In 1909, Major Joseph Kilgour, Proprietor of the Canada Paper Box Company, established one of Bayview’s first country estates south of Lawrence Avenue. The sweeping two-hundred acre Sunnybrook Farm property was highlighted by a stone gated entry and a magnificent residence with oak paneling, an open gallery and beamed ceilings that invoked the spirit of an English country manor. Major Kilgour was one of the best known horsemen in North America, maintaining an excellent stable of hunters. The original farm was considered a perfect model of the day and featured one of the first indoor riding arenas in Canada. Amenities included a viewing gallery complete with a minstrel’s section and grooms quarters. In addition to the show stable, the farm also contained cattle barns, sheep pens, piggeries, heavy horse stabling, a dairy, and a granary. Major Kilgour had a love for fine horses as well as anything agricultural.
One of his favourite pastimes was riding his prized hunter ‘Twilight’ across the open fields and wooded hillsides of his property. Regular foxhunts originated at Sunnybrook. Just imagine the scene – thirty to forty pink coated riders following the Toronto Hunt’s Hounds across the lush green playing fields on the plateau!
The Kilgour’s had no children, so after Joseph’s passing, his wife Alice donated Sunnybrook Farms to the city of Toronto in 1928 to be used as a park. Today, The Sunnybrook Health Science Centre stands in the place of Kilgour’s grand estate, while the Kilgour barns were preserved and serve as home to our main school and stabling for the Toronto Mounted Police up until their move down to the Horse Palace at Exhibition Place in 2005. The fields on the plateau are now used for various sports and recreational activities.