As we explored the streets of Toronto, we happened upon a beautiful Georgian Style home, whose sign read "Campbell House Museum." With our interest piqued, we went in and found that this had been built in 1822 for Upper Canada Chief Justice, Sir William Campbell and his wife, Hannah. Since, at the time of its construction, the Campbell's children had grown and moved away, their home was built just for the Campbell's comfort and entertainment. The house was originally located almost a mile southeast of its current location. Following William's (1834) and Hannah's (1844) deaths, the estate was auctioned off and remained a private residence until 1890. After that, it became home to several businesses. Its last owner, the Coutts-Hallmark Greeting Card Company, wished to build a parking lot on the site of the home and offered the house to anyone for one dollar if they moved it. A professional association of trial lawyers, known as the Advocates Society came up with the funds to relocate the building to its present site. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, formally reopened the restored building on April 1st, 1972. The house remains a club for the Advocates Society, as well as a museum. This was a fortuitous find for us, as the house is not only beautiful, but its provenance was intriguing. We love these happenstance discoveries.
Street view of the Campbell House Museum at its current location next to the Canada Life building.
First impressions mean a lot. The entrance hallway to the home, with its beautiful wallpaper and amazing spiral staircase certainly provides a fine first impression.
The Advocates' Society, a professional association of trial lawyers, saved the house from demolition, and still use the facility as their private club.
A 2010 photo of members of the Advocates' Society. The lady sitting at the game table is Marie Hennein, President of the society in 2010. The gentleman opposite her is Robert Montgomery (President 1966-67) , the only retiree at the time.
The basement kitchen is still used today for special cooking classes for school groups...
...at the time the Campbell's lived here, kitchen staff would sleep in the kitchen. The Campbell's had ten servants in all, including a butler, gardener, kitchen, and house staff.
Archival photo of the house move. At the time, this was a big event and many folks came out to watch.
The first floor dinning room with the butler's pantry behind. Dinners were served family style
Opposite the dining room was the women's drawing room. Following the meal, women would come here to play games or the piano, while the men remained in the dining room to smoke. During restorations, it was discovered that this was the original paint scheme for the drawing room.
Portrait of Sir William Campbell...
...and his wife Hannah.
The Campbell's bedroom with the weekly bath tub on the floor. Unlike other homes of the time, this was the only bedroom in the house.
Opposite the bedroom on the second floor was this large ballroom. The Campbell's loved to entertain and used this room often. It remained devoid of furniture in order to have space for guests to dance. The large windows faced the street so that passers by could marvel at the goings on
Model of Sir William's courtroom, depicting a significant case concerning freedom of the press.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.