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Historic homes on Draper Street

Many attractive homes are located on Draper Street, which was named after William Henry Draper (1801-1877), a jurist and politician, as well as the Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1863 to 1869. His portrait in oils hangs outside the library of Osgoode Hall. The land occupied by Draper Street, once a part of the military reserve attached to Fort York, was annexed to the city in the 1830s. It appears on the city’s maps in the year 1857, though the exact year it was cut through the woods is unknown. In the 1880s, when houses were constructed, it became a working man’s community, unlike Wellington Place at its north end.

22-24 Draper

The Bay and Gable three-story house at 22 Draper Street is particularly worth examining. It occupies the left-hand side of the two semi-detached homes seen in the photo on the left. The house is one of the seven dwellings constructed in 1890 on the site of Benton’s Lumber Yard, and is an excellent example of Toronto’s unique “Bay and Gable” houses. Number 22 Draper Street was the home and workplace of Miss Annie Riorden, a dressmaker. In this decade, the selection of ready-made dresses available at the dry goods stores was quite limited. Most women purchased material from a bolt of cloth and made their own dresses, as well as those for other members of their families. Ladies who could afford the price employed dressmakers. They chose the material and style, had a fitting, and then had the cutting and sewing done by the dressmaker. Miss Riorden chose an excellent location for her business. The matrons of the mansions on Wellington Place were frequent customers, and the proximity of her home to these residences was a great advantage.

This three-storey narrow house has large bay windows on the first floor that continue to the second-floor level. High in the pediment, the wood trim has simple designs. The original porch-supports remain today, and at the top contain sunburst patterns in the corners, with a row of spindle ornaments produced on a lathe in a lumberyard. The slate roof has not survived.

There is a transom window above the door, as well as a large window in the door itself, allowing copious daylight to enter the hallway within. It was an era before electricity, and without such designs the interior of the house would be very dim, especially during the winter months.

The tall windows were an asset for Miss Riorden as she performed the detailed tasks required to complete the cutting and sewing of a dress. With a little imagination we can picture her seated beside a large bay window on the second floor, sewing in the morning light. On winter days, perhaps she also had a small work area at the rear of the home to take advantage of the afternoon sun.

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        22 Draper Street on a sunny morning in June

Another home that is particularly interesting is 17 Draper St. In 1881, it was purchased from the builder by J. J. Dyas, an advertising agent, who in that year was 23 years old. When the house was restored in the twentieth century, coloured glass from a church, which had been demolished, was placed in the windows of the door. The clear glass in the transom window (above the door) is original, with more church glass placed behind it. When viewed from the narrow hallway inside, the coloured glass is very attractive. At the top of the windows in the door are wooden, half-sunburst patterns. The wood trim on the second floor gables is not original, but is a faithful copy. The front doors were purchased at an auction, and are authentic to the era when the dwelling was constructed.

Above the first floor gable, on the edge of the roof, is the original decorative wrought-iron trim, and the same material was employed for the attractive fence surrounding the front of the house. However, the fence was purchased in Dashwood, Ontario (London- Stratford area). Cast in the 1880s, it came from a grave in a churchyard. It is worth examining the unusual latch on the gate.

The door opens to a hallway where there are ornate decorations in the wood trim. The parlour is to the left of the hallway. The floors are pine, but in the hallway the original flooring has been replaced with old oak. At the rear is a large kitchen, which possesses a rolled tin ceiling. The ceiling was not in the house when it was constructed, but is typical of ceiling coverings that were in homes and shops in this era.

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17 Draper St, with its Mansard roof and attractive brickwork

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Wrought-iron fence around 17 Draper St. that was purchased in Dashwood Ontario.

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Transom window above door of 17 Draper Street.

I have spent much of my adult life researching and photographing Toronto. I love the city and enjoy exploring it through my writing. One of the books, “The Villages Within”, was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4 on Kobo and Kindle. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The Villages Within: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Authors can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Toronto

 

Toronto’s Draper Street is akin to a time tunnel into the past

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                                        Draper Street

Draper Street is one block west of Spadina, extending from south Wellington Street West to Front Street. To visit it is like entering a time tunnel into the past. It was named after William Henry Draper (1801-1877), a jurist and politician, as well as the Chief Justice of Upper Canada during the years 1863 to 1869. Today, his portrait in oils hangs outside the second-floor library of Osgoode Hall.

The land occupied by Draper Street, once a part of the military reserve attached to Fort York, was annexed to the city in the 1830s. It appears on the city’s maps in the year 1857, though the exact year it was cut through the woods is unknown. In the 1880s, when houses were constructed, it became a working man’s community, unlike Wellington Place at its north end.

The following is a list of the occupations of the residents of the street in 1892: telegraph operator, policeman, plumber, bookkeeper, labourer, machinist, insurance agent, jeweller, passenger agent, traveller, painter, printer, fireman, employee of Toronto Water Works, stonemason, clerk, engine driver, tax collector, conductor, and Grand Trunk Railway employee.

With few exceptions, Draper Street retains its nineteenth century streetscape. In 1984, in celebration of the city’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, the city designated all of the houses as “Heritage Properties.” In 1999 the residents applied for “Historic Designation” and now the façades of the houses cannot be altered without permission.

