Sunday, June 14, 2020
The wealthy have always been looking for a way to escape the core of the city to enjoy their money. In the early 20th century the area of Bayview and Lawrence was farm country which provided plenty of gorgeous ravine lots overlooking The Don River. In 1924 Edward Rogers Wood bought the property on Bayview on the south side of the bridge over the Don River. After the one lane bridge was replaced with six lanes in 1928 the lands north of the river became prime estate lands. His brother Frank Porter Wood bought the 30 acres north of the bridge in 1928 on which to build his estate.
Frank had been born in Peterborough in 1882 and spent his working career as a financier in various firms. One of these firms was the National Trust Company which had been incorporated by his brother Edward Rogers Wood. The estate that Frank built on his property incorporated the Georgian style along with some Beaux-Arts architecture. The cupola provides a little touch of Renaissance to the structure.
The house has seven bays and dominates the landscape with two and a half stories. Built of smooth limestone great attention was given to the entrance facing the street.
Wood was a lifelong collector of fine art and amassed a collection that he donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario when he died on March 20, 1955. To this day his bequest remains the largest single donation in the history of the gallery. Near the front entrance to the mansion is an ornate fountain.
A solarium extends from the south elevation of the home.
The property became home to Crescent School in 1970, beginning fifty years of teaching boys in grades 3-12. Wood gave as much attention to the rear entrance to the home as he did to the street facing one.
The far end of the back yard was turned into the Century Garden in 2013 to mark the 100th anniversary of the school. The sundial shows that it was around 1:30 when I was there.
After struggling for its first 20 years the school was donated the property known as Dentonia Park Estate that had belonged to the Massey Family. They were prominent in Toronto being involved in several industrial ventures including farm implements. When the park was sold for development in 1970 the school moved to the present location on Bayview Avenue. They brought the columns that supported the front entrance to Dentonia Park and set them up in the garden as a memento to the time spent there.
The school has expanded the site adding several buildings including a gym and library as well as a science and technology wing. From the Centennial Garden the rear of the house is still imposing when compared to the other structures.
Attached to the front of the house is an extension that may have served as both the drive shed and perhaps a tack shed as well.
When I visited I simply parked in the parking lot and walked around like I was allowed to be there. I’m not sure that was true but the gentleman who was entering as I was leaving gave me only a quick glance.
Several other estates in the area can be seen in our story Bayview Estates
Google Maps Link: Crescent School
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