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Authority: Toronto Community Council Report No. 2, Clause No. 32,
as adopted by City of Toronto Council on February 2, 3 and 4, 1999
Enacted by Council: March 4, 1999 CITY OF TORONTO
BY-LAW No. 85-1999
To designate the property at 540 Dovercourt Road (Massey-Quick House)
as being of architectural and historical value or interest.
WHEREAS authority was granted by Council to designate the property at No. 540 Dovercourt
Road as being of architectural and historical value or interest; and
WHEREAS the Ontario Heritage Act authorizes the Council of a municipality to enact by-laws
to designate real property, including all the buildings and structures thereon, to be of
historical or architectural value or interest; and
WHEREAS the Council of the City of Toronto has caused to be served upon the owners of the
land and premises known as No. 540 Dovercourt Road and upon the Ontario Heritage Foundation,
Notice of Intention to designate the property and has caused the Notice of Intention to be
published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality as required by the
Ontario Heritage Act; and
WHEREAS the reasons for designation are set out in Schedule B to this by-law; and
WHEREAS no notice of objection to the proposed designation was served upon the Clerk of
The Council of the City of Toronto HEREBY ENACTS as follows:
1. The property at No. 540 Dovercourt Road, more particularly described and shown on
Schedule A to this by-law, is designated as being of architectural and historical value or
2. The City Solicitor is authorized to cause a copy of this by-law to be registered
against the property described in Schedules A and C to this by-law in the proper Land
3. The City Clerk is authorized to cause a copy of this by-law to be served upon the
owners of the property at No. 540 Dovercourt Road and upon the Ontario Heritage Foundation and to
cause notice of this by-law to be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the City
of Toronto as required by the Ontario Heritage Act.
ENACTED AND PASSED this 4th day of March, A.D. 1999.
CASE OOTES, NOVINA WONG,
Deputy Mayor City Clerk
SCHEDULE A TO BY-LAW No. 85-1999
In the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario, being composed of parts of Lots 19
and 20 on Plan D-262 registered in the Land Registry Office for the Metropolitan Toronto Registry
Division (No. 64), the boundaries of the land being described as follows:
COMMENCING at a point in the southerly limit of the said Lot 19, said point being
distant 22.25 metres easterly from the westerly limit of Lot 19;
THENCE northerly parallel to the easterly limits of Lots 19 and 20 a distance of
19.81 metres to a point in Lot 20, said point being distant 4.57 metres from the southerly limit
of Lot 20;
THENCE easterly parallel to the southerly limit of the said Lots 20 and 19 a
distance of 37.19 metres to a point, said point being distant 4.57 metres northerly from the
southerly limit of Lot 20 and 1.52 metres westerly from the easterly limit of the said Lot 20;
THENCE southerly parallel to the easterly limits of Lots 20 and 19 a distance of
19.81 metres to the southerly limit of Lot 19;
THENCE westerly along the southerly limit of Lot 19 a distance of 37.19 metres to
the point of commencement.
The said land being most recently described in Instrument CT275711.
The hereinbefore described land being delineated by heavy outline on Plan SYE2913
dated February 6, 1999, as set out in Schedule C .
SCHEDULE B TO BY-LAW No. 85-1999
Heritage Property Report
540 Dovercourt Road
Table Of Contents
Basic Building Data
1. Dovercourt Neighbourhood
2. 540 Dovercourt Road
I Short Statement of Reasons for Designation
II Location Map
IV Architectural Drawings *
*source: Horwood Collection, Archives of Ontario; reproductions supplied by Crawford Shaw
Heritage Property Report
Basic Building Data:
Address: 540 Dovercourt Road (northwest corner of Dovercourt Road and Dewson Street)
Ward: 20 (Trinity-Niagara)
Current Name: Dufferin Grove Housing Co-op
Historical Name: Massey-Quick House
Construction Date: 1895-1896
Architect: D. B. Dick
Contractor/Builder: Bennett and Wright
Additions/Alterations: dates unknown: door opening replaced by window opening on principal
(east) façade; wood sunporches added to south and north walls; wood fire escape added to rear
Original Owner: Robert Grant
Original Use: Residential (double house)
Current Use*: Residential (9-unit co-op)
Heritage Category: Neighbourhood Heritage Property
Recording Date: August 1998
* this does not refer to permitted use(s) as defined in the Zoning By-law
1. Dovercourt Neighbourhood:
Following the founding of the Town of York in 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe
divided the area bounded by the Don River and present day Queen, Dufferin and Bloor Streets into
nearly 30 Park Lots which were distributed to members of Upper Canada's political and military
elite. Close to Dufferin Street, Park Lot 26 was initially reserved for the unnamed Solicitor
General of the province. However, in 1798, the lot was divided in two, with the north half
granted to Alexander McNab, Clerk of the Executive Council, and the south half given to William
Chewitt, Deputy Surveyor General of Upper Canada. The properties remained undeveloped when George
Taylor Denison purchased the south and north halves in 1816 and 1822, respectively.
