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Category Archives: Lost Toronto

Toronto’s Colonial Tavern – demolished

            1973 Yonge St. Mall, Tor. Archives, Series 377, It. 782  colonial_feature1[1]

The Colonial Tavern during the summer of 1973, when Yonge Street was closed to vehicle traffic to create a pedestrian mall. In the photo, the  facade of the Colonial appears curved, but the other pictures reveal that it was actually straight (see photos at end of post). Photo from the Toronto Archives, Series 377, Item 782

The Colonial Tavern at 201-203 Yonge Street opened in 1947, between two historic bank buildings, opposite today’s Eaton Centre, In its heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, the tavern was one of the most popular music venues in Toronto. In the 1940s and 1950s, Yonge Street was not only the “main drag,” but was the centre of the city’s nightlife and entertainment. The section of Yonge between College and Queen was where Hollywood-style bright lights, flashing neon signs, and boisterous crowds created an exuberance that was unequalled in Canada. The names of the popular night spots on Yonge from those decades still reverberate after all these years—Friar’s Tavern, Le Coq D’ Or, Steele’s Tavern, Zanzibar, Edison Hotel, Brown Derby, and the jewel in the crown, the Colonial. The only other popular jazz joints were the Town Tavern (16 Queen Street East), and George’s Spaghetti House at 290 Dundas Street East.

In the 1890s, the site where the Colonial opened was the location of the Athlete Hotel, which in 1918 was renamed the Scholes Hotel. It was purchased by Goodwin (Goody) and Harvey Lichenberg in 1947, renovated, and opened as the Colonial Tavern. It was the second establishment, after the Silver Rail, to receive a liquor license from the LLBO, following the relaxing of Ontario’s liquor laws. The Colonial was a jazz and blues venue, which defied the norms of the times when it booked an all-black dance band group—Cy McLean and the Rhythm Rompers. Cy was a pianist by profession, who formed a band in 1937. During the swing era of the 1940s, it was Canada’s only all-black orchestra. When it played at the Colonial, it was its first performance in a mainstream venue.

During the 1950s, the Colonial was Toronto’s main music venue. However, on July 24, 1960, a disastrous fire gutted it. Two years were required to rebuild, and when it reopened in 1961, the building that had been Scholes Hotel, was replaced with a structure that was only two storeys in height. It was now more intimate, the tables and chairs grouped closely around the stage. The ceiling was low, but there was sufficient height to accommodate a balcony. The singers that performed at the Colonial were among the greatest names of jazz and the blues—Miles Davis, Carmen McRae, Thelonius Monk, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzie Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan.

In 1971, the first Yonge Street Mall was created. Because the street was closed to vehicle traffic, sidewalk cafes dotted the strip, the Colonial’s cafe being one of the most popular. The Litchenbergs hired twenty extra employees to handle the crowds. The mall experience was recreated again in 1972, 1973, and for eight weeks in 1974. It was during the 1970s that I visited the Colonial. I was too enthralled with the performance on stage to remember many details about its interior. However, I do recall that it was a cozy venue, where no seat was very far from the performers.  

By the mid-1970s, jazz was declining and the Colonial became more or less a discotheque. In the late-1970s, the basement of the Colonial was rented to various punk bands such as Teenage Head and Vilestones. The downstairs space was referred to by various names, the most well known being the “Colonial Underground.” Though the legal drinking age for alcohol had been reduced from 21 years old to 18 in 1971, there were always some teenagers who tried to defy the law. The basement of the Colonial was  a magnet for these underage teenagers, the most commonly feared words for them being, “Let me see your ID.”

Though the Colonial featured punk bands during these years, it is today remembered as a jazz and blues venue. Also during the 1970s, Wayland Flowers and his puppets—Madame and Crazy Mary—performed at the Colonial. Flowers was later to play at the Royal York’s Imperial Room. 

The Colonial was sold In the late-1970s and during the years ahead, it slowly deteriorated. It mainly featuring rock bands and exotic waitresses. As well, the famous Yonge Street strip, where the venue was located, also started to become seedy. It was during these years that the clubs, bars, and taverns began to close. The murder of a young shoeshine boy in 1977 finally created the impetus for the City to clean up the street. However, the sanitized version of “the strip” never achieved the buzz and excitement of former decades, as the music clubs had disappeared.

The Colonial lingered on, but it had lost its lustre. Robert Fulford wrote in the Toronto Star in 1987 that the famous jazz venue offered bad food, surly waitresses, and patrons that were loud and drunk. He also stated that the low ceiling made the space feel cramped and that it appeared as if the space was a tunnel with a bulge in the middle. The tables close to the stage, he stated, suffered from music that was too loud, and the tables at the back gave a person the sense of over-hearing the music, rather than hearing it. However, Fulford grudgingly admitted that none of negative features mattered, “because of the quality of the music.” The same year that Fulford visited the Colonial, it permanently shuttered its doors.

The site was purchased by investors that intended to reopen it as a hotel, but the plans never materialized. In 1982, the City bought the property to build a space that would connect Massey Hall with the Elgin Theatre, forming a theatre complex in the heart of Toronto. However, in 1987, due to a lack of funds, City Council voted to demolish the Colonial and create a parkette. Another great idea never saw the light of day.

Edward Keenan wrote an article about the city in the Toronto Star on September 22, 2016: “And the thing about big plans with no money behind them is that they inspire hope and then gather dust on a shelf for decades and then inspire cynicism about the next big plans that come along.” He was referring to the plans to construct a public park over the rail lands, but the same might be said of the idea for a theatre complex in the centre of the city.

scholes hotel c. 1945, Fonds 1257, S1057, Item 537  [1]

The charming Scholes Hotel in 1945, where the Colonial opened in 1947, the two historic bank buildings on either side of it. This is the building that was gutted by fire on July 24, 1960. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 537.

mid- 1970s, F124, fl002,id0066  colonial[1] - Copy

The rebuilt Colonial Tavern that reopened in 1961, as it appeared in the mid-1970s. Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 002, id 0066.

                     Series 377, Itm. 545 colonial_copy-225x300[1].png

The Colonial and its patio in the 1970s, when Yonge Street was closed to create a mall. Toronto Archives, Series 377, Item 545. 

f0124_fl0003_id0123[1] - Copy     

The Colonial in the 1980s, when it possessed a rather dreary facade. Toronto Archives Fonds 0124, File 0003, id 0123. 

1986-  f0124_fl0003_id0152[1]

The site in December 1987, after City Council voted to demolish the Colonial. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1024, File 0003, id 0123.

DSCN0940

The site where the Colonial once stood, between the two historic bank buildings on Yonge Street. The construction of the Massey Tower occupies most of the site. Photo was taken on September 19, 2016. 

