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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Colborne Lodge in High Park

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High Park in Toronto’s west end is the jewel in the crown of the city’s park system, containing stands of black oak trees that precede the birth of the city. Much of the land where the park is located today was the property of John G. Howard, who arrived in Canada in 1832. A successful surveyor and engineer, in 1836 he purchased 165 acres to the west of the city. At the time, the land was isolated from the downtown area, with forests between his estate and the city. He erected a house at the south end of the land, near the lake. In 1873, he offered the property to the City of Toronto to create a public park, in exchange for a pension from the city. The arrangement stipulated that Howard and his wife could remain in their home in the park and retain ownership of 45 acres of it. John Ross Robertson stated in his book, Landmarks of Toronto, it was, “. . . the most munificent gift ever made by a private individual to the public of Upper Canada.”

Throughout the 1870s and early 1880s Howard devoted much time and expense to improving his beloved parkland. On his death in 1890, ownership of the land and the house reverted to the city. He  was buried in the park, a short distance to the west of the house, where his  wife Jemima had already been interred.

The home of John G. Howard was named Colborne Lodge, after Sir John Colborne (1778-1863), Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada between the years 1828 and 1836. Colborne was John G. Howard’s benefactor. A hero of the Battle of Waterloo, in the war against Napoleon, Colborne was greatly admired in Upper Canada by the upper classes, but it has been said that his autocratic ways contributed to the unrest that eventually led to the 1837 rebellion. It was he who established Upper Canada College, where Howard was a teaching master for many years. 

Colborne Lodge, designed by Howard, was built on a hill overlooking Lake Ontario, to the east of Grenadier Pond. In those years, nothing had been built on the land between the house and the lake, so it commanded a superb view across the water. The cottage was designed in the Regency style.

The term Regency refers to the styles that were popular during the early half of the 19th century. It began during the years 1811 to 1820, when Britain was under the regency of George, Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. Regency architecture was extravagant and whimsical, much favoured by the extravagant king-in-waiting who constructed the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Regency was highly popular between the years 1820-1860. It originated with ex-colonial officials and military officers. When these men returned to England from warmer climates, they attempted to replicate the homes they had possessed during their privileged lifestyles abroad. Thus, designs from the Far East and Middle East were favoured, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton an excellent example as it resembled an Indian palace. Symmetry was important in Regency designs, and those who built in this style sought locations with an excellent view of their surroundings. The location chosen for Colborne Lodge, on a hill overlooking the lake, was typical.

In its simplest version, Regency-style homes resembled cottages, with large verandas sweeping around their exteriors. The verandas were accessed by French doors, as was evident at Colborne Lodge. In their grandest form, the homes appeared similar to the great mansions of the aristocracy in colonial lands, often referred to as Romantic Classicism. Dundurn Castle in Hamilton is an excellent example. 

In the 19th century, life in Colborne Lodge was rustic, yet reflected a certain degree of refinement. It possessed an indoor washroom and bathtub, reputed to be the first ever installed in Toronto. At one time there were railings around the spacious veranda, shaped liked exotic serpents, with large eyes and fierce mouths, as seen in Asian art. Howard placed a large lantern on the hill in front of his home, ornamented in the Greek Revival style with hints of the Far East. The lantern guided visitors on moonless night to his house.

Since it was a lengthy trip to the markets in the city, the Howards attempted to be as self-sufficient as possible. They grew most of their vegetables and had fruits trees. They also maintained an herb garden, flower garden and bee hives. On the property was a carriage house and a stable.

Today, the house and gardens of Colborne Lodge are managed by Heritage Toronto. Tours of the home are offered throughout the year by guides who enthusiastically and expertly interpret the lifestyle of the Howards when they resided there. Visitors are able to enter the parlour, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms, all of which are furnished as they would have been in the Howards’ days. The greenhouse and summer kitchen are included in the tour. 

The last time I visited Colborne Lodge, it was approaching Halloween. The house was surrounded by the rich colours of autumn—gold, red and orange. Chrysanthemums of varied hues and purple asters bloomed under the warm sunshine of early fall. I have rarely spent a more entertaining hour. The day I visited, a “haunted tour” was being offered in the evening. Throughout the year, other seasonal activities are available.

For information on visiting Colborne Lodge, Google:  Visit the Colborne Lodge – TORONTO.CityGuide.ca

                Tor. Ref. Library x64-130[1]

John G. Howard, photo from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library.

Tor. Ref.  dated 1900  pictures-r-1653[1]

View of Colborne Lodge gazing east from Colborne Lodge Drive in 1900, when the roadway was unpaved. Photo from the Toronto Reference Library.

photo 1900.  pictures-r-1650[1]

John G. Howard was an amateur painter who worked in watercolours. His paintings preserved images of early 19th-century Toronto. The above photo is of a display of his painting in the coach house at Colborne Lodge in 1900, ten years after Howard died. 

Chewett Block, 1834 -King_and_York_Streets_Toronto_1834[1]

This watercolour, painted by Howard, depicts the intersection of York and King Streets. The impressive three-storey office building on the right-hand side of the painting, is the Chewett Block, built in 1834, designed by Howard. The artist wished to preserve an image of the building, which contained six shops on the ground floor. However, Howard also created a dramatic sky-study with rich colours of blue and grey.  The Chewett Block has since been demolished.

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View of King Street, gazing east in the 1830s. The yellow-brick building on the left is the Court House, designed by John G. Howard. It was located at today’s King and Toronto Streets. The red-brick  building on the right is the jail, constructed in 1827, and also designed by Howard. The building behind the jail, with the tall tower, is the old St. James Cathedral that burnt in 1849. Painting is by John G. Howard, and is from the City of Toronto Archives.

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Howard’s painting of the view from the south end of his estate, near the lake, gazing northeast to Colborne Lodge on the crest of the hill. The location of the home was important, conforming to Regency ideals. This painting is on display in Colborne Lodge today (2014).

1912

Colborne Lodge in 1912. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Fl. 1231, It. 0008. The large veranda, on two sides of the house and the French doors leading onto the veranda are visible. The veranda railings with their Oriental snake-head decorations have been removed.

I0001854[2]

                                              Colborne Lodge c. 1920.

                      Lantern, dated 1928  pictures-r-1659[1]

The lantern erected by Howard to guide visitors to Colborne Lodge on moonless nights. It was in the Greek Revival style, with a hint of the Far East. Photographed in 1928, from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library. 

dated 1922 - pictures-r-1674[1]

One of the serpents with the wide eyes and fierce mouth that decorated the railings around the veranda of Colborne Lodge. Such ornamentations reflected the Regency preference for designs from the exotic Far East. Photo was taken in 1922, and is from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library. The serpents no longer exist.

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                         Colborne Lodge in the autumn of 2013.

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                    The parlour as viewed by visitors today.

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              The cozy dining room, the table set for afternoon tea.

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Bathroom facilities in Colborne Lodge, reputed to be the first ever installed in Toronto.

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Bedroom on the second floor, heated by a wood stove, with chamber pots tucked under the foot of the bed.

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The kitchen, with its many gadgets and labour-saving devices required in an era without electricity.

dated 1920 - f1548_s0393_it16153-1[1]

              View of High Park from Colborne Lodge in January 1920.

dated Dec. 26, 1925 f1548_s0393_it20196[1]

Colborne Lodge on December 26, 1925. City of Toronto Archives, Series 393, Fl. 548, S. 0393, It. 20196

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/

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

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

 

 

 

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Toronto’s old Duchess (Centre) Theatre

Centre, AO-2037

              The Centre Theatre c. 1944. Ontario Archives, AO 2037

Plans for the Duchess Theatre were submitted to the City of Toronto in December of 1914. It was located at 20-22 Arthur Street, on the corner of Arthur and Markham Streets. In those years, there was no major east-west street that crossed the city, other than Bloor and Queen Streets. Dundas Street was created by stitching together various east-west streets, Arthur Street being one of them. When Dundas Street was created, the address of the Duchess Theatre changed from 20-22 Arthur Street to 722 Dundas Street West. Its 469 wooden seats were on a concrete floor, and there was no balcony.

