Pendarves — Cumberland House

On December 7, 2010, the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled a provincial plaque in the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park, Toronto, to commemorate Pendarves — Cumberland House.

The bilingual plaque reads as follows:


    Renowned Toronto architectural firm Cumberland & Storm designed this building as the family home of senior partner Frederic W. Cumberland. Completed in 1860 and named Pendarves, the original Italianate villa-style structure stood on spacious grounds with its main entrance facing east towards the new University of Toronto campus. In 1883, it was substantially redesigned by William Storm. After the 1912 closure of Government House on Simcoe Street, Toronto, the Ontario Government leased Pendarves as the temporary official residence and receiving rooms for the Lieutenant Governor. It was first occupied by Sir John Gibson until 1914 and then by Sir John Hendrie until the 1915 completion of Chorley Park, Toronto, the last and most opulent vice-regal residence. Acquired by the University of Toronto in 1923 and eventually renamed Cumberland House, this is a rare surviving example of Cumberland’s residential work, and is significant for its use as the residence for the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.


    La célèbre société d’architecture torontoise Cumberland & Storm conçoit cet édifice pour servir de domicile familial à l’associé principal Frederic W. Cumberland. Achevée en 1860 et nommée Pendarves, la demeure initiale, de style villa italienne, est construite sur un vaste terrain. Son entrée principale, située à l’est, est orientée vers le nouveau campus de l’Université de Toronto. En 1883, William Storm redessine sensiblement les plans de la demeure. Après la fermeture de la résidence du lieutenant-gouverneur (« Government House ») en 1912, qui se trouve dans la rue Simcoe, à Toronto, le gouvernement de l’Ontario loue Pendarves, qui sert de résidence officielle provisoire au lieutenant-gouverneur, ainsi que de salles de réception. Elle est d’abord occupée par Sir John Gibson jusqu’en 1914, puis par Sir John Hendrie jusqu’à l’achèvement de Chorley Park, à Toronto, en 1915. Dernière résidence vice-royale, elle est également la plus somptueuse. Acquise par l’Université de Toronto en 1923 et finalement rebaptisée « maison Cumberland », la bâtisse, qui est célèbre pour avoir servi de résidence au lieutenant-gouverneur de l’Ontario, est l’un des derniers exemples de résidences conçues par la société Cumberland.

Historical background


The substantial Italianate villa designed by Frederic W. Cumberland,1 in partnership with William G. Storm (Cumberland & Storm), was built in 1857-60 as Cumberland’s family home. Originally named Pendarves,2 the residence was first situated on a generous parcel of land at the northeast intersection of College Street and the newly constructed St. George Street. It is now located on a much smaller lot, with the address 33 St. George Street, in the south-central part of the St. George campus of the University of Toronto. The property served briefly as a vice-regal residence for two lieutenant governors before being purchased by the University of Toronto in 1923, after which it was adapted for a variety of administrative and academic functions.3 Since 1966, it has accommodated the International Student Centre and is now part of the Centre for International Experience. Today, it is known as Cumberland House.

The setting

In its original setting, Pendarves stood surrounded by spacious landscaped grounds with a driveway from College Street and its principal facade faced east towards the new campus of the University of Toronto.4 Laid out in the early 1850s, St. George Street slowly evolved into a fashionable residential street for upper-class Torontonians, and by the 1890s the street was graced with tree-lined boulevards and stately Victorian homes.5 Mid-1880s additions and alterations to Pendarves resulted in its principal facade being re-oriented to face St. George Street. After the turn of the 20th century, privately owned properties on the street were gradually acquired by the University of Toronto and either adaptively reused or replaced by institutional buildings. The character of St. George Street remained largely unchanged through the 1930s, with the insertion of a few new institutional buildings into the residential streetscape.

The semi-rural setting of the University of Toronto campus was transformed at an accelerated pace after the Second World War with the construction of many new buildings and the need to accommodate a growing number of private automobiles. Accordingly, St. George Street lost its tree-lined boulevards in 1948 for road widening.6 By the 1970s, it was engulfed in the campus and most of the original residences had been replaced by institutional buildings. Only vestiges of the 19th-century residential streetscape remain today within the St. George campus. Cumberland House is now sandwiched between the much larger 1960 Galbraith Building to the north, the block-wide 1949 Wallberg Memorial Building to the south and the 1920 Engineering Annex to the east.