To discover more about Yonge Street when it was the musical heart of Toronto—a link to Edward Keenan’s article in the Toronto Star on September 29, 2016.

torontostar.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx?issue…33…

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[1]

   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[1]    

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 direct 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’s Yonge Street streetcars—ended in 1954

Peter Witt car at halton Museum

A Peter Witt Streetcar #2894, built by Ottawa Car Company for the Toronto Transportation Commission (later renamed the Toronto Transit Commission)

My earliest memories of the Peter Witt streetcars on Toronto’s Yonge Street date from the 1940s. In that decade, the intersection at Yonge and Queen was the commercial heart of the city, as it was where Eaton’s and Simpsons department stores were located. It was when my mother journeyed downtown to shop at Eaton’s that I first rode on these streetcars.

Later, as a teenager, these cars became an integral part of my life as the major movie theatres were located on Yonge Street or within close proximity to it. Also, Maple Leaf Gardens was only one block east of Yonge. In the 1950s, the theatres on Yonge and “The Gardens” on Carlton Street were among the most important entertainment venues of the city. 

In past decades, people who lived west of Yonge Street rarely journeyed on the streetcars to areas east of Yonge. There was little incentive, since when you arrived at Yonge, the main commercial establishments of the city were readily accessible. People who dwelt east of Yonge, similarly did not ride the streetcars west of it, for the same reason. However, everyone rode on the Yonge Streetcars. They were the best known and most frequently travelled in all of Toronto. This is why it was logical in the late-1940s to begin building the city’s first subway under the street. 

The most famous of all the Yonge streetcars were the Peter Witt cars (1921-1963). They required two men to operate, but I seem to remember that in the 1950s, some of the smaller models, such as those on Bay and Bathurst Streets, required only one person. On these, the motorman collected the fares. On the larger Yonge Street cars, passengers boarded by the front doors, which folded back when opened. The driver (motorman) sat at the front of the car, but people basically ignored him, since he did not collect the fares. Behind the driver was a large box that in winter held sand to provide traction on icy streetcar tracks. 

Passengers who sat or stood at the front of the car did not pay their fare until it was time to depart. Then, they exited through the centre doors, where the conductor sat. People dropped their tickets or cash into the fare box located beside the conductor, and were given a transfer if they required one. They then stepped down to the roadway. The centre doors did not fold back, but slid across to open. The conductor controlled the doors, and also maintained the coal stove that provided heat in winter. It was located opposite the conductor. Passengers seated or standing at the back of the car had already paid their fare, so when it was time for them to depart, they simply exited via the centre doors.

When I was a boy, all the seats were covered with what appeared to be brown leather. I always pleaded with my parent to pass by the conductor and pay the fare. This was because I wanted to sit in the seat at the back of the car. It was huge, with large windows surrounding it on three sides, providing a panoramic view of the street.

When I was a teenager, I preferred the window-seats, which were on the sides of the cars. Their windows provided a better breeze on hot summer days. On the ledge of each window there was a small brass plate, and on it were engraved the words, “Keep Arm In.” Teenagers invariably enjoyed teasing fate by sticking their heads out the window. However, when another streetcar was approaching from the opposite direction on the other track, at the last moment they quickly pulled their heads inside. My parents continually warned me not to imitate the older kids. In winter, my preferred seat or standing space was near the stove.

The Peter Witt streetcars contained engines with sufficient power to pull a trailer up a steep incline. This was necessary, since the hill on Yonge Street, north of Davenport Road, was quite severe. Trailers possessed two large centre doors that opened by sliding back. The door on the right was for boarding, and the one on the left for exiting. Inside the trailer, there was a space between the two doors where the conductor sat to collect the fares. Similar to the cars that pulled the trailers, passengers did not pay their fares until they passed the conductor. 

After arriving at Front Street, the Yonge streetcars looped around Union Station. Thus, many immigrants caught their first sight of the city from their windows. My father arrived as a young man in Toronto in 1921, from a small village on Canada’s east coast. It was the first year that the Peter Witt cars commenced operating in the city. He viewed them as modern and up-to-date. When he departed Union Station and boarded a Yonge streetcar, it was a warm day in May. Despite the brass plaque on the ledge of the window, I am certain that he stuck his head out to gawk at the skyscrapers on Yonge Street, especially those between Front and Queen Streets. The sight of the enormous Loew’s Theatre (the Elgin), north of Queen, and the Pantages (the Ed Mirvish) caught his imagination. Years later, he told me that on that occasion he had vowed to visit them as soon as possible. An older brother, who had been in Toronto for several years, had told him about the “naughty” vaudeville shows. 

For many decades, the Yonge cars were the main means of journeying to the St. Lawrence Market on Front Street. During World War 1 and World War 11, thousands of soldiers departed for overseas and returned home after the wars from Union Station. Many of these men and women travelled to the station or journeyed away from it on the Yonge streetcars. During the 1940s, I rode on them to attend the circus at Maple Leaf Gardens and to visit Santa Claus at Eaton’s Toyland. When I was a teenager, I attended theatres such as the Tivoli, Imperial, Loew’s Downtown, Loew’s Uptown, Downtown, Biltmore, Savoy, Odeon Hyland, and the Hollywood via the Yonge cars. 

History of the Peter Witt Cars in Toronto 

In 1921, Toronto’s contract with the Toronto Railway Company for the transportation needs of the city ended, and it was not renewed. City Council had realized that because the city was expanding rapidly, it was necessary to become more involved, so created the Toronto Transportation Commission. It purchased the streetcars of the former company (the TRC).

Several years before 1921, the city had been aware that many of the streetcars they would inherit were in poor condition. They began making plans and after careful research, they negotiated a license to allow them to place a contract for a fleet of Peter Witt streetcars. They had been designed by a commissioner with Cleveland Street Railway Company, and named after him. There were seven different series, allowing for variations in size, but they all possessed a similar appearance—solid, square-shaped, with straight lines.

The cars were ideal for transporting large numbers of passengers on busy downtown routes. Their heavy steel bodies were well suited to Toronto’s severe winters, and contained large windows for good ventilation on hot summer days. They seated about 60 passengers, with sufficient standing room for many more. Toronto ordered 575 of the streetcars, 350 of them with engines. The other 225 were trailers that were pulled by the streetcars with motors. The Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Montreal was given the contract and most of them were built by this company. However, 50 were sub-contracted to the Ottawa Car Company, and another 50 to the Preston Car Company.

To introduce Torontonians to the new streetcars, one of them was exhibited at the CNE in August of 1921. Their debut on Toronto streets was on October 2nd of that year. The first streets to be converted entirely to Peter Witt cars were the busiest routes—Yonge, College, Dundas and Bloor. However, the Yonge cars became the most famous of them all.

In the 1920s, the cars had wooden seats and coal stoves for heating in winter. The brakes were operated by compressed air. However, in the years ahead the seats were upholstered with brown leatherette material, and the heating system changed to forced-air from electric heaters. For several decades, the streetcars were the work-horses of the system. However, in 1938, the sleek Presidents’ Conference Cars (PCCs’) were introduced, which soon became known as the “red rockets.” They slowly replaced the older Peter Witt cars. The Peter Witt cars stopped serving the Yonge Street line on March 30, 1954, when the Yonge Subway opened. However, the last of these streetcars did not disappear until 1963.

