John C. Gilchrist (1863-1930). Image: Canadian Forest Industries, 1922.
Advertisement for John C. Gilchrist's planing mill on Perth Avenue in the Junction Triangle, Toronto. Image: City of Toronto's Business Directory, 1908.
Toronto Fire and Insurance Plans showing the location of Gilchrist's planing mill at the corner of Perth and Ernest Avenues, Charles. E. Goad, fifth edition, 1907, revised in 1918, file 419. Source:
Ontario Hardwood, 188 Perth Avenue, Toronto, April 5, 2021
John C. Gilchrist
The corner of Perth and Ernest Avenue was once the home of a lumber mill owned by one of the Junction Triangle’s most notable entrepreneurs, John C. Gilchrist. The mill’s construction marked the beginning of a new industrial era for the Junction Triangle, one that would come to define the neighbourhood for years.
John C. Gilchrist had worked in Toronto’s lumber industry since the 1880s. His planing mill had formerly been located at 101–107 Niagara Street, just west of Bathurst Street. However, in 1904, a fire raged through downtown Toronto, destroying 125 businesses, including many factories, in the process. When Gilchrist’s Niagara Street mill was set ablaze, he set his sights outside of the city centre to the budding Junction Triangle area. He opened a planing mill at 188 Perth Avenue in 1906.
1 / 3 (use arrows at bottom right to navigate)
The Ontario Hardwood Company
Gilchrist’s mill became one of the first industrial operations in the neighbourhood, contributing to what would become a diverse landscape of factories, warehouses, and railway transportation. In 1908, shortly after opening the factory, Gilchrist purchased the house next door to the mill at 180 Perth Avenue. He became an active member of the Junction community, serving as Chairman of the Bloor and Lansdowne Business Men & Ratepayers Association for many years. Gilchrist lived at his Perth Avenue house until his sudden death in 1930, at age 67.
In the 1930s, the corner of Perth and Ernest Avenue was purchased by the Haas family, and subsequently was purchased by the Ontario Hardwood Company in 1944. The site was used as the Ontario Hardwood Company’s warehouse until their head office moved to this location at 188 Perth Avenue, where it remains today.