CLOVER HILL Presented at the BCCA AGM 2009
The Bay Corridor Community Association proposes to change its name to the Bay Clover Hill Community Association. This name change will permit us to keep our acronym, BCCA. It will also reflect more accurately the topography, the history, and the unique character of our neighbourhood.
Clover Hill was the name of a house built by Captain John Elmsley in 1829 on Park Lot 9, an extensive piece of farm land located between St. Joseph, Charles West, Yonge, and College Streets which was part of the eight thousand acres, his father, the Honourable John Elmsley, Chief Justice of Upper Canada between 1797 and 1802, acquired before his death in 1805. Captain John Elmsley built two other houses on Park Lot 9: Villa Elmsley in 1837at the north side of the estate, and Barnstable in 1858 at the east. Clover Hill was located at Bay and St. Joseph Streets, and Barnstable at Bay and Grosvenor Streets.
In 1831, Captain Elmsley married Charlotte Sherwood and subsequently converted to Catholicism, the religion of his wife. A devout catholic, Captain Elmsley founded St. Michael’s College, the first free Catholic School in Toronto, and St. Basil’s Church in 1848 under the aegis of the French Basilian Order. He donated part of his Clover Hill Estate to the school and church and created the streets which sub-divided his property, naming them after his favourite saints: St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Alban (now Wellesley), St. Thomas, and St. Vincent (Bay Street). After he died in 1863, his heart was enshrined at St. Basil’s Church. In 1921, the last member of the Elmsley family, Nina Elmsley died and left the remainder of the Clover Hill Estate to St. Michael’s College which subsequently became part of the University of Toronto. **
St. Basil’s Church is classified as a Heritage Building by the City of Toronto.. There are other buildings in the Clover Hill Neighbourhood which deserve the same status. Amongst these are The Basilian Fathers’ Seminary and Carr Hall of St. Michael’s College, built by Montreal architect Ernest Cormier, and the other buildings of St. Michael’s College and the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, designed by Toronto Architects Ware and Brennan.
The Clover Hill Neighbourhood has reached its level of saturation for tall buildings. It is time now for us to focus our resources on saving the unique character of our neighbourhood with its town houses, parks, and historic buildings. This name change will be a fitting testimony to the BCCA’s desire to forge ahead in this endeavour.
** Source: Liz Lundell, The Estates of Old Toronto, Erin Ontario, The Boston Mills Press, 1997.