In 1909, Joseph Kilgour, President of the Canada Paper Company, established one of Bayview's first country estates, south of Lawrence Avenue. The sweeping two-hundred acre Sunnybrook Farms property was highlighted by a stone gated entry and a magnificent residence with oak paneling, an open gallery and beamed ceilings that created the flavour 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. The farm also contained cattle barns, sheep pens, piggeries, heavy horse stabling, a dairy, and a granary, in addition to the show stable. Kilgour had a love for fine horses. One of his favourite pastimes was riding his prized hunter 'Twilight' across the open fields and wooded hillsides on 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 in 1928 to be used as a park. Today, The Sunnybrook Health Science Centre stands in the place of Kilgour's country residence, while the Kilgour barns were preserved and currently serve as a public riding school and stabling for the Metropolitan Police up until their move down to the stables at Exhibition Place in 2005. The fields are now used for sports and recreation.
Top: Major Joseph Kilgour with his prized hunter “Twilight”. Above: Kilgour on ride in Sunnybrook park. Right: The original Sunnybrook Farms residence had the flavour of an English country manor.