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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween antics on Queen West–2013

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Although Queen Street West has changed over the years, it remains one of the most interesting streetscapes in Toronto. When I first moved into the area, there were more eccentric characters, most of whom have since disappeared from the scene. A few years ago, there was a gentleman who dressed elegantly in an expansive suit, tie, and overcoat, along with a fedora and leather gloves. However, even in winter, he never wore shoes or socks. He paraded along Queen Street in bare feet, oblivious to the snow and the cold. There was another gentleman, in a wheelchair, whom I often saw frequenting the street. A team of two husky dogs pulled him and his wheelchair along the sidewalk. At each intersection the dogs stopped, waited for the traffic light to change, and then safely pulled their owner across the street.

In years gone by, I observed the “tailpipe” lady. She regularly stopped beside a car, bent down, and conversed with the tailpipe of the automobile. Whatever information the tailpipe told her, she happily carried to the next tailpipe. If the second tailpipe disagreed, she went back and consulted the original tailpipe. She appeared to have many a lively conversation, and there was never any backtalk, or should I say “backfiring.” It was indeed a fortuitous arrangement for her and the tailpipes.

However, my favourites were the the two young ladies who strolled the avenue, usually on Saturdays, dressed as French maids, with the frilly little caps and white lace-trimmed aprons. However, unlike traditional maids, the front of their dresses were cut out to reveal their white panties. I am certain  that their grandmother never dressed like this! I never did discover if they were discreet hookers or were advertising some commercial product or another. However, I am certain that “commerce” was involved in some manner or another. There were also two women who used to dress in nuns’ habits, with the front of their long black robes cut out to display their holy white panties. I often wondered if the French maids and the nuns were the same women. I never solved the mystery. Life is certainly full of suspense when a person strolls Queen Street.

On Sunday mornings, there used to be a man who frequented Queen Street, a short distance east of Spadina. He was attired in the long robe of a biblical shepherd, with a large staff in his hand that contained a traditional hook at its tip, employed to snare lost sheep. He continuously shouted, “I’m Jesus and I’m not pleased with the state of the world.” Several old-timers who observed him, shook their heads in agreement. Later that day, if they attended a church service and the preacher asked, “Have you ever met Jesus?” they could honestly reply “I certainly have. He was on Queen Street this morning.”   

Queen Street West has been somewhat gentrified during the last decade, high-end clothing shops moving into the area, replacing the shops that catered to the Goths and those seeking second-hand goods. However, it remains an interesting place to stroll and observe the passing scene. The section between Spadina and Bathurst retains more of the character of the street as it appeared a decade ago. The inclusion of the new Loblaws store at Portland and Queen, and the new restaurants and sandwich shops have not destroyed the scene, but add contrast as they nestle in among the shops of the garment trade and other retail venues of the past.

I particularly enjoy Queen Street as Halloween approaches. Examining the creative window displays, where images of the heritage buildings that line the avenue are reflected in the plate glass. In late-October, the trees flanking the sidewalks and the leafy giants in Trinity Bellwood Park add their magnificent reds, golds and oranges to a scene that is already rich with colour. At the end of my stroll, I select a sidewalk cafe and treat myself to a coffee, hot and rich with creamy goodness.  

Queen Street shop windows—Halloween 2013  

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A shop at Queen West and Markham Street, with ghosts in front of it. Although it is on the corner of Queen Street, the front of the store faces Markham.

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The scene in front of the shop at Markham and Queen West.

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                This t-shirt shop portrays the spirit of the season.

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                                                 Other t-shirts.

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A great t-shirt, but I don’t think I’d want my daughter wearing this one (or my son).

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Shanti Baba is on the north side of Queen, a short distance east of Bathurst Street. Its windows are always colourful.

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                                       Windows in Shanti Baba

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A club near Bathurst and Queen advertising its Halloween bash. (held the Saturday prior to Halloween)

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Lingerie shop with its window display, the heritage buildings on the north side of the street reflected in the glass.

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Greengrocers on Queen, west of Bathurst, with its seasonal display.

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                            Pots of asters at the greengrocers.

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                              Halloween treats for dogs.

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This display appears great, from either inside or outside the shop.

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                          Who can resist a treat at Dufflet Pastry Shop?

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                       This shop is certainly in the spirit !

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The black Halloween bat in this display seems to hover over the reflection in the glass of Trinity Bellwood Park

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End the stroll with a coffee or spiced cider in one of the many cafes that dot Queen Street West. Perfect!

To View other posts on the blog about Halloween in Toronto.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/haunted-halloween-scenes-on-the-streets-of-torontos-bloor-west-village/

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

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

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

To view links to a photographic snapshot of Queen West on the morning of October 5, 2013.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/torontos-gemsqueen-st-westpart-ithe-naughty-and-nice/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/toronto-gemsqueen-st-westpart-twonaughty-and-nice/

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—the St. Patrick’s (Queen St.) Market

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238 Queen Street West, the site of the old St Patrick’s Market—now the Queen Street Market

In 1836, Mr. D’Arcy Boulton (1785-1846), who resided at the Grange (now part of the AGO), donated land on Queen Street to the city on condition that it provide a site for a public market, open to everyone in perpetuity. The market square was to extend 123 feet back from Queen Street, as far as the laneway behind Queen Street. It was Toronto’s second market, after the St. Lawrence Market, which had opened 29 years earlier. The property that D’Arcy Boulton donated had originally been a part of the hundred acre, “Park Lot #13,” bounded by Queen Street, McCaul, Dundas, and Beverley. The new market was to be named St. Patrick’s Market as it was in St. Patrick’s Ward.

