UrbanToronto has partnered with Heritage Toronto to capture a moment in Toronto's past. On a weekly basis, we will both be highlighting a historic photo of the city's people, places and events, and will be telling the stories behind them.
Many thanks to both Gary Switzer of MOD Developements and Maya Bilbao for putting together the photos and research. This week's photo:
City of Toronto Archives WICKHAM LODGE Seen here is the front verandah that belonged to a once sprawling estate, originally known as Wickham Lodge. Built in the 1840s, this elegant villa was the home of James Buchanan Macaulay, a prominent figure in Toronto society who took on several careers including militia officer, judge, lawyer and politician. Named after a small village in England where Macaulay's relatives lived, Wickham Lodge was located on a 10 acre parcel of land south of today's College Street, in between Yonge and Teraulay Street (now Bay). The two storey brick home featuring an elegant porch was designed in the Regency style, a trend that was in vogue in Ontario largely from 1820-1860. After Macaulay passed away in 1859, the home remained in family hands until 1869 when it was sold to The Bishop Strachan School, one of the oldest day and boarding schools for girls in Toronto, founded in the 1860's. Wykeham Hall, as it was then known, underwent renovations to become the new home of the The Bishop Strachan School for the Higher Education of Young Ladies in 1870. This new property was considered much more spacious and picturesque than the previous location of the school on Front, then viewed as a rapidly industrializing street. Wykeham Hall, by contrast, was surrounded by violets, wild strawberries, maple trees, and a pine forest on the Yonge Street side of the property. Over time, Wykeham Hall greatly expanded including the addition of a third storey, upper balconies, a chapel, and an expanded verandah. However, despite these modifications, Bishop Strachan decided to build a new school north of Avenue Road and St. Clair, opening in 1915. At that time, Macaulay's old home became the Central Military Convalescent Hospital that treated injured veterans of the First World War, who are seen posing for this 1916 photo. Following the War, the building became the College Street Armouries but before long it was torn down to make way for a new department store, Eaton's College Street that survives today as a multipurpose complex, recognized for its historical and architectural significance.
The Estates of Old Toronto, p. 21