Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
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The O'Connor-Lafferty House
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted April, 2010
In front of 12 Connorvale Avenue is this 2009 Etobicoke Heritage Foundation / Alderwood Historical Society plaque. Here's what it tells us about this house:
Coordinates: 43.606237 -79.529394
The farmhouse that once stood near this site was built by a Black man, William Lafferty and his sons between 1851 and 1856. He came to Upper Canada from the United States in the 1830's. William settled in the town of York (now Toronto) where he became a grocer and owned several properties. His son, William Dennis Lafferty resided here until 1878 when John O'Connor purchased the property and established his eldest son, John Joseph and his bride, Ellen, on the farm. They had one son and eight daughters. The daughters formed the famous O'Connor Sisters act and performed in Vaudeville, radio and television. The house remained in the O'Connor family until 1989 when it was sold to a developer and demolished.
The house had walls 1 m thick, made entirely of fieldstones found on the farm. The 20 ha of farmland consisted largely of orchards, developed by the Lafferty family. The O'Connor's maintained the orchards until the 1920's, when most of the farm was turned into residential housing.
Although the house originally faced on to Horner Avenue, development saw the house designated as 12 Connorvale. Connorvale Avenue was originally called O'Connor Avenue, until 1956, when amalgamation with the Corporation of Metropolitan Toronto forced the renaming of the street.
Posted December 6, 2013
The O'Connor home at 12 Connorvale Ave. was designated an heritage home. A builder bought the house from my aunt Deannie (Geraldine), telling her that he would continue to preserve it. He lied, demolishing the house & paying a small fine to the city because it had been designated an heritage home. Very sad ending for this beautiful home that I enjoyed staying at so many times.
John Woods p.s. my grandmother was an O'Connor sister.
Posted December 5, 2013
What a insult tearing down the O'Conner home. My grandparents were neighbours of the O'Conner's. A lack of respect for this famous family who were well known vaudeville performers and horse racing family. This house should have been deemed an historical home period. Fortunately one of the original homes still stands. Yes. Number 5 Connervale. My Grandparents Stephen and Angus Parker bought it from Mr. O'Conner. It was the original home prior to the main O'Conner house being built. This was built by the original owner who was a black man. Some people need to do their research a little better.
Wayne K. Parker
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