April 2002, the "Boxer
the corner of Islington (formerly Seventh
Street) and Birmingham Streets, was designated as
an historical building under the Ontario Heritage Act. It is the oldest surviving industrial building
in New Toronto.
The building started as the new McDonald's Stamping
Works. In 1889, Thomas McDonald, a Toronto industrialist,
formed the Mimico Real Estate and Security Company, who purchased 550 acres of
Etobicoke farmland, and financed the construction of ten factories, including
the McDonald's Stamping Works building. Mr. McDonald moved his stamping
works from Sherbourne
Street in Toronto
to the new building. The MacDonald Stamping Works part of the building is
shown to the left. (This is currently the middle part of the building along Islington Avenue, that stands today).
It is the Islington Avenue
façade of the McDonald
Building that is
historically significant because of its Romanesque Revival style with
contrasting brick and stone detailing, round-arched window openings and buff
I found a biography of a Mr. Thomas
McDonald, pictured on the left, on a personal family genealogy site, who
died in Montreal
in 1897. The biography clearly indicates that this is the same Mr.
McDonald who started the Mimico Real Estate & Security Company.
In 1896, both the Stamping Works and Mimico Real Estate went
bankrupt. The building was then occupied by the Grocer Manufacturing
Company and subsequently, Imperial Soap Company.
1903 to 1908, the building was purchased by the Robert Menzie
Wallpaper Company (aka Menzie's
Wallpaper). (What's interesting here, is
that the Feb 10th, 1905 edition of the Toronto Star discusses the opening of
the Canada Brass Rolling Mills (Brown's Brass?) and lists R.E. Menzie as the managing director of the mill. Same guy with his fingers in a few pots?)
In 1908, the Reg. N. Boxer Company bought the company and
expanded the building. (The McDonald Stamping Works building is alongside
while the expanded Reg. N. Boxer building fronts along Birmingham Street).
The 1927 Toronto City Directory lists the company as
"Manufacturers and Importers of paper hangings" with Reginald N.
Boxer as President & Manager, Frederick G. Hanson
as Vice President and Frank M. Hulbig as Secretary
In 1927, the Boxer Company formed part of the Canadian
Wallpaper Manufacturer's Limited, although they continued to use the name until
1959. The CWM operated until 1978, when they became Sunworthy
and moved to a facility in Brampton.
The building was purchased by Danbel, manufacturers
of electrical fixtures. As of 2001, the building was owned by Noma Company, and is currently up for sale/lease.
has a photograph of the Boxer building in 1910 displayed in their
"Villages" exhibit. I took a picture of the photograph, shown below.
(Sharon Kettlewell was able to provide me a close up of the people in the
picture). One of her relatives, John T.
Kettlewell was a longtime Boxer employee.
was also able to provide with a photograph of his 25 year service medallion
(shown below). John retired in 1947 with
39 years of service. To the right is the
same front of the building along Birmingham
Street (before all the current road construction
started). The building is currently up