Architectural history

After working with architect Thomas Ridout for two years, Cumberland formed a partnership with William George Storm in 1852. Cumberland & Storm designed and oversaw the construction of several important buildings in Toronto, including the Osgoode Hall Law Courts (reconstruction of the Centre Block, 1856-59), St. James’ Cemetery Chapel (1859-61), University College (1856-59) and the Provincial Magnetic Observatory (1853-54), both on the University of Toronto campus. The partnership of Cumberland & Storm lasted until 1863, when Cumberland left the practice of architecture for railway management.7 Cumberland, either on his own or in partnership with Thomas Ridout or William Storm, worked on fewer than 20 residential projects and all but two were built in Toronto.8 The larger residences designed by Cumberland & Storm were all variations of the Tuscan or Italianate villa style. More modest in scale but still standing at 417 King Street East is the Little Trinity Church rectory (1853).9

Frederic Cumberland had his own family residence built while working on the nearby University College with Storm. Pendarves was designed by Cumberland & Storm in 1856, with construction begun in 1857 by their contractor, William H. Pim, and completed by 1860.10 The house as originally designed was a restrained and elegant example of the Italianate villa style, and featured a shallow-pitched hip roof surmounted by a cupola, deep bracketed eaves, roundarched windows and an encircling veranda with delicate posts and brackets. According to the original drawings, Cumberland’s residence was a 2½-storey yellow brick masonry structure with a stone foundation and one-storey kitchen addition on the north side. The principal east facade was distinguished by a prominent entrance feature and a large round-arched window in front of the main staircase.

Following the sale of the property to A. Morgan Cosby in 1884, the house was enlarged and substantially redesigned according to drawings prepared by William Storm in 1883, and it was renamed "Maplehearn."11 The most architecturally significant change was the addition of a one-storey projecting entrance vestibule and an extension with a hexagonal three-bay window to the west façade, which re-oriented the principal façade to face St. George Street. The lateVictorian alterations and additions skilfully designed by Storm feature more robust classical detailing favoured in the late-Victorian period. By the mid-1890s, a section of the original veranda on the east side of the south facade had been removed for the construction of a large Victorian conservatory,12 and by 1911, the Italianate veranda had been replaced by a taller, heavier one with a flat roof and classical detailing.13

Except for the subsequent removal of the conservatory,14 the exterior remained substantially unchanged until the building was renovated for use as the International Student Centre in the mid-1960s, under the direction of the late architect and University of Toronto professor Eric Arthur.15 Restoration work included the reconstruction of two sections of the original wrap-around Italianate veranda and the original multi-paned sash windows, which had been replaced in the 1880s. The interior still retains the spacious, high-ceilinged rooms, gracious entrance foyer, grand wood staircase naturally lit by a glass dome and ornate fireplace mantels, as remodelled for A. Morgan Cosby.

History of ownership and function16

A privately owned home

33 St. George Street was originally part of Park Lot 14, consisting of a 100-acre (40-hectare) parcel of land granted by the Crown to Peter Russell in 1798. Russell served under the administration of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, and was appointed by Simcoe as his administrator in the late 1790s.17 An early owner of the property through marriage was Dr. William W. Baldwin, a well-known Toronto physician, lawyer and politician.18 The property remained in the Baldwin family until the 1850s, when George Street was surveyed. In 1856, Baldwin sold or transferred a lot measuring 198 feet (60 metres) on the College Street frontage and 598 feet (182 metres) on the St. George frontage to W.A. Baldwin, who in turn sold the same piece to Frederic William Cumberland.

The Cumberland family moved into Pendarves in 1859. Frederic lived there with his wife Wilmot Mary (nee Bramley) and their growing family until his death in 1881.19 Wilmot remained there until 1884, when she moved to a smaller house on an adjacent University-owned lot.20

Pendarves was sold in 1884 to Alfred Morgan Cosby, manager of the Toronto-based London and Ontario Investment Co. Crosby renamed the property "Maplehearn" and resided there until his death in 1900. He was survived by his wife who remained in the house for four to five more years and then sold the property to Walter D. Beardsmore, who resided there until 1912, when the property was leased to the Government of Ontario as a temporary residence for the lieutenant governor.21

Pendarves as the vice-regal residence22

From 1792 to 1841 and from 1867 to 1937, the lieutenant governors of Upper Canada/Ontario were provided with an official residence, similar to those provided in other provinces and by the federal government for the governor general.23 The history of vice-regal residences in Ontario begins with the Constitutional Act of 1791 and the creation of the provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The term "Government House" commonly denoted the official residence and receiving rooms of the lieutenant governor or administrator for the governor general of British North America. There was a succession of five buildings that served as Government House in Upper Canada, only two of which were purchased or built with public funds.

