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Monthly Archives: March 2013

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—the old Knox College at 1 Spadina Crescent

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At the head of Spadina Avenue, where the street divides to form Spadina Crescent, is one of Toronto’s grand structures from the nineteenth century. The building creates an impressive vista when a person gazes north from China Town, to the head of the street. The structure dominates the wide thoroughfare, in the tradition of the wide avenues that circle important buildings in European cities. On Spadina, the traffic flows around the structure, creating a sense of importance that in another location it would not receive. The legislative building at Queen’s Park, the Old City Hall, and Upper Canada College at the top of Avenue Road are other Toronto buildings that occupy prominent positions, where the buildings dominate the streets that they overlook.

The land where the Knox College was built was at one time known as Crescent Garden. Its owner intended it to be a park, and in a deed granted its ownership to the City of Toronto. The city never accepted the offer, and the property was sold in 1873 by a daughter of Robert Baldwin to the Hon. J McMurrick (1804-1883) for $10,000. He was an influential member of Knox Presbyterian Church on Spadina Avenue, south of Bloor Street, and donated the land to build a larger Presbyterian College than the institution possessed at the time.

The new Presbyterian College in Spadina Circle was to be the fifth location since it was founded in 1844. Named after the famous Scottish theological reformer, John Knox, it had originally been located in the building that was formerly Sword’s Hotel on Front Street. The Royal York Hotel occupies the site today. Another location the College occupied was Elmsley Villa, on Grosvenor Street. In 1875, it relocated to Spadina Circle.

The new College was designed by architects Smith and Gemmel. Its pointed Gothic windows, wall dormers, turrets, gables and gargoyles reflected the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The College commenced conferring degrees in theology in 1881. In 1887, it federated with the University of Toronto, and in 1915, relocated to King’s College Circle. Its address today is 59 St. George Street.

After Knox College vacated the premises, the building housed several different occupants. It served as the armouries for a Toronto regiment, and later, the Spadina Military Hospital. For a few months in 1918, Amelia Earhart, the famous pilot, worked in the hospital as a nurse’s aide. In 1943, the premises were purchased by the Connaught Laboratories, which were named after the Duke of Connaught, the third son of Queen Victoria, who served as Canada’s Governor General from 1911 to 1916. The laboratory became a world leader in developing penicillin and insulin, and manufactured these medicines on the premises. The University of Toronto acquired the property in the 1970s. 

Today, the old Knox College building has a reputation for being haunted. In 2001, a professor was murdered there. I remember this killing as a neighbour of mine worked in the building at the time. The  news sent shock waves through the staff and students. Then, on 10 September 2009, a woman fell to her death from the third floor while on a ghost hunt. I doubt that many visitors, students or faculty members today worry about ghosts.  However, the building continues to sit prominently at the top of Spadina Avenue, an impressive reminder of the great architectural accomplishment in our city during the 19th century.

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View of the old Knox College, looking north on Spadina from College Street, in the summer of 2012.

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                      The ornate tower of the old college building

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Left-hand photo, the doorway of the College with its detailed surround, which includes Corinthian pilasters, and the Gothic detailing of the tower (the right-hand photo).

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Gothic designs and one of the gargoyles on the former Knox College building.

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South facade of the old Knox College building, overlooking Spadina Avenue.

pictures-r-3204[1] 1908. Tor Ref Lib.

      Knox College in 1908. Photo from the Toronto Reference Library.

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Gazing north on Spadina from near College Street, in 1899. Photo from City of Toronto Archives.

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   Gazing north on Spadina c. 1900, City of Toronto Archives.

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        The grand structure on a summer evening in 2012.

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

To view other posts about the historic buildings on Spadina Avenue:

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

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

A history of Spadina Avenue—the days when it was a quiet rural street remote from Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/spadina-ave-when-it-was-a-quiet-rural-location/

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/

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/

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—the entire Kensington Market

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Casa Acoreana Cafe and Food Shop on the corner of Baldwin and Augusta, on a summer day in 2012

This post was inspired by the article on the front page in the GTA Section of today’s (March 6, 2013) Toronto Star. A member of the Star Staff, who was was not identified, wrote about the rent increases in the Kensington Market that will force some of the shops to close. The cost of renting space will be affordable only by the large chain stores, most of them American owned. If the present trend continues. Toronto will lose one of the most unique neighbourhoods in the city. A few years ago, it was voted as being the best neighbourhood in North America. Though some may debate the merits of this award, most people agree that is one of the most unusual and diverse areas in our city. Its loss will be tragic.

