The History of the Annex

by Tim Broadway

Gooderham residence, 1892

Simeon Janes first laid out the first subdivisions of what would become the Annex in 1886. Used to describe the neighbourhood which is loosely bounded by Bathurst Street to the West, Madison Avenue to the east, Dupont Street to the North, and Bloor Street to the South.  Land developer Simeon Janes first used the name ‘The Toronto Annex’ to describe his two planned subdivisions roughly located between Bedford Road to the east and Spadina Road to the west, north of Bloor Street to Dupont Street. In 1886, Janes applied to the City Council to have his new subdivisions annexed by the City, and in 1887, Council agreed to expand Toronto’s borders to include the Janes subdivisions and two blocks west from Kendal Street to Bathurst Street. The borders were once extended further in 1888 to Lansdowne Avenue. The continuous expansion of the Annex began to include the former towns of Yorkville and Seaton Village. The area began to attract the attention of wealthy Torontonians, and in the 1880s, Timothy Eaton constructed a mansion at the corner of Spadina and Lowther Streets. In 1892, George Gooderham of Gooderham & Worts constructed his mansion at the northeast corner of St. George and Bloor Streets. At the beginning of the 20th century, wealthy Annex residents began moving north to the neighbourhoods of Rosedale and Forest Hill, leaving majestic Victorian mansions. Following World War II, the University of Toronto expropriated properties on St. George Street, south of Bloor Street to build Innis College and other facilities. By the 1950s and 60s waves of immigration, particularly Hungarian, coupled with the purchase of properties by fraternities and university professors began to give The Annex the cultural and intellectual atmosphere that it enjoys today. Source note Jack Batten, The Annex: The Story of a Toronto Neighbourhood, Erin: 2004