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1-3 Close Avenue

LAST UPDATE: November 20 2021

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1-3 Close Avenue, Toronto - 3 March 2020 - Photograph by Adam Wynne

1-3 Close Avenue, Toronto - 3 March 2020 - Photograph by Adam Wynne

AT RISK INFORMATION
At risk status:
This building is at risk

Info:

Both 1 and 3 Close Avenue (and most of the neighbouring houses) are owned by the University Health Network (UHN). The properties have been vacant since the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, the University Health Network proposed renovating the properties to introduce them as affordable housing. However, this never came to fruition.


In August 2020, the University Health Network applied to demolish 1-3 Close Avenue. The demolition application was later withdrawn. 

 

The University Health Network is currently pursuing redevelopment of the Toronto Rehab and Bickle Centre (Parkdale) Campus. For more information, please see UHN\'s Campus of Care plan. Steps should be taken to ensure area heritage resources are not lost to demolition during this redevelopment.

BUILDING INFORMATION
Name & Location
1-3 Close Avenue
1-3 Close Avenue
South Parkdale, Toronto

First Occupant:
1 Close Avenue: Thomas W. W. Jones / 3 Close Avenue: Edward A. Beeton and Family

OTHER IDENTIFICATION
Notes:

Description: 

 

1-3 Close Avenue is a 2.5 storey, semi-detached house located at the northeast corner of Close Avenue and Springhurst Avenue in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto. 1-3 Close Avenue was constructed in 1890/1891 and first occupied by 1892. 1-3 Close Avenue is in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture with some Gothic Revival architectural elements also present.

 

The architect or builder of 1-3 Close Avenue is not known at present. However, the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada: 1800-1950 identifies at least two prominent architects - Joseph Ades Fowler and Robert Mitchell Ogilvie - who were active on Close Avenue during the early 1890s. Further research is required to determine if archival records may exist that could identify the architect or builder of 1-3 Close Avenue.

 

1-3 Close Avenue have historically been known as 1-3 Grand Avenue. Further information on the history of Close Avenue - including its past name changes - has been included below. 

 

During the 1920s, 1 Close Avenue was subdivided into two apartments - known as 1 and 1A Close Avenue. Later, during the 1950s, the property was subdivided further into three apartments - known as 1, 1A, and 1B Close Avenue.  

 

The exterior of 1-3 Close Avenue has been painted white. Peeling paint indicates an underlying red brick. 

 

Close Avenue - A Brief History:

 

Close Avenue runs north-south between Queen Street West and Springhurst Avenue in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto.

 

Close Avenue was named after Patrick G. Close. Patrick G. Close (1838-1900) was born in Ireland in 1838 and arrived in Canada as a young man. He became engaged with real estate. Close then served as the alderman of St. Lawrence Ward in 1873-1878 and 1880; as President of Toronto City Council in 1877; and as a member of the Court of Revision from 1897-1900. Close assisted Eliza Anne Gwynne with planning the subdivision of the Gwynne family's extensive land holdings in Parkdale during the mid-1870s. This laid the foundation for the development of the southeast section of Parkdale. During the 1890s, Close also served as the manager of the Bedford Park Land Company which sold building lots in North Toronto. Close died in Toronto in 1900 of blood poisoning caused by an insect bite.

 

The 1879 Village of Parkdale plan produced by Wadsworth & Unwins identifies the street as Close Avenue. However, during the 1880s and 1890s, Close Avenue was intermittently known as Grand Avenue, with a few switches between the two names occurring during this period. The name Close Avenue has been used persistently since the early-to-mid 1890s.  A small street south of the rail corridor which aligned with Close Avenue north of the rail corridor was known as Prospect Avenue.

 

In 1879-1880 the Home for Incurables was constructed on a large lot spanning between Close Avenue and Dunn Avenue. The Home for Incurables opened in December 1880 and was a chronic care asylum and hospital. The hospital was expanded over time and later changed its name to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for the Incurables. However, in 1975, the original buildings were demolished. The site has since evolved into the University Health Network Toronto Rehab and Bickle Centre campus. 

 

Early residential development had occurred along Close Avenue by 1882. Early residents of Close Avenue included: Robert Mearns - an accountant; Thomas Oulster - a moulder; John Shouell - a builder; and James Smith - a cabinet maker.

