Early Buildings

Saint George's on-the-Hill Anglican Church @ 4600

Built in 1844 as Saint George’s On-the-Hill Anglican Church.

In 1844, the site for St. George’s On-the-Hill Anglican Church was donated by William Gamble, a local miller, high on the ancient Lake Iroquois shoreline. The original stucco church with its tall spire was designed by Weston architect, William Tyrrell, and when it opened in 1847, it was dedicated by the legendary Right Reverend John Strachan, Bishop of Toronto. In 1894, a basement was added, and the original stucco exterior walls were covered with brick, and buttresses and a porch were added. A chancel and transept were added in the 20th century. Nevertheless, three walls of the original 1847 church remain inside today’s church, and the church’s landmark spire is also original.

Since 1989, Kingsway College School has occupied the church’s education wing, as well as an addition the school built to the north in 2011.

West of the church is St. George’s Anglican Cemetery, established in the 1840s and the resting place for many founding families of Islington, including the Applebys, Claytons, Mussons, Tiers and Woods.

 

The MacPherson/Musson/Newlove House @ 4884

Built in 1880 by Alexander MacPherson as an income property, this property was site of Islington post office and telephone exchange. 

In 1879, Alexander Macpherson bought the property now known as 4884 Dundas St. W. from a widow, Margaret Mather.  MacPherson lived on a large property on the west side of Montgomery Rd.  He was the Clerk/Treasurer of Etobicoke Township from 1865 to 1901, and he was also a real estate investor. MacPherson demolished a small house already on the property and built the large brick house that’s at 4884 today as an income property.

Thomas Musson had been appointed Islington’s first postmaster in 1860 and the post office was in Musson’s general store, located where the Second Cup is today. By 1887, Musson was in financial difficulty and when his creditors foreclosed, he lost his combined store/residence.  He then rented the house at 4884 Dundas from MacPherson, immediately reopening the post office in the rear east parlour of the house where it remained for the next 19 years.  When Musson died in 1899, his wife Elizabeth succeeded him as postmaster until she resigned in 1906. The post office then moved back into the general store under its new owner and postmaster, John Dunn.

MacPherson died in 1906, and the house at 4884 was sold to Islington market gardener, Robert H. Tier Sr., who rented it to his son, Thomas.  In 1912, the property was sold to William and Olive Newlove.  Olive operated the Islington telephone exchange until 1925 in the same back parlour that had once been used as the post office.  The Newloves owned the house until 1942.

Today most of the brick has been painted white, and a large, surrounding verandah was torn down years ago, but you can still see the red and yellow brick at the rear of the house and the original decorative front door.  

 

The Firehall @ 4990-2

Built ca. 1924 as the firehall for Islington’s volunteer fire department. Now Alfa Job Agency and Traditional Korean Bakery.

In 1918, three hand-operated chemical wagons and three hand-pulled hose reels were purchased for Islington’s new “unofficial” Volunteer Fire Brigade. Around 1924, this Volunteer Brigade was “officially” recognized and by 1931, the building at 4990 Dundas Street West had been put up to house their first motorized fire truck. At a unknown date, a second identical building was erected at 4992 Dundas Street West to hold a second fire truck. In 1931, the Brigade had 15 volunteer fire fighters, including Chief Fred Mitchell. Each winter in the 1940s and 1950s, the fire department diverted water from Mimico Creek to flood Central Park, on the west side of the creek, south of Dundas, creating a large community skating rink.

In 1955, the Islington Volunteer Fire Brigade was disbanded and the Township of Etobicoke Fire Department, with full time fire fighters, took over responsibility for the entire Township. The large doors that once opened into the fire truck bays and the brick quoins on the buildings’ corners are still evident on both 4990 and 4992 Dundas today, where Alfa Job Agency and Traditional Korean Bakery are located today.