Doug Taylor



DSCN1192 - CopyEven when I was a young boy, I was captivated by history. It contained romance, adventure, murder, and travel. As I became older, my interest never waned. Choosing teaching as a career, at both the elementary and secondary school levels, I shared my fascination with the students. The ancient Romans and Greeks likely never recovered from my treatment of their noble history.

When I became a member of the faculty of the Lakeshore Teachers’ College (York University) and the Ontario Teacher Education College, I had the opportunity to share my love of history with promising young teachers-to-be. Today, I hope that they have forgiven me for the sin of believing that history, especially Toronto’s, is fascinating.

During the 1970s, I conducted walking tours of Toronto’s historic districts for university students, during the days when such tours were rare. The tours included Chinatown, Kensington Market, historic town of York, and the Necropolis Cemetery. Now retired, I live in downtown Toronto, within walking distance of Toronto’s historic neighbourhoods. Since retiring, I have written twelve books, all of them employing the history of my native city as either the subject or for the background of the story. In that way, I continue to promote the history of a city that I love.




108 thoughts on “Home

  1. I remember fondly the Simpson store’s Christmas windows when I was a child and we’d travelled into Toronto for the Santa parade once or twice, and would get a short glimpse of the enchanting windows – always so many children trying to view them! My great uncle was an elevator operator
    for Simpsons until they installed automatic ones. Thanks for the books, I’ll look them up for some good enjoyable reading and history of my ‘home’ town.

    1. love your story l worked for Simpsons in the 1970 in staff lunch room l loved coming to work loved the store with the building so grand also the windows every xmas was great when my kids were young l would bring them down to see the staff l hade work with then we went to see Santa and hade there Christmas pic taken for many years we went .

  2. Hi I am so happy to see your site.
    Our family The Littlemores lived at 494 Lauder Ave. and we went to D B Hood too.
    I am 78 this year so I have all the same memories as you. You probably knew my brother Ron.
    There were three kids in our family Ron 1933, me Ruth 1935, and Mary 1936.
    I well remember the 44 storm. Ron went to the top of the street to collect milk and bread off of a wagon. We built a huge pile of snow in the back yard and hollowed it out.
    Remember the wooden street cars on Rodgers Rd.?
    I am going to read your books on my Kindle .
    Sadly my brother died last year he would have loved them I know. bye for now Ruth.

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for sending me your comments. I am continually amazed at the contacts I derive from my web site. I don’t recall the name Littlemore. Perhaps I knew you and your siblings as children and I don’t recall. I am now 75, so we are in the same age group.

      You indeed have many of the same memories as I do, I can easily picture the wooden streetcars on Rogers Road, as well as on Oakwood. I suppose you likely have fond memories of the Grant Theatre too. I am presently writing a book about Toronto’s old movie houses, and found great photos of the Grant, including the interior of it.

      I hope you enjoy the book “Arse Over Teakettle”. It centres on the streets around Lauder. I had fun writing it, and although many of the stories are fiction, the settings are real.


    2. I live at 494 lauder, I just found this in trying to find the age of the Home. Wonderful house.

  3. Good morning. Going to the show was an important part of our lives. I remember which theater I saw specific movies. I saw Bambi at the Paramount, The wolfman at the St. Clair, Snow White at the Oakwood and so on.
    Its wonderful to make this contact and remember that area.
    Even though I only lived there until grade three those were the things I remember the fondest.
    I only remember one teacher’s name from Kindergarden. Miss Mainprize.
    I tried to get the first book on Kindle but could not .I will keep trying.
    We live near Kingston now. bye Ruth

    1. Hi Ruth,

      If you departed Lauder Avenue after grade three, then I possibly did not have much contact with you. I went to D. B. Hood all eight years of elementary school. I too remember the theatres where I viewed specific films. I saw Bambi at the Radio City.

      You may not be able to get the first book of the trilogy on Kindle. However, it can be ordered and mailed to you from the Chapters/Indigo web site. The second book in the trilogy is a murder/mystery. The characters remain living on Lauder Avenue in the story, but it is a brutal tale ( be warned).

      It is a pleasure to share memories with you.

      Best of luck.


