Toronto’s architectural gems—astonishing row houses at 109-129 John Street.

26 Aug


At first glance, the houses in the above photo appear to be grand homes from the 19th century, as they possess large dormers in the roofs on the third floors, attractive red bricks, and detailed ornamentation. However, on closer inspection, they are ten row houses, with relatively narrow frontage on John Street, extending back for a considerable distance. Their postal addresses are 111 to 119 John Street.

These houses were built in 1889, and in that year only six of them were occupied.  The house at 111 John Street, which today has the postal address of 270 Adelaide Street, is on the corner of Adelaide and John Streets. It the largest of the row houses. In 1889, it was the residence of E. Honla. Number 113 was the home of Danforth Roch, # 115 was Mc. C. cummings, 117 was Mrs. L. Hunter, 119 was Theadore Braun, and # 121 was Miss Eliz. Dale. The houses numbered 123-129 were vacant in 1889. 

The house at number 111 John Street (270 Adelaide Street) is today occupied by Pizzaola (basement level) and the Corned Beef House on the first-floor level. This house is by far the grandest of the residences in the row.  Similar to the house at the north end of the row (#129), it has a balcony on the third-floor level. However, #111 is the only row house with a side entrance, which is on Adelaide Street. In previous years, the Avalon Restaurant was where the Corned Beef House is now located. 

All of the homes have traces of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, with foundations of heavy stone and large stone sills under the windows. All the houses are of red brick, with detailed ornamentation, sometimes employing terracotta tiles. These homes are among the most impressive row houses in the city.    


House on the northeast corner of Adelaide and John Streets, which is 111 John Street, although today it is listed as 270 Adelaide Street.


The small charming balcony on #111, on the west facing facade, overlooking John Street.


Window facing John Street, with a Romanesque arch above it. The curved window pane at the top has attractive designs, three rectangular panes below it, and a large stone sill. Behind the window was likely where the parlour of the home was located. Today it is a window inside the Corned Beef House.


Decorative terracotta tiles inserted in the bricks of the west facing facade


Oval window and archway above the door of the entrance at 111 John Street (270 Adelaide Street).


The oval window above the entrance way. It likely gave light to the staircase inside the home.


The archway above the door and the faux-keystone, which is a terracotta tile.


The west facade of 111 John Street and the pair of houses to the north of it (on the left-hand side in the photo), numbers 113, 115, and 117.


The south facade of 111 John Street (270 Adelaide Street) with its side entrance. The dormer window in the roof is impressive. This view reveals the true size of this dwelling. It is the only house in the row with a corner turret.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

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

The lighthouse on Gibraltar Point on Centre Island

The old church at College and Elizabeth Streets, now occupied by the U of T

The Ellis Building on Adelaide Street near Spadina Ave.

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.

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 August 26, 2013 in Toronto


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