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140 The Queensway

LAST UPDATE: January 5 2022

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140 The Queensway - Google Streetview

140 The Queensway - Google Streetview

AT RISK INFORMATION
At risk status:
This building is at risk

Info:

In 2021, 140 The Queensway was sold as "future development land." The asking price was $2.7 million. The property is presently vacant. Notably, there are numerous high intensity redevelopments in the Humber Bay Shoes neighbourhood. While no redevelopment applications have been submitted for 140 The Queensway to date (5 January 2022), 140 The Queensway should be considered at increased risk of demolition. Steps should be taken to ensure this important historical property is not lost to demolition in the future.

BUILDING INFORMATION
Name & Location
140 The Queensway
140 The Queensway
Stonegate-Queensway, Etobicoke

OTHER IDENTIFICATION
Notes:

Description:

140 The Queensway is a 1.5 storey Ontario Gothic Revival (Ontario House) Cottage located on the north side of The Queensway between High Street and Stephen Drive in the Humber Bay Shores and The Queensway-Humber Bay neighbourhoods of Etobicoke. 140 The Queensway is also immediately across the street from the Ontario Food Terminal (165 The Queensway). 140 The Queensway was constructed in the 1880s and is the last surviving Davidson House.

 

While moderately dilapidated in appearance at present, 140 The Queensway has significant historical value through being the last surviving Davidson House. The Davidson Houses were 40 houses that were constructed in the 1880s in the United States and transported on barges across Lake Ontario to Etobicoke. The Davidson Houses were (likely) Canada's first pre-fabricated homes and Canada's first pre-fabricated community. 

 

The property also contains 140A The Queensway, a 2-storey building located to the rear (north) of 140 The Queensway. 140A The Queensway dates to the 20th century and was formerly associated with use as an automotive mechanic's garage.

 

Historical photographs from 1957 indicate that another Davidson House (Davidson Cottage) formerly existed at 136 The Queensway. However, the original cottage at 136 The Queensway was demolished post-1957 and replaced with the extant 2 storey building at the site. 

 


The Davidson Houses (Humber Bay Shores):

Denise Harris of the Etobicoke Historical Society has provided a wonderful history of the Davidson Houses and 140 The Queensway in Industrialist Joseph Davidson Brought Canada's First Pre-Fabricated Home to Town:

 

"A lumber baron. The American Civil War. An artists’ colony. Pre-fabricated houses. Those phrases may not immediately conjure up the Humber Bay neighbourhood, but they do describe some unique aspects of that area’s history.



The story starts with Joseph Davidson.  He was born on a farm in Halton County in 1829, but soon became a major figure in Ontario’s lucrative lumber industry.  In 1866, Davidson moved to Toronto and set up a lumber yard near Queen and Toronto Streets. During the 1870s, he was processing over a million meters of lumber annually at this location. He bought large tracts of pine forest across Ontario and built saw mills to turn his timber into lumber, railway ties, or whatever his customers wanted. Some examples include building the first saw and planing mills in Thunder Bay, and supplying railway ties for the Canadian Pacific Railway when it opened across Canada.


He also bought land in the Humber Bay area of Etobicoke, a short distance west of the Humber River, between Lake Ontario and The Queensway.  Because the railway crossed his property, he had access to transportation for his timber both by ship and by rail.



Davidson exported lumber to the United States, but during the Civil War and for years after, the U.S put restrictions on cash sent out of their country. Davison agreed to accept payment in the form of 40 pre-fabricated houses made in the U.S. with his lumber and shipped on barges across Lake Ontario to Humber Bay. These were likely the first pre-fab homes in Canada. Davison bought more land in Humber Bay to place these houses and offered them for sale. A “Davidson House” on High Street became Humber Bay’s first school in 1888. Another held the first services of Humber Bay’s St. James Anglican Church.



Several houses, without basements or water, were put up on a hilly, curving street called Davidson Crescent which ran south from The Queensway, opposite today’s Humber Treatment Plant. This street attracted artists, actors, musicians and writers who painted their homes in bright colours and surrounded them with flowers. It gave the street a “Bohemian” flair, although as the Depression and railway soot took their toll, many began to call the street a slum. Davidson Crescent and its houses were demolished when the Queen Elizabeth Way was built. The photo above shows the only one of Davidson’s pre-fab houses that still stands today, now covered in white siding.  Located at 140 The Queensway, it’s a reminder of this unique chapter in Humber Bay’s history."

 

Ms. Harris' article is also available on the Etobicoke Historical Society's website here.

 

 

Potential Future Redevelopment:

In 2021, 140 The Queensway was sold as "future development land." The asking price was $2.7 million. The property is presently vacant. Notably, there are numerous high intensity redevelopments in the Humber Bay Shoes neighbourhood. While no redevelopment applications have been submitted for 140 The Queensway to date (5 January 2022), 140 The Queensway should be considered at increased risk of demolition. Steps should be taken to ensure this important historical property is not lost to demolition in the future.

Status:
Completed

Year Completed:
1880s

Map:
Loading Map

Companies:
No data at this time

BUILDING DATA
Type:
Detached house

Current use:
Residential

Heritage:
No heritage status

Sources:

Sources

  1. Industrialist Joseph Davidson Brought Canada´s First Pre-fabricated Home to Town
    Author - Denise Harris, Etobicoke Historical Society
    More information

  2. Two rundown Toronto houses hit the market for whopping $2.7 million
    Author - Sean Davidson
    Date - 2 July 2021
    More information

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