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1Authority: Toronto Community Council Report No. 2, Clause No. 29,
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. 86-1999
To designate the property at 84 Woodlawn Avenue East (James Avon Smith House)
as being of architectural and historical value or interest.
WHEREAS authority was granted by Council to designate the property at No. 84 Woodlawn
Avenue East 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. 84 Woodlawn Avenue East 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. 84 Woodlawn Avenue East, 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. 84 Woodlawn Avenue East 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. 86-1999
In the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario, being composed of part of Lot 5 on
Plan 1129-York 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 the southwesterly angle of the said Lot 5;
THENCE easterly along the southerly limit of the said Lot a distance of 23.62
THENCE northerly parallel to the westerly limit of the said Lot a distance of
52.27 metres, more or less, to the northerly limit thereof;
THENCE westerly along the last mentioned limit 23.62 metres to the northwesterly
angle of the said Lot;
THENCE southerly along the westerly limit of the said Lot a distance of
52.27 metres, more or less, to the point of commencement.
TOGETHER WITH a Right-of-way at all times in common with all others entitled
thereto in, over, along and upon the easterly 1.22 metres in perpendicular width from front to
rear of Lot 22 on Plan 277-York registered in the said Land Registry Office.
SUBJECT TO a Right-of-way at all times for all those now or hereafter entitled
thereto, in, over, along and upon the westerly 1.22 metres in perpendicular width from front to
rear of the hereinbefore described land.
SUBJECT TO a Right-of-way at all times for all those now entitled thereto, in,
over, along and upon part of the said Lot 5 described as follows:
COMMENCING at a point which may be located as follows;
BEGINNING at a point in the westerly limit of said Lot 5 distant 8.23 metres
measured southerly thereon from the northwesterly angle thereof;
THENCE easterly parallel to the northerly limit of the said Lot a distance of
16.39 metres to a point where an iron bar has been planted;
THENCE easterly 7.60 metres, more or less, to a point in the easterly limit of the
hereinbefore described parcel distant 10.52 metres measured southerly, parallel to the westerly
limit of the said Lot 5 from the northerly limit thereof, said point being the point of
THENCE northerly, parallel to the westerly limit of the said Lot 5, a distance of
0.48 metres, more or less, to the intersection with a line drawn parallel to and perpendicularly
distant 0.46 metres northerly from the line joining the hereinbefore mentioned iron bar and the
point of commencement;
THENCE westerly , along the last mentioned parallel line, 7.52 metres, more or
less, to the intersection with a line drawn parallel to and perpendicularly distant 0.46 metres
northerly from the line joining the hereinbefore mentioned iron bar and the point of beginning;
THENCE westerly, along the last mentioned parallel line, 16.47 metres, more or
less, to the westerly limit of the said Lot 5;
THENCE southerly, along the last mentioned limit, 0.91 metres, more or less, to
its intersection with a line drawn parallel to and perpendicularly distant 0.46 metres southerly
from the line joining the hereinbefore mentioned iron bar and the point of beginning;
THENCE easterly, along the last mentioned parallel line, 16.32 metres, more or
less, to the intersection with a line drawn parallel to and perpendicularly distant 0.46 metres
southerly from the line joining the hereinbefore mentioned iron bar and the point of
commencement; THENCE easterly, along the last mentioned parallel line, 7.67 metres, more or
less, to the easterly limit of the hereinbefore described parcel;
THENCE northerly parallel to the westerly limit of the said Lot 5 a distance of
0.48 metres, more or less, to the point of commencement.
The said land being most recently described in Instrument CT224481.
The hereinbefore described land being delineated by heavy outline on Plan SYE2911
dated February 1, 1999, as set out in Schedule C .
SCHEDULE B TO BY-LAW No. 86-1999
Heritage Property Report
James Avon House
84 Woodlawn Avenue East
Table of Contents
Basic Building Data
1. Summerhill Neighbourhood
2. 84 Woodlawn Avenue East
I Short Statement of Reasons for Designation
II Location Map
Heritage Property Report
Basic Building Data:
Address: 84 Woodlawn Avenue East (north side, east of Yonge Street)
Ward: 23 (Midtown)
Current Name: not applicable
Historical Name: James Avon Smith House
Construction Date: 1881
Architect: James Avon Smith
Contractor/Builder: James S. Nicholson
Additions/Alterations:post-1900: verandah posts likely replaced
Original Owner: James Avon Smith, architect
Original Use: Residential (Single)
Current Use*: Residential (Single)
Heritage Category: Notable Heritage Property (Category B)
Recording Date: August 1998
* this does not refer to permitted use(s) as defined in the Zoning By-law
1. Summerhill Neighbourhood:
With the founding of the Town of York in 1793, the land north of the community was laid out as
the Township of York. A series of 200-acre farm lots were surveyed between the future Bloor
Street and Eglinton Avenue. Lot 17 in the Second Concession, on the east side of Yonge Street
south of St. Clair Avenue, was granted by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe to John Playter
in 1796. Playter, a member of one of the Town of York's founding families and later the Overseer
of Highways for the Town and Township of York, retained the property until 1802.
