Popular landmark opened in 1860, demolished in 1954, writes Susan Goldenberg
The North York Historical Society on July 20 will unveil its latest heritage plaque, this time for the O’Sullivan Hotel, a popular North York gathering place for nearly a century.
Located at the northwest corner of Old Sheppard Avenue, a few blocks north of Sheppard, and Victoria Park Ave., the two-storey hotel was opened in 1860 by Ann O’Reilly and Patrick O’Sullivan, the year they were married, on her father’s property.
After Patrick died in 1861, Ann operated the hotel for more than 50 years. Son Michael opened a post office inside in 1892. The area became known as O’Sullivan’s Corners. It was popular with Toronto’s sporting set and motorists because it was near the intersection of several paved roads and had a fine dining room. The building was demolished in 1954.
“The hotel was chosen for a plaque because it was a landmark for many years,” NYHS president Glenn Bonnetta said. “I want to honour buildings or persons in other areas of North York rather than just the Yonge Street corridor.”
Plaques are arranged through Heritage Toronto, a city agency. “The criteria for choosing the topic of a plaque is usually to recognize an important person or structure in North York’s history,” Bonnetta said. “I try to choose things that may not be well known. A number of the plaque subjects have been recommended by others.”
Other recent historical society plaques honour:
– Robert F. Hicks, first reeve of North York Township when it was formed in 1922 until 1926. Plaque: Finch Avenue West, west of Bathurst Street.
– The Cummer Family. Elizabeth and Jacob Cummer were the first settlers in Willowdale, around 1801. They named the area. Plaque: Doris Avenue near McKee Avenue.
– John Bales House, which was built circa 1824, southeast of Bathurst and Sheppard. It is North York’s oldest existing structure. The land is now Earl Bales Park, named after John’s great grandson, a prominent politician.
– York Mills Presbyterian Church, built around 1836 at Yonge Street and Hogg’s Hollow. Years later, the Hoggs discovered that the church land actually was theirs and demanded that the church leave. It was dismantled in 1859 and rebuilt across the street. It closed in 1885.
Written by Susan Goldenberg.
Originally published on June 27, 2019, on toronto.com.