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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Ward’s Island Toronto in 2018

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Sailing to Ward’s Island on the William Inglis Ferry in July 2018. Ahead is the Sam McBride ferry sailing to Centre Island.

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    A view of the Toronto Skyline from Ward’s Island on July 13, 2018.

Ward’s Island is truly one of the city’s greatest places to visit. Few cities offers such a unique attraction—a community without cars and trucks. Its quietness belies the fact that it is only a ten-minute ferry ride from the business district of Canada’s largest city. The narrow streets between the houses are mere sidewalks, clearly demonstrating that they are for pedestrians only. The abundance of greenery, the quaint gardens and an open space that resembles a village green of centuries past, all offer an experience that is unrivalled.

A previous post explored the history of Ward’s Island beginning when it was a peninsula, attached to the shoreline. A storm in 1858 severed it from the mainland and it became an island. For a link to this post: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/wards-islands-yesteryear-toronto/

This post is an attempt to reveal the charms of Ward’s amid the bustling, internet-connected world of the 21st century. Ward’s is a place to turn off all electronic devices and enjoy the scene that becomes more captivating as you proceed. Stroll the verdant laneways, narrow sidewalks and earthen paths to examine a place where history  and the modern scene peacefully merge. It is hoped that the photos that follow will create a desire to visit Ward’s Island before the summer is spent and the dreary days of a Toronto November descend. 

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Approaching the Ward’s Island ferry dock after a ten-minute voyage across Toronto Harbour on the William Inglis ferry. The brilliant greens of mid-summer dominate the scene.

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The Queen City Yacht Club (QCYC) on Hiawatha Island, on the west side of the small cove where the ferry docks are located. Beyond the clubhouse is a sheltered lagoon where many more boats are moored. I watched children diving from the boats into the lagoon on the day I visited, as temperatures were in the mid-30s. Photo taken from the deck of the William Inglis ferry.

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The yacht club looking north toward the city from the sleepy lagoon behind the club house.

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The lagoon occupied by the QCYC extends a considerable distance into the island. Photo was taken from the bridge that crosses from Ward’s Island to Hiawatha Island.

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Children, likely from a summer camp on Ward’s, learn to paddle a canoe. They were headed northbound from the tranquility of the lagoon out into the harbour. The children were not all equally engaged in the paddling.

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The William Inglis ferry, which I had arrived on, returning to the city to pick up another group of passengers.

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A private spot where a resident can sit to enjoy a view of the city. At night, the lights of the skyline would be dazzling.

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The Ward’s Island Association Club House built 1937-1938, located a short distance south of the ferry docks.

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The shaded veranda on the north side of the clubhouse, facing the ferry dock, where patrons can enjoy snacks, sandwiches or ice cream. 

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Patio on the north side of the Ward’s Island Association Club House.

Kale project

On the north side of the clubhouse patio is a patch of ground where Kale is growing. It is part of a contest to harvest the largest amount of Kale from plots of a similar size. When the contest ends, residents of the association will pick the results of their labours.

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View of the clubhouse from south of the lawn-bowling facility. In the foreground is the Ward’s Island Little Clubhouse, the front portion of which was the original clubhouse built in 1918. It also serves as an administration facility.

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A boy relaxes in the shade of a tree beside the soccer field that resembles a village green. The clubhouse, lawn bowling club, Little Clubhouse and many homes face onto this green space. 

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              One of the ancient trees that borders the soccer field.

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I began exploring the quiet, narrow streets between the houses. The pathways are where the wooden sidewalks were built in Tent City. Some of the homes are hidden behind the greenery. The orange tiger lilies on left-hand side of the path were in many other gardens as well. They are perennials and ideal for open natural spaces as their fluted flowers invariably extend above the grasses to create a colourful display.

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A house with a small balcony overlooking a garden that includes tiger lilies.

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      A home that appears to be on the edge of dense forest.

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This attractive cottage-like home on Bayview Avenue is likely one of those built in the 1930s.

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A house with tiger lilies in the garden, surrounded by greenery and towering trees.

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A more modern-looking home, its backyard facing the Eastern Gap where ships enter and exit the waters of the outer lake.

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Continuing along the pathway/streets, I proceed toward the beach on the south side of Ward’s Island.

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Arriving near the water, the beach is ahead, the hot sand my only obstacle.

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The Ward’s Island Beach on a hot July afternoon. People enjoy the sunshine as a sailing ship glides past in the outer lake.

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         The beach appears more expansive than I remember it.

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Returning from the beach by another route, I see several more homes that catch my eye.

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This enchanting cottage appears at peace among its verdant environment. 

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Arriving back near the yacht club beside the ferry dock, I enjoy my final view of the city from Ward’s Island.

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The ferry ride to the mainland is my final memory of my summer day on Ward’s Island.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_[1]  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[2]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ward’s Island’s Yesteryear—Toronto

on Wm. Ingliss

Visiting Ward’s Island by crossing Toronto harbour on the William Inglis ferry. In view ahead is the Sam McBride ferry sailing toward Centre Island. The Toronto Islands are visible on the horizon.

Ward’s Island is usually overshadowed by the better-known Centre Island. Torontonians, tourists, and day-picnickers tend to flock to it as it has Centreville (a children’s amusement park with a merry-go-round), formal gardens, and a wide sandy beach on its south side. Hanlan’s Point and Centre Island also have more spacious picnic areas and BBQ sites. However, Ward’s Island has its own charms, as it is truly different to its counterparts, although it too has an excellent beach on its south side.

The Toronto Islands began life as a sandbar, formed over millennia by deposits of silt and sand eroded from the Scarborough Bluffs. The silt eventually formed a narrow low-lying peninsula, which for many centuries was employed by the Native Peoples as a place of rest and healing. When Europeans arrived, the colonial residents of York (Toronto) viewed it as an ideal spot for picnicking, lake fishing, and horseback riding.

In the early-19th century, a carriage trail led from the town of York (Toronto) to where the sandbar connected to the mainland. The trail extended as far west as Gibraltar Point (south of Hanlan’s Point). In the 1790s, Elizabeth Simcoe, the wife of Lieutenant Governor Simcoe, wrote in her diary that she regularly rode along the pathway on the peninsula, which ran parallel to its south shore.

In 1858, during a violent storm, the narrow neck of land at the eastern end of the peninsula was washed away and the peninsula became an island. Rather than repair the damage, officials decided to allow nature to take its course. The Toronto Islands were born. Interestingly, the narrow trail that Elizabeth Simcoe rode along, located beside the lake, morphed into the Lakeshore Avenue of today.

Ward’s Island is not really a separate island, but is the eastern end of one large island that includes Centre Island in the centre position and Hanlan’s Point on its western end. The three entities, along with about 15 smaller islands, compose the Toronto Islands that today confine Toronto Harbour. Ward’s, which can be visited by boarding an Island ferry, is a residential community with approximately 262 homes where over 600 residents live, most of them, year round. Similar to the other places on the Islands, no cars or trucks are allowed (other than City of Toronto maintenance vehicles). 

Ward’s Island was named after the Ward Family that first settled about the year 1830 on the eastern end of the former peninsula. David Ward earned his living as a fisherman, and raised seven children at Ward’s. His son, William, was involved in a tragic accident on the harbour waters in May 1862. He and his five younger sisters were in a sailboat when a sudden storm erupted. The ropes jammed and young David Ward was unable to lower the sail. The boat tipped. He was able to upright the boat and pull his sisters back on board. Then, another squall tipped them again. Unable to swim, the sisters clung to the side of the upturned boat. Pulled downward by their heavy dresses, they weakened and eventually slipped beneath the waves and drowned. Only William Ward was rescued (source: The Star Weekly, 1912).

When he was older, David’s son William built a hotel on Ward’s. Erected in 1882, Ward’s Hotel was located a short distance south of the ferry docks. It contained three storeys, with a Mansard roof above the third floor. On its north side, in the central position, there was a three-storey tower, the roof of which rose above the roof-line of the hotel. During the latter decades of the 19th century, the hotel was a popular place for Torontonians to stay. The large, deep verandas that wrapped around the structure on its north and west sides, captured the cooling waters of the lake. The breezes brought pleasant relief from the heat on the mainland. Though Ward’s was close to the city, in many ways it was a world away, especially on hot, humid summer days,

Around the turn of the 20th century, a tent community began to develop to the east of the hotel. In 1904 there were 10 tents and in 1906 there were 28 tents. As it continued to grow exponentially, it became a chaotic site as people pitched tents wherever they chose, frequently causing disagreements and fights. In 1913, the City imposed regulations on Tent City. Narrow wooden sidewalks were constructed in a grid pattern and 24-foot-square lots were designated on the various sidewalks. To pitch a tent on one of the lots, a license was required. Each lot was officially registered with the city. Thus, the sidewalks functioned as narrow streets, and the tent lots as residential sites.

In Tent City, people constructed wooden platforms on their lots to which they pegged the tents. In winter, tents and furniture etc. were stored in sheds, located at the rear of their site. The irascible Sam McBride, a lumber merchant who was the mayor of Toronto in 1928 and 1929, and whose name graces one of the island ferries, lived on Ward’s in Tent City. After he retired, he continued to spend his summers on Ward’s.

In 1913, the Ward’s Island Association was established (WIA), a not-for-profit organization to represent the residents of Tent City. In 1918, a small clubhouse was erected, a short distance south of the Ward’s Island ferry docks. In 1922 the tower and upper floor of Ward’s Hotel were removed as it had deteriorated and it was deemed too expensive to renovate and restore. This type of deterioration was common is many large all-wooden structures in this century. Finally, the hotel closed its doors, ceasing to host summer guests. It then became a grocery store and ice-cream parlour.

In 1931, it became permissible to erect permanent structures on Ward’s, with verandas out-buildings and sheds. This caused the needs of the community to increase as more and more people began living at Ward’s all year round. Today’s houses still exist on the former tent sites, explaining why the houses are so close together. Most of the homes on Ward’s today date from the 1930s. In November 1936, the ever-colourful Sam McBride passed away and Ward’s lost one of its most well-known residents.

A larger WIA clubhouse was built between the years 1937 and 1938. Today, on the east side of the building is the Toronto Island Cafe. The front of the WIA’s original clubhouse remains intact and is the front section of the “Little WIA Clubhouse” or “Administration Building.”

Visiting Ward’s Island today, the WIA Clubhouse is visible from the ferry dock, as is the Queen City Yacht Club (QCYC) on Algonquin Island. Algonquin Island was formerly named Sunfish Island. It was first inhabited in the late-1930s, when 30 houses were floated over from Hanlan’s to allow the Island (Billy Bishop) Airport to be constructed.

In the 1960s, Metro decided it would be a better use of public space if the residents of Ward’s Island were removed to create parkland. Thus began a long legal battle. The last remnant of the old days on Ward’s Island disappeared when Ward’s Hotel was demolition in 1966.

In 1973 it was decided that the Ward’s community would be preserved, but the legal battle was not over. It was not until 1993 (with Bill 61), under an NDP government, that the legal status of the homes on Ward’s was finally settled.

Today, from the ferry dock it is a short walk south on Withrow Street to reach the best beach on Ward’s. On the way to the beach, the street passes the soccer field, a large open space that resembles a “village Green” from old England. Along the way visitors pass a lawn-bowling green, another reminder of the days of yore in old Toronto or a quiet British town of the past. Although the homes flanking the pathways and narrow sidewalks are from the 1930s, the community has the ambiance of the early decades of the 20th century. Ward’s Island is truly unique.

Although many will find the beach the main attraction on Ward’s, it is a shame if visitors do not wander the verdant streets to view the quaint homes, as well as a few that are more modern. Set amidst the lush greenery of the island, many of the gardens clustered beside the houses contain some of the more popular flowers of Victorian days—delphiniums, hollyhocks, and orange tiger lilies. The quietness of the scene makes it difficult to believe that you are only a ten-minute ferry ride from the financial district of Canada’s largest city. 

David Ward Sr. built 1856. pictures-r-395[1]

Watercolour of David Ward’s home, built in 1856. Collection of the Toronto Public Library, r-395.

Ward's Hotel, c. 1900  Ont. Arch.  I0013925[1]

Ward’s Hotel, photo taken c. 1900. Built in 1882, the three-storey structure has a Mansard roof in the Second-Empire style. The view shows the north and west facades of the building, with the wide, deep verandas that overlook the harbour waters. The tower in the centre of the north facade is mostly hidden by the trees. Ontario Archives, 10013925.

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A family in Tent City in 1908. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 603.

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Children on the beach on the harbour-side of Ward’s Island in 1908. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, item 0672.

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Tent City in 1911. The camera faces northwest toward the Toronto Harbour and the city. The Ward’s Island ferry dock is visible in the distance. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, item 166. 

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View of Tent City on July 9, 1923. A lake steamer is outbound from the Eastern Gap as it begins it trip, likely to Niagara Region, although some ships carried passengers to the eastern end of Lake Ontario, docking at Prescott. Toronto Archives Fonds 1266, item 1064.

Chippawa, eastern gap. ship 1893- 1939. ohq-pictures-s-r-584[1]

Children wave to the lake steamer Chippawa as it enters the Eastern Gap. The steamer was in service on the lakes from 1893 until 1939. Toronto Public Library, r- 584.  

Lenore Avenue — Wards Island 

Houses on Lenore Avenue in November 1933. Toronto Archives, S 0372, SAS 0052, item 1596.

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Ward’s Island ferry dock in 1935, the view facing south. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, item 1155.

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View from Ward’s Island of the Toronto skyline in 1936. The two most prominent buildings on the skyline are the Royal York (Fairmont) Hotel and the Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, item 0995.

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Houses on Ward’s Island in 1976, the narrow sidewalk separating the homes. Toronto Public Library, tspa 0113946.

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Relaxing at the Clubhouse in the 1980s. Toronto Archives, S 1465, fl 0455, item 0024.

Series 1465, File 396, Item 23

The ferry dock at Ward’s Island in the 1980s. Toronto Archives, S 1465, fl 0396. item 0023.

A link to View a post about Ward’s Island in July 2018:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/wards-island-toronto-in-2018/

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_[1]  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[2]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

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Toronto’s King Street Pilot Project—Part Two

The King Street Pilot Project is a fascinating experiment. Allowing public transit to have the priority on streets is common in many cities throughout the world, but Toronto has been slow in adapting this concept. Harbourfront was resigned to emphasize pedestrians, streetcars and cyclists. After many initial problems, it now appears to be a great success. The King Street project too has had its difficulties, but with the return of good weather, it also seems to be doing well.

I visited King Street during twilight hours on the evening of June 28th to observe the changes that the project have created. To view this post: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/impressions-of-the-king-st-pilot-project/

I decided to view the street again, this time on the hot humid afternoon of July 4th. During my visit, with the humidex, the temperature was over 40 degrees. Because of the heat, the street was relatively deserted as most people were dining or drinking inside the restaurants rather than the patios. Despite the lack of activity, I enjoyed observing how much the street has changed because of the Pilot Project.

I commenced my exploration at Bathurst Street and walked eastward toward Jarvis. It was an interesting stroll, as it became obvious that some areas of King Street had been embraced by the restaurateurs more than others. The section between Bathurst and Spadina seems to have taken advantage of the Pilot Project the most. This is perhaps logical as this part of King Street as the most patios that are located close to the sidewalk. 

In the business district, between Yonge and Jarvis, there were almost no patios. However, the Pilot Project had greatly influenced the traffic patterns as the vehicle traffic was light and the streetcars were moving quickly along the street as they were unobstructed.

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View looks west, a short distance east of Bathurst Street at the patio of Oretta restaurant. 

Wilbur patio, not yet open

The patio beside Wilbur Mexicana Restaurant, at 552 King Street. The patio has not yet opened to the public so remains bare.

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King Street gazing east from Brant Street on Wednesday July 4, 2018. The brick building behind the row of white umbrellas is the old Gurney Stove, built in the 1870s. 

April 13, 1927 - s0071_it4812[1]

Photo of the Gurney Iron Foundry on King Street West on April 13, 1927. The view gazes west on King Street from near Spadina. The streetcar in the distance is where the umbrellas are positioned in the previous photo. Photo from the Toronto Archives, S0071, It.4812 (1).

How things have changed since this photo of the Gurney Stove Factory was taken in 2015.

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View of the same section of King Street after the Pilot Project commenced. This photo was taken from near Brant Street, the view showing the patios of Cibo Restaurant on the north (far) side and the patio of the Spice Route on the south side (in foreground). 

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Patio in a laneway on the south side of King Street, the Gurney Stove Foundry in the background. In the early decades of the 20th century, the lane was where trucks and carts delivered or picked-up goods from the factories on King Street.

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(left) The patio of Patria in the afternoon, when it was not open for lunch. (right) The patio ready for the evening diners.

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Patios of Wesloge and Patria at at 480 King Street. Both of these are closed at lunch time. 

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Sculptures east of Spadina Avenue. The view gazes west on King Street. 

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Patio of the Red Tomato at 321 King Street West, the Bell Lightbox in the background.

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                     Princess of Wales Theatre at 300 King Street West.

                             north side of David Pecaut Square

Chairs on the north side of David Pecaut Square, opposite the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

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The Royal Alexandra Theatre at 260 Queen Street West, a sculpture of yellow milk cartons in the foreground.

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Sculpture on King Street on the north side of David Pecaut Square, the Royal Alexandra Theatre in the background.

               Crossing Over to the east side of Yonge Street

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Sitting area on the north side of King East, opposite the King Edward Hotel. View looks west toward Yonge Street.

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Another view of the sitting area opposite the King Edward Hotel. The camera is pointed east toward Jarvis Street.

                             garden by King Edward

A container garden on the north side of King, a short distance east of the King Edward Hotel at 37 King Street East.

garden on north side, east of King Edward

   Another view of the container garden east of the King Edward Hotel.

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Looking east on King Street toward Jarvis Street. The installations for the Pilot Project are beside St. James Park. 

A link to the first post about the King Street Pilot Project.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/impressions-of-the-king-st-pilot-project/

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,

Fire guts historic houses on Peter Street

          Semi-detached houses at 122-124 Peter Street in 2013.

These houses, located near the intersection of Richmond and Peter Street, drew my attention the first time I saw them. It was early on a summer morning, when the soft glow of the early-day sun was reflecting pleasantly from their grey stucco facades, which overlook Peter Street. I published a post on my blog about these homes on June 13, 2013. At the time, I feared that despite their obvious charm, they were doomed to demolition as they were in very poor condition and their context within a residential street had been lost.

Preventing heritage buildings from being demolished is very difficult in Toronto. It is common knowledge that a few owners of historic properties allow them to deteriorate to the level that they are beyond repair. They then apply for a demolition permit. We have lost many heritage structures this way. Adding to the problem, Ontario’s heritage preservation laws are weak.

However, I was pleased when I hear the news that there is a good chance that the houses on Peter Street might escape this fate. A developer has purchased them and expressed a desire to include them within the high-rise condo project to be constructed on the property. The developer’s plan is to dismantle the houses and reconstruct them on the same site. However, the city is not in favour of the proposal so their future has not yet been confirmed.

Fate intervened, causing the future of the homes to be in doubt again. During the early hours of Saturday July 7, 2018 a fire broke out, the cause not yet determined. An excellent article by Samantha Beattie in the Sunday (July 8th) edition of the Toronto Star reported the fire.

A link to learn more about the history of the homes at 122-124 Peter Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/torontos-architectural-gems1870s-houses-on-peter-street/

after fire on July 7, 2018

The houses on Sunday morning, July 8, 2108. The roof of the house on the south side of the semi-detached homes has collapsed.

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              View of the house on the south side, its roof now missing.

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View of the damage to the gable that the houses share. The bargeboard Victorian trim survives, though it is in poor condition. 

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View looking at the rear of the houses. The severity of the damage is more evident from this side.

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     View of the second-floor level of the homes, following the fire.

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          Rear view of the houses, Sunday morning, July 8, 2018.

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                   Despite the damage, I hope these homes survive.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_[1]  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[2]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

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Impressions of the King St. Pilot Project

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King Street, gazing west from near John Street toward Peter Street, at 9:15 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2018. The shadows of evening are enveloping the fading twilight in the western sky.

Taking advantage of the lengthened daylight hours of the first week of summer, I set out to photograph King Street. I chose the section between Bathurst and Simcoe Streets, as this is the area where many restaurateurs have taken advantage of the extra space in the roadway created by the Pilot Project. There has been much controversy over the Project, which favours pedestrian and streetcar traffic over automobiles. My goal was to see for myself the impact of the Project on the street. The photographs that follow were all taken after 9 pm, when the sun was fading in the west and the lights of evening were increasingly emerging. The long twilight offered unique lighting conditions that exist at our latitude for only about two weeks each year.

As I strolled along, I noticed that ambiance of the street had changed greatly. Because it was relatively free of cars, it was quiet. Not dead, but quiet. People were embracing the street and the safety it provided, as the automobile traffic was greatly diminished. There were more cyclists than before the Project, due to the abundance of open space. The air was cleaner as exhaust fumes were reduced. Gone were the noise and chaos of traffic, and instead, people were relaxing and enjoying themselves. It was as if the hustle and bustle of city life no longer existed.

Dominating the evening air were laughter, lively conversations, the tinkle of wine glasses, and the clink of cutlery and dishes. Amidst the happy sound of human activity, the graceful new Toronto streetcars quietly glided past, their presence animating the scene. Similar to cities in Europe that I have visited—Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon—the traffic seemed to be only inches away from the tables, with their white tablecloths. No one seemed to be bothered by this phenomenon. However, in reality, there are almost five feet between the streetcars and the patios, providing sufficient space for cyclists to pass. It was a scene I had never before witnessed in Toronto. Was this really my city?  

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The patio of Cibo restaurant on the northeast corner of Brant and King Streets.

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The north side of King Street from a short distance east of Brant Street, the patio operated by Cibo restaurant.

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I believe that this patio is owned by Patria. It is a short distance west of Spadina. I noticed that taxis have adjusted to the conditions imposed by the Project and are becoming more common on the street.

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                  The patio of Patria, viewed from its east side.

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Patio of Weslodge, near the corner of Spadina and King Street.

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Chairs provided by the City of Toronto. View gazes east on King Street toward Peter Street. These chairs are usually fully occupied by office workers during the lunch hour on weekdays.

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The south side of King St. opposite the Bell Lightbox, looking east toward John Street. Several restaurant have taken advantage of the space created by the Pilot Project to extend their patios into the roadway beyond the sidewalk.

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                  View of the same patios looking west toward Peter Street.

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Another patio on King Street to the west of John Street, the Bell Lightbox in the background.

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The Princess of Wales Theatre, view gazing east on King Street toward Duncan Street. 

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The Royal Alexandra Theatre, in the foreground some of the chairs placed in the street by the City to reclaim a part of the roadway for pedestrians.

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A sculpture created by plastic cartons on which people can sit and watch the passing scene.

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This photo was taken at 9:35 pm, and though the chairs are enveloped in the shadows of evening, light remains in the eastern sky. The chairs face David Pecaut Park, on the east side of Metro Hall. These chairs are mainly occupied by office workers during lunch hours, Monday to Friday, rather than in the evenings or on weekends.

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People enjoying interactive art work on the south side of King Street, west of Simcoe Street. The pegs on the boards are used to create shapes.

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Someone has created the shape of a human body by employing the pegs.

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The Roy Thomson Hall at King and Simcoe Streets, at 9:40 pm on June 28, 2018.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

Tags: , ,

Artist Paul Kane House, 56 Wellesley St. East Toronto

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Paul Kane’s house at 56 Wellesley Street East, Toronto. Photo taken June 29, 2018.

I first learned about the Irish/Canadian artist Paul Kane in the 1950s, in the Native People’s Gallery in the basement of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Compared to the galleries in the ROM today, it was a modest display, but as a young man it created a lasting impression on me. Today, I can still picture the large canoe that occupied a prominent part of the exhibit, as well as the detailed dioramas and numerous paintings of Paul Kane. Because of this experience, I was keenly interested when I read years later that the home of Paul Kane had been identified on Wellesley Street East, a short distance east of the Wellesley Subway Station, on the Yonge Line. 

Kane was born in Mallow County, Cork, in Ireland in 1810, and arrived in Canada with his family in 1820 at age nine. The Kane family settled in the small colonial capital of York in Upper Canada (Ontario). As a young man, he was employed in Toronto at the Wilson S. Congers factory, painting decorative detailing on furniture. In 1834 he relocated to Cobourg and worked in the same trade at  the F. S. Clench’s furniture factory. While in Cobourg, he began painting portraits and after he departed the town in 1836, he earned a modest living as a travelling portrait painter.

In 1841, the same year that Upper Canada became Canada West (now Ontario), his ambitions pushed him toward a life-altering decision—to depart for Europe to study art. He remained overseas for almost four years, where he meticulously copied the old masters in Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice and London. His goal was to acquire the skills to allow him to become a professional painter. While in London, he saw the “Wild West Show, ” which included paintings, lectures, and theatrical performances, all staged by the 32-year old artist George Catlin. The show was based on Catlin’s journey in the American west in the 1830s, where he had captured images of 48 different tribes of the American Great Plains.

On Kane’s return to Canada in 1844, influenced by George Catlin, he decided to similarly capture through sketching and painting the lifestyle of the native peoples of British North American, and also portray the landscapes of the places where they lived. He believed that the way of life of these peoples was disappearing and wanted to capture it on canvas before it was lost. In the summer of 1845, Kane travelled west as far as Sault Ste. Marie, sketching the Indians he encountered on the way. His  aim was to record accurately the life of the Ojibwa tribe, employing the painting style he had learned in Europe.

Next he traveled to Fort William (Thunder Bay). The following year, he joined a number of men employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company and travelled further west. He eventually accompanied various groups of voyageurs, journeying as far west as Fort Vancouver on the Pacific coast. During his lengthy journeys, he created sketches in graphite, watercolour and oil on paper. He eventually amassing over 700 sketches, accompanied by detailed hand-written descriptions.

When he returned to Toronto two and a half years later, he possessed a considerable collection of sketches that portrayed Indian clothing, artefacts, and customs. From these, he created one hundred large-scale oils on canvas that gave detailed insight into the lives of the native peoples in North America. He also published the daily journal he had written during his trips. It gave the public unique insight into the life of Indians and traders in western Canada.

An arranged meeting in Montreal with Sir George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company allowed Kane to receive funding for another expedition. It was to pay for his lodging, meals and other daily expanses while travelling anywhere in the Company lands. Simpson also commissioned a number of sketches of Native American life for his personal collection. Kane set out on his journey in 1846.

In 1853, at 44 years of age, Kane married Harriet Clench of Cobourg, the daughter of his former employer. She was an accomplished artist and painting instructor. His travels now over, the same year he and Harriet married, they purchased land that is today 56 Wellesley Street East. They built a cottage, its walls covered with stucco, which was very popular in this decade.

Several of his paintings were exhibited to great acclaim at the World Fair of 1855 in Paris. In 1859, he published the highly successful book, “Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America.” His sketches and journals provided the basis for the book. His financial situation now improved, he enlarged his house during the late-1850s, and in 1879 the facades of the dwelling were covered with pale-yellow bricks. This was likely when the porch was added, containing four slender support-columns. On the porch roof there was a small door that lead to a sitting area on the roof. The Kanes raised four children in the home.

To enable his work as an artist, he rented a studio on King Street, but by 1858 his eyesight was failing and he retired. By this time, his style of painting had ceased to be appreciated by the general public and it became difficult for the family to survive financially. In 1871, he died in his home at the age of 61 and was buried in Toronto’s St. James Cemetery on Parliament Street.

The house remained in the Kane family until 1903. From 1925 to1973 it became the church hall for The Evangelical Church of the Deaf. The church built a large structure in front of the house that hid it from view from Wellesley Street. In the 1970s, a developer purchased the property and demolished the building that the church had constructed. The Kane House was once more exposed to view. However, it was in such poor condition that many neighbours wanted it demolished. Fortunately, various groups petitioned to have the historic home preserved.

In 1978, the City of Toronto purchased the property, valued at $670,000, assisted by the Province of Ontario through funds provided by Wintario. In 1979 it was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and a parkette was established on the south side of the home, where the building had been that the church had erected. The small park was where the front lawn of the Kane family house had been. The house remains today is officially an historic site.

In 1985 the architect Paul Reuber incorporated the house into a new co-op housing development. Only the structurally sound portion of the house were included, as the rear of the original house was in very bad shape, having been damaged by fire. Today, strolling along Wellesley Street East, the Paul Kane house provides a pleasant contrast to the many modern structures that surround it. I cannot but wonder how Kane would have felt if he knew that his home is now located in the heart of the Gay Village. A man named Howard, who watched me photograph the dwelling, informed me that during Pride 2018, the park contained many tents for various activities and enterprises. Howard said that no one was aware who Paul Kane was or that his home was on the north side of the park.

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Paul Kane in attire inspired by his travels. Ontario Archives, 10010404

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The home of Paul Kane at 56 Wellesley Street, the photo taken pre-1879 as its walls remain covered with stucco (hardened plaster used for coating outdoor walls). When the photo was taken, Wellesley Street had not been widened and there was a grass boulevard between the sidewalk and the street. When the house was built in 1853, the street was north of the city in a semi-rural setting. However, it was an ideal place to live as four years earlier a horse-drawn Omnibus Line (streetcar) had opened on Yonge Street that connected the St. Lawrence Market to the town of Yorkville, north of Bloor Street. The Kane home was only a few steps east of the line. Photo from the Toronto Public Library, 0058865f.

                          1975.  tspa_0058867f[1]

Photo of the home in 1975, after the building that had hidden it from being viewed from Wellesley Street had been demolished. The high-rise apartment behind the house is 41 Dundonald Street, which is one block north of Wellesley. Toronto Public Library, 0058865f.

 

Series 1465, File 616, Item 7

Photo taken looking north from Wellesley Street in 1976. Toronto Archives, S 1465, S 10616, it 0007.

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The house in 1978, Anne Englebright sketching the historic property. Toronto Public Library, 0103822.

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        View of the Paul Kane home in 1984. Toronto Public Library, 011303.

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               Children in the park in 1984. Toronto Public Library, 0113029. 

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Paul Kane house is today surrounded by residential towers and ongoing construction in ever-expanding Toronto.

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South and east facades of the Kane home. On the east facade there are bay windows on the first and second-floor levels. It is likely that behind the bay windows were the dining room on the first floor, and the main bedroom on the second floor level. They were situated so that the rooms were exposed to the morning light. 

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                   The porch over the doorway on the south facade.

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The porch of the home has four slender support columns, facing south toward Wellesley Street. The door has sidelight windows on either side and a transom window on top. The windows allow daylight to enter the central hallway.

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                           View of the doorway of the home of Paul Kane.

The scenes below were painted in 1846 on Paul Kane’s trip from Fort William to the Pacific coast. All the paintings are in the Canadiana Gallery of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

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  Callum Indian Travelling lodges, oil on paper, mounted on canvas.

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Drying Salmon at the Dullas River, Columbia, oil on paper, mounted on canvas.

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Below the Cascades, Columbia River with Indians Fishing, oil on paperboard.

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           Indians Salmon Fishing, Kettle Falls, oil on paperboard.

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                   Scene in Northwest—Portrait, oil on canvas.

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Landscape in the Foothills with Buffalo Resting, oil on paperboard. 

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                       At Buffalo Pound, oil on paperboard.

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                 Metis Running Buffalo, oil on paperboard.

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                Metis Encampment, oil on paper mounted on canvas.

  Sources 

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/kane_paul_10E.html

http://www.lostrivers.ca/content/points/kane.html

www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/paul-kane-artist-and-adventurer-feature

www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=1476

https://www.gallery.ca/collection/artist/paul-kane

https://www.aci-iac.ca/paul-kane/biography

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

               DSCN2207_thumb9_thumb2_thumb4_thumb_  

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

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