Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bonnyview - Loblaw Estate - DEMOLISHED

Theodore Pringle Loblaw, one of the founders of Loblaws, and known as the "Merchant Prince" established his Mimico Beach Estate in the 1920s when he purchased the Eaton estate.  He must have been a frequent guest at the nearby estate of his partner John Milton Cork and decided to acquire a summer home for himself.

Theodore Pringle "TP" Loblaw was born in Alliston in 1872, son of William James Loblaw and Isabella Stevenson.  His father died when he was an infant and his widowed mother moved in with her parents.  When he was 17 years old he came to Toronto and began working as a grocery clerk with W.C. Cork Ltd earning $3 a week.  With his first savings, Loblaw bought an interest in the store.  He formed a partnership with John Milton Cork and by 1910 they owned and operated  a chain of 19 small stores.  They soon sold the chain to the Dominion Stores Company.  It was then that he first came up with the idea of the cash and carry system that would make him famous and wealthy.  Prior to this groceries were bought with the help of clerks behind the counter.  In 1919 he began Loblaws Groceterias with the moto of "Cash, one price and satisfaction guaranteed". 

He soon followed with other innovations such as specialty products only available at Loblaw stores such as High Park Coffee, and its own Loblaw brands of tea.  

TP was generous with his wealth and was well known for his philanthropy.   

He married his wife Isabella Adam in 1895.  She died on May 27, 1930 of heart failure brought on by pneumonia at the farm in Alliston - she was buried in the family plot in Alliston Cemetery.  

Tragedy struck when TP died in Western Hospital from complications following a minor operation on March 31, 1933.  His funeral was held at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church on April 4, 1933 after which the body was transported to Alliston where he was buried beside his wife in the family plot in Alliston Cemetery.  He was survived by an adopted daughter Jean Agnes Loblaw and three foster sons Alexander, John and James Burr-Loblaw.  

In May 1933 the will was probated and valued at $2,196,301.  The Bonnyview estate in Mimico was bequeathed to his daughter Jean. 

Jean Loblaw sold the Mimico Estate to Mr. Franceschini in 1934.  Weston Limited purchased Loblaws in 1947.

The property was developed in the 1950s with apartments along the Lake Shore Road (currently Lake Shore Blvd. West) and sixplexes along a new street - Norris Crescent.

Eaton Estate - DEMOLISHED

Robert Wellington Eaton was born in St. Mary's on March 16, 1864, son of Robert Eaton, a brother of Timothy Eaton, founder of The Eaton Department Store.  

In 1891 he came to Toronto to accept a position in the T. Eaton Co.  RW was a worker Eaton and not an owner Eaton.  He had no ownership stake in the company.  He rose through the ranks eventually becoming a member of the Board of Directors and the company's Superintendant.  In addition to his city home on Farnham Avenue, and their Mimico Beach estate, he also had an estate in Muskoka.  He was very involved in sports and was an active member of the Granite Club, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Lambton Golf and Country Club, and the Parkdale Canoe Club.  He was also a member of the Canadian Club and the Board of Trade, which he served in an executive capacity, and was a Director of the Canadian National Exhibition.  He was a Director of the Standard Bank until its amalgamation with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1928.  

On May 2, 1930 he died at his Farnham Avenue home and was laid to rest in the Eaton Mausoleum in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  He was survived by his widow Lilly and his daughter Mildred.  He was predeceased by his daughter Margaret who died six years previously and a son who died in infancy.

Eaton sold his Mimico Beach estate to Theodore Pringle Loblaw in the 1920s.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lynne Lodge - Fetherstonhaugh Estate - GARDENER'S COTTAGE SAVED

Lynne Lodge
courtesy of the Canadian Architect and Builder, 1899

One of Mimico's most fabulous estates, it was built by Frederick Barnard Fetherstonhaugh, a pioneer patent attorney, who was born in Bruce County in 1863, went to law school and got rich satisfying the need for patent protection of the many technological innovations of the late 19th and early 20th century.  Along the way he founded Fetherstonhaugh and Company, a patent law firm with offices around the world (which still exists today).  Mr. Fetherstonhaugh built the first electric car in Canada and established his estate in Mimico in 1899.  The main house "Lynne Lodge" was designed by Henry Sproatt, and a few years later was joined by "The Towers", Mimico's only castle folly.

