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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Toronto’s architectural gems–houses on Camden Street

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                         Three of the remaining houses on Camden Street, number 7-9, and 11

Camden Street is one block south of Richmond Street, extending west from Spadina Avenue. Camden  Street was created between the years 1854 and 1855. The city directory also reveals that there were no homes on the street prior to 1855. The semi-detached houses in the above photo, numbers 7-11, are three homes that remain from the days when Camden Street was completely residential. There were homes on the site prior to their construction, built in the 1870’s. but these were demolished in 1900 to build the imposing structures that are on the site today. The Toronto directory reveals that in 1900, there were four unfinished houses on the site. Three of them survive today. The house that with the postal address #15, was demolished and is now part of a parking lot

In 1901, Mrs. Sarah Beaumont lived at 9 Camden Street, and Mr. John Welch resided at 11 Camden.

Today, at 7 Camden is the Open Kitchen Restaurant. It serves excellent food, at a reasonable prices, and is very popular with office workers in the area. Its home-made soups are particularly good, as are the corned beef sandwiches. Several years ago, the food critic for the Toronto Star rated the beef ribs at the restaurant as the finest in the city.

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       The Open Kitchen Restaurant at #7 Camden Street.

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The houses at 7-11 Camden Street, and the parking lot where #13 was located. Additions have been added to the rear of the buildings.

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       The doorways of numbers 9 and 11 Camden Street.

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The entrance to Camden Street from Spadina in 1921. The large warehouse building on the left is the Darling Building, which remains on the site today.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/torontos-architectural-gems-art-deco-bus-terminal-on-bay-street/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/enjoying-torontos-historic-architectural-gems-queen-streets-black-bull-tavern/

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-cast-iron-fence-around-osgoode-hall/

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/listening-to-the-radio-as-a-child-in-the-1940s-the-lone-ranger-the-shadow-etc/

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/122-perish-in-torontos-noronic-disaster-horticultural-building-at-cne-used-as-morgue/

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/victoria-square-in-torontos-entertainment-district-is-a-gem/

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-city-hall-photographed-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/torontos-architectural-gems-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems— Brookfield Place

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Between 25 February and 15 March 2013, in Brookfield Place, formerly known as BCE Place, there was a modern sculpture floating high among the arches of the Allan Lamport Galleria. Entitled “Starburst,” it was a collaborative work of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, who have been cooperating to produce works of art since 2002. Their purpose is to spread the positive message of magic, luck, and friendship. They create art in various mediums—paint and sculpture. As well, they have produced large-scale installations, public playgrounds, published materials, and live performances.  

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           “Starburst,” by Borkson and Sandoval III in Brookfield Place

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                                              Views of “Starburst.”

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Brookfield Place is always an interesting place to visit as there are often fascinating works of art suspended from its vaulted ceiling.  However, even if there are no sculptures on display, the architecture alone is worthwhile viewing, particularly the six-story Allan Lamport Galleria. Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it connects the Bay Street entrance with Sam Pollack Square, which opens on to Yonge Street. Brookfield Place is a 5.2 acres complex in downtown Toronto, bounded by Bay Street on the west, Yonge on the east, Wellington Street on the north, and Front Street on the south. The Galleria has sometimes been called a “crystal cathedral of commerce.” In this analogy, the floor space below the arches is the nave. Others have referred to it as an architectural creation of a forest grove, the soaring support pillars representing gigantic trees that soars high into the heavens. No matter how a visitor views this masterful work of architecture, it produces a feeling of awe as one gazes upward toward the skies above the glass panels. The view from the escalator, when one is ascending from the basement level, is particularly inspiring.

There are other reasons to visit Brookfield Place, as it also includes the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the facade of an 1845 bank building that was once located on Wellington Street.

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In the foreground, on the left-hand side of the above photo, the facade of the 1845 bank can be seen. As well, there is a view of Allan Lamport Galleria, looking west. To connect with a post about the Heritage Building, follow the link :

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-19th-century-facade-within-bce-place/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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Toronto’s amazing intersection—King and Simcoe Streets

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When strolling along King Street, it is difficult to imagine the intersection at King and Simcoe Streets as it appeared during the early days of York. Because of the expensive land prices within the downtown area today, few can visualize a time when streets contained open fields and houses with spacious grounds. 

