Spadina House Toronto

A visit to the outstanding Spadina Museum Historic House and Gardens in Toronto will transport you back to another era

Spadina House
Spadina House cc licensed photo by rhdouglas

In Toronto there is an outstanding museum that totally gives one the feeling that time is standing still in the era of the 1920s and 30s when things were simpler in one way and harder in another — a time when neighbours knew, trusted and helped one another. While lesser known than its larger neighbour Casa Loma, Spadina Museum Historic House and Gardens are equally and perhaps even more worthy of your time.

Spadina House has a long and interesting history. In 1866 James Austin, founder and president of the Dominion Bank and Consumers Gas, and his wife Susan had purchased the 80 acre property for $14,000 at an auction. They built the current mansion on the foundations of the pre-existing Baldwin home that was named Spadina and kept the same name for their new home. The name Spadina comes from a native word espadinong meaning hill.

During 1887-1892 he subdivided and sold parcels of his sought after land making around $200,000 a very abundant profit.

Amid the 19th and early 20th century this desired area became the home to many of Toronto's wealthiest families living on huge estates making it the richest neighbourhood in all of Toronto.

After James Austin passed away in 1897 his son Albert inherited the estate with 20 acres of land. Albert and his wife Mary greatly expanded the house adding a number of new rooms and altering it significantly with many renovations, including a grand third floor addition. They also updated and increased the beauty of the gardens with many new structures such as a greenhouse, a stucco garage and circular driveway. They left the mid-nineteenth century wooden stable which was later used for the gardeners until the late 1920s. This is the oldest building on the grounds.

In 1913 Albert Austin sold a big portion of his property to the city of Toronto for the development of the St. Clair Reservoir.

In 1978 Anna Kathleen Thompson (granddaughter of James and Susan Austin) partially sold and partially donated the mansion jointly to the city of Ontario and the Ontario Heritage Foundation. The transfer included furnishings, archives, family portraits, about 6 acres of gorgeous gardens in a park-like setting, and even the kitchen oven. These prized family possesions were given to the museum to honour her parents Albert and Mary.

The Spadina Museum first opened to the public in 1984 after two years of extensive safety updates and electrical rewiring were completed.

Twenty-five years later, after all the wear and tear from visitors who came to see the museum, it was once again closed for renovations. These renos which were made to the interior took 10 months to complete. Samples of leftover fabrics, wallpaper and other contents from the Austin family made it possible to create a vision of the way the house looked in the 1920s as well as educating guests about the social, economical and political lives of those living in that era.

Spadina House Museum has several guided tours of the historic 1866 restored mansion and beautiful gardens. There is a gift shop and it is fully accessible for those with special needs.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes there is a small admission fee which includes a tour when available.

Spadina House Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Address: 285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2V5, Canada

Phone: (416) 392-6910

Official Website: Spadina House

Spadina House Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating I showed up for the free guided tour and had an incredible time here. The tour lasted about an hour and it was very interesting to learn about the house and the people who once lived in it. Our guide was very funny and knowledgeable. As someone from New Zealand where we do not really have many historical buildings I found this place really cool, and enjoyed the glimpse into 1920s life. 100% recommend visiting if you're in Toronto!
Bailey Gebert - 3 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating It was a beautiful day my friend and I went there it was our first time. The narrator was lovely she had a lot of knowledge historically very friendly and personable absolutely loved the house and its history.
Hemlock Forever - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Extraordinary gem of history, with a dedicated guide that will walk you through this gem of architecture and history of Toronto. I personally found it more interesting than Casa Loma! Free admission but No parking and the parking at Casa Loma is a little pricey but if u get there earlier you can get 1hr free parking around but you'll be risking a quarter hour as the tour takes longer Also note you can't visit outside of guided tours
Sam Abtahi - 3 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating Great experience. We went today (6 of us) and our guide was very accomodating, knowledgeable and welcoming. We will definetly recommend.
Ivan I - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating So much fun getting the tour and asking a million questions. My tour guide was so great and I was entranced the whole walk. I am so glad I got to check it out. I am excited to come back. Our guide welcomed questions about everything even when it was just silly niche stuff, like about all the tile painters. The fireplace was lovely!!! But those aren't even my favourite tiles! My favourites are in the sunroom with all the plants, they are behind the door! They are stunning. Sadly I was so excited by them I didn't take photos. You will have to see for yourselves.
Jay Ford - 6 months ago

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TTC Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Yonge-University-SpadinaDupont Station8-10 MInutes

How to get to Spadina House by TTC Subway

No bus needed. From Dupont Station walk 2 blocks north on Spadina Road to Davenport Road then follow the Baldwin stairs (110 steps) up the hill directly ahead of you. Spadina House is located right next door to Casa Loma.

If you prefer not to use the stairs you can proceed west on Davenport Road; right on Wallace Road and right again on Austin Terrace.

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