Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Families' History Is Awaiting Historical Status

If you cannot read this by clicking on the photo, please let me know and I will repost a larger version.

If you live in Toronto and are a Historical Buff, and/or are one of my PSICAN buddies who like many others have wondered if this house at Midland Avenue and Kingston Road is really haunted....

Well, possibly. When I was a small child there was a child spirit that used to hang out on the top of a wardrobe cabinet at the top of the stairs, but really spirits usually just visited there during the seances, then went along their merry way.

This was the home of my Grandparents until the Mid '80's. My grandfather finally sold it after he had moved out when my Grandmother passed away. Actually I am a bit fuzzy on that. I think he sold it before he passed away, but it is possible my Mom and Aunt had to sell it, as Gramps had moved to a much smaller house and owned both for quite a while.

This house is the sister house to the "Halfway House" in Pioneer Village. The Halfway House was located across the road. It was an Inn. Halfway across the travel road. My Grandparents' house was the General Mercantile. It then became a business/residence. It has three main entry doors separating the business workings part from the residence. When My Grandmother had it she ran her fashion design business out of it and rented rooms out for a Dr. and a piano teacher for their business purposes.

This is the place where my Grandmother drew out the spirits and taught me a lot of what I know as a medium today. It was a cool place. It was coal heated and had a coal furnace and wood and coal stove in the kitchen along with Nanny's really nice modern appliances.

That wrap around porch was amazing. When I was a kid I used to run all around it.

My Grandmother bought this home when my Gramps was overseas in WWII. She saved her money from work in the munitions factory and fashion designs, and got the big house.
It was up the street from both of my Great Grandmothers, who lived next door to each other once upon a time. My Grandfather was born in the house down the street and he was a fixture to the historical families from Scarborough.
My Mom and Dad still live in a house on the same street as my Great Grandmothers lived. It was an amazing life seeing my families historical homes up and down the street while I was growing up. This is not so common in the the time I grew up in the 60's and 70's, as it was the generation before. Canadians are not so attached to staying in the neighbourhood when they grow up. They are more into moving as far as you have to, to be able to purchase a house instead of rent. My generation usually could not afford to live in the neighbourhood when we were ready to buy homes, so most of my peers moved to the east of the city, and weird ones like Carl and I moved North.

Carl and I actually did live in the neighbourhood in our own house in the years between 1983 and 1988, but the crime was taking its tole on the area and we desired to get to safer places. The neighbourhood is still prime real estate, but Carl and I are not interested as much in real estate super prime space, but in neighbourhoods where it is as safe for our kids to walk the street at night as Scarborough was for us when we were little.

Over a year ago my Grandparent's old house was left abandoned after a very honest attempt to open up the foundation to make a basement that was better than a crawl space, and to support the porch to a secure foundation. The builder was awaiting the acceptance of the property to the Historical homes of Scarborough, but the Government slow slow crawl through good paperwork has held up the whole project, and is risking the stature of the structure.

I know that my cousins and I have always said that if the Lottery ever yielded our way we would buy the home and restore it for our own familie's sake. But for us it has always been pipe dreams. We all had great memories from that home, and it feels like part of us. It is difficult to see the house so damned.

I hope that the publicity in the the local papers in the Toronto olde time borough will be able to stimulate to move faster, so the house can be saved by deeming it a historical monument and qualified for restoration grants.

To Scarberians it is referred to as "The Big White House beside St. Theresa's Shrine".

Welcome to my history.


Autumn said...

Oh how very interesting. I love old history like that.

Anonymous said...

Amazing house! I really hope you get it back in the family some day.

Mother of Invention said...

I don't know that house but I hope you can save it as an historical site.

Matthew Didier said...

A wonderful home... and I think (hope) you know our feelings on historic restoration...

Let's hope Dr. Carl Benn acts faster than he has in the past and saves it before a developers smells "Condo!" or "New Custom Home!"

Hey, if our ticket wins tonight, you know we'll help!

RheLynn said...

I do hope someone can restore it. It does sound like you have a long family history with it and still a great amount of interest in it.

Teena said...

What an interesting story. I never get out that way but if I do, I'll check it out.