Visiting the former Lambton Lodge, Toronto, Ontario: now George Brown House, a National Historic Site of Canada
Residence of a pivotal Canadian historical figure
When George Brown (1818-1880) died at the hands of an assassin, the dramatic nature of his passing only emphasized the historic nature of his achievements. Founder of the Toronto Globe newspaper in 1834, he also served briefly as Premier of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada, now Ontario) in 1858 and as a Senator for Lambton from 1873-1880, and was regarded as a leading figure in the Liberal party (1). He also attended the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, and is often referred to as a Father of Confederation.
Today, the Globe and Mail has among the largest of circulations among Canadian newspapers.
The residence of George Brown was designed by William Irving and Edward Hutchings and built 1874-1876. Its naming as 'Lambton Lodge' was almost certainly a reflection of the fact that George Brown was appointed Senator for Lambton.
The style of the dwelling exhibits Second Empire and Italianate influences. Particular features include its use of mansard roofing with prominent, dormer windows, a proportionately very large, and somewhat ornate, arched doorway. The first two stories are executed in brick; for the top storey incorporated into the mansard roofing, a slate exterior was used.
After George's Brown's death, the house passed to the Coulson family, who, in the 1890s, sponsored a refurbishing of the dining room in Art Nouveau style. Today, George Brown House's restored interior exhibits marble fireplaces, mahogany panelling and Crystal chandeliers. 2000 volumes of George Brown's personal library collection are now held at the house.
The structure was re-named George Brown House, and for the past few decades has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The property underwent a thorough program of restoration in the 1980s, spearheaded by the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now called the Ontario Heritage Trust). Among its current functions is the provision of office space for the Ontario Heritage Trust. The building is regularly hired for conferences and special events; since the property consists of several, refurbished rooms, the practice has arisen both of hiring out of a number of its rooms together, or of individual rooms. (My strong feeling is that as a venue this historic house would greatly enhance an event.)
I have included a picture (above, right) of the house as depicted in an artist's impression of George Brown's funeral, for which the building forms a backdrop.
The house is supposed to be haunted, and television broadcasting on this subject has been undertaken; I myself struggle with such ideas, but it is clear that with the murder of George Brown and records of his funeral from the property, at the very least the power of historical allusion at the property is necessarily strong.
George Brown House is located at 186 Beverley Street, in Toronto's Grange Park neighbourhood.
For contact details see note (2), below.
February 7, 2015
(1) Like various, other influential 19th century Canadian figures — such as Sir John Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie,.and Alexander Mackenzie — George Brown was Scottish-born. Brown was a staunch Presbyterian and was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto, although interestingly he strongly argued for separation of church and state, unlike the prevailing arrangement in his native Scotland.
Also worth seeing
In Downtown Toronto itself, its many visitor attractions include: Old City Hall, Fort York, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, the CN Tower, Casa Loma; the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building at Queen's Park, Union Station, and many others.
How to get there: Porter Airlines, flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and has wide North American connections. Car rental is available at Union Station; Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available, but visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable from Union Station. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Knox Presbyterian Church, Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario: Romanesque & Gothic Revivia
Provincial flag of Ontario FlagPictures.org Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto 'User:SimonP', GNU / Creative Commons A-SA 3.0, wikimedia.org This imposing building in Toronto, Ontario dates from 1909. Known as Knox Presbyterian Church, its design is..
- Visiting Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario: 1829-1832 Neo-Classical and Palladian home to the Law Socie
The three porticos of this complex of buildings are among the most striking features of this distinguished legal hub and historic Canadian site.
- Visiting the Parliament of Ontario: Toronto's monumental Legislative Building at Queen's Park
This imposing — indeed, monumental — building mainly dates from 1886 to 1893. This Provincial Parliament building houses the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (French: Assemblée législative de l'Ontario ), from
- Visiting the Toronto Cubes, Ontario and the Rotterdam Cubes, The Netherlands: intriguing, innovative
Having seen these structures in both cities, I can fairly say that these are some of the most conspicuously individualistic residences to have been built in the cities of Toronto, Ontario and Rotterdam, The Netherlands, respectively. Based on the...
- Visiting Old City Hall, Toronto, Ontario: imposing Romanesque Revival building by E. J. Lennox
Situated at Queen Street West and Bay Street, the Old City Hall, Toronto, Ontario, was completed in 1899 to an 1887 design by architect E. J. Lennox (1854-1933) (1). The building served as Toronto's municipal headquarters until 1965; hence the...
More by this Author
- 0Visiting Lougheed House, Calgary, Alberta: a National Historic Site of Canada, this sandstone mansion dates from 1891
Lougheed House, Calgary, has been a real witness to the history of Alberta. Associated with a dynasty of Provincial leaders, its 19th century sandstone walls have harboured many distinguished visitors
- 0Visiting an unusual church building on St. Clair Avenue, Toronto, Ontario: memorializing a business figure
Timothy Eaton Memorial Church stands monumentally in the Toronto suburb of Forest Hill, on St. Clair Avenue. Not dedicated to any religious figure, its name instead recalls a business personality.
In the centre of the village, a stone monument bears a plaque inscribed: 'BERGHOLZ GERMAN LUTHERAN SETTLEMENT FOUNDED OCT. 12 1843'. And German Americans, mainly Lutheran, have been there ever since. The monument...
No comments yet.