HISTORY CORNER: Claireville toll house still standing after 150 years in north Etobicoke

Community Oct 07, 2016 by Denise Harris Etobicoke Guardian

In 2011, on a quest to look at every property in Etobicoke listed on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register, I was surprised when I first saw 2095 Codlin Cres. in Claireville. This once well-kept house was now the rundown and spray-painted office of a tractor/trailer parking business. There was no information in the city’s file to tell me why this sad-looking building was on the register.

Soon after, I was in the library at Montgomery’s Inn and by chance discovered a 1984 research paper on Claireville that said 2095 Codlin Cres. (originally 2095 Albion Rd.) “was initially used as the toll house for the Albion Plank Road.” The Albion Plank Road Company had been incorporated in 1846 to build an improved road from Thistletown, through Claireville to Bolton, and it passed right by this house.

Several primary sources proved that by 1852 a tollgate was located in Claireville, overseen by a series of toll keepers. By 1871, the toll keeper was Christopher Armstrong. But where was this toll house located in the village?

Fortunately, I was able to find Fred and Audrey Henderson, the last residential owners of 2095 Codlin Cres. When they moved to Claireville in 1961, they were often told that their house had been called “The Tollhouse” for as long as anyone could remember. Then, shortly before selling the property in 2006, they were visited by a woman who was a descendant of toll keeper Christopher Armstrong. She had been shown the house many years earlier by her grandmother, and knew she had the correct house because it was the only one with a front door facing west, perpendicular to Albion Road. The tollgate would have crossed Albion Road from the northwest corner of the house, making it easy for the toll keeper to step out his door, collect the toll, and open the gate for the traveler.

Other records indicated that the house was built ca. 1851, making it the oldest building in Claireville. The house itself is an example of Neo-classical architecture. The gables all have prominent cornice returns, a feature of this style. The off-centre main entry door appears to be original. However, its life as a toll house was over by 1880 when the Albion Plank Road Company declared bankruptcy.

For a long time, it has been thought that the only toll house left in Toronto is the one on the northwest corner of Davenport Road and Bathurst Street. Now we know there is a second one – little known and neglected – in Etobicoke. Not only has the Claireville toll house survived, it is also the only toll house still in its original location.


Denise Harris is the Heritage Officer of the Etobicoke Historical Society, and she has been researching, writing, leading walking tours and giving lectures on local history for over 20 years. Her column appears every second week in The Etobicoke Guardian. She can be reached at denise.harris@sympatico.ca

HISTORY CORNER: Claireville toll house still standing after 150 years in north Etobicoke

Community Oct 07, 2016 by Denise Harris Etobicoke Guardian

In 2011, on a quest to look at every property in Etobicoke listed on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register, I was surprised when I first saw 2095 Codlin Cres. in Claireville. This once well-kept house was now the rundown and spray-painted office of a tractor/trailer parking business. There was no information in the city’s file to tell me why this sad-looking building was on the register.

Soon after, I was in the library at Montgomery’s Inn and by chance discovered a 1984 research paper on Claireville that said 2095 Codlin Cres. (originally 2095 Albion Rd.) “was initially used as the toll house for the Albion Plank Road.” The Albion Plank Road Company had been incorporated in 1846 to build an improved road from Thistletown, through Claireville to Bolton, and it passed right by this house.

Several primary sources proved that by 1852 a tollgate was located in Claireville, overseen by a series of toll keepers. By 1871, the toll keeper was Christopher Armstrong. But where was this toll house located in the village?

Fortunately, I was able to find Fred and Audrey Henderson, the last residential owners of 2095 Codlin Cres. When they moved to Claireville in 1961, they were often told that their house had been called “The Tollhouse” for as long as anyone could remember. Then, shortly before selling the property in 2006, they were visited by a woman who was a descendant of toll keeper Christopher Armstrong. She had been shown the house many years earlier by her grandmother, and knew she had the correct house because it was the only one with a front door facing west, perpendicular to Albion Road. The tollgate would have crossed Albion Road from the northwest corner of the house, making it easy for the toll keeper to step out his door, collect the toll, and open the gate for the traveler.

Related Content

Other records indicated that the house was built ca. 1851, making it the oldest building in Claireville. The house itself is an example of Neo-classical architecture. The gables all have prominent cornice returns, a feature of this style. The off-centre main entry door appears to be original. However, its life as a toll house was over by 1880 when the Albion Plank Road Company declared bankruptcy.

For a long time, it has been thought that the only toll house left in Toronto is the one on the northwest corner of Davenport Road and Bathurst Street. Now we know there is a second one – little known and neglected – in Etobicoke. Not only has the Claireville toll house survived, it is also the only toll house still in its original location.


Denise Harris is the Heritage Officer of the Etobicoke Historical Society, and she has been researching, writing, leading walking tours and giving lectures on local history for over 20 years. Her column appears every second week in The Etobicoke Guardian. She can be reached at denise.harris@sympatico.ca

HISTORY CORNER: Claireville toll house still standing after 150 years in north Etobicoke

Community Oct 07, 2016 by Denise Harris Etobicoke Guardian

In 2011, on a quest to look at every property in Etobicoke listed on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register, I was surprised when I first saw 2095 Codlin Cres. in Claireville. This once well-kept house was now the rundown and spray-painted office of a tractor/trailer parking business. There was no information in the city’s file to tell me why this sad-looking building was on the register.

Soon after, I was in the library at Montgomery’s Inn and by chance discovered a 1984 research paper on Claireville that said 2095 Codlin Cres. (originally 2095 Albion Rd.) “was initially used as the toll house for the Albion Plank Road.” The Albion Plank Road Company had been incorporated in 1846 to build an improved road from Thistletown, through Claireville to Bolton, and it passed right by this house.

Several primary sources proved that by 1852 a tollgate was located in Claireville, overseen by a series of toll keepers. By 1871, the toll keeper was Christopher Armstrong. But where was this toll house located in the village?

Fortunately, I was able to find Fred and Audrey Henderson, the last residential owners of 2095 Codlin Cres. When they moved to Claireville in 1961, they were often told that their house had been called “The Tollhouse” for as long as anyone could remember. Then, shortly before selling the property in 2006, they were visited by a woman who was a descendant of toll keeper Christopher Armstrong. She had been shown the house many years earlier by her grandmother, and knew she had the correct house because it was the only one with a front door facing west, perpendicular to Albion Road. The tollgate would have crossed Albion Road from the northwest corner of the house, making it easy for the toll keeper to step out his door, collect the toll, and open the gate for the traveler.

Related Content

Other records indicated that the house was built ca. 1851, making it the oldest building in Claireville. The house itself is an example of Neo-classical architecture. The gables all have prominent cornice returns, a feature of this style. The off-centre main entry door appears to be original. However, its life as a toll house was over by 1880 when the Albion Plank Road Company declared bankruptcy.

For a long time, it has been thought that the only toll house left in Toronto is the one on the northwest corner of Davenport Road and Bathurst Street. Now we know there is a second one – little known and neglected – in Etobicoke. Not only has the Claireville toll house survived, it is also the only toll house still in its original location.


Denise Harris is the Heritage Officer of the Etobicoke Historical Society, and she has been researching, writing, leading walking tours and giving lectures on local history for over 20 years. Her column appears every second week in The Etobicoke Guardian. She can be reached at denise.harris@sympatico.ca