Toronto Through My Lens

Elmsley Place Mansions

A private road north of St. Joseph Street, west of Bay Street, is home to red brick Edwardian style mansions that were built in 1892 by Remigius Elmsley as the first subdivisions in the City, located on the former family home, Cloverhill Estate.

The heritage properties are owned by University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College, some serving as student residences. The four houses of residence collectively contain 20 single and 12 double rooms. The buildings underwent a $4 million renovation in 2007.

The remaining houses are used as administrative offices: Founders House (1 Elmsley); Phelan House (3 Elmsley); and Windle House (5 Elmsley).

Developed during the 1890s, Elmsley Place attracted professionals and politicians, including Sir George W. Ross, who lived at No. 1 Elmsley while serving as Ontario’s premier. After the Supreme Court of Canada presided over the extension of present-day Bay Street northward during the 1920s, the college purchased the title to the street. By the late 1940s, the laneway was closed off and the Edwardian-style homes were converted to offices and student residences. Today, cut off from traffic, this tree-lined cobblestone lane is a perfect walk into the heart of the St. Mike’s campus.

The Gates of Elmsley Place
A gateway across from the John M. Kelly Library on St. Joseph Street marks the entrance to Elmsley Place, a laneway that was once a prestigious late-Victorian subdivision. The Elmsley family were major 19th-century landowners whose holdings included what became the original campus of St. Michael’s College and the current Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood.
Founders House, 1 Elmsley Place
Formerly known as the Sir George Ross House. Sir George Ross was, at various times, a professor, member of parliament, senator, provincial Minister of Education, premier of Ontario, and president of the Canadian Authors’ Society.
McCorkell House, 2 Elmsley Place
McCorkell House operates as furnished female student dormitories
McCorkell House, 2 Elmsley Place
McCorkell House operates as furnished female student dormitories
Phelan House, 3 Elmsley Place
Phelan House was originally called the William E. Chalcraft House
Windle House, 5 Elmsley Place
Previously known as the H. Hartley Dewart House. The late H. H. Dewart was a former provincial Liberal leader.
Brennan Hall, South Entrance
The Hall is situated on the north end of Elmsley Place, 81A St. Mary Street
Maritain House, 6 Elmsley Place
This house contains furnished male student dormitories
Gilson House, 8 Elmsley Place
This is the only home on the street which St. Michael’s College does not own.


  1. Despina Kyraleos

    I just love stately mansions, another place to visit in Toronto.

    Vince and I knew a guy with the last name Elmslie. Probably a different family!

  2. David

    Love the whole area around UofT . So much history. A nice warm summer day and away we go.

  3. Chucker

    I was fortunate to live in McCorkell House for 4 years in the 70s. Some of my fondest memories ever and cherished friends! A beautiful grand house.

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