Creativity and innovation inspired the original owners of Colborne Lodge, John and Jemima Howard, to leave High Park as a legacy that all Torontonians benefit from today.

Built by John Howard and Jemima, two painters, one also an architect and engineer, this Regency-era lakeside summer cottage still holds original collections of their art, architectural drawings, and inventions as well as stories of their eccentric lives. From 19th century science, technology, and medicine, to illness, adultery, and reported hauntings, Colborne Lodge truly has a story to engage all visitors. Colborne Lodge engages in the inclusion of Indigenous narratives and stories through a partnership with First Story Toronto where Indigenous guides embark on a truth-telling journey through their own lens.

Nearly 200 years later, Colborne Lodge is an active hub for community events in High Park, with cottage and garden tours, special events, workshops, and more. Locals and visitors alike are welcomed to see the place where the vision for High Park was born.

Admission

General admission is free. Some exhibitions and events may carry a separate charge where noted. Visiting the historic house is by guided tour only. See schedule below. The 1855 Coach House is open to explore.

Hours of Operation

Wednesday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free Guided Tours

Tours are offered at the following times: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Special Exhibits and Events

Browse the Toronto History Museums Calendar to find special exhibits and events happening at this and other museum sites.

Health and Safety

The public is not required to wear a mask but may choose to wear a mask in any settings they wish and will be supported in doing so. Museum visitors are treated with respect and understanding, regardless of their decision to wear a mask.

On-site Services and Accessibility

  • High Park is closed to vehicular traffic on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Outdoor picnic tables.
  • Partial accessibility. Please contact the museum for full details.

Effective January 1, 2023, groups of 15 people or more will be charged a fee for their visits. This fee includes a reserved time for your group and a dedicated tour guide to ensure an enjoyable and engaging experience.

For more information on group tours, fees, or to book your group visit, email clodge@toronto.ca. Please contact us 14 days in advance of your preferred visit date. Groups without an advanced booking may not be accommodated.

By Transit

From the south: Take the 501 streetcar or bus to Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed into High Park for 200 m. Colborne Lodge will be is on the right.

From the north: Take the Line 2 Bloor–Danforth subway to High Park Station. Follow Colborne Lodge Drive south through High Park for 1.7 km. Colborne Lodge is on the left.

For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.

By Car

Improvements to High Park’s travel network have begun. See High Park Movement Strategy implementation for more details.

Monday to Friday

Most roads and parking lots in High Park are open to vehicles on weekdays, including:

  • Colborne Lodge drop-off/pick-up zone and parking lot: This lot has seven spaces of which two are accessible. Access via entrance at The Queensway and Colborne Lodge Drive.
  • Spring Rd parking lot: This lot has 21 spaces. Access via entrance at Parkside Drive and Spring Road. Walk west along the park path about 10 minutes and turn right, walking up the paved, inclined Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed about three minutes to the museum.
  • Grenadier Café parking lot: This lot has 130 spaces. Access via entrance at Parkside Drive and High Park Boulevard. Walk south on Colborne Lodge Drive down the paved, inclined road 10 to 15 minutes to the museum.

Weekends and Holidays

Most roads and parking lots in High Park are closed to vehicles on weekends and holidays. Visitors are encouraged to use transit. A limited number of parking spaces are open to vehicles, including:

  • Colborne Lodge drop-off/pick-up zone and parking lot: This lot has seven spaces of which two are accessible. Access via entrance at The Queensway and Colborne Lodge Drive.
  • Spring Rd parking lot: This lot has 21 spaces. Access via entrance at Parkside Drive and Spring Road. Walk west along the park path about 10 minutes and turn right, walking up the paved, inclined Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed about three minutes to the museum.

For more information about vehicle access and parking, please contact Colborne Lodge at 416-392-6916.

Location

11 Colborne Lodge Dr.

John Howard emigrated from England with his wife Jemima in 1832. Due to his training, he quickly found work first as an architect, then as a city surveyor and engineer. He built Colborne Lodge in 1837 and named the residence after Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

The house was originally one storey, but Howard later expanded it by adding an upper level. In 1873, Howard and his wife deeded their 165-acre country property to the City of Toronto. This deed included an agreement that the park remain ‘for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Toronto and it be called High Park’.

Additional land was purchased by the City in 1876 and 1930, expanding the park to the current 399 acres. The Howards are buried under a stone monument that is fronted by a portion of fencing from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and is set close to Grenadier Pond. Colborne Lodge is now one of 10 historic sites operated by the City of Toronto.

Colborne Lodge is a rare North American example of a Regency picturesque building with a wide veranda opening to the garden and the park. The front door is on the west side of the building. At the heart of the structure is a tall three-part chimney that provided heat for the house. The interior remains decorated in a mid-19th-century style. More common in Britain, this style of architecture was used for buildings in natural settings and was designed to complement, not dominate, the natural surroundings.