After the Peter Witt car removed from service, they were stripped for useable parts and the remainder sold for junk metal.

Sources: www.blofto – transittoronto.on.ca/streetcar 

New cars, York Station – December 22, 1922

Peter Witt streetcars arriving at the York Street station in December 1922. Toronto Archives, S0071, item 1514.

Sign boards and motor car, (front), Loews sign – May 1, 1924   Witt motor, rear end – April 24, 1924

Left-hand photo shows the front of car number 2558, which was employed on the Yonge Street route. The right-hand photo is of the back of the same streetcar. Toronto Archives, S 0071, Item 3152 (left photo) and the right-hand photo, F0071, item 3133 (right). Both photos were taken in April 1924.

Witt car, (Commercial Department) – October 30, 1928

Passengers boarding Peter Witt car #2520. In the background is the Royal York Hotel. The photo was taken in 1928, when the hotel was under construction. It appears that the streetcar is southbound on York Street. Scott Street is one block east of Yonge. I am uncertain about the routing of the streetcar, but it possibly journeyed east on Front to Scott, then north to Front, west on Front, and then, north on Yonge. Toronto Archives, S 0071, Item 6396. 

Witt car #2536, looking to the head end, (Executive Department) – January 6, 1932

View from the rear, looking toward the front doors of car # 2536. Photo taken on January 6, 1932. In this decade, the seats had wooden slats. Toronto Archives, S 0071, item 9056.

Witt car #2536 , rear end, (Executive Department) – January 6, 1932

View of the rear of same car as in the previous photo, on January 6, 1932. Toronto Archives, S 0071, item 9059.

                              Witt car #2536, vestibule, front entrance, (Executive Department) – January 6, 1932

Entrance of the same car on January 6, 1932. I do remember this type of Peter Witt streetcar, when the driver was enclosed in cabin with a door. Toronto Archives, S 0071, item 9060. 

Witt car, interior, (Commercial Department) – October 30, 1928

Passengers in a Peter Witt car in 1928. The driver is enclosed a cabin and the conductor can be seen in his booth. Toronto Archives, s 0071, item 6398.

Interior, centre double wood frame sign board, (wide) – April 25, 1924

Ceiling of a car in 1924, with the advertisements above the windows and on the ceiling. Toronto Archives, F 0071, Item 3153.

Brill motor, (interior), #2590 – March 2, 1923

View looking toward the front of car #2590 on March 2, 1923. The conductor’s seat between the centre doors can be seen, as well as the coal stove. Toronto Archives, S 0071, item 1914.

Streetcar advertising, (Commercial Department) – April 27, 1928

A trailer car in 1928. Visible are the centre doors and the section in between where the conductor sat. Toronto Archives, S 0071, item 5773. 

Yonge Street, looking north, from north of Queen, noon hour traffic – December 24, 1924

Yonge Street north of Queen on December 24, 1924. The Eaton’s store (demolished) is on the left, its north facade on Albert Street, which no longer extends to Yonge Street. The Eaton Centre is now on Yonge between Queen and Dundas. A Peter Witt car with a trailer attached is travelling northbound. Toronto Archives, s 0071, item 3632. 

Yonge St, looking north, from King, noon hour traffic – December 24, 1924

Yonge Street looking north from King Street on December 24, 1924. The Peter Witt trailer is southbound toward King. On the east side of Yonge is the Strand Theatre, built in 1919. Toronto Archives, s 0071, item 3631.

Traffic on Yonge St, looking north, from south side of Queen St; congestion as far as the eye can see and a solid line of curb parked cars, 3:26 p.m., Friday, December 20, 1935 (Traffic Study Department) – 1936

Gazing north on Yonge Street from Queen Street in 1935. On the east side of the street is Loew’s Downtown, which is now the Elgin Theatre. The buildings on the northwest and northeast corners of the street still exist today but are employed for other commercial purposes. Toronto Archives, s 0071, Item 11703. 

Peter Witt car at halton Museum (2)

A Peter Witt streetcar photographed in the 1980s at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum.

1920s Peter Witt streetcar, interior

The interior of the same streetcar at the museum. This is the type of car that I remember on Yonge Street, with the padded brown leatherette seats.

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,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

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

                                 image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[2]    

Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, 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 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. For further information follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link below:

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

 

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Toronto’s Lost CNE

“Toronto’s Lost CNE” refers to structures and features that over the past decades have been demolished or discontinued. Though I remain a fan of the Canadian National Exhibition and attempt to attend it each year, it is on these occasions that I find myself gazing around the grounds and recalling the many features of the annual late-summer fair that have disappeared.

                                   The Shell Tower

DSCN0829   Canada A. a052968-v8[1] 

CNE’s Shell Tower depicted on a postcard (left), and a photo of the tower (right) from  the Canada Archives, a 052968

                         1955. Tor Lib. pictures-r-2743[1]

              The Shell Tower in 1955, Toronto Public Library, r-2743

The Shell Tower was built by the Shell Oil Company in 1955, its architect George Robb. Located on Princess Boulevard, it was a glass and steel structure, almost 12 storeys in height (120’), containing an observation deck near the top. Above the observation deck was a large clock, visible from anywhere within the CNE grounds. As a teenager, each year I climbed to its summit via the stairs inside the glass-enclosed stairwells. From the top, there was a magnificent view of the CNE grounds, the lake, and the downtown skyline. When the tower was renamed the Bulova Tower, the clock was converted to digital, one of the first in the city. The tower was demolished in 1985 to accommodate the Indy race track.

PICT0083 

Photo taken from the top of the Shell Tower in 1957. The camera is facing north toward the Horse Palace and the Coliseum (now the Ricoh Coliseum), which today, on its east side, is attached to the Direct Energy Centre.

                          The CNE Grandstand

PICT0081

This view of the CNE Grandstand was also taken in 1957, from the top of the Shell Tower. Visible are the stage, background sets, and props for the grandstand show. A section of the midway is in the foreground.

The CNE Grandstand was built in 1948, its architects Morani and Morris. The design won an architectural silver prize in 1950. Its massive steel-truss roof protected the crowds from the sun and the rain during grandstand performances and other events, such as stock car races. Its north facade possessed red bricks and limestone, creating a degree of architectural elegance. The shows presented on the grandstand’s stage, held every evening during the run of the Ex, were magnificent in scale as they often featured a cast of over 1500. The orchestra was conducted by Howard Cable from 1953 until 1968. On the ground floor of the grandstand’s north side there was a Stoodleigh Restaurant. Unfortunately, the stadium was demolished in 1999.