The Towers 
courtesy of the Toronto Reference Library, JV Salmon Collection, T-33699

The divorce settlement from his second wife resulted in the loss of his company and fortune.  In the end, he lived in his decaying estate with a number of strangers who it is alleged, took advantage of a sick old man and stole what was left of the estate.  He died virtually penniless in 1945.

Fetherstonhaugh Boathouse
courtesy of the Archives of Ontario, C7, Acc 9912, Vol 7, page 46, #22249-A

The former estate is now covered by apartment buildings, with only the Gardener's Cottage and Boathouse, and a few landscaping elements remaining to give one a sense of the grandeur of the Fetherstonhaugh Estate.

Gardener's Cottage, 2011
courtesy of Denise Harris

In February 2011 when I discovered that the owner of the Gardener's Cottage was seeking to demolish it I requested that the City of Toronto designate it, the Boathouse and remaining landscaping elements of the estate under the Ontario Heritage Act.  At its meeting on February 16, 2011 the Etobicoke-York Community Council deferred consideration of the demolition application until May 2011 in order to allow Heritage Preservation staff adequate time to review my designation request.

Toronto Preservation Board - May 5, 2011

On May 2, 2011 the agenda for the Toronto Preservation Board meeting of May 5, 2011 was posted online.  I received the following notice from the city of Toronto:

Please be advised that the Toronto Preservation Board will consider the above noted matter at its meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 5th, at Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Committee Room #2, Second Floor at 2:00 p.m.  Toronto Preservation Board meetings are open to the public, and you or your representatives are welcome to speak or write in to this body. 

If you would like to depute at the Board meeting, please contact Margaret Sexton of the Clerk's Department at 416-392-6316 or email her at with your name, address and telephone number and the item in which you are interested.

Link to Report:

Below is my submission to the Toronto Preservation Board:
The recommendation from Toronto planning staff that the Gardener's Cottage be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act was adopted by the Toronto Preservation Board at its meeting of May 5, 2011.  The report will now proceed to the Etobicoke-York Community Council meeting of May 25, 2011 for consideration.  I will post more on this when the agenda for the meeting becomes available on the City of Toronto website.  Letters/emails of support for Etobicoke-York Community Council to adopt the recommendation would be very helpful.  

Etobicoke-York Community Council - May 25, 2011

The agenda for the May 25, 2011 Etobicoke-York Community Council has now been posted online. The Fetherstonhaugh Gardener's Cottage item is item EY7.5: (May 25, 10:30 AM) Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act – 2669-2673 Lake Shore Boulevard West (Ward 6) 

You will note a letter from the owner's lawyer is also posted online right after the report. Deputations are listed to begin at 10:30am. Deputations and/or written submissions would be most helpful. They should be addressed to: Councillor Mark Grimes, Chair, and Members of Etobicoke-York Community Council and can be emailed to If you could also send me a copy that would be appreciated (mimicohistory at

Below is a copy of my submission:
At the meeting the item was deferred again.  This time until the Etobicoke-York Community Council meeting of September 12, 2011.

Further information can be found in the article appearing the next day in the Etobicoke Guardian:

Etobicoke-York Community Council - September 12, 2011

Consideration of the recommendation to designate the Gardener's Cottage under the Ontario Heritage Act will occur at the September 12, 2011 meeting of Etobicoke-York Community Council.  

I am pleased to inform you that the following recommendation will be proceeding to the September 12, 2011 Etobicoke-York Community Council meeting:

The City Planning Division recommends that:

1. Recommendation 2 of Item EY7.5 - Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29,of the Ontario Heritage Act - 2669-2673 Lake Shore Boulevard West (deferred by Etobicoke York Community Council May 25, 2011), be amended to read:  City Council state its intention to designate that portion of the properties at 2669-2673 Lakeshore Boulevard West (Gardener's Cottage, Fetherstonhaugh Estate) described as Part of Lots 540 and 541, Plan M-76 and Part of Lot 1, Broken Front Concession, City of Toronto, as shown outlined on the attached survey (Attachment 1), under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
The staff report can be viewed here:

The survey can be viewed here:

Thank you everyone for your letters of support on this issue.  Toronto City Council approved the recommendation on September 21, 2011.  As a result the Fetherstonhaugh Gardener's Cottage will be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in the near future and hopefully be with us for many years to come.