George Taylor Denison was the eldest son of John Denison (1755-1824), patriarch of one of the
most influential families in the development of Toronto. George Taylor Denison inherited almost
all of his father's extensive land holdings, including several Park Lots between Spadina Road and
Dufferin Street. Portions of Park Lots 25 and 26 were transferred to his eldest son, Richard
Lippincott Denison, who named the property Dover Court for his great-grandmother's ancestral
home in Essex.
2. 540 Dovercourt Road:
While members of the Denison family developed expansive estates on their Park Lots, by the mid-
19th century they responded to the westward expansion of the City of Toronto by subdividing and
selling portions of their properties. In 1877, Plan D262 was registered for Denison land on the
west side of Dovercourt Road between College and Bloor Streets. Lot 19 at the northwest corner of
Dovercourt Road and Dewson Street was acquired in 1892 by Robert Grant, a prominent Toronto
contractor who resided at 528 Dovercourt Road.
A native of Scotland, Robert Grant (born 1840) immigrated to Toronto in 1870, forming a brief
partnership with engineer Lionel York. Although his qualifications are unknown, Grant advertised
his services as an architect in an 1873 Directory. By the next year, however, he joined
architect D. B. Dick in a partnership that formally lasted through 1876. David Brash Dick (1846-
1925) received his training at the Edinburgh School of Design and in the offices of the Scottish
architectural firms of W. L. Moffatt and Peddie and Kinnear. He evidently arrived in Toronto via
Chicago where he participated in the rebuilding campaign that followed the Great Fire of 1871.
Grant and Dick designed the semi-detached house at 30-32 Lowther Avenue in 1875, followed by the
Consumers' Gas Company of Toronto Chambers at 17 Toronto Street in 1876. Both properties are
designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The latter commission led to Dick's significant body
of work for Consumers' Gas and its president, James Austin. He is best known, however, for his
projects on the University of Toronto campus, including the restoration of University College in
1890 and his subsequent designs for Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto Library.
Beginning in 1877, Robert Grant concentrated on property development, engaging other contractors
to construct his projects. In April, 1894, Grant received a building permit for one pair of
semi-detached 2-storey-and-attic brick dwellings with a value of $8000 at the northwest corner
of Dovercourt and Dewson. The project was designed by his former partner, Dick, as evidenced by
drawings for the project housed in the Horwood Collection at the Archives of Ontario (see
Attachment IV). Grant engaged the firm of Bennett and Wright to construct the double house.
Historical records show the building as incomplete in 1894 and early 1895, and vacant in 1896.
The first tenants were recorded in 1897 when Arthur L. Massey occupied #538 Dovercourt (now
absorbed into #540), while #540 was the residence of John E. Quick. Little is known about Quick,
who was listed in various City Directories as a baggage agent for the Grand Trunk Railway, a
secretary and a mariner. Arthur Lyman Massey, however, was the grandson of Hart Massey, founder
of the internationally recognized manufacturer of agricultural implements. Following the untimely
death of Arthur's father and Hart's heir, Charles Massey, and an estrangement within the clan,
control of Massey-Harris passed to Arthur's uncles and cousins. Arthur L. Massey was listed as an
accountant during his tenancy at 540 Dovercourt Road.
In 1898, 540 Dovercourt was occupied by a prominent Torontonian, George Taylor Denison IV. A
barrister with the family firm of Macklem and Denison, he evidently resided here prior to
developing his own property at the south end of Dovercourt. Robert Grant retained the double
house until 1910 when Loretto Ladies Colleges and Schools acquired it as rental properties. In
1926, the building was converted into a nine-unit apartment house known as Dover Hall Apartments.
The Dufferin Grove Housing Co-op purchased the property in 1978.
The Massey-Quick House is designed in the Queen Anne style, characterized by its asymmetrical
composition, mixture of materials and varied forms. The double house is constructed of red brick
on a coursed stone base with brick, sandstone and wood trim.
Rising 2½ stories, a hipped roof with cross-gables on all four slopes covers the building. There
is a gabled dormer on the north slope, and a hipped dormer on the rear (west) slope. Some of the
gables and dormers are filled with shingles. The principal (east) façade on Dovercourt Road is
organized into four bays of varied widths with entrances placed in the first and third bays. On
the south end of this wall, a two-storey porch protects the entry to the portion of the house
formerly identified as #538. Partially enclosed, the porch has wood columns and brackets. In the
second bay, a projecting frontispiece has a two-storey bay window beneath a gable with returned
eaves and a Palladian-styled window opening. Off-set near the centre of the wall, a round-arched
entrance porch with a stone keystone provided access to the north half of the semi-detached
house. The original panelled wood door with transom has been replaced with a window opening. It
is flanked by a window with sandstone detailing. At the north end of the wall, round-arched
window openings in the first storey are topped by a gabled wall dormer with a round-headed window
opening, brick corbels, and brick detailing in a Greek key pattern. Most of the window openings
in the east wall are flat-headed with stone labels and sills.
The long south wall on Dewson Street repeats many of the features introduced on the principal
façade. The first and second stories are divided by an elaborately detailed sandstone belt
course. Beneath the cross-gable, a projecting frontispiece has rows of flat-headed window
openings with sandstone and brick trim. A pedimented gable containing a round window opening with
louvered wood shutters surmounts it. An oval window marks the lower storey. The north wall
displays a variety of window openings. In the cross-gable, pairs of flat-headed window openings
are separated by brick panels and topped by a round arch containing basketweave brickwork. The
rear (west) wall has a projecting wing with a gable roof and a combination of round-arched and
flat-headed window openings.
The property at 540 Dovercourt Road is located on the northwest corner of Dovercourt Road and
Dewson Street. It is part of a streetscape of residential buildings that share its setback but
not its size. To the north, the Dovercourt-St. Paul's Presbyterian Church (built) on the
northwest corner of Dovercourt Road and Hepbourne Street is included on the City of Toronto
Inventory of Heritage Properties.
The property at 540 Dovercourt Road is identified for architectural and historical reasons. The
Massey-Quick House was completed in 1896 according to the designs of the important Toronto
architect D. B. Dick for his former partner, contractor Robert Grant. Early occupants of the
semi-detached house were members of Toronto's leading families. The evolution of the
neighbourhood witnessed the successful conversion of the building into an apartment house and
later a multi-unit co-op. The Massey-Quick House is an impressive example of the Queen Anne
style. Located on the northwest corner of Dovercourt Road and Dewson Street, the property is a
visible feature in the Dovercourt neighbourhood.
Arthur, Eric. Toronto. No Mean City. 3rd ed. Revised by Stephen A. Otto. Toronto: University of
Assessment Rolls. City of Toronto. Ward 6, Division 2. 1894-1898.
Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1990.
Building Permit #1588 (12 April 1894).
City of Toronto Directories. 1895-1899.
Crawford Shaw Historical Society. Heritage Property Report: 540 Dovercourt Road . May 1998.
Gagan, David. The Denison Family of Toronto, 1792-1925. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1973.
Hudson, Edna. Bellevue Avenue. An Architectural and Social Study. Toronto: Toronto Region
Architectural Conservancy, July 1993.
The Late Mr. David B. Dick . The Builder (July-December 1925).
Martyn, Lucy Booth. Aristocratic Toronto. Toronto: Personal Library, 1980.
The Massey Mystique . Weekend Magazine (16 June 1979) 11-14.
McHugh, Patricia. Toronto Architecture. A City Guide. 2nd ed. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
Short Statement of Reasons for Designation
540 Dovercourt Road
The property at 540 Dovercourt Road (Massey-Quick House) is recommended for designation for
architectural and historical reasons. The property contains a double house completed in 1896 for
contractor Robert Grant. First occupied by Arthur L. Massey and John E. Quick, the double house
was designed by Toronto architect D. B. Dick.
The Massey-Quick House displays the mixture of materials, asymmetrical composition , and varied
forms associated with Queen Anne styling. The building is constructed of brick on a stone
foundation and trimmed with brick, stone and wood. Rising 2½-stories, the house is covered by a
gable roof with cross-gables, dormers and chimneys. Important features are the round-arched
principal (east) entrance, two-storey southeast porch, bay window (east wall), and pattern of
round-arched and flat-headed window openings.
Located on the northwest corner of Dovercourt Road and Dewson Street, the Massey-Quick House is a
prominent feature in the Dovercourt neighbourhood.
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