  4. I enjoyed ” Arse Over Teakettle” and wanted to send you some pictures of us on Lauder. Is there a way to do that? Am I missing your email?
    I was born on Northcliffe ave.
    I will include my email wworr2@live ,com

    Ruth ORR

  5. hi,
    i’m wondering if yo have any pictures of the ymca on yonge street from the 1970’s. my brother & sister-in-law were “married” on the steps in september 1970. would love to have a picture to give them on their anniversary
    thank you much

  6. Oh my goodness, the memories you’ve stirred here! I was looking for the name of the Nortown theatre because I was having a senior moment. Then to find the Oakwood and others. I remember seeing Ben Hur at the former, and House on Haunted Hill at the latter, tickets purchased by an adult as my friend and I were too young to get in at night. I went to Duncan B. Hood (DB Hood) for Grade 1, then switched to JR Wilcox for the rest of my grade school. I lived on Livingstone Avenue, just north of Eglinton, and not far from Oakwood. I attended Vaughan Rd. CI till grade 12 when I switched to Harvey for the 1 yr commercial program. I often went skating at Cedarvale rink, and saw movies at the Nortown, the Eglinton, the Oakwood and the Colony. (Remember Saturday matinees with Roy Rogers and Hop a long Cassidy, and Flash Gordon.) I am 66, and lived in that area till I was 21. My parents continued to live there another 9 years until they died. I haven’t lived in Toronto since 1987, now in Ottawa, but remember it so well.
    I always loved the films and columns about 1960’s Toronto, when I was a teen. Attended the Club Bluenote while Al Steiner was still with us. But that’s a whole other story!


    1. Carol:

      I just came across this message while researching old movie houses in Toronto. I grew up on Livingstone Ave. too and went to D.B. Hood for my 8 years of elementary school. We lived at #78. Would love to hear from you if you remember our family.

      Jim Rayner

    2. Hello Carol Stephens !!
      Realize that Doug Taylor passed away some time ago but I just read your note today and particularly the comment about the original Club Blue Note. Realize that your note was posted quite some time ago and I hope you can still receive my query re your time at The Blue Note. Personally, I cannot easily recall the many names I had the brief occasion to meet/chat with during the highly active ’60’s. Don’t believe we personally met but any names you recall may help jog my memory (which I find to be a helpful technique when comparing notes or memories). I had the opportunity to assist many local groups of the era so music and memories were a wonderful time and part for me. Unfortunately now all deceased, entertainment names (known locally) that have occurred to me in recent years are: Jay Jackson, Eric Mercury, Dom Troiano, Bob Morten, Ronnie Hawkins. Bill Hatton, Levon Helm, Mary Wilson, Roy Ellis. Steve Eatman, Salome Bey & Howard Matthews, Hank Ballard, Larry Sturino, Gordon Lightfoot, etc.,
      Hope to hear from you.

  7. Hi Doug, just stumbled a cross your site as I’m a “lover” of history, especially of my hometown! I really enjoy all that I’ve read and am going to look for your books! Your first blog on the corner of King and John, the “unmentionables” warehouse, was a great read! I’m a firefighter in the big Adelaide station right in behind there and that’s our main Tim Hortons stop! Lol. It was great to find out more about the building I’m in all the time! The side story about the York hospital in the peice and the Irish famine victims was a great touch! I’m a lover of Irish history as well and it’s great you used your story to tell the important tale of those poor souls! If your interested, there was a really good two part documentary done by RTE in Ireland called “Death or Canada” about the hospital and the Irish emigration to Canada! It follows the dig that was preformed on the site before they broke ground for the TIFF building. I’ve had it for a few years in my collection of Irish programs! Like I said, great work, I’m going to explord a little more!


    1. Hi Jay,

      Many thanks for your comments about a post on my blog. I was born in Toronto, love the city and I am fascinated by its history. It is always gratifying when I learn that someone else feels the same about Toronto.


    2. Hi Jay

      I just came across this site and read your message. Seems like you are very interested in the Irish. I am as well….being that my grandparents on both sides came from Ireland. I will have to read Doug’s book on that history of the Irish. What is the name of it? Also, there is St. Paul’s Basilica, located near Parliament and Queen, which has a cemetery at the back for the Irish immigrants who came over by boat and unfortunately died. Again, lots of history in Toronto. I love hearing and reading about it.


  8. Doug, I saw a link to your post on Toronto Theatres from FB Vintage Toronto. I, too, am fascinated by Toronto’s history and don’t understand the decision making for destroying such great architecture. I’ve managed to see films in some of these theatres while they were still around.

    I can’t wait to get a copy of “Toronto Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen”.

  9. Hi Doug,

    Being an employee of a big cinema chain and a history buff; I am also looking forward to your new book, it will be a perfect addition to my library.


  10. So glad I found this site. I came to Canada in 1953 as a 6 yr old with my parents, and lived in the Weston Rd./Humber Blvd. area. It was nice to see the old Mount Dennis theatre, and was wondering if you have any information of the Mount Dennis history. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your books.

    1. Maureen, there’s a Mount Dennis page on Facebook. You may want to contact Darren Bedford who manages it: . You’ll love his page because he’s got lots of stories about the shops in the area, and has even printed a T-shirt with the names of many of them — Senders Drug Store, Dairy Queen, York Travel. I learned from his site that the area was called “Kodak Heights” because of the Kodak plant.

  11. Hi Doug

    I just came across this site and so glad I did! I was born and raised in Toronto and love delving into it’s history. As they say – “if walls could talk”. I will certainly read some of these books and will check back often.

  12. I spent many weekends in the projection booth of the Casino Theatre where my grandfather was the projectionist. Any knowledge of photos of that theatre or it’s workers?


    L. Siegel 416.963.4470

  13. Hi Doug!
    Re the Mayfair Theatre. We lived in the Junction during the ’50’s, attended Annette P.S. & Western H.S. but had many friends who attended school at Runnymede, Humberside, Parkdale, Royal York, Etobicoke, C. I., etc. Enjoyed times at Mayfair and others (Runnymede, Parkdale Odeon, Humber Odeon, Kingsway, State, Beaver, Apollo, West End, Crescent, etc) on several occasions. Always recall the Mayfair as the Mayfair during that decade at least. Spent several hours in the Dairy Dell and I vaguely recall the family name of the then-ownership as Dimitroff?? Nearby Baby Point clubhouse was a site for some special birthday occasions. If you attended Runnymede C. I. at one point, do you recall names of any school mates??

    1. HI


  14. Thank you for this work, Doug !

    My Grandparents were at the opening party of the Royal York hotel. I have the table favour given to all female guests. It is lovely.
    My Aunt played piano at the Victory Theatre on Spadina for silent movies.
    Hurricane Hazel was both terrifying & fun.

    Sadly, I can not offer you a single photo.


    1. Hello Coline,

      Doug- I am loving this column!

      My Grandparents were also at the opening, and I have the Gold Cuff-links with Royal Blue RY on them as keepsake. I’m curious what the Ladies received? Perhaps I have that too, but it was never specially mentioned to me? I hope you’ll see this post and await your kind response? Thank you,


      PS: as aside note, our wedding reception was held at thermal York in the Imperial Room on the top floor! Great memories come flooding back!

  15. Hey Doug. Awesome site. Pretty sure that the portrait of the woman next to Mackenzie in the Queen Street subway station is Nellie McClung and not Mackenzie’s wife Isabel. It was painted by John Boyle and commissioned in 1980. Loved your Villages Within.

  16. I enjoy seeing the old parts of Toronto where I was born and raised at, I do remember the prince of wales theater at woodbine and danforth I watched my first Elvis movie there girl happy along with the movie the collector it is sad to see you do not have any pictures of it from my era 1960

  17. Hello Doug,
    Wondering if you have anything dealing with the old Kew Beach Fire Hall. 1904 Queen St East.

    I am research the history of this old station or if anyone out there has information, photos even the old Kew Beach Fire Brigade that was down near the Lee Ave & Queen st E Park.


  18. Hi Doug,
    I am wondering if you might have any information about the old York County Police force. My father was on that force as a clerk when he was 20 years old, and eventually he was a detective and fingerprint expert, if my poor memory serves me correctly. I vaguely recall a story from my youth about his having to put a corpse’s skin over his own fingers to roll the prints. I believe the headquarters was in downtown Toronto. My father, in 1938, compiled the ‘First Annual Report of the Chief Constable of the County of York’. He left the force in the mid ’50s and became a taxi cab owner of 3 cabs, and one of the drivers. He had his own small company, originally working out of a gas station basement at St. Clair and O’Conner Drive. There may have been other names at one time, but the one I remember was Grover Taxi (or Cabs). He made his own rooflights…..an upside down triangle. As kids, my older sister and I delivered calendars for his business in East York.

  19. Hello. Here’s a strange thing: We live in an apartment on St. Clair at Lauder. We have had some strange occurrences since moving in three+ years ago. Being so richly steeped in local lore, I was wondering if you had ever come across a history of a murder or tragic death at this address (we are above the Fox and Fiddle). We’re not scared, per se, more curious. Any info would be nice. Thank you, Adrian and Aspurçe.

  20. Hi Doug,
    I enjoy reading your posts but always fall victim to the sadness that ensues… about the city you write about that no longer exists. I am 44 and I am pained by the changes taking place… I just finished reading the post about Stollerys. Oh that intersection was so special to me and recently visiting it again was shocking. Maybe it’s age sinking its teeth into me or “the future” that consumes us all. I, like many I’m sure, get locked in the past; memories are a blessing and curse… anyways, thank you for telling the stories and allowing me to remember a time that isn’t today… perhaps like taking a vacation that you’d wish would last forever.

    1. Hi Max, I feel the same! Born and raised here, at 58 I’m dismayed by all the changes and the destruction of many beautiful old buildings. Breaks my heart. Progress is inevitable, but what seems like reckless development concerns and saddens me. Fortunately I have Doug’s words and collections of images to comfort me. Be well, everyone

  21. Glad I came across this site while I was searching for something else. Since you are so versed in the history of Toronto, I wonder if you know the name of an airport that used to be on Dufferin St. between Lawrence Ave. and the Yorkdale mall on the west side. The only remaining building that I know of is the Katz Deli which I hear is now closing. Leavens Aircraft Supplies used to be in the building before Katz Deli.

