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.
Colborne Lodge is partially closed for renovations. The 1855 Coach House is open to visitors to explore the history of High Park.
General admission to the museum will be free when the building reopens.
Hours of Operation
Tours of the museum are not available during the renovation. The 1855 Coach House is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special Exhibits & Events
Browse the Toronto History Museums Calendar to find special exhibits and events happening at this and other museum sites.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures
As of March 21, 2022, Ontario has lifted provincial masking provisions for Museums and Heritage Services with the City of Toronto. In addition, the City’s mandatory mask by-law is no longer in effect. The general 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 email@example.com. Please contact us 14 days in advance of your preferred visit date. Groups without an advanced booking may not be accommodated.
There is limited free parking on site during the week. Currently, High Park is closed to vehicles on the weekends.
From the south: Take The Queensway or Lakeshore Boulevard to Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed north on Colborne Lodge Drive into High Park for 200m. Colborne Lodge will be on the right.
From the north: Take Bloor Street West to Colborne Lodge Drive and proceed south into High Park. Continue south on West Road for 1km, then turn right and proceed south on Colborne Lodge Drive for 750m. Colborne Lodge will be on the left.
From the south: Take the 501 streetcar or bus to Colborne Lodge Drive. Proceed into High Park for 200m. Colborne Lodge will be is on the right.
From the north: Take the Bloor/Danforth subway to High Park Station. Follow Colborne Lodge Drive south through High Park for 1.7 km. Colborne Lodge will be on the left.
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.