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Visiting Milne House, East Don River Valley, Toronto, Ontario: Frame Gothic architecture dating from 1871
Restoration project recalling Toronto's 19th century rural heritage
Milne House, in Toronto's East Don River Valley, is at the centre of a restoration project of the City of Toronto. This former Milne family homestead is one of the Toronto area's rapidly diminishing number of structures in Frame Gothic architecture. The style of Milne House has also sometimes been referred to as Gothic Revival. Features include the familiar, pointed gable so characteristic of this type of structure, formerly common in rural Ontario. Interestingly, there is an identical gable at both the front and the rear of the building, which is not so common. A porch, visible in 20th century photographs, has not survived.
Milne House was formerly part of a series of buildings in the locality, which used to be referred to collectively as Milneford Mills, or simply Milneford. As the name suggests, there were water mills — water powered — in the complex; these included a woollen mill. Among other buildings of Milneford Mills were a waggon shop and dry goods' store, and housing for workers; the complex was completed by the Milne family barns and residences. Of all these, Milne House is thus the only structure to survive.
Various, suggested dates are given for the Milne House; Heritage Toronto offers 1860 - 1865 (1); while an interpretative panel near the structure suggests 1871.
A Garden Club is active in preserving and enhancing the immediately locality. Close to Milne House is what is known as Butternut Walkway. On a massive boulder near Milne House, next to which trees have been planted and well manicured grassing maintained, the following inscription is given:
Butternut Walkway was made possible through a generous donation from the Milne House Garden Club
September 18, 1998
Milne House is situated at 1, Old Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario (2).
December 13, 2012
(1) Further information about Milne House and the project to restore it may be accessed at: http://www.heritagetoronto.org/building-storeys-photo-exhibit-torontos-aging-spaces .
(2) The entrance to Milne House and Milne Hollow is marked 'Charles Sauriol Conservation Area'.
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How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to 1, Old Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto : 28.6 kilometres). TTC Bus route: 54, A. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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