 

In 1888, the Queen Victoria School was opened on the west side of Close Avenue just south of King Street West. The original school was later expanded, prior to the demolition of the structure in 1964. The current Queen Victoria Public School grounds occupies the site of the original school.  

 

In 1879, Parkdale was incorporated as a village. Subsequently, in 1889, Parkdale was annexed by the City of Toronto. 

 

In 1902, the Holy Family Catholic Church and School was constructed at the northeast corner of Close Avenue and King Street West. This was the first Catholic church and school in Parkdale. 

 

Of additional note is that to the immediate south of the southern terminus of Close Avenue at Springhurst Avenue is the Canadian National Railway / Canadian Pacific Railway corridor. In 1879, the Great Western Railway - a former company active on the corridor - opened a railway station on the north side of the tracks between Close Avenue and Jameson Avenue. The tracks were originally at grade, but were later expanded and lowered below grade between 1910 and 1912. 

 

First Occupants of 1-3 Close Avenue: 


The first known occupants of 1-3 Close Avenue - as of 1891/1892 - were as follows:

 

1 Close Avenue: Thomas W. W. Jones. 

3 Close Avenue: Edward A. Beeton and family. 

 

Thomas W. W. Jones: 

Thomas W. W. Jones - also known as T. W. W. Jones or T. W. Jones - resided at 1 Close Avenue from 1891/1892 until 1894. During this period in time, Thomas W. W. Jones (c. 1840-1909) was the General Canadian Agent for White Star Line - an international cargo and passenger shipping line that was founded in 1845 and based in the United Kingdom.

 

Census and genealogical records indicate that Thomas W. W. Jones was born in Ireland in about 1840 and was a member of the Church of England. In 1875, Jones was hired as a ticket agent at White Star Line's Toronto office. By 1891, Jones was serving as the General Canadian Agent of the White Star Line and as the primary representative for the company's operations in Canada.

 

The White Star Line was a massive company. It later gained notority for a number of incidents where some of their best ships sank, including: the wrecking of the Atlantic in 1873; the sinking of the Republic in 1909; the sinking of the Titanic in 1912; and the war-time loss of the HMHS Britannic in 1916 after the boat struck a sea mine. In 1933, due to financial pressures from the Great Depression, the White Star Line merged with Cunard to form Cunard-White Star Limited.

 

By the turn of the 20th century, Thomas W. W. Jones was boarding at 214 Jarvis Street. By 1901, Jones had also left White Star Line and was working as the clerk of the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Company. He died in Toronto in November 1909, age 69.

 

Edward A. Beeton and Family:

Edward A. Beeton and family resided at 3 Close Avenue from 1891/1892 until 1893. Edward A. Beeton (c. 1860/1861-1943) was a prominent jeweler and watchmaker, a founder of the Canadian Horological Institute, and the Secretary of The Jewelers' Security Alliance. While residing at 3 Close Avenue, Edward A. Beeton had a shop at 65 Yonge Street.

 

Pierre Bordeleau has provided the following biography of Edward A. Beeton in Clockmaking in Canada (2021): 

 

"Edward A. Beeton (1861-1943), one of two sons of Joseph Beeton, an English immigrant pharmacist who came to the United States around 1840. The family moved to St. Catharines in c. 1868. Around 1875, Edward apprenticed as a watchmaker at Fowler and Company in St. Catharines. He then married Lily and moved to Toronto. The couple had six children. The story goes that he moved 17 times [in Toronto]. In Toronto, he first worked as a watchmaker for P. W. Ellis & Co., a year later at Kent Brothers where he became in 1886 chief of technicians. He met Henry Playtner, one of his technicians at Kent Brothers, who wanted to do increasingly complex work to perfect his apprenticeship in watchmaking. In 1887, in parallel with his work at Kent Brothers, Beeton became responsible for the watch repair pages of Trader, a magazine for jeweler-watchmakers. In 1896, he became its technical director. Towards the end of 1889, he quit his job to start his own business with Playtner as a partner. That year, Beeton and Playtner had also the project to open a training school for clockmakers. Soon after the opening of the Canadian Horological Institute in June 1890, Beeton left it to pursue his own trade. Then in 1903, Beeton became a goodwill ambassador for the American firm Elgin National Watch company till 1912. In 1904, he opened the firm's first Canadian office. In 1912, he ran the Beeton Watch Company Ltd., where two of his sons would also work for some time before leaving it in turn. It closed its doors around 1915. Then, Beeton opened a small watch repair shop until his retirement in 1933."  