Between 1867 and 1937, there were only three residences to house the lieutenant governor: two purpose-built and government-owned and one leased and adaptively used.24 In 1866, shortly before Confederation, the Toronto firm of Gundry & Langley was commissioned to draw up plans for a new Government House on the site of Elmsley House, which occupied the block bounded by the present-day King, Simcoe, Wellington and John streets.25 As completed in 1870, the Second Empire-style mansion provided spacious and elegant accommodation for its first occupant, the Honourable William Pearse Howland and housed nine subsequent lieutenant governors. However, by the end of the first decade of the 20th century, its site was surrounded by commercial buildings, warehouses and railway yards and the search began for a new site. The old Government House property was sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1912 and subsequently demolished.26

To span the gap between the closure of the old Government House and the opening of the new one, between 1912 and 1915, an interim residence had to be found. The provincial government opted to lease the Pendarves property for this purpose. It had a respectable address, ample landscaped grounds, and the house as enlarged and remodelled in the 1880s — though relatively modest in size — was clearly judged to be sufficiently spacious and elegant to provide an appropriate temporary residence for the lieutenant governor and setting for vice-regal functions.

Pendarves was occupied first by the Honourable Sir John Gibson until 1914 and then by the Honourable Sir John Hendrie until the last and most grand provincially funded Government House, Chorley Park, was ready for occupancy in December 1915.27

The provincial government had begun looking for a suitable site for the new Government House in 1909 and finally settled on a 5-hectare (14-acre) tract of land in northern Rosedale known as Chorley Park. Designed in 1911 by Provincial Architect F.R. Heakes, this Chateau-style edifice was by far the largest, most opulent, and most expensive of all of the vice-regal residences of Upper Canada/Ontario. Conceived on a scale grander than the governor general’s residence at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Chorley Park was under construction for four years and completed by the end of 1915 at a cost over $1 million, in time for Sir John Hendrie to take up residency in late December. After Hendrie’s term as lieutenant governor ended in 1919, Chorley Park was occupied by four successors until 1937. It was then permanently closed in 1937 by Liberal Premier Mitchell Hepburn, under public pressure, as a post-Depression austerity measure. When no suitable buyer could be found, it was adapted to a variety of uses, including a military hospital during the Second World War, and was finally sold to the City of Toronto in 1960 for a mere $100,000. The once magnificent mansion was sadly demolished the following year and the extensive landscaped grounds turned into public parkland.28

The University of Toronto

In 1916, the widow of W.D. Beardmore returned to Pendarves and lived there until 1920, after which the property served for a short time as the ‘Vet-Craft’ shops, where vocational training was provided to disabled soldiers. In 1923, a threat of demolition was averted by the sale of the property by the Beardmore estate to the University of Toronto.29

Pendarves was first allocated for use by the department of history and the department of political economy and became known as "Baldwin House," in memory of the Baldwin family. Threatened with demolition in 1947 for the construction of a new science building, the former residence was spared this fate and continued to house various departments and the University of Toronto Press.30 The building was renovated and restored in the mid-1960s for use as the International Student Centre and was then renamed Cumberland House, in honour of its first owner and occupant.31


Of all the residential projects undertaken by Frederic Cumberland, Cumberland & Ridout, or Cumberland & Storm, only two are confirmed to be still standing: the rectory for Little Trinity Church at 417 King Street East and Pendarves-Cumberland House. Though no longer an example of an Italianate villa, due to the substantial alterations and additions made in the 1880s Pendarves-Cumberland House is still a rare surviving example of the residential work of Cumberland or his successive partnerships. In its present form, the building represents an eclectic combination of the styles in vogue for upper-class residences in the 1850s and 1880s, including both original and restored Italianate features of the 1856 Cumberland & Storm design and the later Victorian features of Storm’s redesign.

