This log cabin, Toronto's oldest known surviving house, was constructed for John Scadding in 1794 during the first years of British settlement. Scadding was a government clerk and close friend of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe. The cabin stood on the west side of the Don River on a 102 ha land grant that stretched north from Lake Ontario to present-day Danforth Avenue. Scadding lived there until he went back to England with the Simcoes in 1796.
When Scadding returned to York in 1818, he sold the cabin and its property to farmer William Smith, who used the cabin as an outbuilding. In 1879, the Smith family offered the cabin to the 10-year-old York Pioneers Association; Scadding's son Henry, a prominent Toronto historian, was a founding member.
In the summer of 1879, in an early act of Toronto heritage preservation, the York Pioneers dismantled the cabin and reassembled it at this location for the inaugural Toronto Industrial Exhibition, now the Canadian National Exhibition.