Graydon Hall Manor
Upon entering the walled court yard of Graydon Hall Manor, the true
size and scope of the property inspires, while the porte-cochere
welcomes guests and leads them into the mansion, offering a glimpse
of the grandeur inspired by the grand staircase. The reception room
hints of the garden fasade inviting guests to experience the formal
gardens. A 160 foot-long balustrade stone terrace wraps the length and
the west side of the mansion, overlooking the cascading fountains and
the formal gardens in the backdrop. The elegantly designed dining
room extends from the reception room to welcome discriminating
diners with plush furnishings, ornate mouldings, sunny bay windows,
and charming fireplaces. After mingling, dining, and entertaining, one
can retreat to the warmth and intimacy of the library, begging the
company of cigar and cognac enthusiasts.
Graydon Hall History
ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY OF GRAYDON HALL MANOR
(Scale model created by W.W. Weeks in 1936, here shown with a view from the west)
Architects Allan George and Walter Moorehouse built Graydon House at the cost of $250,000 in 1936. The 29-room Georgian manor was 130 feet (39.62 meters) long house and 50 feet (15.24 meters) wide.
The terraces, garden walls, auxiliary buildings, including the lodge, were built of the same variegated fieldstone as the house. This fieldstone matched the texture and colors of fieldstone of farmhouses in the area. The window trim, balustrades, port-cochere and the courtyard fountain were made of imported Indiana limestone.
(view from the south)
Interior Designer, R. Marcum Slimon designed the rooms of the manor.
Dunnington-Grubb and Stensson designed the innovative landscaping and original gardens.
George Cumming laid out the private, 9-hole golf course
Rupert Bain boasted that he would create a sportsmans paradise. The estate included a park, a race track, lodge house, stables for raising champion race horses which housed more than 30 thoroughbreds at its peak, polo ponies and a large kennel facility for raising hunting dogs. The property also included a large original farmhouse that pre-dated the manor.
Florence Wyle, a close friend of Lorrie Dunnington-Grubb, designed the sculpture for the central fountain in the garden, which features a lady kneeling, holding a bowl. The fountain is now part of the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Bain selected the location for the house to be built on the brow of a hill, commanding an extensive view across the valley and surrounding country. The house was built on a very linear axis, which followed the natural direction of the slope. The architects and landscape designers incorporated the shape of the terrain in an innovative way into the layout of the
estate. The 1938 Canadian Homes and Gardens article describes the attention to orientation and axis:
Orientation has been studied with care. The garden front faces south-southeast, so as to give full sun to the gardens while securing protection from northwest winds, and permitting use of a shady terrace in the late afternoon. Seclusion of all garden parts has been achieved. The designers have planned their pictures carefully, and have taken precautions that they should be viewed from the most advantageous angle. Thus, there is no access to the gardens except through the house, none of their beauty is visible as he drives up the long avenue to the entrance court and port-cochere. . . the house dominates its gardens and views, and occupies its position with grace and dignity. . .
To the east of the fountain courtyard, two small buildings framed a lawn divided by a long canal with flowing water. These buildings likely housed the pumps for the water that flowed from this point down the slope of the property for a total of five acres in a continuing series of cascading fountains and pools: Beginning at the two little buildings- Running down the canal- Down into a small waterfall framed by stairs- Supplying the courtyard fountain-
Continuing into a pond- From then on running down a series of connecting pools as a man-made waterway, spotted with landings and rock gardens for over four more acres.
Henry Rupert Bain is born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, son of Scottish doctor, Hugh Bain and Florence Clarke Bain.
After the death of Rupert's father, the Bain family moves to Toronto, when Rupert is five years old.
At the age of 25, Bain sets up his own brokerage firm, H.R. Bain and Company, dealing in municipal and corporate bonds.
Bain switches H.R. Bain and Company to financing mining, becoming the first broker to promote gold stocks during the Depression. Bain successfully finances the Pickle Crow mine by raising confidence and large sums of money from investors all over Ontario, which makes him very wealthy.
On June 19 th, 1934, Bain purchases 100 acres of farmland, the parcel labeled as Lot 12, 3 rd Concession east of Yonge on the 1878 Crown Grant map. The cost of the purchase is estimated at $75,000. Bain begins to develop the land into an estate.
Bain retains Allan George and Walter Moorehouse to build Graydon House at the cost of $250,000. The 29-room Georgian manor is constructed of fieldstone with fine Indiana limestone trim.
Interior Decorator, R. Marcum Slimon assembles the furniture and creates the interior to Bain's request.
Dunnington-Grubb and Stensson design and plants the original gardens.
The estate has stables for raising race horses, and kennels for raising hunting dogs. A private, 9-hole golf course is laid out by designer, George Cumming.
Bain commissions Florence Wyle, a close friend of Lorrie Dunnington-Grubb, to design a sculpture for the central fountain in the garden, which features a lady kneeling, holding a bowl. The fountain is now part of the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Graydon House becomes a center for high society life, regular socialite gatherings including the Eglinton Hunt Club, debut parties, and a yearly New Year's Eve gala.
Famous visitors during the heyday of Graydon Hall included Katharine Hepburn, Vivian Leigh, and Mary Pickford, who was actually a childhood friend of Aileen Bain.
Bain purchases an additional 50 acres adjoining the north end of the estate from Stafford Watson. As a gesture, Bain offers this land as a site for a private residence to the King and Queen in anticipation of their visit in the following year.
In May, Graydon House is featured in Canadian Homes and Gardens.
Bain sells off the first part of the property to local land developer, and neighbor, E.P. Taylor. This 50 acre parcel included the polo field and race track, the kennels, and the stables for the horses.
Shortly after divorcing his wife, Aileen, and marrying the ex-wife of his friend, Reginald Watkins, Bain sells the parcel of the property with the house itself, now called Graydon Hall Manor, to Nelson Morgan Davis, president of Intercity Forwarders. Davis takes possession of the house and property on September 1 st.
In October, Bain suffers a cerebral hemorrhage as a result of a horse-riding accident in Mexico.
Henry Rupert Bain dies on March 25 th, at 54 years of age.
Nelson Morgan Davis sells Graydon Hall Manor to Normco Limited and Combo Construction for over one million dollars. Normco develops the land to build apartments and condominiums, with Peter Pocklington, Peel Elder Limited.