The city erected a frame building to protect shoppers from the elements, and farmers brought their produce to the stalls inside the structure. Eventually they replaced it with a modest brick building, completed in 1856. Three prominent citizens provided the funds for the structure, on condition that they would be reimbursed from the profits of the market. The Toronto Directories list four butchers as having stalls in the building in 1861. The market never became as important as the St. Lawrence or St. Andrew’s Market, but it was important to those who resided within walking distance of its stalls. The brick building completed in 1856 was destroyed by fire.

The present-day building on the site at Queen Street West dates from 1912, so is historic in its own right, since it is over a hundred years old. It was designated a Heritage site in 1975. It was renovated and modernized several years ago, and a few of the spaces inside the building are now occupied by new tenants. The market is located across from the Bell Media Building on the southeast corner of John and Queen, amidst the ever-busy and vibrant Queen Street West,

pictures-r-5352[1]

This watercolour from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library is puzzling. It is dated 1912. However, the St. Patrick’s Market that is depicted is not the 1912 market building and appears too grand to be the one that was pre-1912. However, the watercolour accurately depicts the Anglican Church of St. George the Martyr, located behind the building. This is the church that has lost its spire in a fire in 1956.  The only other market building on this site was a frame structure, which this does not appear to be the one in this painting.pictures-r-5354[1] 

This 1890 photo from the City of Toronto Archives shows that St. Patrick’s Market building that was constructed in 1856. The architect is unknown, but it is a rather a grand structure for its size. It was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1912 with the building that remains on the site today. It is odd that the spire of St. George the Martyr is not visible in this photo, as the the year the photo was taken the tower had not lost the spire.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives is from the 1980s, when the market was usually referred to by many people as “the chicken market.” In the photo, there are no windows on the right-hand side of the building.

St. Patrick's Market (4)

                                 The market building in 2013.

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The rear view (north facade) of the market, from St. Patrick’s Square.

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Interior of the market building in August of 2013. Its skylights and large wooden beams create an attractive atmosphere.

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 Brooke Building at Front St. East and Jarvis St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-brooke-building-at-jarvis-and-front/

The lighthouse on Gibraltar Point on Centre Island 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-toronto-island-lighthouse/

The old church at College and Elizabeth Streets, now occupied by the U of T

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/torontos-architectural-gemsold-church-at-college-and-elizabeth-streets/

The Ellis Building on Adelaide Street near Spadina Ave. 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ellis-building-on-adelaide-near-spadina/

The Heintzman Building on Yonge Street, next to the Elgin Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-heintzman-building-on-yonge-street/

The tall narrow building at 242 Yonge Street, south of Dundas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/torontos-architectural-gems242-yonge-st-south-of-dundas/

Toronto’s first Reference Library at College and St. George Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-original-toronto-public-reference-library/

The Commodore Building at 315-317 Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-commodore-building-315-317-adelaide-st/

The Graphic Arts Building (condo) on Richmond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-graphic-arts-building-on-richmond-st/

The Art Deco Victory Building on Richmond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-victory-building-at-80-adelaide-street-west/

The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-concourse-building-on-adelaide-st/

The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-bank-of-commerce-at-197-yonge-street/

The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/torontos-architectural-gemstraders-bank-on-yonge-st/

Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/torontos-lost-architectural-gemsthe-old-union-station/

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/torontos-architectural-gemshistoric-st-andrews-on-king-st/

The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/torontos-architectural-gemsrow-houses-on-glasgow-st/

The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bank-at-queen-west-and-simcoe-streets/

The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/torontos-architectural-gemscenotaph-at-old-city-hall/

The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/torontos-architectural-gemsmetropolitan-cathedral/

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 historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/torontos-architectural-gemsst-marys-alterations-nearly-completed/

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 Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-union-building-on-king-st/

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/

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/

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s old Loew’s Uptown Theatre

Lowe's Uptown, Golden Nugget

This 1960s photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Fonds 124, File 10124 file 0002 Id. 109) gazes south on Yonge, from a short distance north of Bloor Street. On the southwest corner of the intersection is a shop with a red-tiled roof, which is Frank Stollery’s Shirts. This shop remains on the site today, although additional floors have been added to the top of it. In the mid-1950s, the intersection looked much the same as in the 1960’s photo. For those who recall the street in the 1950s, some may remember the Pilot Tavern, which was slightly north of Bloor Street, on the west side of Yonge. However, one of the things I remember the most about this corner was gazing south on Yonge Street at the marquee of Loew’s Uptown Theatre. 

                Series 881, File 373   (2) 

The above photo of Loew’s Uptown Theatre is from the City of Toronto Archives (Series 881, File 373). The featured film is a romantic comedy, “Theadora Goes Wild,” starring Irene Dunn  and Melvyn Douglas, released in 1936.

Loew’s Uptown at 764 Yonge Street, was one of Toronto’s great movie palaces. They named it the Uptown to distinguish it from Loew’s other theatre, located near Queen Street. The Uptown Theatre opened in September of 1920 as a vaudeville and movie house. Marcus Loew, a financier who became a movie magnate, constructed the theatre. Its architect was Thomas W. Lamb, who also designed the Pantages Theatre, now named the Ed Mirvish.

In the 1920s until the early 1960s, unlike today, when people enter at the beginning-time of the movie, patrons entered and departed theatres whenever they wished. As a result, large lobbies were unnecessary. The lobby at Loew’s Uptown was even smaller than that of the Pantages. However, similar to the Pantages, the theatre’s frontage on Yonge Street was narrow, due to the expensive real estate prices on the city’s main street. To compensate, a grand hallway connected the entrance on the street to the theatre’s auditorium, which was behind the shops that fronted on Yonge. During the 1950s and 1960s, many times I climbed the grand staircase to reach the interior of the theatre. I always marvelled at its rich ornamentation.

