the big pomegranate

The Historical Development of Bernard Avenue

Bernard Avenue was laid out as Dufferin Steet in 1874, part of the village of Yorkville. Part of total of 42 building lots planned along Davenport, Avenue Road and on either side of the new street. The North side lots were 36' to 42' wide and 114' deep. The south side lots were 36' wide and 122' deep except for lot 3 (present #13 and #15) which were 50' wide. The south side corner lot was 180' deep and and extravagant 80' front on Avenue Road.
Most construction occured between 1885 and 1895 with very few twentieth century replacements. The street was paved in 1889 and widened in the 1940s.
The Piper residence at #19 Bernard is outstanding because of its size and unusually conservative architecture that recalled the Georgian Survival of mid-century farmhouses.
At #6 and #10, near Avenue Road, polychrome Second Empire cottages represent more contemporary architectural fashion. In 1892, the roof was replaced on 10 and a storey inserted, giving it the more Gothic appearance it now has.
The preferred massing solution of the 1880s is exemplified at #7 and #9 with paired centre doorways and slightly differing gabled wings advanced from a basic rectangular form. At #36-38, a slightly more sophisticated version of this plan was developed with the unifying arch of the Romanesque, and simplified under a single gable.
#11, 13 and 50 express the local response to the aesthetic of Queen Anne smoothing much of the massiveness, handling more delicate textures and larger areas of surface.
#15 and 17 display the quirky historicism of the Edwardian period with the disjuncture between a Dutch inspired gable and a solid foursquare.
Early occupants included merchants, insurance clerks and labourers. John Murray, carpenter, lived at #25 from 1888 until after 1915. Joseph Stewart also settled since 1888 at #25. He died during the war but his widow lived here until after 1925. Reverend Campbell Tibb lived at #20 from 1879 until after 1910.
Those buildings were converted to multi-family around 1920, provoking the extension to Bernard of the residential restrictions that allowed only single-family residences.
Somewhat like Tranby Avenue, the size of the existing dwellings on Bernard has discouraged replacement. The majority of the existing dwellings are close to or over the permissible density for new construction.
Three building have a present density of 0.6 or less, but this is not felt to be a significant enough number to warrant reconsideration of permissible densities on Bernard.

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