The article in the Star centred around an interview with Ossie Pavao, who operates the shop known as Casa Acoreana Cafe and Food Shop at the northeast corner of Baldwin and Augusta Streets.  I buy my spices and herbs at this shop. Because I can purchase small amounts, I am able to replace the spices frequently, before they lose their flavour.  There are other aspects of Casa Acorena that I enjoy. When I gaze up at the large jars of candy on the upper shelves, I recall my days as a child gazing at the penny-candy in the window of my local variety store. The friendly, knowledgeable service I receive at Casa Acoreana is also an attraction.

However, the total rent for for building in which Pavao operates his business, along with several other merchants, is soon to be $10,000 per month. This will force the present renters from the premises. I will truly feel the loss. I shop at the Kensington Market three or four times a week. I know many of the merchants, and though they do not know my name, they recognize me. I usually shop early in the morning on weekdays, so they are not as busy as later in the day. They have time to chat and joke about life’s daily activities and problems. From the conversations that I overhear around me in the Market, I have become truly aware that it is a village surrounded by the larger Toronto scene.

I add my lament for the demise of the unique shops of Kensington. However,  I will centre this post upon the architecture of the area. When I first started to study the buildings that line its streets, I was fascinated by how the architecture has evolved.

During the 19th century, the area that is today known as Kensington Market was home to working class immigrants, mostly from the British Isles. However, during the second decade of the twentieth century, Anglos were moving out of the district, seeking larger and newer residences further to the west, on streets such as Palmerston and Euclid. Kensington was close to the garment shops on Spadina, where many of the Jewish immigrants had found employment. The small homes in the Kensington area, built on narrow streets, were inexpensive to purchase. Extensions could easily be added to the rear of the houses. Single-family homes were often subdivided to provide space for several families, thus providing more assistance with the mortgage.

For many immigrants, the first method of starting a business was to sell goods from a knapsack on their back, and walk the streets to reach the customers. As soon as possible, a push-cart was acquired, allowing larger amounts of merchandise to be carried. Many chose the “rag trade,” as being low in prestige, there was not much competition. Some gathered bottles, cleaned them, and resold them to factories. Others collected old sewing machines, repaired them, and resold them. They collected anything of value that was available, and disposed of it for whatever price they could obtain. Others sold fruit and vegetable from their carts. All these enterprises required almost no capital to commence, and allowed the vendors to be free to worship on the Sabbath.

When funds were available, stalls were built across the front of some of the small Kensington homes. Others opened stores in the front rooms of the houses. While the men pushed their carts through the streets, in weather that was often inclement, the women sold goods from these make-shift shops to earn extra income for the family.

Eventually modest extensions were constructed on the front of the homes, replacing the stalls, and temporary shops. The Kensington Market was born. Merchants and their families lived above the stores or behind them. The district was slowly transformed from a quiet residential community into a vibrant shopping area with a European “shtetle” atmosphere. Despite its similarity to Jewish areas in other cities, such as the Lower East Side in New York, or London’s Whitechapel, Kensington was a unique creation, “one of a kind.”

Today, many Victorian homes remain behind the commercial storefronts. Gazing upward, many of the peaked roofs and ornate trim of the old houses remain, though many have been severely altered. Augusta Avenue, Baldwin Street, St. Andrew’s Avenue, and Kensington Avenue all contain examples of storefronts that extend from the houses to the edge of the sidewalks, where at one time the lawns were located.

Today, the Jewish market has mostly disappeared, and the small shops of yesteryear have become ethnic stores—West Indian, Latino, Caribbean, East Indian, and Portuguese.

