ORIGINS OF LYTTON PARK
On this site, ca. 1450 A.D., stood a prehistoric Indigenous village. The settlement, which covered about 2 hectares, was probably palisaded and included several longhouses. David Boyle, later appointed Provincial Archaeologist, first examined the Indigenous artifact remains in 1887. The Jackes site, also known as the Eglinton or Allenby School Site, was named after the contemporary property owner. Although now destroyed by residential and school construction, this is one of the best documented Indigenous villages in the City of Toronto.
Lytton Park was a 200 acre farm lot granted to John MacDougall, a United Empire Loyalist. In 1828, the Snider family built the first house in the neighbourhood at 744 Duplex Avenue between Lytton and Glencairn as pictured below. It is one of the oldest private residences in Toronto.
The Capitol Theatre has been a landmark in North Toronto for over 100 years and one of only a few remaining original vaudeville/movie houses built in Toronto in 1918. This spectacular theatre is an important example of the Odeon cinema-style architecture, featuring a romantic grand interior and sumptuous seats. The building was especially valued during the Great Depression in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when anyone with the money to buy a ticket could find respite from the hardship of daily life inside the theatre’s palatial interior. Its attractive decorative brick exterior and iconic marquee are a physical manifestation of the famous quote by renowned theatre architect S. Charles Lee, ‘The show started on the sidewalk’.
For over 100 years The Capitol Theatre has been part of the visual culture of Toronto’s Lawrence/Lytton Park neighbourhood. It’s an enduring reminder of our community history and collective memories, and is both an architecturally and socially important historical feature of Toronto’s past. Today, the Capitol Theatre continues to serve the community as a successful event theatre where local residents, businesses, schools and community groups host a wide variety of events from fairy-tale weddings, anniversary and birthday celebrations and charity fundraisers to concerts and major corporate events. The building was recently purchased by Madison Homes and will be redeveloped. LPRO successfully nominated the Capitol Theatre Complex as a Heritage Listing, thereby saving an important facade of North Toronto history.
LOYAL ORANGE LODGE / EGLINTON SCHOOL
LPRO is proud to announce that the Loyal Orange Lodge/Eglinton School has received City Heritage Listing. North Toronto’s first school sits off a private laneway directly behind the block of retail properties fronting onto Yonge Street between Castlefiled and St. Clements Avenues. Built in 1850, the one room brick schoolhouse, now known as the Eglinton Orange Hall, was originally Eglinton School, the sole school for the Village of Eglinton. Today it’s one of North Toronto’s oldest buildings.
The original Eglinton School was a one-room log schoolhouse built in 1842 on a lot severed from the George Ward farm, on the southwest corner of Yonge and St. Clements Avenue. The Ward farm also provides the site for St. Clement’s Anglican Church and St. Clement’s School. A fire destroyed the original wooden schoolhouse, and in 1850 a brick building was constructed on the same site. It continued to serve the students as the area school until the construction and opening of a larger Eglinton Public School in 1887, now known as John Fisher Public School on Erskine Avenue.
The building was also the birthplace of several of North Toronto’s great churches. It served as the Anglican church until the congregation completed construction of St. Clement’s Church west of the subject property in 1892. It was then home to Eglinton Presbyterian Church until that congregation moved to 14 St. Clements, on the northwest corner of Yonge and St. Clements. In 1908 the Members of the Orange Lodge purchased the land and building from the Presbyterian Church and moved it to the current site off the laneway. They continue to own it to this day.
LPRO is committed to keeping these historically significant and grand old buildings safe from the wrecking ball so that we may preserve them for future generations.