Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
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John Bales House circa 1824
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted September, 2016
On the southeast corner of Sheppard Avenue West and Bathurst Street in Earl Bales Park, at the west end of the parking lot at the northern end of Raoul Wallenberg Road can be found this 2014 Heritage Toronto plaque in front of the house. Here's what it says:
This one-and-a-half-storey log house is one of Toronto's oldest buildings still standing on its original site. The house features a steeply pitched gable roof, a stuccoed exterior, and a symmetrical design typical of the vernacular Georgian style. Significant interior elements include a panelled storage wall in the south bedroom of the second floor and an original fireplace.
The builder of the house, John Bales, immigrated from England in 1819. In 1824, John and his wife, Elizabeth, purchased 60 acres (24 hectares) of land on the southeast corner of Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue. They developed their property to include this house, a barn, and eventually, a large orchard. Around 1940, the family added a cool room for food storage (since demolished) and a kitchen wing.
The house was sold by the Bales family in 1887. By 1922, the property was owned by the York Downs Golf and Country Club and the John Bales house became the home of the club's greens keeper. In 1975, the land surrounding the house became Earl Bales Park, named after a great-grandson of John and Elizabeth.
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