On 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 grant.

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.