The site remained undeveloped following its acquisition by Charles Thompson in 1833. Thompson,
who operated both stagecoaches and steamships, engaged Toronto architect John E. Howard to design
a residence called "Summerhill" on his property in 1842. On another portion of his lot, Thompson
established an amusement park, first known as Thompson Park and later called Summer Hill Spring
Park and Pleasure Grounds. In 1859, Thompson's executors successfully subdivided Lot 17 into 59
When the Historical Atlas of the County of York was published in 1878, the Summerhill area was
shown as part of Yorkville, the community centered at Yonge and Bloor Streets to the south. It
remained an unincorporated area between Rosedale and Deer Park until 1903 when the City of
Toronto annexed the lands on the east side of Yonge Street.
2. 84 Woodlawn Avenue East:
Following the subdivision of Lot 17, the north side of present-day Summerhill Avenue was laid out
in a series of building lots. Lot 22, site of 84 Woodlawn Avenue East, was initially developed in
the 1860s with the construction of a house on the south end of the property facing Summerhill
Avenue. In 1870, Toronto artist Thomas Mower Martin acquired the lot, selling it to James Avon
Smith four years later. Smith rented the property with the existing house until 1881. According
to his directions, builder James S. Nicholson completed the construction of a new residence on
the north end of Lot 22 in June 1881. The house was reached via a laneway from Summerhill Avenue
until Woodlawn Avenue was extended east across Yonge Street from "Woodlawn", the estate of
William Hume Blake (1840) at 84 Woodlawn Avenue West.
James Avon Smith (1834-1918), a prominent Toronto architect, designed the house at 84 Woodlawn
Avenue East. Born in Scotland, Smith immigrated to Toronto in the 1850s where he apprenticed with
architect William Thomas and formed a brief partnership with John Bailey. While in solo practice
from 1860 to 1870, Smith designed the first of the nearly 100 churches attributed to him. In
1870, he joined his former student, John Gemmell in a partnership that lasted nearly half a
century. Among their many notable commissions were Charles Moore's Warehouses at 7 and
9 Wellington Street West (1871), the National Club at 303 Bay Street (1874), Knox College at
1 Spadina Crescent (1875), the Don Brewery at 19R River Street, and the Noble Block at
342-354 Queen Street West (1888). Ecclesiastical projects included Berkeley Street Wesleyan
Methodist Church at 317 Queen Street East, the Church of the Redeemer at 162 Bloor Street West,
Zion Congregational Church at 88 College Street, College Street Presbyterian Church at 452
College Street, and Morningside-High Park Presbyterian Church at 4 Morningside Avenue. All of the
above noted properties are recognized on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties.
While records outlining the initial occupancy of the house do not survive, between 1883 and 1886
Smith rented the property at 84 Woodlawn Avenue East to Hugh Ritchie, a machinery salesman. Smith
and his family occupied the residence from 1886 to 1896. During this period, Smith subdivided Lot
22. In 1886, he built and sold a house at 84 Summerhill Avenue and, four years later, developed a
semi-detached house at 81 Woodlawn Avenue East. In 1888, Smith built the neighbouring house at
#82 Woodlawn whose design is attributed to his partner, Gemmell. James Strachan Cartwright
acquired the latter residence. In 1896, Smith and Cartwright traded houses. Smith occupied #82
Woodlawn until 1903 when he moved into the semi-detached house, opposite, at 81 Woodlawn Avenue
James Strachan Cartwright, King's Council and Master-in-Chambers for the Supreme Court of
Ontario, occupied the house at 84 Woodlawn Avenue East until his death in 1914. Three years
later, his widow sold the property to Alexander Crooks. Crooks severed a portion of the property
east of #84 where #86 Woodlawn was completed in 1919. In 1934, Cartwright's widow foreclosed on
Crooks' mortgage and reacquired #84. She sold the site to her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Gordon
Dales, who established his medical practice in the house.
The James Avon Smith House is designed in the Gothic Revival style inspired by medieval
architecture. Rising 2½ stories with an asymmetrical plan, the building is constructed of yellow
brick on a stone base. The window openings are highlighted with brick voussoirs, stone sills and,
in some cases, louvered wood shutters. Most openings contain sash windows. The building is
covered by cross-gable roofs with hipped gables on the south and north (rear) façades. Gabled
dormers with wood brackets and strapwork are placed on the east and north slopes, while large
brick chimneys with corbelling and multiple pots are found on the south and east slopes.
