H. Addison Johnston

Portrait of Addison Johnston

Canadian Builder and Carpenter thumnail

Read Addison Johnston's Profile

News clippings

Ad for Homes at Glenfern


Floor Plan for "Made to Order" Home

HOWARD ADDISON JOHNSTON, the designer and builder of 15-21 Glenfern, was born in Toronto on July 23, 1880. He married Gertrude Wardell in 1901 and lived in the Balmy Beach neighbourhood for most of his life. Records show he lived on Lake Front, Glen Fern and Neville Park Blvd.

Johnston began his career in real estate, where he got the idea which brought him immediate success. In 1915 he initiated the Johnston "Made-to-Order" house. by building a model house which was then modified to suit the buyers' own order. Mr. Johnston's plan to give the people what they want was a great .success. An article in Canadian Builder and Carpenter magazine profiled him and stated that "he has erected or has under construction eight houses, and he states that prospects for business during 1916 will eclipse that of 1915."

Previous to building houses, Addison Johnston was in the real estate business, where he got the idea which brought him immediate success. He initiated the Johnston "Made-to-Order" house. He first drew up plans and built a model of a proposed house which was then modified to the buyers' own order Mr. Johnston's plan to give the people what they want was a great .success.

In 1921 he founded The Toronto Home Builders' Association, with four other entrepreneurs and was the first President.

During the 1920's Johnston redeveloped Lot 1 at Silver Birch and Lake Front. After clearing off some old summer cottages, he designed and built four homes for himself and his extended family as well as the small apartment house and probably the four other dwellings. Eager to develop his property he placed this advertisement in the Toronto Star on April 24, 1920:

Lake Shore at the Beach – There is no place in Toronto so delightfully located for both a summer and winter home as this beautifully wooded lot at the foot of Silver Birch Avenue, east side. High and dry, yet close to the water, perfect bathing beach and boating facilities. I would be pleased to build to order on this lot an artistic bungalow, single or duplex, to suit purchaser. Price would run from fifteen to twenty thousand. Drive down and see this lovely spot.

Addison Johnston was also an inventor and held many patents, including designs for a dish washing machine, safety razor, sleeve stretcher and many other diverse items. Johnston died in his home on Neville Park in January 9, 1941.

Photo of room

Living Room in Johnston's Model Home


Dishwasher Design


Vegetable Peeler Design

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