Animal House

It had the look of a haunted house – dark and forbidding.  The room beyond the ragged curtains in the window seemed to imply it was empty and abandoned.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885_

A woman walking by, however, stopped to talk to me as I took photos and informed me it was a fraternity associated with the University.  Odd, I thought.  Unlike its manicured neighbour next door, there was no visible signage.

Delta Upsilon

I later discovered it is the Theta Xi Chapter of the Zeta PSI Fraternity … the first fraternity in Canada dating back to 1879.  The Fraternity purchased this residence in 1885.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (6)

Students from both Ryerson and UofT (Toronto) call this frat house home.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (2)

In spite of all the winter-dead vines clinging to its sides, this is a gorgeous building with a impressive doorway to match. Not only is the main door a beauty, but when I ventured into the entrance way, I discovered there were also outer doors that had been propped open.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (4)Yes, I was feeling bold and brave enough to stomp right up to that front door.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (3)Unfortunately it wasn’t until I loaded the photo of the door into this post that I realized there was a sign taped onto the door.

I was too preoccupied with the Fraternity crest emblazoned on the window, and the overall *cool* factor of being in the entrance way, to actually notice and read the sign.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (5)

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (7)

This was an unexpected treasure found while on a random wandering around downtown where bits and pieces of history butt up against the new and modern.

Today’s post was inspired by Thursday Doors, a weekly photo feature hosted by the Grand Door Master – Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

Zeta PSI Frat 1885 (8)

The only clue as to the identity of this building was on a non-descript back door.

Disclaimer – the title of the post was chosen for entertainment value only and not intended to be a reflection on the behaviour of this fraternity or any its individual members.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Around Toronto, Photo Challenges, Random Stuff, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to Animal House

  1. Cecilia says:

    What an interesting old building! Very fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. reocochran says:

    The Haunted House is their fundraiser and not sure what the Chi Phi philanthropic project is, Joanne. This was a beautiful and ornate building, full of cool engravings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. reocochran says:

    It is funny since we have a huge, older fraternity house which holds a fundraiser for their designated philanthropic project, A Haunted House! The guys love their participation and the community finds this to be worthwhile and fun place for Halloween mischief.

    Like

  4. What a gorgeous building! It never ceases to amaze me at the wonderful gems you find, Joanne!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Like

  5. An amazing looking place – looks like a film set!

    Like

  6. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    Loved the post. I loved the images but I loved the picture in which we can see old and the new building side by side. Brilliant.

    Like

  7. I love these finds of yours! A fraternity! Geez seems a waste. Doubt they appreciate it.

    Like

  8. An impressive structure!! The pre-spring vines crawling over the building adds to the slight spookiness. Nice!

    Like

  9. I said, OOOH! when I saw the whole building. It’s beautiful. I love the turret, and little balcony, and that weathered door. You found a treasure here.

    Like

  10. Pistachios says:

    But the dead vines add to the ambience! (Looks like I might have a thing for that haha) If not for that second last photo, where you can see the modern building beside it, I could’ve believed this was from a distant time and place!
    And with doors like that, I’m glad you had the courage to walk right up to the entrance to get photos to share with us 🙂

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      That photo with the high rise in the background is one of my favourites. It’s one of the things I find really interesting about this city … the old intermingled with the new.
      Once upon a time, my eyes would have glazed over the old, but now it’s these fossils that have survived which capture my attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. bikerchick57 says:

    That’s a beautiful fraternity house, unlike some unsightly ones I’ve seen on local campuses. Love the brick and corner turret, but now I’m also curious about the sign.

    I wonder if there was anyone inside the house wearing a toga. Or singing the lyrics to “Shout.” Or trying to tap a keg. Or maybe they were all nice boys, studying hard and staying out of trouble..

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I wonder if that kind of stuff is really as popular as we think it is. From what I remember of university, it wasn’t very glamorous … but then again, I was poor, had no car, and was generally an outsider
      At this time of year, I think everyone’s focus is just on surviving finals.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Barbed Words says:

    Hahah, love the title! What a fabulous building.

    Like

  13. It does look like either a deserted or haunted house or both. Cool doors, too.

    janet

    Like

  14. I guess only the cool kids know…

    Like

  15. What a beautiful old building! I really envy all the historical buildings… um doors… you have to explore in your area.

    Like

  16. Donna says:

    Such a magnificent old building! I too would love to know what that sign says!!

    Like

  17. jesh stg says:

    I they would ask me to fix up this house, I would! It has beautiful “bones.” I especially love the tower like design on the corner. I wonder, if you see it it in the summer, it will probably be covered with ivy, and give a different impression:)

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      The tower is what attracted me in the first place … followed by the balcony over the door.
      If this lovely old residence was mine, I would want an office on the second floor of that tower with my desk overlooking the street. I’m sure that daily inspiration would be enough to make me a world renowned writer – or maybe a painter. I dream big. Why not? 😉

      Once all the ivy is filled in again, a lot of that wonderful detail will disappear … like those small leaded-glass windows on the sides of the entrance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesh stg says:

        That tower would be the perfect place for an office! You can never dream too big!! I dreamed to become a doctor, and own a house, and both came to pass. But I never dreamed to have a studio as big as a barn of 30x 40 feet. If you like to be a writer, many plots could happen in a house like this – you could be the next Agatha Christie! Be sure to leave me something to inherit:):)

        Like

  18. Heyjude says:

    You see, another beautiful building probably wasted on students… and I insist you go back and read that notice (probably says trespassers will be prosecuted 😉 )

    Like

  19. dennyho says:

    What did the paper sign say that was posted on the door? All trespassers are videotaped? HaHa!! Could not enlarge enough to read clearly. Such a nice, old building and doors.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I’ve tried to enlarge it too. You would think I would learn from my mistakes – this is not the first time!