When Simcoe had laid out the plans for the town in 1790s, at the eastern end of the harbour, the intersection at King and Simcoe Streets was a considerable distance west of the town. However, during the  years ahead, as the town slowly developed westward, King Street became a fashionable residential area. The earliest building erected at King and Simcoe was the home of John Elmsley, on the southwest corner of the intersection. In 1815, Elmsley’s home was purchased by the Government of Upper Canada to serve as the official residence of the vice-regal representatives of the crown. It became the province’s Government House. It was destroyed by fire in 1863, and a new structure was erected on the same site. Today, Roy Thomson Hall is located on the corner.

pictures-r-1793[1]  1912, Tor. Ref. Lib.

The above photo shows Government House in 1912, and beside it on the opposite side of the street is St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, built in 1874. I previously placed a detailed post on this blog about Government House. It can be viewed by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/torontos-lost-architectural-gemsthe-site-occupied-by-the-roy-thomson-hall/. The purpose of this post is to explore the other three corners at the intersection.

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Gazing south on Simcoe Street in 1922, the tower of St. Andrew’s visible on the southeast corner of Simcoe and King Streets. The building in the foreground is on the northeast corner of the intersection, where the old British Saloon once was located.

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This photograph shows St. Andrew’s Church on the southeast corner of King and Simcoe in the late-1970s. The vacant land in the foreground is being prepared to build the Roy Thomson Hall, which opened in 1982.

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The southwest corner of King and Simcoe today, showing the gardens and reflecting pool (below street level) of the Roy Thomson Hall.

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The north facade of St. Andrew’s and the top of its Romanesque tower, shortly after it was restored in 2012.

In York’s early days, the northwest quadrant of the corner of King and Simcoe was named Russell Square. It was bounded by King on the south, Adelaide Street on the north, Simcoe on the east, and John Street on the west. It was where Upper Canada College constructed its buildings in 1829. They remained on this site until 1891, when they relocated to Avenue Road, north of St. Clair Avenue. The old buildings were demolished.

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Upper Canada College when it was located on the northwest corner of King and Simcoe. The grassy field in front of the buildings stretched as far south as King Street, as the impressive structures in the photo were located close to Adelaide Street.

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The historic plaque on the Union Building at King and Simcoe Streets.

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Today, the Union Building is located on the grassy space that was once a part of the grounds of Upper Canada College. The Union Building, with its impressive portico, was erected in 1908.

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The northeast corner of King and Simcoe was occupied by a notorious pub named “The British Saloon. Today, a glass skyscraper occupies the sight.

In the nineteenth century, because there was a college, a pub, a church, and Government House all sharing the corner of King and Simcoe Streets, the corner became known as “The corner of education, damnation, salvation, and legislation.”

f1231_it2165[1]  JUly 1927 

Looking west along King Street in 1927, from Simcoe Street. The Union Building of 1908 is on the right-hand side of the photo, where the grassy fields of Upper Canada College were once located. Further along the street can be seen the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The streetcar is a Peter Witt car, the first of these streetcars having arrived in the city in 1921. They remained in service on Yonge Street until the subway opened on March 30, 1954. The building on the left was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, as their freight yards was to the west of it.

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The famous corner in April of 1929. It gazes east along King Street, showing the Union Building on the left. On the other side of the street is  St. Andrew’s Church, the building owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway beside it. The Bank of Commerce Building is visible in the background, on the south side of King Street, but it remains under construction, the top floors still incomplete. These photos always amaze me because of the lack of vehicle traffic.

Note: all historic pictures in this post are from the City of Toronto Archives.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/torontos-architectural-gemsst-stanislaus-koska-rc-church-at-12-denison-avenue/

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbishops-palace-on-church-street/

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ed-mirvish-theatre-pantages-imperial-canon/

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-waverly-hotel-484-spadina/

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-of-commerce-cibc-on-king-street/

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-postal-delivery-building-now-the-acc/

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/torontos-architectural-gems-bellevue-fire-station/

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/torontos-architectural-gems-the-bank-of-nova-scotia-at-king-and-bay/

