But the historic street is facing a new round of challenges. Within the next two years, a consortium led by developer Diamondcorp is expected to break ground on The Well, a three-hectare (7.7-acre) project adjacent to homes on the east side of Draper extending east to Spadina Ave. and running from Front Street north to Wellington Street
This little strip of just 28 Victorian houses near Bathurst and Front St. could well be the city’s most closely-knit micro-community — precisely because it’s endured so many surrounding upheavals (the arrival of factories back when; towering condominiums now) without ever losing its core, its heart.
So unique and relatively unchanged are the Victorian houses on Draper, despite decades of development around them, that in the late 1990s residents managed to get the entire street designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, which means pages and pages of guidelines of what can and cannot be done to properties so steeped in history.
The future site of Draper Street, which runs one way from Front Street West to Wellington Street West, first appears on a map in 1833. It didn’t yet have a name or building lots, but it was the start of what has become a carefully preserved district to reflect what Toronto looked like in the late 19th century.
attractive homes are located on Draper Street, which was named after William Henry Draper (1801-1877), a jurist and politician, as well as the Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1863 to 1869. His portrait in oils hangs outside the library of Osgoode Hall. The land occupied by Draper Street, once a part of the military reserve attached to Fort York, was annexed to the city in the 1830s. It appears on the city’s maps in the year 1857, though the exact year it was cut through the woods is unknown. In the 1880s, when houses were constructed, it became a working man’s community, unlike Wellington Place at its north end.