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LAST UPDATE: September 22 2021
15 Glen Morris Street, Toronto has been vacant since mid-2017. While the property has been Designated as a Heritage Property under the Ontario Heritage Act and there are plans for its restoration as part of a new re-development, its vacant state is a cause for concern as a potential demolition by deterioration (demolition by neglect) in the interim.
15 Glen Morris Street, Toronto was constructed in 1878. It is the oldest house in the Huron-Sussex neighbourhood. The Huron-Sussex neighbourhood is an Area of Special Identity within the Official City of Toronto Plan. This is distinct from a Heritage Conservation District.
15 Glen Morris Street is of the Ontario Gothic Revival Cottage (Ontario House) style. The house contains polychromatic brickwork on the north (primary) elevation which has been painted over. 15 Glen Morris Street is 1 of only 4 Ontario Gothic Revival Cottages (Ontario Houses) in the Huron-Sussex neighbourhood. Notably, the other 3 of these 4 are slated for demolition in the near future. Subsequently, 15 Glen Morris Street will be the only surviving Ontario Gothic Revival Cottage (Ontario House) in the Huron-Sussex neighbourhood.
The first owner of 15 Glen Morris Street was Robert Hay (1808-1890) who sold it to Samuel Bennett several months after construction. Hay was a prominent furniture and interior designer and manufacturer in 19th century Canada. Hay's furniture and interior designs are extant in several prominent historic buildings in Canada, including at Osgoode Hall (Toronto), the Ball Room of Rideau Hall (Ottawa), and potentially University College's East Hall (Toronto). Between 1878 and 1887, Hay Served as the Member of Parliament for Toronto-Centre. Hay was a founding manager of the St. Lawrence Bank (later known as the Standard Bank of Canada) in 1872 and also served as the Director of the Credit Valley Railway and President of the Canadian Lumber Cutting Machine Company during the 1870s. The Recollections of a Neighbourhood: Huron-Sussex from UTS to Stop Spadina (2013) book notes that early development on nearby Harbord Street was spurred by Premier Oliver Mowat encouraging bank lending in the 19th century. Further research is required to determine whether Hay had connections to Premier Mowat in regards to his or the St. Lawrence Bank's (later known as the Standard Bank of Canada) involvement in the construction of this (and potentially other) early house(s) in the Huron-Sussex neighbourhood. Further research is also required to discern whether Hay built or designed 15 Glen Morris Street or whether he was just the first owner.
Samuel Bennett - of who the house is now named after - was a teamster by trade. The Bennett family resided at 15 Glen Morris Street between 1878 and 1895.
The noted journalist, war correspondent, and political scientist C. Willson Woodside (1905-1991) lived at 15 Glen Morris Street between 1940 and 1945.
The detached garage at the rear of the property dates to 1945 and was constructed by Anthony Mikell.
Around 1988, 15 Glen Morris Street was converted to 5 residential units.
In 2017, 15 Glen Morris Street was designated as a Heritage Property under the Ontario Heritage Act. During the preliminary heritage-related proceedings, the former owner of the property removed elements of the structure - including porch pillars and ornate bargeboard woodworking. Since mid-2017, 15 Glen Morris Street has been vacant.
Current plans for the property indicate the preservtion and retention of the heritage house, alongside the addition of an 8-storey apartment building above and behind the 1878 house. The rear wing and garage of the extant house will be demolished during this project.
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