    1. I believe that it was Billy Bishop, he also had Emila Earhart teaching flight lessons from here, today at Avenue road and Wilson is a NATO flight academy, often see pilots in the area in uniforms from different countries, was invited to lunch there and it was fabulous a true officer’s mess, white table cloths fine wine, Great food.

  22. I thoroughly enjoyed your post on restaurants of yore … I attended Jarvis Collegiate in the 60’s
    and so many of the establishments you cited resonated with me.. I worked part-time at the Cole’s store where you purchased your text books … in fact when I started there, it was in a maintenance capacity, I took over the broom from Neil Young, who was moving on to other things, whatever they were. Whatever happened to him, anyway.
    I spent a fair bit of time in the early 70’s at The Ports of Call in one of those bars you mentioned … it’s name had been changed to the “Last Chance Saloon” with a house band called “The Quorum”
    Then there’s The Place Pigalle. (spelling ??).
    Then I got all grown up and those times and places faded from view … until I read your blog. 🙂

    1. “The Ports of Call” also a Jarvis (kid) Good old JCI, Mr. Shepherd and the Jarvis Basketball tournament, Mr. Pearl and the swim team, Mr. Howard, Mr. Cooper (gone way to soon), The Red Lion for lunch, sending trays of Legion size draft to the teachers, Miles Dale (academy award winner) introduced a group (Al and Bruce Rowlands, Peter Cooper, Al Stuart (Grandson of The Simpson store owner)of us to “The Ports” to listen to group The Lincoln’s with Percashe John, (Bass player for Alice Cooper) Alice had a house on Hazelton ave in Yorkville, as younger kids we went to Whitney public school, one of my friends his Grandfather was part of the Group of seven, and we would hang out with him in his workshop while he painted, gosh so many memories come flooding back, should put pen to paper, or key to memory stick!

    1. I see you featured the Alhambra Theatre but forgot about the Midtown Theatre on the other corner of Bathurst & Bloor. Also has anyone seen a picture of Leggett’s Drugstore on the corner of Bathurst & Bloor in 1948?
      Also I’m looking for a picture of Weston’s Bakery on Dupont St near Christie St. c.1950.

  23. Hi, Doug! I found your site when I was searching for information about the old Savarin restaurant. I lived on Guestville, a small street that ran between Lambton and Eglinton Avenue, so I know your childhood neighbourhood well. Do you remember Harry’s Restaurant on Weston Road? As I recall, the teenagers hung out there. (I left the area before I hit my teens.) Our big treat on a Friday night was to order a pizza from Little Tony’s on Weston, or to go to Steffee’s Barbeque or Pickin’ Chickin’. It appears the Mount Dennis area produced a few writers: you, Benjamin Volman (Weston Road), John Farquhar (Dennis Avenue), and me.Thanks for creating this site where I can return to my childhood in Toronto.

  24. Wow what fun to read these accounts… I lived on Fairbank Ave and went to DB Hood school too. I started in 1948 and attended through grade 8 with Mr. Prince. I went to St. Hilda’s which i see on Skype is now a senior’s apartment complex. So much has changed over 70ish years – its fun to hear about people’s historical experiences. Will check out your books. Thank-you for this Doug! Donna Chapple

  25. Jerry lynch Doug thank you for sharing this wonderful history of Toronto .I was in grade 2 St. Thomas Aquinas in 46 probably ran into you.

  26. Doug,
    I just discovered your website while looking for information about music concerts in movie theatres in the St. Clair Ave. W. and Dufferin Street, Oakwood Avenue, Vaughan Road, etc., area. I lived on Benson Avenue just west of Hendrick Avenue near Winona Drive, until I was 13 years old. I live in the area again, a bit further east near Bathurst Street and St. Clair now, returned to my roots.

    Do you have any information about music concerts that occurred at area movie theaters in the 1950s and early 1960s. I remember seeing a rock and roll concert at a theater, possibly the St. Clair Theater. I think Chuck Berry and/or Bo Diddley and maybe the Platters performed in it. It may have been billed as a Rock ‘n Roll show.

  27. I would like to purchase a few of your prints. I love these! How can I contact you direct?

  28. Hi, I was thinking something about that too, but I decided to look for it on the internet, then I found this site and I found some interesting sentences here, I really like the way you express it and your show to write it.. Really very happy to say, your article is very interesting to read.