The above information is from the book entitled “The Villages Within”—a study of the Kensington Market, Queen Street West, and the Kings West. 

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

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During the 19th century, homes in the Market area were mostly Victorian Bay-and-Gable houses, such as these that remain on Kensington Avenue.

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Many of the old Victorian homes on Kensington Avenue have now been converted shops. Their facades are lavished with bright colours that add charm to the street, creating an avenue that is fascinating to stroll. It was houses such as these that the Jewish merchants placed stalls in front of, on the lawns, and then, began selling goods. 

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The custom of street-stalls has not disappeared from the modern Kensington scene. This display surrounds a Victorian house on two sides. Across the street can be seen more outdoor stalls surrounding a 19th-century dwelling.

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Eventually, some of the stalls were replaced with additions built across the front of the houses. In this view, looking north on Kensington Avenue toward Baldwin Street, the old houses are visible. Many have extensions built across them that sell various goods.

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Examining the tops of the buildings, the original 19th-century structures remain visible. In some instances, the homes have been butchered, with peaked pediments removed and boxy structures constructed over them.

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This section of Kensington Avenue has a few original buildings, with additions added to them, while others are more modern structures that were built to replace those that were destroyed by fire.

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The Moonbean Cafe on St. Andrew’s Street has an addition that has been built onto a house constructed in the 1870s. It is one of the oldest structures in the Market. 

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These shops on Baldwin Street are contained in small additions that were added to the front of small labourers homes from the 19th century. The small home can easily be seen behind the store that contains the “Coral Sea Fish Market.”

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In all seasons of the year, Kensington is a magical place. I hope that Casa Acoreana never disappears from the scene.

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

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 6, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church at 12 Denison Avenue

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The building that today is St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church was built between the years 1879 and 1880, and was consecrated as the West Presbyterian Church.  It is located on Denison Avenue, one block north of Queen Street West. The architects were Gordon and Helliwell, and they constructed the church in the Gothic Revival style. The yellow-brick structure possesses  a spire on its north side, which overlooks Denison Avenue. In 1911, it was purchased by a generous benefactor and given to the Polish Community as a place of worship. In 1937, the Felician Sisters from Buffalo arrived to assist the parish in its work. Today, the Felician Sisters continue to serve the people of the community from a large house at 25 Augusta Avenue, one block east of the church. 

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     The spire on St. Stanislaus Koska Church on Denison Avenue.

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                   The east facade od the church on Denison Avenue.

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In the interior of the church, the pews are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar, which is on the west side of the sanctuary. The pillars evident in the photo support a second-floor gallery that is horseshoe shaped.

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In the photo, on the left-hand side can be seen the gallery on the second floor.

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The gold and white altar is indeed impressive. The ceiling of the sanctuary is ribbed in the early-Gothic traditional style. In 1969, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was a guest at the church. He was later to become Pope John Paul II.

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The facade of St. Stanislaus Koska Church on a quiet Sunday morning in summer.

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House where the Felician Sisters perform their charitable mission. The left-hand photo was taken around 1912, when the house was a private residence. The other photograph was taken in March of 2013Historic photo is 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:

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 5, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach on a hot summer’s day during former decades

 DSCN1101

This Sunnyside photo was taken on a July morning in 2011. The beach was quiet and there were few strollers on the boardwalk. It is obvious that the sandy stretch of beach does not have the same appeal as it did in former years, as most people now own automobiles and depart from the city on weekends and holidays. However, after Sunnyside officially opened in 1922, until the amusement rides and food stands were demolished in 1955-56, it was the most eagerly sought summer retreat in the city.

