Today in history: 1935

Jan 4, 2016

Radial car traveling westbound on Trout's Hill, 1915. Photo courtesy of Scarborough Archives.

Radial car traveling westbound on Trout’s Hill, 1915. Photo courtesy of Scarborough Archives.

By Hedy Korbee

Version 2Birch Cliff News is launching a new “Today in History” series to commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary celebration of Birch Cliff Public School, which is taking place on Sept. 23/24, 2016.

Our first installment comes from the Jan. 4, 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star and reads as follows:

Improvement asked in Trout’s Hill Curve

“Birch Cliff, Jan. 4 – The drivers of the car and truck which collided on Kingston Rd. near Birch Cliff on Dec. 13 were absolved of blame by a coroner’s jury last night which returned a verdict of accidental death in the cases of Mrs. Lloyd Snowden, 40, and her sister Mrs. Norman Metcalf, 43 Bowmanville women who were riding in W. Lloyd Snowden’s car at the time of the accident.  William E. Hannah was driving the transport truck.

A rider was attached to the verdict recommending that some improvement be made to the dangerous curve on Trout’s Hill.”


Jennie Kidd Gowanlock Trout

Jennie Kidd Gowanlock Trout

Where is Trout’s Hill?

Trout’s Hill was an interesting local landmark/stretch of Kingston Rd. that many current Birch Cliff residents have probably never heard about.

Located just east of Kingston and Glen Everest Rd., Trout’s Hill was named after the couple who built a stately white mansion overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs, Edward Trout and Jennie Kidd Gowanlock Trout.

Jennie Kidd Gowanlock as born in 1841 in Scotland, moved to Canada with her parents in 1847, and in 1865 married Edward Trout who ran a financial newspaper called The Monetary Times.

Jennie Trout played an important role in the history of women’s rights in Canada as she was the first woman to legally become a medical doctor and was the only woman licensed to practice medicine until 1880.

In 1991, Canada Post issued a postage stamp in honour of Jennie Kidd Gowanlock Trout.

A 1930s era map

The artistic rendering, below, of the interchange at Danforth Ave. and Kingston Rd. (built in 1937) clearly shows Trout’s Hill and the Trout residence on the left-hand side.

Artistic rendering of Danforth and Kingston Road

Artistic rendering of Danforth Ave. and Kingston Rd.

The White Castle

The Trout homestead, with its turret and white stucco facade was well known in the Birch Cliff area, even more so in the years after the Trout family vacated the property.

It became known as the White Castle Inn and was a popular local landmark and watering hole until it was gutted by a fire in the late 1960s or early 1970s. (If anybody knows the actual date please let us know in the comments section below.)

The former Trout home became known as the White Castle Inn. Photo from 1952.

The former Trout home became known as the White Castle Inn. Photo from 1952.

This is what Trout’s Hill looks like today.


Thanks to local author Jane Fairburn whose book “Along the Shore” was a source of information for this article.  I recommend the book for anyone who is interested in local history.  Thanks also to the Scarborough Archives.

Hedy Korbee is a journalist who lives in Birch Cliff.

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  1. Avis Favaro

    Thanks for the historical look back. Too bad
    City officials didn’t require some of the old structure
    to be incorporated in the new building!

  2. David Patterson

    What an awesome initiative this is leading up to the centennial. Can’t wait to learn more about our great community’s history. Thanks Hedy

  3. Linda Ripley-Nuttall

    I am interested in these articles you are printing and of the 100th anniversary this year. My Mom and her family lived at Undercliff Drive in the 20’s. 30’s and 40’s and into the 50’s. I was wondering if Birch Cliff might be the school that they would have attended?

    • admin

      Hi Linda,
      I’m not sure of the answer to your question. I would like to suggest that you go to the informal Birch Cliff alumni Facebook group and pose the question there. The members of that group go back as far as 1929 at Birch Cliff.
      Good luck!

    • admin

      Hi Linda,
      I’m not sure of the answer to your question. I would like to suggest that you go to the informal Birch Cliff alumni Facebook group and pose the question there. The members of that group go back as far as 1929 at Birch Cliff.
      You can find them here:
      Good luck!

      • Linda Ripley-Nuttall

        Does anyone know if there is a list of students attending during the 1920′ and 1930’s attending the school available for viewing on this website?

  4. Adrian Tucker

    Interesting article Hedy. Maybe you could write something about the farmhouse that still exists at the bottom Midland Avenue. I heard that the some family members still live in the property.

  5. Karin Allen

    Thanks for the info, I always wondered where the inn got its name.

  6. John Jeffrey

    Hello Hedy
    Mrs. Norman Metcalf was my grandmother. Her name was Hazel (Crago) Metcalf and her sister was Bessie (Crago) Snowden.
    The funeral was held at their parents’ residence which is located just west of the Darlington Nuclear Plant. They are buried in Bowmanville.
    My mother had begged her mother not to go but she said Uncle Lloyd was a good driver. The accident happened in a snow storm. They were on their way to Eaton’s store for Christmas shopping.
    On the very same day, 13 Dec 1934, my father’s father was kicked and killed by a horse in the barn in Prince Albert near Port Perry.
    My mother was 11 and my dad was 9 at the time. The lives of both families were completely changed.
    It was just by happen stance that my parents met on a blind date about 14 years later and this double tragedy drew them together.
    I was born in 1950. My father’s mother, Florence (Ewers) Jeffrey, ended up moving to The Danforth near Pape and worked at Colgate Palmolive for many years.

    Would you be able to forward the original story of the accident from your local newspaper?
    I want to thank you for the story about my grandmother.

    John Jeffrey
    Oshawa, Ontario

    • admin

      Hi John,
      I’m sorry about your grandmother. I appreciate that you left a comment, however, because the news story is so brief and now we have a better sense of what happened and who your grandmother was. I’m afraid I don’t have an original copy of the story as I retrieved the image you see on the story from the digital archives of the Toronto Star. If you go to the Toronto Reference Library you might be able to get an original.

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