Agnes McPhail House Finally Gets Heritage Protection

After years of lobbying, the Agnes McPhail House is about to get protection from the Ontario Heritage Act.

In the matter of the Ontario Heritage Act
R.S.O. 1990 Chapter 0.18
City of Toronto, Province of Ontario  (

Notice of intention to designate

720 Millwood Road (Agnes McPhail House)
Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and buildings known municipally as 720 Millwood Road under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Reasons for Designation

The property at 720 Millwood Road (also known as 2 Donegall Drive) is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets the criteria prescribed by the provincial government for municipal designation under the three categories of design, associative and contextual values. Located on the northwest corner of Millwood Road and Donegall Drive in Leaside, the Agnes Macphail House (1937) is a two-storey duplex.

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
The property at 720 Millwood Road has design value as a rare example of Modern styling applied to a duplex in Leaside that was designed to take advantage of the corner setting with entrances on two streets. The Agnes Macphail Houses displays the flat roof, angular shape and geometrical openings associated with 20th century Modernism, while retaining the modest classical detailing derived from the Georgian Revival style that is displayed on much of the residential housing in Leaside.

The duplex is historically associated with the notable Canadian politician, Agnes Macphail, who owned and occupied the premises from 1948 until her death in 1954, a period when she remained actively involved in politics. The first woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1921 where she served for two decades, Macphail championed labour and farm issues, including equality for women and prison reform. Entering provincial politics, Agnes Macphail was one of the first two women elected to the Ontario Legislature where she represented York East from 1943-45 and 1948-51. She was responsible for Ontario’s first equal pay legislation in 1951.

Contextually, the Agnes Macphail House is important in supporting and maintaining the character of Leaside in the residential area of the community east of Bayview Avenue where it also is physically, functionally, historically and visually related to its surroundings. Located on a corner lot in the first block south of Bayview Avenue, the duplex addresses two streets that feature the mixture of low-rise detached, semi-detached and apartment housing identified with the residential sector of Leaside.

Heritage Attributes
The heritage attributes of the property at 720 Millwood Road are:

  • The two-storey duplex
  • The scale, form and massing of the L-shaped plan beneath a flat roof
  • The materials, with buff brick cladding and brick, stone and wood trim
  • On the two-bay east façade and the three-bay south façade, the entrances with single doors, transoms and bracketed entablatures
  • On the south and east façades, the fenestration with flat-headed tripartite window openings with multi-paned sash windows and stone sills, as well as octagonal windows
  • The L-shaped wing at the west end, with flat-headed window openings with multi-paned sash windows
  • The detailing, with brick corner quoins and band courses
  • The setback of the Agnes Macphail House on the northwest corner of Millwood Road and Donegall Drive

The single-storey west wing and the detached garage are not identified as heritage attributes.

Further information respecting the proposed designation is available for viewing from the City Clerk’s Department.

Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention: Francine Adamo, Administrator, North York Community Council, North York Civic Centre, Main floor, 5100 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M2N 5V7, within thirty days of the 13th day of February, 2012 which is the 14th day of March, 2012. The notice must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.

Dated at Toronto this 13th day of February, 2012.

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk


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