Connaught Gates


An interesting thing about my street is that it is bisected down the middle by a grass median containing this set of stone gates which appear to serve absolutely no purpose.  People are always asking me what's up with these gates so here's the story.

Sir Henry Pellat (of Casa Loma fame) had some big plans to turn this area into a gated community called Cedar Vale.  It would be replete with large homes on large lots, parks, civic buildings, basically everything the wealthy turn-of-the-century family could wish for in a neighbourhood.  The gates were built in 1913 as a teaser, to get people to buy in to the idea, and into the property.  They were the majestic grand entrance to Cedar Vale.

Sadly for Sir Henry, the economy was in recession and an abundance of like development was already going on in the City.  When World War I broke out in 1914, people started buying up war bonds instead of property, Sir Henry's bank went bankrupt and that was the end of Cedar Vale.  Poor guy gave Casa Loma to the City and lived in the carriage house.  It's sort of sad to say that these gates never served their intended purpose.  Eventually the area was developed and the gates were retained.

A restoration of the gates was undertaken between 1998 and 2004 that included designing and replacing the lanterns, which had been lost, and routing electricity to them.

As giant flakes of snow fell on Christmas Day last year, I watched two men carry a ladder from way down the street on the other side of Bathurst.  They placed the feet of the ladder on a patch of ice and then one guy climbed up to … I don't know what the hell he was doing up there.  I was too busy imagining that the ladder would slip, this man would plummet to the ground and forevermore I would be tormented by the image of him writhing around in the snow with a broken neck on Christmas Day.  That didn't happen, and I assume he was replacing the light.  But I mean, on Christmas Day?  These guys weren't City employees.  They didn't come in a City vehicle.  They were regular guys who just walked up the street and did it.  This community has some serious love for these gates.  Maybe it doesn't matter that these gates have no useful reason for existing, if they are able to positively bring people together like that.

You can see what the gates looked like in the 1910s, here.

One thought on “Connaught Gates

  1. You’ve shed some light on the fence I call “Geez why the hell does this fence have to hang into the left hand turning lane?”
    I like the fact we live in a fancy neighbourhood. As we should, for we are awesome.

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