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/in-mid-winter-recalling-the-sunshine-of-torontos-sunnyside-beach/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/a-pictorial-journey-to-sunnyside-beach-of-old-part-one/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/a-pictorial-journey-to-torontos-old-sunnyside-beach-part-two/

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/torontos-architectural-gems-runnymede-library/

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/sinfully-saucy-and-diversetorontos-spadina-avenue/

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reading-building-on-spadina/

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-darling-building-on-spadina/

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-amazing-fashion-building-on-spadina/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemstower-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide/

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-balfour-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/torontos-architectural-gemsrobertson-building-dark-horse-espresso-bar/

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/architectural-gem-grossmans-tavern-at-377-9-spadina/Historic

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-paul-magder-fur-shop-at-202-spadina-avenue/

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/a-historic-building-that-disappeared-from-the-northeast-corner-spadina-and-college/

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/history-of-the-backpackers-hotel-at-king-and-spadina/

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/torontos-hamburger-cornerwhere-is-it-and-why/

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/torontos-architectural-gems-lord-lansdowne-school-on-spadina-cres/

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/torontos-heritage-the-southwest-corner-of-queen-and-spadina/

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/torontos-architectural-historyspadina-north-of-queen-kings-court/

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina-on-an-historic-site/

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.

ttps://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/torontos-architectural-gems-is-this-one-a-joke/

Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/military-hero-of-war-of-1812-lived-near-mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina/

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/torontos-architectural-gems-art-deco-bus-terminal-on-bay-street/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/enjoying-torontos-historic-architectural-gems-queen-streets-black-bull-tavern/

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-cast-iron-fence-around-osgoode-hall/

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/listening-to-the-radio-as-a-child-in-the-1940s-the-lone-ranger-the-shadow-etc/

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/122-perish-in-torontos-noronic-disaster-horticultural-building-at-cne-used-as-morgue/

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/victoria-square-in-torontos-entertainment-district-is-a-gem/

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-city-hall-photographed-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/torontos-architectural-gems-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—Masonic Temple up for sale

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Today’s Toronto Star (March 15, 2013) has a report by Alyshah Hasham that the historic Masonic Temple on the northwest corner of Yonge and Davenport has been placed on the market for sale. I recently posted an article on this blog about the architectural gem, relating its history and expressing concern for its future. Alyshah Hasham wrote about concerts held its auditorium during the the past few decades and possible ways it may be recycled to ensure that it remains a vibrant part of the Toronto scene. My post centred more on the architecture and historical importance of this remarkable 43,180 square-foot structure, though I did mention some of the same entertainers that the Star reporter mentioned.

The building is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, but as most people are aware, the protection offered under this law is weak. My fear is that the interior of the structure will be gutted and the facade facing Yonge Street and the one on Davenport will be the only parts that will be saved. The reporter for the Star did mention that it is possible that the building can possibly be saved by making it the entrance to a condominium that will be constructed behind it. This has been done at the Massey Condos at 197-201 Yonge Street, to preserve an historically important bank building. However, space to the rear of the Masonic Temple is limited. Again, I express the hopes that this fine example of early 20th century architecture will escape the ignominious fate of being reduced to two walls that decorate the exterior of a condo.

To view the post about the history and architecture of the Masonic Temple :

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-masonic-temple-at-davenport-and-yonge/

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                           cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

 

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Toronto’s first movie screening and first movie theatre

Today, Toronto is known as one of the great film centres of the world. The Toronto International Film Festival clearly demonstrates the city’s love affair with the silver screen. Thousands of people stand in line each year to view the numerous films that the festival offers. Despite TV and modern devices where films can be viewed, Torontonians continue to love the “big-screen  experience.”

Where and when did this romance with movies begin? 

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The site where Torontonians first experienced the world of film

Toronto’s fascination with the silver screen began on the southeast corner of Yonge Street and Adelaide Street East, where today, a high-rise tower of glass and steel is located. In the final decade of the 19th century, this was the site of Robertson’s Musee. When it opened in 1890, it offered a curio shop, acts of magic, dazzling jugglers, musicians, and aerialists. On the second floor it possessed a wax museum, and on the roof were cages with live animals. However, all that was about to change. When the Musee opened its doors on 31 August in 1896, they had no idea that they were introducing a form of entertainment that would begin a permanent love affair between Torontonians and the world of cinema.

