The History of Toronto’s Campbell House in One Minute

Campbell House is a Palladian-style historic home in Toronto that is now used as a museum
Campbell House is a Palladian-style historic home in Toronto that is now used as a museum | © Bill Brooks / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip

The Campbell House, now referred to as the Campbell House Museum, is Toronto’s oldest remaining home from the original site of the Town of York and one of the last buildings in Toronto that displays Georgian architecture. Discover its fascinating history with our one-minute guide.

Campbell House, built in 1822 by Judge William Campbell and his wife Hannah, was designed in Palladian style, a popular trend during the Georgian era, which features Italian, Greek and Roman elements like symmetrical windows and doors, columns in the entry and ‘showy’ elements to give the appearance of wealth. Because William and Hannah’s children were grown and out of the house, they designed the home for entertainment and their own comfort. In 1834, William Campbell passed, and the house was given to his wife, Hannah. She resided here until her passing in 1844, when the property and everything in it was sold at an auction, with the profits going to her family.

During the 19th century, the Campbell House was used as a private residence, and by the 1900s, it housed a series of businesses including offices and factories. The house, without the proper care, fell into a state of decline and eventually was threatened with demolition by its latest owners, Hallmark Greeting Cards, to make way for a bigger parking lot. The house was saved by the Advocates’ Society in 1972, who moved the building from its original location at Adelaide Street and Frederick Street to its current location at Queen and University. The move required help from the Toronto Transit Commission, as maintenance trucks helped carry a 270-tonne-force structure northwest for 1,617 meters (1mi), and crowds watched in awe from the closed streets downtown. The building was restored after being moved, incorporating 19th-century artifacts and furniture, opening that year (1972) to the public.

Today, the museum is owned and operated by the City of Toronto, serving as a museum, art gallery, outdoor exhibition space and club for the members of the Advocates’ Society. The museum also hosts group and educational programs along with guided tours. The grand gesture to move this home to preserve its 19th-century architecture was a turning point for Toronto architecture: it would set the tone for future historical landmarks when they were threatened with demolition, inspiring Toronto locals to save these precious historical landmarks.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article