In 1920, Marcus Loew came to Toronto to attend the opening of his magnificent theatre. On the morning of the event, when he arrived from New York, Mayor Church met him at Union Station and escorted him to the King Edward Hotel. The opening night feature film was D. W. Griffith’s “The Love Flower,” which had been released that year by United Artists. The orchestra of Frank Arundel provided the music to accompany the silent film. The greatest number of film stars ever to appear in the city to that date was assembled for the opening. They included Bert Lytell, a resident of Toronto, who was a boxer before he became a movie star. Other stars at the opening were Delores Cassinelli and Carol Dempster, the latter one of the stars of “The Love Flower.”

The following day Marcus Lowe visited the Uptown Theatre again, as well as his theatre at Yonge and Queen Streets.

The year Loew’s Uptown opened, the 2800-seat theatre was considered the height of luxury, even containing a Japanese temple garden. The theatre was decorated in colours of rose, grey and gold, tastefully blended to create an atmosphere of subdued elegance. Concealed diffused lighting illuminated the auditorium. Fancy plasterwork, decorative arches and classical columns ornamented the auditorium, lobby and entranceway. On the dome above the auditorium was an enormous design similar to the one that today graces the ceiling of the Ed Mirvish (Pantages) Theatre. There were many other similarities between the two theatres, as they were both designed by Thomas W. Lamb. Some considered them sister theatres as they resembled each other, though the Uptown was the smaller of the two.

A fire in the 1960s damaged the Uptown Theatre. When it was restored, some of the original detailed plasterwork was replaced with smooth plaster rather than attempting to duplicate the 1920s intricate designs. However, the large medallion-like design on the dome above the auditorium was maintained. Some of the damaged areas were covered with drapery rather than paying the expense of restoration.

In 1969, Nat Taylor owned the theatre. He closed it on September 5th of that year to convert it into five separate cinemas, and renamed it the Uptown 5. The Uptown’s 1,2 and 3 auditoriums featured first-run movies and the Backstage 4 and 5 showed art films. The entrance to the backstage theatres was from Balmuto Street, behind the theatre, to the west. The Uptown 5 was one of the first multi-screen complexes in the world. The architects, Mandel Sprachman and Marvin Giller, were hired for the redesign. In 1970, Nat Taylor sold the theatre to 20th Century Theatres, which had no connection to the famous studio of the same name. It was Nat Taylor who later entered a partnership with Garth Drabinsky to form Cineplex entertainment.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the city demanded that the Uptown be updated to include wheelchair access. A court case ensued and the theatre lost. The cost would have been $700,000 for the alterations, and in a time of dwindling theatre attendance, the funds could not be justified. Sadly, the theatre was sold and it was closed on September 14, 2003, following a showing of the TIFF film, “Undead.”

A 48-story, 284-suite condo was constructed on the site.

Loew's Dt.  6

This photo from the City of Toronto Archives is NOT Loew’s Uptown, but is Loew’s Downtown (the Elgin), also designed by Thomas W. Lamb. It clearly demonstrates the luxury of theatres that were referred to as “movie palaces,” during the early decades of the 20th century. Loew’s Uptown was similar to the above photo.

Nov. 1920 Construc Mag.

The interior of Loew’s Uptown Theatre in November of 1920, two months after the theatre opened. The photo is from Construction Magazine, in the collection of the Toronto Reference Library. The sets on the stage are for a play or a series of vaudeville acts.

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The foyer at the rear of the auditorium of the theatre in 1920, photo from Construction Magazine. The railings are marble. The stairs at the end of the foyer lead to the balcony.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Series 1465, File 312) was taken in 1971. It gazes south on Yonge Street. The marquee of the Uptown is on the west side (right-hand) side of the street.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives was taken about the year 1993, when the Uptown 5 had three theatres that were accessed from Yonge Street. 

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The facade containing the entrance to the old Uptown Theatre in 2011, after the theatre ceased operation. The red banners on the structure are advertisements for Rogers Communication Corporation. The long narrow section of the building (red brick wall with graffiti on it), which is behind the Yonge Street facade, at one time contained the long hallway that led from the street to the interior of the theatre.

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The top portion of the Yonge Street facade of the theatre. The Greek theatre masks remain, but the centre portion of the row of dentils above the masks is missing. Photo taken in 2011.

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The theatre mask on the north side of the east facing facade of the theatre. Photo was taken in 2011.

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The large archway of the entrance to the Uptown Theatre still exists today. The brackets on either side of the archway is where the marquee was attached in 1920 (left photo).

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog.

cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb

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 .

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Toronto

 

Photos of Toronto’s Loew’s Downtown Theatre (now the Elgin)

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In all seasons, the landscapes of Ontario appear splendid under sunny skies, but after sunset, deep forest shadows and darkened rural pastures are less inviting. I would suggest it is the opposite with cities. The harsh sunlight of the day displays their wrinkles and warts, but after the sun sets and the twinkling lights emerge, cities develop a charm that I find irresistible. Buildings that are mere brick and cement during the day, after daylight fades, magically emerge as works of art, especially if the structures are floodlit. When I gaze at some of Toronto’s historic structures at night, I catch a fleeing glimpse of these grand old structures as Torontonians might have seen them in the past. The magnificent Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street, near Queen, is one of these romantic buildings. Gazing at it when it is bathed in the soft lights of evening, I recall entering its doors as a teenager in the 1950s to see the greatest movie ever filmed—“Gone With the Wind.” However, the theatre did not appear as in the above photo, as when I saw the famous movie in the theatre in the1950s, it still possessed its grand marquee with its myriad of electric lights.

