Woodlawn is Toronto’s second oldest residence still used as a private home. (Drumsnab is the oldest.) With subdivision, Woodlawn lost several outbuildings and its western wing. In 1920, Bernard Saunders purchased the house and began restoring it. Today, Woodlawn stands on five-eighths of an acre and the house is only one-third its original size. (It is located in midblock with a driveway between #33 & # 37 Woodlawn Ave.)
William Blake, a lawyer, built the original two-storey Regency villa design by John Howard in 1840. The outside was grey roughcast, but the interior was finished in walnut woodwork and it had a grand ballroom. He named the house Woodlawn. In 1849, he became Chancellor of Upper Canada. In 1844, Blake sold Woodlawn to Joseph Morrison. In 1863, Morrison was appointed Chancellor of the University of Toronto and to the Queen’s Bench. In 1877, he was made a judge of the Court of Appeal. Gracious entertainments were regular events at Woodlawn, including a traditional champagne breakfast for Upper Canada’s judges and their friends every first of July.
Justice Morrison died at Woodlawn in 1885 and his executors divided the estate. With subdivision, Woodlawn lost several outbuildings and its western wing. Angus Morrison inherited the diminished house and added a two-storey wing in 1895 to accommodate a new kitchen with bedrooms above. Angus died in 1899. The house was rented for a number of years and greatly altered. In 1920, Bernard Saunders purchased the house and began restoring it. (For more about Woodlawn and its owners see “Historical Walking Tour of Deer Park” by Joan C. Kinsella and “The Estates of Old Toronto” by Liz Lundell).