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127 Strachan Avenue

LAST UPDATE: January 12 2022

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127 Strachan Avenue, Toronto - 11 May 2020 - Photograph by Adam Wynne

127 Strachan Avenue, Toronto - 11 May 2020 - Photograph by Adam Wynne

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

Info:

In November 2020, the owners of 127 Strachan Avenue applied for a Residential Demolition Application. This application is to be heard in front of the Toronto and East York Community Council on 24 February 2021. 

BUILDING INFORMATION
Name & Location
127 Strachan Avenue
127 Strachan Avenue
Niagara, Toronto

First Owner:
John H. Meyer(s)

First Occupant:
John H. Meyer(s)

OTHER IDENTIFICATION
Notes:

127 Strachan Avenue located at the southeast corner of Adelaide Street West and Strachan Avenue was built in 1877/1878 for grocer John H. Meyer by prominent architect David Brash Dick. The first floor of the building was used for commercial purposes, Meyer ran a grocer out of 127 Strachan Ave, and there were living quarters above. Although the commission was expensive for Meyer, by 1879/1880 Meyer’s grocery store no longer operated out of this property and the building was tenanted by an evolution of businesses which served the local neighbourhood. In recent years, the property has been tenanted by restaurants and bars, a community hub for locals and Trinity Bellwood park-goers.

 

Original Owner - John H. Meyer:

John H. Meyer was a German-Canadian immigrant. Between 1866 and 1877, he was the proprietor of Toronto’s King’s Hotel - which was located at the northeast corner of Front Street West and York Street. In late August 1875, the King’s Hotel suffered a considerable fire which started near the rear kitchen. While the damage to the hotel was covered by insurance, it is possible that this was a contributing factor that led to Meyer commissioning David Brash Dick to design 127 Strachan Avenue in 1877. 

 

Meyer appears to have sold the King’s Hotel to John J. Dissette in 1878 - the same year that he first appeared at 127 Strachan Avenue (then known as 117 Strachan Avenue.) Meyer ran a grocery out of 127 Strachan Avenue, serving the local community. By 1879, Meyer had moved to 53 York Street - on the same block as the King’s Hotel - where he lived and operated a cigar and confectionery shop. According to census data from 1871, Meyer had six children, and was married twice.

 

Architect - David Brash Dick:

David Brash Dick was a Scottish architect who attended the Edinburgh School of Design before he became a draftsperson in the eminent Scottish firm of Peddie and Kinnear. In 1873, Brash Dick emigrated first to Chicago where he participated in the rebuilding of the Great Fire of 1871. By 1874, Brash Dick settled in Toronto, where he began working with already established Scottish builder Robert Grant. By 1876, Brash Dick had a sole practice and quickly became the architect of choice for a wide range of buildings throughout Toronto, Hamilton and Guelph.

 

His work would be prolific, designing commercial, institutional, ecclesiastical and residential buildings, shaping much of the Toronto built landscape in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dick established a longstanding relationship with James Austin, President of The Consumer Gas Company building, for whom he designed many commercial buildings and residences. Dick designed residences and offices for other notable families such as Sir Henry Pellett, William Mulock, W. J. Gage, George Laidlaw E.B. Osler, and S.M. Jarvis. Dick was closely connected to this network of powerful business people which won him commissions for bank buildings across the province for the Canadian Bank of Commerce, Dominion Bank, Bank of Hamilton and Quebec Bank. Dick’s range also included ecclesiastical and institutional buildings, most notably Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto which led to commissions for the Biological Institute, the Library, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons, and the restoration of University College after the fire of 1890 while serving as the appointed University Architect at the University of Toronto.

 

Dick designed a wide range of buildings in his short time in Toronto; he retired to England in 1902 and died in 1925. An extensive collection of Dick’s drawings and plans are showcased at the Ontario Archives. Much of Dick’s work is designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne Revival styles. 127 Strachan Avenue’s plans are included in his archived work; the property is significant as one of his earliest independent works, and Second Empire style, a notable departure from Dick’s typical designs.

 

Dick was an influential figure in the architectural field as a founding member of The Toronto Architectural Guild, alongside Edmund Burke and Henry Langley among other leading architects of the time. Later, Dick sat on the first council of the Ontario Association of Architects and became president of the association in 1893. Dick’s contributions awarded him a postmortem honour roll from the OAA- an honour given to those who’s quality of work and contribution to the province’s architectural heritage are significant or someone who has influenced the profession through design, education or community development or publication.

 

 

Heritage Attributes

127 Strachan Avenue is a fine example of the Second Empire building style, an influential style felt strongly in Toronto in the 1870s, when many upper-class families had homes commissioned in the style, a symbol of grandeur and cosmopolitanism. 127 Strachan Ave. retains many of the defining characteristics of the Second Empire building style adapted for the Toronto context.

 

  • Mansard Roof
  • Richly decorated elliptical dormers
  • Accentuated brackets to support the eaves overhang
  • Arched windows with hood moldings
  • Belt course

 

 

(Research by Pauline Walters and Adam Wynne)

Year Completed:
1877

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Companies:
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BUILDING DATA
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