If you have just joined the Glendon community, you may have missed the magical “makeover” of Glendon Hall this spring. Our beautiful but rather run-down Italian-style mansion, dating from the 1920s, was the mammoth renovation and design project of the Junior League of Toronto (JLT) for 2004.
A number of recent publications, including the Sept. 30th issue of the Toronto Star (p. J6), the October issues of Canadian House and Home and YorkU magazines, as well as the Glendon Magazine (2004) featured the details of this amazing project and illustrated Glendon Hall’s transformation and beautification with many glittering photos.
It’s not hard to understand all this fascination – everybody loves a makeover, right? – from dingy neglect to sparkling elegance. The JLT undertakes these projects (Glendon was their seventh) once every four years in order to rescue historic, architecturally significant buildings in need of renovation. They do it for free and for a good cause.
How does it work? The JLT volunteers coordinate the entire project. At Glendon Hall, each of the 48 spaces: bedrooms, patios, gardens, reception rooms, sunroom, etc., were redesigned by individual designer groups, who carried the project from conception to execution, including furniture and all the trimmings. When the work was completed - in just eight weeks! - the JLT put on some gala receptions, special fundraiser events, and also opened the building to the public for an entrance fee.
The good cause? All the money, collected through these events and the open house, was donated to the Pathways to Education™ Program, run by the Regent Park Community Centre, helping residents in this disadvantaged area of the city succeed in high school, and access post-secondary education. One evening of the Showhouse was generously reserved by the Junior League for a fundraiser towards an entrance scholarship to Glendon, with preference for a candidate from the Pathways to Education™ Program.
An added bonus for Glendon was reconnecting with a number of our alumni who participated in the Showhouse project, including several of the designers and one of the coordinators of Pathways to Education.
At the end of the Showhouse, the designers removed much of the furniture and accessories, but the wall- and floor-coverings, some of the lighting, the beautifully repaired parquet floor and ceiling friezes – anything that is an integral part of the building itself - remained for all of us at Glendon to benefit from and enjoy.
Have you missed the Glendon Hall Showhouse? You can still get a good idea of this great transformation by clicking on the amazing “before and after” shots attached to this article. It’s almost like being there.
By Marika Kemeny, Glendon’s Communications Officer