New Humber residence

Toronto Daily Star editions of the 1920s and 1930s often contained photographs of fancy new houses. Presumably, this enabled readers to imagine what it would be like to live there. Here’s an example from the June 17 1929 edition:

One thing I love about looking up things from the 1920s and 1930s is people’s names: A. Colpays Wood was designing a house for R. Home Smith. Did they address each other as Colpays and Home? Canada was still very much a British nation in 1929, so it probably was Mr. Wood and Mr. Smith.

The City of Toronto website has a biography of Robert Home Smith (1877-1935), and the Etobicoke Historical Society has a page on him. Among other things, he was the head of the Toronto Harbour Commission in 1922 when Sunnyside Amusement Park was opened and he was president of the Mexico Northwestern Railway Company.

Smith then developed large parts of the Humber valley, including the Kingsway, the Baby Point and Riverside housing developments, and the Old Mill Restaurant, as well as the house that he moved into. Sadly, he did not get to enjoy his new home for long, as he passed away in 1935. A park in Etobicoke is named after him.

Out of curiosity, I also looked up A. Colpays Wood, and discovered that his name was actually A. Colpoys Wood. The 1929 Toronto city directory lists him as working as an architect at 1167 Bay Street and living at 94 St. Germain Avenue. I couldn’t find him in some of the directories in the mid-1930s, but the 1936 directory lists him as working for Home Smith & Company; presumably, Smith was doing enough building that he needed a full-time architect. Wood was now living at 178 Eglinton Avenue East; the building still stands, though it has been a pub or restaurant for a while now.

Wood appears in the 1938 directory as an architect working for the Toronto Land Company and still living at 178 Eglinton East. But, according to his biography on the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada website, he passed away in May of that year. This biography states that he came to Canada in 1915 at the age of 52.

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