Spadina House in Toronto

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Spadina Museum, also called Spadina , is a historic manor on Spadina Road in Toronto, Canada that is now a museum operated by the City of Toronto Cultural Services. The museum preserves the house much as it existed and developed historically. The art, decor and architecture of the house used to reflect the contemporary styles of the 1860s through the 1930s, including Victorian, Edwardian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Colonial Revival styles. After being closed for a year for restoration work, Spadina Museum re-opened in November 2010 in the inter-war era style of the 1920s and 1930s. The estate's gardens reflect the landscape during the Austin family's occupation of the house.


Many Torontonians follow a convention of pronouncing Spadina Road with the i as as in mine, and Spadina House with the i as in as in ski. Occasionally Spadina Road is pronounced the second way. South of Bloor Street, however, Spadina Road becomes Spadina Avenue, which is always pronounced the first way. The distinction between the two ways was once an economic class marker in Toronto with the upper classes favouring the second pronunciation. Now, however, even the official TTC stop announcements pronounce the i in Spadina as the one in mine.

Building Year Completed Builder Style Source Location Image
Spadina House 1866 James Austin including Victorian, Edwardian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Colonial Revival W Near Casa Loma


The first house constructed on the site was built in 1818 by Dr. William Warren Baldwin. He named his 200 acre property and estate Spadina, which derived from the native word espadinong, which translates as "hill" or "sudden rise of land". Baldwin himself designed the two storey wood frame house. The house burnt down in 1835, and owing to the three mile (5 km) trek from the estate into York, he moved to a house on Front Street. He built a smaller country estate on the property in 1836.

The property was acquired by James Austin in 1866, founder of The Dominion Bank and Consumers Gas. In 1984 it opened as a museum, jointly owned by the city and the Ontario Heritage Foundation and operated by the City of Toronto. The museum is especially known for its gardens.


The house is at the southern end of the northern section of Spadina Road, on top of Davenport Hill, an escarpment which was the shore of prehistoric Lake Iroquois. Immediately east was Sir John Craig Eaton and Lady Eaton's massive Italianate palace and estate, Ardwold. Just around the corner on Austin Terrace, on the lot adjacent to Spadina House, is Casa Loma, a stately pile built in 1911 by Major-General Sir Henry Mill Pellatt.


Spadina Museum was jointly awarded the Peggi Armstrong Public Archaeology Award along with the Ontario Heritage Trust in 2004.

Spadina Museum was awarded the Ontario Museum Association Award of Merit in conjunction with Dawn Roach Bowen for their Black History Month programme Meet Mrs. Pipkin in 2002. Mrs. Pipkin was a laundress at the Spadina house in the 1860s, where she came after escaping slavery in the United States.

See also

  • Casa Loma
  • Mary Lake Augustinian Monastery
  • Thompson, Austin Seton. Spadina Story of Old Toronto Pagurian Press, 1975

External links