In 1929, the theatre was renovated. The floor remained concrete, but the seating was increased to 505 seats, which were upholstered. The auditorium was the equal of two storeys in height, the brick facade plain, with an unadorned cornice. The Duchess was renovated again in 1940, the plans designed by Jay English. It is likely that this is when its name was changed to the Centre Theatre.

In 1947, there were complaints that kids in the theatre were rowdy and flagrantly smoking. One complainant wrote: the teenagers were in the theatre “for purposes other than observing the picture.” (It is left to our imagine what their purpose was.)

By 1948, the theatre had seriously deteriorated. It was reported that it was not heated in the evenings, there was smoking throughout the theatre, seats were broken, and boys and girls were wildly running up and down the aisles. As well, there was profane language and the teenagers were partly nude. The person who reported this state of affairs said that they had intended to write to the magazine named Hush. However, upon reflection, instead of writing to Hush, the person wrote to Mayor Saunders, who forwarded the complaint to the Picture Censors. I remember Hush magazine quite well. Its motto was “All the news that’s fit to print.” It was Toronto’s most popular “slush” magazine in the 1940s and 1950s.

In September 1957, it was discovered that the fire doors of the Centre Theatre were locked. In court, the manager said that the theatre had been broken into several times and the safe stolen. The fine for the offence of locking the fire doors was between $50 and $500. The judge fined the theatre $75.

I was unable to discover when the Centre Theatre closed.

                       Centre (formerly Duchess, 772 Dundas W   

Photo of the Centre at Dundas and Markham Streets, likely taken in the 1940s. The gasoline pump is for Imperial Oil, the company that for many years sponsored Hockey Night in Canada.

 

Duchess Ao 2039

                Lobby of the Centre Theatre, Ontario Archives, AO 2039

Duchess AO 2038

     Auditorium of the Centre Theatre, Ontario Archives AO 2038.

Series 1278-59  (3)

Site of the former Centre (Duchess) Theatre on Dundas Street. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 59 (3)

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/

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

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

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Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer, Avenue Rd. and Bloor

In the 1850s, Yorkville was a small village to the north of Toronto, surrounded by fields and farmland. Horse-drawn coaches provided a connection to the downtown via Yonge Street. Anglicans who resided in the Yorkville area worshipped at St. Paul’s, located at Bloor Street East and Jarvis Street. The church was a modest wooden structure, its walls covered with stucco. It was designed by John G. Howard, who later donated the land that became High Park. His home, Colbourne Lodge, remains in High Park today, and is an historic site.

When the congregation of St. Paul’s constructed a new stone church in 1861, their old wood building was relocated to a site further west, at Bloor and Yonge Streets, near the Toronto General Burying Ground. It served as a Sunday School and a place of worship for those who were residing west of Yonge Street. Having a site on the west side of Yonge Street was important for parishioners, as in Toronto’s bitter winter weather, it was often difficult to attend church at Bloor and Jarvis Streets amid the snow drifts. 

In 1871, the Parish of St. Paul’s was of a sufficient size that it was deemed advisable to split it into two parishes, with Yonge Street as the dividing line. The parishioners  of the new parish, to the west of Yonge, chose the name, “The Church of the Redeemer.” However, they continued to worship in the old wooden building, but within a few years, the congregation had grown and the structure was too small to meet their needs.

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The above photo is of the old wooden structure, the former building of St. Paul’s, erected in 1871 (Photo, City of Toronto Archives). It is this building that was relocated from Bloor Street East and Jarvis Street, to Yonge and Bloor. In 1878, the congregation of the Church of the Redeemer decided to erect a larger church. At first, they intended to construct it next to the old building. However, they soon realized that having two Anglican Churches, only two blocks apart, was impractical. They decided to locate further west, on the northeast corner of Bloor Street and today’s Avenue Road. The old wooden building was demolished.

