After remaining unused for many years, Phillips House now has a new life as North York General Hospital’s centre that provides outpatient mental health care for children and adolescents. The property is located north of the hospital at Sheppard and Leslie.
While the house and grounds, designed by Mathers and Haldenby Architects and Edwin Kay, Landscape Architect was originally built for Frederick Martin Connell in 1937, it became synonymous with Colonel W. Eric Phillips. Colonel Phillips served in the British Army during World War I before becoming a prominent businessman first in Oshawa and then Toronto. Phillips purchased the property in 1945, using it to conduct business and entertain associates. The property was one of many country homes in this part of the city, owned by Toronto’s business leaders of the time, collectively referred to as the Bayview Estates.
Over time, Phillips himself subdivided portions of the property for development, which moved forward rapidly with the improvement of the local road network following the creation of the Metropolitan Toronto government in 1953. In 1965, following the death of Colonel Phillips, North York General Hospital purchased the remaining thirteen-acre property from his estate at the same time as the new hospital was being designed.
As heritage consultants, ERA contributed to the brief and was an advisor to the jury for a limited design competition which resulted in the selection of Montgomery Sisam Architects to lead the design team. ERA then worked with the team to secure heritage approvals and modernize the structure for continued use by North York General Hospital, while conserving the majority of the heritage attributes of the building and some landscape features of the property. Alterations included a new addition and modifications to the existing entrance to support universal accessibility.
With its conservation and reuse, North York General Hospital has reimagined how to provide mental health care in Phillips House, a serene space to promote healing and well-being.