Spencer R. Higgins, Architect Incorporated












John Bales House, Toronto


North Veranda and Windows Restoration Projects




John Bales House is the oldest house in North York still standing on its original site. Built in 1824 in a Georgian vernacular style, this gabled farmhouse is located within Earl Bales Park on the south-east corner of Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue. The house is currently leased by the City to the Russian House Toronto, a local Community Organization.

SHA was initially retained by the Toronto Museums and Heritage Services to carry out repairs and stabilization of the north veranda structure and roof. The veranda faces an adjacent ravine, which through subsequent site erosion has resulted in the separation of the veranda roof and original plaster ceiling from the main house. A subsequent project (underway 2022) to evaluate and repair the exterior woodwork and windows commenced in 2020.

Our work included the assessment, stabilization, repair and upgrade of the north veranda floor, structure, roof and original plaster ceiling. A survey and review of the existing site included detailed as-found condition drawings including recommendations on required exterior woodwork repairs and appropriate methods to accomplish those repairs.

It was the intent to retain as much of the original wood structure, roof and ceiling in-situ while shoring and returning the veranda to a stable position, reinforcing and securing the roof to the original wall of the house. Similarly all the windows were individually scheduled for repair procedure specification.

Detailed drawings and specifications were prepared to conserve the original wood posts, rafters, and plaster ceiling and to remove incompatible alterations that had occurred over time on the verandah and all the window frames, sash and storms.

We prepared detailed Contract Documents for repair and shoring of the roof, replacement of rotted floor beams and posts, improvements to roofing shingles and localized stabilization of random rubble stone foundation. A separate package for conservation of the wooden windows and trim was prepared in 2020.
We provided Construction Contract Administration and Construction Review Services for both projects.

John Bales House, Toronto
2017 (Photo:SHA)