The following pictures from the City of Toronto Archives may bring back a few memories for those who remember Sunnyside, and for others, provide a glimpse into the past.  Today, it is difficult to imagine the appeal of Sunnyside and the crowds that once gathered beside the lake each summer to escape the hot humid streets of Toronto.  

f1548_s0393_it0011[1]  1920s 

Crowds at Sunnyside Beach during the 1920s. In the distance, out in the water, the break wall is visible.f1548_s0393_it17475a[1]  1922

People enjoying the beach in 1922, the year that Sunnyside opened. The attire of the people seems quite quaint, in the modern era. The man on the far left-hand side of the photo, sitting in a deck chair with a canvas shade over it, has set up a telescope. He appears to be eating an ice cream cone. The child beside the woman on the left is gazing longingly at the water.

f1548_s0393_it18138[1]  1923

Sunnyside Beach in 1923. The deck chairs are rentals from a concession located near the beach. In the background (right-hand side) is the Bathing Pavilion, which has survived into the modern era. To the left of the bathing Pavilion are the rollercoaster and the domed-roof of the merry-go-round.The formal attire of the people seems so quaint compared to today, when bathers display more skin than cloth.

f1548_s0393_it18138c[1]  1923 

This charming photo, taken in 1923, is from a pavilion or tea room that was located close to the boardwalk. The wide beach is in the background, on the right-hand side, and to the left of it is a strip of grass where people are sitting. To the left of the grass is the famous 20-wide boardwalk. The rollercoaster can be seen on the far left, and the houses on King Street are visible above the slope that today is on the north side of the Gardiner Expressway.

s0071_it3272h[1] Bathing streetcars 1924

The TTC provided free streetcars that brought children to Sunnyside Beach. This photo of the children was taken on 14 July 1924. One of the free streetcars can be seen. I pity any TTC employee that was a conductor on one of these streetcars. The noise level must have been ear-splitting. In the background, on the right, the Bathing Pavilion can be seen. The lamp posts are on the south side of the boardwalk.

s0071_it3272a[1]  Bathing cars 1924

Children waiting for their return ride home on the free Sunnyside Bathing Cars, on 14 July 1924. They appear considerable more subdued than in the previous photo. Again, the bathing Pavilion can be seen in the background.

Sunnyside 1929

People going for a swim in 1929 at the Sunnyside Pool. This view faces east toward the downtown area. In this year, none of the city’s tall downtown buildings can be seen. In the right-hand corner of the picture, on the beach a gazebo is visible.

            f1231_it0653[1]  beach 1935

                                    Sunnyside Beach on 21 August 1935

                             image

                                                   Sunnyside Beach in the 1940s.

I am grateful to the City of Toronto Archives for the photos employed in this post.

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

To view other posts about Sunnyside beach in former years:

A pictorial journey to Toronto’s Sunnyside of old – 1900 to 1922

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

A pictorial journey to the Sunnyside of old – 1922-1956

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

In mid-winter, recalling the sunshine of Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach of old.

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

Memories of Toronto’s Sunnyside on a sweltering hot summer day

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/memories-of-torontos-sunnyside-on-a-sweltering-summer-day/

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 1920s Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

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

The 1822 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 glimpse at the 1829 Osgoode Hall and its surroundings

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

Toronto’s first City Hall of 1845, 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/

Trinity Bellwoods Park’s past

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

Toronto’s famous old ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

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

Toronto’s 1899 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 3, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems–Bishop’s Palace on Church Street

DSCN7835

The yellow-brick building at 200 Church Street, a short distance north of Shuter Street, is one of the oldest residences in the city. The building is often referred to as “The Bishop’s Palace” or “St Michael’s  Palace, but it is actually the rectory for St. Michael’s Cathedral on Bond Street. The rectory was erected in 1845, the same year that construction began on the Cathedral, and was built as the residence for the Catholic Bishops and Archbishops of Toronto. The architect was William Thomas (1799-1860), one of Toronto’s finest architects. He designed the Don Jail and the St. Lawrence Hall. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, he was the architect of the Court House, which now houses one of the theatres of the Shaw Festival. Thomas also designed the Brock Monument at Queenston Heights.

The rectory is Gothic in style, and originally consisted of a single two-storey building. It was blessed by Bishop Michael Power, the first bishop of Toronto on 27 December 1846.  He did not reside in the residence for long, as he died  of cholera the following year at age 43, and was buried beneath the crypt in the unfinished St. Michael’s Cathedral. A three-story addition was added to the north side of the residence in 1852 . The enlarged premises accommodated the fledgling St. Michael’s College, which relocated to its present-day site near the University of Toronto in 1856. Around the year 1900, a third-story was added to the original building. In 1981, the building was extensively renovated and restored. Today, it remains as an outstanding example mid-nineteenth-century Victorian domestic Gothic architecture.

