Friday, August 9, 2013

Saturday Snapshot


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

Last Saturday I wrote about our Toronto photo shoot with my BFF. We walked by Campbell House and decided to take the tour. We had never been in here and we talked about when we travel we would do all our homework and know all about the sights but we never seem to do it in our home towns.

I am posting a mix of K's photos and mine!! For some reason neither of us took a photo of the house itself, mainly because some workers were having lunch on the front steps.

The following history is taken from Wikipedia.

Sir William Campbell (2 August 1758 – 18 January 1834) was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Upper Canada and a resident of Toronto. He also held political appointments in both Nova Scotia and Upper Canada.

He was born in Caithness, Scotland in 1758. At the beginning of the American Revolution, he joined the 76th Regiment of Foot, went to North America and was taken prisoner at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. In 1784, he settled at Guysborough, Nova Scotia. He studied law with his neighbour, Thomas Cutler, and began practicing as an attorney in 1785. A few years later, he was appointed justice of the peace and captain in the local militia. In 1799, he gained a seat in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly representing Sydney County.

In 1811, Campbell was appointed to the Court of King's Bench in Upper Canada and arrived in York (Toronto) later that year.

In 1822, he built the Campbell House on Duke Street at the head of Frederick Street.

The downstairs kitchen, where the staff spent their time and a young maid would sleep so that if you wanted a cup of tea at 3AM she would bring it to you.

Sugar cane displayed in window showed the wealth of the family as it was an expensive commodity.

The house is one of the few remaining examples of Georgian architecture left in Toronto and is constructed in a style in vogue during the late Georgian era known as Palladian architecture.

This bowl could be filled with ice for your white wine or if you decided to switch from red to white you could rinse your glass and then when finished you could lay your glass sideways so you wouldn't have to worry about knocking it over.

The standing screen was to protect the ladies from getting rosy cheeks, a display of exertion that was unacceptable in these circles. As well, most makeup was made from wax and if it melted it would be a very unattractive look.


Who wouldn't love a monthly sponge bath as you sat in your enamel tub and had a servant tend to your ablations? The dirty bathwater would then be thrown out the window onto Toronto's dirt covered streets.

The one and only bedroom, which seemed very odd to us.

His travelling dresser and chamber pot.

Love K's shot of his desk!

In 1972 the last owners of the property, the Coutts-Hallmark Greeting Cards Company, wanted to demolish the house in order to extend their parking lot. Prior to demolition the house was offered to anyone who could remove it from the property. A professional association of trial lawyers known as the Advocates Society, launched a campaign to save the building. Eventually it was arranged that the building would be moved to its current location at the corner of University Avenue and Queen Street West, south of the Canada Life Building. With assistance from maintenance trucks of the Toronto Transit Commission, the 270 tonne home was moved 1617 metres northwest from Adelaide Street to its current location in 1972. The move was a major spectacle, and attracted a large crowd as several downtown streets had to be shut down. Fully restored, it was reopened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 1 April 1972.

The preservation of the house was an important turning point in architectural preservation in Toronto. During the 1950s and 1960s, 19th-century homes were demolished at a rapid rate; architect Eric Arthur even predicted that by the year 2000, there may be no 19th-century buildings left in the city. The spectacle of the physical move to save Campbell House was a preservation achievement which sparked greater interest among Torontonians to save other local landmarks when they became threatened.


  1. Always fun to see what life was like. I love that staircase. Not so sure about the bowl to be filled with ice for the tipped over wine glass. Here's Mine

  2. I love old houses and learning about the various practices...back then. Like someone to bring tea at 3 a.m. LOL

    Thanks for sharing...and here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST

  3. I adore old house tours! Thanks for all the history info too. It never ceases to amaze me that they can move a whole house. I'm glad this one was saved.

  4. Amazing! I always like seeing historical place restored and cherished!

  5. That is so beautiful - every bit as much (or more so) as any of the Georgian buildings I've seen here n the UK. ~I'm so glad it was saved and restored. My Snapshot is at

  6. The house on the move photos are quite incredible. Lovely that the history has been preserved though. We need the old and the new together.

  7. Every time I walk by that house, I make a note of the opening hours and tell myself I should go sometime. Now I really need to!


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