Black and white portrait photograph of a bald man with a moustache. The caption below the photograph reads "John C. Gilchrist, Toronto".

Junction Triangle Industry Gilchrist

Industrial Boom

Black and white portrait photograph of a bald man with a moustache. The caption below the photograph reads "John C. Gilchrist, Toronto".

John C. Gilchrist (1863-1930). Image: Canadian Forest Industries, 1922.

Black and white illustration from a newspaper or magazine advertising a Toronto lumber mill. On the left is an image of the mill - a large factory with smoke coming out of the chimney, and on the right the ad reads, "John C. Gilchrist / Contractor / Rough & Dressed Lumber, Lath & Shingles". There are other details listed about the kinds of things the company produces.

Advertisement for John C. Gilchrist’s planing mill on Perth Avenue in the Junction Triangle, Toronto. Image: City of Toronto’s Business Directory, 1908.

Black and white illustrated map of the Junction Triangle area in the west end of Toronto. There are a a lot of inscriptions on the map detailing the location of various businesses and institutions.
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: University of Toronto Archives

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:

Photo of a red-brick building with a light blue double door and bushes in front of it. The sign above the door reads "Ontario Hardwood".

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.

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.

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