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Historic Toronto house has a connection to the Avro Arrow

December 2019

Toronto, Ontario, is a city with many heritage buildings and most have unique stories to tell. Briarcrest Manor is just one of those heritage buildings, built in 1935 in what was then Etobicoke Township.

Designed in the style of an English country manor by architect Frank Ridley, with elements of the Tudor style, it was owned by Clair Hague, the General Manager of Canadian Universal Films.

The house went through two other owners before being bought on 1950 by Walter Deisher, President of A. V. Roe Aircraft in nearby Malton, makers of the famed CF-100 and CF-105 Avro Arrow jet fighters.

In 1952, A.V. Roe bought the house from Deisher for use as a meeting and social facility for company executives. Crawford Gordon Jr., who had replaced Deisher as President of A.V. Roe the previous year eventually began using the house as his residence, complete with a live-in cook and servant to entertain frequently and lavishly.

Some of the noteworthy visitors to Briarcrest Manor included Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Liberal defence minister C.D. Howe, and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

In the wake of “Black Friday” on 20 February 1959, which saw the abrupt cancellation of the entire Avro Arrow project and Gordon’s resignation as President of A.V. Roe Canada later that year, the house was sold to developer Louis Mayzell.

The house still stands today, on the southwest corner of Islington Avenue and Dixon Road, and is used as commercial office space and as a daycare centre.

Sources: http://www.etobicokehistorical.com/briarcrest-manor-bore-witness-to-the-fall-of-the-avro-arrow.html.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/historic-toronto-house-has-a-connection-to-the-avro-arrow/

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