For several years I have been posting information on a blog about the history of Toronto and its heritage architecture. Recently I have expanded the blog to include the city’s movie theatres—past and present. One of my sources of information is my personal library, which I have built over the past five decades. The other sources are the City of Toronto Archives and the Toronto Research Library. Much information also has been gleaned from visiting the buildings themselves. Sometime there is a Heritage Toronto plaque that is very helpful.
My research is often frustrating. Postal addresses have been altered over the years, sometimes two or three times. There have been occasion when only the close proximity of a building to a street corner has allowed me to identify it in the archives. The maps in the Goads Atlas are helpful, but they too present difficulties and often contradict the Toronto Directories. Because of these factors, I am only too aware of the risk of errors. These problem occurs when researching both our heritage buildings and old theatres. Adding to the problem, so many of the older structures have been demolished, many of them during recent years. I always welcome comments and corrections from those who visit this blog.
The main purpose of this blog is to create a library of photos that reveal the architectural details of our 19th and early 20th-century buildings. When searching on the internet or in the picture files at the City of Toronto Archives, I discover that usually the only photos available are those that show the entire structure. Very few photos examine the architectural details. If the buildings are demolished, there appear to be few photographic records that examine them in detail. I also attempt to photograph the context of the sites, as these too change greatly over the years.
All of my photos will eventually be given to the City of Toronto Archives. I have been careful to label and date the pictures. Of course, the other purpose in maintaining this blog is to generate an interest in the city’s historic structures. I am continually amazed at how much enthusiasm exits for exploring the architecture of Toronto. It is one of the reasons for the great success of “Doors Open,” held annually in May.
I also wish to express my appreciation for all those who either own, work, or live in the historic buildings that I have visited. They have been highly cooperative, informative and gracious. The one major exception that comes to mind is the City of Toronto. It does not permit anyone to photograph inside the Old City Hall during the weekend of “Doors Open.” Because the law courts in the building are closed on this weekend, I fail to understand the reason for this restriction. By contrast, Osgoode Hall also has law courts, and yet visitors are invited to photograph all year round. The staffs at Mackenzie House, Fort York, Campbell House, Austin House, Casa Loma, and Howard Lodge are extremely helpful and encourage photographing. Their tours are superb. All these sites, except Casa Loma, are operated by Heritage Toronto. By becoming a member of this organization, you receive free admittance to the historic sites that they manage.
Below are links to the various topics this blog has examined. I can be contacted at [email protected].
To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.com/
To view the post that contains a list of Toronto’s old movie houses and information about them:
Links to posts about the history of Toronto and its heritage buildings:
The Toronto Normal School on Gould Street
The Capitol Building at 366 Adelaide Street West, near Spadina
The Reid Building at 266-270 King Street West
Mackenzie House on Bond Street
Colborne Lodge in High Park
The Gooderham Building at Front and Wellington
The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor West and Avenue Road
The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West
The Lumsden Building at Yonge and Adelaide Street East
The Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue
St. James Cathedral at King St. East and Church St.
The Bell Lightbox at King and John Streets
The E.W. Gillett Building at 276 Queen King St. West
The Oddfellows Temple at the corner of Yonge and College Streets
The Birkbeck Building at 8-18 Adelaide Street East
The Toronto Seventh Post Office at 10 Toronto St.
Former hotel at Bay and Elm streets
The 1881 block of shops on Queen near Spadina
The stone archway on Yonge Street, south of Carlton Street
The former St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West, now the City Market
The Brooke Building (three shops) at King East and Jarvis streets.
The old Work House at 87 Elm Street, an historic structure from the 19th century.
The building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen Street.
The former student residence of Upper Canada College, built in 1833, at 22 Duncan Street, at the corner of Adelaide streets.
Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre
The former site of the “Silver Snail” comic store at 367 Queen Street West.
The Toronto Club at 107 Wellington, built 1888, at the corner of York Street.
The YMCA at 18 Elm Street, built in 1890, now the Elmwood Club.
The old St. George’s Hall at 14 Elm Street, now the Arts and Letters Club.
The 1860s houses on Elm St. (now Barbarian’s Steak House)
The old “Silver Snail” shop on Queen St. West
The north building at the St. Lawrence Market, which is slated to be demolished
The Ellis Building on Adelaide Street near Spadina Ave.
The Heintzman Building on Yonge Street, next to the Elgin Theatre
The tall narrow building at 242 Yonge Street, south of Dundas
Toronto’s first Reference Library at College and St. George Streets.
The Commodore Building at 315-317 Adelaide St. West
The Graphic Arts Building (condo) on Richmond Street
The Art Deco Victory Building on Richmond Street
The Concourse Building on Adelaide Street
The old Bank of Commerce at 197 Yonge Street
The Traders Bank on Yonge Street—the city’s second skyscraper
Toronto’s old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at King and Simcoe Streets.
The row houses on Glasgow Street, near Spadina and College Streets
The bank at Queen and Simcoe that resembles a Greek temple
The cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall
The magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral at King East and Church Streets
St. Stanislaus Koska RC Church on Denison Avenue, north of Queen West
The historical St. Mary’s Church at Adelaide and Bathurst Streets
The Bishop’s (St, Michael’s) Palace on Church Street, Toronto
The Union Building at Simcoe and King Street West
The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street
The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.
The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.
The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)
The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street
The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets
Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach
Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library
Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse
The Reading Building, a warehouse loft building on Spadina Avenue
The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue
The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue
Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street
The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue
The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar
An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets
History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina
An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College
Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West
History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina
Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets
Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent
The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina
Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.
History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina
A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.
Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina Avenue and Queen Street West.
The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.
Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977
The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street
The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.
Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue
A study of Osgoode Hall
Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market
Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century
The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822
History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West, near York Street
Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s
The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.
122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949
Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District
Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue
The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park
Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912
Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912
Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina
Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977
The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street
Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades
History of Trinity Bellwoods Park
A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands