Friday, November 25, 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.

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