The first houses appeared on the east side of the street in 1881 (numbers 11-29), and on the same side (numbers 3-9) in 1884. In 1886 houses were built on the west side (numbers 4-18). The four southern lots, two on either side, closest to Front Street, did not have dwellings until 1887. The two on the west side have since been demolished and replaced by a commercial building of cement blocks. House numbers 19 and 21 were knocked down in the 1930s, as they were in a very poor state of repair. The site where they were located is today a small park. It is used for Draper Street’s annual street party. On the west side, at the north end of Draper, there are seven three-storey “Bay and Gable” homes. They were built in 1890 on the site of Benton’s Lumber Yard.

The majority of the houses are small two-storey row houses that were originally workmen’s houses. Some of the lower-ranking officers stationed at Fort York also lived in the these houses. The homes have Mansard roofs and large bay-windows on the first floor levels.  They were built using red bricks, trimmed with yellow bricks. Some of the houses contain plaques on their facades that indicate the year they were built and the original occupants. The house at 17 Draper Street is particularly noteworthy. At the north end of the street there are three-storey Victorian “bay and gable” dwellings, their gables stretching from the ground level to the third storey. Their porches are particularly attractive.

Strolling along Draper Street is a pleasant experience at any time of the year, but it is particularly pleasing when the cherry trees are in bloom on the lawn of several of the houses.

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                Two-storey workmen’s houses with their Mansard roofs

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              Two semi-detached houses on Draper Street

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                 Bay and gable-style houses on Draper Street

I have spent much of my adult life researching and photographing Toronto. I love the city and enjoy exploring it through my writing. One of the books, “The Villages Within”, was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/

They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:

There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The Villages Within: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx

Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

Authors can be contacted at: tayloronhistory@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Toronto

 

Benvenuto—Toronto’s mansion on the hill—demolished 1932

1890, pictures-r-2084[1]

Benvenuto in 1890 — home of Simeon Henan Janes and later, Sir William Mackenzie, on the hill above Davenport Road, on the west side of Avenue Road.

Fonds 1244, Item 7072

Gazing south on Avenue Road from Edmund Road (south of St. Clair Avenue West) in 1910. The large stone retaining wall, on the west side of the steep hill (right-hand side of photo), is one of the few traces that remain of the great estate named Benvenuto. When paving Avenue Road and constructing the streetcar tracks, the road was cut into the side of the hill to reduce the incline. In the far distance, the clock tower of the Old City Hall is visible.

The steep hill on the north side of Davenport Road played a major role in the development of Toronto. The prominent landform was created after the ancient Lake Iroquois receded. Until that time, the land south of the Davenport Road was under water, including all of downtown Toronto. As the lake level dropped, its former shoreline loomed high over the old lake bed below.

When the early settlers arrived in York (Toronto), the enormous hill created a barrier to northern expansion. Before roads were cut into the hill to reduce its steep incline, climbing it on foot or horseback was exceedingly difficult. In the 1790s, it was daunting task for Lieutenant Governor Simcoe’s troops to built Yonge Street up over the hill to create a military supply route. During the years ahead, other roadways ascended the hill, Avenue Road being one of them.

Simeon Henan Janes was among the first men to build a home on the heights, with their commanding view of the city below. Janes was a prosperous real estate developer, who purchased land and built many magnificent brick homes that still exist today in the Annex District of the city. Living in a mansion on Jarvis Street, which in the 1880s was a wealthy residential area, he was desirous of building an even grander home. To fulfill his dream, he purchased a large piece of land on the hill overlooking Davenport Road, on the west side of Avenue Road. Today, the site would be at the southwest corner of Avenue Road and Edmund Road. The property overlooked the city below, and possessed a commanding view of the lakefront and the waters of Lake Ontario.

Janes intended that his a home would reflect his great wealth. Construction commenced in 1888, its architect being an American — A. Page Brown. He named it “Benvenuto,” the Italian word meaning “welcome.” However, because Brown relocated his firm from New York to San Francisco, the designs were actually assigned to Frank L. Ellingwood. The walls of Benvenuto and the two towers on its south side, were built of huge blocks of rough limestone, quarried at Kingston. The roof consisted of red terracotta tiles.

Because of the difficulty of heating the house during Canada’s severe winters, the windows were small within the massive walls. Most of them were rectangular, although those in the west tower and the two windows on the ground floor, to the left of the east tower, were topped by round Roman arches in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture. Indeed, in many ways, the heavy fortress-like appearance of the structure reflected the Romanesque Revival style. The same type of stone employed for constructing the house was used for the retaining wall that faced Avenue Road, on the east side of the estate.    

In most grand houses in the 1880s and 1890s, the entrance hall was where people were greeted, and thus, it was an important space, since it was where guests received their first impressions of their hosts. In Benvenuto, the hall featured a fireplace, as it was built in the days prior to central heating. It was also a place to allow visitors to warm themselves on cold winter days and evenings. The hall displayed several large pieces of art, and the grand staircase was accessed from the hall. The staircase possessed a landing that showcased more of the family’s art. The dining room and parlour were entered from the hall; their doorways had sliding doors and heavy draperies, such features necessary to control chilly draughts.

In 1897, Benvenuto was sold to Sir William Mackenzie, a railway contractor, who was knighted on January 1, 1911 for his contribution in developing western Canada. In 1914, Mackenzie commissioned the architects Darling and Pearson to design a service wing on the east side of the mansion. The Mackenzie family was prominent in Toronto’s social scene and entertained lavishly at their new home. Invitations to their garden parties, music evenings, and costume parties were highly prized. When Mackenzie died in 1924, rising property taxes and inflationary real estate prices meant that the house became too costly to maintain as a private residence.