       DSCN7841

The  east facade of the residence. The central gable, which contains the main entrance, displays Thomas’ mastery of the Gothic style.  The yellow-grey Toronto bricks and stone trim add to the appeal of this building.

             DSCN7846

                 The doorway of the rectory, with its Gothic designs.

DSCN7844   DSCN7845

The carvings on either side of the doorway, the one on the left said to be Bishop Michael Power, and on the right, the architect, William Thomas. I have doubts about this, as the Bishop was only 43 when he died, and the carving appears to be a much older man. As well, the carving depicting Thomas, is not very flattering.

DSCN7842

The episcopal arms carved in stone by John Cochrane, in the pediment of the gable.

DSCN7840

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

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

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/

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s Biltmore Theatre on Yonge St.

Biltmore, 1948, SC 303-A-4

The Biltmore Theatre in 1948, the year it opened. City of Toronto Archives, SC 303-A

The Biltmore Theatre, built in 1948, seated almost 1000 patrons, twice the capacity of the Rio Theatre, located further north on Yonge Street, closer to Gerrard Street. When it opened, the Biltmore’s main competition were the Imperial and Loew’s Downtown. Both these theatres had larger seating capacities, and thus were able to afford to rent recent Hollywood releases. As a result, the Biltmore offered two features for a single admission price.

When I was a teenager in the 1950s, my friends and I rarely attended the Biltmore, since our neighbourhood movie houses satisfied our need to view older films. When we journeyed downtown we wanted to see the latest movie hits, so attended the larger theatres in the area.

The above photo gazes north on Yonge Street from near Dundas Street. The Biltmore, with its impressive sign and marquee, is on the right-hand side (east side) of Yonge Street. To the north of the theatre can be seen the turret on the Edison Hotel. It had previously been named the Princess Hotel, and it burned on 3 January 2011. Only the walls of the building survived. However, the empty shell of the building was boarded-up and unattended for a several years. The north wall of the structure eventually collapsed into the street. Then, the entire structure was demolished.

With the onslaught of television, attendance at the Biltmore dwindled. In an attempt to attract patrons, the Biltmore offered double and sometimes triple features, at a very low price, sometimes as cheap as one dollar, if you entered before 6 pm. I am told that at one time the theatre also offered five movies for the price of three dollars. In its latter years, the Biltmore screened martial arts films, action flicks and sometimes soft-core porn. However, all attempts to increase revenues failed.

The Biltmore closed in 1986, according to John Farquharson, who worked as a projectionist at the theatre. With the demise of the Biltmore, another of Toronto’s old movie houses was lost. The site was used for various commercial enterprises until it was demolished in 1991 to construct the 25,000 square-foot HMV Superstore that is a part of the building complex on the northeast corner of Dundas and Yonge. Its postal address 10 Dundas St. East.

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   Gazing north on Yonge Street from near Dundas Street on 3 January 1950. The Biltmore Theatre is on the right-hand side of the photo. Photo is from the City of Toronto Archives.

Biltmore Theatre

The Biltmore in the late-1980s, shortly after it closed as an operating movie theatre. This photo gazes north on Yonge Street. The northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets is in the foreground on the right-hand side. The modern neon sign to the south of the Biltmore, for the Pin Ball Arcade, at night over-shadowed the once impressive marquee of the Biltmore. The turret on the Edison Hotel is visible further north on the street. The northeast corner of Dundas and Yonge, where Mr. Submarine is located, was once the site of the famous Brown Derby Tavern. Photo is from the City of Toronto Archives.

BiltmoreTheatre[1]

The Biltmore at night. Photo from the blog, Torontothenandnow.blogspot.com

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

To view previous posts about other old movie houses of Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/torontos-old-movie-theatrestayloronhistory-com/

To View links to Toronto’s Heritage Buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/canadas-cultural-scenetorontos-architectural-heritage/

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Toronto