History Of Victorian Construction In Toronto

HeatherILT By HeatherILT, 6th Jun 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2lf.guht/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>Canada>Toronto

Whilst many of us talk about a Victorian building, few people realize that Victorian is not a style. 'Victorian' buildings generally describes styles that were most popular between 1835 and 1900.

Victorian Homes

Whilst many of us talk about a Victorian building, few people realize that Victorian is not a style. 'Victorian' buildings generally describes styles that were most popular between 1835 and 1900. Many homes combine the elements of several different styles and are not easily discernible as one particular style or another, but there are some common elements to look for. With distinct features from Classical and Gothic, these buildings can be constructed using brick, stone and timber.

The most prominent sort of Victorian architecture anywhere in Ontario was the home. Whether it was a vast farm in the country, a little worker's cottage or a town house in a growing urban centre like Toronto, the residences could show off good solid craftsmanship and decorative touches. Making a house look fantastic with artistic swirls, patterns and an eye for detail is what the Victorian house builder did effectively. These designs were not necessarily liked by everyone, with some Europeans feeling that the designs were over the top and fussy. With such a mix of designs and styles these properties could have looked out of place and ostentatious, though surprisingly the end result actually worked.

The Cabbagetown Victorians are born

Unlike in today’s subdivisions where several houses are built by the same builder in not-too-subtle variations on the same look, the builders of what was Toronto’s first suburb were a very eclectic and imaginative bunch. To start with, property developers had to have land and that was found north of Queen and west of Parliament, where areas had been cleared in the 1830's for farming. Called park lots, these empty pieces of land became the homes of prominent York (now called Toronto) officials.

Farm homes and cottages, even though only a few, were the earliest examples of Toronto Victorian architecture to be erected in Cabbagetown Land divided into a grid design of streets by John Howard, were the first building lots to be sold off in 1845. The most sensible housing type of the era was the row or attached home as the plots of land were primarily narrow, only 15 to 20 feet wide. At 241 Sherbourne street there is a good example of early Victorian design. The property boasts a large rustic porch, with an elaborate trim and two-toned decorative brick work; the owner being Enoch Turner, the brewer, who had it built in the late 1840's. Another example of early Victorian construction in the area is 424 Ontario Street, in which the decorative gingerbread trim on peaks and porches threatens to overshadow the delicacy of the overall design.

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Architecture, Toronto

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author avatar HeatherILT
Heather Hadden is top Toronto realtor. She loves her city and turned her website into thrilling Toronto lifestyle hub.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
23rd Oct 2011 (#)

An enthralling article, I am living in a Victorian homestead built 1st. September, 1902. At least that is how the deeds office refers to it in his drawing.

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author avatar Rose*
27th Nov 2013 (#)

Do Cabbagetown Victorians look different to English Victorian houses?

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