As the number of homes built above the Davenport Road hill increased, more streets were constructed. Edmund Avenue was cut through the Benvenuto estate, separating the estate’s out-buildings from the main house. In 1926, land from the Mackenzie property was sold and became the site of an apartment building, its address 400 Avenue Road. The following year, another apartment building was constructed on the southwest corner of Edmund and Avenue Roads, its postal address 398 Avenue Road. Both these buildings remain today and are considered prestigious addresses. Eventually, Benvenuto was vacant and lacking the size and charm of residences such as Casa Loma and Oaklands (on the east side of Avenue Road), it was demolished in 1932. 

I do not remember Benvenuto as it disappeared before I was born. However, when travelling on the Bay streetcars on Avenue Road in the 1940s, I saw the stone retaining wall on the west side of the hill that descended towards Davenport Road. I never realized that they had been a part of a grand estate. Fortunately, these wall remain today.

Main reference source: “Lost Toronto,” by William Dendy

view from Ben. 1890.  pictures-r-2040[1]

Gazing south across the city from Benvenuto in 1890. Toronto had not yet extended up the hill at Avenue Road, which can be seen in the photo. The street is not paved and there is no streetcar line. Toronto Public Library, r- 2040.

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The grand entrance hall of Benvenuto in 1890, with its rich panelling, impressive fireplace, and the some of the family’s art collection. Toronto Public Library, r- 4749. 

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        Dining room in 1890, Toronto Public Library, r- 2079.

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The drawing room (parlour) of the home in 1890. Perhaps this photo best illustrates the extreme wealth of the Janes’ family. Toronto Public Library, r- 4753. 

Fonds 1244, Item 328A  

Benvenuto in 1910, taken the same year as the photo of the streetcar ascending the hill on Avenue Road. The above picture depicts the south and west facades of the mansion. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 0328. 

Fonds 1244, Item 1046A

Noel Marshall and women in the gardens of Benvenuto c. 1910. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1046.

on hill, 1910.  f1231_it1294[1]

Horse and buggy on the hill on Avenue Road in 1910, the streetcar tracks evident. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 1294. 

               Fonds 1244, Item 319  

Gates at entrance to Benvenuto in 1910. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1234, Item 0319.

Fonds 1244, Item 10006

View from Benvenuto, looking south over the city c. 1930. In the far distance can be seen the Royal York Hotel on Front Street and the Bank of Commerce (CIBC) on King Street West. The east side of Benvenuto is in the foreground. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 10006.

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

Gazing south on Avenue Road in 1960. The land required for the widening the roadway was taken from the east side, from the grounds of Del La Salle College. Toronto Archives, S 0065, file 10034, id 0001. 

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Gazing south on Avenue Road at the retaining wall on the west side of the avenue. The wall is south of St. Clair Avenue, the photo taken in October, 2016. The wall was constructed by Simeon Janes, and similar stone blocks, quarried in Kingston, Ontario, were employed to build Benvenuto.

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Gazing north on Avenue Road toward St. Clair Avenue. This section of the wall is north of Edmund Avenue. In Simeon Janes’ day, the wall extended continuously, but a portion of it was demolished when Edmund Road was cut through the estate. Photo taken October 14, 2016. 

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The apartment building at 400 Avenue Road that was constructed in 1926 on the Benvenuto Estate. Photo depicts the south facade of the apartment, on Edmund Road in October 2016. 

Oaklands, Oct. 14, 2016.

Oaklands mansion, built in 1860 for John Macdonald, a wholesale goods merchant. This estate was a neighbour of Benvenuto, on the crest of the hill on the east side of Avenue Road. It is today a part of De La Salle College. Photo taken October 2016.

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 Blog’s Author

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.  

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

   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. It can also be ordered by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)

                                 image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb    

Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It explores 81 theatres and 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®

Another publication, “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’ disappearing Bay and Gable houses

324-328 Rich 4

Bay and Gable houses comprise two of the three houses in the above photo. Located at 324-328 Richmond Street West, they were built between 1873 and 1875. Demolished in 2012, a condo tower was erected on the site.

As high-rise condo towers are constructed throughout Toronto’s downtown core, the pressure to redevelop sites that contain low-rise structures has greatly increased. Many of these sites contain heritage houses have survived for almost a century and a half, but are now at risk of being demolished. This is a great pity, as the city’s unique style of domestic architecture is disappearing from our urban scene. I am referring to the Bay and Gable (Bay n’ Gable or Bay-n-Gable) houses, which in the 19th century were highly popular in Toronto’s residential neighbourhoods.

When they were built, Bay and Gable houses were a practical response to the housing needs of Torontonians. Taxes on homes were determined according to the width of the building lot (the property’s frontage on the street). As a result, builders subdivided lots, creating ones that were only 13-20 feet wide, but often 150 feet deep. Architects responded by designing homes to accommodate these narrow lots—Bay and Gables. The earliest such house that I have discovered in Toronto was built in 1870. If anyone has knowledge of one that was constructed pre-1870, whether it is in Toronto or elsewhere, I would appreciate it if they would inform me.

