Historic Homes of Toronto

September 27, 2020

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Andrew & Martha Coulter Farm

Looking at 59 Beaver Bend Crescent today, it’s hard to believe that underneath its light yellow vinyl siding and white neoclassical portico sits Andrew and Martha Coulter’s original Georgian house of red and yellow brick.


Photo of Coulter house taken in 1929.

Andrew Coulter purchased 100-acre Lot 14, Concession II in Etobicoke in 1822. This was the second lot south of today’s Eglinton Avenue, between Martin Grove Rd. and Highway 427.  The exact construction date is unknown, but by 1852 Coulter had built an elegant 11-room, 5-bay Georgian-style house that faced west on small rise of land and backed onto the Mimico Creek Valley. It was made of red brick kilned on the property, with quoins of yellow brick, and it stood on a foundation of large boulders set in local blue clay.

Andrew Coulter was born in County Down, Ireland in 1793 and died in Etobicoke on July 18, 1857.  His wife, Martha Smith, was born in Ireland in 1799 and died in Etobicoke on August 12, 1877.  Together Andrew and Martha had eight sons and one daughter, and they and numerous descendants lie in Richview Methodist Church Cemetery, in the middle of the Hwy. 427 and Hwy. 401 interchange.  Houses of two of their descendants remain standing at 98 and 112 Ravenscrest Drive.

After Andrew’s death, the property passed to his son, William.  In 1888, it was purchased by Rebecca Pearson.  In 1903, her descendants divided the property into two 50-acre sections, selling the east half to Charles Laver and the west half to James R. Dixon.  The west half again changed hands several times until it was purchased by Leonard Lambert in 1930 for $8,500.


Percy Law home in Canadian Homes and Gardens, 1940. Note the beautiful American elm trees lining the driveway.

In 1939, Lambert sold the house and its surrounding 50 acres to construction magnate, Percy F. Law, for $16,000.  A Toronto Star article that year said: “P.F. Law of Toronto has purchased through the C.R. Purcell Co., farm realtors, the country residence on the bank of Mimico Creek shown.  With the house were sold farm buildings and 50 acres of rolling wooded land, fronting on Highway 27.  The house is 100 years old and contains 11 rooms.  A covered walk connects an old brick bakery with the residence.”

Law covered the brick with white clapboard siding and added a large two-storey neo-classical portico on the front, with four Corinthian columns supporting a large pediment.  The front door is flanked by recessed sidelights and topped with a “cobweb” fanlight.


59 Beaver Bend Crescent, as it looks today.

Law named the property Elmbrook Farm and added a coach house, farm manager’s house and stables.  The farm manager’s house is still standing at 18 Deanewood Crescent.  Law raised registered Shorthorn cattle and racing horses.  One of his heifer calves, Tolquhon Dazzling Princess, won Grand Champion and Best Shorthorn at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

In 1956, Law sold the property on either side of the house to George Wimpey and Co. Ltd.  In 1961, Edmund Peachey developed the area as West Deane Park, Deane being his wife’s middle name and the one she used.  The house and approximately 11 surrounding acres were retained by the Law family until 1982 when they were sold to developer, Gordon Mason.  Mason preserved the house, having it rezoned for office use, and developed the rest of the 11 acres. Today, the Coulter/Law home is occupied by the Neurological Institute of Ontario.

Researched and Written by Denise Harris