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LAST UPDATE: October 15 2021
In August 2021, 17-31A Homewood Avenue - including 27 Homewood Avenue - were put up for sale. It is possible, given the nature of the sale, these properties will be purchased for redevelopment.
27 Homewood Avenue is a 2.5 storey house with a mix of stylistic elements (including Queen Anne Revival, Bay and Gable (Gothic Revival), and Romanesque Revival) located on the east side of Homewood Avenue approximately 40 meters south of Maribeth Avenue. 27 Homewood Avenue was constructed in circa. 1873 and was one of the very first houses built on Homewood Avenue.
The Early History of Homewood Avenue:
Homewood Avenue presently runs north-south between Carlton Street and Lourdes Lane in Toronto. The street bisects former Park Lot 5. Park Lot 5 was granted to the Hon. William Osgoode (1752-1824) - the first Chief Justice of the Town of York - on 4 September 1793. After the Hon. Osgoode left the Town of York in 1798, Park Lot 5 was transferred to David W. Smith, who was the Surveyor General and a close friend of Lt. Gov. John Graves Simcoe. In 1819, William Allan (c. 1770-1853) purchased Park Lot 5 and subsequently constructed the Moss Park Estate, which was completed in 1828. In 1846, William Allan gifted the north 50 acres of the Moss Park Estate to his son George William Allan (1822-1901) as a wedding gift. Subsequently, in 1846-1847, George William Allan commissioned the construction of Home Wood — a red brick Gothic mansion designed by Henry Bowyer Lane. Home Wood was situated near the present-day intersection of Homewood Avenue and Lourdes Lane. The Home Wood Estate remained home to the Allan family until 1863. Following 1863, Home Wood served as a private residence until 1912 at which point it was converted to use as the Wellesley Hospital by Dr. Herbert Bruce. The original Home Wood mansion was demolished in 1964 during an expansion of the hospital. Of additional note is that George William Allan donated Allan Gardens to the City of Toronto in 1858 with the horticultural gardens subsequently opening to the public in September 1860.
Homewood Avenue - originally known as Pembroke Street North - first appears in the City of Toronto Directories in the 1873 Edition. The name Homewood Avenue first appears in the City of Toronto Directories in the 1878 Edition. The above-described Home Wood estate served as the eponym of Homewood Avenue. Constructed in circa. 1873 and circa. 1879, 27 and 29 Homewood Avenue are representative of the early residential development of Homewood Avenue.
Homewood Avenue historically provided access to several small, dead-end residential streets, including: Montague Place; Suffolk Place; Maribeth Avenue (formerly Pembroke Place and Hurst Place); and Maitland Place. Montague Place and Suffolk Place were both demolished, whereas Maitland Place and Montague Place are extant. Maitland Place originally was a dead-end street, but was later extended west to Jarvis Street where it aligns with Maitland Street. Unfortunately, Maribeth Avenue has lost all of its 19th and early 20th century houses to demolition and redevelopment in recent years. The name Montague lives on with Montague Parkette, which exists on the former site of the Montague Place.
The northeast corner of Carlton Street and Homewood Avenue contains one of Toronto's early apartment buildings - the Sheldrake (1 Homewood Avenue) - which was constructed in 1928. Additionally, following World War 2, a discernible development trend emerged on Homewood Avenue. The original 19th and early 20th century streetscape along the west side of Homewood Avenue was almost wholly demolished to facilitate the construction of residential towers and townhouse complexes, whereas the east side of Homewood Avenue retained much of its original 19th and early 20th streetscape. This includes the highrise tower at 40 Homewood Avenue, which was completed in 1971 and was one of Toronto's first purpose-built condominium towers. This development trend also saw the demolition of the above-mentioned Montague Place and Suffolk Place.
The first occupants of both 27 and 29 Homewood Avenue were Magloire de Laplante and his family. The de Laplante family lived at 27 Homewood Avenue between circa. 1873 and 1879 and then at 29 Homewood Avenue between 1879 and 1912.
Magloire de Laplante (1837-1905) was originally from Saint Pierre. Genealogical and historical sources have discrepancies as to whether this was Saint Pierre and Miquelon - a French territory off the coast of Newfoundland; or whether this was Saint Pierre - a small village in Southern Québec.
In Toronto, Magloire de Laplante was a prominent builder, landlord, lumber merchant, and mill owner. Laplante Avenue in the Discovery District is named for Magloire de Laplante and his family.
J. H. Beers & Company's Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York (1907) provides the following biographical sketch of Magloire de Laplante:
"Magloire de Leplante, who was for over a quarter of a century one of Toronto's well-known lumbermen, and who died in that city September 29, 1905, was born in St. Pierre, in 1837, son of Alexander de Laplante, whose father was the founder of the family in Canada. Alexander de Leplante came from his native France to St. Pierre, bought a fine farm there, and spent the rest of his life at his homestead, engaged in agriculture and the breeding of fine horses. He and his wife both died there. They left the following family: Magloire; Matilda, Mrs. Hogue, of Moriah, New York; Paul, of Malone, New York; Jed of the same State; Sophia and Alexander, both deceased.