As stated, Bay and Gables were tall and narrow, extending a considerable distance back from the street. I was unable to verify who actually designed the first of these houses, but Patricia McHugh in her book “Toronto Architecture—A City Guide,” suggests that it was likely David B. Dick. The style spread from Toronto to many cities and towns throughout Ontario. Some were also built in western Canada.

These homes were not only practical, but caught the imagination of the public, which viewed them as resembling upper-class homes of earlier decades, even though they were on a much smaller scale. It was not long before they were common in many neighbourhoods, especially in Cabbagetown, Cork Town, along College Street, in Trinity Bellwoods, Parkdale, St. Andrew’s Ward, Roncesvalles, the Annex, and Don Vale. 

Prior to the Bay and Gables, houses with bay windows on the first floor were already common throughout the New England States and Canada’s maritime provinces. These homes were usually built of wood, but in Toronto they were of brick. Today, they are sometimes referred to as “half Bay and Gable.” Those that have Mansard roofs are in the Second Empire style. There is a row of them on Draper Street, in the Spadina/King area.

Unlike houses with bay windows in other cities, Toronto’s Bay and Gable houses contained bay windows that soared from the ground-floor level to the second and often the third storeys. The bay windows occupied half of their facades, and were not only attractive, but like the style itself, very practical. They increased the amount of daylight entering the houses in an era without electric lighting, and facilitated a better flow of air inside the rooms. This was important when smoky fireplaces were employed for heating, iron stoves for cooking, and chamber pots for nightly necessities. Odours from the rear of the home, created by backhouses and stables, often entered the houses. The large bay windows and the 11’ or 12’ ceilings allowed air within the rooms to circulate more freely.

Bay and Gable houses were affordable for middle-class families. They were rarely built as detached homes, but rather in pairs or as row housing. The height of popularity for the style was mainly between 1875 and 1890. Although they closely resembled each other, their trim and architectural detailing on their gables varied greatly. They possessed elements of  the Italianate and Gothic in the bargeboard trim on the peaked roofs. Stained glass windows were sometimes inserted in the transom windows above the doors. Most Bay and Gables were built of bricks that were red, yellow or white from Toronto brickyards, although a few were constructed of wood. In the grander homes, terracotta tiles were often inserted into the facades for decorative detailing. Such homes possessed larger lots and possessed considerably more street frontage.

On the ground-floor levels of the homes, parlours usually occupied the front space facing the street. Dining rooms were in the centre position, and kitchens at the rear. The parlours often had medallions on the ceilings and ornate crown plaster mouldings. The bedrooms were on the second storey, with an extra bedroom on the third floor.

Today, Bay and Gable homes are very popular with people who wish to live in heritage houses. Their interiors are often gutted and refurbished to suit the modern era. Interior walls are sometimes removed to create large open spaces. However, the facades are usually not altered, but when they are adapted for offices and restaurants, the lower portions of the facades are often obscured. The style has also been replicated by modern builders and appear as row houses on such streets as Weston Road, north of St. Clair.

It is a pity that more effort is not being extended to preserve Toronto’s original and truly unique style of domestic architecture—19th-century Bay and Gable houses. 

Souces :mirvishgehrytoronto.com – www.blogto.com – “Toronto Architecture, A City Guide” by Patricia McHugh

59-61 Denison

A pair of Bay and Gable homes at 59-61 Denison Avenue in the Kensington Market area, likely constructed in the 1880s .

424 Wellington W.  2

Two Bay and Gables that today have the postal address 424 Wellington Street West. They were built in 1889 by James Hewett, and are much larger than most homes in this style. 

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Decorative terracotta tiles on the south facade of the houses at 424 Wellington Street West.

on College between St. George and Henry Street

Bay and Gables on College Street, between St. George and Henry Streets. They have been renovated for commercial purposes, but fortunately, the ground-floor bay windows have not been altered. Photo taken in April, 2015.

west side of Draper St.

Bay and Gable row houses on the west side of Draper Street, in the Spadina/King area, built in the mid-1880s. Photo taken in May, 2016.

                  20-22 Kensington Ave.

   20-22 Kensington Avenue, north of Dundas Street in the Kensington Market.

                 64 Spadina Ave.

Only the northern half of a pair of Bay and Gable homes survives at 64 Spadina Avenue, a short distance south of King Street West.

College St.  2

The house on the west (right-hand) side of this pair of Bay and Gable houses on College Street has been renovated for a coffee shop. The ground-floor bay windows have been removed.

20 Bellevue Ave.

Houses at 18-20 Bellevue Avenue in the Kensington Market, built in 1874. The house with the blue trim is a particular favourite of mine.

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The second and third storeys of a Bay and Gable, with its bargeboard trim.

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[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)

                                 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 histories.

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

                        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 in June 2016. For further information follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link shown below:

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

 

 

 

 

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tayloronhistory.com—check it out!

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The blog tayloronhistory.com first appeared on the internet in 2011. Since its inception, over 800 posts have been published that explore the Toronto’s history and its heritage structures, including those that have been demolished and lost forever. The blog’s purpose is to generate an interest in our city’s past and its historic buildings, to prevent remaining heritage sites from being destroyed by developers or indifference on the part of the civic government. During the past few years, Torontonians have become more aware of the importance of preserving the past, but the laws remain weak and ineffective, so our architectural heritage continues to disappear.