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The above photo is from the cover of the pamphlet, “A Short History of the Church of the Redeemer,” which the church generously provides to visitors. The view gazes north on Queen’s Park toward Bloor Street. Queen’s Park changes its name to Avenue Road when it crosses over Bloor Street. The south facade of the church is visible in the photo, along with the tower and belfry. Notice that there is only one entrance-door on the south facade. Today, there are three.

The new Church of the Redeemer at Bloor West and Avenue Road was designed by the architectural firm of James Smith and William Gemmell, assisted by Mr. Clark. The first services in the new church were held on June 15, 1879. The above photo was taken c. 1885, and clearly portrays the rural qualities of the surrounding area, even though two years earlier, Yorkville had been annexed to the City of Toronto.

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The Church of the Redeemer prior to it being surrounded by modern towers. Photo from “No Mean City,” by Eric Arthur. published 1964. 

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                          Church of the Redeemer in 2013

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The architects Smith and Gimmell have several other buildings that survive to this day. Two of them are the Noble Block on Queen Street West, near Spadina Avenue (above, left-hand photo) and the old Knox College on Spadina Crescent (right-hand photo).

The Church of the Redeemer at Avenue Rd. and Bloor St. was designed in the High Victorian Gothic style. The walls were covered with rubble stone from the Credit Valley, near Georgetown. The term rubble stone means that the stones were the rubble that remained after stones were cut in the quarry. They were irregular in shape and their sizes varied. However, though rough in texture and inexpensive, they created a pleasing effect when assembled on the church walls. Ohio sandstone was imported for the stone ornamentations and the trim around the windows of the church. The interior walls were of white and red bricks, enhanced by including geometric patterns. The support columns in the interior were constructed of polished granite from the Bay of Fundy area.

The nave originally held seating for 800 parishioners. Those who were able to afford to rent pews attended on Sunday mornings. Others worshipped on Sunday evenings, when the pews were free. This was customary in many churches in the 19th century.

The interior of the church changed throughout the many decades, due to minor renovations and memorial plaques were added to the walls. However, extensive alterations occurred in the 1980s, when the parish hall on the north side of the church was sold. Because of the sale of the parish hall, the church now lacked sufficient space for church offices and meetings. The problem was solved by raising a section of the floor of the church to expand the basement level. Pews were removed from the raised section at the rear of the nave and replaced with chairs. Due to an ever-expanding congregation, more renovations were carried out in 1995, and then, again in 2000-2001 to create further space and improve facilities. 

The Church of the Redeemer is today an active church community in the heart of the city, with an outreach program that meets the needs of many Torontonians.

 

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                View of the church in 2013, surrounded by tall buildings.

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The south facade of the church, the Park Plaza Hotel in the background.

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       The south facade and the doorways facing Bloor Street.

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                The east facade with its tall Gothic windows.

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Gazing down the nave to the chancel from the section of the floor that was raised, where the pews were replaced with chairs. The geometric brick designs in the walls are evident.

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Thanksgiving display in 2013 on a table located on the raised floor.

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                           A stained-glass window in the church.

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View of the church from the south side of Bloor Street West in 2013.

Note: Much of the information for this post was derived from the pamphlet “A Short History of The Church of the Redeemer,”provided by the church to visitors.

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/

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

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

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Toronto’s Lumsden Building at 2-6 Adelaide Street East

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The Lumsden Building at 2-6 Adelaide Street East is on the northeast corner of Yonge and Adelaide Street East. Built between the years 1909 and 1910, its architect was John A. Mackenzie. The Lumsden Building was constructed from funds provided by the Lumsden Estate of Ottawa. In the early decades of the 20th century, it was viewed as an excellent investment, as the city was booming economically and office rental space was in great demand.

