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Legends of Leslie Street: The Edward Brammer House (1856)

As you go north up Leslie Street, did you ever wonder about the large house with the white picket fence surrounding it, close to the Vince’s grocery store? Well, wonder no more, as today’s post is about this very structure, known as the Brammer House.

The Brammers were a well-respected family in Sharon during the 19th century. The patriarch of the family, Edward Brammer, was born in 1811 in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England. He emigrated to Canada in 1830 and settled in Sharon, becoming a blacksmith in the community, and accumulating sizable wealth. He became involved in the 1837 Rebellion and the subsequent march down Yonge Street; he was even put in jail for his role in the uprising.

However, that must not have affected his wealth, as he had enough money to buy a mill in Sharon. In 1856, he commissioned a local architect living in Sharon, John Thomas Stokes, to build him a grand Georgian Revival style house using bricks from a nearby kiln. You will note the contrasting brick designs over the windows, as well as the large 3x3 glass paned windows. It is likely that the front porch portico and pillars at the front door was a later addition to the house.

Figure 1: Frontal view of the Brammar house, facing Leslie Street (19027 Leslie Street).

Inside is just as grand as the outside, complete with 9 ½ foot ceilings, archways, high-trim moulding, and a grand staircase reflecting his status as a country gentleman. The back of the house was used as the servant’s quarters, complete with a separate staircase. One of the previous owners of the house notes that, “usually, you would expect tiny rooms… but this home was built with luxuries. There isn’t a living room, but there is a grand parlour and a huge working kitchen. The pantry is the size of a small kitchen.”[1]

This house is also known as the “Doctor’s House” or “Dr. Bruel’s house”. In fact, Mary Byers notes in her book that at the back part of the house “[scratched] into the brick wall at the rear of the house are dates, recipes, and signatures of various occupants over the years.”[2] It is also interesting to note that old bottles, pestles, and mortars have been found in the house, likely in a midden, or trash pit, in the rear of the property.

Today, though, the building is now divided and used for several different commercial enterprises, including an equestrian fashion shop, mortgage consultants, a tax accounting firm, and more.

Do you have any memories of visiting this house (by going to visit the doctor, perhaps)? Let us know in the comment section below!

[1] [2] Byers, M., Kennedy, J., McBurney, M. & The Junior League of Toronto (1976). Rural Roots: Pre-Confederation Buildings of the York Region of Ontario. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press. 163.

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