Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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.  

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