   1950s, CNE archives  ad68fb7f-1f51-43c2-aa3b-ecd2a6f1f526[1]

The north facade of the CNE Grandstand in the 1950s. CNE Archives, ad68fb7f-1f51-43o2

Canada A. a052935-v8[1]

A view of the stage during a grandstand show in the 1950s, Canada Archives, a052935-v8

Canada A. a052926-v8[1]

Another view of the stage during an evening CNE grandstand show. Canada Archives, a05926-v8

Series 1465, File 138, Item 13

The grandstand in 1976, when it was a football and baseball stadium. Toronto Archives, S1465, Fl10138, id 0013

1995- DSCN0850

                 Photo of the grandstand taken in 1995.

                The Manufacturers Building.

Crowds at C.N.E., Manufacturer's Building in background – 1908

Crowds in front of the Manufacturers Building in 1908, Toronto Archives, S0409, item 0043.

PICT0025

This photo was taken in 1958, from the north side of the Gooderham Fountain, the Manufacturers Building visible in the background. The Manufacturers Building opened in 1903, its architect George W. Guinlock, who also designed the Horticulture (now the Muzik Club), and the Art and Crafts Buildings (now Medieval Times), as well as the CNE Fire and Police Stations. The Manufacturers Building was located to the east of the Ontario Government Building (now The Liberty Grand). Although it was only one-storey in height, its soaring roof, supported by structural steel, created the illusion of a much taller structure. It displayed household appliances and other manufactured products, many of them first seen by Torontonians in this building. Two examples are RCA Victor televisions in 1939 and early-day microwave ovens in 1958. Displays were eventually expanded to include the manufactured goods of foreign countries. The structure was destroyed by fire in 1961.

International Building- burnt 1974 Pub. Lib.   tspa_0000630f[1]

The Manufacturers Building following the fire in 1961, the Ontario Government Building (now the Liberty Grand) is to the west of it (right-hand side). Photo from the Toronto Public Library, 0000630.

                 The Gooderham Fountain

Fonds 1244, Item 269

The Gooderham Fountain in 1926, Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 0269.

The Gooderham Fountain was built in 1911. It is thought to have been designed by George W. Guinlock, the architect of many buildings on the CNE grounds. The fountain was inspired by those in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. The fountain was named after George W. Gooderham, a prominent industrialist, president of the CNE from 1909 to 1911. It was located at the western side of the Ex, near the Horticultural Building. The fountain was a favourite meeting place for visitors who attended the CNE, and for Torontonians, was the origin of the expression, “Meet me at the fountain.” The Gooderham Fountain was demolished in 1958 and replaced by the Princess Margaret Fountain. It was officially opened by HRH in 1958, during her royal tour of Canada.  

1928. pictures-r-4190[1] 

The Gooderham Fountain in 1928, Toronto Public Library, r- 4190.

                          The CNE Flag Pole

Fonds 1244, Item 631B   Fonds 1244, Item 631A

The flag pole at the Ex in 1930 (left-hand photo), Toronto Archives F1244, Item 0631b, and its installation (right-hand photo), Toronto Archives F1244, Item 0631a

1936- f1231_it1451[1]

The base of the flagpole in 1936, the Horticultural Building (now Muzik) in the background. Toronto Archives, F 1231, Item 1451 

The flag pole depicted in the above photos was donated to the CNE by J. G. Robson. The magnificent Douglas Fir, hewn from the forests on Vancouver Island, was 184 feet (56 metres) tall after it was trimmed. Shipped from British Columbia via the Panama Canal, it was brought to Toronto through the St. Lawrence River. At its base, it was 36 inches in diameter. Because it required time to cure the wood, it was not installed at the CNE until 1930. In that year, it claimed to be the world’s largest flag pole.

It was replaced in June, 1977 by a pole of British Columbia redwood, shipped to Toronto on three flatbed rail cars. It was 196 feet (60 metres) tall, and again, was said to be the world’s tallest. However, eventually it began to rot and unfortunately it was removed from the grounds.

Information about the 1977-flag pole: Mike Filey  http://oppositethecity.wordpress.com

                            Automotive Shows

Automotive Blg, Canada A. 1939, a052897-v8[1]

The Automotive Show in 1939, in the Automotive Building. Canada Archives, a0528897-v8

The Automotive Building, built in 1929, survives to this day. However, it has been rebuilt and is now a convention facility named the Allstream Centre. Until the 1960s, each year during the run of the CNE it housed the automotive show, which featured the latest models of cars for that year. As a boy, I remember visiting it. I never tired of getting behind the wheel of the shiny new cars and playing with the knobs and buttons on the dashboard. I dreamt of being of sufficient age to qualify for a driver’s license. The auto show was one of the most popular features of the Ex.  

   Horse, Dairy and Agricultural Shows and Contests

Beef cattle, 1980s, Ont. Archives  I0004457[1]  Elsie the Cow, 1941, Ont. A. I0011011[1]

Beef cattle at the CNE in the 1980s, Ontario Archives 10004457 (left-hand photo) and Borden Dairies’ “Elsie the Cow” in 1941, Ontario Archives 10011011 (right-hand photo)

After the Ex opened in 1879, for many years it featured both industrial and agricultural products. In the Horse Palace and Coliseum there were farm animals and horse shows. As well, there were judged competitions of homemade jams, jellies, preserves etc. I remember the horse shows in the Coliseum and of course, Borden Dairy’s advertisements that featured “Elsie the Cow.”

                 Ontario Government Building

Aug. 12, 1929--s0071_it7109[1]

The Ontario Government Building on August 13, 1929. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 7109.

The Ontario Government Building was constructed in 1926 to showcase exhibitions of the Ontario Government. Today, it is no longer open as part of the Ex as it is occupied by the Liberty Grand. I remember visiting the building when I was a boy, and also as a teenager. In its central courtyard there were many large aquariums containing the species of fish native to Ontario. There were also colourful over-sized representations of the fictional lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, and Babe, his Blue Ox.

              PICT0074

Paul Bunyan the lumberjack, famous in American folklore. Photo taken in 1958 in the interior courtyard of the Ontario Government Building.

PICT0075 

Paul Bunyan’s Babe, the Blue Ox, in the courtyard of the Government Building in 1958.

                                     Trout Fishing

PICT0076

         Trout fishing in the Coliseum at the CNE in 1958.

                 The Flyer, the Rollercoaster at the CNE

PICT0084

This photo of the Flyer at the CNE was taken with a 35mm Kodak Pony camera in 1958, from the top of the Shell Tower. Built in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Flyer was advertised as the “fastest in the world,” as it reached speeds of up to 65 miles an hour. It was 2612 feet in length and 62 feet in height, capable of carrying over 26,000 passengers a day. I remember riding the Flyer and experiencing the thrill of the downward plunge from the tallest section of the structure. Unfortunately, as technology and tastes of the public changed, the Flyer was viewed as tame. It was demolished in June 1992, after it failed the safety tests. However, for several decades, it was the  main “thriller” of the CNE midway. Over 9 million passengers enjoyed the ride during the years it operated.  (information from CNE Archives)

Series 1465, File 129, Item 12

The CNE’s roller coaster (the Flyer) in 1976, the Bulova (Shell) Tower to the right of it. Toronto Archives, S1465, Fl0129, id 0012. 

