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About The Foundation

The Thornhill Heritage Foundation was founded in 2009 to own and maintain assets deemed to be of significant heritage, historic, cultural importance, or of major financial value

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About The Robert West House

The Robert West Heritage House, as 7780 Yonge Street is known, is the only house in Thornhill to be continuously inhabited by the same family since it was built. Robert Arthur West (1816 - 1884), an English immigrant, came to Upper Canada in the 1830s. 

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About Mrs. Keith

Katherine Louisa Keith (nee West) was born in Toronto in 1912. She was the great grandaughter of Robert West and became his last living descendent.

 

In 2008, with her advancing age, she decided that the best way to ensure that the house was preserved was to donate it 
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About Mrs. Keith

Katherine Louisa Keith (nee: West) was born in Toronto in 1912. She was the great grandaughter of Robert West and became his last living descendent.

 

The Robert West House fell into disrepair in the 30's and early 40's. In 1945, Mrs Keith decided to make it liveable again. In 1946, she started residing there in the Summertime. In 1949, she made it her full-time residence.

 

In 2008, with her advancing age, she decided that the best way to ensure that the house was preserved was to donate it to an appropriate organization. As a result, the Thornhill Heritage Foundation was formed. In July 2009, the transfer of the house and the property to the new Foundation was completed. Mrs. Keith continued to live in the house until her death in April 2011.


 

Detailed Chronology of her Life

1912 Oct 30 Her father worked for Toronto Star; her grandfather Robert West ran a general store in Toronto at Davenport and New Street
1934 Graduated in Household Science from University College, University of Toronto.
1943 Married Gordon Davie – 100 years to the day of the marriage of her great grandfather (Robert West). She started to check out status of the house in Thornhill that had fallen into disrepair.
1945 She decided to make the old West house in Thornhill livable again for weekends.
1946 She started to reside in West house in Thornhill as a summer location.
1949 moved into house in Thornhill on a permanent basis
1950 Jan 25 Thornhill Hotel Fire. This hotel was across Yonge Street from Mrs. West's house. It was a devastating fire that destroyed this Thornhill landmark, an important piece of Thornhill's history. She coordinated a support group supplying coffee & services to firemen and policemen while the fire was being fought.
1954 Oct 15 Hurricane Hazel. Her ‘most scary day and night of suspense’ in Thornhill. She stayed up all night to assist people stranded when the bridge went out on Yonge Street over the East Don River. Her husband Gordon rescued men who drove into the surging waters of the river as they did not know bridge had fallen into the water. They provided shelter for several people who could not make it home. 
1969 May 22 The West house was opened as part of a walking tour program.
1971 The West House was included in the Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings.
1975 Her husband Gordon became the President of the Thornhill Lions Club. Louisa became very active in the auxilliary and scoial activities.
1977 First Thornhill Village Festival.She created a display of goods & records from the Robert West store in Thornhill. She started an annual habit of wearing period clothing to theFestival, including the red & black outfit that belonged to her great aunt. 

She wrote an article “We Came to Thornhill” for the centennial project of the Junior League of Toronto.
1980 Her husband,Gordon Davie died. She was most upset but felt she could continue to live in Thornhill as it was this special place for her.
1981 The West House & property was designated as an important heritage location by the Town of Vaughan under the Ontario Heritage Act.
1982 July 3 Louisa married Judge Donald Allayne Keith. He was a judge in Ontario's High Court of Justice from 1967 until 1986. 
1989 Sep 22 Judge Keith died.
2008 Nov The Ontario Heritage Trust obtained an easement on the West House property. This helps to recognize the heritage value of the property and helps to protect it for the future.
2009 July 3 The Robert West House and property was donated to the Thornhill Heritage Foundation.
2011 Apr 11 Mrs. Keith died at her home.
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                Judge Donald Allayne Keith

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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