Robertson’s Musee featured “moving pictures,” projected by a “Vitascope,” the miraculous new invention of Thomas Edison. The movie experience in 1896 was quite simple compared to the films that would be seen in the years ahead. It was a series of films, each running less than a minute. Some of the clips simply depicted a man galloping past on a horse or an automobile appearing on the scene, and then, departing. Because the Musee charged ten cents admission, it became known as the “Dime Museum.” Although the quality of the films was crude compared to today, a newspaper reported that the “. . . machine projects apparently living figures and scenes on a canvas screen . . .  it baffles analysis and delights immense audiences.” It was a momentous moment in the history of Toronto’s  entertainment scene.

Robertson’s Musee was sold several times and managed by different proprietors. In 1899, it became the first location of Shea’s Theatre, which later relocated to Bay Street, a short distance north of Queen Street. Unfortunately, the building at Yonge and Adelaide was destroyed by fire in 1905. In 1998, the Toronto Historical Board placed a plaque to commemorate “Toronto’s first moving picture show,” on the Yonge Street facade of the building that is located on the site today.  Much of the information for this post was obtained from the historic plaque. 

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               Historic plaque on the building at Yonge and Adelaide Streets

          Toronto’s First Permanent Movie Theatre

After Robertson’s Musee introduced Toronto to the world of film, other establishments soon realized the possibilities of the new form of entertainment. In the months ahead, in the downtown area, films were shown in small shops that had been converted for the purpose, or in backrooms where bed sheets were hung against a wall. Patrons stood to watch or were accommodated on kitchen chairs. However, because the locations were constantly changing, it became evident that a permanent location, offering more space and better seating was required.

In March of 1906, ten years after Robertson’s Musee had opened, Toronto-born John C. Griffin inaugurated the first permanent space for showing moving pictures. He named it the “Theatorium.” It was in a rented space at 183 Yonge Street. The 150-seat theatre, with a mere 17-foot frontage on Yonge, and only 100-foot depth, was on the east side of the street, a short distance north of Queen Street East. The first feature shown was an Edison Production, “The Train Wreckers,” produced in 1905. He added several vaudeville acts to each screening, a formula that was quickly copied by the theatres that followed in Griffin’s wake. 

“The Theatorium” was renamed the “Red Mill” in 1911.  Today, the Elgin/Winter Garden complex at 189 Yonge Street is located on a portion of the site.

                    fo1231_f1231_it0640[1]  Apr. 8, 1913

This photo from the City of Toronto Archives was taken on 8 August 1913. It shows the  “Theatorium” after it was renamed the “Red Mill Theatre.” The feature film is “The Red Girl’s Sacrifice,” a production of the Bison Motion Picture Company. It starred Mona Darkfeather and was directed by Frank Montgomery. The cornice of the old Bank of Montreal, on the northeast corner of the intersection of Yonge and Queen is visible in the upper right-hand corner of the photo. Today, the bank building is incorporated into an office tower, and its banking hall contains a subway station.

f1231_it0639[1]

This photo of a portion of the “Red Mill Theatre” is from the City of Toronto Archives, was also taken on 8 April 1913. A poster for “The Red Girl’s Sacrifice” can be seen. The boy leaning against the lamp pole appears curious about the photographer, or perhaps his sullen look is because he does not possess the funds to enter the theatre. Even if he had the admission price, his parents would likely not have allowed him to enter. In this era, many of the churches condemned movie houses as they considered them “dens of iniquity.” The educated people of the city thought that films were low-class and vulgar.

Theatorium -Red Mill  1914

The “Theatorium Theatre entrance on Yonge Street in 1914. The signs on either side of the entrance create the illusion that the theatre was much larger than its 17-foot width. One of the movies shown in the above photo is “The Singular Cynic,” starring Florence Lawrence.” It was released in 1914, and is about a woman who must choose between two suitors, but surprises them both by choosing a third. Photo, City of Toronto Archives.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Links to other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

Links to posts about Toronto’s movie houses—past and present.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                           cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

                To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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Toronto’s lost architectural gems—the site occupied by the Roy Thomson Hall

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                                     Toronto’s famous Roy Thomson Hall

The site of today’s Roy Thomson Hall is one of the most historic locations in Toronto. During the 19th century, it was where “Government House” once stood. The term “Government House” was employed throughout the multitudinous colonies of the British Empire to denote the official vice-regal residence of the representatives of the Crown. In Toronto (York), since the town’s inception, it has had several such residences.  One of them was located on the southwest corner of King and Simcoe Streets, where the Roy Thomson Hall is now located. Viewing the site today, it is difficult to imagine that it was where the Lieutenant-Governors of the province once entertained royalty.

pictures-r-1749[1]  1815-60 Tor. Ref. Lib. 

The above sketch is Elmsley House, built in 1798, located on the southwest corner of King and Simcoe Streets. At that time, it was on a small rise of land in the woods, to the west of the settled area of York, the town being clustered around the eastern end of the harbour.  The house was the private residence of Chief Justice John Elmsley, speaker of the House of Assembly and brother of the famous classical editor and critic, Peter Elmsley of Oxford University.

In 1815, the structure was purchased by the Government of Upper Canada to serve as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor. Though it was officially named “Government House,” the residents of York continued to refer to it as Elmsley House. During the years it was the vice-regal residence, Governors Sir Francis Gore, Sir Peregrine Maitland,  Sir John Colbourne, Sir Francis Bondhead, and Sir George Arthur entertained the elite of the city and visiting dignitaries within its walls. During the 1840s, a yearly agricultural fair was held on the grounds at Government House. Citizens from Toronto eagerly attended, as well as people from the surrounding towns and farms, who arrived by steamship, stage coach and wagons to participate in the popular annual event. From 1849 to 1851, Governor-in-Chief Lord Elgin lived in the mansion.

First_Government_House_in_Toronto_1854[1] Tor. Ref.

The original  Elmsley House was enlarged in during the years it served as the vice-regal residence. The above sketch, from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library, depicts the citizens of Toronto celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday at the house in 1854. Perhaps the most famous guest at the house was Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. He visited Toronto in 1860. It was the first time an heir to the throne had ever set foot in the city. On his occasion, he officially opened and named Queen’s Park, where in the years ahead the Legislative Buildings of Ontario were constructed. He also laid the cornerstone in Queen’s Park for a future statue of his mother. The statue was eventually erected and remains today in front of the Ontario Legislative Buildings. In the library of Osgoode Hall, a grand ball was held for the prince. Today, tours of Osgoode Hall include a visit to this magnificent room. These tours are free to the public, but are conducted during the summer months only.

Unfortunately, the Government House that traced its origins to 1798 was destroyed by fire in 1862.

                       Fonds 1244, Item 630

The Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria, at the monument to Queen Victoria in Queen’s Park c. 1910. His brother Edward, Prince of Wales, laid the cornerstone for the monument in 1860.  I wonder why a man is crouched up on the statue. Life certainly does have its little mysteries.

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The  law library in Osgoode Hall where the grand ball was held for the future King Edward VII in 1860. This room can be visited on the tours of Osgoode Hall. During his visit he resided at Government House at King and Simcoe Streets.

pcr-2215[1]  Tor. Ref. Lib.

The above illustration is a picture postcard from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library. It depicts the new residence that the government built to replace the one that was demolished by fire. It was completed in 1870, at a cost of $105,000, erected on the same site as its predecessor. The architects were Gundry and Langley. Henry Langley was a Toronto-born architect, who also designed the tower and spire on St. Michael’s Cathedral, the original Metropolitan United Church on King Street East, and Jarvis Street Baptist Church. When the new Government House was constructed, King Street was a fashionable residential address, where many of the elite of the city had their homes.

The three-story dwelling in the above engraving was constructed of red bricks and possessed Ohio cut-stone trim. It was in the Second Empire style, with a Mansard roof, numerous gables, and an impressive tower facing King Street. The vice-regal suite was on the second floor, in the central position, on the east side. The main reception hall in the house was 65’ by 21’, and it contained ornate plasterwork and extensive wood trim. On the north side (right-hand side of the picture) can be seen a shelter over the carriage entrance, which sheltered guests from inclement weather. Greenhouses and support buildings are located on the south side of the dwelling. The view in the postcard is of the east facade, facing Simcoe Street. 

