With construction being completed in 1892, the mansion was home to George Gooderham, President of the Gooderham & Worts Distillery. At the time, the distillery was one of the largest in the world, while Toronto was known as having one of the most “puritan” communities on the continent.
The building was designed by Architect David Roberts Jr. in the then popular Romanesque Revival style. George Gooderham was also president of Manulife which I reviewed on another blog.
Gooderham, and his family, resided here until 1905 when he passed away. At the time, he was known to be Ontario’s richest men having amassed a fortune of 25 million dollars. Mr. Gooderham named the mansion “Waveney,” after a river from his home town in Norfolk, England. I don’t know why he would name a river after it, quite frankly, the Humber and Don rivers were not so close. Perhaps he had fond memories of the Waveney River in Norfolk; selling England by the “pond”.
While Gooderham was a capitalist, which to some of you is a “dirty” word, the family gave back to all of Canada – much more than present day elites. Upon his death in 1905, at 75 years of age, the Ontario Government received a windfall of $519,000 in succession duties which was more than eight per cent of the province’s budget. This transformed a deficit, in 1904 of $480,000, into a surplus the following year. Thank you! I wonder what the Weston family is doing for the province these days. Oh right, Galen Weston Jr. wants to run Medicinal Marijuana sales out of his Shoppers Drug Mart stores!
The mansion has been known as the York Club since 1910. It’s a private socialite club and hosts many grand events.