Marsha Canham's Blog

April 29, 2011

Back in the Tundra again

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 5:32 pm

Okay, so it isn’t exactly the Frozen Tundra, but after 90 degree weeks in the Florida sunshine, I haven’t been exactly warm.  Wednesday, for some odd freak of nature, actually reached the mid-70’s but plunged back down to rain and cold the next day.  On the bright side, tulips are pushing up, daffodils are blooming, and I get to eat at David Duncan House next week.  It’s only my favorite restaurant in Toronto, converted from a grand old mansion house and owned/run by the same family for the past 30 years at least.  To quote a little history:

On his second visit to Canada in 1827, William Duncan, a successfully prosperous linen merchant from Ireland, purchased his first 200 acres of land at Sheppard and Dufferin Crossroads. A well connected marriage to Sarah Mullholland, provided further acquisition of land in the area. William and Sarah Duncan had 12 children who were well educated and at the age of majority each received 200 acres of land. In the case of David Duncan, his parcel of land was purchased in 1848 by his father, and located at Don Mills South of York Mills in close proximity to his grandfather Mullholland’s grant.

Inheriting his father’s resourcefulness and business acumen, David Duncan thrived on the land. He imported Jersey cattle- of particular significance as only wealthy land barons could afford this breed of cattle. David Duncan built a prominent dairy farm on “Moatfield” to serve the growing town of Toronto. His brother Henry owned the farm nearby and the Don Mills and York Mills junction fittingly became known as “Duncan’s Corners.” In 1865 William Duncan commissioned The David Duncan House be built for his son David. A highly fashionable Gothic style was selected for “Moatfield” and reflected the elaborate decor and romanticism of Gothic architecture. It remains a classic Ontario Gothic farmhouse, typical of the “gingerbread” style and the last of its kind in the City of North York. Its beauty prompted renowned architectural historian Eric Arthur to describe it as an example of “Victorian elegance and whimsy.”

Now isn’t this just the perfect picture for a Christmas Card?

Here’s a pic of the infamous corner in the dining room, beside the fireplace, where my first editor and the publisher of PaperJacks took me and Malle Vallik (now an uber-editor at Harlequin, but back then she worked for Maggie MacLaren and Jim Smallwood…former Mayor of Gum Swamp, but that’s another story *snort*) for an eight hour lunch.  Yepper.  Eight hours.  We had lunch, then sat around and talked so much we had dinner too.  Umm, next week, when I have lunch with Jill Metcalf, we’ll try to keep it to a more normal 2-3 hrs LOL

Last but not least, the ambience of old world charm is in every piece of furniture, every light fixture, every carved sheet of solid wood on the walls.  One of my favorite pieces is this lamp:Some…like the SF…might think it a bit garish and overwrought.  I happen to like stuff like this, and *gasp* had one of my own, bought at an auction, before I even knew the David Duncan House was there *s*

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5 Comments »

  1. Wow, what a beautiful place. I understand the food is pretty good, too. *g*

    Comment by Jill Metcalf — April 29, 2011 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  2. LOL the food is excellent, m’dear, and I plan to go very hungry, so be forewarned *snort*

    Comment by marshacanham — April 29, 2011 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

    • Good! We’ll bask in the glory of this wonderful place as we usually do, feast on amazing food and enjoy a spendid cocktail…or maybe…two.

      Comment by Jill Metcalf — April 30, 2011 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  3. Thank you for telling me about this marvelous home/restaurant. If I’m ever in Toronto, I’ll stop by and think of you.

    Comment by Phoebe Conn — April 29, 2011 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

    • Phoebe, next time you are in Toronto, you must try the David Duncan House. It is wonderful! The food, the service, and the ambiance are amazing.

      Comment by Jill Metcalf — April 30, 2011 @ 3:09 am | Reply


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