Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: StrachanAve

Scadding Cabin

Scadding Cabin is a 1794 log cabin on the grounds of Exhibition Place. It was constructed for a pioneer named John Scadding and is now the oldest surviving building in Toronto.

The cabin was originally built on the property of John Scadding, an immigrant from Devonshire, in order to fulfill his settlement duties to the Crown. The cabin stood at the east side of the Don River south of Queen Street East on a 253-acre land grant that stretched north from Lake Ontario to present-day Danforth Avenue. Scadding lived in the cabin until he returned to England in 1796.

When Scadding returned to York in 1818, he sold his property, and cabin, to a farmer named William Smith, who used the cabin as an outbuilding. The cabin remained in the Smith family until 1879 when the cabin was offered to the York Pioneers (Ontario’s oldest historical society, and the second-oldest historical society in Canada).

1879 was also the beginning of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition (later the CNE) and the York Pioneers worked with the Exhibition’s founders to move the cabin to its current site (2 Strachan Avenue) to celebrate the fair’s inauguration. The cabin was dismantled, moved and reconstructed by the York Pioneers on the grounds of the first Industrial Exhibition (now Exhibition Place) on August 22, 1879.

Current use

The York Pioneers currently operate Scadding Cabin as a museum. The cabin is furnished as a pioneer home from the 1830s to early 1840s, although there are artifacts that date back to the 1790s. The oldest item is a baby’s cradle, made by Scadding himself. Furnishings include two spinning wheels and a wool winder, equipment for making bread and butter, a candle mould and utensils for cooking on an open hearth.

Scadding Cabin is open during the CNE. The cabin is also open through special arrangements and for community events during the summer months such as Toronto’s Doors Open. In the past the cabin has been open during the Luminato Festival and annual CHIN picnic when these events are held at Exhibition Place.1


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