Bayview her­itage home up for na­tional prize

Bayview Post - - News -

Wil­low­dale’s John McKen­zie House was one of five fi­nal­ists in a com­pe­ti­tion called This Place Mat­ters, run by the Na­tional Trust for Canada. The $15,000 prize, if won by McKen­zie House, would be used to help fund ren­o­va­tions to the North York her­itage home.

McKen­zie House was built in 1913, by John and Eva McKen­zie. The prop­erty was once a 144-acre farm owned by Phillip McKen­zie that stretched from Yonge Street to Bayview Av­enue, and from Nor­ton Av­enue to Parkview Av­enue. A coach house and a sta­ble were added later on and are still in their orig­i­nal lo­ca­tions. The orig­i­nal milk house has been there since 1907.

The three-storey, red brick house is cur­rently the head­quar­ters of the On­tario His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety (OHS). It was saved from de­mo­li­tion in 1992, and the OHS has in­vested over $1.18 mil­lion in its restora­tion.

OHS spokesper­son Daniel Dishaw said he hopes the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­pe­ti­tion will get peo­ple talk­ing about North York’s her­itage.

In an area that is un­der­go­ing rapid in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion, there are few build­ings of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance re­main­ing, es­pe­cially ones that are pub­licly owed. As a re­sult, McKen­zie House is used for pub­lic events such as Her­itage Day and Doors Open.

Natalie Bull, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Trust for Canada said her­itage prop­er­ties can tell a story bet­ter than any text­book.

“But we know find­ing funds and rais­ing aware­ness are two of the big­gest chal­lenges faced by or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing to keep th­ese places alive,” she said.

Other prop­er­ties in the run­ning for the prize in­clude the Capi­tol The­atre in Hamil­ton and the Fry­fo­gel Tav­ern in Strat­ford. The win­ner will be an­nounced at the end of July.

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