Draper Street (Toronto)

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Draper Street is a street in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a north-south street located to the west of Spadina Avenue, from Front Street West north to Wellington Street. Draper Street is notable for its collection of 28 19th Century Second Empire-styled row cottages. The houses were designated by the City of Toronto government in the 1990s to have heritage status. The entire street is designated as a Heritage Conservation District as a way to preserve its heritage for posterity.

The street is named after William Henry Draper, a lawyer, judge, and politician in Upper Canada later Canada West.[1][2] The street was laid out in an 1856 plan of subdivision by J. Stoughton Dennis[3] of lands that were part of the 1794 Garrison Reserve.[4] Draper and Charles Jones are listed as the property owners of the lots to be subdivided for development.[3] The street is narrow; it is only 32 feet (9.8 m)-wide.[3] The lots are all 88 feet (27 m) deep and vary in width from 22 feet (6.7 m) to 32 feet (9.8 m) wide.[3]

28 rowhouses are found on Draper Street.[5]

Construction did not begin immediately after the sub-dividing of the properties. In 1857, an economic depression started which may have delayed construction.[6] The one-and-a-half-storey cottages were built from 1881 to 1889 by developer Jonathan Madell. First, seven cottages were built on the east side of the street in 1881, then four cottages on the west side from 1881–1882. These were designed by architect J. A. Fowler.[7] In 1886, two houses were built on the corners where Draper met Front Street West. In 1889, the row cottages of #20–32 were built on the west side of the street.[8]

In 1997, the residents of Draper Street requested the Board of Heritage Toronto to designate the properties under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Board voted to designate the properties, and Toronto City Council approved the designation on February 4, 1999 under By-law 026-99.[8] Of the original cottages, #19 and #21 had been torn down, #27's facade was replaced and #29's facade was remodelled. The two houses on the north-west corner of Front and Draper were torn down to make a commercial building facing on Front.

The areas to the north and east of the street are the site of redevelopment. The condominium project "The Well" is to be constructed on the industrial lands to the east vacated by The Globe and Mail headquarters. It will convert a vacant lot on Draper Street into a parkette connecting to the project lands. A 16-storey condominium is proposed for the corner of Wellington Street West and Draper.[9]

A narrow park is being built, connecting Draper with a nearby development east of the street.[10][11] The park is just 11 metres (36 ft) wide and 15 metres (49 ft) long. A property developer received permission to redevelop that 7.8 acres (3.2 hectares) property, if the compensated for the higher density, if they purchased nearby properties, and turned them into parkspace.[10] This short walkway is part of the developer's deal.

Notable persons[edit]


  1. ^ Robertson 1894, p. 590.
  2. ^ Derek Flack (2010-10-22). ""Hidden" streets in Toronto". Blog TO. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  3. ^ a b c d "1856 Dennis: Plan of the Subdivision of Lots 14 & 15 Wellington Place and 5 Ontario Terrace of Section A in the Original Survey of the Garrison Reserve at Toronto [Draper St.]". Fort York Maps.
  4. ^ Kidd, Kenneth (June 23, 2012). "Toronto's storied, charming Draper St. laden with memories". Toronto Star.
  5. ^ Jason Miller (2019-06-04). "Downtown's historic Draper Street just lost its 'gatekeeper.' But his legacy lives on". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2019-06-05. The 28 historic row houses that stand amid a condo boom near Spadina Ave. and Front St. back on to a giant hole where The Well, a retail, office and residential complex, is in the midst of springing up.
  6. ^ "Garrison Common History: The Wellington Place Neighbourhood" (PDF). Fife and Drum (pdf) (May 2005): 3.
  7. ^ "Fowler, Joseph Ades". Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "City of Toronto - Draper Street HCD". City of Toronto government. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  9. ^ Gordon, Andrea (July 29, 2016). "Historic Draper Street retains its neighbourhood charm amid surrounding waves of redevelopment". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Taylor Simmons (2018-06-20). "Cat-themed parks to replace nightclub in Wellington Street West neighbourhood". CBC News. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  11. ^ David Hains (2017-07-18). "Draper St.'s Dizzy the Cat gets a promenade dedicated to him". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2019-06-05. For years, the plump 13-year-old orange and white cat has been a popular fixture on Draper St. in downtown Toronto.
  • Taylor, Doug (2010). The Villages Within: An Irreverent History of Toronto and a Respectful Guide to the St. Andrew's Market, the Kings West District, the Kensington Market, and Queen Street West. iUniverse. ISBN 9781450225243.
  • Robertson, John Ross (1894). Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto: A Collection of Historical Sketches of the Old Town of York from 1792 Until 1834, and of Toronto from 1834 to 1894, Volume 1.

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