Homewood and Wellesley Hospital

William Allan gave the north half of Park Lot 5, then heavily wooded, to his son, George William Allan, as a wedding gift, in 1846. The latter built a red brick, with stone trim, Gothic Revival style house there which he named Home Wood. It was later known as Homewood. George Allen (1822-1901) was a lawyer, mayor of Toronto in 1855, and Speaker of the Senate from 1888 to 1891. In 1855, Allan began dividing his land, opening new streets. Homewood had several occupants and was vacant for stretches. The 1884 Goad Atlas shows R. Homer Dixon as the occupant.

In 1909, Dr. Herbert Bruce, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1932 to 1937, bought the house and four acres of parkland, where he opened Wellesley Hospital in 1912 as a 72-bed private health care establishment. In 1964, Homewood was demolished to make way for expansion of Wellesley Hospital to a general hospital with several wings and 600 beds. Dr. Bruce was the last Lieutenant-Governor to live at Chorley Park. He was a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and during the Great War was appointed inspector-general of the Canadian Army Medical Corps but clashed with his political masters. While most lieutenant-governors are former politicians, Bruce took the unusual step of entering politics following his term as the King’s representative, by contesting and winning a seat in the House of Commons in 1940, as Conservative member for Parkdale. He was re- elected once, but retired in 1946.

Wellesley Hospital was merged with St Michael’s Hospital in 1998 and closed in 2000. It has since been demolished to make way for other developments.

Information from “A Glimpse of Toronto’s History,” MPLS # 232 and other sources.