UrbanToronto has partnered with Heritage Toronto to capture a moment in Toronto's past. On a weekly basis, we highlight historic photos of the city's people, places and events, and tell the stories behind them.

Among Toronto's most architecturally and historically rich neighbourhoods is Rosedale, home to a long list of distinguished Torontonians. Among them was Sir Edmund Boyd Osler. The home is seen here in the early 1900s.

Home of Sir Edmund Osler, Toronto, early 1900s


Sir Edmund Osler was born in 1845 in Bond Head, Canada West. The son of Reverend Featherstone Lake Osler, Osler evolved into a powerful businessman, politician and philanthropist. At a young age, he worked as a clerk at the Bank of Upper Canada. Later, he worked with a variety of partners as a financier and stockbroker. Osler also pursued a career with the railway, acting as President of the Ontario and Quebec Railway and Director of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Osler also had political ambitions. In 1896, he was elected to the House of Commons representing West Toronto as a Conservative. 


Not unlike many men of his generation, Osler had an elegant home built for himself. He chose Rosedale where many of the city's movers and shakers resided. A residence was built at 12 Beau Street (later South Drive) in 1876-1877 by Edgar Jarvis. Edgar Beaumont Jarvis designed numerous commercial and residential structures in Toronto and Ontario including a home for himself on the same street as Osler. Osler's house was located on a 13 acre property, featuring more than 20 bedrooms, an elegant multisided porch and a greenhouse. Similar to other properties, the grounds were impecably manicured with elegant gardens.


After Osler's passing in 1924, the family gave the estate to the City and a small park was created there that is marked by the former entrance gates to the property. 

Sources:

http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=42452

http://www.torontohistory.org/Pages_ABC/Craigleigh_Gardens.html

http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1539


Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developments and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research.