augusta ave

Why I Love Toronto

St. Felix Centre

On Augusta Ave., a bit north of Queen Street, there is stunning Victorian House that has been perfectly maintained. It is in such pristine condition that it’s hard to believe the building will turn 140 next year. This mysterious building is home to the St. Felix Centre which was started by the Felician Sisters, a congregation of catholic religious women who call the building their convent. The St. Felix Centre is known for helping the homeless, those who are mentally ill, who suffer from addiction and who have experienced violence.  

However, the Sisters took over the property in 1937. 60 years before that, the massive home was residence to textile merchant Edward Leadlay, who was famous for his leather and sheepskin products that were sold at his stores located on Queen Street, Crawford and 87 Front Street East. Leadlay died in 1899 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Plot V Lot 47). It wasn’t until 1906 that the mansion was taken over by the Salvation Army, who maintained the property until 1936. The following year the Felician Sisters purchased the home where they still remain today, not only holding ownership of the mansion, but the community centre surrounding it.

The mansion, which was designated a heritage property in 1973, is truly a stunning spectacle that sticks out from the rest of the area. What stands out for me are the bricks on the exterior whose colours are beautiful. Remember in my The Silver Dollar Room post I had mentioned that elderly buildings around the city have dirty bricks that some find disgusting? The bricks of the former Leadlay Home are the cleanest things I have ever seen. There is not a blemish on them. Other highlights include the detailed stonework around the doorway and the pillars outside as well as the decorative trim, which I assume to be made from wood, which can be found on the veranda and above the windows.

So next time you’re walking along Queen Street West and you hit Augusta Ave, go north and have a peek at this lovely convent.

Two Songs

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NBA stood for NEIL BLENDER ALLIANCE, a name Aaron Aspinwall devised in honor of his favorite skater (who also adorned the 2nd press of the CHARLES BRONSON/SPAZZ split 7"). NBA existed briefly in spring of ‘95 and practiced a few times in Mike Sutfin’s basement on Augusta Ave. in Dekalb. The line up consisted of Mike and Aaron on guitar, Ebro Virumbrales on bass, Craig S. (later of THE REPOS) on drums, and both Joel Fennel (not featured here) and me on vocals. This was our first rehearsal, recorded on a boom box. The first song, “Fuckin’ Drunken Uncle,” was later recorded by CHARLES BRONSON for the SPAZZ split. The second song was later reworked into “Certified Cult Band” by THE REPOS on their first LP. The only line of original lyrics I can remember went something like “fuck your shitty style, you just masturbated/I’ll hollow out your skull so I can fuckin’ skate it!”