Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
2004 - Now in our 13th Year - 2017
To see what's new on this site, you can visit the Home Page
Looking at this page on a smartphone?
For best viewing, hold your phone in Landscape mode (Horizontal)
Coach-House of Chester Park
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted March, 2009
Behind the building at 1132 Broadview Avenue, north of Danforth Avenue, is a former coach-house. This plaque, just to the right of the door, was erected by the East York Historical Society with the assistance of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture and the Salvation Army. Here's what it says:
The coach-house of Chester Park is all that remains of the residence of the Thomas Taylor family, built circa 1880. Robert Davies, a brother-in-law, purchased it in 1885. These two prominent local landowners and manufacturers were responsible for much of the development of East York. The Salvation Army bought Chester Park in 1940 and used it as a children's home until 1976 when the main house was demolished. This surviving structure is still of use to the community and represents part of the heritage left by the Taylors and Davies.
> Posted Dec 26, 2014
My Auntie Mae is now almost 80 years old. She lived at 1132 Broadview as a young child in the 40's. Her full name is Mae Whiteman or possibly she was known as Mae Francis. She was very excited when I told her that I found this page and is looking for a dear friend named Zeta and the other girls that stayed with her there. She also mentioned Major Haynes and Goodwin. I'm hoping that someone may know them.
Sincerely, Dawn Setford and Mae (Marjorie) Whiteman Francis -email@example.com
> Posted November 22, 2014
My twin sister and I where sent here in 1956 shortly after we arrived in Canada. We came to be with our mother who left us with our grandmother until she could bring us over. We both loved the mansion especially the dorms. We also loved doing the Christmas plays and getting visits from the Shriners. Each year the Shriners took us to the CNE again all holding ropes. It was a wonderful memory. We too went to Presquil Point Provincial park in the summer and I remember staying in both the stone house and yellow house as we called it. My sister and I went back to the park many years later and the stone house is still there. Our captain at the time we were there was Captain Maxwell and our dorm server was named lieutenant O'Marra not sure of the spelling of her name. I would love if anyone else was at the home at that time to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
> Posted March 10, 2014
I was there when I was in kindergarten after my grandmother had an accident and had to sell the home we lived in and my single mother went to business school. My sister Lynda was there too. She was born Dec 4 so she would probably have been in grade 6 or seven. My most poignant memory is lying in bed in the dorm and pretending to be asleep when someone would come around to check on me....for some reason this memory gives me much comfort as if I knew I was being watched over and later on I wondered if they used to pray for us when we were in bed. I also remember the baths and being late for school and the other kids ran but I didn't and I got in trouble. I have a vague memory of the playroom and looking for my doll "Wee Geordie" that I didn't bring with me. So nice to find this info here.
> Posted July 23, 2013
In 1954, I stayed in the mansion. I was seven years old and was put there until my mother could improve our circumstances. We all had chores to do on a rotating basis and one of mine was to polish the brass number plaque at the front. Another chore was to dry the lunch dishes for about twenty five people "so it seemed" and I would not get to school until about two thirty. We had a very structured life and were well taken care of. I remember the pool, of playing with tambourines, baths in the basement, of having our hairbrushes washed every week, good food, our own bed in a dorm, our own dresser with fresh clean nice clothes, that made me feel so lucky. If you slept on the wrong side you were woken up to turn over because it was bad for your heart. We saw Marilyn Bell swim and the huge celebration after...We were taken to a Shriners circus and had to hold on to a rope so no one got lost. One time we were all taken to Centre Island....there we put all our shoes in a big pile and we swam and had a lovely picnic. I was swimming and got really hungry and ran to the big shoe pile and sat down to the picnic next to it and started gobbling up sandwiches...after a couple of minutes I looked around and realized I was sitting at someone else's group...but boy, they did have good sandwiches! I wanted my Mom, but I felt safe in the home and I was well taken care of and have always spoken kindly of my experience with the Salvation Army.
Judith Pirie, 1954 email@example.com
> Posted January 14, 2013
So sad to hear the main "home" was demolished in 1976. So too, was my family homestead directly across the road from the Home.... Bater's General Store/Hall/home. I see it is now a strip plaza with overhead apartments, thus negating ANY aspect of my early childhood aside from the street still bearing my family name. I was counting on the internet to bring back memories but alas the wrecking balls got there first.
> Posted October 22, 2012
WOW! I, too, am a former resident of The Coach House, 49 years ago, during the reign of Estelle McLean and her son Ken...and of course Peggy Bell and Captain/Major Ellery. Such fond memories from a young teen being surrounded by eight "sisters" all sharing a common bond...some younger, some older, finding our way together with tender guidance, love and humour....Ken providing a LOT of humour! I truly believe the five years spent with this "family" gave me the direction and confidence needed to start my journey into a future I couldn't have imagined so many many years ago. Would love to re-connect with my "sisters" from 1963 - 1968!
> Posted June 10, 2010
How fantastically interesting to find this link to my past! I grew up at 1132 Broadview Avenue, in the Coach House when I was a young teenager. There was a small swimming pool to the north of the coach house. I have great memories of us learning to dance, laughing and giggling. I was one of the original nine children to live in the coach house when it was first restored. Estelle McLean, and her son Kenny McLean, was our house mother. I went to live in the large mansion, surrounded by large chestnut trees, when I was 11 years old. True Davidson was our Reeve. We used to slid down the dumb waiter in the mansion house. It was such a hoot! During the summer months we would go by train to Presquille Provincial Park. There was a big field stone house with accompanying out buildings that was donated to the salvation army. I now live in Collingwood, Ontario, and would be very delighted to chat with anyone about my adventures associated with the coach house. I went to Plains Road P.S. when Gordon Brown was principal. I'd love to hear from anyone, and also to find out how I may get in touch with former residents of the Salvation Army 'Nest', at 1132 Broadview, as it was referred to then.
Note: Your email address will be posted at the end of your comment so others can respond to you unless you request otherwise.
Note: Comments are moderated. Yours will appear on this page within 24 hours (usually much sooner).
Note: As soon as I have posted your comment, a reply to your email will be sent informing you.
To send me your comment, click firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alan L Brown
Note: If you wish to send me a personal email, click here.