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,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It includes anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

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

                                 image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]    

Published by Dundurn Press, this book tells the story of 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres. 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 the grand old theatres.

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. 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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Chorley Park (demolished), residence of Ontario’s lieu. governor

July 4, 1924. f1548_s0393_it18999b[1]

Government House—”Chorley Park” on July 4, 1924. Toronto Archives, F1548, S 0393, Item 1899.

The term “Government House” is the official title that applies to residences of the Lieutenant Governors in the countries and provinces throughout the British Commonwealth. Ontario’s first Government House was Navy Hall, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was occupied by the colony’s first Lieutenant Governor—John Graves Simcoe. After Simcoe relocated the seat of government to York (Toronto) in 1793, a canvas house (tent) technically became Government House, though it is a stretch of the imagination to refer to it as such. In 1800, a governor’s residence was constructed beside Fort York, which was torched when the Americans invaded the town in 1813.

In 1815,  the government purchased the home of Chief Justice John Elmsley to provide a residence for the lieutenant governors. It was located at King and Simcoe Streets. A new residence was built in 1870 on the same site as Elmsley House. However, as the land surrounding it became increasingly industrial, another site was sought. The Government House, built in 1870, was sold in 1912. After much disagreement and controversy, it was decided that the new vice-regal residence was to be at Chorley Park, in North Rosedale, facing southeast overlooking the Don Valley. Until it was built, the lieutenant governor resided at Cumberland House, a mansion on St. George Street, north of College Street. This house still exists today. 

 DSCN7814

       Cumberland House on St. George Street. Photo taken in 2015.

Chorley Park had been named after a town in Lancashire, in England. Government House, which was built within the park, required four year to complete (1911-1915). It was officially opened on November 15, 1915, and was one of the grandest mansions ever constructed in Toronto. Its cost was budgeted at $215,00, but it required over $1,000,000 to complete. An impressive driveway from Roxborough Drive led to a grand circular terrace, and from there, a concrete bridge led to a forecourt in front of the mansion. The forecourt was intended for formal outdoor receptions and vice-regal events. There was another driveway from Douglas Drive.

Chorley Park’s architect was Francis R. Hawkes, who also designed the Whitley Building at Queen’s Park and the Mining building at the University of Toronto. For Government House, he chose the French Chateau style. The Canadian Pacific Railway’s chain of hotels employed the same architecture, the Royal York Hotel being a prime example. The Chorley Park mansion resembled a castle-like structure, reminiscent of those in Loire Valley in France. Symmetrical in design, it was richly ornamented, containing many turrets and pinnacles, even the chimneys architecturally decorated. Constructed of grey Credit Valley limestone, its multiple roofs were of red ceramic tiles. The front reception hall was three storeys in height, lit by a skylight, with galleries surrounding it. The hall resembled the one that today is in the legislative building at Queen’s Park. The state dining room was richly panelled in oak. All public rooms had grand vistas of the Don Valley. The formal gardens surrounding the mansion were designed by C. W. Levitt of New York.

However, the cost of maintaining the mansion increased each year. After the Great Depression began in 1929, the dollars spent to maintain Chorley Park became a political embarrassment. In 1934, Mitchell Hepburn was elected premier, one of his campaign promises being to trim government expenses. Chorley Park was an obvious target. Its official function as Government House ceased in 1937, and the furnishings and contents of the mansion were disposed in an auction.

The house was  purchased in 1940 by the Federal Government for a military hospital, but this ended 1953. During the Korean War, it was employed as a training and recruitment facility. Later, it housed refugees escaping the Hungarian revolution of 1956. It was bought by the City of Toronto in 1960 for $100,000, and the following year, it was demolished to create a public park. Only the concrete bridge that gave assess to the residence from the grand circle survives as a reminder of the glory days of the vice-regal mansion. Today, there are trails that lead from the park down into the Evergreen Brick Works in the Don Valley.

Ontario is the only province that today has no Government House. Its lieutenant governors have a suite in the west wing of the legislature at Queen’s Park for receptions, and live in private homes of their own choosing.

Sources: torontoist.com     torontothenandnow.blogspot.com   torontoplaques.com   torontohistory.net   “Lost Toronto” by William Dendy.

                             Chorley_Park_Map[1]

                     The location of Government House in Chorley Park.

Fonds 1244, Item 3102

View in 1911 of the entrance to Government House from Roxborough Drive and  the circular terrace, when it was under construction. The bridge connecting the circular terrace and the forecourt is visible. Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 3102.

after 1900-  f1568_it0227[1]

View of Chorley Park after 1900, from the driveway from Roxborough Drive, which led to the circular terrace. Toronto Archives, F1568, Item 10086. 

Fonds 1244, Item 2411

State dining room c. 1915. Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 2411.

c. 1915, Ont. A. I0031416[1]

Artist’s rendition of Chorley Park c. 1915. The circular terrace is visible, and the small bridge leading to the forecourt in front of the mansion. Ontario Archives, 10031416.

Fonds 1244, Item 10086

An aerial view of Chorley Park c. 1930. It reveals the two entrances, one of them from Roxborough Drive (on the south) and the other from Douglas Drive.  Toronto Archives F1244, Item 10086. 

Fonds 1244, Item 1128

Aerial view of the two driveways, the circular terrace, the forecourt, and the mansion. Toronto Archives, F1244, Item 1128. 

1925- Ont. A.  I0012487[1]

View of Chorley Park from the forecourt, in 1925. Ontario Archives, 10012487.

reception, 1925, Ont. A. I0031278[1]

Reception in the forecourt in 1925. Ontario Archives, 10031278.

Government House, Rosedale, Toronto, (Commercial Department) – August 3, 1928

Government House on August 3, 1928. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 6102.

demolition, 1959,  Ont. A. I0013933[1]

Chorley Park in 1961, when it was being demolished. Ontario Archives, 10013933.

demolition, 1959,  Ont. A. I0013935[1]

  Chorley Park during demolition in 1961. Ontario Archives, 10013935. 

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,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

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

                                 image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb[2]    

Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, 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 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. For further information follow the link to Amazon.com  here  or contact the publisher directly by the link below:

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

 

 

Tags: ,

Toronto’s Yonge Street Arcade (demolished)

1885- pictures-r-1494[1]

      The Yonge Street Arcade in 1885, Toronto Public Library r- 1494

When the Yonge Street Arcade was built, it presented a revolutionary concept in the retailing history of Toronto. It was inspired by the 19th-century glass-roofed gallerias of Europe, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy, being one of the prime examples. By the 1880s, Toronto’s retail trade was increasingly dominated by three highly successful stores — the Golden Lion, Eaton’s, and Simpsons. Smaller merchants had difficulty competing as there were few downtown rental spaces that were affordable. The Canadian Loan and Investment Company realized that this presented an opportunity for a profitable enterprise. It purchased land on the east side on Yonge Street, at 131-139 Yonge Street, opposite Temperance Street. The site extended east from Yonge to Victoria Street, where its postal address was 18-26 Victoria Street.

On the land, they proposed erecting a shopping arcade with multiple small-sized retail spaces. Charles A. Walton, an architect born in Leeds, England, was hired to design the building. He created a four-story structure on Yonge Street, its facade of red bricks and Ohio sandstone. Similar to most 19th-century architecture, it contained classical ornamentation, including Corinthian pilasters (three-side columns). On the north and south ends of the facade facing Yonge Street, atop the fourth floor, there were small ornate towers, and a taller tower in the centre position. The enormous arched entranceway, two storeys in height, led to a galleria behind the four-storey structure.

The galleria, 267 feet in depth, was three storeys in height. The roof was crowned by a cast-iron frame that supported sheets of plate glass. It was 35 feet wide, and soared 120 feet above the ground floor. It flooded the interior with natural light, the building’s steam heating protecting shoppers from Toronto’s bitter winter weather. The galleria was similar in concept to the Eaton’s Centre and Brookfield Place of today, although the latter two have the benefit of air conditioning.

The Yonge Street Arcade was the first structure in Toronto that resembled a shopping mall, though it was much smaller than those of today. Construction commenced in 1882, and it was officially opened in the summer of 1884 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the city’s incorporation (1834-1884). The ground floor contained 32 shops. Wide staircases and hydraulic elevators permitted shoppers to access the second floor, where there were 20 more shops, connected by a balcony. On the third floor, there were artists’ studios and an assortment of offices. The shops were only 12 feet in width, although those on the first floor possessed full basements. The leases signed by the retailers stipulated that shops were not allowed to duplicate products and items that other merchants sold. This was to ensure as much variety as possible for shoppers.

I remember visiting the Yonge Street Arcade in the early 1950s as there was a philatelic (stamp) shop on the ground floor, near the Yonge Street entrance. I was an avid stamp collector at the time. Collecting stamps was a highly popular hobby in those years, as it provided an opportunity to collect authentic souvenirs from countries throughout the world. This hobby has now been eclipsed by more modern collectables, although philatelic shows still exist. 

By 1950, because the Arcade had not been well maintained, it was deteriorating. In 1953, there were two fires in the building, their causes never determined. In January 1954, merchants were ordered to vacate the premises. It was not demolished until 1955, when the site became a paved parking lot. In 1960, a ten-storey building was erected on the site. It contained retail shops on the ground floor, and above them, mainly offices. In 2008, vertical rows of LED light were installed on its west facade. 

It is a pity that Toronto lost this historic structure to the wrecker’s ball.

Sources: www.blogTo.com   torontoist.com  thenandnowblogspot.com  William Dendy, “Lost Toronto”

LRJ81SGL.png

Google map of the site of the Yonge Street Arcade on Yonge Street.

      1884- pictures-r-1520[1]

A booklet prepared for the official opening of the Arcade in 1884. Toronto Public Library, r- 1520

1885- pictures-r-1493[1]

Interior view of the Arcade in 1885. The gentlemen in the photo are standing on the balcony that connected the 20 shops on the second-floor level. On the ground floor, the Yonge Street entrance is visible at the mall’s west end. Toronto Public Library, r-1493.

Ont. Archives, 1911-1913- I0009549[1]

View looking north on Yonge Street from near Adelaide Street c. 1912. The four-storey Arcade building on Yonge Street is visible, and behind it, the cast-iron three-storey galleria with the glass roof. To the north, in the far upper left-hand corner of the photo, is the Confederation Life Building at Yonge and Richmond Streets, constructed on 1890.  Ontario Archives, 10009549.

btw, 1911-1913, Ont Archives I0009551[1]

The camera is pointed south on Yonge, from near Richmond Street, between the years 1911 and 1913. Ontario Archives, 10009551.

1952- pictures-r-1478[1]

View of the ground-floor level of the Arcade in 1952,Toronto Public Library r-1478.

1952- pictures-r-1480[1]

View of the ground-floor level of the Arcade in 1952, Toronto Public Library, r-1480

                           1952- pictures-r-1481[1]

View looking south on Yonge Street in 1952. Toronto Public Li8brary r-1481.

1952 - pictures-r-1484[1]

View of the Arcade, gazing east from Temperance Street in 1952. Toronto Public Library, r-1484.

DSCN0840

Gazing east on Temperance Street at the ten-storey building that was constructed on the site of the Yonge Street Arcade. On the left is the restored Dineen Building, on the northwest corner of Yonge and Temperance Streets. Photo taken on July 26, 2016.

DSCN0835

Gazing north on Yonge Street from Adelaide Street. The ten-storey white office building is on the site once occupied by the Yonge Street Arcade. The Confederation Life Building can be seen to the north of it. Photo taken July 26, 2016.

Photo of the Yonge Street Arcade taken by Luis Fernandes on October 8, 2010. View looks east on Temperance Street.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

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

                          cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[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 on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, 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 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. 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

 

Tags:

Toronto’s Bluebell ferry (decommissioned in 1955)

1920- Tor. Lib.  964-6-41[1]

The Bluebell in 1920, in Toronto Harbour, photo from the Toronto Public Library, 964-6-41 

The Bluebell was built at the Polson Iron Works, located on The Esplanade between Frederick and Princess Streets. Constructed in 1906, the ferry was a double-decked, double-ended vessel that accommodated 1450 passengers. It was the largest in the fleet of eight Toronto island ferries owned by the Toronto Ferry Company. Two enormous side paddles propelled it forward, powered by steam generated by its coal furnaces.

In the first decade of the 20th century, when the Bluebell was launched, automobiles were beyond the means of most families, as were journeys by bus out of the city. In summer, Torontonians flocked to the city’s parks, especially Sunnyside and Scarborough Beach. The temperatures beside the water were comfortable compared to the hot city streets. Travelling to Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island was considered a special treat, the ferry ride across the harbour a major part of the enjoyment.   

My earliest recollection of the Bluebell was in the 1940s, when my family journeyed to Centre Island for picnics. My father always took my brother and me below deck, where there was a large window that allowed passengers to peer into the engine room. On these occasions, I gazed in wonder at the enormous pistons that turned the side paddles, mesmerised by their size, the loud thumping and swishing sounds adding to the thrill. However, we usually did not remain below deck long, as it was hot and stuffy, and we returned to the open deck above to enjoy the refreshing breezes of the lake.

On one of the voyages on the Bluebell, my uncle, George Brown, who was the captain of the Bluebell, invited us to climb to the top deck where the wheelhouse was located. I remember gripping the iron ladder so tight that my knuckles turned white, my heart pounding in my chest. I felt that I was danger of falling into the lake, as the ladder extended out from the side of the vessel, the threatening water swirling directly below me. The view from the wheelhouse was magnificent, but when we descended the ladder to return to the passenger deck, it was even more frightening than when we had climbed up. I was about five years old at the time, and being suspended in space from a great height was a terrifying experience. 

When the Bluebell was christened in 1906, because of its size, it was employed to transport passengers to Hanlan’s Point, where the city’s main baseball stadium and an  amusement park were located. It was not until 1928 that it commenced ferrying passengers to Centre Island and Ward’s Island. Due to increased crowds journeying to Hanlan’s Point, a sister ship, the Trillium, joined the fleet in 1910. The Trillium cost $75,000, so it is likely that the Bluebell’s construction entailed a similar amount.

By the 1950s, more people were purchasing automobiles and traffic to the islands began to diminish. The demise of the baseball stadium and amusement park at Hanlan’s Point caused a further decease in the number of passengers crossing the harbour. The Bluebell was decommissioned in 1955. Its superstructure was removed, and its hull converted into a scow to haul garbage out into the Lake, where the trash was dumped. Finally, the hull of the Bluebell was sunk to create a breakwater at Tommy Thompson Park, near the eastern gap.  The ferries that replaced the Bluebell, which remain in service today, were diesel powered.

Polson Iron Works, 1926 - pictures-r-4418[1]

The Polson Iron Works in 1926, on the Esplanade, between Frederick and Princess Street, where the Bluebell was constructed. Toronto Public Library, r-4418 

Lib.  1906  e1-25h[1]

Launching of the hull of the Bluebell in 1906. Toronto Public Library, el-25h

Chuckman's POSTCARD - TORONTO - HANLAN'S POINT - FERRY BLUEBELL - CROWD OF PASSENGERS - NICE VERSION - 1909[1]

View of the Bluebell at Hanlan’s Point in 1909, from Chuckman’s postcard collection.

Bluebell, June 6, 1927.   s0071_it4964[1]

The Bluebell on June 6, 1927. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 4964

Bluebell, June 11, 1932.  s0071_it9259[1]

The Bluebell at the Toronto ferry docks on June 11, 1932. Toronto Archives, S0071, Item 9259

Lib.  1942  -964-6-40[1]

The Bluebell in 1942, Toronto Public Library, 964-40 

Aug., 1943 Uncle George  photo_26[1]

This photo was taken in August, 1943, by my cousin, whose father was the Captain of the Bluebell. She wrote the word “dad” on the photo to draw attention to her father, who was standing on the top deck, to the right of the wheelhouse.

1952, s1-1419[1]

Toronto Island ferries in 1952, the Bluebell in the foreground. In the background is the Queen’s Quay Terminal Building. Toronto Public Library, S1-1419.

s1956 -1-3544a[1]

The Bluebell in 1956, the year after it was decommissioned. Toronto Public Library, 1-3544.

Lib. 1957, conversion to a scow  s1-4106a[1]

The Bluebell in 1957, after its superstructure was removed to convert it into a scow. Toronto Public Library, 1-3544.

           1957, during convertion to a scow--s1-4166c[1]

Below the deck of the Bluebell in 1957, when it was being converted to a scow. Toronto Public Library, S1-4166.

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[1]    

Another book about the old theatres, which has been published by Dundurn Press, contains 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres. 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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,

Toronto’s “World’s Biggest Book Store” (demolished)

Full side view of the World's Biggest Book store on Edward Street – April 16, 1981

World’s Biggest Book Store on Edward Street on April 16, 1981. Photo from the Toronto Archives, F1526, Fl001, Item 2.

I attended high school in the 1950s, when the Ontario Government did not pay for high school texts. On the Tuesday following Labour Day, my friends and I attended Vaughan Road Collegiate to discover which homeroom form we had been assigned, and to pick up a list of the texts that were required for the year’s studies. Following this, we visited the Coles Book at 720 Yonge Street. Coles possessed the largest supply of secondary school texts in the city, so it was possible to purchase all the books we needed in a single visit. The other advantage, was that Coles purchased used texts and resold them at a discount price. This often saved us money.

In 1953, I had a summer job at the Imperial Bank near Yonge and Bloor Streets, next door to the Pilot Tavern. On my lunch hour, I often strolled south on Yonge to the Coles store at 720 Yonge Street. I soon discovered that in the section displaying art books, there were photographs of naked figures, which art students employed for drawing the human form. Being a teenager, I was far to embarrassed to ever buy one of the books, but they were great to peruse for a cheap thrill. I always gazed around to be certain that no one was aware of the books I was looking at.

Coles was a vital part of Toronto during the days before e-books. In 1935, Carl E. Cole and his brother Jack, opened a second-hand bookstore near Bloor Street and named it Cole Books. In 1937, they purchased the Robert Barron property at 720 Yonge Street and opened a larger store. In 1948, they began publishing Coles Notes, which provided detailed and simplified notes about various topics that related to the secondary school curriculum. Student who had failed to keep proper notes during classes often bought them when exam time arrived. This is why they were often referred to as “cheat books.” Eventually, Coles Notes covered about 120 titles. Due to increased book sales, in 1952, they extended the store into the shop next door, and eventually opened other stores across Canada.

In 1974, the Barron Building that housed the store, was declared a Heritage building, as it had been built in 1889.

In 1980, Coles opened a 67,000 square-foot book store at 20 Edward Street, a short distance west of Yonge Street. They named it, “The World’s Biggest Book Store,” and though its name was not truly accurate, it was one of Canada’s first book superstores. It had previously been the site of the Olympic Bowling Alley, which was architecturally an enormous box-like structure. The store contained two storeys, was brightly lit, and had garish yellow walls. Despite these features, it contained small intimate areas, where customers could examine books before deciding whether or not to purchase them. It’s a pity that the store at 720 Yonge Street did not possess these spaces when I was a teenager ogling nudie books.

Because the store remained open late into the evening hours, people sometimes browsed for an hour or more. The store was located not far from A&A Records and Sam’s Records, which also attracted late-night customers. Thus, the World’s Biggest Book Store was an integral part of the night scene on Yonge Street. I personally liked the store as I was able to find books by authors that other stores did not stock. I also purchased many books that were deeply discounted. The store had large bins with books that were half-price or more, and clearance sales were frequent. The store eventually carried gift cards, souvenirs, stationery, and even toys.       

In 1995, Coles Books and W. H. Smith books merged to form a new company named Chapters. The following year, Chapters merged with Indigo Books to create Chapters/Indigo. However, with the introduction of the internet and the rise of e-books, the store on Edward Street was too large to remain profitable. It is a wonder that it lasted as long as it did. The building was sold to a real estate developer in February 2013, and the store was closed on March 30, 2013. The building was demolished to create a row of restaurants.

Personally, I felt that the city was diminished when The World’s Biggest Book Store closed. I spent many happy hours wandering its aisles. I now have a large selection on books on Toronto, many of which were bought in the store. However, after reading some of the comments posted online about the store, I realize that some people were pleased to see it close. Pity!

