Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Laughlen Lodge House Of Industry

When I first saw this building I was taken by the fact that a new modern high rise office building was being connected to an old historic landmark of some kind. A mixture of old and new. It was not until later when I checked out the address of the old structure  that I realized that the old building had a sad past as a 'House Of  Industry'.

Over its long history, the House of Industry at different times offered services to seniors, homeless people, unemployed people, orphaned and abandoned children, recent immigrants, and the families of servicemen.

As the government began taking more responsibility for social services, it phased many of these programs out, and in 1947, under the name Laughlen Lodge, it became exclusively a residence for seniors.

This building was designed by architect William Thomas.  Thomas was born in Suffolk, England . In 1843, during a depression in the British building industry, he came to Canada. He emigrated with his wife and 10 children to what is now Toronto, in 1843, where his career flourished. He designed some of the finest Decorated Gothic Revival-style buildings in Ontario. He was also city engineer in Toronto and across Canada. Two of his sons, William Tutin Thomas and Cyrus Pole Thomas, also became architects. William Thomas senior died in Toronto. Thomas also was the architect who designed Brocks Monument in Queenston, the Don Jail in  Toronto and St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Ontario.

Men breaking stone in return for a bed and a meal at the House of Industry

ca. 1900

Notes by House of Industry staff about people requesting help