Toronto’s architectural gems—24 Mercer Street

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Mercer Street is one block south of King Street West, between John and Peter Streets. This short street was once a pleasant residential avenue, with close access to the fashionable shops of King Street. During the mid-nineteenth century, King Street was where the city’s finest shops were located, as well as the homes of the elite, including that of the vice-regal representative of Queen Victoria. The house at 24 Mercer Street, shown in the above photo, is one of the few Greek Revival houses that remain in Toronto. Even though it is designated as a Heritage Building, it is soon to be demolished, only its facade to survive.

The house at 24 Mercer Street was the residence of John B. Reid, a lawyer. Constructed of red bricks with simple stone trim, when it was built, it was the only brick house on the street. The others were one or two-storey frame homes covered with roughcast cement. Reid’s two-storey house possessed a half-storey attic, with half-sized windows, the area possibly employed as servants’ quarters. The tall rectangular windows on the first and second floors have stone lintels and sills. They allowed generous light to enter the interior in an age without electricity. The doorway was recessed to shelter it from the strong westerly winds of winter. 

In many homes of this era, the kitchen was in the basement. The large windows below-ground windows allowed a plenteous supply of light for the preparation of meals. Without electricity and modern appliances, food preparation was lengthy and laborious. The home is today on a street that is being transformed into an area where condos will dominate the scene. The location near the downtown and the entertainment district again makes it an advantageous place to maintain a residence.


Mercer Street is an east/west street one block south of King Street. It extends one block only, between John and Blue Jays  Way (Peter Street). Map from Perly’s, 1999 Edition.

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The first-floor level of the house, with its recessed doorway and large windows with stone sills and lintels.


                  Staircase from the first to the second floor of the Reid home.


                   Brickwork below the half-size attic level windows

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(Left-hand photo)—cornice bracket on the southeast corner of the building, above the second floor. (Right-hand photo), a view of the brickwork on the south facade.

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Below-ground basement windows (left) and the recessed doorway (right)


Today, the house at 24 Mercer Street is to the east of the construction site of the Mercer Street Condominium. The Reid home’s red-brick east wall is terracotta colour, and it has a large blue sign advertising the condo. Visible is the extension that was added to the home when it was converted for offices and commercial space. 


24 Mercer Street, another Heritage Building that is to be lost due to the priorities of modern times.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

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

The Heintzman Building on Yonge Street, next to the Elgin Theatre

The tall narrow building at 242 Yonge Street, south of Dundas

Toronto’s first Reference Library at College and St. George Streets.

The Commodore Building at 315-317 Adelaide St. West

The Graphic Arts Building (condo) on Richmond Street

The Art Deco Victory Building on Richmond Street

The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street

The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street

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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