As a result of the blog, three books have been published about the topics that have appeared on it: Toronto Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen (published by History Press), Toronto’s Local Movie Theatres of Yesteryear (Dundurn Press), and Toronto Then and Now (Pavilion Press). The latter two books will be available in the spring of 2016. 

Toronto’s Old Movie Theatres

Over 130 posts posts relate stories about the city’s old movie theatres. They include archival and modern photos that depict the theatres’ grand facades, marquees, auditoriums, and  lobbies. There are also present-day images of the locations where the theatres once existed. The great movie palaces of the early decades of the 20th century (e.g. Shea’s Hippodrome, Pantages, Victoria, Tivoli etc.) are explored, as well as the more modern film palaces such as the University and the Odeon Carlton. The following is a link to the posts about the old movie theatres of Toronto.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/torontos-old-movie-theatres-on-tayloronhistory-com/

Heritage Buildings and Sites

Famous heritage building such as Toronto’s First City Hall, the Old City Hall, St. Lawrence Hall, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, Mackenzie House, St. James Cathedral, Union Station, St. Michael’s Cathedral, and the St. Lawrence Market have been researched and documented. Other sites, some of them less known, are also explored: Farr House, Oddfellow’s Temple, Grossman’s Tavern, Waverly Hotel, Gooderham Building, and the Bellevue Fire Station. Structures that no longer exist are included — a part of lost Toronto. The following is a link to a list of the sites included on this blog:

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

Toronto’s 19th-Century Streetscapes

Several streets that possess timeless qualities have been researched. They harken back to the more tranquil days of the 19th century. Below are the links to access the posts about these unique avenues of downtown Toronto.

Draper Street: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/torontos-draper-street-is-akin-to-a-time-tunnel-into-the-past/

Wilcocks Street: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/visiting-torontos-best-preserved-nineteenth-century-street-willcocks-street/

Bulwer Street: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/a-toronto-street-that-disappeared-but-yet-remains-in-view-bulwer-street/

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

Huron Street: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/a-toronto-street-that-disappeared-but-yet-remains-in-view-bulwer-street/

Toronto Disasters

Three of the greatest disasters that Toronto suffered are chronicled on the blog. In 1914, the “RMS Empress of Ireland” sank in fourteen minutes in the icy waters of the St. Lawrence River. More passengers lost their lives than on the Titanic, yet few Canadian know about this maritime tragedy. Many of those who perished were from Toronto.

In 1949, a lake steamer named the “S S Noronic” caught fire in Toronto Harbour and 122 people lost their lives.

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel flooded the Humber and Don Valley, and over 100 drowned in the flood waters.

Below are the links to read about these events.

Empress of Ireland: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/the-empress-of-ireland-tragedymay-29-1914/

Noronic: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/the-noronic-disaster-in-1949-122-people-burn-to-death-on-torontos-waterfront/

Hurricane Hazel: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/torontos-1950s-newspapers-hurricane-hazelpart-3/ 

History of Toronto Streetcars and Toronto Island Ferries

Posts on Streetcars:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/travel-on-torontos-great-streetcars/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/memories-of-torontos-streetcars-of-yesteryear/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/amazing-streetcar-trips-on-torontos-red-rockets-during-yesteryears/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/toronto-streetcarsfrom-omnibus-to-red-rocket/

A post about the Toronto Island Ferries

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/remember-the-toronto-island-ferries-the-bluebell-primroseand-trillium/

Posts on the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)

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

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

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/thoughts-about-torontos-2014-cne/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/ten-suggestion-to-make-the-cne-great/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/the-magnificent-grandstand-shows-of-the-1950s/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/the-magificent-1921-grandstand-show-at-the-cne/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/postcard-views-of-the-1947-cne-part-one/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/postcard-views-of-the-1947-cne-part-two/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/golden-memories-of-the-cne-from-yesteryear/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/whats-it-like-to-attend-the-cne-in-2011-in-comparison-with-yesteryear/https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/memories-of-the-cnetoday-and-yesterday/

Memories of War-Time Toronto During the 1940s

Sunnyside Beach and Amusement Park

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/a-pictorial-journey-to-torontos-old-sunnyside-beach-part-two/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/in-mid-winter-recalling-the-sunshine-of-torontos-sunnyside-beach/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/a-private-memory-of-a-95-year-old-about-the-sunnyside-of-her-youth/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/walking-along-lakeshore-boulevard-near-sunnyside-in-1922/

Snow storm of December 1944, the largest amount of snow to ever descend on Toronto.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-worst-snowstorm-to-ever-hit-toronto-post-1/ 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/downtown-torontos-five-best-xmas-displays2015/

Toyland at Eaton’s (Queen and and Yonge Street Store) and Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/memories-of-eatons-toyland-in-the-1940s/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/are-you-ever-too-old-to-enjoy-torontos-santa-claus-parade/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/torontos-santa-claus-parade-through-the-decades/

The village on Manitou Road on Centre Island

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

The Author of this Blog

Doug Taylor was a member of the faculty of the Lakeshore Teachers’ College (York University) and the Ontario Teacher Education College, where he shared his love of history with promising young teachers-to-be. During the 1970s, he conducted walking tours of Toronto’s historic districts for university students, during the days when such tours were rare. He also led tours of Chinatown, the Kensington Market, and the Necropolis Cemetery.

Now retired, he lives in downtown Toronto, within walking distance of Toronto’s historic neighbourhoods. Since retiring, he has written ten books, all of them employing the history of his native city as either the subject or the background for the story.  He continues to promote the history of the city he loves through his books and his blog. He can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.com.

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

The publication entitled, “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” is one of the books that was written incorporating the research material from 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 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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A Christmas concert in an historic Toronto cathedral

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A Christmas concert is a major part of the festive season for many people, and when it is presented one of Toronto’s historic cathedrals, the enjoyment is greatly increased. When I was a boy in the 1940s, I attended a small church that had no resemblance to a cathedral, and the Christmas concert was certainly not of the calibre that I witnessed this year (2015) at the Metropolitan United Church at Queen Street East and Church Street.

In the 1940s, in the small church of my childhood, the roles that we were to perform in the Sunday School Christmas concert were arbitrarily handed to us in mid-November, and the rehearsals commenced the first week of December. The concert was always held on a Saturday night, and it resembled a variety show. There were solos, duets, trios, pantomimes, short plays, elocutionists, and a choir composed of 35 or 40 children. There were always a few singers who were slightly off-key, someone who forgot their lines, and another who invariably tripped over the the heavy draperies that had been suspended in front of the pulpit to act as a stage curtain. However, the evening was always considered a great success by the parents and adult friends that filled the church to capacity. One or two gushing parents told us that we were almost ready for the stage at Massey Hall.

Following the concert, everyone gathered in the church basement around the enormous tree to receive our presents from Santa, who possessed a striking resemblance to the choir master. We did not think it strange, as Santa, carols and music were such integral parts of the festive season so why shouldn’t they all look alike? Along with our gifts, we were given an orange and a large shiny B. C. apple. These were considered  great treats in the 1940s, as fresh fruit was difficult to obtain. There was no imported produce during the winter months and much of the available food supply was being shipped overseas to feed the troops fighting in Europe or the Pacific.

The Christmas concert at the Metropolitan Church rekindled many fond memories from my childhood. The pageant presented during the morning service on December 13th was much different to the simple Sunday school concert of my youth. The costumes and lighting were quite professional, the narrators the quality that one might expect of the CBC, and the soloists and choir were excellent. However, some parts of the pageant were the same as the days of yesteryear—the wonderful carols, the nervous smiles of the children, and the inattentive little boy in the shepherd’s costume who removed his woollen lamb’s-head to obtain a better view of the scene.

I departed the church with the wonder and warmth of Christmas within me. As I walked home along Queen Street, I paused to observe the adults and wide-eyed children enjoying the animated Christmas windows in the Bay Store. Then, continuing westward, I paused again to watch the skaters on the rink in Nathan Phillips Square, their excited laughter and shouts filling the mild December air. The magic of the season was everywhere throughout the city.

However, perhaps the greatest expression of the message Christmas this year is the arrival of the Syrian refugees and the manner in which they have been welcomed by Torontonians and other Canadians across the country. The true message of Christmas lives on after almost two thousand years, expressed in many different ways.             

Merry Christmas 2015 

P.S. The Carol Service at Metropolitan United Church at 7 p.m. on Sunday December 20, 2015 will be a real treat.

Scenes of the Christmas pageant at Metropolitan United

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A link to the history of the Santa Claus Parade (1905-2015)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/torontos-santa-claus-parade-through-the-decades/

A link to five favourite sites in downtown Toronto to view Xmas lights

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/downtown-torontos-five-best-xmas-displays2015/

List of my 25 favourite memories of Christmas’ past.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/list-of-25-favourite-things-from-christmas-past/

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

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/

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

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

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 the movie houses of the past. The book is a trip down memory lane for those who remember these grand old theatres and a voyage of discovery for those who never experienced them.  

                          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 more 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 130 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 70 of the city’s heritage sites with images of how the city once looked and how it appears today. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016.

 

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Toronto’s old Odeon Danforth Theatre—Post 11

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Odeon Danforth Theatre, the film “Jassy” on the marquee. Released in 1947, it was a drama about an English squire and his daughter’s friendship with Jassy, a Gypsy psychic. Photo from City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 119. 

The Odeon Danforth is another of the movie theatres on the Danforth that I remember well, but never attended. However, I viewed it many times from the windows of the old Bloor PCC streetcars, which passed in front of the theatre. The Bloor cars were removed from service after the Bloor-Danforth Subway opened in 1966. The Odeon Danforth’s main rival was the Palace Theatre, located a short distance to the east of it. Both theatres are now long gone.

The Odeon chain of theatres entered the Toronto market to screen British films, but later showed Hollywood films as well. In the 1950s and 1960s, Odeon developed the policy of featuring the same films simultaneously in several of its theatres. As I lived nearer to the Odeon Humber, there was no need for me to journey to the east end of the city to view  the films playing at the Odeon Danforth.

On a hot day in July 2014, I travelled on the subway to visit the site where the theatre had once stood, at 635 Danforth Avenue. Today, a branch of Extreme Fitness, an exercise gym, is on the location. The site is on the south side of Danforth Avenue, a short distance west of Pape Avenue.

Map of 635 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1R2

The Odeon Danforth opened on April 16, 1947. Later the same year the Odeon chain opened the Odeon Toronto (Carlton) on September 9th, and the Odeon Hyland on November 22, 1948. The previous year, the company had opened the Odeon Fairlawn on Yonge Street. The following year they opened the Odeon Humber on January 7th. The Odeon Danforth was the only theatre they owned located east of the Don Valley.

The theatre was impressive, its massive marquee dominating the street. The modern glass doors were recessed a distance back from the street, creating an open space that formed a grand approach for patrons entering the theatre. This compensated  for the theatre’s small frontage on The Danforth. The box office was outside, to the right of the doors. Since the theatre extended back a good distance from the street, there was space for an extensive lobby, which was richly carpeted, with a wide staircase leading to the balcony. Its auditorium was large, possessing over 1300 seats, including the ground-floor and the balcony. The seating on the main floor contained two aisles—a centre section and further seating  on either side of the aisles. Surrounding the screen were rich folds of drapery, which created elegance, but also intimacy. The walls were decorated with sweeping decorative lines that accented its modernistic style.

When the demographics of the area changed, the theatre commenced showing Greek films and its name was changed to the Rex. Eventually the theatre was no longer profitable and it closed. Finally, the building was renovated for a fitness gym, but some of the interior architectural features of the theatre were maintained. Passing by the site of the Odeon Danforth today, it is difficult to conceive that there was once a grand theatre on the premises.

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Ground-floor seating of the Odeon Danforth, with its sweeping decorative lines on the side walls and generous drapery near the screen. Photo Ontario Archives, AO 2142.

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Lobby of the theatre, with the rich carpeting and the grand staircase to the balcony. Ontario Archives, AO 2141.

              Odeon Danforth (3)

The fitness gym in 2014, at 635 Danforth Avenue, where the Odeon Danforth was located.

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

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of 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 Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

 

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Toronto’s old Vaughan Theatre—Part II

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The Vaughan Theatre c. 1947. Photo from the Ontario Archives, AO 2194.

When I was a young boy, the Grant and Colony Theatres were my local hangouts, in the days when my parent allowed me to attend only those theatres within walking distance of our house on Lauder Avenue. However, when I was ten years old, my parents purchased a newspaper route for me and I commenced delivering the Toronto Star to over sixty customers on our street. Papers sold for 3 cents, and I considered the profits from my business enterprise to be substantial.

A bus fare was three cents cash or four tickets for a dime. Having obtained great affluence, I pleaded with my parents for permission to travel on the bus to theatres on St. Clair Avenue West. The St. Clair Theatre I was able to walk to, but the Vaughan was too far away. With my money and parents’ permission, my first goal was to attend the Vaughan Theatre at 542 St. Clair West, a few doors west of the intersection of St. Clair and Vaughan Road.

Because I had newspapers to deliver, it was important that I return home by 5 pm. However, I must admit that after attending a matinee at the Vaughan, my customers sometimes waited longer than usual for their papers. I never explained to them why I was late, for fear that my reason might appear trivial. However, visiting the Vaughan Theatre on hot summer’s day was worth risking the wrath of my customers.

The feature of the theatre that I remember the most was its air conditioning system. It was cooler than the older theatres that I was accustomed to, as the theatre had opened in 1947 and was spanking new. The refreshing temperatures were a welcomed treat after travelling on the hot Vaughan bus. As we liked to say as kids, “It was Popsicle Cool.” In the 1940s, air conditioning was only available at Eaton’s, Simpsons, movie theatres and a few wealthy homes in Forest Hill or Rosedale. I felt the cool air against my face the instant I opened one of the modern glass doors of the theatre.

After I entering the lobby, I walked down several carpeted steps to the candy bar, situated in front of me, along the north wall. To enter the auditorium I walked up one of the gently sloped ramps on the east and west sides of the lobby. The auditorium contained almost a thousand seats, arranged in rows in the “stadium seating” style, as it is referred to today.  Designs on the walls and ceiling contained simple vertical line. Generous layers of drapery surrounded the screen, creating a luxurious appearance, especially when the curtains swept open at the beginning of a film.

I attended the Vaughan Theatre often, until our family relocated to the west end of the city in 1953. The theatre eventually closed and was demolished in the 1980s. Today, the site contains some undistinguished buildings that add nothing to the streetscape.

As a kid I had no interest in the history of the theatre, but recently, when researching  the theatre, I learned that plans for the Vaughan were approved by the city in May 1946, and the pouring of the concrete commenced in October the same year. The theatre opened on November 27, 1947. The architects, Kaplan and Sprachman, designed a modern yellow-brick structure with a sign above the marquee that soared high into the air, the letters B&F at its pinnacle. B&F was the name of the company that managed the theatre. This company was formed in 1921, when Samuel Fine and Samuel Bloom formed a partnership. They eventually operated 21 theatres. In 1927, the company became a subsidiary of Famous Players Corporation. B&F pioneered the ideas of screening double-bill (two movies) shows for a single admission price. This allowed smaller theatres to compete with the larger downtown theatres that showed recent releases. In 1923, they featured this concept for first time at the Christie Theatre on St. Clair, near Wychwood Avenue. B&F also pioneered the idea of midnight showings to attract the late-night crowds.

I remember the Vaughan as an exceptionally attractive structure. When it closed and was demolished, I felt that the city lost an important part of its theatrical heritage.

Map of 544 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C 1A5

Location of the Vaughan Theatre at 542 St. Clair West.

Vaughan Mandel S.

Interior of the Vaughan Theatre, Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, the Mandel Collection.