By the turn of the 20th century, the King Street area was becoming more industrial, as the land to the south of the house was increasingly encroached upon by the railways. Also, the Legislature had relocated in 1893 from its location on Front Street, east of Simcoe Street, to Queen’s Park. Before the relocation, Government House had been only several blocks to the northwest of the Legislative Buildings. The old Legislative Buildings remained vacant for almost a decade, until they were demolished between the years 1900 and 1903. The site is now occupied by the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.

In 1912, Government House and the surrounding lands were sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway, the stately house soon demolished for a freight yard. The last residents were Sir John and Lady Gibson of Hamilton. They moved temporarily into a house loaned by Mr. Walter Beardmore, at 33 St. George St. The house still exists today and is called Cumberland House. It is owned by the University of Toronto.

Finally, in 1915, the new vice-regal residence, Chorley Park, was ready for occupation. It remained the home of the Lieutenant Governors until 1937, when it too was demolished as the cost to maintain it became a political embarrassment . There is no longer a residence for the Lieutenant Governors of Ontario. They have offices and a suite within the Legislative Buildings at Queen’s Park.

Fonds 1244, Item 1129A

View of Government House in 1907, showing the east facade and the extensive grounds and flower beds. The photo was taken in the spring of the year as tulips are in bloom on either side of the impressive carriageway.

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Government House in 1908. This view shows the east facade facing Simcoe Street (left-hand side), which contains the formal front entrance and portico, and the north facade (right-hand side) with the protected carriage entrance and tower, which face King Street.

Fonds 1244, Item 651

The last garden party held at Government House in 1911. This view looks west from Simcoe Street. The building in the upper left-hand corner of the picture is on King Street, and it remains in existence today.  The above three pictures are from the collection of the City of Toronto Archives.

pictures-r-1793[1]  1912, Tor. Ref. Lib.

This 1912 photo from the Toronto Reference Library is a view of Government House from the southeast. Simcoe Street is between the residence and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church to the east. The extensive lawns of the property are visible. The building on the extreme left, containing arched windows, is on King Street West (see next photo).

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The building that is visible in the 1912 photograph, as it appears on King Street today.

Fonds 1244, Item 973K

The 12th York Rangers marching south on Simcoe Street c.1912. Government House is visible to the north. The fencing around Government House suggests that the demolition of the house has already commenced, as the property had an ornate wrought-iron fence surrounding it when the vice-regal representatives were in residence. Gazing north up Simcoe Street, the Union Building at 212 King Street is visible. It is on the northwest corner of King and Simcoe Streets (see next photo). Today, the Union Building is where the subscription office of the TSO is located as well as the offices of the Argonaut Football Club. 

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The Union Building, constructed in 1908, on the northwest corner of King and Simcoe. It can be seen in the 1912 photo of the troops marching south on Simcoe Street. The Mansard roof above the cornice was not added until the 1980s.

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The next time you walk by the Roy Thomson Hall or attend a concert in its auditorium, you will be on a site where important events occurred in Toronto’s past.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/torontos-architectural-gemsst-stanislaus-koska-rc-church-at-12-denison-avenue/

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbishops-palace-on-church-street/

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ed-mirvish-theatre-pantages-imperial-canon/

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-waverly-hotel-484-spadina/

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-of-commerce-cibc-on-king-street/

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-postal-delivery-building-now-the-acc/

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/torontos-architectural-gems-bellevue-fire-station/

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/torontos-architectural-gems-the-bank-of-nova-scotia-at-king-and-bay/

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/in-mid-winter-recalling-the-sunshine-of-torontos-sunnyside-beach/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/a-pictorial-journey-to-sunnyside-beach-of-old-part-one/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/a-pictorial-journey-to-torontos-old-sunnyside-beach-part-two/

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/torontos-architectural-gems-runnymede-library/

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/sinfully-saucy-and-diversetorontos-spadina-avenue/

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reading-building-on-spadina/

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-darling-building-on-spadina/

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-amazing-fashion-building-on-spadina/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemstower-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide/

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-balfour-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/torontos-architectural-gemsrobertson-building-dark-horse-espresso-bar/

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/architectural-gem-grossmans-tavern-at-377-9-spadina/Historic