  29. Hi Doug, what a great site to take walks down memory lane.

    When I was growing up in Toronto, I recall an old made-for-TV movie Called “She Cried Murder” (1973). It was filmed in various locations around the city, including and recently opened Ontario Place, the TTC, and Julie’s Manson on Jarvis. In case you’re interested, here’s the link to the movie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zZv2VP238k

    All the best, Ed

  30. Do you remember HOOPER Avenue on Centre Island? We were there around 1939/40 – I was born in 1935 so very young but my older brother and sister went to school on the island!

  31. Dear Mr Taylor
    I am an artist working on a new artwork called HELIX which is an interactive sculpture that displays panoramic imagery I shot at King and Bay in 1986 https://grahamthomassmith.com/frame-to-frame/
    which resulted in a 360 degree film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgkUVniUuuQ

    For the piece I would like to include imagery from that intersection from past time periods and I would like to see if u have any of such images or could point me in the right direction to gain access to them. The 4 main banks are on all the corners which so I think they may have images but it is the Cawthra House that most interests me as it is such an early amazing building at a central point in the cities history. Thanks and hope u are well in these crazy times
    Graham Smith

  32. Oct. 24-20

    I’d just like to provide a couple of corrections regarding the SS Cayuga feature.

    The ship was owned by the Northern Navigation Company, Canada Steamship Lines, and the Cayuga Steamship Company. It last operated in 1957, and was scrapped in 1961, not 1960. It sailed, at least for much of its career, from the CSL dock near the foot of Yonge St., Toronto, to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston. I travelled on the ship in 1954, 1955, and 1956.

    John Thompson
    Hamilton ON

  33. Now 85 this week and living in Calgary I was born in Toronto and lived at Danforth and Pape (SW) corner until we moved to Winnipeg when I was 13. My friends there were Billy Gray, Lionel Pasen Betty McKinnon and Raymond Louden and we went to Franklin school on Logan. We lived just adjacent to the ODEON and spent many happy times there. There was a ladies dress shop we lived above, as my father was in the Artillery,1939-46. There was a wonderful library on the east side of Pape with a children’s section and Just Mary children’s radio studio. Too many memories are flooding in. My mother brought up my sister and me in a two room apartment virtually on her own while working at the Reitman’s store there beside the old PALACE. The third theatre a block west was our introduction to colour, serials and just great times.
    Thank you!!

  34. I am asking about a park at the bottom of Jones and Queen st e. in Toronto. I remember a very small outdoor ice rink there in the 6o`s. Do you have anyway of confirming that they had a rink there? I really appreciate your help. Thank you Irene Krawczyk

    1. Hi Irene, My name is Ron Massey 79 yrs old. Grew up on Rhodes Ave North of Queen Sr (First west of Coxwell). You are right, it was known as
      “Mosquito Park”. on North/West corner of Jones and Queen Sts. Played hockey many times there in the fifties and sixties. Baseball in the summer
      Short left field as balls would fly out onto Jones. Knew the area well as I lived for a few years on Coady Ave in the late sixties.

  35. I lived on Hopewell Avenue and attended D.B. Hood, Vaughan Road P.S., and Briar Hill P.S. The boundary was changed in 1948 and 1950. I saw My Friend Flicka at the Major Rogers Road movie theatre circa 1945. Miss Wood and Mr. Highly were teachers at D.B. Mrs. Cooper taught Home Economics at V.R. to my mother circa 1928-1931. I also lived on Eglinton, Livingstone, Whitmore, and Oakwood. I enjoyed reading comments about our old Fairbank neighbourhood.

    1. Hey Kenneth, marvelous to hear that someone else besides my remembers that there was a Vaughan Road P.S. across the playground from D.B. Hood. If I remember correctly (I’m 85 and not sure where I was yesterday), wasn’t Mr. Highly the Shop Teacher? He was a WWI veteran who had his throat/voice messed up from the gases. Or, he just sounded weird. Was never really sure 😂. We lived on Eglinton & Oakwood. Really has changed since,

    2. Hello Ken — I’m wondering if you were a teacher at Bathurst Heights in 1966. I was in Grade 11 that year and I think you were my Latin teacher.

  36. Hi Doug I am the grandson of Marcel Mauran and son of Rick Mauran your story on Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s is not correct as it was Rick who came to toronto to start Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s later with his friend George if you would like I can give you proper info

    1. Richard – It’s your old friend Jimmy Shier here. I don’t know if you are going to get this but I’m willing to try anything at this point. I put in a call to Sloan yesterday and left her a message but haven’t heard back yet. I’m hoping that something I heard yesterday isn’t true and you are alright. If you are alright let me know if you can. I can be reached at 4165743022 or [email protected] hoping and praying that you are OK.. 🙏🤞

