While checking on another abandoned house we made a wrong turn & ended up in front of this abandoned mansion. The mansion, which is rather small for the neighbourhood has a rather interesting history! From what I uncovered in my research, the mansion was owned by a wealthy investment banker name William Allan Manford. Mr. Manford was born in June of 1913 in San Diego California. In 1941 he began his career in investment banking at Fry & Co. in Toronto Ontario. 16 years later he co-founded AGF with Warren Goldring. Mr. Manford worked at AGF for 37 years up until his retirement from the company as Chairman & CEO.
One thing that struck me about this house is that it didn't feel at all like a home. However after my research it all started to make sense. This was not actually a house but rather a private art gallery. You see, Mr. Manford was an art aficionado & for a time he had what was considered to be the finest collection of The Group of Seven paintings in the entire country! Things started to make sense after discovering these details. This was not a home at all!
I knew there was something odd about the house as there seemed to be cheap cabinetry, flooring in the kitchen & as mentioned before, the lack of warmth or home feeling. I also noticed that on the walls ad around 4 to 5 feet off the ground of many rooms there were electrical outlets. This now completely makes sense as these would be for lights over artwork on display! The kitchen was quite bland however there were some high-end appliances which leads me to believe parties were hosted & catered here but again, the house likely not lived in. Off what I suspect would have been the master bedroom was an elegant bathroom with an impressive art piece on the wall. The master bedroom also boasts a fireplace & double doors leading to the grand staircase & two story windows which allow for ample light!
Mr. Manford passed away in August of 2009 peacefully in his Toronto home. Many of his artworks were put up for auction & some reside in the Art Gallery of Ontario or private collections. The private gallery's future looks bleak as it is located in a highly sought after neighbourhood & with the construction fencing around the mature trees on the property, I feel it will only be a matter of time before its demolished. After his death the property was put up for sale & sold for $2,000,000 is March of 2010. Over the next year it was on & off the market again then sat empty until 2016 when it was sold for just under $4,000,000! Crazy to see the value double in such a short period of time!