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-paul-magder-fur-shop-at-202-spadina-avenue/

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/a-historic-building-that-disappeared-from-the-northeast-corner-spadina-and-college/

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/history-of-the-backpackers-hotel-at-king-and-spadina/

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/torontos-hamburger-cornerwhere-is-it-and-why/

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/torontos-architectural-gems-lord-lansdowne-school-on-spadina-cres/

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/torontos-heritage-the-southwest-corner-of-queen-and-spadina/

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/torontos-architectural-historyspadina-north-of-queen-kings-court/

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina-on-an-historic-site/

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.

ttps://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/torontos-architectural-gems-is-this-one-a-joke/

Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/military-hero-of-war-of-1812-lived-near-mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina/

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/torontos-architectural-gems-art-deco-bus-terminal-on-bay-street/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/enjoying-torontos-historic-architectural-gems-queen-streets-black-bull-tavern/

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-cast-iron-fence-around-osgoode-hall/

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/listening-to-the-radio-as-a-child-in-the-1940s-the-lone-ranger-the-shadow-etc/

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/122-perish-in-torontos-noronic-disaster-horticultural-building-at-cne-used-as-morgue/

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/victoria-square-in-torontos-entertainment-district-is-a-gem/

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-city-hall-photographed-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/torontos-architectural-gems-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Toronto

 

Kensington Market gem soon to disappear

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I was truly saddened when I saw the real estate sign on the building that houses the Casa Acoreana on the northeast corner of Baldwin Avenue and Augusta Street, in Toronto’s Kensington Market. The unadorned building gives no hint of the treasures contained within its wall. I have shopped here for the past twelve years. Each time I enter the shop I marvel at the array of spices, lentils, teas, candies, and myriad of other products from around the world that are contained in the large glass jars and bins that grace the walls of this exceptional store. Because of the rise in rental costs, it will no longer be possible for the shop-keepers to continue their business. This is a true loss to the city. If you have never been inside the premises—rush—hurry—stampede—to the Market and enter this shop to view the magical array of exotic scents and products. You will never again see another shop like it in the city.

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The interior of Casa Acoreana, early on a Saturday morning. The ceiling has globes that show the continents and nations where the products originated. 

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View from the east wall, gazing west toward Augusta Avenue. This is a shop that makes the penny-candy stores of my youth appear anaemic.

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The display of spices and herbs, as well as  the assortment of rice and beans, has been raised to an art form.

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                Sculpture hanging from the ceiling delights the eye.

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Candy, though no longer a penny, holds as much fascination for me now, as when I was a child. Alas, even the humble penny is gone. Where will we now purchase our “Hot Lips,” Gummie Frogs, “ and “Strawberry marsh mellows?”

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Anyone remember the boxes of Mackintosh Toffee, the ones we smashed into pieces by banging them on the heads of the kids in the row ahead of us at the Saturday afternoon movie matinee? These old-time candy boxes are attached to the ceiling of the Casa Acoreana.

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                   Old movie posters also adorn the walls of the shop.

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               Casa Acoreana, one of the city’s greatest treasures.

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                                  Casa Acoreana in the summer of 2012

The building containing Casa Acoreana is one of the largest in the Kensington Market. It was originally the grocery store of L. Drilleck, whose business was taken over by Max Katz in 1924. Max remained here until 1929, and then relocated to 195 Baldwin Street. The building was empty until 1930, when Norman Young opened a store that sold dairy products. This same year, they altered the south facade of the building to create several small shops, which today still face Baldwin Street. They sell an assortment of Latin American products.

Casa Acoreana proudly declares on its sign—“Nuts make the world go round.” We assume that this is not a political statement. Luis Pavao commenced the business in 1955, and today, it remains a family enterprise, now operated by his sons and a grandson. The store exhibits an excellent display of nuts, and has one of the city’s finest assortments of rice. The odour of the spices fills the interior. Chocolate and dried fruits are also sold. The shelves extend to the ceiling, which is fourteen feet high. A long pole with a pincer on the end, capable of gripping objects, is required to retrieve bottles or jars from the top shelves. The assortment of candies, once referred to as “penny candy,” is in large glass jars, and is one of the best assortments in all of Toronto. The collection of spices is so complete that a visitor from the United States who was unable to purchase two rare spices in either New York or San Francisco, located them at Casa Acoreana.

