his second visit to Canada in 1827, William Duncan, a successfully
prosperous linen merchant from Ireland, purchased his first 200
acres of land at Sheppard and Dufferin Crossroads. A well connected
marriage to Sarah Mullholland, provided further acquisition of
land in the area. William and Sarah Duncan had 12 children who
were well educated and at the age of majority each received 200
acres of land. In the case of David Duncan, his parcel of land
was purchased in 1848 by his father, and located at Don Mills
South of York Mills in close proximity to his grandfather Mullholland's
Inheriting his father's resourcefulness and business acumen, David
Duncan thrived on the land. He imported Jersey cattle- of particular
significance as only wealthy land barons could afford this breed
of cattle. David Duncan built a prominent dairy farm on "Moatfield"
to serve the growing town of Toronto. His brother Henry owned
the farm nearby and the Don Mills and York Mills junction fittingly
became known as "Duncan's Corners." In 1865 William
Duncan commissioned The David Duncan House be built for his son
David. A highly fashionable Gothic style was selected for "Moatfield"
and reflected the elaborate decor and romanticism of Gothic architecture.
It remains a classic Ontario Gothic farmhouse, typical of the
"gingerbread" style and the last of its kind in the
City of North York. Its beauty prompted renowned architectural
historian Eric Arthur to describe it as an example of "Victorian
elegance and whimsy."
Today, this family tradition lives on through the spirit of hospitality
and architectural excellence found at The David Duncan House.