 

Jane Varkaris and James E. Connell provide an additional biography of Edward Beeton in Early Canadian Timekeepers (1993). Varkaris and Connell (1993) note that Beeton was considered "one of Canada's greatest watchmakers" by his peers. For many years, Beeton was an editor and writer of The Trader - a jewellery and watchmaking journal. Varkaris and Connell (1993) also note that in 1889 Beeton's shop - then based on Leader's Lane in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood - became the first shop in Toronto to be illuminated by electric lights powered by newly developed electric storage batteries rather than a dynamo generator. 

 

In May or June 1890, Edward A. Beeton and Henry Playtner founded the Canadian Horological Institute - a "hub of sorts for all things or studies horological" and a school to train clock and watch makers. At this time, it was the only institution of its kind in Canada. However, Edward A. Beeton left the Canadian Horological Institute in August 1890 due to health-related reasons. The institute remained in operation under the directorship of Henry Playtner until its closure 1913. 

 

Alongside his other activities, Edward A. Beeton served as the Secretary of The Jewelers' Security Alliance during the early 1900s. The Jewelers' Security Alliance is an organization - originally founded in 1883 - that provides crime-related information to jewelers and law enforcement agencies.   

 

Edward A. Beeton died in 1943. 

 

Later Occupants and Uses of 1-3 Close Avenue:

Please note the following list is not exhaustive of all former occupants and uses and aims to provide a general overview. Dates are also approximate.

 

1895:

1 Close Avenue: James Clark, of J. & A. Clark. James and Angus Clark were merchants of grain and produce with a shop at at 23 Scott Street, Toronto.

3 Close Avenue: Reverend Joseph Brown. 

 

1900:

1 Close Avenue: Jane William - the widow of William S. Robinson.

3 Close Avenue: Alexander Cadenhead - a foreman at R. Laidlaw & Company, a prominent lumber company. 

 

1905:

1 Close Avenue: Sarah Harrison - the widow of Hugh Harrison and a Suffragette.

3 Close Avenue: Elizabeth Harris - the widow of James Harris. 

 

1910:

1 Close Avenue: Sarah Harrison - the widow of Hugh Harrison and a Suffragette. 

3 Close Avenue: John Trotter. 

 

1915:

1 Close Avenue: Sarah Harrison - the widow of Hugh Harrison and a Suffragette. 

3 Close Avenue: Oliver C. Pemberton. 

 

Sarah Harrison - who resided at 1 Close Avenue between 1903 and 1919 - was involved with the Toronto chapter of the Political Equality League - a Suffragette organization that was established in Winnipeg in 1912. Alongside equal political rights, the Political Equality League was also involved with labour and workers' rights activism. In 1915, Sarah Harrison served as the Secretary of the League's Toronto chapter; then as its Treasurer in 1916. In March 1915,  Sarah Harrison hosted a knitting tea for the Political Equality League at 1 Close Avenue. Harriet Dunlop Prenter - a prominent Suffragette, the Secretary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and one of the first women in Canada to run for federal office - was one of the attendees of the knitting tea. The Winnipeg-based Political Equality League became inactive in 1916 due to Manitoba women receiving the right to vote in January 1916. Ontario women received the same rights just over a year later in April 1917. 

 

1920:

1 Close Avenue: James Cunningham. 

3 Close Avenue: Daniel Byrnes - a foreman at Randall & Johnston Ltd., a wholesale clothiers firm based at 154-160 Wellington Street West. 

 

During the 1920s, 1 Close Avenue was subdivided into two apartments - known as 1 and 1A Close Avenue.

 

1930:

1 Close Avenue: James Cunningham 

1A Close Avenue: William H. MacDonald - a salesman at the Watt Milling Company. 

3 Close Avenue: Alice Dellar- the widow of Frederick W. Dellar. 

 

1940:

1 Close Avenue: Sarah Cunningham - the widow of James Cunningham.

1A Close Avenue: John W. Cox - a Post Office porter.

3 Close Avenue: Norman C. Webster - a mechanic at the Acorn Cycle Company; and Reginald T. Clark - a clerk at Massey Harris.

 

1950:

1 Close Avenue: Joseph L. Snead - the superintendent for the Toronto Type Foundry.

1A Close Avenue: Thomas H. Young - a captain at the Toronto Fire Department. 

