Plaqued Houses and Buildings
376 Douglas Avenue - The Thomas P. Thornton House
Mr. Thornton founded a publishing company in Toronto
Property Details:
The first owner of this house at 376 Douglas Street, Thomas P. Thornton, was born in 1857 in Woolwich, Kent, England. He arrived in Toronto in 1883 and began working in the printing business. In 1889 he married Alice McLeod and together they had six children. The family relocated to Oakville in 1908 and purchased Lots 5, 7 and 9 in Block 42 on the east side of Trafalgar Road between Palmer Avenue and Freestone Lane. There first Oakville home is now 217 Trafalgar Road. They bought the lot on Douglas Avenue in the Brantwood Survey in 1913, just on the eve of the First World War. As was the case with many of the houses in the area, because of the scarcity of building materials and manpower, their house wasn't completed until 1920. We haven't yet determined where they lived between selling their property on Trafalgar Road and moving into their new home on Douglas.

Tragedy struck in 1922, when Alice died of a perforated ulcer. The family remained in Oakville, but by 1930, as Thomas aged, and with his trip into Toronto possibly taking its toll, he purchased another house in Toronto. The house in Oakville was retained though, likely as a respite from busy city life. He moved to his Toronto home shortly before passing away in 1939. In 1944 the house on Douglas Ave. was sold by the executors of his estate.

In 2011 this property was placed on the Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in response to an earlier request for demolition.

The Printing Business

Thomas began his foray into the printing business while still in England. His first employment after landing in Toronto was with publishers Hunter, Rose & Co. Several years later, in 1894, a partnership was formed with Francis J. Dudgeon and the newly formed publishing company was named "Dudgeon & Thornton". Sir John A. Macdonald was a close friend of Thomas and a client. At the time, Macdonald was President of Manufacturers Life Insurance.

Interestingly, the family lived next door to Ronald Hart who owned a stationery business in Toronto called Hart & Co., manufacturers and wholesalers of books, stationery and pocket books. Having the written word in common, they may have conducted business together.

In 1934, Thomas' son Goldwyn (Goldie) followed him into the business and it became T. P. Thornton & Sons. Goldie took over the business in 1938, renaming it G. M. Thornton & Son. Goldwyn had married Helen, daughter of Charles Doty of Oakville, in 1920 and they lived in Oakville until relocating to the Rosedale suburb of Toronto. Goldie's son Charles took over the business in 1972 and since 1996 it has been run by Charles' son Bruce who is the fourth generation of the family to be involved.

GM Thornton Print Management is still in business today. (Some of the information and pictures have been sourced from the GM Thornton Print Management Website)
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376 Douglas Street House376 Douglas Street House
376 Douglas Street Plaque376 Douglas Street Plaque
Thomas P Thornton, FounderThomas P Thornton, Founder
Thomas P Thornton, ObituaryThomas P Thornton, Obituary
Goldwyn M ThorntonGoldwyn M Thornton
Charles P ThorntonCharles P Thornton
Composing Room 1938Composing Room 1938
Composing Room, 1910Composing Room, 1910