Toronto’s architectural gems—1870s houses on Peter Street

13 Jun

22-24 Peter

This charming pair of houses at 122 and 124 Peter Street are located on the west side of the street, a short distance south of Richmond. Built between the years 1873 and 1874, the first resident of 122 Peter Street was Mrs. Gordon, widow of Alexander Gordon, and at 124 Peter Street, the first occupant was Dr. Robert Grimman and his family. He was a staff surgeon at a nearby hospital. These houses are visible reminders of the residences that once graced Toronto’s downtown streets during the 19th century .

A “For Sale” sign was attached to the houses several months ago, but a “Sold” sign has now replaced it. I am not optimistic about the future of these houses, as they are no longer in good condition.  The above photo was taken on a sunny summer day, and the reflection off their stucco facades creates a more positive impression than if the homes are examined closely. I fear that they will be demolished, as to restore them would be very costly. It will be a pity to lose them, as they are an important part of the city’s architectural heritage. 

Examining the houses today, it is difficult to imagine the quaint gardens of their front yards when they blossomed with colourful flowers. In those days, Peter Street was narrower, and the front gardens possessed more space. Today, the gardens are overgrown, the small fence and trellis in poor repair. At one time, these houses would have resembled those found in rural towns throughout Ontario. The bargeboards (gingerbread trim) high atop the peak of the gable add to their appeal. The tall chimneys remind us of an era that did not possess the comforts of central heating.

 I am pleased that I had the opportunity to become familiar with these houses before they disappear from the urban scene.

                  22-24 Peter 3

Entrance to #122 Peter Street (left) and the soaring gable shared by the two houses.

22-24 Peter Street

Another reason that these two houses are unlikely to survive is that their context has been destroyed. Instead of being a part of a residential street, they are sandwiched between a parking lot and another 19th century home whose appearance has been destroyed by the addition constructed across its facade. The area is now dominated by high-rise condominiums. 


The gable that the houses share, with its bargeboard (gingerbread) trim


Bargeboard trim (gingerbread) and the pinnacle on the gable are in poor condition, the paint peeling.

DSCN1308   DSCN1306

                 Over-grown garden at the front of the houses

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

The old Bank of Commerce on Yonge Street, now the sales office for the Massey Tower

The Canadian Pacific Building at Yonge and King Streets

The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper

Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.

The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets

The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple

The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A study of Osgoode Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands


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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Toronto


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