Explore 19th-century innovation and creativity, city building, science, technology and design as exemplified by John Howard at Colborne Lodge. The site was built in 1837 and is located at the south end of High Park. The park’s 165 acres were originally the property of the Howard family and included the Lodge and a variety of farm outbuildings. John and Jemima Howard gifted the property to the City of Toronto to be used as a public park.
The museum site consists of two buildings: an original Regency Picturesque stucco cottage and John Howard’s original Picture Gallery.
Colborne Lodge offers ongoing events and exhibits, popular kids programs, school trips as well as a unique glimpse of Toronto history. Drop in to Colborne Lodge to view the many original furnishings and artifacts, and some of John Howard’s own watercolours depicting images of early Toronto.
John Howard emigrated from England with his wife Jemima in 1832. Due to his training, he quickly found work first as an architect, then as a city surveyor and engineer. He built Colborne Lodge in 1837 and named the residence after Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. The house was originally one storey, but Howard later expanded it by adding an upper level. In 1873, Howard and his wife deeded their 165-acre country property to the City of Toronto. This deed included an agreement that the park remain “˜for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Toronto and it be called High Park’. Additional land was purchased by the City in 1876 and 1930, expanding the park to the current 399 acres. The Howards are buried under a stone monument that is fronted by a portion of fencing from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and is set close to Grenadier Pond. Colborne Lodge is now one of 10 historic sites operated by the City of Toronto.
Colborne Lodge is a rare North American example of a Regency picturesque building with a wide veranda opening to the garden and the park. The front door is on the west side of the building. At the heart of the structure is a tall three-part chimney that provided heat for the house. The interior remains decorated in a mid-19th-century style. More common in Britain, this style of architecture was used for buildings in natural settings and was designed to complement, not dominate, the natural surroundings.