I have already placed a post on this blog (May 31, 2012) about the Elgin Theatre and Winter Garden, detailing their story from when they opened in December,1913 (the Elgin) and the Winter Garden in February 1914, until the present time. The following is a link to this post: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-elgin-winter-garden-theatres/

The Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres are two of the best vaudeville venues built during the early years of the 20th century. As the decades progressed, the Elgin transitioned into a vaudeville/movie house, and finally into a movie picture palace. The facade is neo-classical in design and its interior continues in this style, with marble columns, gilded plaster trim, a seven-storey staircase. The Winter Garden Theatre, which is above the Elgin, resembled a roof-top garden, the only one remaining in Canada. It possessed real leaves, support columns masquerading as tree trunks, and scenically painted walls.

Research in the City of Toronto Archives has discovered photos that were previously unknown to me of these famous theatres. The purpose of this post is to share them. 

Series 1278, File 100

A view gazing north on Yonge Street from Queen, the Elgin (then named Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre) on the right-hand (east) side of Yonge. The featured film is “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, released in 1935. 

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The same view as the above photo, but closer to the auditorium doors, a view of the candy bar evident. The cigarette machine appears out of place today.

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              The grand entrance hallway after restoration in the 1980s.

                     Seriesw 881, File 53    (3)

View from the balcony of the Elgin, in the 1980s. City of Toronto Archives, Series 881, File 53. 

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A section of the staircase that led from the Loew’s Downtown Theatre to the Winter Garden above in 1922. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.

 

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This advertisement was painted on the south facade of Loew’s Downtown Theatre (Elgin). The signage likely dates from the 1920s, when the theatre featured vaudeville. I believe that it reads: “Loew’s—Leader in Toronto—New Starts Daily.” This photo was taken in 2011. By 2013, it had deteriorated so badly that it was almost impossible to read.

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Interior of the Winter Garden in 1922. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.

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            Interior of the Winter Garden during “Doors Open Toronto” in 2011.

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Seats in the Winter Garden in 2011 (left) and the original seats in the Elgin (Loew’s Downtown)

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                        The Elgin Theatre in 2012.

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A model in the theatre that depicts a cross-section of the Elgin/Winter Garden Complex. It views the complex from the south, so the theatre auditoriums are not visible. The left-hand side of the model depicts the section that faces Yonge Street. The long hallway that forms an entrance to the Elgin is at the bottom-right of the model. This model shows the complex after it was purchased and restored by the Ontario Heritage Foundation.

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The signage on Elgin Theatre and Winter Garden Complex (left) and the theatre’s facade during the summer of 2013 (right).

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

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

              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 .

 

 

 

 

 

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Toronto’s Hip Queen St. West—naughty and nice—Part 2

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The former Bank of Hamilton on the northeast coroner of Spadina Avenue and Queen Street West. 

This is the second post providing a snapshot view of Queen Street West on October 5,2013, exploring the street from Spadina Avenue, west to Bathurst Street.

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The Cameron House at 408 Queen Street, on the northwest corner of Queen West and Cameron Street is a well-known institution. To view a post about this famous pub.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/torontos-architectural-gemscameron-house-displays-a-new-mural/

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The Burger’s Priest is the latest (summer 2013) hamburger restaurant to open near the corner of Queen and Spadina. The major problem with this cafe is that it is so popular that it is difficult to get inside the door. I do not know why there are so many hamburger places near this intersection, but I placed a post on this blog referring to Queen and Spadina as “hamburger corner.”

For a link to this post: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/torontos-hamburger-cornerwhere-is-it-and-why/

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Continuing west on the south side of Queen Street, a short distance west of Spadina is  McDougall Lane, which gives access to Graffiti Alley. This notorious/famous laneway runs parallel with Queen Street, between Spadina and Bathurst Street. It is perhaps the best place in Toronto to view street art. To view a link to posts about the graffiti artist Uber5000, one of Toronto’s best known street artists:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/toronto-graffitiuber5000-does-it-again/

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This shop is named “Come as You Are.” It is on the south side of Queen, a short distance west of McDougall Lane and has a window display that features condoms in all sizes and colours—very naughty.

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These shops, on the north side of Queen West, to the west of Cameron Street, are housed in a mixture of modern and 19th-century buildings. Fortunately the modern structures are the same height as the old, so the streetscape maintains a sense of cohesion. However, the facades of the modern buildings are smooth and lack the texture that the older structures provide.

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These shops, between Spadina and Augusta avenues add colour to the streetscape. Their crowded window displays attract many shoppers and provide interesting views for those strolling along the street.

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The Java House, contained within a 19th-century building, has one of the most popular summer-time patios on the strip for enjoying a coffee, beer, or light meal. It is on the southwest corner of Queen West and Augusta.

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The patio of the “Java House,” is on the east side of the building. The food is quite good and as a place for observing the passing scene, it is superb.

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This 19th century block of buildings is on the northwest corner of Queen West and Denison Avenue. The side of the building that faces on Denison Avenue has an interesting mural.

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Mural on the Denison Avenue side of the building on the northwest corner of Denison and Queen West. It depicts the famous “501” streetcar on Queen, rated as one of top ten trolley lines in the world, and the only one that remains a functioning public transit line, as opposed to being maintained primarily for tourists.

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This 19th-century building is on the northeast corner of Queen and Ryerson Avenue. It houses “The Hideout,” another of the well-known pubs and entertainment venues of Queen West.

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“Cosmos”(left photo) was selling vinyl records before it became popular elsewhere in the city. The “Old Times Antiques” shop (right-hand photo) is a favourite of many who stroll Queen Street to browse for bargains. 

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       Gazing in the doorway of the “Old Times Antiques” shop.

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The “Rock Lobster” is a new addition to the street (2013), located where the hamburger place “Shanghai Cowgirl” was formerly located. The Rock Lobster has a great back patio, and serves seafood in the manner of a Spanish tapas restaurant. The lobster rolls are to die for. This restaurant is very busy most evenings with a young vibrant crowd. 

