Category Archives: Quetton St. George House Toronto

Lost Toronto — by Doug Taylor


Lost Toronto by Doug Taylor, Pavilion Press, published January 2018. Photo King and Yonge Streets, Toronto Archives.

When Old City Hall was slated for demolition in the 1960s, protestors united to save this key piece of Toronto’s architectural heritage. Their efforts paid off and eventually led to the passing of the Ontario Heritage Act, which has been preserving buildings of cultural value since the mid-1970s. But what happened to some of the cultural gems that graced the City of Toronto before the heritage movement? Lost Toronto brings together some of the most spectacular buildings that were lost to the wrecking ball or redeveloped beyond recognition.

Using detailed archival photographs, Lost Toronto recaptures the city’s lost theatres, sporting venues, bars, restaurants and shops. Along the way, the reader will visit stately residences (Moss Park, the Gordon Mansion, Benvenuto) movie palaces (Shea’s Hippodrome, Shea’s Victoria, Tivoli Theatre, Odeon Carlton), grand hotels (Hotel Hanlan, Walker House, Queen’s Hotel), department stores ( Eaton’s Queen Street, Eaton’s College Street, Robert Simpson Company, Stollery’s), landmark shops (Sam the Record Man, A & A Book Store, World’s Biggest Book Store, Honest Ed’s), arenas and amusement parks (Sunnyside, Maple Leaf Stadium, CNE Stadium), and restaurants and bars (Captain John’s on the M. V. Normac, Colonial Tavern, Ed’s Warehouse).

This richly illustrated book brings some of Toronto’s most remarkable buildings and much-loved venues back to life. From the loss of John Strachan’s Bishop’s Palace in 1890 to the scrapping of the S. S. Cayuga in 1960 and the closure of the HMV Superstore in 2017, these pages cover more than 150 years of the city’s built heritage to reveal a Toronto that once was.


              Back cover of Lost Toronto, available in book stores or online, $26.95

To view the Home Page for this blog:

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

Books by the Blog’s Author

Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


   To place an order for this book, published by History Press: .

Book also available in most book stores such as Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox and AGO Book Shop. It can also be ordered by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)


Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It explores 81 theatres and contains over 125 archival photographs, with interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating histories. Note: an article on this book was published in Toronto Life Magazine, October 2016 issue.

For a link to the article published by |Toronto Life Magazine:…/photos-old-cinemas-dougtaylortoronto-local-movie-theatres-of-y…

The book is available at local book stores throughout Toronto or for a link to order this book:

                        Toronto: Then and Now®

Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. It contains archival and modern photos that allow readers to compare scenes and discover how they have changed over the decades. Note: a review of this book was published in Spacing Magazine, October 2016. For a link to this review:

For further information on ordering this book, follow the link to  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link below:–then-and-now—products-9781910904077.php?page_id=21

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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in A&A Record Store, Arcadian Court in Simpson's, Bank of Toronto King and Bay Streets, baseball history Toronto, Bay and Gable houses Toronto, Benvenuto, Bluebell ferry- Toronto, books about Toronto, Brunswick House Toronto, Captain John's Toronto, Centre Island Toronto, Chorley Park, CNE Stadium Toronto, Colonial Tavern Toronto, Crystal Palace Toronto, Doug Taylor, Toronto history, Dufferin Gates CNE Toronto, Eaton's Queen Street store, Eaton's Santa Claus Parade Toronto, Ford Hotel Toronto, Frank Stollery Toronto, High Park Mineral Baths Toronto, historic Toronto, historic toronto buildings, history of Toronto streetcars, HMV toronto (history), Honest Ed's, local history Toronto, Lost Toronto, Memories of Toronto Islands, Metropolitan United Church Toronto, MV Normac, old Custom House Toronto, Ontario Place, Quetton St. George House Toronto, Riverdale Zoo Toronto, Salvation Army at Albert and James Street, Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, Sam the Record Man Toronto, Santa Claus Parade Toronto, St. George the Martyr Toronto, Sunnyside Toronto,, Temple Building Toronto, toronto architecture, Toronto baseballl prior to the Blue Jays, Toronto history, Toronto Island ferries, Toronto's Board of Trade Building (demolished), Toronto's disappearing heritage, Toronto's lost atchitectural gems, Toronto's restaurant of the past, Walker House Hotel (demolished), World's Biggest Book Store-Toronto, Yonge Street Arcade Toronto



Toronto’s heritage buildings and sites on


Below are links to posts about Toronto’s heritage sites that have appeared on the blog,, since it commenced in 2011.

