Plaqued Houses and Buildings
Address:
383 Douglas Avenue - Alexander Peake House
Summary:
Alexander Peake was born in 1877 in Twickenham, Middlesex, England and was the son of Henry Peake, a chemist and druggist who ran a shop in town.
Property Details:
Alexander Peake was born in 1877 in Twickenham, Middlesex, England and was the son of Henry Peake, a chemist and druggist who ran a shop in town. Alexander chose his career of photography at an early age, and his interest may have arisen from the various photographers who would have visited his father's shop to buy the chemicals necessary to develop their glass plates.

In 1904 Alexander emigrated to Toronto and in 1906 married Ada Bell. They settled in the Junction area where he continued to ply his trade as photographer with a shop at 75 King St. East, a stone's throw from the bustling St. Lawrence Market. His first impression of Toronto would be the aftermath of the Great Toronto Fire that struck the city a few months before his arrival, and only steps away from his shop.

In 1915, with a growing family, Alexander purchased the lot at 383 Douglas Avenue in Oakville and in 1917 was granted a mortgage by Miles Franklin Fish in the amount of $2,500 to build his house which was completed in 1918. They raised two daughters, Kathleen and Esme and lived a comfortable existence in Oakville with Alexander travelling into Toronto each day where by this time he had partnered with William Whittingham to form "Peake & Whittingham, Commercial Photographers", located at 159 Elm Street. (In the photo of the photography studio, William Whittingham is behind the camera and his son, Ted, is arranging the product display). Over the years they were prolific photographers in a growing city and their fonds can be found at the Toronto Archives.

In 1935, during the middle of the depression, Alexander's mortgage holder Miles Fish died and the mortgage was passed along to his children who were the beneficiaries. In 1939, the outstanding mortgage was called in and the Peake family lost their house. In 1941 the Fish beneficiaries sold it to Angus Miller.

The family moved back to Toronto and lived on Fairlawn Avenue. Eventually, Alexander retired in 1953 after a very successful career in photography in both Canada and his native England for over 50 years. He and his wife Ada relocated to St. Thomas, Ontario. Alexander died in 1962 and is buried in St. Thomas alongside his wife Ada and their two daughters Kathleen and Esme.
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383 Douglas Avenue Plaque383 Douglas Avenue Plaque
Peake and Whittingham StudioPeake and Whittingham Studio