50 Quebec Avenue


York Condominium Corporation 323

50 Quebec Avenue, Toronto, Ontario

M6P 4B4




Neighbourhood ~ Historical:

For a detailed historical narrative on High Park, please click here.

The Mineral Baths: December 12, 2014

The stately building know as 32 Gothic Avenue, prior to a conversion to a condominium, has quite a history. An integral part of its history was the mineral baths located just south of the building occupying the space where 20 Gothic condomnium complex now sits. If you are interested in learning more about the building and assocaited grounds, please click here.


Bloor West Resident's Association: November 26, 2013

In addition to informing local residents of the activities in Bloor West Village, there is an historical section with video and pictures. You might appreciate learning about our area. Please visit BWVRA


204 High Park Avenue

204 High Park Avenue With its prominent tower, 204 High Park Avenue was built in 1891 for James T. Jackson. He was a partner in the real estate firm of Hoover and Jackson. The firm also published the Daily Tribune, begun as a weekly in 1888 and developed into a daily newspaper by 1890. The house was built in a grand concept to reflect Jackson's success in his professions. The outside of the house features sandstone, a more expensive building material than brick. The interior is decorated in oak panelling. A spacious inter-connecting parlour and dining room is designed for large scale entertaining. The graceful curve of the window bay is formed by the base of the tower. [Source: West Toronto Junction Historical Society]

In 1973 the Order of the Holy Cross purchased the building. Holy Cross Priory is a monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, a community founded in 1884 by the Rev. James Otis Sargent Huntington to provide a specifically North American expression of monasticism for Anglicans. For additional information please visit: http://www.ohc-canada.org/ (posted February 9, 2013)

top of page

Why Grenadier Pond is called Grenadier Pond, and a Suicide. posted May 29, 2012

Grenadier Pond There are two prevailing theories about why Grenadier Pond in High Park is called Grenadier Pond. One is prosaic and one is poetic. Prosaic first. Grenadier pond is so named because, in the 1800s, a bunch of Grenadiers liked to fish there. Their encampment was near by so it was convenient. That's it. (By the way, a Grenadier did not, by the early 1800s, handle grenades. Really, they were just the biggest soldiers.)

Now (a little) poetic. During the war of 1812 Toronto was a frenzy of activity. Would the Americans attack today? Maybe! Move the forces accordingly. They did not attack today? Well, reconfigure the defenses! Eventually, in April 1813, American forces did successfully attack and capture Toronto. During the attack three Grenadiers crossed Grenadier pond to take up their position. Accounts vary, some say that their boat capsized, other say that while attempting to cross the ice, they fell in. Either way, they drowned. Their bodies were never discovered, a fact that lent some credence to the unlikely theory that the pond is bottomless: water for a few dozen feet, then soft mud all the way down.

In any case, the Toronto of the 1800s memorialized their loss. A massive game of historical broken telephone contorted and enlarged the story into an unlikely legend: that a whole company of Grenadiers undertook a risky retreat to minimize the efficacy [of] the American attack. But they all died when the ice broke. No doubt the legend kept the name alive. The name has now proliferated, attaching itself to a local restaurant, a road, a dental clinic, a retirement home, a convenience store and an investment company.

The first residents of the High Park area also likely made sure the name was kept alive. In the wake of the rebellion of 1837 the colonial authorities rewarded their most loyal supporters with tracts of land in, what is now, Roncesvalles. Good tory citizens no doubt loved good military legends.

By and large, however, Grenadier Pond has had a sleepy existence. In the winter residents would cut ice from its surface for their cold storage needs (Grenadier Pond ice was much cheaper that the alternative: ice shipped in from Lake Simcoe - next time you look at [a] picture of an old billboard in Toronto check to see if it's advertising Lake Simcoe ice. The company was one of the city's largest advertisers for a period). In the summer they would, and do, go fishing.

The one exception [to the sleepy existence] was in 1835 or 1836. Sir Francis Bond Head, the most extraordinary of colonial administrators, had just arrive and taken charge of Government House. Eccentric, haughty and inexperienced he neglected many of his duties and did his damnedest to provoke Upper Canada's radicals. Historians have long wondered whether he was appointed Lieutenant Governor because of a historical fluke: he shared a name with another, more experienced and level headed Bond Head. No matter.

Bond Head loved horses. After being recalled from his tenure in Upper Canada (he had provoked a rebellion) no one ever hired him again, and he supported himself by writing books, especially about riding and horse races. In Canada, instead of doing his work, he went for hours long rides. His route was predictable. Every day he left Government House (roughly located at Roy Thomson Hall) and rode to Grenadier Pond.

One day he came across a hunting party. Well, a hunting party of a sort. The men were digging up the sand around Grenadier Pond in search of turtle eggs. Bond Head was appalled to learn that they also planned to eat the turtle that laid the eggs and offered them money in exchange for her life. While this transaction occurred he noticed that the hunters had also restrained a distraught man. Declared insane by the party, they said that he had tried to kill himself in the pond.

In what may be the first ever instance of someone being committed against their will by state power to a medical institution, Bond Head ordered the man escorted to the Toronto hospital where, in turn, he ordered the doctors care for him. Within twenty-four hours, however, the man escaped and drowned himself in the pond. A brief reminder of the macabre reason for the pond's name, or at least its staying power.

[Source: Standard Historical Society - Simon Wallace - November 15, 2011]

top of page


High Park Avenue is the last remaining enclave of grand homes built by the prominent citizens who shaped West Toronto Junction. Daniel Webster Clendenan, a young man from Jordan, Ontario, was a would-be developer looking for a tract of land to subdivide into lots for homes and businesses. The best offer he could find was an 82-acre tract of land that had been the Carlton Park Race Course at $1,000 an acre. Partnering with his uncle, they bought the race course in 1882, adding adjacent acreage the next year to form the West Toronto Junction Property. The corner of Dundas and Keele Streets was the business heart and High Park Avenue the residential core for some of the community's most well-known individuals. Eager customers took the train from Union Station (horse-drawn street cars only went to Lansdowne Avenue) to purchase land in this rural area which would quickly become an urban, industrialized center. The Carlton Park Race Course made its own contribution to the history of the subdivision. It was to become the site of the first running of the Queen's Plate on June 17, 1860. The race course's north and south boundaries were the present Annette and Glenlake Avenues. Superimposing the race track over the subdivision, shows High Park Avenue as the western portion of the race course, with Pacific Avenue as the eastern section.

[Source: West Toronto Junction Historical Society]

top of page

166 High Park



  166 High Park Avenue

This Victorian house was built in 1891 for Herman Heintzman, the eldest son of Theodore Heintzman who, with his son-in-law Charles Bender, founded (1861) Heintzman and Company in West Toronto Junction. It boasts eclectic Victorian architecture, with typical decorations of the period. These include stained and etched glass, and the smallest of the three stained and cut glass windows in the circular staircase of the tower have musical motifs. The purpose of the tower was most likely to add architectural variety and was a common feature of the period in upper middle-class homes. However, there was a ravine at Keele Street in those days leading to Grenadier Pond and Lake Ontario which may have been visible from the tower. Or perhaps, Herman Heintzman could see his piano factory to the northeast, one of the tallest structures at the time in the Junction.

[Source: West Toronto Junction Historical Society]



top of page

Link Menu

Main Menu