2017 Award of Merit – Materials, Craftsmanship and Construction

William R. Johnson House

William R. Johnston House located at 571 Jarvis Street, Toronto ON, was built in 1875 designed by the architectural firm of Langley, Langley and Burke. The structure’s design takes on various styles popular during the late 19th century. Of the exterior, the hybrid scheme of this house involves the use of both brick and red Credit Valley sandstone on the elevation’s façade and trim rising from a stone foundation. In addition, the wall openings incorporate a variety of popular designs, including bay, round-headed, square-headed and fanlight. The grounds of this building are defined by the decorative wrought iron and red Credit Valley sandstone fence along Isabella and Jarvis Streets. Many rooms within the house are identified as significant interior rooms within the City of Toronto By-law No. 621-2002 “Schedule A” which designated this structure as being “a notable example of late 19th century residential architecture” as well as “particularly significant as a visual reminder of the affluence and grandeur of Jarvis Street during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” The original structure at 571 Jarvis Street was commissioned by William R. Johnston, one of the co-owners of Livingston, Johnston and Company which specialized in the manufacture of wholesale clothing. It was designed as a residential home. Later, in 1941, the property was converted by architect Gordon West into offices for the National Council Y.W.C.A. By 1983 the structure had been painted grey, earning the name “Grey Lady” by locals. Since the year 2000, the property has been used by Casey House Hospice. The work described within this nomination package outline alterations to the structure as required to rehabilitate the space and provide a barrier-free connection to the new facility, an addition to the building which stretches east along Isabella Street towards Huntley Street.

The property is used as a palliative care facility for AIDS-HIV patients by the Casey House Hospice organization. While creating a new facility, an addition that would be connected to the Johnston House from the east elevation, a plan to modify the interior of the structure was devised by ERA Architects. Alterations to the architecturally significant Billiard Room would be required to provide barrier-free access to the new facility space. Restoration to the structure’s interior included paint, plaster, windows, wood floors, doors and trim. The exterior of the structure received restorative work, which included repointing the brick façade, replacement of red sandstone and cleaning brick to restore original red colour.


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