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LAST UPDATE: November 20 2020
508-510 Church Street, Toronto is included as part of the re-development project at 506-516 Church Street, Toronto.
While the developers of 506-516 Church Street have expressed interest in preserving 508-510 Church Street, these properties presently do not have heritage protection. 508-510 Church Street should be monitored during re-development to ensure they are not demolished and/or inappropriately or severely altered.
The carriage house (potentially 19th century) at the rear of 508-510 Church Street, Toronto is slated for demolition as part of the upcoming re-development project.
508-510 Church Street, Toronto was constructed in 1857/1858. The property was originally part of a row of houses at 508-518 Church Street, of which the middle (512-516 Church Street) was demolished in the 1960s. The properties were originally a wooden structure and were converted to and/or rebuilt with brick between 1903 and 1913. 508-510 Church Street and 518 Church Street are potentially the oldest extant properties on Church Street north of Carlton Street.
The first occupant-related data for 508-510 Church Street - per the City of Toronto Directories - is in the 1858 City of Toronto Directory. The properties have been renumbered several times between the 1850s and the present day.
Between 1858 and 1871: 384-386 Church Street
Between 1872 and 1889: 430-432 Church Street
From 1890 to present day: 508-510 Church Street
Commencing in the late 1960s, 508-510 Church Street were converted from residential uses to commercial uses. In the early-to-mid 1990s, the internal spaces of 508-510 Church Street were combined together to form a bar and entertainment venue space - presently used by Crews & Tangos.
In 2014, the exterior (Church Street Elevation) of 508-510 Church Street was painted by a large mural by artist Elicser Elliott. This was part of the Church Street Mural Program, implemented as part of World Pride.
In early 2020, Graywood Developments announced plans for a 15-storey mixed use (primarily condominium) building at 506-516 Church Street, Toronto. The developers have expressed an interest in retaining and restoring 508-510 Church Street, Toronto as part of this project, whereas adjacent 506 Church Street (1872) would be demolished.
A carriage house exists at the rear of 508-510 Church Street, along its Donna Shaw Lane frontage. This carriage house may date to the 19th century. The carriage house is slated for demolition as part of the upcoming re-development project.
The first occupants of 508-510 Church Street were:
The Holmested Family: The Holmested family consisted of Arthur Holmested (c. 1809 – 1883); Elizabeth Holmested (c. 1814 – unknown); and George Smith Holmested (1841-1928). Arthur and Elizabeth Holmested had 8 children and the family emigrated from England to Canada in 1857. Several of their children emigrated to Canada; whereas others emigrated to Australia or remained in England. The Holmesteds resided at 508 Church Street in 1859-1860, then moved next door to 510 Church Street; resided at 510 Church Street between 1861 and 1892. Arthur Holmsted (father) and George Smith Holmested (son) were prominent barristers and involved in the administration of Osgoode Hall (Court of Chancery, etc.). Arthur Holmested began employment at Osgoode Hall in 1857. The 2 Holmesteds had a combined service of no less than 70 years in the administration and history of Osgoode Hall by the time of George Holmested's death in 1928. After living at 508-510 Church Street, George Smith Holmsted later moved to Maitland Street and then to St. Albans Street (now Wellesley Street West) and lived in the Church-Wellesley area until his death
William Sladden: William Sladden resided at 510 Church Street between 1859-1860. He was the first resident of the property – per the City of Toronto Directories. It is unclear why he moved after only 1 year of residency. Sladden was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron Railroad Union Company in the early-to-mid 1850s and additionally had connection to Montréal-based industries. Sladden also worked as an attorney and parliamentary agent who specialized in real estate – published a guide to real estate laws in Upper Canada in 1857.
Other early and former occupants include:
Benjamin Morton (1832-1902) and Mary Swanwick Morton (1830-1906): Benjamin Morton and Mary Swanwick Morton were husband and wife and resided at 508 Church Street between 1862 and 1865. Benjamin Morton was an accountant and shareholder at the Bank of Upper Canada. The Mortons were one of the largest property owners in the East End of Toronto (Danforth Avenue and Main Street; The Beaches; etc.) during the mid-to-late 19th century. Several buildings and streets named after them in the East End (Morton Road, Swanwick Avenue, etc.) and they spurred early development in that area of the city.
The Butler Family: The Butler family consisted of William (Wilkin) Bromilow Butler (1820-1880); Janet Butler (1825-1909); and Ernest William David Butler (1853/1854 – 1935) – they were originally from Dublin, Ireland. The Butlers resided at 508 Church Street between 1872 and 1885. William (Wilkin) Bromilow Butler was a house, land, and mercantile agent for the Division Cour and was engaged in this field since 1860. His wife was Janet Butler. Ernest William David Butler was the son of William (Wilkin) and Janet and intermittently lived here between 1872 and 1885. Ernest W. D. Butler developed, purchased and managed properties, was also involved in life and fire insurance business. The Butlers' clients included some of the most wealthy and influential citizens and land corporations in Toronto (including in Parkdale and Rosedale); as well as in England and USA. Ernest Butler was the President of the Canadian Savings, Loan, and Building Association in 1891 and was also significantly involved in a number of prominent and influential political and social societies. Ernest Butler is specifically noted to have been a supporter of Equal Rights in a 1891 biographical sketch.
Methven (Methuen) J. Cairncross (1876 - 1967): Cairncross was a builder and carpenter by trade. He later leased laneway building (the carriage house) to Lindsay Welding in 1960s. He likely lived here with his wife Edith (née Le Vallee) (1874 – unknown): married on 6 January 1897 and 2 daughters: Louise (born 1900) and Edna (born 1902). Cairncross notably resided at 508 Church Street for 59 years (1907-1966) – had the longest tenure of any resident at this property.
508-510 Church Street, Toronto were used as boarding houses and rooming houses in the late 1880s; early 1900s; and 1960s (also potentially in the 1970s-1980s).
By the late 1960s, 508 and 510 Church Street had begun a transition from residential spaces to commercial spaces. Early commercial tenants (circa. the late 1960s) include commercial photographers and graphic designers.
Additional information about former occupants is available in the attached "508-510 Church Street: Heritage Property Nominations" documented dated 15 May 2020.
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