Fonds F 4596

Old Government House glass plate negatives collection

About these records

Old Government House glass plate negatives collection
Dates of Creation
Physical Description

8 photographs : black and white glass plate negatives

Scope and Content

Fonds consists of glass plate negatives of the third Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, taken in 1912 before the building ceased to be used. Originally part of a set of 13 negatives, the surviving images show the public spaces in the mansion's interior and a group portrait of the Honourable Sir John Morison Gibson and his immediate family. The missing negatives (creator code 1 and 3 to 6) consisted of a portrait of Lieutenant Governor Gibson and images of the building's exterior from Simcoe Street and across the gardens from the southwest.

Colloquially known as the "Old Government House", this three-story, red brick mansion and its surrounding gardens stood in Toronto on the west side of Simcoe Street immediately south of King Street (the site is now occupied by Roy Thompson Hall). Constructed in the Second Empire style by Henry Langley at a cost of $105,000 and furnished by the firm of Jacques and Hay for $15,000, the mansion consisted of a mansard roof with dormer windows, and a main entrance under a carriage porch of Ohio limestone, with rooms facing Lake Ontario over large landscaped grounds.

Opened June 1870 for occupancy by the Honourable Sir William Pearce Howland, it was the viceregal residence for the next eight of Ontario's Lieutenant Governors. The ornate interiors remained virtually unchanged until the building was abandoned in 1912 with the move to the fourth Government House at Chorley Park. With ever-rising maintenance costs, the move of government's offices north to Queen's Park, and the development of the lands south of King Street for industrial uses, the building was torn down and the land sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Restrictions on Access
This fonds is restricted for conservation purposes.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
The images are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on reproduction, however permission of the Archives of Ontario is required for publication; submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.
Custodial History

The negatives were originally acquired by the Toronto Evening Telegram newspaper (later known as the Toronto Telegram), and came into the possession of the Toronto Sun newspaper, the Telegram's successor. As the images could not be microfilmed, they were discarded and eventually donated to the Archives by a Toronto Sun employee.

Associated Material

Library and Archives Canada has a complete set of photographic prints of this fonds as part of the graphic images portion of its R9271-0-3-E (Canadian Intellectual Property Office fonds). This sous-fonds consists of material registered for copyright protection with the Department of Agriculture, the federal department responsible for copyright, patent, and trademark registrations. These photographs can be viewed online at the Library and Archives Canada website.

Related Material

The images in this fonds, along with other prints showing of the interior of the third Government House during the term of Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Strathearn Hendrie (1914-1919) will be found in the Government House (Simcoe and Kings Streets) album (F 1174-1, file 11) in the J. Ross Robertson family fonds.

Additional prints of the building's exterior can be found in F 1035 (Thomas Lymer fonds), F 4401 (J.A. Harvey collection of old Toronto photographs), and F 4509 (Royal Party at Government House photograph).

Textual records concerning Sir John Gibson can be found in Series RG 18-40 (Records of the Royal Commission on Gamey Charges) from his time as Ontario's Attorney General (1899-1904) and in RG 24-9 (Records of Lieutenant-Governor John Morison Gibson).


No further accruals are expected.

Finding Aid
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How to order these records

From our Reading Rooms

This fonds is restricted for conservation purposes. Researchers wishing to view prints of these images should examine the Government House (Simcoe and Kings Streets) album in the J. Ross Robertson family fonds by ordering reference code F 1174-1, file 11 in container B115562.

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By Microfilm Interloan
This material is not available through Interloan.