chorley park

The Chorley Park estate was built between 1911-1915 and served as a residence for the Lieutenant Governor. Initially designed by architect Francis R. Heakes, in a style reminiscent of many French chateaux in the Loire Valley. This architectural masterpiece was one of the most expensive residences constructed in Canada at its time, which is what made it the center of controversy over the years. While many families were struggling, the sheer maintenance and upkeep costs of the estate were made the center of public attention. It was during the Great Depression, in 1936 that Mitchell Hepburn made the closing of Chorley Park the main aspect of his party’s election platform. He promised that such an opulent palace would not be maintained by the tax payers. In 1937 he kept his promise and Chorley Park was closed, in 1938 its contents were auctioned off. Over the next 22 years it would serve as a military hospital during World War II, the headquarters of the R.C.M.P. as well as a residence for refugees during the 1956 Hungarian uprising. In 1960 the City of Toronto paid to have it demolished, throughout this era, municipal dollars were used to demolish various heritage structures around Toronto to be replaced by modern buildings. Such a tragedy in retrospect.

Unknown Photographer, 1928, Toronto Transit Commission Fonds

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Ontario’s last Government House (Chorley Park) 

Completed in 1916 it served as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario until 1937 when it was purchased by the federal government and used for several functions including a military hospital, headquarters for Toronto’s RCMP and housing refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In 1959 it was bought by the City of Toronto and demolished. The site is now a public park.

Source: City of Toronto Archives