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Interior of the Rock Lobster, looking toward the patio on the north end of the restaurant.

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As a person approaches Bathurst Street, other colourful shops appear. This is the Shanti Baba Shop.

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                   Window display in the Shanti Baba Shop.

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On the southeast corner of Bathurst and Queen West is an historic building that was gutted to accommodate the CB2 store. In the 19th century the site was a Masonic Temple. The facade of the structure has been lovingly restored to showcase its attractive red and yellow bricks. For a link to the history of the building:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/torontos-architectural-gems-building-at-queen-and-bathurst/

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The 501 Streetcar line is an important part of the streetscape, it rattling wheels as much a part of the scene as the trendy shops and eclectic crowds.

For a link to part one of this post:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/torontos-gemsqueen-st-westpart-ithe-naughty-and-nice/

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

To view previous blogs about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

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

Book published in 2014 about Toronto’s old movie theatres, which 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.  

“Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen”

                           cid_6E1BDA0D-74B3-4810-AB4C-AC5CC5C0

To place and order for this book, either in electronic or hard copy format, follow the link below.

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), the Photodrome, 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)

 

Tags:

Toronto’s hip Queen St. West—naughty and nice—Part One

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The quote below was written by Christopher Hutsul in the Toronto Star on August 29, 2004.

Queen St., in effect is becoming one vast accidental urban success story. In richness and scale, there may be no better street in the world than our very own Queen Street.“I can’t think of another street that the vitality, the variety, and has the length and has the depth that Queen has from one end to the other,” says Dr. Mitchell Kosny of Ryerson’s School of Regional and Urban Planning. “It’s starting to fill in.”

It might seem bold to pit Queen Street against the world’s top strips but, in its way, it stacks up against the best of the best. Broadway in New York City starts out hot, then cools as it wends its way to Albany. Champs-Elysees in Paris is one of the world’s most famous streets, but it’s also a major thoroughfare. Highbrow visitors can enjoy the expensive restaurants and boutiques, but the average Parisian would head somewhere more accessible.

Admittedly, our humble Queen Street might have a tough time out-classing La Ramblas in Barcelona, which, with its stunning architecture and endless culinary offerings, is one of the greatest streets in the world. However, could it match Queen’s understated, New World charm?

Certainly Queen Street reigns over Yonge Street, which is often considered our flagship route. “I don’t see Yonge St. as having all that much continuity at all,’ says Kosny. “It doesn’t have anywhere the life and vitality that Queen St. has.” And while downtown has been busy evolving into a mini Times Square (as if that were something worth emulating), Queen St. has quietly grown out of its awkward years.

                                                                          * * *

On Thursday, October 20, 2013, the weather was sunny with cloudless skies, the temperature in the mid 20s, a perfect Toronto autumn day. Walking along Queen Street West, I encountered delightfully naughty window displays, colourful street art, and a few puzzling sights. The following photos are a snapshot of the street between University and Spadina avenues, on the morning of October 3, 2013. In these photos, the street was relatively quiet as it was not yet 10 am.

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Historic Campbell House is on the northwest corner of University Avenue and Queen Street. Built in 1822, it was the home of Chief Justice William Campbell. It was relocated from Adelaide Street East and Frederick Street in 1952. When this photo was taken, the morning sun was creeping across the east side of the house. Queen West is well known for being “hip,” but it is also rich with history. It contains some of the best 19th-century buildings in North America. Campbell House is open for public tours and is well worth a visit.

For a link to information on the history of Campbell House.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/enjoying-torontos-architectural-gems-campbell-house/

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This colourful sight is on the east wall of a row of 1860s shops, a short distance west of Simcoe Street. Though it resembles a wall mural, it is an ad for a condominium.

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The “Condom Shack,” a naughty shop that is the delight of tourists, is located in one of the 1860s shops. Elderly woman seem to take great delight in photographing the store, but usually remain on the far side of the street as they are too embarrassed to approach any closer. This is a pity, as they are unable to see the risqué sign in the east window (shown below).  

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                  The sign in the east window of the “Condom Shack.”

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The Rex Hotel, one of the city’s most popular jazz venues since the 1950s, at Queen and St. Patrick’s Street. It opened in 1890 as the William’s Hotel.  

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The “Cannabis Culture Shop.” Marijuana has recently been in the news, but on Queen West it has been an integral part of the scene for several decades.

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The “Lavish and Squalid” Shop on the south side of Queen, with its ornate classical store front (left photo), and the popular Queen Mother Cafe at 206-210 Queen on the north side of the street (right photo). The 1890s building where the Queen Mother Cafe is located was designed in the  Second Empire style. When constructed in the 19th century it contained three shops—the grocery store of Charles Woolnough, the locksmith store of Benjamin Ibbotson, and the confectionary shop of Patterson and Wilson. The Queen Mother Cafe now occupies all three shops.

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The sign in the window of “Mucho Burrito” advertises that its “Ghost Pepper Burrito” is  available in “hotter than hell and whimpy.”

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Some of the heat from the “Mucho Burrito” can also be found in the spicy food at 273 Queen, the “Babur Restaurant,” specializing in Indian cuisine.

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The Queen Street Market is on the site of the old St. Patrick’s Market of 1836, the second farmers’ market established by the city after the St. Lawrence Market in 1803. The present-day building dates from 1912. 

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This is the doorway on the old Methodist Publishing House, built in 1913, on the southeast corner of Queen and John streets. It is the most impressive doorway on Queen St. West. The decorative detailing is achieved with terracotta tiles. Today the building houses Bell Media.

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View looking south on John Street, from the middle of the intersection at Queen and John streets.

