Friday, March 23, 2012

Louis J. West House - 17 Albert Avenue

Louis J. West House - 17 Albert Avenue
© Michael Harrison 2012 

This home was built for Louis J. West circa 1912.  

Louis J. West was born in London, England in 1872 and immigrated to Canada with his parents James and Harriett West shortly thereafter.  They settled in Toronto and James West worked as a butcher.  Louis was educated at Toronto and later founded the brokerage firm of Louis J. West and Company.  

On October 11, 1898 Louis married Ethel May Shafer, daughter of James and Mary Shafter.  He moved to Mimico in about 1904 where he took an active part in the incorporation of Mimico as a police village in 1905.  At first he lived on Southampton Avenue (present day Cavell) and then Station Road before moving into his new house in 1912.

courtesy of The Mimico Story 

In 1919 he was elected Mayor of the town and held the post for two years.  He was one of the founders, and one time president of the Toronto Stock Exchange.  He retired from his brokerage firm in 1931 and then purchased the Jermyn Estate on Mimico Beach.  He died there on October 3, 1936, leaving an estate valued at over $395,000. ( $6,496,148.65 in 2012 dollars)

The West family continued to live at the estate until they sold it to the Peckover family in 1945. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dr. John Serson House - 67 Superior Avenue

Dr. John Serson House - 67 Superior Avenue
© Michael Harrison 2012

This fine home was built for Dr. John Serson circa 1912.  It still has its original driving shed and stable in the backyard!

Dr. Serson's Driving Shed and Stable
© Michael Harrison 2012

Dr Serson's House - 1913 Goad's Fire Insurance Plan for Mimico
courtesy Library and Archives Canada

Dr. Serson was born in Ridgetown, Kent County, Ontario on May 20, 1878 to James Serson and Elizabeth Cooper.  He grew up on the family farm but later attended the University of Toronto where he graduated with his medical degree in 1905.  He moved to Mimico by 1907 living on Southampton Avenue (present day Cavell Avenue). 

On June 3, 1908 he was married to Lillian Rowntree at the Methodist Church in Weston.  They would later have two children - John (b. 1910) and Marion (b. 1912).  

The Serson family moved into their new house on Superior Avenue in 1912.

  Dr. John Serson
courtesy The Story of Mimico

He was a founding member of the Mimico Horticultural Society, and was a member of the Masonic Order Connaught Lodge.  He was a well known surgeon at both St. Joseph's and Grace Hospitals.  When telephone service came to the area in 1914 he was given telephone number 1.  

They lived at 67 Superior Avenue until he purchased the Beamish estate on Mimico Beach in 1926.

In 1933 a public banquet was held to thank him for his many years of community service.  By 1935 failing health forced him to retire from public life.  

He died in his sleep at his home at the age of 61 years on May 29, 1939.  Dr. Serson was remembered for his 32 years of service to the Mimico both as a physician  and community leader.  He took an active interest in the development of educational facilities in Mimico, including the construction of Mimico High School.  He was also a member of the public school board for eight years.  On May 30, 1939 Mimico Town Council observed two minutes of silence in his memory.

His funeral on June 1 1939, began with a private service at his  Mimico Beach estate conducted by Rev Black of Wesley United Church with Rev. Fingland of Niagara Falls, former minister of the church.    

This was followed by a public service in Wesley United Church on Mimico Avenue that was attended by hundreds of people.  Mimico High School was closed for the afternoon so that students could attend.  The casket was banked with floral tributes from public bodies in Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch and Toronto with which he had been associated.  These included the municipal councils of Mimico and New Toronto, students of Mimico High School, Lakeshore Lodge, Connaught Lodge, Mimico High School Board, Mimico Public School Board, Wardens and members of York County Council, Nobles of Ramses Temple, Toronto, St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary, graduates and staff of St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Joseph's Clinical Society, student nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital, Ontario Liberal Association, West York Liberal Association, Mimico Liberal Association, High Park Bowling Club, West Park Independent Order of Odd Fellows, New Toronto Liberal Association, Mimico Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, Rotary Club and many other organizations.  Provincial and Mimico police cars headed the cortege of 200 cars to Park Lawn Cemetery where a Masonic service was held at the grave.