Quidi Vidi - Horwood Estate - DEMOLISHED

John Charles Batstone "JCB" Horwood was born in Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland on March 19, 1864, the son of  Richard Horwood and Harriet Batstone.  When he was four, his family moved to Toronto where he grew up working in the building trade alongside his father.  In 1882 he began work with the architectural firm of Langley, Langley and Burke where he remained until 1887.  In the early 1890s he went to New York City to work for the firm of Clinton and Russell.  He travelled in Europe in 1894 to study the classical architecture of European cities.  He returned to Toronto in 1895 and entered into a partnership with Edmund Burke, and undertook their first big commission rebuilding the Robert Simpson Store at the south west corner of Yonge and Queen Street, after it burned to the ground.  JCB utilized his knowledge of fire resistent construction obtained in New York City firm of Clinton and Russell during the commission.  The construction of department stores would become a speciality of the firm though they would also be known for their residential designs for many of Toronto's elite families. 

JCB’s son Eric Compton Horwood was born in Toronto in 1900.  The Horwood family established their "Quidi Vidi" estate in Mimico Beach about 1910.  Eric Horwood was educated at the University of Toronto in 1925 and left to continue his education at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the Fontainbleau School of Fine Arts.  He returned to Toronto in 1927 and joined his father's architectural practice.  JCB died in 1938, leaving an estate valued at $52,365.  Eric Horwood would continue to live at the waterfront estate until 1958 when he sold it for apartment development and moved to nearby Stanley Avenue.  He continued in architectural practice until his retirement in 1974.  

In 1979, he donated a collection of over 35,000 architectural plans representing more than 1,500 structures from fifty-four architects spanning a period of 150 years to the Archives of Ontario where it remains an invaluable research collection.

Jermyn Estate - DEMOLISHED

One of the largest estates on the Mimico waterfront, it was established in the mid 1890s by Mr. Thomas John Jermyn.  Mr. Jermyn was born in Ireland in 1846 and emigrated to Canada in 1864.  In 1870 he began as a cashier with Brock and Company, a Toronto drygoods wholesaler, and later rose to be Vice-President with headquarters at Bay and Wellington.  His city home was at 314 Sherbourne Street, across from Allan Gardens.  Jermyn died on April 12, 1904 days before the company's head office and warehouse burned to the ground in the Great Toronto Fire of April 19-20, 1904 which destroyed the city's business center.  The Jermyn family stayed on in Mimico Beach for some time and it was a favourite summertime haunt.  Percy Jermyn, Thomas' son, was often seen dashing about the waterfront in his sailing boat the "Nancy" practising for the annual regatta.

The Jermyn family later sold the property to Thomas H. Goldring.  Goldring was the son of Thomas Goldring and Flora McDonald, and was born in Toronto in 1877.  Goldring owned the estate for a short time beginning in 1919.  Thomas H. Goldring died in 1931 at which time the estate was acquired by the West family.

Louis J. West
courtesy of The Mimico Story

Louis J. West was born in London, England in 1872 and emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was a small child.  He was educated at Toronto and later founded the brokerage firm of Louis J. West and Company.  He moved to Mimico in 1905 where he took an active part in the incorporation of Mimico as a police village.  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 died at his Mimico Beach home on October 3, 1936, leaving an estate valued at over $395,000.  The West family continued to live at the estate until it was sold to the Peckover family in 1945.  The Peckover family sold it to John Hamm and his wife Evelyn Pearl Bedford in 1947.  John was originally a journalist with the Mail and Empire but later appears to have turned his hand to the building of quality homes in some of Toronto's best neighbourhoods.  Hamm lived on the estate and also developed a small apartment along the Lake Shore Road frontage.  He sold the estate for apartment development in 1959.  Today the twin Shoreline Towers apartment blocks are built on the site of the estate.

