Coach Houses of Toronto


168 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55046-427-2
DDC 728'.9




Photos by Donna Griffith
Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



One is now a bicycle museum, one houses a publishing company, another is
a B&B, two are children’s playhouses; most are residences for artists,
professionals, or businesspeople. In total, Salnek and Griffith
introduce us to 22 of Toronto’s many surviving coach houses.

They were built between c. 1850 and 1930. The earlier ones were
originally used to house horses and horse-drawn carriages and had horse
stalls, feed bins, haylofts and, usually, an apartment for the head
groom. A cupola for ventilation and doors large enough to let a coach be
driven inside were part of the distinctive architecture. The latter ones
started life as garages for “horseless carriages” and included
living quarters for the chauffeur.

The coach houses selected for inclusion in the book represent a span of
architectural styles (Edwardian, Tudor, Victorian, English cottage,
Georgian Revival, etc.). All have been either restored or renovated,
with changes necessary to accommodate modern requirements for lighting,
plumbing, and heating. Typically, haylofts have become bedroom suites
and the carriage floor and stalls have been converted to living rooms,
dining rooms, and kitchens.

For each house, there is at least one photo of the exterior (including
the gardens) and brief notes on its history. This is followed by a
photographic tour of the interior, with detailed captions pointing out
features of architectural interest and decorating highlights. The short
text forms a framework for the generous quantity of high-quality colour
plates that constitute the bulk of the work. It’s a visual feast,
capturing the historical roots, current interior decoration, lush
gardens, and varied personalities of the homes. Homeowners and students
of interior decoration will find it a fascinating study.


Salnek, Margo., “Coach Houses of Toronto,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,