3 Close Avenue: Norman C. Webster - a mechanic at the Acorn Cycle Company.

 

1960:

1 Close Avenue: Edmond Conboy - a pipe fitter. 

1A Close Avenue: Thomas Young - a captain at the Toronto Fire Department. 

1B Close Avenue: Gerard Carville - a constable at the Canadian Pacific Railway.

3 Close Avenue: Walter Pastuch - an employee at Ontario Hydro. 

 

1969:

As of 1969, both 1 and 3 Close Avenue were being used as a halfway house. 1B Close Avenue was then home to Beatrice Egan. Unfortunately, no further information about Beatrice Egan is available at present. 

 

Circa. 1990s:

During the circa. 1990s, 3 Close Avenue was home to a Basilian priest who rented rooms to priests in training. To the north at 5-7 Close Avenue was the Catholic Workers' Zacchaeus House. 1-3 Close Avenue experienced a fire in or prior to 1996 and was vacated shortly after. 

 

Present Day:

Both 1 and 3 Close Avenue are owned by the University Health Network. The properties have been vacant since the late 1990s. 

 

UHN Campus Redevelopment - 1-3 Close Avenue at Increased Risk of Demolition:

 

Both 1 and 3 Close Avenue (and most of the neighbouring houses) are owned by the University Health Network (UHN). The properties have been vacant since the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, the University Health Network proposed renovating the properties to introduce them as affordable housing. However, this never came to fruition.


In August 2020, the University Health Network applied to demolish 1-3 Close Avenue. The demolition application was later withdrawn. 

 

The University Health Network is currently pursuing redevelopment of the Toronto Rehab and Bickle Centre (Parkdale) Campus. For more information, please see UHN's Campus of Care plan. Steps should be taken to ensure area heritage resources are not lost to demolition during this redevelopment.

 

(Research by Adam Wynne).

Year Completed:
1890/1891

Map:
Loading Map

Companies:
No data at this time

BUILDING DATA
Sources:

Sources

  1. History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario (Volume 1)
    Author - Graeme Mercer Adam, Charles Pelham Mulvany, & Christopher Blackett Robinson
    Date - 1885
    Page - 353
    Notes - Discusses Thomas W. W. Jones and the White Star Line.
    More information

  2. The Canadian Jeweler
    Author - The Canadian Jeweler
    Date - 1900
    Page - 47
    Notes - Discusses Edward Beeton´s role as Secretary at The Jewelers´ Security Alliance. 
    More information

  3. Patrick Close
    Author - Mount Pleasant Group
    Date - 2021
    More information

  4. Parkdale in Pictures: Its development to 1889
    Author - Margaret Laycock and Barbara Myrvold
    Date - 1991

  5. Edward A. Beeton
    Author - Ancestry.ca
    Date - n.d.
    More information

  6. Henry R. Playtner 1864 - 1943 and the Canadian Horological Institute
    Author - Rhonda Fisher
    Date - n.d.
    Notes - Rhonda Fisher maintains the Wurm Hastings genealogical site. 
    More information

  7. E. Beeton - Watchmaker´s Gauge - Patented April 19, 1892
    Author - United States Patent Office
    Date - 1892
    More information

  8. Clocks and Watches
    Author - Paul Lavoie and Randall C. Brooks
    Date - 16 December 2013
    More information

  9. Clockmaking in Canada
    Author - Pierre Bordeleau
    Date - 2021
    More information

  10. City Council unanimously approves framework to create new permanent, supportive housing in Parkdale in partnership with the University Health Network and United Way Greater Toronto
    Author - City of Toronto
    Date - October 2020
    More information

  11. Residential Demolition Application - 1-3 Close Avenue
    Author - City of Toronto
    Date - August 2020
    Document - Residential Demolition Application - 1-3 Close Avenue

  12. Early Canadian Timekeepers
    Author - Jane Varkaris and James E. Connell
    Date - 1993
    Page - 144-145 and 156-165
    Notes - Discusses Edward Beeton and the Canadian Horological Institute.

  13. Political Equality League Tea
    Author - The Globe (Toronto)
    Date - 5 March 1915
    Page - 8
    Document - Political Equality League Tea

  14. Political Equality League
    Author - 19 May 1915
    Date - 8
    Notes - Discusses Sarah Harrison.
    Document - Political Equality League

  15. No Jokes from Stage on Woman Movement
    Author - The Globe (Toronto)
    Date - 29 May 1916
    Page - 4
    Document - No Jokes from Stage on Woman Movement

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