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The ultra-chic Beverley Hotel, which opened on Queen West in 2013 (left-hand photo). The right-hand photo is of an assortment of signs on the 19th-century buildings nearby.

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19th-century shops on the northwest corner of Beverley and Queen streets.

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The “Active Surplus Shop” on the south side of Queen, west of Beverley St. It is a great place to purchase household items such as batteries, at bargain prices.

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This wonderfully ornate building, located where the sidewalk widens to the west of it, was built in 1881 and was Mara’s Grocery and Liquor Store. Its facade was employed in the TV show “Street Legal,”as the offices of the fictional law firm. The show starred Cynthia Dale, . 

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The “Black Bull Tavern” at Queen and Soho streets was established in 1822. It’s patio was voted by the readers of a downtown newspaper at the most popular patio in the city.

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The “Jealousy Beauty and Life Shop” and the BMQ Restaurant, both located in the 1888 Noble Block. The BQM specializes in gourmet burgers and has a sidewalk patio that is ideal for observing the Queen-Street scene.

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              The former Bank of Hamilton, built in 1902, now the CIBC.

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The zodiac signs painted on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the bank (left photo) and a view of the bank from the southwest corner of Queen and Spadina.

For a link to Part Two of this post, which contains a snapshot of Queen West between Spadina and Bathurst Street, on the morning of October 3, 2013:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/toronto-gemsqueen-st-westpart-twonaughty-and-nice/-com/

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

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

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

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

Book published in 2014 about Toronto’s old movie theatres, which 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.  

“Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen”

                           cid_6E1BDA0D-74B3-4810-AB4C-AC5CC5C0

To place and order for this book, either in electronic or hard copy format, follow the link below.

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), the Photodrome, 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 architectural gems—the Brooke Building at Jarvis and Front

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When I first began researching Toronto’s 19th-century buildings, I began in the old town of York. Very few of the structures from this period of the city’s history remain in existence today. The two major exceptions are the Grange, now a part of the AGO, and Campbell House, which was relocated to University and Queen Street West from Frederick and Adelaide streets. A lesser known building from the town of York is the student residence of Upper Canada College, at the corner of Duncan and Adelaide Streets. It dates from 1833, the year prior to York being incorporated as a city, when its name was changed to Toronto. To view a post about the student residence of 1833, follow the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-1833-structure-at-duncan-and-adelaide/

The building in the above picture was also constructed in 1833. It is the Daniel Brooke Building, on the northeast corner of King Street East and Jarvis streets, diagonally across from the south building of the St Lawrence Market. It contains a row of three shops, which were in a poor state of repair until they were restored. Today, the Brooke Building appears as if they had recently been constructed.  

The small complex of shops was erected in 1833 for Daniel Brooke, a prosperous businessman. Because he was a property owner of substantial means, he was likely very concerned when the rebels marched down Yonge Street in 1837 in a rebellion against the excessive powers of the royal governor and the influential families of the town. Armed rebels, troops and military skirmishes were rarely good for business. In 1848 and 1849, the Brooke Building was improved and rebuilt. When a great fire swept along King Street, many of the shops and buildings were destroyed, including the church of St. James at King and Church streets. Fortunately the Brooke Building did not sustain much damage.  

The Brooke Building has housed a variety of commercial enterprises. One of the best known of these was in the 1840s, when the wholesale grocery business of James Austin and Patrick Foy occupied part of the premises. In the 1850s, the Brooke Building housed the offices of The Patriot, an influential conservative newspaper.

In the years ahead, the funds that James Austin earned in his business located in the Brooke Building financed various enterprises. He eventually became the president of Consumers’ Gas and was one of the founders of the Dominion Bank, which survives today as the Toronto Dominion Bank (the TD). The magnificent mansion he built atop the Davenport Road hill, adjacent to Casa Loma, remains today. It became a museum in 1984.

The architecture of the Brooke building on King Street East contains simple lines, with a symmetrical facade in the Georgian style. Large chimneys attest to it being built in an era when fireplaces were the sole method of heating. Large rectangular windows allowed plenteous light to enter the interior rooms in an age without electric lighting. Gable windows inset into the roof provided extra storage space, living quarters, or room for offices, where there would otherwise have been be only an attic. The Toronto Historical Board placed a plaque on the building in 1994. It provided much of the information for this post. 

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       The south facade of the Brooke Building on King Street East

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The gable windows in  the roof of the structure and a view of the cornice

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The south facade of the building and the large chimneys above the east facade (right-hand side).

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The 19th-century style shop on the southwest corner of the building. 

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The Brooke Building in September of 2013. The structure is a visual reminder of the early days of Toronto.

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s architectural gems—the old Workhouse at 87 Elm Street

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On the southwest corner of Elm and Elizabeth streets is an old yellow-brick building surrounded by modern structures of glass and steel. This historic structure provides affordable housing for women and woman-led families, under the sponsorship of the YWCA. In the 19th century it was part of a complex of buildings named “The Toronto House of Industry,” colloquially known as “the poor house.”

The house of industry was founded in 1837, just three years after the town of York was incorporated as a city and renamed Toronto. The year 1837 was eventful as in the late-autumn of that year, William Lyon Mackenzie and his rebels marched down Yonge Street in what became known as the Rebellion of 1837. In the aftermath of the rebellion, British troops raided and burnt farm houses throughout the province on the mere suspicion that they held views sympathetic to the rebel cause.  A sizeable number of people fled across the border to the United States. Amid this turmoil, the House of Industry was established.

In 1848, the distinguished architect William Thomas was hired to design a new building for the institution. Thomas was born in Suffolk England in 1799 and in 1843 he immigrated to Canada. He died in Toronto in 1860, and is buried in St. James Cemetery on Parliament Street.

