Welcome to the Leslieville Historical Society’s website. We are committed to exploring, preserving and sharing the history of our community.
In 2016 Leslieville had an opportunity to preserve the heritage features of one of the units of Russell Terrace, a unique terrace of Victorian townhouses, built for working families near Queen and Logan. Mark Laird and Sharon Kirsch took the fight to the Ontario Municipal Board, with the support of the Leslieville Historical Society, and, sadly, lost. The Terraces along Booth, Colgate and Logan were built and ready for the marketplace on Victoria Day 1888.
Celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, Russell Terrace along Booth, Colgate and Logan is remarkable for the integrity of its architectural and spatial form. The Victorian era development is the only intact terrace or row of this size in Leslieville and one of possibly only four of this scale in the City of Toronto – Please see the brief study below prepared by Ted Radlak. The terrace was also constructed using Russell brickyard bricks originating in Leslieville, the hub of Toronto’s brick producing industry.
Leslieville Historical Society position on the matter of 249 Booth Ave, prepared by Ted Radlak
On the night of May 5th, 2016, the Leslieville Historical Society (LHS) considered the matter of the redevelopment of 249 Booth Ave, an integral component of the Victorian era Russell Terrace on Booth Avenue built in 1888. The proposed changes have been refused by the Committee of Adjustment, as they were not considered minor in nature. The changes include a rear addition and the contentious 3rd floor addition with deck in total increasing GFA by 46%. The owner has since appealed this decision to the OMB and a hearing is scheduled on June 28th, 2016.
The 1888 Russell Terrace along Booth, Colgate and Logan are remarkable for the integrity of their built and spatial heritage. Just ahead of its 130th anniversary, Victorian era Russell Terrace is the only intact terrace or row development of this size in Leslieville and one of possibly only four in the City of Toronto, the others being 2-36 Monteith Street (18 row), 1-21 Laurier Ave (10 row), 53-83 Sullivan Ave (16 row) and Clarence Square (12 of original 16). The Terrace along Booth Ave comprises a 20 house row including 2 distinct terrace buildings that bookend the ensemble. There are an additional 2 groups of three row houses built in the same style and design on Colgate Avenue. The terrace was constructed using Russell brickyard bricks originating in Leslieville.
The harmonious composition is unified by an extant elaborate molded cast iron cornice supported by a three course corbel table. The individual buildings are linked by a corbelled hanging pilaster. The buildings themselves are brick, the central buildings in the composition may have been bicolour red and yellow at one time. Window treatments include ashlar sills and brick lintels outlined by a double brick string course that constitute the other rhythmic design element that links the composition. Main floor windows are arched and some upper lights still have the original stained glass panels.
The LHS concurred that the impact of the changes, especially the third floor addition, to the spatial and architectural integrity of this unique, intact terrace as well as to the historic character of streetscape are substantial and the precedent, once set, will degrade it further over time marring the harmonious uniformity that are the essence of its beauty.
The change to the elevation that would break up the uniform composition is visible from the street and the park. We feel that if any minor alterations are considered that may affect the elevations, they should not be visible from the park nor from the sidewalks on either side and that a comprehensive set of design guidelines be established to maintain the integrity of this built form into the future.
Research (Other Terrace/Row Houses in Toronto and their condition) in order of size:
Booth Avenue Russell Terrace – 20 intact, built 1888
2-36 Monteith Street – 18 intact, built 1887
53-83 Sullivan Street – 16 intact rows, built 1880
55-79 Berkeley Street, 13 intact, built 1871
5-16 Clarence Square, 12 of 16 intact, built 1879
45-63 St. Nicholas Street, 10 intact, built 1884
1-21 Laurier Ave, 10 intact, built 1889
2-22 Laurier Ave, 10 intact, built 1889
84-100 D’Arcy Street, 9 intact, built 1893
1-17 Alpha Street, 9 intact, built 1888
2-18 Alpha Street, 9 intact, built 1888
122-136 Shuter Street, 8 intact, built 1876
21-33 Sackville Street, 7 of 8 intact, built 1890
284-296 Gerrard Street E, 7 of 8 intact, built 1879
115-127 Trinity Street, 7 intact, built 1886
6-18 Metcalfe Street, 7 intact, built 1883
20-32 Metcalfe Street, 7 intact, built 1888
1-7 Wellesley Cottages, 7 intact, built 1887
425-435 Sumach Street, 6 intact, built 1904
14-24 Soho Street, 6 intact, built 1888
94-104 Scollard Street, 6 intact, built 1893
142-152 Shuter Street, 6 intact, built 1871
1-11 Rose Ave, 5 of 6 original intact, built 1887
6-14 Irwin Ave, 5 intact, built 1892
17-25 Metcalfe Street, 5 intact, built 1888
112-120 Shuter Street, 5 intact, built 1891
316-324 Wellesley St. E, 5 intact, built 1888
326-334 Wellesley St. E, 5 intact, built 1888
265-271 Wellesley St. E, 4 intact, built 1876
257-263 Wellesley St. E, 4 intact, built 1888
484-490 Ontario Street, 4 intact, built 1877
497-503 Ontario Street, 4 intact, built 1885
505-511 Ontario Street, 4 intact, built 1884
207-213 Jarvis Street, 4 of 6 intact, built 1879
10-16 Wellesley Street W, 4 intact, built 1876
285-291 Jarvis Street, 4 intact, built 1889
40-42 Sullivan Street, 2 of 4 intact, built 1872
215-219 Jarvis Street, 3 intact, built 1863
398-402 Wellesley St. E, 3 intact, built 1886
105-109 Trinity Ave, 3 intact, built 1885
393 King Street E, 3 intact, built 1855
299-300 King Street E, 2 of 3 intact, built 1845
192-194 Adelaide Ave W, 2 of 5 dismantled and reconstructed, built 1833
82 Bond Street, 1 of 3 intact, 1858
Sources: http://www.tobuilt.ca/php/tobuildings_search.php?; Google Earth Survey; Toronto Architecture, A City Guide by Patricia McHugh