In the Matter of the Ontario Heritage Act
R.S.O. 1990, Chapter 0.18 and
City of Toronto, Province of Ontario

120 Peter Street

Notice of Intention to Designate

Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and building known municipally as 120 Peter Street under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

John Holdford House (120 Peter Street)

The property at 120 Peter Street is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation, under all three categories of design, associative and contextual value.


The property at 120 Peter Street is located in the proposed King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District (HCD), and is identified as a contributing property in the King-Spadina HCD Plan (2017) enacted by By-law 1111-2017 as amended by By-law 1241-2017.

Located on the west side of the street between Adelaide and Richmond streets, the property at 120 Peter Street contains the north half of a pair of 2½-storey semi-detached house form buildings dating to 1885 and attributed to contractor John Holdford, who acquired, developed and sold the adjoining sites at 118 and 120 Peter Street.  The latter properties are listed on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register.

Statement of Significance

The property at 120 Peter Street has cultural heritage value for its design as a surviving residential building with Second Empire styling associated with the first wave of development in the King-Spadina neighbourhood in the 1800s.  The semi-detached house represents a key typology in King-Spadina, which originated in the 1800s as a residential and institutional enclave where the side street and many of the main streets were lined with detached, semi-detached and row houses.  The subject property survived the replacement of much of the residential building stock during the second phase of development of the community in the 20th century when King-Spadina became Toronto’s industrial centre.  The building at 120 Peter Street is among the few sites in the King-Spadina neighbourhood with a surviving house form building designed in the Second Empire style, and it is particularly distinguished by the prototypical mansard roof with the pedimented dormers.

The associative value of the property at 120 Peter Street is through its role in the historical development of the King-Spadina neighbourhood, which emerged in the late-19th century as a residential and institutional community the third Provincial Parliament Buildings, the inaugural Upper Canada College campus and the first General Hospital were adjoined by house form buildings that ranged from elaborate mansions to modest workers dwellings.  Following the transformation of King-Spadina after the Great Fire of 1904 as Toronto’s new manufacturing district, the John Holdford House was amongst the surviving house form buildings repurposed for mixed residential and commercial uses as part of the ongoing revitalization of the area.

Contextually, the property at 120 Peter Street is valued for the role of the John Holdford House in defining, supporting and maintaining the historical character of the King-Spadina neighbourhood, reflecting its evolution from the first phase of development as a 19th-century residential and institutional enclave, to Toronto’s manufacturing centre in the 20th century, and its ongoing transformation as a mixed-use community.

As a surviving 19th-century residential building, the semi-detached house at 120 Peter Street is historically, visually and physically linked to its setting on the west side of Peter Street where it is part of a surviving enclave of late-19th century house form buildings, with the other half of the pair at 118 Peter Street, the semi-detached houses at 122-124 Peter Street (1872) directly north, and the adjoining pair a 357-359 Richmond Street West (1889), all of which are recognized on the City’s Heritage Register.

Heritage Attributes

The heritage attributes of the John Holdford House at 120 Peter Street are:

  • The setback, placement and orientation of the building on the west side of the street between Adelaide Street West and Richmond Street West
  • The scale, form and massing of the 2½-storey rectangular-shaped plan above the raised stone base (the opening in the base has been altered)
  • The mansard roof with the extended eaves with the brackets, string course and cornice, and the pair of pedimented dormers on the east slope
  • The materials with the red brick cladding and the brick, stone and wood detailing (the stucco cladding is an addition)
  • The principal (east) elevation, which is organized into two bays with the single-storey polygonal bay window in the right (north) bay and the raised entrance with the transom in the left (south) bay
  • On the east elevation, in the second storey, the single and double flat-headed window openings with the brick and stone detailing
  • The north side elevation, which is viewed from Peter Street

Note: no heritage attributes are found on the rear (west) elevation and wing.  The south side elevation adjoins the neighbouring building, which is the other half of the pair of semi-detached houses (118 Peter Street) and displays the red brick cladding originally shared by both buildings.

Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention:  Ellen Devlin, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2 within thirty days of October 12, 2018, which is November 12, 2018. The notice of objection must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.

Dated at Toronto this 12th day of October, 2018

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk