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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Toronto’s lost Arcadian Court Restaurant

arcadiancourt[1]

The Arcadian Court in The Bay in 2011, photo taken from the mezzanine level by the author.

The Arcadian Court in the Bay Store at Queen and Yonge still exists, but it is no longer open on a daily basis to the general public. Instead of being “the  place where Toronto does lunch,” it is now a private event space, highly sought for wedding receptions, gala dinners, and corporate functions. This is a pity as the venue has been a part of the Toronto scene for over eight decades. I remember when it was a favourite place to enjoy a quiet lunch amid the hustle and bustle of the city’s downtown. For many years, I visited it the week prior to Christmas to partake of its special yuletide buffet.

In the days when the Arcadian Court was open to the public, upon entering the reception area, people were greeted by the sound of a grand piano playing the favourite songs of yesteryear. The music partially obscured the clinking of china and and the tinkle of silverware, as well as the quiet conversations within the cavernous room. A smartly attired hostess escorted all guests to their tables, where the waiters invariably inquired if guests wished to see the menu or would prefer the buffet.

I usually chose the buffet. I particularly enjoyed the roast beef and the chicken pot pies, both available on the menu as well as the buffet. The array of salads, hot dishes, and desserts was on par with the finest restaurants. The attentive service and quiet atmosphere was appealing to diners who were older, but also attracted businessmen seeking a quiet spot to discuss transactions or become more acquainted with clients. Sometimes there were families with young children, especially on Saturdays. However, because  many of the clientele were older, attendance slowly declined, which contributed to the restaurant no longer being a public dining place. This was a pity, as the history of the Arcadian Court included many events that were important in the lives of Torontonians.

The story of the Arcadian Court began between the years 1928-1929, when the Robert Simpson’s Company built a nine-storey Art Deco addition to its already enormous department store. The new structure was at the corner of Bay and Richmond Streets, its main entrance located on Bay Street. Included in the new building was a two-storey restaurant, on the eighth and ninth floors. The two floors allowed the restaurant to have a main floor and a mezzanine level. It was said that when it opened, it was the largest restaurant in the world that was located within a retail store. I am not certain how this could be verified, but the facility was indeed expansive as it accommodated almost 1000 diners. It required as many as 500 worker to support the operation of the 8000-foot dining space on the main floor and the 6000 feet of the mezzanine.

The Arcadian Court was created to compete for the lunch crowd with the Royal York Hotel, as well with Simpson’s retail main rival—Eaton’s. The latter was located directly across from Simpson’s, on the north side of Queen Street. Eaton’s had opened its Georgian Room in 1924, and Simpson’s was desirous of luring diners and shoppers away from its competitor. However, the Arcadian Court was different as it more luxurious than the Georgian Room. It aimed to attract more well-to-do patrons, often referred to as the carriage trade.

Designed in the Art Deco style, the Arcadian Court contained 40-foot ceilings, with 16 grand arches. Large arched windows on the west side created panoramic views of Bay Street, the newly-constructed Canada Life Building, and the western skyline. These windows were eventually covered over, and this remain true today. The colour scheme of the Arcadian Court was muted shades of silver and violet, with a hint of blue. The thick carpets and massive chandeliers added a degree of elegance never before seen in the city. The chandeliers were of Sabino glass, manufactured in France by the the famous glassmaker, Rene Lalique. The mezzanine level (9th-floor section) was surrounded by ornate wrought iron railing, and originally was reserved exclusively for men. It remained designated in this manner until around the year 1960.   

After the Arcadian Court opened, it was immediately successful, and this continued even during the Great Depression. One reasons was that not only was it a luxury dining room, but it was used for trade, art, automobile, and fashion shows, as well as grand dances, lectures and concerts. Liberace once performed on a grand piano in the Arcadian Court, to an enthralled audience. The Simpson’s venue was also one of the city’s favourite places for dining and dancing on New Year’s Eve.

In 1929, the first radio broadcast of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was held under its high ceiling. The one-hour program was heard across Canada on the CBC. In 1932, Winston Churchill was booked to speak at the Arcadian Court, but due to the demand for tickets, the event was changed to Maple Leaf Gardens. In 1967, the first auction ever held outside Great Britain by Sotheby’s was held in it. Attended by 2500 persons, a Gainsborough painting was sold for $65,000.     

The Arcadian Court was renovated four times since it opened in 1929. In 1978, Simpson’s was purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company, but was operated under its former name until 1991. Unfortunately, due to the diminishing number of patrons, the Arcadian Court closed in 2011. It reopened in 2012 under the management of Oliver and Bonacini. Its name was now simply “The Arcadian,” and it operated as a private event venue.

It is interesting to note that when the Arcadian reopened, the original chandeliers were missing. They had been sold in 1968 to a New York antique dealer. He restored them, sold them to a Manhattan company, and they were placed in the firm’s lobby. 

arcadiancourt2[1]      

The Arcadian Court in 2012, shortly before it closed to the public. View is from the main floor level, looking upward to the mezzanine.    

Series 1569, File 5, Item 1

The first radio broadcast of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the Arcadian Court in 1929, under the TSO’s Viennese conductor Luigi von Kuits. Toronto Archives, F1569, Fl 0005, Item 0001.  

Southeby's Auction, Oct. 27, 1969 TRL_0002614f[1]

Sotheby’s first art auction held outside Great Britain, on October 27, 1969, in the Arcadian Court. Toronto Public Library, 0002614.

urbantoronto.ca  arcadian-court-02[1]

Pre-1968 photo of the Arcadian Court, before the original chandeliers were sold. It is likely that it was a private banquet being held in the venue. Photos from Urbantoronto.ca

urbantoronto.ca  arcadian1[1]

Photo of the Arcadian Court after 1968, as the original chandeliers have been replaced. Photo from Urbantoronto.ca.

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/

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It 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 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 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

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Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres will be released in June, 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs and relates interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating history.

                        Toronto: Then and Now®

Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will be released on June 1, 2016. For further information follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or to contact the publisher directly:

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

 

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Toronto’s old movie theatres on tayloronhistory.com

/Shea's Hippodrome  DSCN0638

Links to posts that have appeared on tayloronhistory.com about Toronto’s old movie theatres since the blog commenced in 2011.

Academy Theatre on Bloor West at St. Clarens

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/photographs-from-the-1950s-of-sheas-hippodrome-theatre-located-on-the-site-of-torontos-new-city-hall/

Ace Theatre on Danforth (see Iola)

Ace Theatre on Queen near Bay (see Photodrome)

Adelphi Theatre (Kum Bac) on Dovercourt Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/the-adelphi-cum-bac-movie-theatretoronto/

Alhambra Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bathurst Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/torontos-old-movie-theatres-the-alhambra/

Allen’s Bloor Theatre, (now Lee’s Palace)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/torontos-old-allens-bloor-theatre-the-bloor-lees-palace/

Allenby on the Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-allenby-roxy-apollo-on-the-danforth/

Allen’s Danforth (see Danforth Music Hall)

Apollo (Crystal) Theatre on Dundas West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/torontos-apollo-crystal-theatre-on-dundas-street-west/

Arcadian (Variety) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/torontos-old-odeon-carlton-theatre-in-1956/

Auditorium Theatre ( see Pickford)

Avalon Theatre on Danforth Avenue (see Clyde Theatre)

Avenue Theatre (see Pickford)

Avon Theatre at 1092 Queen Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/torontos-lost-movie-theatresthe-avon-at-1092-queen-west/

Bay (Colonial Theatre) at Queen and Bay

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bay-originally-the-colonial/

Bayview Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bayview/

Beaver Theatre in the Junction area at Keele and Dundas Street West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/torontos-beaver-theatre-on-dundas-st-west/

Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bell-lightbox-tiff/

Bellevue Theatre on College Street that became the Lux Burlesque Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/the-bellevue-theatre-lux-burlesque-theatre-on-college-street/

Belsize Theatre (see Regent)

Biltmore Theatre on Yonge, north of Dundas St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-biltmore-theatre/

Birchcliff Theatre on Kingston Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/memories-of-torontos-birchcliff-theatre-on-kingston-rd/

Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Bloor Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bloor-hot-docs-cinema/

Bloordale Theatre (the State) on Bloor St. West, near Dundas Street. 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bloordale-state/

Blue Bell (Gay) Theatre on Parliament Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/torontos-blue-bell-theatre-the-gay/

Bonita (Gerrard) Theatre on Gerrard East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/torontos-bonita-theatre-on-gerrard-east/

Brighton Theatre on Roncesvalles Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-brighton/

Brock Theatre (the Gem)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-brock-the-gem/

Cameo Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/torontos-old-cameo-theatre/

Cannon Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Capitol Theatre on Yonge at Castlefield

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/torontos-old-capitol-theatre/

Carlton Theatre on Parliament Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-carlton-on-parliament-st/

Casino Burlesque Theatre on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-infamous-casino-on-queen-st/ 

Cineplex Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-cineplex-eaton-centre/

Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre at Bloor and Bay

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-cineplex-odeon-varsity/

Cineplex Theatre at Yonge and Dundas Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/torontos-architectural-gems-cineplex-at-dundas-and-yonge-streets/

Circle on Dundas West (see Duchess)

Circle Theatre on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/torontos-old-circle-theatre/

Clyde Theatre (Avalon)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

College Theatre at College St. and Dovercourt Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/torontos-old-college-theatre/

Colonial Theatre (see Bay Theatre)

Colony Theatre at Vaughan Road and Eglinton Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-colony-at-eglinton-and-vaughan/

Community Theatre on Woodbine Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/old-movie-houses-of-toronto/

Coronet Theatre (Savoy) on Yonge St. at Gerrard

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-coronet-savoy-on-yonge-at-gerrard/

Crest Theatre (see Regent)

Crown Theatre on Gerrard St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/the-crown-theatre-toronto-on-gerrard-st-east/

Crystal Theatre (see Apollo)

Danforth Music Hall (Allen’s Danforth)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-danforth-music-hall-allans-danforth/

Donlands Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-donlands/

Downtown Theatre (now demolished) at Yonge and Dundas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/torontos-lost-movie-theatresthe-downtown-theatre-on-yonge-st-south-of-dundas/

Duchess Theatre (Circle) on Dundas West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-duchess-centre/

Eastwood Theatre on Gerrard St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/torontos-eastwood-theatre-on-gerrard-st-east/

Ed Mirvish Theatre (the Pantages, Imperial and Cannon)

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

Eglinton Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-eglinton-theatre/

Elgin Theatre (Loew’s Downtown)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/torontos-old-movie-housesloews-downtown-the-elgin/

Elgin/Winter/Garden Theatres on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-elgin-winter-garden-theatres/

Empire (Rialto, Palton) on Queen East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/torontos-empire-rialto-palton-theatrequeen-st-east/

Esquire (Lyndhurst) Theatre on Bloor Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/esquire-theatretoronto/

Eve’s Paradise (see Paradise)

Garden Theatre at 290 College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/discovering-two-of-torontos-lost-movie-theatres/

Gay Theatre (see Blue Bell)

Gem Theatre (see Brock)

Gerrard Theatre (see Bonita)

Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-glendale-theatre-on-avenue-rd/

Golden Mile Theatre on Eglinton East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/torontos-golden-mile-theatre-on-eglinton-ave/

Grant Theatre on Oakwood Avenue near Vaughan Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-grant/

Greenwood Theatre (the Guild)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-greenwood-guild/

Grover on Danforth Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/torontos-old-grover-theatre/

Guild Theatre (see Greenwood)

Hillcrest Theatre on Christie Street, south of Dupont St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/remembering-torontos-hillcrest-theatre-on-christie-st/

Hollywood Theatre on the east side of Yonge Street, north of St. Clair Avenue.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-hollywood-theatre/

Hudson Theatre (see Mount Pleasant)

Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street (archival photos)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/archival-photos-of-torontos-old-theatres-give-reality-to-historical-novel/Imperial

Imperial Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Iola (Ace, Regal) on Danforth Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/the-iola-ace-regal-theatretoronto/

Island Theatre on Centre Island

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/the-1950s-movie-theatre-at-centre-island-toronto/

Kent Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/the-kent-movie-theatretoronto/

Kenwood Theatre on Bloor St. West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/torontos-old-kenwood-theatre-on-bloor-st-west/

King Theatre at College and Manning Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/torontos-king-theatre-on-college-st-at-manning/

Kingsway Theatre in the Kingsway Village on Bloor St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-kingsway-theatre-on-bloor-west/

Kum-Bac Theatre (see Adelphi)

KUM-C Theatre in Parkdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/memories-of-torontos-kum-c-theatre-in-parkdale/

La Plaza Theatre (the Opera House) on Queen Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/torontos-la-plaza-theatre-the-opera-house-on-queen-east/

La Salle Theatre on Dundas, near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/torontos-la-salle-theatredundas-and-spadina/

Lansdowne Theatre on Lansdowne Avenue, north of Bloor St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/the-lansdowne-theatretoronto/

Loew’s Uptown Theatre (the Uptown)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/torontos-old-movie-housesloews-uptown/

Loew’s Downtown Theatre (see Elgin)

Lyndhurst Theatre (see Esquire)

Major St. Clair Theatre on St. Clair Avenue, east of Old Weston Road.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-st-clair-major/

Mayfair Theatre at Jane and Annette

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-mayfair

Metro Theatre at 679 Bloor West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-metro-at-679-bloor-west/

Mount Dennis Theatre on Weston Rd, north of Eglinton

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-mount-dennis-on-weston-rd/

Mount Pleasant (Hudson) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/torontos-old-movie-theatrethe-mt-pleasant-hudson/

Nortown Theatre on Eglinton, west of Bathurst St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-nortown-at-bathurst-and-eglinton/

Oakwood Theatre on Oakwood Avenue, near St. Clair Avenue West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-oakwood-theatre-at-st-clair-and-oakwood/ Oakwood Theatre, Part II

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/torontos-old-oakwood-theatrepart-ii/

Odeon Carlton at Yonge and Carlton Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/torontos-great-old-theatresthe-odeon-carlton/

Odeon Carlton Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-odeon-fairlawn/

Odeon Danforth Theatre on the Danforth, near Pape Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresodeon-danforth/

Odeon Humber Theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets (now Humber Cinemas)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-odeon-humber-theatre/

Odeon Hyland Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-odeon-hyland/

Odeon Theatre On Queen West in Parkdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/odeon-theatre-in-parkdaletoronto/

Opera House (see La Plaza)

Orpheum Theatre on Queen St., west of Bathurst

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/torontos-old-movie-theatres-the-orpheum-on-queen-st-w/

Palace Theatre on the Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/torontos-old-movie-housethe-palace-theatre-on-the-danforth/

Palace Theatre on the Danforth near Pape Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/torontos-old-movie-housethe-palace-theatre-on-the-danforth/

Palton Theatre (see Empire)

Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-panasonic-theatre-victoria-astor-new-yorker/

Pantages Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Paradise (Eve’s Paradise)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-paradise-eves-paradise/

Paramount Theatre on St. Clair West, between Oakwood and Dufferin streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-paramount-theatre-at-1069-st-clair-ave-2/

Parkdale Theatre on Queen Street, near Roncesvalles

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-parkdale-on-queen-st-near-roncesvalles/

Photodrome (Ace) Theatre on Queen St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/memories-of-torontos-ace-photodrome-theatre-on-queen-west

Pickford (Auditorium, Avenue) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-pickford-auditorium-theatre-at-queen-and-spadina/

Princess Theatre on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/torontos-old-princess-theatre/

Radio City Theatre on Bathurst, south of St. Clair.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-radio-city-theatre/

Regal Theatre (see Iola)

Regent Theatre on Mt. Pleasant Rd. (the Belsize, the Crest)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-regent-mt-pleasant/

Revue Theatre at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-revue-theatre-at-400-roncesvalles-ave/

Rex Theatre (the Joy)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-rex-joy-on-queen-st-east/

Rialto Theatre (see Empire)

Rivoli Theatre on Queen Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/torontos-old-rivoli-theatre-on-queen-west/

Royal Alexandra Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/torontos-historic-royal-alexandra-theatre/

Royal George Theatre on St. Clair W., west of Dufferin Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-royal-george-on-st-clair-near-dufferin/

Royal Theatre on Dundas Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/torontos-royal-theatre-on-dundas-street/

Royal Theatre (the Pylon) on College St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-royal-theatre-the-pylon/

Runnymede Theatre in the Bloor West Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-runnymede-theatre-on-bloor-street/

Savoy Theatre (see Coronet)

Scarboro Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-scarboro/

Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-modern-scotiabank-theatre/

Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay St. near Queen

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/photographs-from-the-1950s-of-sheas-hippodrome-theatre-located-on-the-site-of-torontos-new-city-hall/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/old-movie-houses-of-toronto-fond-memories-of-sheas-hippodrome/

Shea’s Victoria (The Victoria) at Victoria and Adelaide Streets 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/torontos-old-sheas-victoria-theatre/

St. Clair Theatre, west of Dufferin Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-st-clair-theatre-near-dufferin-st/

State Theatre (see Bloordale)

Teck Theatre on Queen St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/torontos-teck-theatre-on-queen-st-east/

The Tivoli Theatre on Richmond Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/torontos-old-movie-housestivoli-on-richmond-st-e/

Toronto’s first movie screening and its first movie theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/torontos-first-movie-screening-and-first-movie-theatre/

Town Cinema on Bloor East, near Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-town-cinema/

University Theatre on Bloor St., west of Bay Street.

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

Uptown 5 Multiplex Theatre on Yonge south of Bloor

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-uptown-5-multiplex-theatre/

Variety Theatre (see Arcadian)

Vaughan Theatre on St. Clair Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/torontos-lost-treasuresthe-vaughan-theatre-on-st-clair-ave/

Victoria (Shea’s Victoria)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/torontos-old-sheas-victoria-theatre/

Victory burlesque and movie theatre on Spadina at Dundas:

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

Village Theatre on Spadina Road in Forest Hill Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/village-theatre-on-spadina-roadtoronto/

Westwood Theatre on Bloor Street West near Six Points

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-westwood-theatre/

The Willow Theatre on north Yonge St. in Willowdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-willow-theatre-at-5269-yonge-st/

York Theatre on Yonge near Bloor St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-york-movie-theatre-in-toronto/

Note: I welcome comments from reader who are willing to share their memories. As well, I always appreciate it when corrections or other opinions are offered. I can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.com

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

To view posts about Toronto’s history and its heritage architecture:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/torontos-heritage-buildings-and-sites-on-tayloronhistory-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 .

Book also available at Chapters/Indigo, the book shop at the Bell Lightbox or University of Toronto Press at 416-667-7791

ISBN # 978.1.62619.450.2

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

Tags:

Toronto’s heritage buildings and sites on tayloronhistory.com

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Below are links to posts about Toronto’s heritage sites that have appeared on the blog, tayloronhistory.com, since it commenced in 2011.

Toronto’s Maple Leaf Baseball Stadium

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/torontos-maple-leaf-baseball-stadium/

Brunswick House on Bloor Street West, now closed

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/torontos-brunswick-house-now-closed/

Centre Island’s lost village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/centre-islands-lost-villagetoronto/

Demolition of the Westinghouse building on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/demolition-of-historic-westinghouse-building/

Walker House Hotel at Front and York Streets, demolished 1976

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/walker-house-hotel-demolished-front-and-york-streets/

Cyclorama on Front Street, demolished 1976

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/torontos-cyclorama-demolished-on-front-street/

The Toronto Star Building on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-regent-mt-pleasant/

Fond Memories of A&A Records on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/fond-memories-of-a-a-records-demolished/

Memories of Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/fond-memories-of-sam-the-record-man/

Toronto’s old Land Registry Building (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/torontos-old-registry-office-building/

The Gordon House on Clarence Square, one of Toronto’s lost mansions

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/the-gordon-house-torontos-lost-mansion/

Old Toronto Star Building on King Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/the-old-toronto-star-building-demolished/

The Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/grand-opera-house-on-adelaide-street-toronto/

The High Park Mineral Baths

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/torontos-lost-mineral-baths-on-bloor-street/

The old Dufferin Gates at the CNE

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-old-dufferin-gates-at-torontos-cne/

Toronto’s first brick house, built by Quetton St. George

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/torontos-first-brick-home-built-by-quetton-st-george/

Toronto’s Old Registry Office Building

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/torontos-old-registry-office-building/

Centre Island’s Lost Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/centre-islands-lost-villagetoronto/

Arcadian Court Restaurant in Simpsons

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/torontos-lost-arcadian-court-restaurant/

Toronto’s Old Customs Houses

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/torontos-historic-old-customs-houses/

Grand Opera House on Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/grand-opera-house-on-adelaide-street-toronto/

Palace Pier Ballroom and Amusement Centre on Lakeshore, on West bank of the Humber River

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/torontos-old-palace-pier-ballroom/

Cawthra House—Toronto’s most historic mansion at Bay and King Streets (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/torontos-greatest-lost-mansioncawthra-house/

Ford Hotel at Bay and Dundas (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/the-old-ford-hoteltoronto/

Dufferin Gates of the CNE (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-old-dufferin-gates-at-torontos-cne/

Quetton St. George’s mansion on King Street, now demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/torontos-first-brick-home-built-by-quetton-st-george/

Mineral Baths (swimming pools) on Bloor Street opposite High Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/torontos-lost-mineral-baths-on-bloor-street/

Upper Canada College’s first campus on Russell Square on King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/the-lost-buildings-of-upper-canada-college-toronto/

Upper Canada College’s former boarding house at Duncan and Adelaide Street 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/upper-canada-colleges-former-boarding-housetoronto/

St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West – the first market buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/the-lost-buildings-of-st-patricks-market-toronto/

Armouries on University Avenue (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/torontos-lost-armouries-on-university-avenue/

Trinity College that once existed in Trinity Bellwoods Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/the-lost-trinity-college-of-bellwoods-parktoronto/

Hanlan’s Hotel on the Toronto Islands (Hanlan’s Point) now demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/the-lost-hanlans-hotel-on-the-toronto-islands/

The Palace, the mansion of John Strachan (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/lost-toronto-palace/

Holland House—one of Toronto’s lost mansions (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/torontos-lost-mansionholland-house/

Crystal Palace of the CNE (demolished) —now the site of the Muzik nightclub

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/muzik-nightclubsite-of-cnes-crystal-palace/

Queen’s Hotel (demolished) —historic hotel on Front Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/queens-hotel-featured-on-murdock-mystery-series/

CNE Grandstand (demolished) —History of

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/torontos-cne-grandstand-and-baseball-stadium/

Maple Leaf Stadium (demolished) at Bathurst and Front Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/before-the-toronto-blue-jays-there-was/

Eaton’s old Queen Street Store at Queen and Yonge Streets (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/memories-of-eatons-queen-street-store-toronto/

Bank –Toronto’s First—Bank of Upper Canada (demolished)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/torontos-first-bankthe-bank-of-upper-canada/

Post Office—Toronto’s First

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/torontos-first-post-office/

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dundas Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/art-gallery-of-ontariofantastic/

Ontario’s Fourth Legislative Assembly

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/ontarios-fourth-legislative-assembly/

Ontario’s First and Second Legislative Buildings

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/ontarios-first-legislative-assemblypart-one/

Old Mill Restaurant in the Humber Valley

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/torontos-old-mill-in-the-humber-valley/

Montgomery’s Inn at Dundas West and Islington Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/historic-montgomerys-inntoronto/

Cecil Street Community Centre near Spadina Avenue and Cecil Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/historytorontos-cecil-street-community-centre/

Former Ryerson Press Building (now Bell Media) at 299 Queen Street, at Queen and John Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/torontos-ryerson-press-buildingbell-media/

Former Bank of Toronto Building at 205 Yonge Street, opposite the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/the-former-bank-of-toronto-at-205-yonge-street/

Buildings at 441-443 Queen Street, west of Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/torontos-441-443-queen-west-at-spadina/

History of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/history-of-the-royal-ontario-museum-rom/

Boer War monument at Queen West and University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/torontos-boer-war-monument/

History of Toronto’s CN Tower

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/history-of-torontos-cn-tower/

Gurney Stove Foundry at King West and Brant Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/torontos-gurney-stove-foundry-king-street-west/

Historic Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/torontos-historic-royal-alexandra-theatre/

Former Bank of Montreal at Queen and Yonge Streets, now a subway entrance and coffee shop

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/old-bank-of-montrealqueen-and-yonge/

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/torontos-historic-fairmount-royal-york-hotel/

Toronto’s Union Station of today that opened in 1927

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/torontos-newest-union-station/

Old Fort York

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/torontos-old-fort-york/

19th-century Bay and Gable house at 64 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/bay-and-gable-house-at-64-spadina-avenuetoronto/

Old houses hidden behind 58-60 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/old-houses-hidden-behind-58-60-spadina-avenuetoronto/ 

Historic Gale Building at 24-30 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/the-historic-gale-building24-30-spadina-ave-toronto/

Commercial block at 654-672 Queen West containing shops

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/architectural-gems654-672-queen-west-toronto/

Warehouse loft at 80 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/the-warehouse-loft-at-80-spadina-avenuetoronto/

The Systems Building at 40-46 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/the-systems-building-at-40-46-spadina-avenuetoronto/

The Steele Briggs Warehouse at 49 Spadina Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/the-steele-briggs-warehouse-at-49-spadina-ave-toronto/

The building at Queen and Portland Streets, which once was a bank of Montreal

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/old-bank-building-at-queen-and-portland/

The 1850s buildings at 150-154 King Street East and Jarvis Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/torontos-architectural-gems150-154-king-st-east/

The Manufacturers Building at 312 Adelaide St. West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/torontos-manufacturers-building-at-312-adelaide-street-west/

The old Eaton’s College Street (College Park and the Carlu)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/torontos-architectural-gemscollege-park-the-carlu-eatons-college-street/

The John Kay (Wood Gundy) Building at 11 Adelaide St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/john-kay-wood-gundy-building-toronto11-adelaide-st-w/

The Grange (AGO)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-grange-and-ago/

The Eclipse Building at 322 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-eclipse-company-building-at-322-king-st/

The Toronto Normal School on Gould Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-toronto-normal-school-on-gould-st/

The Capitol Building at 366 Adelaide Street West, near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-capitol-building-at-366-adelaide-west/

The Reid Building at 266-270 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-reid-building-at-266-270-king-west/

Mackenzie House on Bond Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/mackenzie-housetoronto/

Colborne Lodge in High Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/torontos-architectural-gemscolborne-lodge-in-high-park/

The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor West and Avenue Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-church-of-the-redeemer-avenue-rd-and-bloor/

The Anderson Building at 284 King Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-anderson-building-at-284-king-west/

The Lumsden Building at Yonge and Adelaide Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-lumsden-building-at-2-6-adelaide-street-east/

The Gooderham (Flatiron) Building at Wellington and Front Streets East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-gooderham-flatiron-building/

The Sick Children’s Hospital on University Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/toronto-architectural-gemsthe-sick-childrens-hospital-and-mary-pickford/

St. James Cathedral at King St. East and Church St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/torontos-architectural-gemsst-james-cathedral-on-king-st-east/

The E.W. Gillett Building at 276 Queen King St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-e-w-gillett-building-at-276-king-st-west/

The Oddfellows Temple at the corner of Yonge and College Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-oddfellows-hall-at-2-college-st/

The Birkbeck Building at 8-18 Adelaide Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-birkbeck-building-at-8-10-adelaide-st-east/

The Toronto Seventh Post Office at 10 Toronto St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-7th-post-office-on-toronto-st/

Former hotel at Bay and Elm streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-former-hotel-at-bay-and-elm-streets/

The 1881 block of shops on Queen near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-1881-block-at-388-396-queen-west/

The stone archway on Yonge Street, south of Carlton Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/torontos-architectural-gemsstone-archway-on-yonge-south-of-college/

The former St. Patrick’s Market on Queen West, now the City Market

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-st-patricks-queen-st-market/

The Brooke Building (three shops) at King East and Jarvis streets.

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

The old Work House at 87 Elm Street, an historic structure from the 19th century.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-workhouse-at-87-elm-street/

The building on the northwest corner of Yonge and Queen Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-northwest-corner-of-yonge-and-queen-st-west/

The former student residence of Upper Canada College, built in 1833, at 22 Duncan Street, at the corner of Adelaide streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-1833-structure-at-duncan-and-adelaide/

Church of the Holy Trinity beside the Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/torontos-architectural-gemschurch-of-the-holy-trinity-beside-eaton-centre/

The former site of the “Silver Snail” comic store at 367 Queen Street West.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-silver-snail-comic-store-at-367-queen-st-w/

The Toronto Club at 107 Wellington, built 1888,  at the corner of York Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-toronto-club-at-wellington-and-york/ 

The YMCA at 18 Elm Street, built in 1890, now the Elmwood Club.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-ywca-at-18-elm-st/

The old St. George’s Hall at 14 Elm Street, now the Arts and Letters Club.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/torontos-architectural-gemsst-georges-hallarts-and-letters-club/

The 1860s houses on Elm St. (now Barbarian’s Steak House)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/torontos-architectural-gems1860s-houses-on-elm-streetbarbarians-steak-house/

The old “Silver Snail” shop on Queen St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-old-silver-snail-comic-store-at-367-queen-st-w/

The north building at the St. Lawrence Market, which is slated to be demolished

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-north-building-at-the-st-lawrence-market-in-autumn-of-2013/

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 building 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 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 Avenue and Queen Street 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, near 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/

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

To view the post that contains a list of Toronto’s old movie houses and information about them:

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

 

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Toronto’s old Palace Pier Ballroom

palace-pier-dance-hall[1].png

The Palace Pier Ballroom and Amusement Centre, depicted on a 1930s postcard.

My memories of the Palace Pier, an immense structure that extended 300 feet into Lake Ontario, date from the days of World War 11. On hot summer days in the 1940s, when my parent took my brother and me to Sunnyside beach to paddle in the cold waters of the lake, I gazed at its enormous size, as it dominated the scene to the west of Sunnyside Beach. I asked my mother about it, and she dismissed it as a place where people of “dubious” character attended, as it was a “dance hall.” My father gave an amused smile as if he seemed to disagree with her assessment, but said nothing. He had played a trumpet in McCormick’s Dance Band during the 1930s, before he met my mother, and had a more liberal view of dance halls.

A year or two later, I learned what the word “dubious” implied and discovered that my father thought that to dismiss Palace Pier as a mere dance hall was do it a great injustice. Located on the west bank of the Humber River, there were no other buildings in the area that competed with it in size. In its heyday, it was one of the most spectacular dance spots in Toronto. However, when I was a boy, I was too young to know about the famous entertainers who were featured there or to appreciate its importance in the night life of the city. Also, it was another few years before I became unaware of the inherent attraction of “dubious” places.

The Palace Pier was conceived in 1927 by the Provincial Improvement Corporation. It was inspired by the wonderful seaside piers in Great Britain, such as those in Brighton, one of which survives today. Toronto’s pier was to be a “year-round amusement enterprise.” Sunnyside Beach, which opened in 1921, had been a great success and the Palace Pier was an attempt to improve Toronto’s lakeside area by extending development further west along the shoreline. In some respects, it was a project similar to Ontario Place, which was constructed to celebrate Canada’s Centennial in 1967. It too was built out over the water, although it was created by dumping landfill into Lake Ontario. Similar to Palace Pier, it was an amusement centre and contained a theatre—Cinesphere.

Palace Pier was to have four buildings, each 260 feet in length, one of them containing a ballroom and another, a Palace of Fun. The latter was to have shops, an arcade, games, restaurants, and food kiosks. There was to be a 1500-seat theatre and a 170-foot bandstand. When the covered walkways and promenades were added to the sides of it, the structure would extend over a third of a mile into the lake. At its southern end there was to be a steamboat landing, as the 1920s was an era when leisure travel on Lake Ontario was highly popular. It was envisioned that over 3000 couples would dance the night away its ballroom, in a multifunctional facility that could also be used for roller skating and bowling.

1297791972217_ORIGINAL[1]

Artist’s sketch of the proposed Palace Pier employed to promote its construction and attract investors. Sketch from Toronto Sun, Jan. 10, 2016, contained in an article by Mike Filey. 

Palace Pier was designed in the Moroccan style by Craig and Madill, a Toronto company that was later to design the CNE Bandshell. However, by the time the pier transitioned from the architects’ drawing boards to the construction site, the Great Depression had descended, necessitating that the plans be greatly reduced. Only the first phase of the structure was to proceed, and due to delays, its corner stone was not laid by former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen until 1931. It extended out into the lake 300 feet and contained the main ballroom. Unfortunately, it was the only part of the original grand plans that ever materialized, and even after it was completed, it stood empty for a decade due to the financial restraints of the times. When it finally opened on June 18, 1941, it was a roller rink named Strathcona Palace Pier, another site of the Strathcona rink on Christie Street, south of St. Clair Avenue. I attended this rink when I was a teenager.

The pier’s 19-foot wide boardwalks, located on the east and west sides of it, provided commanding views of the lake. On the east side, the city’s skyline was visible. Its inaugural event was a fundraiser for the British victims of the bombing by the Nazi’s, the headliner for the event the Hollywood star, Bob Hope. He was in Toronto to promote his latest film, “Caught in the Draft.”

In 1943, the pier reverted to its original purpose and became the Queensway Ballroom, and later the Humber Pier Ballroom. During the years of World War 11, some of the famous “big bands” performed at the it—Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Less Brown, Duke Ellington, the Dorsey Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Harry James and Stan Kenton. 

It was renovated in the 1950s and reverted to its original name, the “Palace Pier.” It was one of the few surviving large-scale dance floors in the city. In the mid-1950s, it included country acts such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. As attendance slowly dwindled, on weeknights, the pier held bingo events and rented its space for private functions such as political rallies, boxing matches, high school dances, and year-end proms.

However, its life came to an end on January 7, 1963 when it was torched, the arsonist never caught. The structure was destroyed to the extent that it required complete rebuilding, which was not financially practical. It was demolished and the great pier disappeared forever.

On the site of the pier, two luxury condominium towers and public park were constructed, which were named after the famous amusement facility. The north tower was built in 1978 and the south tower in 1991. A monument, donated by the residents of the condominium, was erected to commemorate the original Palace Pier. It was placed on the west side of the footbridge across the Humber River. The monument had originally been one of the cement footings that had been used in the pier’s construction.

Sources: www.torontovintagesociety.ca—vintagesocity.ca—ww.blogto.com—tornontohistory.net—citiesintime.ca/toronto—urbantoronto.ca/news—https://booksgoogle.ca/books—www.torontosun.com

data=RfCSdfNZ0LFPrHSm0ublXdzhdrDFhtmHhN1u-gM,Bcp1Jl2WTHd5fqTIEjV_zN1J8UEcfCtEi_ZvqTNN6q2fWfUOXVRASZFmb_v-HdAaljOkWtU4RufMioB_IcOyE-lt5-ZtuDAvHUQte2m[1].png

Location of the Palace Pier Dancehall, beside lake Ontario, on the west side of the Humber River.

Series 372, Subseries 34 - Humber bridge photographs

Entrance to the Palace Pier on July 29, 1931, when it was under construction. Toronto Archives, S 0372, SS 0034, Item 0070.

Series 372, Subseries 34 - Humber bridge photographs

Looking west on the Lakeshore Road, the facade of the Palace Pier visible in the background, to the left of the tall hydro tower. Pictures was taken on August 4, 1931, while the building was under construction. Toronto Archives, S. 032, SS 5500, Item 0078.

Palace_Pier_Plaque_2[1]

Undated photo of the Palace Pier, the view showing the north and east facades. The covered walkway and terrace on the east side can be seen.

Palace Pier c. 1940s (public Domain). 

         Palace Pier in the 1940s, the north and west facades visible. 

1954, bridge over Humber  pictures-r-3136[1]

View looking south toward Lake Ontario in 1954, when the bridge over the Humber River was being constructed. The Palace Pier is in the background. Toronto Public Library, r- 3136. 

Series 65 -Metropolitan Toronto Planning Department Library collection of Alexandra Studio photographs

Aerial view of the area surrounding the Palace Pier in 1958. The pier is in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo, on the west bank of the Humber River. The widened Lakeshore Road is to the north of the pier, the Gardiner Expressway to the north of it. Toronto Archives, S 0065, File 0047, Id. 0011.

              TRL,  1963  tspa_0000344f[1]

The Palace Pier after being ravaged by fire in January 1963. Photo from the Toronto Star, Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library tspt 000344f. 

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

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

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

A link to view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern.

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

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It 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 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 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

 

 

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Toronto’s greatest lost mansion—Cawthra House

1897,  pictures-r-2138[1]

The Cawthra House in 1897, on the northeast corner of King and Bay Streets. The view depicts the west facade on Bay Street. Photo from Toronto Public Library, r-2138

The Cawthra Family immigrated from from Geysley, Yorkshire, England and arrived in Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1803. They lived in a brick house on the northwest corner of King and Caroline (Sherbourne) Streets. The following year Joseph Cawthra, head of the family, was granted land in Port Credit, but remained there only until 1806, when he relocated to York (Toronto) the provincial capital. He had once aspired to be a doctor, and because of his interest in medicines, he established an apothecary shop that he expanded into a general store. It is reputed to be the first store of its type established in York (Toronto).

When the War of 1812 was declared, he sold medical supplies to the British army and amassed a considerable fortune, which he invested in acquiring properties in York. Joseph’s son, William, inherited the business when his father died in 1842. He closed the shop and concentrated on developing the plots of land in downtown Toronto that had been part of his inheritance. He lived in a brick cottage near Bloor and Jarvis Streets, which at the time was outside the city, in the village of Yorkville.

In 1849, William married  Sarah Crowther, seventeen years younger than he was. She considered Yorkville too far north of the city, and urged William to build a home near the commercial heart of downtown Toronto. She wanted a grand mansion that would be their home, and contain an office where her husband could conduct his business transactions.

In 1851, William purchased a lot on the northeast corner of King Street and Bay Streets. It possessed 56’ on King Street and extended 146’ north on Bay Street. William was aware that the area west of Yonge Street was developing commercially and that his new house would increase greatly in value. Construction began in 1851, but was not completed until 1853.

Though Cawthra was thrifty by nature, he acceded to his wife’s wishes and built a residence that reflected his wealth and prominence within the city. Twice he had been elected an alderman on City Council and had also served on the Board of Trustees for the Common Schools. To design his home, he selected an aspiring architect, Joseph Sheard, who at the time was earning his living mostly as a carpenter. However, the structure was completed by a younger partner in the firm, William Irving.

The home was in the Greek Revival style, the walls constructed of large blocks of light-coloured Ohio sandstone, fitted together to form smooth facades. The frame and roof of the house were of hand-hewn-timbers, held together with wooden pegs. The windows and main doorway on Bay Street were surrounded by carved detailing that was richly ornate. The heavy cornice above the second storey protruded over the street, created a solid and impressive appearance. The triangular pediment above the cornice added to its resemblance to a Greek temple, with both the cornice and pediment displaying large dentils. These were designs from ancient Greece that were highly popular throughout most of the 19th century. The facades on King and also on Bay were divided into three sections by pilasters (three-sided columns), topped with Corinthian capitals. 

The house was essentially rectangular, with a service wing extending on the north side where the brick stable was  located. The mansion was surrounded by a high brick wall. William Cawthra lived in his sumptuous residence until he passed away in 1880. Despite it being one of Toronto’s grandest mansions, no photographs survive of its interior. There is an unconfirmed story that the front door of the house possessed a gold doorknob, that the butler removed each night before dark to prevent it being stolen.

His widow remain in the house until about the year 1885 and then, moved to a more luxurious home on Jarvis Street, opposite a small park that was named after the family. She rented her former residence. By this year, the land on King Street, where the house stood was among the most desirable commercial locations in the city, too valuable to remain as a residential property. From 1885 until 1907 it was a branch of the Molson’s Bank and from 1908 to 1925, the head offices of the Stirling Bank. The rich detailing on the exterior and the marble-trimmed interior reflected the image that the banks wished to portray. However, the Canada Life Assurance Company, whose head office was next door on King Street, eventually purchased the property and then, rented it to the banks.

In 1929, the insurance company relocated to a new art deco building on University Avenue, north of Queen Street. The sites of the old Cawthra House and the Canada Life building were purchased by the Bank of Nova Scotia, which wanted to build a 27-storey office tower at King and Bay Streets. Unfortunately, the plans for the bank were shelved because of the Depression. In the late-1940s, the plans for the building were revived.

Every effort was explored to preserve the Cawthra House because of its architectural merits and historical importance. A member of the Cawthra family offered to pay the cost of dismantling the building and re-erecting on the property of the Royal Ontario Museum. However, the museum refused the offer. The house was demolished, though the mantel from the drawing room and the stone columns on ether side of the doorway were eventually saved and placed in the garden of Joseph Cawthra’s estate in Port Credit. Other architectural parts of the house was rescued by a descendant of William Cawthra, and placed in the backyard of his home in Rosedale. 

After the demolition of Cawthra House, the cornerstone for the 24-storey Bank of Nova Scotia was laid in 1949, and the building was completed in 1951.

Sources; William Dendy, “Lost Toronto”—cawthra-bush.org—www.blogto.com—www.biographi.ca

1910-  pictures-r-6527[1]

The Front door of the Cawthra House in 1910, when the building was a branch of the Stirling Bank, Toronto Public Library, r- 6227.

The Molson Bank, Cawthra House, King Street and Bay Street – [1913]

The Cawthra House in 1913 when it was the Molson’s Bank. The view is of the building’s south facade on King Street, with Bay Street on the left-hand side of the photo. The building to the east of the bank (right-hand side) is the Canada Life Assurance Company. Toronto Archives, S 0409, Item 0060. 

                    1922--pictures-r-2132[1]

A sentimental Christmas card of the Cawthra House, printed  in 1922, depicting the house when it was occupied by the Cawthra family. Toronto Public Library, r- 2132.

1926 as Stirling Bank  I0001651[1]

The Cawthra House in 1926, after it had been purchased by the Canada Life Assurance Company. Ontario Archives, 10001651.

Fonds 1244, Item 7098

The northeast corner of Bay and King Streets c. 1926. The Cawthra House and the Canada Life Assurance Company dominate the scene. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item. 7098.

1931 - f1548_s0393_it23370[1]

The Cawthra House in 1931 when used for offices. Toronto Archives, F1548, Item 23370.

DSCN9340

The Bank of Nova Scotia on the northeast corner of King and Bay Streets, which occupies the site where the Cawthra mansion once stood.

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

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

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

A link to view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern.

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

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It 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 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 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The old Ford Hotel—Toronto

       postcard, 1930s  s-l500[1]

Toronto’s Ford Hotel in the 1930s (postcard S-1500)

I vividly remember the old Ford Hotel, but unfortunately, until I began researching its history, never realized that it had once been one of the city’s finest hotels. Located on the northeast corner of Bay and Dundas Streets, my memories of it are from the days when it had become extremely tacky. One reason for its decline is the dubious reputation it received from being directly across from the bus station at Bay and Edward Streets. People who arrived in the city by bus, without a place to stay, often found budget-priced rooms at the Ford. I remember that in the 1960s, it was considered a “flop-house,” even its coffee shop a place that was best avoided.

In  fairness, the Ford did not entirely deserve its unsavoury reputation. It was a victim of the economic downturn caused by the Great Depression, which descended shortly after the hotel opened. Another factor was the many tragic occurrences, beyond its control, that happened within it. Despite its reputation, there are some who remember the hotel fondly. There were immigrants that arrived in Toronto to begin a new life, which started at the Ford Hotel. As well, there were budget-minded tourists that stayed in it during the five decades that it registered guests. There are similar places in Toronto today that fulfill these needs, and there is a place for them. However, when the Ford opened, there were no reasons to believe that it would have anything other than a bright future.

Its story began during the final years of the 1920s, a decade that became famous for its exuberance—the “Roaring Twenties.” Toronto’s nightlife was booming, the city attracting over three million tourists a year, making it one of North America’s top tourist destinations. More hotel space was needed and Richard T. Ford responded to this need. Headquartered in Rochester N.Y., he owned a chain of luxury hotel and decided to build one in Toronto. At a cost of $2 million, he constructed an hotel with three 12-storey towers that were connected, in total containing 750 rooms. The one-storey base was where the lobby, guest facilities, coffee shop, and restaurant were located. Its architecture was a duplicate of the Ford Hotel built in Buffalo in 1923, designed by J. Foster Walker.

The Ford Hotel opened on the on May 21, 1928, billed as Toronto’s most luxurious hotel, though its room rates were at budget prices ($1.50-$2.50). The city’s mayor and many other dignitaries attended its inauguration, and it appeared as if it was destined for prosperous times. It was furnished by the T. Eaton Company, each room boasting a reading lamp, private bathroom, ice-water tap, and telephone. The hotel included valet and laundry services, a barber shop, newsstand and a cigar shop. The restaurant on the ground-floor level was operated by G. Brown, who had been employed for 35 years at the prestigious and historic Queen’s Hotel on Front Street. It had recently been demolished to build the Royal York Hotel. The Queen’s Hotel’s loss was the Ford’s gain. However, when the Royal York opened, it ended the Ford’s boast of being the latest luxury hotel in the city.

The hotel managed to survive the Depression years and was successful throughout the 1940s. In 1949, it was taken over by the Sheraton chain and renovated. In 1954 the Ford was purchased by a New York syndicate that considered it a profitable investment. It continued to be successful, offering nightly entertainment in its Tropical Room and good food in its restaurant, which was leased to Murray’s Restaurant chain. During the 1950s, the Casino Theatre on Queen Street near Bay, which featured burlesque and strip shows, also booked many well-known stars. The theatre’s performers were housed mainly at the Ford Hotel—Lillian Rush, Jimmy Boyd, Gordon McRae, Burl Ives, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jimmy Dorsey.

However, a series of tragedies occurred at the Ford that created bad publicity. It began when a young Montreal woman committed suicide by leaping from a window. Next, on October 26, 1955, a 22-year old immigrant was ordered to return to his room as he was wandering around the lobby area attired only in a bed sheet. In his locked room, he repeatedly fired a 22-gauge shotgun into the walls. The police arrived, broke down the door, and shot tear gas into the room. When the smoke cleared, the man was found dead from a self-inflicted wound.

In the 1960s, the hotel fell further into decline. The fact that the Gideon Bible Society had placed copies of the Good Book in the rooms, did not prevent the hotel’s residents from straying from the straight and narrow. The hotel became a popular gathering spot for various miscreants and those upon whom society frowned. It also attracted year-around guests who took advantage of its reasonable rates. In 1969, one of them, a 77-year-old man, died in a fire that had ignited in a wastepaper basket on the 7th floor.

On November 14, 1970 a 34-year-old engineer fell to his death when the elevator doors opened on an empty shaft. In 1973, a 10-year old boy was murdered in one of the rooms. The publicity from this horrendous homicide caused more and more patrons to avoid it. It closed on October 19, 1973 and was demolished during the winter of 1974.

Sources: www.blogto.com—torontoist.com

Map of 595 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 1M6

Approximate location of the Ford Hotel on the northeast corner of Bay and Dundas Streets.

ser372_ss0003_s0372_ss0003_it0735[1]

The hotel shortly after it opened in 1928. The view is of the west facade on Bay Street. Toronto Archives, S272, SS0003, Item 0735.

                  Wikimedia commons Ford_Hotel_1929[1]

Postcard of the Ford Hotel printed in 1929. The three towers and the single-storey base are evident in this view of the building’s east side. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Fonds 1244, Item 7304

View looking west along Dundas Street from Yonge Street c. 1929. The United Cigar Store on the northwest corner remained on the site until it was demolished in 1950 to erect a branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia. The east facade of the Ford Hotel at Dundas and Bay Streets is evident in the background. Toronto Archives S 0071, Item 7663..

Motor coach #503, taken at a distance of 30 feet, (Motor Coach Department) – May 21, 1930

In the background of this photo is the west facade of the Ford on May 21, 1930. The bus is going to the open-air terminal located at Bay and Edward Streets. The outdoor terminal is shown in the next photo. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 7663.

Motor coach terminal property - Edward and Elizabeth sts, looking east, (Buildings Department) – June 10, 1931

View looking east along Edward Street on June 10, 1931, the open-air bus terminal on the west side of Bay Street, and a parking lot to the west of it, in the foreground. The west and north facades of the hotel are visible in the background. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 8616.

                    Getty 515075319[1]   

The west (left-hand) facade on Bay Street and and the south (right-hand) facade on Dundas Street of the Ford Hotel in the late-1950s. Photo from Getty Images (51507319).

                    May 11, 1969  see TRL site for details-- tspa_0000354f[1]

Fireman rescuing a man from the 7th floor of the hotel on May 11, 1969, when a 77-year old man perished in the blaze. Photo, Toronto Public Library.

Ford Hotel - under demolition - view west on Dundas at Yonge – January 27, 1974

View gazing west on Dundas Street toward Bay Street on January 7, 1974. The hotel is evident in the background, after demolition had commenced on the top floors. The PCC streetcar on the north side of Dundas Street, painted red, is being used as a diner. It creates an interesting foreground—“A Streetcar Named Desire.” Toronto Archives, F1526, Item 0046.

View of Ford Hotel from Bay – February 10, 1974

A westbound Dundas streetcar approaches the intersection of Bay and Dundas Streets, on February 10, 1974, the demolition of the Ford Hotel in the background. Toronto Archives, F 1526, Item 0050.

Sources: www.blogto.com—torontoist.com

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

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

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

A link to view previous posts about the movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern.

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

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It 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 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 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

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The old Dufferin Gates at Toronto’s CNE

Nov. 16, 1942  s0372_ss0001_it1659[1]

The old Dufferin Gates of the Canadian National; Exhibition on November 16, 1942. Toronto Archives, Series 372, S0372, Item 1659. 

Although the Canadian National Exhibition has somewhat lost its importance as a late-summer event in Toronto, it remains the largest fair in Canada. Each year it attracts over a million visitors during the two-weeks it is open. When it began in 1879, it was mainly an agricultural exhibition that also showcased the latest industrial developments. During the decades ahead, it continued to feature the latest technological advancements. The first electric streetcars and trolley cars, sound recordings, radios, electric refrigerators and television are but a few of the inventions that were introduced to Toronto at the CNE.

When the fair was inaugurated in the 19th century, its main entrance was through a simple gate with a turnstile, located at the foot of Dufferin Street, south of Springhurst Avenue. The impressive Princes’ Gates of today did not yet exist. In 1895, a proper wooden structure was built, with an archway entrance and buildings on either side of it.

In 1910, these gates were demolished and new ones built. The designs were created by George W. Gouinlock, who had been the architect of the Horticultural Building in 1907, which is now the Muzik Nightclub. In 1912 he was to design the Arts and Crafts Building, now the site of Medieval Times, and also the CNE Fire Hall and Police Station that remain in use today.

Gouinlock’s gate of 1910 was grand and fanciful. It created the impression that the moment visitors arrived in front of them, their wondrous experience of attending the fair commenced. People arrived at the Dufferin Gates via a streetcar line on Dufferin Street and a railway station nearby.

Gouinlock’s Dufferin Gates consisted two tall towers composed of metal and brick, designed in the Beaux-Arts style, with a wrought iron structure that connected the two towers. At the base, between the two towers, was the actual gate where visitors entered. In front of it was a semi-circular forecourt that resembled a grand plaza. The forecourt and the buildings on either side of the towers funnelled crowds toward the gates. The buildings on either side of the gates possessed fanciful Baroque-style domes. Inside the buildings were display spaces used for exhibits when the fair was in operation. When the gates opened in 1910, from inside the gates, visitors gazed southward to a wide avenue that terminated at the lake. The avenue was flanked by mature trees, with new exhibition building on either side of it.

The Dufferin Gates reflected an era of optimism, when people believed that science and technology were advancing so rapidly that almost anything was possible. The gates were flamboyant, theatrical and overblown, akin to modern extravaganzas created by rock and pop stars as they light-up stages with pyrotechnics. In this respect, the era of the Dufferin Gates was similar to the world of today.

During World War 1, the CNE grounds were used as a military camp for training troops. From 1914 until 1918, many of the troops that departed for the trenches of Europe, departed through the Dufferin Gates. Following the war, the wrought iron gates at ground level were named “The Dufferin Memorial Gates.”

The year 1927 was a special year for Canada as it was the 60th anniversary of Confederation. To honour the event, at the eastern side of the CNE, the Princes’ Gates were opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). The Dufferin Gates now ceased to be the main entrance to the fair. However, for the next five decades, they continued to serve as an entrance for those approaching the grounds from the northwest. I was unable to discover the year that the ornate buildings on either side of the gates were demolished. They appear in the 1937 photo, but not in the photo taken in 1953. Personally, I do not remember these fancy buildings.

Unfortunately, to accommodate the building of the Gardiner expressway, the gates were demolished in 1959. They were replaced with a simple cement archway, designed by Philip R. Brock, that resembled Saarinen’s memorial arch in St. Louis. The erection of the St. Louis gate preceded the Dufferin Gate, but was completed after it. Toronto’s gate was a parabolic arch constructed of reinforced concrete and steel, which soared 65 feet at its highest point. To quote William Dendy in his book, “Lost Toronto,” the new Dufferin Gate, “. . .seems meagre and cheap when compared with the gate that Gouinlock designed.”

Sources: “Lost Toronto” by William Dendy—www.blogto.com—wholemap.com/historictoronto—whyIlovetoronto.tumbir.com—spacing.ca/toronto

Fonds 1244, Item 272

The Dufferin Gates in 1908, which had been built in 1895 to replace the simple wooden structure. Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 0272. 

Fonds 1244, Item 272B

Night photo of the Dufferin Gates in 1908. Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 0272. 

Fonds 1244, Item 779

Troops departing through the Dufferin Gates in 1914, Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 0779.

1915-- pictures-r-4096[1]

The Dufferin Gates in 1915, when the grounds were used as a military camp during World War 1.  Toronto Public Library, r – 4096.

gates 1910-1958-  photo 1927-  pictures-r-4095[1]

The gates in 1927, when they were decorated to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Confederation. Toronto Public Library, r- 4095.

                    Fonds 1244, Item 2019

The Dufferin Gates designed by George Gouinlock, photo taken in 1928. Toronto Archives F1244, Item 2019.

1932--pictures-r-3432[1]

              The Dufferin Gates in 1932, Toronto Public Library, r- 3432.

July 15, 1937  f1231_it1446[1]

Looking south toward the Dufferin Gates on July 15, 1937. Toronto Archives, F1231, Item 1446.

1953- pictures-r-3497[1] 

               The  gates in 1953, Toronto Public Library, r- 3497

1953--pictures-r-3498[1]

View from inside the  gates in 1953, Photo from the collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-3198.

DSCN0671

Photo from a 35mm slide of the Dufferin Gates, taken by the author in 1956. 

Fonds 1244, Item 2022

Demolition of the Dufferin Gates in 1958, Toronto Archives F1244, Item 2022.

1959  s0065_fl0058_it0008[1]

Construction of the new Dufferin Gates in 1959, Toronto Archives, S0065, Fl.0058, Item 0008.

Series 1465, File 363, Item 11

The Dufferin Gates between 1978-1987, Toronto Archives, S1485, Fl 0363, Item 0011. 

DSCN0339

               The Dufferin Gates in March 2016, view from the southeast.

DSCN0341

The Dufferin Gates, March 12, 2016, looking north on Dufferin Street

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/

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” was written by the author of this blog. It 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 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 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Shop, and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

                                 image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb    

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres will be released in June, 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs and relates interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating history.

                        Toronto: Then and Now®

Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will be released on June 1, 2016. For further information follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or to contact the publisher directly:

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

 

 

 

 

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