Sunday 7 July 2019

Colborne Lodge, High Park, Toronto, ON

This afternoon while I was attending Staycation Sunday at Colborne Lodge in High Park, I saw my pal and Toronto historian and author, Richard Fiennes-Clinton.  As part of Staycation Sunday, he was conducting tours of Colbourne Lodge.  There are other tours if you'd like to take one.

John George Howard, an architect, engineer, and Toronto citizen built Colborne Lodge in 1836 as a country cottage for him and his wife, Jemima (they lived in the city).  It was originally one storey with four rooms but Howard later expanded it by adding the upper level.  Howard and Jemima had no children and deeded their park to the city in 1873, in exchange for a permanent pension of about $1,200/year.  He continued to live in his home until his death in 1890.

The home is now a museum run by the City of Toronto. It displays the house and furnishings of the 1800s, using much of the Howards' own furnishings and Howard artworks.

Richard had a tour scheduled for 1pm but offered to give me quick a personal tour first.  I'm into history so took him up on his offer.

The summer kitchen was at the back of the house.

The original stove
The icebox

Richard gave me a peek into their bathroom, which was unusual for its time since everyone had an outhouse.

The door had wallpaper on it to match the walls to
camouflage it when it was closed (because it was
strange to have an indoor toilet at the time)

The kitchen became the dining room after the summer kitchen was built.

This was originally the Howards' bedroom, which became John's den when they added their bedroom upstairs.

Would you believe that's a closet?!

This was the sewing room where girls from the city would work a couple days for the Howards.

This was the Howards' living room at the front of the house.  The HMCS York Brass Quintet were playing on the veranda off this room.

Here is Richard and Katelyn.

When the 1pm tour started, I did stayed on.  Richard started in the living room.


In John's den ...

In the dining room ...

In the summer kitchen, Richard served us some scrub (a tradition summer fruit drink make with vinegar).  It smelled strongly of vinegar but was actually not bad.

Here we are ...

Thanks, Richard!

John and Jemima are buried in the Howard Tomb in High Park, not far from Colborne Lodge.  It was designed by John and the fence gate is originally from St. Paul's Cathedral in London and was originally designed by the architect Christopher Wren. It dates from 1714 and Howard had it shipped from London in 1875.


Richard said...

Hi Teena, thanks for coming on the tour today, and for the write up! Staycation Sundays are continuing through July and August. We have a special day for picnickers, and also for dog owners who enjoy High Park. We also have some evening tours in August (there is an admission for those ones, though). You can check out

I hope it's okay to post this information - museums really need our support!

Teena in Toronto said...

Thanks, Richard!