Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
2004 - Now in our 13th Year - 2017
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Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted October, 2006
Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2011
Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2011
These are the original stone gates mentioned on the 1996 Corporation of the City of North York plaque that you'll find at the eastern end of Hounslow Avenue. Here's what the plaque says:
Coordinates: 43.775177 -79.415714
York Cottage was originally constructed circa 1850 as a one-and-a-half storey brick structure in the Ontario Cottage style. It replaced an earlier log cabin on this site.
The Johnson family emigrated from Nova Scotia and settled on these lands in 1797. Abraham, son of Lawrence Johnson, married Catherine Hommen Fisher and had seven children, all born in Upper Canada between 1801 and 1814. Their son, Abraham Jr., was born in 1807. Abraham Jr. and his wife Harriet built a brick home on this site and called it "Ash Cottage". Here they raised nine children.
In serving the community, Abraham Jr. was Justice of the Peace in 1857 and 1871. He was active in the temperance movement, assisting in the formation of the first Sons of Temperance Society on Yonge Street. Abraham Jr.'s eldest son, Abraham S. was born in 1840. He married Sarah, a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Sheppard, and remained in the family home until it was sold in 1911.
In 1855, after the death of Abraham Sr., Abraham Jr. sold the south half of the property to Joshua Lackie. In 1911, the remainder was sold and then subdivided. After the second storey was added in the 1920's, the house served as a rural cottage for the Red Cross and then offices for the Children's Aid Society.
York Cottage was demolished in 1993, but the original stone gates that existed on the property at Yonge Street were conserved and re-introduced into this development.
> Posted April 18, 2017
I lived at York Cottage I believe in 1975/6 at 6 years of age. I was the only girl on my floor most of the time. I remember the kitchen and dining area were in the basement (I think) and there was a wonderful woman who was a cook, who would make me lady fingers. I went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve with her and her family. I also remember a male staff, named Al, who read with me and was so kind and empathetic.
> Posted March 6, 2017
I was also placed there in the 70's and then was placed with a family in Orillia and I'm still in contact with the family to this day.
Lorne Mercer email@example.com
> Posted March 24, 2016
Hi. My name is Jennifer (Vanderhorst) Andrews. I lived in York Cottages I think in the late 70s.. it was my best time and happiest of my life through children's aid.. remembering the tree house and camping trips making ice rinks in the front yard even had a kiln to make ceramic clay crafts.. it was a happy time... but it was haunted. I experienced much happenings there! The saddest part was I myself was the last child living there before it closed.. they had to find me a replacement home to go to.. I had visited a few times after memories until I went past ago to see but it was gone and a new building erected! I cried seeing it was gone! A good memory that I carry in my heart.
> Posted September 15, 2013
Interesting there is no mention of York Cottage being used as an orphanage. I was there in the 40's along with my sister and two brothers.
> Posted April 20, 2013
My siblings and I were placed in the aid in 1954. My twin sister and I were the youngest at 3 years old. We have good memories there, because we had food and clean clothes and a bed each. Would love to have a picture of York Cottage.
Thank you. Brenda Frankland. firstname.lastname@example.org
> Posted September 18, 2011
I lived in York Cottage too. Not a good memory comes from there but terror.
> Posted August 20, 2011
That was my home for some time as a kid. I was hoping it was still standing. I too was under the care of the Children's Aid Society. Pictures would be nice. Good thing I still have a good memory. Still remember the layout inside and out. Remember the tree house in the front? I do remember the large tractor tire and swings in the back and yes the large stone wall that surrounded the property. If you could find pictures please post. Thanks
> Posted June 12, 2010
Here I am yet again, going down memory lane. I just want to thank you for your hard work in maintaining these pages. Toronto (where I grew up) has lots of memories for me.
> Posted January 30, 2008
In 1956, my two younger brothers and myself were placed in the care of the staff Mrs Keith head mistress...through the Children's Aid Society. Our parents were unable to care for us at that time. We attended the local public elementary school. There was a theatre across the road on Yonge St that we went to and where I first saw Bert Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida in Trapeze. Memories. Alas, I do not have a photo of York Cottage...would anyone have one? Maybe an old painting.
Thank you kindly, Heather Hopkins
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