Colborne Lodge

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Colborne Lodge
Colborne Lodge.jpg
LocationToronto, Ontario, Canada
Typehistoric house museum
WebsiteColborne Lodge

Colborne Lodge is a historical museum located in an 1836 home in Toronto's High Park. John George Howard, an architect, engineer, and prominent Toronto citizen built this house, which became the property of the city following his death in 1890.[1]


Painting of Colborne Lodge, 1865
Looking south at Lake Ontario from Colborne Lodge. Toronto, Canada.

Built in 1836 by City Surveyor John George Howard to house himself and his wife Jemima Frances Meikle, Colborne Lodge is perched on the top of a hill overlooking Lake Ontario. The house is a classic example of the Regency cottage style, and one of the first such buildings in the city. The small house tries to blend in with the landscape around it, in sharp contrast to the rigid formalism of Georgian architecture that was then the standard Toronto style. It was originally one storey, but Howard later expanded it by adding the upper level. The house was named after Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836 and first Canadian patron of Howard's architecture. Next to the home is the Colborne Lodge gardens, first created by the Howards.

The cottage sat on 165 acres (0.67 km2) of land owned by Howard. His original intent was to start a farm on the property and did keep some animals. Later, he attempted to subdivide his holdings and sell off small lots to create a new neighbourhood. At the time the area was still a considerable distance west of the city and a difficult commute to town. Howard himself maintained a second home in the city. The landscape of the property with its steep hills, wetlands and sandy soils would have been difficult to develop in any event.

Howard and Jemima had no children and thus deeded the park to the city in 1873, in exchange for a permanent pension. He continued to live in his home until his death in 1890. Additional land was purchased by the city in 1873 and 1930, thereby expanding the park to the current 399 acres (1.61 km2). John Howard and his wife are buried in the Howard Tomb, a stone monument which overlooks Grenadier Pond. The cairn was designed by Howard, and the fence gate for the cairn is originally from St. Paul's Cathedral in London and was originally designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren. It dates from 1714 and Howard had it shipped from London in 1875.[2]

Colborne Lodge, High Park, Toronto

The home is now a museum run by the City of Toronto. The museum displays the house and furnishings of the 1800s, using much of the Howards' own furnishings and Howard artworks. The museum holds an annual Harvest Festival, plus summer and March break camps for children. Annually at Hallowe'en, guides put on a "Haunted Walk" discussing legends of ghost appearances at the Lodge.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Cruikshank, Tom. Old Toronto Houses. Toronto: Firefly Books, 2003.
  • Denby William and William Kilbourn. Toronto Observed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986.
  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Ontario Heritage Trust Colborne Lodge 1836
  2. ^ "The Story of a Fence". Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "Hallowe-en Galleries". Toronto Star. October 26, 2006. p. G2.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°38′25.7″N 79°27′36.5″W / 43.640472°N 79.460139°W / 43.640472; -79.460139