Ridley’s Funeral Home
Ridley’s Funeral Home has been a long standing business in New Toronto. It started off as W.E. Baycroft and Sons. An interesting article in The Advertiser mentioning Baycroft is noted to the left.
Below is the history of the funeral home, reprinted by permission from Ridley’s Funeral Home: Please visit their website at: www.RidleyFuneralHome.com.
Ridley Funeral Home was the first funeral home in the area, and has been an integral part of the Lake Shore Community in southern Etobicoke since it was opened by the Baycroft family in 1921.
It originally consisted of a converted farmhouse with the addition of a small chapel alongside. Art Ridley and his family purchased the Baycroft family business, known as Errol Baycroft and Son, in the summer of 1947. The funeral home continued to operate under the Baycroft name until 1953 when Frank Nill, his wife Marion, and son George joined Art. Frank and Art knew each other during the time Art operated the then Ridley Funeral Home in Brighton, Ontario. Art Ridley encouraged Frank to pursue his Funeral Director’s License, and Frank in turn encouraged him to change the name of the business to “Arthur B. Ridley Ridley Funeral Home, circa 1960Funeral Home.”
Four years later in 1957 Art Ridley decided he wanted to move out west and Frank and his family purchased the funeral home on October 1, 1957. Frank loved working with the diverse community he had adopted as his own and soon realized that as the community grew, the funeral home’s facilities also needed to grow in order to better serve the needs of the community.
In 1961, Frank was joined by his son George, who had by then completed his graduate work at the Banting Institute and was licensed to provide funeral service to the community. The year 1961 also marked the beginning of numerous renovations and additions to the existing building. Additional office space and visitation areas were added that year, and in 1963 a larger selection room and receiving area was also added. A new coffee lounge and washrooms were added in 1965 and 1967 saw extensive redecorating and the installation of central air conditioning.
The warm weather in 1972 heralded the start of new construction at the Ridley Funeral Home. A new 150 seat chapel, larger visitation facilities, and a new entrance changed the façade of the building to its now familiar shape. Eleven years later in 1983, a modernization of the building was completed.
Alongside his son George, Frank remained active in his profession until his sudden death in 1982 at the age of 66. Continuing in the style of his father, George brought computers on stream in 1986, and concurrent with the demolition of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant next door, added another 1000 square feet of space in 1990. This encompassed handicap facilities along with enhanced consultation space for at-need and pre-need funeral arrangements. The central air conditioning system was upgraded in 1999, the lounge washrooms were renovated in 2001 and interior areas of the funeral home were redecorated in 2004. In July 2005, the interior of the funeral home saw the installation of new broadloom throughout and beautiful new stonework was installed at the front of the property. We also now have available a video room for young children available to parents during visitation.
George has inherited his father’s drive and things will continue to change and grow at the Ridley Funeral Home, always striving to serve families in the community in the best possible way.
John Baycroft kindly donated the following pictures of the transformation of original house to a business.