46. Maryville Lodge

Maryville Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The richness of archival material on Maryville Lodge was not for the benefit of a contractor, but to provide visual information for a possible buyer of the home when the owner returned overseas.

The Honourable David W. Smith (1764-1837) came to York as part of Simcoe’s entourage. He was the Acting Surveyor-General from his arrival in 1792, until he received the full position in 1798(1). Smith was also Executive Councillor, Speaker of the Assembly and a Colonel in the York Militia, which he founded in 1798(2). By 1803 he had accumulated more than 20, 000 acres of land in 21 townships (3).

Smith had Maryville Lodge built in 1796 on land he bought from John Kendrick. The charming house was fitting to his station as a large landowner in York.  Formal gardens and a winding driveway lead to the one-storey clapboard building which was painted yellow instead of the conventional white. Maryville was truly an estate, with the full assortment of special function buildings needed to make it selfsufficient.

“Yellow house” was likely designed by Smith himself (or possibly by William W. Baldwin) as he was a draughtsman, with the help of his Deputy Surveyor William Chewett. When Smith returned to England in 1804 to a knighthood and retirement, he tried to sell the property. After housing a succession of tenants, Maryville became a school in 1829, and remained so until 1833 under Mrs. Ross. Then in 1834 Easter’s Saddlery was located at the site. The house was eventually demolished in 1854.

Smith’s accomplishments in York go well beyond the design of a formal estate. At the request of Simcoe he wrote A Short Topographic Description of his Majesty’s Province of Upper Canada in North America, a text which has been reprinted many times over. It was an archival goldmine as it classified the original Native, French and English names of the places in Upper Canada that had been re-named with each new period of settlement(4).

Notes

  1. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. VII, 1836-1850, p. 811.
  2. Lucy Booth Martyn, Original Toronto, p.24-25.
  3. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, p.811.
  4. Martyn, p. 24-25.