For the Work House, he chose the Tudor-Gothic style. Thomas is best known for having designed St. Michael’s Cathedral on Bond Street, the St. Lawrence Hall on King East, and the monument to Sir Isaac Brock in Queenston. The building that Thomas designed was considered a big improvement for the facility. From its humble beginnings, the House of Industry expanded further and eventually became a complex, occupying much of the land on Elm Street between Elizabeth and University Avenue, and extending as far south half-way to Edward Street. The only building from the complex that has survived into the modern era is the structure that is today operated by the YWCA. This is the building in the above photograph. Although designed originally by Thomas in 1848, it was enlarged by Joseph Sheard in 1858, and by E. J. Lennox in 1898. It was E. J. Lennex who designed Toronto’s Old City Hall.

When established, the institution helped those in the city who were desperate for food, and distributed coal to assist the needy to survive the harsh Toronto winters. It also provided temporary and permanent accommodations. Residents were expected to work in exchange for their keep, similar to the old Dicksonian workhouses of England. It also assisted abandoned children or those who were orphans, some of whom were placed as indentured servants on farms surrounding the city.

In 1947, the building was converted into a home for the aged and renamed Laughlin Lodge, after Arthur and Frances Laughlin, superintendents who had worked for the institution for many years. With the help of the Rotary Club, a new seniors’ home was erected (1975-1983), but the old section of the House of Industry was preserved as part of the Rotary Laughlin Centre.

(NOTE: Information for this post was derived from the historic plaque placed on the site by Heritage Toronto and from the files of the City of Toronto Archives).

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Map from the 1890 Goad’s Atlas in the Toronto Reference Library, showing the Toronto House of Industry (the poor house.) It occupied 8 city lots.

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The symmetrical north facade of the 1848 Toronto House of Industry on Elm Street. Photo taken in August of 2013.

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Gabled window on the second floor above the doorway (left photo), and the brickwork under the cornice (right photo).

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Triangular pediment above the third floor, containing the date the building was constructed. 

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The Gothic arch above the doorway, with its side-light windows and transom above the door, which resemble the Regency style.

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A portion of a blank form that was used as a contract when placing indentured children into service or as apprentices (Source: the City of Toronto Archives).

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This article displays the attitude of some Torontonians in the 19th century to the poor who were found on the streets of the city. (Source: The City of Toronto Archives).

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                                            This article is self-explanatory.

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This photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Fonds 1035, Series 806, File 3) shows residents of the House of Industry crushing rock. Picture was taken c. 1900. 

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       The House of Industry, now a part of the YWCA. (photo-2013)

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

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

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

To view the links to posts that contains a list of Toronto’s old movie houses:

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

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

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   To place an order for this book:

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

 

 

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Toronto’s architectural gems—the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen St. West

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The northwest corner of Yonge and Queen Street West, looking west from Queen Street East. Photo taken in July 2013.

The northwest corner of Queen West and Yonge Street is slated to be redeveloped, and in 2013 plans were submitted for a 65-story condominium tower to be built above the building on the site. In 2018, a new plan greatly altered the scope of the project. It called for a two-storey glass addition to be placed on top of the historic 19th-century building.

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Architect’s 2018 drawing of the new plans for the historic structure. Photo taken in 2019 from posted on the hording on the site.

Fortunately, in both plans, the facade of the historic structure was slated to be preserved. The building has already been partially destroyed by the demands of modern commercialism, but it appears that future development will respect the architectural integrity of the structure. The addition of the two-storey glass structure will not visually obliterate the historic part of the building, as the 65-storey condominium would have done.  

The first Toronto Directory that lists a building on the location was in 1895. On the 1899 Goad’s Atlas maps in the City of Toronto Archives, its postal address is shown as #160 Yonge Street, where Mr. P. Jameson, a merchant operated a clothing store. In that year, the Eaton’s Store surrounded the site. On the map of 1910, the address of the corner building was listed as #180 Yonge Street. The address today is 218 Yonge Street.

In 1910, the “S. H. Knox and Company—Toys,” occupied the site. In 1913, F. W. Woolworth’s became the tenant. They remained on the premises until the 1960s.

After the glass structure has been added to the site, the developer has chosen the postal address #2 Queen Street West.

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The intersection of Yonge and Queen in 1935. The Woolworth’s Store is on the northwest (left-hand side) of the photo. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.

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This undated photo from the City of Toronto Archives is likely from the 1960s. The Christmas lights can be seen on Yonge Street. The Eaton’s Store wraps around the Woolworth’s store. The floors above Woolworth’s are covered with metal siding, destroying the architectural beauty of the original structure. 

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Rounded corner of the building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen West. The cornice has a row of dentils (teeth-like designs).

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View of the intersection, gazing west along Queen Street West from Queen Street East (July, 2013).

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Painting, acrylic on stretched canvas, gazing north on Yonge Street from south side of Queen Street, Xmas Eve, 1945.

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                Site of the former Woolworth’s store during the summer of 2013.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/tayloronhistory-comcheck-it-out/

              Books by the Author

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“ Lost Toronto”—employing detailed archival photographs, this recaptures the city’s lost theatres, sporting venues, bars, restaurants and shops. The richly illustrated book brings some of Toronto’s most remarkable buildings and much-loved venues back to life. From the loss of John Strachan’s Bishop’s Palace in 1890 to the scrapping of the S. S. Cayuga in 1960 and the closure of the HMV Superstore in 2017, these pages cover more than 150 years of the city’s built heritage to reveal a Toronto that once was.

 

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Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who personally experienced these grand old movie houses. To place an order for this book, published by History Press:

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

Book also available in most book stores such as Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox and AGO Book Shop. (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2) and may also be purchased on Amazon.com.