Vaughan, Series 881, File 350

Lobby and candy bar of the Vaughan Theatre, City of Toronto Archives, Series 881 File 350

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The Vaughan Theatre in 1947, the film :”Framed” with Glenn Ford on the marquee. City of Toronto Archives, Series 488 File7340.

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

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of 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 Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

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Toronto’s old (Odeon) Carlton—Part 11

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Cover of the pamphlet designed for the opening of the Toronto Odeon Theatre, later renamed the Odeon Carlton. Graphic courtesy of Walter Godfrey of Toronto.

Even though I lived in the west end of Toronto, I considered the Odeon Theatre on Carlton Street one of my local theatres. This was because when I was a teenager in the 1950s, I frequently travelled downtown to attend it. Whenever I entered its enormous lobby, I was in awe of its elegant grandeur and viewed it as a true movie palace. However, unlike the movie palaces of yesteryear, such as the Imperial and Shea’s Hippodrome, the Odeon was sleek and modern. Its architecture and interior trim reflected the finest trends of the second half of the 20th century. As a young adult, I saw several of the James Bond films at the Odeon Carlton—Goldfinger in 1964 and Thunderball in 1966.

When the theatre opened on September 9, 1948, the posters and newspaper ads boasting that it was, “The Showplace of the Dominion.” It contained a restaurant on the mezzanine level, the first theatre-restaurant in Canada. On frigid winter evenings, friends and I enjoyed fish and chips or a Ritz Carltons (hot dogs) in this eatery, managed by the Honey Dew Restaurant chain, famous for its orange drink that included real pulp. It was one of the most popular beverages at the CNE during this decade. The theatre had originally intended to operate a first-class restaurant on the premises, but was unable to obtain a liquor license.

As a teenager, I remember seeing the film star Dorothy Lamour on its stage in a live show that also featured the famous quartet, The Four Lads. They were graduates of the St. Michael’s Choir School on Bond Street in Toronto. The magnificent sound of the theatre’s enormous organ, situated on the right-hand side of the stage is another memory that remains with me. The instrument was capable of surrounding the audience in full lush sounds, despite the cavernous size of the venue. Today, the organ resides at Queen’s University in Kingston.

The theatre required two years and 2 1/2 million dollars to build. It opened as the Odeon Toronto, the premier movie house in Toronto of the British Odeon chain. The theatre contained 2300 plush seats of green and gold, the drapery and curtains surrounding the stage weighing 2 ½ tons, contoured to wrap around the front of the auditorium. Long horizontal decorative lines swept the full length of the north and south walls, the lines becoming curved near the stage area. All floors were covered with thick broadloom that possessed brightly coloured floral designs. The carpeting and colour scheme had been chosen by Eaton’s College Street store, on the southwest corner of Yonge and College Streets. The trim throughout the theatre was blond-stained wood and stainless steel. The curved balcony swept across the width of the auditorium. At the rear of the theatre, there was free parking for patrons from 6 pm onward. This information was obtained from the brochure provided to patrons on opening night.

For its inauguration, the theatre featured the North American premier of the J. Arthur Rank production of Dickens’ classic tale of Oliver Twist, with Alec Guinness as Fagan. Trevor Howard and Patricia Roc, who starred in the film, were present for the opening. The seating was all reserved ticketing.

Later in the month, the naughty stars of the CNE Grandstand—Olsen and Johnson—attended the theatre. These stars had been warned by the Toronto morality squad to censor the jokes they told in their grandstand performances. This rebuke created great publicity for the comedians and ticket sales soared. A luncheon was held in their honour at the Carlton, but I doubt if they were served either fish and chips or hotdogs in the restaurant.

In January 1949, the film Scott of the Antarctica was screened, starring John Mills showed at the Carlton. No luncheon was held for this show, although frozen fish sticks would have been appropriate.

By the early 1970s, it became obvious that the Carlton was too large to screen movies profitably, and operating it at reduced capacity was not economical. For a brief period, the city considered purchasing it as a home for the Canadian Opera Company. However, this was deemed financially ruinous for the city, since it was already subsidizing the O’Keefe Centre, now named the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

The theatre shut its doors in September 1975 and was later demolished. A modern office building is on the site today, and on its ground floor is a multiplex theatre named the Carlton Cinemas.

DSCN0188  DSCN0189

Construction of the Odeon Toronto (Carlton in 1947-1948). Photo courtesy of Walter Godfrey, Toronto.

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Invitation to the opening of the Odeon Toronto (Carlton) Theatre. Photo courtesy of Walter Godfrey, Toronto.

               Odeon Carlton

View of the facade of the Odeon Carlton Theatre in 1972. Photo, City of Toronto Archives.

                       DSCN0193

Opening night program, courtesy of Walter Godfrey, Toronto.

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Auditorium of the Odeon Carlton, photo courtesy of Walter Godfrey, Toronto

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The lobby and candy bar of the theatre in the 1950s, photo courtesy of Walter Godfrey, Toronto.

from Tor. Ref. Lib. DSCN3033

Gazing north on Yonge Street in 1956 toward College/Carlton Street, the Westbury Hotel under construction. This intersection was one block west of the Odeon Carlton. Photo, Toronto Reference Library.

                      Odeon Carlton 1958

Photo of the Odeon Carlton in 1956, from the author’s 35mm slide collection.

                          site of Odeon Carlton

                         Site of the Odeon Carlton in 2014.

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

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of 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 Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791

Theatres Included in the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

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

 

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