Historic Glenfern
Glenfern History

Glenfern Avenue is located in Toronto’s Balmy Beach
neighbourhood. It was first surveyed in the 1790’s as
part of Lots 1 and 2 in York Township. In 1847
prominent Toronto merchant and former mayor
George Munro purchased part of Lot 1. By 1853
Adam Wilson, a lawyer, politician and distinguished
judge, held part of Lots 1 and 2. Glenfern is located on
the lake front of what was once part of Wilson's
county estate.

In 1876, Adam Wilson subdivided his property
and laid out Balsam, Beech, Birch (now Silver Birch),
Pine and Maple Avenues. He also set aside a private
promenade (now Balmy Beach Park) at the south end
of Beech “for the common use and enjoyment of lot

In 1887 three developers, Robert J. Fleming, W.H.
Banks and F.J. Philpott, further subdivided the area
and laid out Balmy and Glenfern Avenues.

In the 1920s, H. Addison Johnston, a local builder
and entrepreneur, redeveloped Lot 1 at Silver Birch
and Lake Front. After clearing off some old summer
cottages, he not only built four homes for himself and
his extended family, but also the small apartment
house which is now 15-21 Glenfern.

More information about Glenfern’s history can be
found on the Documents page.

To see more photos from Glenfern's past
please go to Historic Photos.

Photo of Munro Park
Photo of George Munro
Photo of R J Fleming Photo of Adam Wilson
Photo of Addison Johnston

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