Pendarves-Cumberland House is also historically significant for its function from 1912 to 191 as the official residence and receiving rooms of the lieutenant governor of Ontario, accommodating Sir John Gibson and Sir John Hendrie between the closure of the old Government House on Simcoe Street and the opening of the last and most grand, Chorley Park. Of all the buildings that were adapted for use or purpose-built as vice-regal residences in Upper Canada/Ontario, only Pendarves-Cumberland House remains. Today, the house remains a ‘home away from home’ as it welcomes students from abroad to the University of Toronto.

The Ontario Heritage Trust gratefully acknowledges the research of Ann Gillespie, built heritage consultant, in preparing this paper.

© Ontario Heritage Trust, 2010

1 An Ontario Heritage Trust provincial plaque commemorates Frederic Cumberland. It is located in front of 33 St. George Street, Toronto. On this plaque, the alternate spelling "Pendarvis" is used.

2 "Pendarves" was the name chosen by Frederic Cumberland in 1854 and used on the original architectural drawings prepared by Cumberland & Storm. Geoffrey Simmins, Fred Cumberland: Building the Victorian Dream (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997, p. 26); Archives of Ontario, J.C.B. and E.C. Horwood collection (abbreviated as Horwood), 59, Cumberland & Storm Sous-Fonds: C11–119–0–1.

3 Since being purchased by the University, Cumberland House has been home to the law school, business school and U of T Press.

4 As shown on the original circa 1856 site plan prepared by Cumberland & Storm, Horwood, op. cit.

5 As illustrated by the photo accompanying the section “The History of the St. George Campus Landscape” of the 1999 report prepared by Urban Strategies Inc., Investing in the Landscape: The Open Space Master Plan, St. George Campus, University of Toronto (posted online here).

6 Date from caption of an undated (late 19th-century) photo of St. George Street showing its tree-lined boulevards from "The History of the St. George Campus Landscape,” op. cit. (archival source undetermined).

7 Building names and dates taken from Robert G. Hill, Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950; demolition dates also provided if known (available online here), the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, op. cit.; biographical information and lists of building projects undertaken by Cumberland alone, in partnership with Thomas Ridout (Cumberland & Ridout, 1850-52) and William Storm (Cumberland & Storm, 1852-53) are also provided by Eric Arthur, op.cit., Appendix A, pp. 243-244; and entries for F.W. Cumberland in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online and the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada.

8 According to the entry for F.W. Cumberland in the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, Cumberland designed a residence for Mr. Skickluna in St. Catharines (circa 1850) and in partnership with Storm, one in Barrie for George Moberley (circa 1855). It is not known whether either of these two houses is still standing.

9 Patricia McHugh, Toronto Architecture: A City Guide (Toronto: Mercury Books, 1985), p. 39; original drawing published Geoffrey Simmins Fred Cumberland: Building the Victorian Dream (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1997), fig. 14.4.

10 The original set of undated drawings identify the house as "Pendarves," designed by Cumberland & Storm (Archives of Ontario, Horwood, 107, Cumberland & Storm Sous-Fonds (C11–119–0–1). These drawings are accompanied by the original hand-written specifications dated 1857. (Sous-Fonds: C11–119–0–2). Design and construction dates are based on primary sources listed by Geoffrey Simmins, op. cit., in the Catalogue Raisonné entry for “Frederic William Cumberland House, Toronto (‘Pendarves’)”, p. 279. These include the Wilmot Diary (correspondence between Fred and his wife), located at the Archives of Ontario and the Pim Papers, in the Baldwin Room of the Toronto Reference Library.

11 Two sheets of elevations and floor plans for a residence for A. Morgan Cosby, signed by William Storm and dated 30 March 1883 (Archives of Ontario, Horwood, William G. Storm Sous-Fonds: C11–741–0–1). The name "Maplehearn" appears on a photo taken circa 1895 by Josiah Bruce, which forms part of set of 13 b/w photos from City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1155 (Cumberland House), copies of which are available from the University of Toronto Archives (B77–0049).

12 As illustrated by a late 1890s photo of Pendarves, showing the south facade. From the University of Toronto Archives, Ref. No.: B1977–0049: 0013 (original undated photo by J. Bruce with the caption: “Porch of Maplehearn”).