 

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“Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again” explores 81 theatres. It contains over 125 archival photographs, with interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating histories. Note: an article on this book was published in Toronto Life Magazine, October 2016 issue.

For a link to the article published by Toronto Life Magazine: torontolife.com/…/photos-old-cinemas-dougtaylortoronto-local-movie-theatres-of-y…

The book is available at local book stores throughout Toronto or for a link to order this book: https://www.dundurn.com/books/Torontos-Local-Movie-Theatres-Yesteryear 

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

“Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. It contains archival and modern photos that allow readers to compare scenes and discover how they have changed over the decades. Note: a review of this book was published in Spacing Magazine, October 2016. For a link to this review:

spacing.ca/toronto/2016/09/02/reading-list-toronto-then-and-now/

For further information on ordering this book, follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link below:

http://www.ipgbook.com/toronto–then-and-now—products-9781910904077.php?page_id=21

 

 

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Toronto’s old Hollywood Theatre

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            Photo from the City of Toronto Archives (Series 1278, File 83).

The above picture was likely taken around 1945, as the film on the marquee is, “Ladies of Washington,” starring Trudy Marshall. The film was released 1944. The Hollywood Theatre was at 1519 Yonge Street, on the east side of Yonge Street, a short distance north of St. Clair Avenue. It was located in Deer Park, which opened as a residential area in the 1890s, after the Yonge Streetcar line was extended beyond Summerhill, up over the steep Yonge Street hill north of Davenport Road. Prior to that time, the area had been isolated from the city below. By the time the plans for the Hollywood Theatre commenced, Deer Park was a well-established area with high real estate prices and an excellent shopping district.

The Hollywood Theatre opened on October 27, 1930 as a part of the Allen chain. Its architect was Herbert George Duerr. The Allen brothers considered it among their “Premier Group of Theatres.” Although “the talkies” (films with a sound tracks) had first appeared in Toronto in 1928, they were shown in converted silent movie houses. The Hollywood was the first theatre constructed as a “Talking Picture Playhouse,” explicitly for sound films. It was equipped with a new Western Electric Sound System. Thus, it was an advancement in the city’s movie-theatre scene. The first “talkie” at the Hollywood was “Love Among the Millionaires.” This information was derived from and article by Mike Filey, published in the Toronto Sun on March 7, 1999 (files of the City of Toronto Archives.)  

The Allen chain eventually sold the theatre to Famous Players Corporation. In the 1950s, the famous architect Mandel Sprachman redesigned the theatre to create twined auditoriums, a north theatre and one to the south. The north theatre was built in the space that had previously been the theatre’s parking lot. At the same time, the canopy and facade of the structure were also changed and all the windows facing the street were covered over. The total cost of renovation was between $55,000 and $60,000.

In the 1950s, Ontario laws required that matrons patrol the aisles of the theatres to ensure that there was no seat-hopping or other improprieties. I assume that the back rows of the theatres were the main targets of these enforcers, as they offered more opportunities to indulge in questionable behaviour. In 1957, a woman complained in writing to the censor board, stating that she had observed the matron sitting in the manager’s office rather than patrolling the aisles. Later, the woman observed the matron reading a newspaper and noticed that her uniform was “mussy.” The woman decided to explain to the matron how her duties should be performed. When tempers flared, the manager appeared. The woman said in her letter that the manager’s language was “quite abusive.”

The censor board investigated the complaint and wrote to the theatre manager. He replied that the woman was crazy if she expected his matron to parade up and down the aisles while the films were being shown. He asserted that he would cooperate with the censor board, but having his matron walking the aisles during films was too visually distracting. However, the manager insisted that the matron was in control of the audiences at all times. I suppose this included the back rows. The matter ended.

In 1960, the censor board received another complaint concerning the Hollywood Theatre. A patron noticed that a young child of ten or eleven years of age was in the theatre, viewing an adult film, “Suddenly Last Summer.” The censors informed the complainant that children were allowed to see adult films on public and school holidays, providing they attended before 6 p.m. The person who complained replied that parents should be warned of this rule, as it was felt that most parents were not aware of it.

Similar to many of Toronto’s great movie houses, when attendance dwindled at the Hollywood, it became unprofitable. It closed in 1999 and the building was demolished. 

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This scene gazes north on Yonge Street from St. Clair Avenue. The featured film on the marquee of the Hollywood is “South Riding,” starring Ann Todd. The film was released in 1938. A small Dominion store is evident to the south of the theatre. This grocery chain was eventually renamed “Metro.” Photo is from the City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83, SC 303-A-75.

Hollywood 

This photo was taken in the early 1960s, as the film “Rome Adventure,” starring Troy Donahue was released in 1962. The larger and more luxurious Odeon Hyland Theatre is visible in this photo, a short distance to the south of the Hollywood. The facade of the Hollywood contains windows with Moorish-style arches, ornate designs above the marquee, and detailed ornamentation in the cornice. I remember this theatre quite well and attended it many times in the 1950s. In this photo, the Dominion Store has disappeared from the street. Photo is from the City of Toronto Archives (Series 1278, File 83).

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The interior of the Hollywood Theatre, with the classical pillars on both sides of the auditorium and painted scenes behind them. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83, AO 2119.

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The lobby of the Hollywood in the 1930s. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83, AO 2118

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The Hollywood Theatre after it was redesigned in the late 1950s to create two theatres, one on the north and and the other on the south. The marquee has been removed and the windows facing the street covered over. Photo from City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83.

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Interior of the one of the renovated Hollywood Theatres. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83.

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Lobby and candy bar of the Hollywood. This was after the theatre had been divided into two auditoriums, as the entrance to the north theatre can be seen. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 83

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

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

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog.

cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

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 .

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Toronto