When completed, it was said to be the largest concrete-faced structure in the world. This was considered unusual, as in this decade, buildings with a structural steel frame were invariably covered with bricks or terracotta tiles. The architect employed concrete to create texture on the exterior surfaces of the structure, which otherwise would have been plain, and adorned the cornice with many modillions (brackets under the eaves). Decorative detailing around the windows were thick and heavy. Even today, the effect is rather unusual. The basement  of the Lumsden Building contained a swimming pool and a Turkish bath, these features certainly not common in office buildings in this era. Though the fancy cornice and the basement facilities no longer exist, they reflect the prestige this structure garnered in the first decade of the 20th century.

The building has endured well during the many decades since it was built. It is a unique structure that has no equal in the downtown area. Today, it is one of the most historic structures on Toronto’s main street, in the heart of the city’s busy financial district.

f1568_it0339[1]  after 1900

Gazing north on Yonge Street toward Adelaide Street, c. 1910. The Lumsden Building is visible on the northeast side of the intersection (right-hand side of photo). City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, Fl. 568, It. 0339.

Fonds 1244, Item 10042

View facing east toward Yonge Street c. 1912, the Lumsden Building prominent on the left side of the photo. In this picture, it retains the ornate cornice around the top of the structure. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1244, It. 10042.

s0071_it7437[1]   Nov. 15, 1929

Gazing north on Yonge Street at Adelaide Street in 1929, the Lumsden Building on the right. City of Toronto Archives, Series 71, S. 0071, It. 7437.

Fonds 1244, Item 1956

Gazing north on Yonge Street in 1930, the Lumsden Building on the right. The photo provides a good view of its ornate cornice, which was removed in later years. City of Toronto Archives, Series 124, It. 1956.

                 Fonds 1526, File 4, Item 26

Looking north on Yonge Street on May 16, 1977. In this photo, the building’s ornate cornice has been removed. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 4, It. 26. 

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The thick concrete ornamentations surrounding the windows of the Lumsden Building.(Photo, 2013)

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The west facade of the Lumsden Building, gazing south on Yonge Street toward Adelaide Street in 2013.

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Gazing east along Adelaide Street at Yonge Street. The west facade (left-hand side) and the south facade (right-hand side) are visible.

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         The west facade of the building on Yonge Street in 2013.

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/

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[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 .

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

 

 

 

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Toronto’s Anderson Building at 284 King West

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The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West will be demolished if approval is received from the City of Toronto for the new complex of condo towers that David Mirvish is proposing to build on King Street West. Built in 1915, the Anderson Building is an excellent example of the commercial warehouses constructed in the early decades of the 20th century. It hearkens back to a time when companies deemed it advantageous to present an impressive image to those who passed by on the street, as it reflected that the firm was prosperous and reliable. The architect of the Anderson Building was Scottish-born William Frazer, who won a prestigious award in Glasgow in 1896 for designing the memorial to the famous poet, Robert Burns.   

The facade of the Anderson Building is impressive, containing glazed terracotta tiles, with simple but elegant designs. Perhaps the most well-known building in Toronto with a terracotta-tile cladding is the Bell Media Building on the southeast corner of John and Queen Street West, that at one time was the Methodist Publishing House. The tiles on the Anderson Building are in excellent condition, providing texture to the streetscape, in contrast to the towers of glass and cement with their smooth surfaces and few decorative details. These modern structures lack individuality.

The Anderson Building is a unique structure. If it is demolished, Toronto will have lost a true architectural gems.

                  284 King St. Anderson Blg.

View of the south facade of the Anderson Building in August 2013.

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Detailing on the south facade and a partial view of the cornice with modillions that resemble large dentils.

                     284 King Anderson Blg 2

Ornate doorway of the east side of the Anderson Building. In the interior there is an excellent antique showroom on the first floor. On the third floor are the sales and subscription offices of the Mirvish Enterprises. 

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Detailing surrounding the windows on the south facade facing King St.

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             Glazed terracotta tiles on the Anderson Building

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It would be a true pity to lose this fine example of early-20th century industrial architecture.

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/

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[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 .

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

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