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LAST UPDATE: November 19 2020
Current plans call for the demolition of 506 Church Street (Toronto) and the preservation and restoration of adjacent 508-510 Church Street (Toronto) for a 15-storey condominium development (with ground floor commercial spaces) at 506-516 Church Street, Toronto. This condominium project is by Graywood Developments.
506 Church Street (Toronto) is a detached, 2.5 storey home dating to 1871/1872 and located in the Church-Wellesley Village neighbourhood of Toronto. 506 Church Street (Toronto) is set back from the street and has a relatively plain facade, which has been covered with ashlar brick/stone. The property is presently home to Boutique Bar and House of Glo spa. Boutique Bar has created an elevated patio attached to the front (east elevation) of 506 Church Street (Toronto). Interestingly, a brick fireplace is still extant on the interior, next to the ground floor bar. 506 Church Street (Toronto) is included with the development plans for a 15 storey condominium re-development at 506-516 Church Street (Toronto). Current plans call for the demolition of 506 Church Street (Toronto) and the preservation and restoration of adjacent 508-510 Church Street (Toronto).
Between 1871/1872 and 1910, 506 Church Street (Toronto) was home to the How family - who continued owning it for several years after moving out in 1910. Its initial occupants were Thomas Ferguson How (c. 1811-1876) and Catherine (Katherine) J. How (c. 1819-1910). Thomas Ferguson How and Catherine (Katherine) J. How had at least 3 or 4 children and emigrated as a family from Ireland and/or Northern Ireland to Toronto (Canada) in the early 1850s. One of these children was Frances Esther How (1848-1915) - also known as Hessie How and/or Hester How - who resided at 506 Church Street (Toronto) between the mid-1870s and 1910. Frances Esther How moved into 506 Church Street (Toronto) around the time that her mother was widowed. Frances Esther How is one of the most important and influential women in the history of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. Frances Esther How was an educationist, teacher, and a key person (often a pioneer) in the establishment of many of Toronto's and Ontario's settlement work, social reform, social services, social welfare, and social work programs. She served as the Principal of the Elizabeth Street Public School between 1885/1890 and 1913. The school was later renamed the Hester How Public School in her honour. Much of her work was with the poorest children (and their families) in Toronto who resided in the predominantly immigrant neighbourhood known as The Ward (Saint John's Ward). The Ward is often referred to as having been a slum neighbourhood. Frances Esther How has been referred to - repeatedly - as the Jane Addams of Toronto. She worked closely with James Laughlin Hughes (1846-1935) - who was the Chief Inspector and Superintendent of the Toronto Public School Board and Toronto Board of Education between 1874 and 1913. Inspector James Laughlin Hughes was also the older brother of Sir Sam Hughes (1853-1921).
Several of How's contemporaries - including Adelaide Hunter Hoodless (1858-1910) and Dr. Helen MacMurchy (1862-1953) - have been designated Persons of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. The same has not yet been afforded to Frances Esther How (1848-1915). The Elizabeth Street Public School (demolished 1952/1953) where How was Principal of between 1885/1890 and 1913 was renamed the Hester How Public School in her honour in 1912, after a new school building replaced the original Elizabeth Street School which opened in 1868. The daycare at Toronto City Hall (opened 1980) has been named after How as well - being known as the Hester How Daycare Centre / Hester How Early Learning Centre.
After 1929, the building was converted to commercial uses. The General Plating Company was based at 506 Church Street between 1929 and 1950. In the 1950s, the property was the site of the Morton Fields / Mills Ice Cream Freezers and Cabinets company and the The Norit Sales Company of Canada. In the early 2000s, 506 Church Street was home to Veda Indian Restaurant. Most recently, it has been the site of Boutique Bar and House of Glo Spa.
Excerpts in .pdf format of a presentation to the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association Board of Directors on 19 September 2020.
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