former Mimico Beach Estate lot was controversial, and Mr. Fetherstonhaugh on the adjacent Lynne Lodge Estate objected to the project.  However it went ahead anyway.

Watson was born in Toronto in 1895, the son of Albert Watson and Emma Wigley.  In 1916 he married Myrtle Irene Jack, daughter of John Jack and Sarah Dawson.   They went on to have five children together before her untimely death in 1928 of peritonitis following the birth of their last child.

The homes along present day Lake Shore Blvd W. and Sussex Drive show his skill as an architect.   The homes constitute a little country village, all executed in similar design and materials.  Their high pitched roofs and towering chimneys are distinctive, as is his use of brick on the first floor and stucco above.  The design employs many of the features he used in his Eighth Street project including exterior walls made of brick on the lower and stucco on the upper floor and small front porches that are covered by an extension of the roof line.  

The present day addresses include 2641, 2643, 2645, 2647 and 2649 Lake Shore Blvd. West as well as 2, 4 and 6 Sussex Drive.  The homes at 8 and 10 Sussex Drive were also part of this project but they were demolished in 2010 as part of the construction of a new house.

2 Sussex Drive
© Michael Harrison 2011

4 and 6 Sussex Drive
© Michael Harrison 2011

2641 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
© Michael Harrison 2011

2649 Lake Shore Blvd. West
© Michael Harrison 2011

William Adamson House - Cavell (Southampton) Avenue

William Adamson House - Cavell (Southampton) Avenue
courtesy of the Canadian Architect and Builder, Vol. 4 No. 1, 1891

This large home was designed by Gibson and Simpson, Architects in 1890 for William Henry Adamson, and built on his large lot on Southampton Avenue (later Cavell Avenue) in 1891 at the top of Victor Avenue.

Adamson House, Southampton Avenue, detail 1913
Goad's Fire Insurance Plan of Mimico, 1913, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

William Henry Adamson was the son of Henry Adamson and Ann Abigail and born in 1859.  On May 18, 1881 he married Alice Corlett, daughter of Robert and Margaret Corlett in Yorkville.

They originally lived in the city of Toronto but moved to their new house in Mimico after it was completed in 1891.  There they raised their 4 children:  Harold (b. 1882); Frank (b. 1884); Florence (b. 1886); and, Robert (b. 1888). 

He began his work with the Ontario Railway Company but later worked for the Western Assurance Company.  He remained in Mimico until about 1904.  The 1911 census finds the family living at 117 Maitland Street in Toronto.  By 1921 he had created his own company WH Adamson and Sons, Insurance Adjustors and was living on Keele Street.

The home was then acquired by John Verner (JV) McAree, the famous Toronto Mail and Empire columnist who wrote the well read "Fourth Column".  In 1934 a collection of his work was published in book form with the title Fourth Column.  When the paper was merged with the Globe to become the Globe and Mail in 1936 the column continued, but McAree also wrote on politics and other topics as well.  In 1953 he would publish Cabbagetown Store, which was a memoir of his childhood in his family's home and store in Toronto's Cabbagetown.  He named the house "Fairview" and lived there for the rest of his life.

He worked until the very last day of his life, his last column appearing in the Globe and Mail on March 25, 1958, three days after his sudden death on March 22, 1958 in his Cavell Avenue home at the age of 81 years.  His funeral was held at Wesley United Church in Mimico on March 25, 1958 after which he was buried in St. James Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife Margaret and four daughters.

It was probably shortly after this that the home was sold and demolished and a sixplex was built on the site.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mimico Orange Hall - 46 Mimico Avenue

Mimico Orange Hall
© Michael Harrison 2011

The cornerstone for the Mimico Orange Hall was laid in a ceremony attended by several hundred people on April 18, 1919.  Grand Master Horatio Clarence Hocken, local Member of Parliament was given the honour of laying the cornerstone.  Dr. Forbes Godfrey, local Member of Provincial Parliament also made remarks.

The building is dedicated to the memory of the men of Sir Edward Carson Loyal Orange Lodge of Mimico who died in World War I.

Mimico Orange Hall - detail
© Michael Harrison 2011

The Hall was put to a number of uses in the community.  The Mimico Baptist Church first held its services here beginning in 1920 until their purpose built church on Hillside Avenue was ready in 1923.

The building is now the Mimico Daycare Centre but remains as a reminder of the Orange Order that was well organized throughout Ontario and Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries during which it played a major role in the political process.

The building does not appear on the City of Toronto's heritage inventory.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

William Palk House - 46 Stanley Avenue

William Palk House - 46 Stanley Avenue
© Michael Harrison 2011

The large impressive home on the north east corner of Stanley and Victor Avenues was built about 1907 for William H Palk.

William Palk was born in 1857 in Toronto and was the son of Thomas Palk and Mary Nicols.  Palk worked as a gilder at Matthews Brothers and Company in Toronto.  The company manufactured mouldings, picture frames and mirrors.

In 1888 he married Annie McDonald and they had four children:  Norman (b. 1889); Jenne (b. 1891); Mildred (b. 1895) and Grayce (b. 1899).  

They originally lived in Toronto but by 1894 were living on Church Street (present day Royal York Road) in Mimico. 

They moved to their new impressive house on Stanley Avenue in 1907.

The family remained in the house until sometime after 1922 but would later move to 14 Glendale Avenue.

It was there that William died on October 26, 1936.  A private funeral was held there on October 28th after which his body was transported to St. James Cemetery in Toronto for burial.

The building does not appear on the City of Toronto's Heritage Inventory.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Andrews Dods - Trinadad House - 50 Stanley Avenue

Andrew Dods (Trinadad) House - 50 Stanley Avenue
© Michael Harrison 2011

The large home at the north west corner of Stanley and Victor Avenues was built in 1912 for Andrew Dods.

Dods was born in Alton, Ontario in 1882.  He was married in Port Hope, Ontario to Mary Grace Geary on January 1, 1906.  They would have three daughters:  Marjorie (b. 1907); Catherine (b. 1909) and Mary (b. 1911).  Later after she passed away he would marry Florence Hatton.

They originally lived in the City of Toronto but moved to Mimico in about 1908.  They first lived on Station Road but moved into their impressive new house at 50 Stanley Avenue in 1912.

What brought Dods to Mimico was his job at the Ontario Sewer Pipe Company which was Mimico's largest industry located at the north end of Burlington Street.  Dods began work there as an office boy eventually working his way up the corporate ladder to became President.  In 1929 the company was sold and he took his equity stake and moved onto other ventures.  

Dods undertook a number of leadership roles in the municipal government.  When Mimico became a Town in 1911 he was appointed as the first clerk for the Town of Mimico.  He later served as a municipal councillor, and as a member of the Public Utilities Commission.

Dods was also active politically and was a member of the Conservative party.

In 1930 he was appointed as the local magistrate.  He undertook the role for four years until he was informed by the new Liberal government in 1934 that his services were no longer required.  

He died on December 27 1946 at his home and is buried in the family plot in Alton, Ontario (present day Caledon, Ontario).

The name "Trindad" over the front door is a continuing mystery that I hope to solve one day.

The building is listed on the City of Toronto's Heritage Inventory, however it is not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.