Toronto’s Maple Leaf Baseball Stadium

Brunswick House on Bloor Street West, now closed

Centre Island’s lost village

Demolition of the Westinghouse building on King Street West

Walker House Hotel at Front and York Streets, demolished 1976

Cyclorama on Front Street, demolished 1976

The Toronto Star Building on King Street West

Fond Memories of A&A Records on Yonge Street

Memories of Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street

Toronto’s old Land Registry Building (demolished)

The Gordon House on Clarence Square, one of Toronto’s lost mansions

Old Toronto Star Building on King Street West.

The Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

The High Park Mineral Baths

The old Dufferin Gates at the CNE

Toronto’s first brick house, built by Quetton St. George

Toronto’s Old Registry Office Building

Centre Island’s Lost Village

Arcadian Court Restaurant in Simpsons

Toronto’s Old Customs Houses

Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

Palace Pier Ballroom and Amusement Centre on Lakeshore, on West bank of the Humber River

Cawthra House—Toronto’s most historic mansion at Bay and King Streets (demolished)

Ford Hotel at Bay and Dundas (demolished)

Dufferin Gates of the CNE (demolished)

Quetton St. George’s mansion on King Street, now demolished

Mineral Baths (swimming pools) on Bloor Street opposite High Park

Upper Canada College’s first campus on Russell Square on King Street West

Upper Canada College’s former boarding house at Duncan and Adelaide Street

St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West – the first market buildings

Armouries on University Avenue (demolished)

Trinity College that once existed in Trinity Bellwoods Park

Hanlan’s Hotel on the Toronto Islands (Hanlan’s Point) now demolished

The Palace, the mansion of John Strachan (demolished)

Holland House—one of Toronto’s lost mansions (demolished)

Crystal Palace of the CNE (demolished) —now the site of the Muzik nightclub

Queen’s Hotel (demolished) —historic hotel on Front Street

CNE Grandstand (demolished) —History of

Maple Leaf Stadium (demolished) at Bathurst and Front Streets

Eaton’s old Queen Street Store at Queen and Yonge Streets (demolished)

Bank –Toronto’s First—Bank of Upper Canada (demolished)

Post Office—Toronto’s First

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dundas Street.

Ontario’s Fourth Legislative Assembly

Ontario’s First and Second Legislative Buildings

Old Mill Restaurant in the Humber Valley

Montgomery’s Inn at Dundas West and Islington Avenue

Cecil Street Community Centre near Spadina Avenue and Cecil Street

Former Ryerson Press Building (now Bell Media) at 299 Queen Street, at Queen and John Streets

Former Bank of Toronto Building at 205 Yonge Street, opposite the Eaton Centre

Buildings at 441-443 Queen Street, west of Spadina Avenue

History of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

Boer War monument at Queen West and University Avenue

History of Toronto’s CN Tower

Gurney Stove Foundry at King West and Brant Streets

Historic Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street

Former Bank of Montreal at Queen and Yonge Streets, now a subway entrance and coffee shop

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Toronto’s Union Station of today that opened in 1927

Old Fort York

19th-century Bay and Gable house at 64 Spadina Avenue

Old houses hidden behind 58-60 Spadina Avenue 

Historic Gale Building at 24-30 Spadina Avenue

Commercial block at 654-672 Queen West containing shops

Warehouse loft at 80 Spadina Avenue

The Systems Building at 40-46 Spadina Avenue

The Steele Briggs Warehouse at 49 Spadina Avenue

The building at Queen and Portland Streets, which once was a bank of Montreal

The 1850s buildings at 150-154 King Street East and Jarvis Streets

The Manufacturers Building at 312 Adelaide St. West

The old Eaton’s College Street (College Park and the Carlu)

The John Kay (Wood Gundy) Building at 11 Adelaide St. West

The Grange (AGO)

The Eclipse Building at 322 King Street West

The Toronto Normal School on Gould Street

The Capitol Building at 366 Adelaide Street West, near Spadina

The Reid Building at 266-270 King Street West

Mackenzie House on Bond Street

Colborne Lodge in High Park

The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor West and Avenue Road

The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West

The Lumsden Building at Yonge and Adelaide Street East

The Gooderham (Flatiron) Building at Wellington and Front Streets East

The Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue

St. James Cathedral at King St. East and Church St.

