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Heritage plaque installed at Kew Williams House in Beach

September 17, 2015

Beach Mirror

One of the most beloved and historic landmarks of the Beach community, The Kew Williams Cottage at the southeast end of Kew Gardens, was fêted Saturday afternoon with the unveiling of a heritage plaque followed by a history walk.

Dozens of residents and supporters as well as a handful of descendants of the edifice’s original owners Kew and Bertha Williams were in attendance.

“What a great crowd for history,” enthused Ward 32 Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon during the plaque unveiling ceremony.

She went on to encourage those in attendance to join the recently revived Beach and East Toronto Historical Society. McMahon also invited people to let the group know about any ideas for future heritage plaques in the community.

Stuart Slessor, who serves as the parks supervisor for the Eastern Beaches, said the Kew Williams Cottage at 30 Lee Ave. is a symbol of the pioneers, the founders of the Beach community.

“The cottage represents an era so different and times that were so simple,” he said Saturday afternoon, calling the Kew Williams cottage “truly one of Toronto’s hidden gems.”

“This plaque is a wonderful reminder of the pioneers that worked so hard to make this community great.”

Carole Stimmell of the Kew Cottage Advisory Committee also said a few words at the unveiling event about the hard work being done to re-open the cottage for full use by the community.

“People are willing and want the cottage to be a part of the community and they would do anything to save it,” she said.

“I think in the future Kew Cottage will be an active part of the public spaces in the Beach.”

The ceremony concluded with a brief statement from some of Kew and Bertha Williams’ descendants, one of whom is great-granddaughter Anne McArthur.

“This is a historical plaque for my own family history,” she said following the official portion of the event.

“It’s very awesome.”

WILLIAMS HOUSE

WILLIAMS HOUSE

Staff photo/JOANNA LAVOIE

From left, Carole Stimmell of the Kew Cottage Advisory Committee; Dr. Ross Fair, Heritage Toronto Board Member and Professor of History at Ryerson University; local historian Barbara Myrvold of the Toronto Public Library; Adele Kozak, manager of the Scotiabank Queen and Wineva Branch. (Scotiabank is Heritage Toronto's Plaques and Markers Sponsor.); Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon ; and Stuart Slessor, parks manager for the eastern beaches, City of Toronto Parks, Recreation and Forestry division were on hand for the unveiling of a heritage plaque at the Kew Williams House.

SIDEBAR

The circa-1902 Kew Williams Cottage, which is also known as The Gardener’s Cottage, has faced some challenges in recent years as it does not have two exits on each floor and therefore does not meet the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.
As a result, staff from the Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department, which owns and manages The Gardener’s Cottage, temporarily closed the doors of the heritage-designated building to the public in late 2013.
Renovations required to bring the Queen Anne Revival-style building up to code are pegged at a minimum of $180,000.
To further complicate matters, the City of Toronto is also aiming to make all of its public buildings wheelchair accessible by 2025. The two-storey cottage lacks an accessible main floor washroom.
After much discussion, the dwelling re-opened to the public in June 2014 but events were limited to the first floor, which has two exits.
The cottage’s main floor continues to be used for small events, however the second floor of the two-storey cottage is being used as a parks supervisor’s office.
Parks, Forestry and Recreation, which owns and manages The Gardener’s Cottage, provides a portable washroom for people to use during events.
A trained fire marshall, complete with a whistle, flashlight and cellphone, must also be on hand at all events and the names of everyone who enters and exits the building must be documented as an extra assurance during an emergency situation.
Beach Mirror

One of the most beloved and historic landmarks of the Beach community, The Kew Williams Cottage at the southeast end of Kew Gardens, was fêted Saturday afternoon with the unveiling of a heritage plaque followed by a history walk.

Dozens of residents and supporters as well as a handful of descendants of the edifice’s original owners Kew and Bertha Williams were in attendance.

“What a great crowd for history,” enthused Ward 32 Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon during the plaque unveiling ceremony.

She went on to encourage those in attendance to join the recently revived Beach and East Toronto Historical Society. McMahon also invited people to let the group know about any ideas for future heritage plaques in the community.

Stuart Slessor, who serves as the parks supervisor for the Eastern Beaches, said the Kew Williams Cottage at 30 Lee Ave. is a symbol of the pioneers, the founders of the Beach community.

“The cottage represents an era so different and times that were so simple,” he said Saturday afternoon, calling the Kew Williams cottage “truly one of Toronto’s hidden gems.”

“This plaque is a wonderful reminder of the pioneers that worked so hard to make this community great.”

Carole Stimmell of the Kew Cottage Advisory Committee also said a few words at the unveiling event about the hard work being done to re-open the cottage for full use by the community.

“People are willing and want the cottage to be a part of the community and they would do anything to save it,” she said.

“I think in the future Kew Cottage will be an active part of the public spaces in the Beach.”

The ceremony concluded with a brief 

 


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