Open The Gates

It’s time for Thursday Doors and the hounds are at the gate!

Ok, maybe there was just a blogger at the gate, but it doesn’t have quite the same punch, even if I did have a camera.

Once I got past the stripper club with its lap dances, my journey into the Garden District earlier this week resulted in the discovery of some lovely homes, great doors, and interesting gates.


I believe the future is only the past again, entered through another gate– Arthur Wing Pinero

heritage-gate5One of the purposes of my visit downtown was to see the “Bernard Hughes” house built in 1873.  It too had a lovely gate to keep the riffraff like me from venturing onto the property… although since the gate was left ajar, it was practically an invitation to go inside.

I resisted the temptation – barely.


Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on the property – like, who exactly was Bernard Hughes? – but I did find an earlier photo of the property before its major facelift.

Photo from

The house I found had lost its Morticia Addams vibe and even the original iron fence had been replaced.


… but thankfully its lovely front door was saved.  I had to check to make sure there was no one peering at me from behind the curtains, and I love the hint of another interior archway that can be seen through the transom window.


This has been Thursday Doors, a weekly photo challenge hosted by the Door Master, Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.




  1. I have had a pleasant morning scooting around the web for your Bernard B Hughes. From what I can gather, he is most likely to be the same fellow mentioned in the Hughes Terrace article. If so, he was born in Newry, Ireland in 1832 (though other dates are suggested by census data and his headstone conflicts with his death record). He came to Canada about 1846-47 with his parents. His father died the next year. He and Patrick later ran the merchant business as Hughes Brothers. Bernard died in 1899 and is mentioned on a plaque in a crypt at St Michal’s Catholic Cathedral. Patrick was in the House of Commons for a year in the 1870s and also served on the Toronto Council and was a bank director. Bernard’s son, Vincent, married a daughter of Sir Wm Glenholme Falconbridge -they have a lovely headstone statue in the Mount Hope Cemetery.

    Do you think the bricks have been sandblasted back to the original brickwork? The detailing on it is the same as the original Gothic Revival and does look a very pale brick in the older photo – imagine all the grime collected since 1873. I found a side on view, too, of the old look and you can see patches of pale bricks. It is a lovely building, either way. The only other change I can see is the removal of the front drainpipe and a change in the windows above that fabulous door! Love all the gates, too.


  2. This was a gorgeous post, Joanne! Starting with a great gate quote (future is the past revisited thru a second gate). Followed by lovely scrolling in black and metal intricately designed gates. I am proud of you for resisting entering gate ajar. I am not sure I could have resisted! 😉
    The ‘piece de resistance’ was your prior Addams family home transformed by whitewashing and refinishing and creating beautifully polished stained front doors!
    So true, if you see thru the transom, a double entry way. I liked the address displayed in black cursive lettering. Wow, Joanne! *****


    • Thank you!
      That form of addressing a house is quite unusual – at least it’s not something I’ve ever seen before on a house. It seems to me this was someone who clearly wanted their house to be remembered. Mission accomplished!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gates are definitely more “inviting” than large walls… they add a decorative element, but we can also “see through them” to what lies beyond. While at the same time, keeping the “riff raff” at bay… serving their purpose. Looks like a really interesting neighborhood to explore.



  4. Those really are some beautiful gates! I love wrought-iron, and the detail in these makes them look like they weren’t hard at all to sculpt (though it couldn’t be further from the truth, I’m sure!) Also, a really cool house, though I’m not sure I would ever want to live in a heritage house, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! It’s been most frustrating, isn’t it? You would think that if they were going to call a building by a name on a Heritage List, there would be some reference back to its origins! Apparently not 🙂

      Oh well, in the end, it was still a lovely find 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Joanne, great to find your page! I happen to be researching the Hughes family because I’m a descendant. My husband and I hope to find some time to visit Toronto in December, pay our respects at the cemeteries and visit the homes. I just want to tell you that the info on the family on the site contains lots of errors. Anne Hughes was the mother of Patrick and Bernard B. She had 5 kids, was a widow, I’m descended from her 3rd son. Researching the family is a blast. Anyway, you have a beautiful page and wonderful hobby! All the best! Eileen Bennett


        • oh wow! This has to be one of the best comments I’ve received to a post! Thank you so much for taking the time to send me a note. I hope you have a great visit and gather much more family history along the way!


  5. Joanne I am imagining a street full of folks peering at you through closed curtains wondering what in the world you were doing stalking about. You could show them your gorgeous photos and all would be well. I love watching for different designs in iron. We don’t see it much here but when we travel I find it fascinating.


  6. I think you are really growing as a photographer, Joanne! Every single one of these pix, I could feel your frustration at not being invited inside to see what lay beyond the doors/gates. It actually made me laugh just to envision you snapping away out there and just hoping someone would notice and invite you in! 🙂

    As far as Bernard B. Hughes, the most I can find on him is that he came to Toronto from Ireland and he and his brother, Patrick, started a dry goods business that (as far as I can tell) was housed in a building at the corner of Yonge and Melinda Streets. But who knows…..there’s not much info out there that I found so I could be way off base…..


    • Thanks Torrie. I did find that information. I’m assuming at some point he probably built this house except all the info on him relates to property much further west. Oh well.

      I did get a lot of strange looks from people walking on the street. I’m sure they were wondering what on earth I was up to 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m sure there was big money in that transformation! I’ve been quite fascinated by the before and after shots. On my future ventures to find heritage buildings, I think I’m going to be looking for more old photos!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember an actor by the name of Bernard Hughes. But when I looked him up, I found out he went by Barnard! Anyway, I prefer the Morticia Addams vibe to the house. Much more character.


    • The two versions of the house are quite different, aren’t they? I admit I thought the yellow brick was rather unusual. That’s not the colour of brick that was normally made in this area. Now I know it was refinished.


  8. This house and it’s door, gates,and windows are fantastic. Even in the older photo, a rather stately residence. And as you pointed out about the front door, it remained intact! It is simply but very, very pretty in a timeless way.


  9. Are you sure that wasn’t the Munster’s former home?

    That’s a lovely home, Joanne, and the iron gates are amazing. It appears you will have door material for years to come with so many “doorscursion” possibilities in Toronto.


  10. Morticia Addams – ha! 😀
    All kidding aside, though it is attractive that one could pass for a small funeral home don’t ya think?
    Overall this was a very productive doorscursion – nicely done.


  11. Lovely doors and gates, looks like a rather upmarket area given the size of those homes… ! Bernard Adams’s house has lost the Morticia vibe, I do agree. Lovely to see . I searched for your location as the houses remind me of my hometown in Cheshire town, Uk. A vast gulf between Toronto and Altrincham. Next time I go back I’ll post some doors/houses, you will see what I mean!


    • I guess I’m not surprised there is a great deal of similarity. This area of the city was built during the Victorian era by immigrants who were almost exclusively English and Scots.
      I would love to see photos from your hometown!


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