13 As shown in a circa 1911 photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244 (William James family), item 3108.

14 As shown on a 1946 photo from the University of Toronto Archives: record group A1965-0004, dated 1 April 1946; published in Eric Arthur, op. cit., figure 4.1117, and available online from the University of Toronto Image Bank.

15 Article from the Summer 2003 issue of U of T Magazine: “Global Village — Once a private residence, Cumberland House is now a thriving social centre for almost 4,000 international students”, by Brad Faught, a Toronto writer and historian; posted online here.

16 A key source for this section was an undated typed manuscript report on the history of the owners and occupants of the Cumberland House property, based on directory and land title research by the late University of Toronto historian and author, T.A. Reed, located at the University of Toronto Archives: Ref. No.: A1973- 0026/075(29) – Cumberland, Frederic William.

17 According to Reed’s report, the patent for the Crown grant was dated 23 March 1798. Background on Peter Russell from the website of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

18 William Warren Baldwin (1775–1844), who was born near Cork, Ireland, studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and moved to Canada in 1799. He settled in York (Toronto), where he established himself as a doctor, lawyer, judge, businessman and politician. See entry by Robert L. Fraser for William Warren Baldwin in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 1836-1850 (Volume VII); available online here (hereafter referred to as the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online).

19 Correspondence between Frederic and Wilmot (Wilmot Diary, cited by Geoffrey Simmins, op. cit., p. 30) and correspondence between Frederic and his contractor, William Pim (Pim Papers, cited by Simmins, p. 279. These records are housed at the Ontario Archives. Cumberland married Wilmot Mary Bramley in England on 30 September 1845. In 1847, they moved to Toronto and began to raise a family: in total, four daughters and three sons. Cumberland died at his home on 5 August 1881. (Entry for Frederic William Cumberland in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.)

20 T.A. Reed, op. cit., p. 2. Wilmot Cumberland died in 1899. (Geoffrey Simmins, op. cit., p. 50.)

21 T.A. Reed, op. cit., p. 2.

22 William Dendy, Lost Toronto; Eric Arthur, Toronto, No Mean City; R.H. Hubbard, Ample Mansions: the viceregal residences of the Canadian provinces, section on Upper Canada and Ontario; “A History of Ontario Vice-Regal Residences” on the website of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

23 With the Act of Union (1840), Upper and Lower Canada were united as the Province of Canada and renamed Canada West and Canada East. This eliminated the position of lieutenant governor, which was not re-instated until the British North America Act (1867) established the Dominion of Canada and the Province of Ontario (formerly Canada West).

24 Since the Chorley Park era, the lieutenant governors have lived in their own residences but are provided with reception rooms, offices and support facilities in the West Wing of the Legislative Building, known as the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite.

25 Elmsley House burned down in 1862. (William Dendy, Lost Toronto (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 34.

26 William Dendy, op. cit., section on Government House, pp. 34-36 (includes historic photographs); R.H. Hubbard, op. cit.,“A Victorian Mansion”, pp. 114-122.

27 T. A. Reid, op. cit., p. 2. Sir John M. Gibson served as lieutenant governor from 1908 to 1914 and Sir John Hendrie from 1914 to 1919. (“History of Ontario Vice-Regal Residences”, op.cit.).

28 Eugene Berezovsky, ”The Last Stand of Government House” (prepared for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario) and posted on the website of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; William Dendy, op. cit., section on Chorley Park, pp. 176-179; R.H. Hubbard, op. cit., “Chorley Park”, pp. 123-129”. 1937 was also the end of Herbert Alexander Bruce’s term as lieutenant governor.

29 T. A. Reed, op. cit., p. 3. According to “Cumberland’s Villa now for Students,” a Historical Toronto article by Donald Jones, published in the Toronto Star (1 October 1977), when there were rumours that a group of American investors were interested in acquiring the land to erect an apartment building, the University of Toronto purchased the Pendarves property.

30 T. A. Reid, op. cit., p. 3. Reference to threat of demolition from a description accompanying a photo of Baldwin House, dated 3 May 1947, City of Toronto Archives, Larry Becker fonds: Fonds 70, Series 327, Subseries 1, File 21: available online here.

31 University of Toronto Archives, box of photographs (A78) with a file labelled Renovations and Opening of Cumberland House, 1966.