For decades, the Joseph Shepard House/Dempsey Brothers Store store on the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue was a North York landmark. It was built as a general store in 1860 by Joseph Shepard Jr. (1815-1899) on land that he had inherited from his father. In 1866, he opened a post office in the store, which his daughter, Saida, named Lansing, thus giving a name to the area.
The store served as a depot for the coach from Yorkville to Richmond Hill. It then became the milk depot for local farmers and was the main source for all manufactured goods in the vicinity. In 1888, the store was taken over by Benjamin F. Brown, who operated it until 1923, when it was sold to the Dempsey brothers. It was a hardware store until the late 1980's, when it was sold to developers in 1989.
In 1996, the building was relocated from 4804 Yonge Street to its present park site 250 Beecroft Road. The City of North York rehabilitated and restored the Georgian Survival building, returning its original storefront appearance and superimposed late Victorian verandah. In 1997, the Dempsey Store was officially reopened by the City of North York as a municipal archival storage and research facility.
Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library. History courtesy of Heritage Toronto.