The principal (south) façade is organized into three extended bays with different proportions. At
the right end of the wall, a double gable tops a wide 2½-storey bay window. It has segmental-
headed window openings (one containing a floor-to-ceiling window) in the outer faces. A chimney,
with a brick panel with Gothic-inspired quatrefoil and shield motifs at the second-storey level,
rises through the centre of the bay window. On the left, a two-storey verandah with Classical
pillars and wood banisters extends across the wall and protects the main entrance. A moulded
doorcase contains double wood doors with moulded wood panels, glass inserts, and multi-paned
transoms with coloured glass. A segmental-headed window opening is placed on the left side of the
entry. Above the entrance bay, the wall displays corbelled brickwork and a pair of extended
rounded-arched openings with lead-glass transoms. One of the openings lights the interior
stairwell, while the other is a French door opening onto the balcony. A segmental-headed window
opening is found at the left end of the second floor. Overhead, a pair of diminutive round-arched
window openings marks the attic level.
The east wall displays flat-headed window openings of varied heights in the first storey, and
segmental-headed window openings in the second floor. On the west wall, a 2½-storey bay window
has segmental-headed window openings on all three faces. The rear (north) wall displays a mixture
of single and paired segmental-headed window openings.
On the interior, the entrance hall has wood floors, moulded doorcases and chair rails. A curved
two-storey staircase displays turned newel posts and spindles, curved banisters and, in the
second floor, a curved landing. On the first floor, the study (southwest corner), parlour
(northwest) and dining room (southeast) have wood floors, moulded door and window surrounds,
ceiling and baseboard mouldings, and fireplaces with tiled hearths, wood mantels, and surrounds
in various finishes. This detailing is repeated on the second floor where the master bedroom
(west end) and the southeast bedroom contain fireplaces. The doors into the bedrooms have
adjustable transoms. An archway separates the stairhall from the remainder of the second floor.
The property at 84 Woodlawn Avenue East is located on the north side of Woodlawn Avenue east of
Yonge Street. The James Avon Smith House is set back from and rises above Woodlawn Avenue amid
landscaped grounds. Flanked by its neighbours at #82 and #86 Woodlawn, the James Avon Smith House
is situated on a rise of land bounded by the Rosehill Reservoir (built by the City of Toronto in
1875) on the north and David A. Balfour Park to the east. On the opposite side of Woodlawn
Avenue, single residential buildings are set close to the street and to one another. Among them,
the Arthur C. Stephenson House at #87 Woodlawn is included on the City of Toronto Inventory of
Heritage Properties. Completed in 1908, its design is attributed to James Avon Smith.
The property at 84 Woodlawn Avenue East is identified for architectural and historical reasons.
Completed in 1881, the house was designed by Toronto architect James Avon Smith. Its exterior
elements and detailing are hallmarks of the Gothic Revival style. The interior has been
meticulously restored. Situated amid landscaped grounds on an elevated lot, the James Avon Smith
House is an important component of the Summerhill neighbourhood.
Arthur, Eric. Toronto. No Mean City. 3rd ed. Revised by Stephen A. Otto. Toronto: University of
Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1990.
Campbell, Robert. "Notes on the History and Ownership of 84 Woodlawn Avenue East and Surrounding
Property". Typescript, April 1998.
Historical Atlas of York County. Toronto: Miles and Company, 1878.
Lundell, Liz. The Estates of Old Toronto. Erin, Ont.: Boston Mills Press, 1997.
Martyn, Lucy Booth. Aristocratic Toronto. Toronto: Personal Library, 1980.
McArthur, Glenn, and Annie Szamosi. William Thomas Architect 1799-1860. Ottawa: Carlton
University Press, 1996.
McHugh, Patricia. Toronto Architecture. A City Guide. 2nd ed. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,
Scadding, Henry. Toronto of Old (1873). Edited by F. H. Armstrong. Toronto: Oxford University,
Short Statement of Reasons for Designation
James A. Smith House
84 Woodlawn Avenue East
The property identified as 84 Woodlawn Avenue East is recommended for designation for
architectural and historical reasons. The house was constructed in 1881 according to the designs
of James A. Smith of the Toronto architectural firm Smith and Gemmell as his family residence.
The James Avon Smith House is designed in the Gothic Revival style. Rising 2½ stories beneath a
gable roof with cross-gables, the house is constructed of brick on a stone base and trimmed with
brick, stone and wood. Important exterior features are the principal (south) entrance, two-storey
verandah, bay windows, round-arched and segmental-headed window openings (some with lead glass
windows and louvered shutters), dormers and chimneys. The two-storey entrance hall with
staircase, and the fireplaces and detailing in first-floor study, parlour and dining room, and
second-floor master and southeast bedrooms are significant interior elements.
The James Avon Smith House is set back and elevated on a rise of land on the north side of
Woodlawn Avenue East. With its landscaped grounds, the property is an important feature of the
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