      I picture a bunch of guys huddled around a computer screen wondering what on earth a geriatric old lady was doing on their door step taking photos.
      bwahahahaha! Let them wonder!
      … maybe I should start leaving a calling card … 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • dennyho says:

        Tell them you’re a blogger…they’ll feel important!!! Maybe even invite you in for more door photos. Well, that could get sketchy, maybe stick to outdoors. haha

        Like

        • Joanne Sisco says:

          I have occasionally been invited in when someone has seen me lurking about taking photos of their building. It’s always been an older woman though and I guess my vintage makes me non-threatening 🙂 They’re always intrigued when I say what I’m doing and now I’ve started carrying cards with my blog address on it.

          Not sure what I would do if it was a man though. I think the answer would be – it depends!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  20. Norm 2.0 says:

    Just gorgeous. It reminds me of a few I’ve seen in the “McGill Ghetto” but this one is MUCH bigger. It does look like a it could pass for a haunted house though.
    When I read that it was a frat house, my first thought was of the Toronto real-estate market and how no fraternity could ever afford a building like that there today. I wonder how they even keep up with the taxes on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Your thinking was along the same line as mine. This property has to be worth a fortune!
      I’m thinking that (1) this fraternity has a lot of money, (2) this fraternity is full of members who come from a lot of money.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a beautiful building Joanne. I’m guessing the sign says “Alcohol deliveries only!” – sorry, I’ll hop on your “i didn’t mean to offend” line. Love the doors and that gate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I feel like a failed as a blogger. I missed a critical piece of information that was staring at me in the face. You would think I would stop making the same mistake!

      If I had to guess, I think it has an ‘official’ look about it … overdue notice, missed delivery, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. JT Twissel says:

    I didn’t see any stacks of empty beer cans so it must have been a fairly respectable fraternity!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ally Bean says:

    That is a doozy of an old weird building with lots of creepy neat-o details. Nice find.

    Like

  24. joey says:

    Wonderful find! It really is a beauty, and very, very cool! Lots of ooh and ahh from me today, Joanne! I’d walk up to a frat house, too. I mean, what’re the odds they’ll find a door photographer inappropriate?!?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. conspicari says:

    Wow what a fantastic building, the colour and detail of that stonework. Herman Munster springs to mind :>))

    Like

  26. Christy B says:

    Such an amazing old building you found there!

    Like

  27. They certainly knew how to build elegant buildings in the past, didn’t they? Lovey photos.

    Like

  28. nrhatch says:

    I wonder if the frat house looks “friendlier” in the spring and summer?

    Like

  29. I’ve done this tour myself a few times, but have not posted photos. I find it a bit sad when ‘some’ of these beautiful buildings are virtually destroyed by the fraternities and sororities that occupy them. I say ‘some’, because there are many which are beautiful and very well maintained. I wonder, given the insane housing market in Toronto, how many millions these properties are now worth?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Joe says:

    What a beautiful structure and images Joanne 😀 It does indeed remind me of that classic movie Animal House !

    Like

  31. What a beautiful house. When I was in college the frat houses were all big beautiful buildings – some in better condition than others. I drank my share on beer in those places. Ha ha. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I went to a very small university and I don’t believe there were any fraternities there. The concept is still rather foreign to me.
      Yeah, I drank my fair share of beer in university too. I think it’s a rite of passage 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Lynn says:

    What a beautiful old building. I imagine it holds some very colourful stories to be told, or many best left untold!

    Like

  33. Now I want to know what the sign says. Go back, you must! Though the sign is probably gone now… That is a gorgeous building, I think it would host some interesting events.

    Like

  34. Helen C says:

    Good morning, Joanne. What a nice house! It reminds me of a couple of houses I saw in Minneapolis. We used to drive around looking at those houses. In fact, we still do. It brings me to many years ago, and I like feeling that way once in a while. 😉
    Have a great day.

    Like

  35. This architecture is spectacular! It’s crazy to think that the fraternity has owned the building for that many years! 🙂

    Like

  36. fabulous old home – I wonder what the interior is like? I don’t imagine that it has survived intact if it is a fraternity house, but I can hope.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Just based on the curtains hanging in the windows, I’m thinking the interior is hurting.
      I look at a place like this and can easily fantasize about moving in and making it shine 🙂

      Like

  37. What an interesting building. I love the balcony above the door. I wonder how old it is.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      The balcony over the door caught my eye too. I imagine that, like me, you can envision moving into a place like this 🙂

      I read that the residence was purchased in 1885, but I don’t know when exactly it was constructed. I can’t find it on my list of heritage buildings, but I’m hoping it will show up.

      Like

  38. loisajay says:

    Ha! But Animal House is perfect! That was the first thing I thought of before I even read your title. I would love to see this building in the summer when the vines are all green.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      When all the greenery fills in, the ‘bones’ of a building tends to disappear. I’m sure I will have reasons to be back in this area in the summer. There are so many interesting buildings to explore 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • loisajay says:

        You have given me a wonderful tour of your area of Canada. I am enjoying this.

        Like

        • Joanne Sisco says:

          Thanks 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying it. There is just so much going on in this city, there’s rarely a week that goes by when I don’t heard about something new that I have to add to my list.
          … and then there are the things I’d like to revisit.
          Soooo much to do! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s