  37. WONDERFUL MEMORIES.I was born in TORONTO, on Salmon AVE. Then moved to 701 Windermere ave, THEN LONG BRANCH. REMEMBER GOING to EATONS WITH MY PARENTS TO SHOP AND LUNCH MY uncle worked at DID theceatons catalogue.. Always TOOK STREET CAR TO downtown Toronto. My dad took me to the LEAFS games, grown up WORKED at YOUNG and ST. Claire at HALIFAX insurance CO. Husband worked at bay and ADELAIDE at the CANADA permanent.we enjoyed DINNERS in TORONTO and luches.and entertainment. My cousin was a police officer in toronto, became a detective, and WAS ONE of 7, the only CANADIAN SENT to Washington TO train with the,FBI. When he PASSED HE WAS THE LAST of the SARGEANT OF DETECTIVES. Father in law was in security in the office at union station. .as were OTHER members of FAMILY. Loved TORONTO and ALWAYS WENT TO the movies and SHOWS. And TO SHOP. Loved GOING TO the casino, LOVED Honest Eds, and other famous places. Lots of memories. Danced at the Palace pier Roller skateing , then danceing, and other great places,when toronto and area was a wonderful place to go and enjoy.i could go on and on. Thanks for the MEMORIES.loved Sunnyside BEACH. WILL HOPE to get one or more of your books. I AM 87, NOW AND YOU made my day . Keep it up. Sorry my TABLET US ACTING UP AND doing what IT wants WITH printing. Looking forward to more MEMORIES.

    1. We use to live at 73 Windermere Avenue from 1941 to 1953 when we moved into Toronto to my granddaughter fathers butcher shop at 124 Ossington Ave. It is now a brewery.

      Enjoyed my friends who I went to school with. I have tried to get back in touch but to much time has passed.

      Ossington has changed so much I get dizzy trying to remember how things use to be when ever I get the chance to go back to Toronto. I have lived in Vancouver longer than I had in Toronto.

      I was hoping in particular to get in touch with my old school friend Mary Longo her family owned a fruit and veggie shop a few blocks up Ossington Ave.

      Thanks for the memories.

      Eleanor Kendall (nee Hall)

    2. Your house at 701 Windermere is still lovely as ever I live a few doors away from there, my neighbour’s have been living in their house since 1954, the daughter and her family now occupy home, Bloorwest has gone through a few changes, Marlborough’s stationary (oldest business in the area) closed last year after 90 years, Cecil Ward and son’s is still here 85 years,
      Bloorwest home of the First BIA in the world, Runnymede road, named by John Scarlet as it the lands reminded him of Runnymede in England, and being a Lawyer it was significant as the place where the Magna Carta was signed, the document that our legal system is based on today.

    3. Hello Douglas my name is ginette I used to live at 39 hocken ave for forly years vaughan theatre was the last place I went to with my mom. We saw annie this is the place my family went to I miss it very much

  38. Condolences to his family friends and those who knew loved and shared in the spirit of his works.

    Lost toronto was a throwback to the 60’s 70s and contributors like dearly departed John D. Taylor are what we draw from to complete a memory or a thought to a time back when…

    Im glad to have come across his works and hope many more who will see and explore the places and the time that was early toronto and leading into the great wars through the eyes and words of people just like John.

    We hold our memories close and pray for time, time to relive and breathe the moment as they’re too dear to lose.
    I can imagine a wealth of gratitude and to be shared in everyones lives going forward.

    These and other wonderous stories of the people the time and the way things were when some of us werent even born.
    Yet the message is the same and the years ahead will unfold for others in the same way a bewilderment looking back at their cities, towns, countrysides… nations.

    Lucky we are to have such retreat into slices of timepast and with those experiences the knowing our time will come and go as we all will be a mention of the past its people and our community.

    Thanks for the opportunity mention and appreciate the man and those like him who cherish and retain a story to relate.
    Toronto is by far a different place now (post 2020) its past of 1920, 1820 and the roots and imagery are there, ghostly but there amonst the highrises and condos, a better toronto?

    from a prior post here:
    Max Maccari says:
    September 8, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Hi Doug,
    I enjoy reading your posts but always fall victim to the sadness that ensues…

    so true.

    as i go through the memories and peice together the ‘what happened’ its all too faded now.
    the last of the rail yards the stock yards old junction and its brutal hard years have left many in a paradox, to have lived it and to want to re-live it again.

    junction and surrounding areas 1975-2013
    many memories and those to come
    god bless

  39. Doug, thanks for sharing. my first job in Canada, December 1965, was at the Rathskeller. I am still in touch with the than GM. 3 years after it closed, I organized a Walker House reunion; 280 staff and guests attended.
    the owner Doug Crashley gave me original Walker House Hotel brass sign which faced Front Street now hanging in my pool house.
    stay well.
    best Hans

    1. We worked together at the Sheraton centre, I worked in the Redwoods dining room with Angus Wood, I remember Ralph coming into get food after school with friends, I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  40. My mother was born in 1895, and told me about her jaunts on a boat to Niagara, with her friends on a Sunday afternoon. She would have been a teen-ager when the Cayugo was launched, although I’m not sure if that would be the boat she and her friends travelled on. I believe somewhere in an album there are photos. Thank you for the article in Toronto blog.