On the northeast corner of Casa Acoreana is a small outdoor cafe named “Louie’s Kaffe.” Although the owners are Portuguese from the Azores, the small coffee shop seems reminiscent of the stalls found in the eastern Mediterranean lands, particularly in Greece or North Africa. Patrons sit on the stools placed out on the sidewalk, and sip strong coffee while they discuss the events of the day. There is a curved bench on the Augusta side of the café where it is possible to sit and watch the world go by. No other spot in the Market has the atmosphere of this small establishment. Though it is open to the elements, it is busy all winter long. On winter mornings, patrons huddle on the stools to engage in their favourite morning ritual—“coffee and conversation.”

The above is from the book, “The Villages Within,” which contains a detailed study of the history of the buildings of Kensington Market.

For a link to this book: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/the-villages-within/

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To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

A link to a previous blog about Casa Acoreana:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-entire-kensington-market/

To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbishops-palace-on-church-street/

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ed-mirvish-theatre-pantages-imperial-canon/

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-waverly-hotel-484-spadina/

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-of-commerce-cibc-on-king-street/

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-postal-delivery-building-now-the-acc/

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/torontos-architectural-gems-bellevue-fire-station/

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/torontos-architectural-gems-the-bank-of-nova-scotia-at-king-and-bay/

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/in-mid-winter-recalling-the-sunshine-of-torontos-sunnyside-beach/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/a-pictorial-journey-to-sunnyside-beach-of-old-part-one/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/a-pictorial-journey-to-torontos-old-sunnyside-beach-part-two/

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/torontos-architectural-gems-runnymede-library/

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/sinfully-saucy-and-diversetorontos-spadina-avenue/

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reading-building-on-spadina/

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-darling-building-on-spadina/

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-amazing-fashion-building-on-spadina/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemstower-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide/

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-balfour-building-at-spadina-and-adelaide

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/torontos-architectural-gemsrobertson-building-dark-horse-espresso-bar/

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/architectural-gem-grossmans-tavern-at-377-9-spadina/Historic

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-paul-magder-fur-shop-at-202-spadina-avenue/

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/a-historic-building-that-disappeared-from-the-northeast-corner-spadina-and-college/

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/history-of-the-backpackers-hotel-at-king-and-spadina/

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/torontos-hamburger-cornerwhere-is-it-and-why/

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/torontos-architectural-gems-lord-lansdowne-school-on-spadina-cres/

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/torontos-heritage-the-southwest-corner-of-queen-and-spadina/

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/torontos-architectural-historyspadina-north-of-queen-kings-court/

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina-on-an-historic-site/

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.

ttps://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/torontos-architectural-gems-is-this-one-a-joke/

Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/military-hero-of-war-of-1812-lived-near-mcdonalds-at-queen-and-spadina/

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/torontos-architectural-gems-art-deco-bus-terminal-on-bay-street/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-old-dominion-bank-buildingnow-a-condo-hotel-at-one-king-st-west/

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/exploring-torontos-architectural-gemsthe-canada-life-building/

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/a-glimpse-at-the-interior-of-campbell-house-at-university-avenue-and-queen-street/

A study of Osgoode Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-osgoode-hall/

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/torontos-first-city-hall-now-a-part-of-the-st-lawrence-market/

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/enjoying-torontos-historic-architectural-gems-queen-streets-black-bull-tavern/

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-cast-iron-fence-around-osgoode-hall/

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/listening-to-the-radio-as-a-child-in-the-1940s-the-lone-ranger-the-shadow-etc/

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/122-perish-in-torontos-noronic-disaster-horticultural-building-at-cne-used-as-morgue/

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/victoria-square-in-torontos-entertainment-district-is-a-gem/

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-water-maintenance-building-on-richmond-street-west/

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-city-hall-photographed-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/torontos-architectural-gems-in-1912/

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/torontos-architectural-gemsbank-at-spadina-and-queen-west/

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/photos-of-the-surroundings-of-the-st-lawrence-market-and-cn-tower-in-1977/

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-the-st-lawrence-hall/

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/the-history-and-beauty-of-trinity-bellwood-park/

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-old-city-hall/

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Toronto