Heritage status earned by ornate features and historical associations
This heritage property, situated at 27 Old Kingston Road, West Hill, Toronto, Ontario, lies at the intersection of Old Kingston with Orchard Park Drive.
The building's historic name is John Richardson House.
Formerly much of the road traffic from Toronto to Montreal and Kingston used to pass in front of the house, when the road on which it is situated was called simply 'Kingston Road'; but with the construction of a divided highway nearby which itself now carries the name 'Kingston Road', John Richardson House's address has come to be described as '27 Old Kingston Road'. Indeed, the character of the immediate neighbourhood is considerably quieter today than it was, decades back.
The building is situated in a fairly large plot, with trees and space which set it back from Old Kingston Road, which, combined with the somewhat ornate features of its frontage, give it a rather sedate appearance.
The property consists of a two storey structure with additional attic-level rooms and window and pointed roofing. Ornate eves complement an extended, ornamented porch at the building's Old Kingston Road elevation. Executed in brick, the property dates from 1860 (thus being older than Confederation).
John Richardson, for whom the property is named, was West Hill's long-serving postmaster, whose role in that capacity extended from 1879 until 1917. (The former post office building itself no longer exists.) Previously, what became West Hill with its separate post office, was part of the community of Highland Creek (1).
In addition to his role as West Hill's postmaster, John Richardson served both as York County Clerk and subsequently Township Treasurer.
Since 1980, the property has been designated a heritage building under the former City of Scarborough, now incorporated within the City of Toronto (2).
The building is now occupied by a law firm (3).
February 10, 2020
(1) See also: https://www.toronto.com/news-story/6769385-looking-back-the-end-of-an-era-in-west-hill/ It is recorded that prior to 1879 the inhabitants of the small community of West Hill were increasingly disinclined to travel a relative distance across Highland Creek valley in order to collect their mail; hence the establishment of the separate post office of West Hill, under John Richardson's postmastership. (Interestingly also, because of John Richardson's other professional duties which often detained him, it is noted that for many years Mary Byrnes, recorded also as a dressmaker, was described as the 'postmistress' in John Richardson's absence.
(2) See also: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/sc/bgrd/backgroundfile-3617.pdf
(3) See also: http://www.bennettgastle.com/
Also worth seeing
In Toronto itself, other among numerous historic church buildings are included the Metropolitan United Church, St James's and St. Michael's Cathedrals; a very few of other noted buildings include: the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building, Queen's Park, Old City Hall, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, Old Fort York.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. TTC bus route 86 passes close to 27 Old Kingston Road, Toronto. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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