  41. When I was a youngster in Toronto in the 1950s, my father would often take me & my younger sister on drives through downtown Toronto. I still remember a unique cafe near the waterfront. It was an old Toronto streetcar converted to an eating place. I remember my father saying it had a bad reputation as a gang hideout. By the early sixties, it was gone. I only have a childhood memory but I think it may have been between King Street and The Esplanade.
    If anyone remembers such a cafe and knows the location, I would like to verify my memory of it.

    1. Hello Rick!
      You posted some time ago re the Ports of Call. I fondly remember that venue which i believe was ahead of its time for TO. A way ahead of Trader Vics, the House of Bamboo, etc., etc. Also recall the music of Martin Denny…..

      Hello Again Rick!
      Reading all these dated posts has jogged my memory again. Eat with my family at two different pasta places in downtown TO during the ’60’s. I fondly remember the old streetcar but may also have it mixed up a little with the slightly later Old Spaggetti Factory. For a short period, an old street car was also converted to prepare & serve roast beef…long before Arby’s, but once again old TO was not ready yet for a wide variety of foods and eating places.

  42. Reading your blog was a nostalgic walk down memory lane! Do you remember Moghul’s Indian Restaurant on Elm St? It was a favourite of mi e and closed in the mid 1990’s. I’ve not been able to find anything about it on line.

  43. I just read your article on Coles Bookstores/Worlds Biggest Bookstore.
    My Dad worked for Coles for many years.
    When he parted company with Coles, he opened up a small independent bookstore in a suburban mall. Those were the days!!
    For a book lover/reader such as I was, it was a great place to be connected to.
    As an adult i worked near Worlds Biggest Bookstore. what an incredible place to browse during lunch hours.

  44. Your story about the history of the Stollery store on the S.W. corner of Bloor at Yonge Street, Toronto which was re printed in Blog Toronto fascinated me. Thank you. I was a customer of Stollerys from 1981 to 2015. I did say goodbye to the proprieter of Stollerys a few days before it closed, a gentleman whose name I forget, and wished him an enjoyable retirement.

    Thank you for sharing. So much of the Toronto architectural scene i recall has vanished

  45. Hello:

    I was doing research on my family history and came across your post regarding #7 Camden Street West Toronto.

    My Great Grandfather upon his arrival from Britain lived here and is listed on some of my family´s immigration papers as the residential address.

    I was glad that I was able to see that it is still there!


  46. Hi there
    I’m an expatriate Torontonian with fond memories of the Toronto “Night life” scen in the 50s and 60s.
    I once heard an interview on CBC radio one with a gentleman who had just written a memoir of his experiences during the 70s (after my time, but close enough) I managed to get a copy of that book but loaned it to someone and, of course, never got it back. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Do you know what I’m talking about?

    Please, if you can, direct me to the author, title, or better yet a book dealer who might get me another copy.

    Many thanks.

    Love your blog
    John Ross Weber

  47. Hi Doug:

    I have been trying everywhere to find historical information on the old St. Mary’s Hospital on Jarvis Street; I was born there in 1944; I believe it has since been demolished, do you have anything on it.
    Peter Caruso

  48. As a teenager 1952 – 1956 I was working at South Bay Mouth, Manitoulin Island. I sailed on the ‘ M .V. Normac from Tobermory to get to my job at The Ferry Lunch on the Island which was situated exactly where all the passenger ships docked . We could see the ship arriving a few mikes out from the Island dock. Most of crew would disembark after the passengers left the ship. These summer sailors were delightful. One time, two of us waitresses sailed on the overnight schedule form The Island to Tobermory and retuned in time for work the next morning.
    On one particular rough crossing a waiter came into the Ferry Lunch to tell us he had spilt orange juice and milk on the same passengers blouse.

    I was glad to know the date the Normac was built in Michigan.
    Tonight I will watch ‘ The Porters ‘ on CBC at 9:00 P.M. which is another part of my personal history.

  49. Hi Doug

    I am working on a book about Glenn Fromme-Douglas a photographer who did publicity photos for the Odeon Carlton from 1965 onward.
    I have access to a number of photographs of movie stars and personalities who came to Toronto promoting movies from the era and am hoping to learn some of the back stories to the visits of these people and events. I’m sure there are also theater execs in the images too.
    I was wondering if you have contacts or further information.
    Thanks for your time and assistance.

