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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Home History: 15 Brookmount Road

By John Ellis

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15 Brookmount, a credit to the streetscape of attractive homes on the street, is owned by Keith and Erika Schengili-Roberts with their children, Vanessa and Annie, who have lived there for over 10 years. In addition to his busy career as a Manager at computer chip manufacturer AMD and as a lecturer at the University of Toronto’s iSchool, Keith manages to squeeze in his role as a BTRA Director, Editor of the Triangle Topics newsletter, and Webmaster. Erika is a freelance sound recordist in the film industry, and has worked on such feature films as Good Will Hunting, Finding Forester and The Incredible Hulk.

The exterior of this home is pretty much as it has been for almost one hundred years of its exist78ence. The interior, however, has had extensive renovation including removal of interior walls on the ground floor to reveal an open plan from the front door to the patio doors at the back. Its kitchen has also been completely renovated, and about a dozen years ago a previous owner added a two-story extension that added a second-floor office and created a cosy sun-room adjacent to the kitchen on the first floor. Original touches can still be seen, with century-old rich brown gumwood trim and stairwell bannister greeting the visitor when entering the home, and old Edwardian-style cast iron radiators still keeping the house warm a century after first being installed.

The first owner in the Assessment Roles appeared in 1914: Edward Jennings, 54 years of age and listed as a “Salesman” (although Census records show him as a “Tentmaker”). 15 Brookmount was then valued at $3,875. Five residents are listed, who would have been Edward, his wife and the three children.

Edward George Jennings was the second child of Patrick and Annorah Jennings, born 25 March 1861 in Ireland but the 1871 England Census found the family in Lancaster, Lancashire. In about 1890 he married Margaret Swanton who was born 23 October 1862 to William and Elizabeth Swanton. In 1891, Edward and Margaret immigrated to Canada. They lived at 29 Wickson Avenue and 60 Bleeker Street, where their children were born: Elizabeth Florence (8 January 1892), Edward W. (15 February 1894), and Stanley Alexander (8 February 1897). Margaret worked as a Clerk. The 1911 Canada Census shows them to be still on Bleeker, so they might have moved to Brookmount in 1913 or 1914. The Jennings family was Methodist (later United Church).

The Assessment Roles, examined from 1912 to 1919, indicate that the whole family lived there until at least 1919, when total residents decreased to three – probably Edward G., Margaret and Stanley who was then 20. The others had probably moved on. In 1916, Stanley enlisted in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, 248th Battalion. He was 19 years old and a Student. On 4 September 1920, Edward and Margaret’s son, Edward W., married Isobel Belleau. Both were 26 years old.

On 18 February 1935 Margaret Jennings of 15 Brookmount died, at age 72, and was buried at St. John’s Norway Cemetery. The Informant on the Registration of Death certificate was her son, Stanley, then living at 80 Glen Manor Road. This suggests that her husband, Edward George, had passed sometime between 1920 and 1935.

The last record found for the family was a Passenger Log for H.M.S. Saxonia showing that Stanley and Beatrice Jennings (probably Stanley’s wife) sailed from Montreal to England for a two-month stay at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London. This suggests that Stanley Jennings had become a diplomat of some standing.

Thus ends a fascinating journey through the early history of 15 Brookmount Road.