Colborne Lodge

Located west of downtown Toronto at the south end of High Park, historic Colborne Lodge was once the home of John and Jemima Howard, the couple who founded Toronto’s High Park. John Howard, a Toronto architect and surveyor, built the English-style cottage with its view of Lake Ontario and the Humber River in 1837. Now a museum and monument to the couple, visitors can tour the 19 th century home which features much of the original furnishings and John Howard’s own original artwork.

A Gift to Toronto

The Howards, who emigrated from England in 1832, deeded their 165 acres of property in 1873 to the city of Toronto for use as a public park to be called “High Park,” as it was located along the Humber Bay shoreline at the highest point. Their country residence offered beautiful lake views and extensive land for gardening. The city eventually bought more land to the east and west of grounds given by the Howards, expanding the park to 399 acres. A stone monument in High Park which overlooks Grenadier Pond marks the final resting place of the Howards. The Howard Tomb is protected by a piece of fencing from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

High Park, Toronto’s largest park, attracts over one million visitors each year. Centrally located, it stretches south from Bloor Street West to The Queensway, west of the downtown core. The grounds feature gardens, playgrounds, sporting facilities and nature trails. One third of the park remains in its natural state, with a wide variety of plant and wildlife species and rare oak savannahs. The park also features a zoo and the picturesque Grenadier Pond, and each summer hosts the popular open-air theatrical event Dream in High Park.

English-Inspired Design

Colborne Lodge is a Regency-style home, which is a style of architecture that was popular in early 19 th century British building design. The two-level cottage features a sprawling veranda that opens to the gardens, and a chimney which heated the home rising from the center of the house. Designed to complement the scenic park land and natural setting that surrounds the home, it was an uncommon style of architecture in Toronto at the time, as structures tended to be more formal.

The home was named for Sir John Colborne, who was the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836 and also the first patron of Howard's architecture in Canada. The interior, furnished in a mid 19th century style, features watercolours of early Toronto painted by John Howard himself.

Historic Gardens

The Howards were avid gardeners and kept records of all the flowers they planted around their home. Because of these detailed diaries, staff and volunteers together are able to recreate these beautiful gardens to reflect how they would have looked in the 19 th century. Visitors to Colborne Lodge during the growing season will be treated to vibrant floral displays ranging from the brightly coloured bulbs of late April to the rich hollyhocks in the peak of the summer season.

Programs and Events

Operated by Toronto Culture, the Colborne Lodge historic museum offers many workshops and educational programs, and there are also a wide variety of events and festivals year-round including a Summer Camp and Harvest Festival. Colborne Lodge also offers themed birthday parties with guides in historical dress for parents looking for something unique and educational for their children’s next celebration.

Colborne Lodge

For hours of operation, admission fees and information on programs and group bookings, call or visit their website.

Location: South end of High Park, just north of the Queensway, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Phone: 416-392-6916
Email: clodge@toronto.ca

Click here to visit Colborne Lodge

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