Paul Kane House

The Paul Kane house

Paul Kane was born Sept 3, 1810, in County Cork Ireland and came to Canada with his family when they settled in the village of York. He attended the York District Grammar School and later was apprenticed to a furniture maker. As a young man he became interested in painting and in 1830, enrolled as a mature student in Upper Canada College, where he studied under the drawing master T. Drury. I in time he became a professional portrait painter. From 1836 to 1845 he roamed USA and Europe, earning enough to live on by painting portraits.

After this he returned to Canada to accomplish his dream of “devoting whatever talents an proficiency I possess to the painting of a series of pictures illustrative of the North America Indians and scenery.” The resulting paintings of Canada’s original inhabitants, over 400 of which are in The Royal Ontario Museum, have made him justly famous.

Portrait of Kane by Frederick Verner

Kane returned to Toronto in 1848 to stay. In1853, he purchased this property and built a stucco cottage, which he enlarged in the late 1850s, and again in1879 with the addition of buff brick and a porch. The house remained with the Kane family until 1903. Kane died in Feb 1871. An obituary in a Toronto paper said “He will be long remembered not only on account of his great talent as an artist, but on account of his goodness of heart and upright character as a man.”

The plaque in the park in front of the Paul Kane house reads:

“Paul Kane Park Paul Kane purchased this property and built a stucco cottage in1853. Enlarged in the late 1850s, and again in1879 with the addition of buff brick and a porch, the house was owned by the Kane family until 1903. From 1925 to1973 it was used as a church hall by The Evangelical Church of the Deaf, In 1978 The City of Toronto purchased the property, assisted by Province of Ontario Wintario funding. In 1979 it was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and a city park was established. The Church-Isabella Residents Co-operative Inc. leased the land in 1985 and Paul Reuber, architect, incorporated the Original house into the residential development opened in 1986. The preservation of this house in the park is a tribute to the persistent efforts of local citizens and heritage organizations. Toronto Historical Board 1986.”

For more about Paul Kane, see “Paul Kane” by Mary Lile Benham, from the series “The Canadians” published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited 1977