As part of the City’s COVID-19 response, all City-operated museums are closed until further notice. Select museums are offering exterior tours and CampTO programs. Stay up-to-date on all changes to City services.
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.
The interior of Colborne Lodge is closed to the public. Please refer to the open hours below or call for more information.
HistoricTO exterior tours at Colborne Lodge are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10.
Hours of Operation
HistoricTO tours are offered Wednesday to Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
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.
From the west: Take The Queensway eastbound to Colborne Lodge Drive at the south entrance to High Park, turn north (left). Colborne Lodge is about 200 m up the hill immediately on the right-hand side of the road. Or, you can access the Lodge by going eastbound on Bloor Street West to the north entrance to High Park.
From the east: Take Lake Shore Boulevard West westbound to Colborne Lodge Drive. Turn north (right) and follow roadway into High Park. The Lodge is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side of the road approximately 200 m from the entrance to the park.
There is limited free parking on site during the week. Currently, High Park is closed to vehicles on the weekends.
Take the Bloor/Danforth subway line to High Park station and walk south through High Park (approximately a 30 minute walk). Or, take the 501 streetcar (Humber/Long Branch) to Colborne Lodge Drive and walk a short distance up the road to the Lodge. For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.
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.