These are the 10 oldest buildings in Toronto (PHOTOS)

Mar 9 2021, 2:07 pm

As far as major cities go, Toronto is relatively new, covered in modern glass buildings. But taking a look at some of the oldest buildings in the city is a great reminder of how much history Toronto does have.

Although many of Toronto’s first buildings have been lost over time, there are plenty of buildings from the late 1700s and early 1800s that are still standing and can be seen around the city today.

From cabins to military buildings to a smokehouse, here are the 10 oldest buildings in Toronto.

1. Scadding Cabin

Toronto oldest buildings

Mishy Laine/Shutterstock

Address: Exhibition Place

Year built: 1794

This little log cabin, located on the ground of Exhibition Place, is the oldest surviving building in Toronto, according to the York Pioneer and Historical Society. It was built by John Scadding, a British immigrant, and when it was built, it stood on the east side of the Don River.

2. Lavinia Cottage

Etobicoke Historical Society

Address: 23 Jason Road

Year built: 1800

This old stone cottage was originally built by the Grubb family, according to the Etobicoke Historical Society, and was named after the family’s youngest daughter, Lavinia. It sits in the Beaumont Heights neighbourhood, on the north side of the Humber River.

3. John Cox Cottage

Toronto oldest buildings

SimonP/Wikimedia Commons

Address: 49 Broadview Avenue

Year built: 1807

This is the oldest known house in Toronto that’s still used as a residence today, according to the Friends of Riverdale Park. It was originally built out of logs and looks over what we now know as Riverdale Park.

4. Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Toronto oldest buildings

Fabian Junge/Shutterstock

Address: Toronto Island

Year built: 1809

This old lighthouse on the Toronto Island is not only one of the oldest buildings in Toronto, but is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse is said to be haunted by its first keeper John Paul Radelmüller, who was murdered there in 1815. According to the City’s website, how he died and who did it were never solved.

5. Fort York Buildings

Toronto oldest buildings

Philip Lange/Shutterstock

Address: 100 Garrison Road

Year built: 1813-1815

The original Fort York was built in 1793 but was destroyed by the American army in the Battle of Fort York. It was then rebuilt, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, and served as a military hospital during the war of 1812. Many buildings from the fort still stand today, including brickhouse #1, built in 1813, and the brick officers barracks and mess room, stone powder magazine, and brick magazine, all built in 1815.

6. Daniel Stong Longhouse

Toronto oldest buildings

John Griffiths/Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway

Year built: 1816

Now part of the Black Creek Pioneer Village, the Daniel Stong Longhouse is the oldest building there. It was built by Daniel Stong and Elizabeth Fisher Stong and they lived there with their family until 1832 at which point it became an outbuilding used for poultry and storage, according to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

7. The Grange


Address: 317 Dundas Street West

Year built: 1817

This historic building in downtown Toronto is best known for being part of the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was built for D’Arcy Boulton, one of the members of the very powerful Boulton family, and was then passed onto his son, former Mayor of Toronto William Henry Boulton. According to the AGO, his widow bequeathed the home to the Art Museum of Toronto — now known as the AGO.

8. Gray Grist Mill

Colin McConnell/Toronto Public Library

Address: 12 Bushbury Drive

Year built: 1819

This old grist mill was built by James Gray and his four brothers on property that is now part of the Donalda Club in North York. It’s no longer used as a mill and instead is used for storage by the golf club, the Toronto Public Library says.

9. Snider Backhouse

Google Maps

Address: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway

Year built: 1820

Tucked away behind the Daniel Stong Longhouse at the Black Creek Pioneer Village, hidden in the tree line, is a little wooden outhouse that would make anyone grateful for indoor plumbing.

10. Daniel Stong Smokehouse and Butchery

Google Maps

Address: 1000 Murray Ross Parkway

Year built: 1820

Daniel Stong certainly left his footprint on early Toronto architecture, and also built this smokehouse next to his longhouse. The building had a fire in 1965 but was rebuilt and reopened to the public that same year, according to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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