  50. I just read your notes on the Prince of Wales theatre. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons at the the theatre with my friends during the late 50’s and very early 60’s.

  51. Hey Doug. I’m relatively new to Toronto, about two years. But I’ve always found my happiness and solace amongst old dilapidated buildings, rotting iron fences or big broken pillars lying deserted. I often go out to places in old Toronto or Mimico in search of such treasures so that I can imagine how beautiful and enchanting Toronto must have been 70 – 80 years earlier. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your page – this is like a treasure house to me! I’m going to ge your books and binge read them.

    Fond regards,

  52. Greetings: Toronto history is amazing! I reside on the shores of lake Huron. I was wondering if you or anyone else does walking tours of the varying neighborhoods or cemeteries.
    Thank you,

    1. Dear Caroline,
      Dave LeBlanc will know everyone who does walking tours. I e mailed him & he replied very kindly.
      [email protected]

      ” Dave LeBlanc is a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. He was born in Toronto and wouldn’t have it any other way. At age 8, he remembers jumping for joy when both the CN Tower opened and Toronto finally snatched Montreal’s crown to become the biggest city in Canada. He’s been an architecture lover and Toronto advocate ever since.

      Dave attended Ryerson for Radio-Television Arts and York University for English. His radio career has included stints at CJEZ, CJAD in Montreal and CFRB, where he currently works (and sometimes speaks about architecture on-air). His budding life as a newspaper writer began in 1997 at the Montreal Gazette and flowered fully with The Globe in 2003.

      Since 2004 he has written weekly as “The Architourist” for the Real Estate section. His work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Concrete Toronto (Coach House, 2007) and international architecture magazines. He has served as a juror for the Ontario Association of Architects and Heritage Toronto.”

  53. Unfortunately Doug Taylor passed away on Monday July 27th 2020 in his 82nd year after a courageous battle with cancer. He is dearly missed by all who knew him.

  54. Great trip down memory lane from my wife’s and my time eating out around the University of Toronto in the 1970s. Thanks.

  55. wonderful story–I had the good fortune to live at 512 lake shore wards island many years ago and always went to see the cayuga going thru the eastern gap—–and i am so sorry to learn doug taylor passed away—my age–frank uderhill

  56. Hi, Doug: Just read your delightful take on the Vaughan Theatre on the Blog TO site. Such memories: I lived on Ellsworth Ave a block south of the Vaughan until I was eight. I had three movie houses–also the Radio City and the Odeon Christie–to pack my summer until we moved to the burgeoning but dull suburb of Willowdale (which to an eight-year-old movie lover was a plunge to Hell).

    Later in life, I wrote movie reviews for two magazines, including the movies-on-TV column for the Toronto Star’s TV magazine. Always beguiled by the posters I’d stare at for hours at the Vaughan and the others, I assembled a moderately serious lobby card collection. One of my proud points was a terrific booty of SCARAMOUCHE (1952) posters (and I spent time with Stewart Granger, writing a piece for the Star when he was plugging his autobiography). Later, on a cruise ship, I met George Sidney, who was 75 and honeymooning. We spent some fine hours together and we later corresponded.

    As a lifetime freelance writer, I wrote just about everything–movies, TV, business, humour, the Financial Post Magazine Wine Guide–out of necessity. Then I took the leap into travel writing and stayed there for two decades, contributing to every travel magazine going–as journalist and photographer–and more than 100 lengthy pieces for the Globe and Mail travel section (when it was serious about travel) and journeyed through more than 100 countries (and at a leisurely pace).

    I’m going on 79 now, live in Saanich on Vancouver Island, glued to Turner oldies on TV daily, and leaving for a National Geographic nature safari in Costa Rica shortly. Life has been rich. As has yours.

    p.s. I’ve published a book, SCARAMOUCHE AND ME dealing with those “nabes” we grew up with, my love of that swashbuckler and Stewart Granger’s career with MGM through the 1950s. Happy to send you an e-copy if you’d like.

    Fondly, Jeremy

  57. Do you recall? What was the name of the old cinema at the corner of Bloor and Yonge that fronted on Bloor (south side)? I remember going there in the late 50s. I think it specialized in British comedies. It closed and a fabric shop opened in its place. All that has been razed since for the Bloor/Yonge subway entrance.

  58. Just read your article on the start of Swiss Chalet. You mentioned that Harvey’s was started by the same gentleman, Maurice Mauran.
    I believe George Sukornyk, a lawyer on Bloor Street, was also an original founder of Harvey’s.

  59. Hi Max, I feel the same! Born and raised here, at 58 I’m dismayed by all the changes and the destruction of many beautiful old buildings. Breaks my heart. Progress is inevitable, but what seems like reckless development concerns and saddens me. Fortunately I have Doug’s words and collections of images to comfort me. Be well, everyone

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