Magloire de Leplante attended the schools of St. Pierre, and later, when ready to begin the serious business of his life, came to Toronto, and established himself on Ontario Street. He afterward conducted a planing-mill for several years. He then went into the lumber business at the corner of Queen and Sherbourne streets. His office was later moved to Front Street East, and he remained in the last location until he retired, about 1899. Besides his lumber interests, Mr. de Leplante dealt quite extensively in real estate and owned a number of houses, many of which he himself erected. Leplante [Laplante] Avenue was named for him. On political questions, he stood with the Conservative party, while his religious belief was that of the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. de Leplante was a man of much ability and stood high in public esteem. His death occurred about five years after he gave up business cares.
Mr. de Leplante was twice married, the first time to Miss Emma Jewell, who died in 1880, leaving two sons, namely: Albert J., a lumber merchant of Buffalo, New York; and Llyewellyn, in the same business in East Toronto. For his second wife Mr. de Leplante chose Miss Theresa Dyer, who was born in Toronto in 1842, only child of David and Mary (Simons) Dyer, natives of Ireland, who settled in Toronto in 1836, on what is now River Street, and spent the rest of their lives here. Mr. Dyer died in 1867 and his wife in 1870. They belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, and their daughter was reared in the faith. By the second union Mr. de Leplante had one son and one daughter, Francis Joseph and Mary Adelaide, both of Toronto. The family are well known socially, and they have a large circle of friends in the city where they have spent so many years." (pages 548-549).
27 and 29 Homewood Avenue have significant associative value through their connection to Magloire de Laplante and family. Further research is required to confirm whether de Laplante built 27 and 29 Homewood Avenue, as well as other houses in the Homewood Avenue area. Notably, Magloire de Laplante's son - Albert de Laplante - lived at 31 Homewood Avenue during the late 19th century. Furthermore, following the death of Magloire de Laplante in 1905, his widow - Theresa de Laplante (1842-1911) - continued living at 29 Homewood Avenue until her own death in November 1911.
Later Occupants and Uses:
Phinehas Hophni Burton and Family:
Between 1880 and 1885, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to Phinehas Hophni Burton (1839/1840-1912) and family. Phinehas Hophni Burton was a merchant associated with the fancy dry goods company Caldecott, Burton, & Company. Caldecott, Burton, & Company was based at 52 Front Street West in Toronto. Phinehas Hophni Burton was born in 1839 or 1840 in Westminster, London, England. In May 1869, he married Henrietta Pitt Caldecott. As of the 1881 Census of Canada, the couple had 3 children: 1 daughter and 2 sons, all of whom lived at 27 Homewood Avenue. Elizabeth Caldecott - the elderly mother of Henrietta - also resided with the family. The Burton family were Congregationalists. Phinehas Hophni Burton died in Toronto in October 1912. Phinehas Hophni Burton's name likely derived from the story of Hophni and Phinehas, part of the Bible's Book of Samuel. Please note that his given name was also spelled Phineas in some historical sources.
John Maclay and James R. Maclay:
In 1886, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to John Maclay and James R. Maclay. John Maclay and James R. Maclay were both clerks by profession. James R. Maclay worked at the hardware and metal company M. L. Samuel Benjamin & Company.
Between 1887 and 1889, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to Frederick Thayer. Frederick Thayer owned Thayer & Company, which was a jewellers' firm based at 3 Wellington Street East.
Between 1896 and 1901, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to Henry Hough. Henry Hough was the proprietor of The Hough Lithographing Company, which was based at 1-3 Jarvis Street.
William Couch and Josiah T. Couch:
Circa. 1902, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to William Couch and Josiah T. Couch. William Couch served as a Canadian soldier in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa and was deployed in April 1902. Josiah T. Couch (1822-1910) - an elderly relative (likely the father) of William Couch - also resided at 27 Homewood Avenue as of this point in time.
William J. Doran and Anna G. Doran:
Between 1908 and the early-to-mid 1940s, 27 Homewood Avenue was home to William J. Doran and Anna G. Doran. William J. Doran and Anna G. Doran were married. William J. Doran died prior to 1935. Prior to his death, William J. Doran (1849-1929) was an insurance agent.
27 Homewood Avenue has been subdivided into rental apartments and/or rooming house units as of October 2021. Further research is required to determine when the property was converted to rental apartments and/or rooming houses.
Please note the above list is not exhaustive of all former occupants and uses of 27 and 29 Homewood Avenue and aims to provide a general overview of former occupants and uses. Dates are also approximate.
Recent / Ongoing Sale (17-31A Homewood Avenue):
27 and 29 Homewood Avenue are presently listed for sale as part of a multi-property sale at 17-23 and 29-31A Homewood Avenue. These collective properties are owned by different owners, albeit they are willing to sell as a group. Residents of the properties and surrounding neighbourhood - who have asked to remain anonymous - have expressed significant concern over the future of 17-31A Homewood Avenue. One resident advised that this is now the third time the owners have listed these properties for sale and that a developer has expressed interest in the site for a townhouse and tower redevelopment, albeit there are 1 or 2 holdouts on the block preventing a full land assembly and redevelopment application. Steps should be taken to mitigate the potential loss of heritage resources at 17-31A Homewood Avenue.
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