Description of Historic Place
The 1929 Clubhouse is located on Avenue Road in Toronto. It is a large, two-and-a-half storey building constructed of red brick with stone details, located at the former Eglinton Hunt Club, which also served as the Canadian Forces Staff School. Designed with the character of an English country house, it has a blended hip and gable roof profile with prominent chimneys and dormers. Decorative elements on the exterior include, wall dormers, stone sills and a large fireplace chimney that is incorporated into the building’s principal façade. The building’s main entrance portico features fluted stone columns. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The 1929 Clubhouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The 1929 Clubhouse was originally erected to house the social facilities of an upper class equestrian club and is associated with a facet of Toronto’s social elite in the inter-war period. After 1939, as part of the Canadian Forces establishment, the 1929 Clubhouse is historically significant for its role in Canada’s response to the military emergency of the Second World War. This role involved a secret Royal Canadian Air Force medical research unit, initiated by Dr. Frederick Banting, at this site. This unit was formed to investigate high altitude aviation problems and the effects of G-pressure on combat pilots during extreme aerial manoeuvres. Dr. Wilson Francis, one of Banting’s staff, invented and produced one of the forerunners of the G-suits, which are standard issue for fighter pilots around the world.
The 1929 Clubhouse is valued for its very good aesthetic qualities and functional design. It is designed in the style of a large English country house popular in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s. Its low massing, asymmetrical organization and blended hip and gable roof forms appear intended to capture the casual but imposing character of this type of house. This character is further emphasized by high levels of materials and craftsmanship. The exterior form is echoed by the open timber beam ceilings of its main lounge, one of the architect’s, Vaux Chadwick’s, favoured decorative devices.
The 1929 Clubhouse reinforces the present character of its residential neighbourhood setting and is a familiar building in the local area.
Sources: Ivan J. Saunders, Canadian Forces Staff School Buildings, Toronto, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 85-048; Clubhouse/ Mess, CF Staff School, Toronto, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 85-048.
The character-defining elements of the 1929 Clubhouse should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic and functional design, and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
— the low, two-and-a-half storey massing, asymmetrical composition, and blended hip and gable roof forms, which are characteristic of an English country house design;
— the masonry construction, which consists of red brick with stone details;
— the roof dormers, wall dormers, and prominent chimneys;
— the varied window treatment;
— the main entrance portico with fluted stone columns;
— the fireplace chimney with its carved stone panel of a fox that is incorporated into the building’s principal façade;
— the open timber beam ceilings of its interior main lounge and the large granite fireplace mantle that is supported by two carved stone hounds heads.
The manner in which the 1929 Clubhouse reinforces the present character of its residential neighbourhood setting and is familiar, as evidenced by:
— its scale, design and materials, which harmonize with its residential surroundings;
— its familiarity within the local area as part of a prominent complex of buildings.