The E.W. Gillett Building at 276 Queen King St. West

The Oddfellows Temple at the corner of Yonge and College Streets

The Birkbeck Building at 8-18 Adelaide Street East

The Toronto Seventh Post Office at 10 Toronto St.

Former hotel at Bay and Elm streets

The 1881 block of shops on Queen near Spadina

The stone archway on Yonge Street, south of Carlton Street

The former St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West, now the City Market

The Brooke Building (three shops) at King East and Jarvis streets.

The old Work House at 87 Elm Street, an historic structure from the 19th century.

The building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen Street.

The former student residence of Upper Canada College, built in 1833, at 22 Duncan Street, at the corner of Adelaide streets.

Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre

The former site of the “Silver Snail” comic store at 367 Queen Street West.

The Toronto Club at 107 Wellington, built 1888,  at the corner of York Street. 

The YMCA at 18 Elm Street, built in 1890, now the Elmwood Club.

The old St. George’s Hall at 14 Elm Street, now the Arts and Letters Club.

The 1860s houses on Elm St. (now Barbarian’s Steak House)

The old “Silver Snail” shop on Queen St. West

The north building at the St. Lawrence Market, which is slated to be demolished

The Ellis Building on Adelaide Street near Spadina Ave.

The Heintzman Building on Yonge Street, next to the Elgin Theatre

The tall narrow building at 242 Yonge Street, south of Dundas

Toronto’s first Reference Library at College and St. George Streets.

The Commodore Building at 315-317 Adelaide St. West

The Graphic Arts Building (condo) on Richmond Street

The Art Deco Victory Building on Richmond Street

The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street

The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street

The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper

Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.

The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets

The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple

The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft building on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina Avenue and Queen Street West.

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A study of Osgoode Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West, near York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view the post that contains a list of Toronto’s old movie houses and information about them:


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Toronto’s first brick home— built by Quetton St. George

1885, pictures-r-2655[1]

The Quetton St. George House on King Street in 1885, after its brick facades had been covered with stucco. Toronto Public Library, r-2655.

Few personalities from the early days of the town of York (Toronto) possess such an interesting background as that of Laurent Quetton St. George (born, Laurent Quet). He built York’s first brick house on the northeast corner of Frederick and King Streets, between the years 1807 and 1811. Today, the address of the site is 204 King East.

Laurent Quet (Laurent Quetton St. George) was born in France in 1771, his family a part of the minor nobility who were merchants and served in the military. When the French Revolution began in 1789, at age 18, he fought for the King of France. In 1791, he voluntarily went into exile in England, where he joined a guerrilla group of Frenchmen who had fled their native land. Later the same year, he returned to France, serving under the command of Comte de Puisaye. The Comte’s forces were defeated in 1793 and Quetton St. George returned to England. In 1796, he anglicised his name and commenced signing it as Quetton St. George, rather than Laurent Quet.

In 1798, the British Crown gave Comte de Puisaye a land grant in York County in Upper Canada, about 26 miles north of York. The farmland was on either side of Yonge Street, where Elgin Mills Road is located today. Puisaye’s intention was to found a colony loyal to the French king, and gave Quetton St. George a parcel of the land. However, by 1802, the colony collapsed as many of the colonists had returned to Europe. They discovered Canadian winters too harsh.

In partnership with another French officer, Quetton became a general merchant, importing goods and trading them for furs with the Mississauga Indians. In 1802, they relocated their business to Niagara-on-the-Lake, but by the end of the year, they moved their headquarters to York. The town’s location was advantageous for their enterprise as it was situated on the lake, allowing easy access to the shipping routes necessary for importing goods.

Next, St. George ended his business partnership and became the sole proprietor. He commenced selling supplies to the provincial government in York, as well as to the British army. Much of his income was soon derived from these sources, under the business name of “Quetton St. George and Company.” In the years ahead, in partnership with various businessmen, he established branches in Amherstburg, Niagara, Kingston and Dundas. In York, his chief rivals in the retail trade were Alexander Wood and William Allen. However, despite his success, St. George was never fully embraced by the elite of York. It has been suggested that this was because many of them owed him money that they were unable to repay.

