Item RG 114.38 - Oakham House dogs

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Oakham House dogs

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  • Multiple media

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RG 114.38

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • ca. 1850 - 2010 (Creation)
    Thomas, William, 1799-1860

Physical description area

Physical description

2 cast iron dogs
4 pp. of textual records

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Custodial history

Two cast iron Chesapeake Bay Retriever dogs, one male one female, were commissioned by architect William Thomas and cast at the iron works Toronto company, Phoenix Foundry, owned by John McGee. Originally they were of a red hue and were designed to hitch horses in front of Thomas's home, Oakham House (1848), on Church Street at Gould Street, Toronto.

Thomas lived in the house until his death in 1860 when the aforementioned John McGee purchased it. After a few more owners, including it being run as a boarding house, the house and the dogs were sold in 1899 to the Society for Working Boys - a charity for disadvantaged boys. With an addition built to the back of the original house, the building was run as the Working Boys' Home for almost 60 years until Ryerson Institute of Technology acquired it in late 1958. However, the dogs had moved with the boys to their new location on Montcrest Blvd and it was not until 1982 that Ryerson Polytechnical Institute was able to claim the dogs and move them back to Oakham House where they belonged. The Toronto Historical Board wanted the pair to be mounted in their historical place in the front of the house; however, in the interest of protecting them, the dogs resided inside until the University Archives adopted them in 2010.

Scope and content

  • Two cast iron retriever dogs.
  • Textual records includes correspondence and related material to the "Name the Dogs" contest held by the Archives to celebrate the Dog's move to the Archive holdings.

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Open. Records are available for consultation without restriction.

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No further accruals are expected.

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