William Inglis Estate - DEMOLISHED

William Inglis was the son of John Inglis, founder of the John Inglis Company Limited, manufacturer of boilers, engines and pumps.  The Inglis family, originally from Scotland, emigrated to Canada in the early 1850s.  They moved in 1858 to Guelph, establishing their business.  John Inglis died in 1898.  

William Inglis was born in Guelph on October 20, 1868.  As a youth he began to learn the machinists trade from this father, later joining his father in the business - renamed John Inglis and Sons.  The business was moved to Toronto in 1895 and established at 14 Strachan Avenue.  William Inglis  was married to Bertha Hewett on December 19, 1898 and they had one daughter, Margaret.

Inglis established his estate in the 1910s.  He originally owned a small 50 foot lot but later acquired the much larger estate owned by Isaac Newton Devins.  When he acquired the old Devins estate Inglis engaged JCB Horwood to design a grand mansion for the property but later settled for the renovation and expansion of the existing house.

Their main Toronto residence was originally at 153 St. George Street.  Later they moved to a large mansion in Parkdale and then permanently to their Mimico waterfront estate.  

William Inglis was a member of the best clubs including the Toronto Engineers Club, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Lakeview Golf and Country Club, the Ontario Jockey Club and the Parkdale Curling and Bowling Clubs.  He was a member of the Board of Trade and an executive member of the Canadian Manufacturer's Association.  He was appointed a Director of the Canadian National Exhition in 1925 and in 1933 was elected President.  The foundry was a profitable business.  Even when the Great Depression hit in 1929 business was still good with many orders on the books - particularly from the government.  However, as the Depression dragged on into 1932 the situation became more serious.  The business suffered its first loss and sales were virtually non-existant, especially from the private sector.  Mr. Inglis' attempts to solicit further business from government failed.  The stress on senior management was unbearable and many senior company officials died suddenly in 1935-1936 including William Inglis who passed away on November 18, 1935.  Toronto Mayor Simpson stated that " The city has lost a fine citizen, with a personality which earned for him a host of friends.  He was liked by all who had dealings with him.  He was an outstanding business man."  To commemorate Mr. Inglis, the island ferry recently delivered to the City of Toronto was renamed the William Inglis - it continues to serve the islands today.  The company went into receivership in 1936 and the factory closed.  It would later be resurrected but the family was no longer connected with it.

Mrs. Inglis continued to live at the estate after the death of her husband.  After it passed out of the hands of the family it became a tea house until it too was demolished as part of the post WWII building boom in Toronto in 1954.  The Franroy Court apartments were built on the site.  

Kilcooley - Colonel Harry McGee Estate - DEMOLISHED

The son of Thomas McGee and Rachel Webster, Harry McGee was born on September 20, 1861 in Renamore, County Tipperary, Ireland.  He came to Canada in 1882, staying with his brother Jim in Blyth, Ontario.  He got a job at the Golden Griffin in Toronto shortly thereafter but quit to work for Timothy Eaton in August 1883 at a starting salary of $6 per week.  He quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder from general staff to the head of a department, and then general supervisor of several departments.  He was made a director of the Eaton Company in 1906 and a year later was made Vice-President.  He was put in charge of Eaton's expansion plans and supervised the construction of the Eaton's store in Winnipeg, and then other stores across the country.  In 1928 to celebrate his 45th anniversary with Eaton's he was presented with many gifts including a Rolls Royce.  In 1892 he married Nellie McBride and they had one daughter, Isobel.  Colonel McGee took a great interest in agriculture and had a large farm in Etobicoke which he called Harnibel.  He died at his home in Forest Hill in 1939 leaving an estate of $1.2 million.  His Mimico Beach estate later became Kilcooley Gardens and operated for a number of years as a restaurant and reception hall before it was demolished for apartment blocks in 1957.  The property at 2345 Lake Shore Boulevard West is currently home to the Kilcooley Gardens Co-op.