In 1807, Quetton began courting Anne Powell, the daughter of William Drummer Powell, a prominent citizen of York. Her mother considered Quetton St. George “an adventurer” and unworthy of her daughter. To improve his standing in York, St. George decided to erect a brick house, the first such building in the town. At the time, all the dwellings were of wood, in a town of only about 700 residents. York did not yet extend west of Yonge Street or north of Lot Street (today’s Queen Street), so a brick house was viewed as a positive sign.

The site of the house was to be on the north side of King Street, where St. George owned three building lots. Thus, it was to be situated on the town’s main commercial street and most prestigious residential area. The digging of the foundations began in 1807, and it is thought that the red bricks for the structure were made from clay dug on the site. This is disputed by some reference sources as there were professional brick-makers in York at the time, as York’s first legislative assembly had been constructed of bricks in 1797. The house was completed in 1810, or early-1811 at the latest. However, he was never allowed to marry Anne.

St. George’s house was designed by Dr. William Warren Baldwin in the Georgian style, its symmetrical facade containing nine rectangular windows facing King Street. The structure was basically a rectangular box with simple unadorned lines, a low hip roof, and a portico (porch) on its south side. The porch was in the Greek style, it roof supported by two pairs of slender columns, topped with Ionic scrolls. The portico was likely added a few years after the house was built.

It is thought that in addition to a mason, a skilled carpenter was employed since the wood trim on the house was of an exceptionally high quality. Unlike the mansion of Bishop Strachan (built in 1818), there was no triangular pediment above the front facade. The brickwork contained no decorative patterns, and later in the century, the exterior walls were covered with stucco.

On the second floor, there was a Palladian window in the centre position, with a fan-shaped window above it. It was a simple but elegant refinement to an otherwise plain facade. In the interior, there was a central hallway, likely with the parlour on one side of it and a dining room on the other. In most Georgian homes. a grand staircase led to the second storey.

The house provided St. George with the necessary requirements to maintain a residence and a place of business. On the second floor, there were living quarters for himself and his clerks. In the basement was a storeroom for his stock of goods, and on the ground floor a shop and office. When the Americans invaded York in April 1813, the house was sacked but not torched. At the time, Quetton St, George was away from York on business.

St. George remained a resident of York until 1815, when Napoleon was defeated and the French monarchy restored. He then returned to England and then France, where he assumed the title of Chevalier de St. Louis. In 1820, he sold the shares of his company in Upper Canada to Dr. W. W. Baldwin, John Baldwin, and Jules Quesnel. Baldwin lived in the house, but rented a section of it to the Canada Company, a semi-government development company that sold off crown land. After Baldwin died, his widow continued in residence. In 1895, the Canada Company vacated the premises and it became a pharmaceutical company. Next, it was converted into a boarding house, then a junk shop, and finally a tenement. By the turn of the 20th century, the property was in poor condition as it had not been maintained. It was demolished in 1904, and Toronto’s first brick residence disappeared forever.

A seven-storey warehouse was erected on the site for the Adams Harness Company. This building has since changed hands several times, but remains in existence. Today, the only reminder of Quetton St. George is St. George Street, which was named by William Baldwin after his friend, Quetton St. George. The St. George subway station on the Spadina/University line is named after the street.

Sources: “Lost Toronto” by William Dendy –— 


Location of the Quetton St. George house on the northeast corner of Frederick and King Street East.

1895  pictures-r-2862[1]

The Quetton St. George House in 1895. Toronto Public Library, r-2862.

house 1866-1949, sketch 1912, TRL. pictures-r-2917[1]

Watercolour sketch of the Quetton St. George House. Painted in 1912, it was created from the artist’s memory, as it depicts the house prior to its walls being covered with stucco. From the collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-2917.

                    Series 1465, File 182, Item 20

The northeast corner of Frederick and King Street East in 1994, the site of the demolished Quetton St. George house. Toronto Archives, F1465, S.0182, Id. 0020.


Building on the site of the Quetton St. George House, March 2016.


This is the only historic plaque on the building. There is nothing to recognize that Toronto’s first brick house once occupied the site.

To view the Home Page for this blog:

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


   To place an order for this book: .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)


Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres will be released in June, 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs and relates interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating history.

                        Toronto: Then and Now®

Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will be released on June 1, 2016. For further information follow the link to  here  or to contact the publisher directly:–then-and-now—products-9781910904077.php?page_id=21.


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