Sources: www.toronto.ca, urbantoronto.ca 

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The camera is pointed west on Edward Street. Photo from the Star.com

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Gazing west on Edward Street at the store. Photo from the CBC.

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Looking west on Edward Street at night, photo from blogTo – 2014225

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Interior of the store, photo from Metro News (the Star) dc_062012_04881e.

Daily Commercial News.com 002_RBI-image-1007095[1]

The store during demolition, photo from Commercial Daily News.com, 002_RBI

empty lot, Sept. 19, 2016

The empty lot where the World’s Biggest Book Store was located. Photo taken on September 19, 2016.

Urban Toronto.ca 21238-72974[1]

The Robert Barron Building at 720 Yonge Street, which was once a Coles Book Store, photo from Urban Toronto.ca. In 1995, it became a Shoppers Drug Mart. The building is presently being restored as it is a heritage property.

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, contains 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres. 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.

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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The old Riverdale Zoo—Toronto

Series 71, It. 5868  May 1923. -Riverdale-Entrance[1]

Riverdale Zoo in Riverdale Park in May 1923, Toronto Archives, Series 71, Item 5868.

In the 1940s, on a hot Sunday afternoon in summer, my dad took my brother and me on a mystery streetcar trip. Not knowing the destination, our excitement increased as we travelled south on a Yonge streetcar to College Street, and then, climbed aboard an eastbound College streetcar. Changing streetcars again at Parliament Street, we travelled north a short distance on a Parliament streetcar, which proceeded to rumble eastward along Winchester Street. Within a few minutes, we alighted at the end of the line, at Sackville Avenue. After walking one block east to Sumach Street, my brother and I became truly excited when we saw up ahead the entrance to the Riverdale Zoo. 

The afternoon was one that I was never to forget. Admittedly, the entrance was not particularly impressive, but the popcorn and toffee-apple venders near the entrance certainly caught my attention. Entering the gates, the grounds seemed immense. Today, I wonder if this was due to a child’s perspective, as many things appeared larger when we were children. However, revisiting the site in 2016, I realized that it was indeed quite a size. The old pathways remain today and still course their way through the grounds as they did in the decades when the site was the city’s main zoo. Visiting it now, it required very little imagination to picture it as it was when I was a child.

On that afternoon in the 1940s, we commenced wandering along the many paved walkways that meandered among rows of cages where the animals were exhibited. It was a hot day and the odours from some of the cages were not very pleasant. However, the excitement of seeing live animals from exotic climes around the world made us indifferent to the smells. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the animals and as many of the cages were quite small, the animals were in clear view. However, the confined spaces allowed very little room for the creatures to exercise or be active.

The floors of their cages were cement, with grooves at the edges that allowed the water to quickly drain away after they were hosed by attendants. Members of the zoo’s staff were cleaning some of the cages while we were viewing them, occasionally spraying some of the animals to cool them off. The exhibit buildings had outside viewing areas, as well in interior spaces, where visitors entered during the winter months, when it was too cold for the animals to be exposed to the frigid Toronto weather.

We watched the monkey enclosure from outside, where people were throwing food to the animals. The monkeys were quite bold, eagerly stretching their arms through the bars of the cages to beg for treats. Then, we entered the inside of the building, as a few of the monkeys had not ventured out. Continuing to stroll the grounds, we approached the lion cage. I had never seen a live one before, although I had viewed one that had been stuffed, mounted, and placed in a glass display case at the Royal Ontario Museum. The aviary at the zoo contained what seemed like thousands of birds, and from inside the building, the noise was deafening. The reptile pavilion was much quieter, but I found the snakes frightening.

I was amazed at the size of the elephants, but felt safe near these animals as I had read several Babar the Elephant books that I had signed out from the library. The crocodile was in a cement pool with murky water that had turned green with algae, but it seemed to enjoy the soda crackers that a young boy threw to it. When the reptile opened its jaws to snap at the food, its huge teeth looked even larger and sharper than those I had seen in the Tarzan movies at our local movie theatre.

In the 1940s, I did not think about the cramped cages and pens at the Riverdale Zoo, or that the animals were not protected from people performing pranks, feeding them unhealthy treats, or poking them with sticks. In that decade, most zoos around the world retained the same concept of displaying animals as in Victorian times. They were kept in an environment that was alien to them, like freaks in a freak show. The cages and pens were designed for the pleasure of those who viewed them, with little thought given to the creatures’ natural habitats. Very little was done to encourage the animals to be active.

1952-- pictures-r-1150[1]  wolf- 1952- pictures-r-1229[1]

The lion cage in 1952 (left), Toronto Public Library r-1150, and a wolf in a dog house in 1952, Toronto Public Library, r- 1229

History of the Riverdale Zoo

In the 1790s, the town of York (Toronto), was a small settlement clustered around the eastern end of the harbour. During the 19th century, it slowly expanded, even though the Don Valley created a natural barrier to eastward expansion. However, as the city grew, city council realized that more parkland was needed to accommodate the ever-increasing population.

In 1852, city council authorized the purchase of 119 acres of land from the estate of John Scadding, to create a city park and an industrial (jail) farm. Prisoners from the Don Jail, who were not considered dangerous as they had committed minor offenses, were to be forced to maintain the farm site and the park. The facilities were located on the west bank of the Don River, Winchester Street on its northern boundary. However, the green space was not opened to the public until August, 1880, after prisoners from the Don had improved the grounds by landscaping them.

In 1888, Alderman Daniel Lamb, a resident of the area, donated a few deer to the park. Then, he encouraged wealthy citizens to donate funds to purchase other animals and  through his efforts, more animals arrived. In 1889, the first exhibition of animals was held. To improve and expand the area where the animals were displayed, in 1890, the jail property was legally separated from the park. As well, more land was purchased, extending the size of the park to 162 acres. The Toronto Railroad Company (TRR), a precursor of the TTC, which had become a sponsor of the zoo, provided funds to erect a two-storey Moorish-style building. It opened in 1902, and became known as the Donnybrook. By this time, the zoo had acquired a considerable collection of animals from all over the world.

Also in 1902, the zookeeper’s cottage was also built. The same year, another elephant (named Princess Rita) was brought from Bombay, India via New York City, and two more lions were purchased. During the same summer, the Toronto Railroad Company transported 20,000 people to the zoo. Its donation of funds for the Donnybrook had resulted in handsome dividends for the transit company. 

As the decades passed, animal rights activist began agitating for improved conditions for the animals. It finally became obvious to city council that a new zoo was required. On June 30, 1974, the old Riverdale Zoo closed and the animal were relocated to a vastly improved facility in the Rouge Valley, its entrance on Meadowvale Road. The buildings and cages at Riverdale were demolished, except for the zookeeper’s cottage, the tower of the Donnybrook, and a small white pavilion at the bottom of the hill near the river.

The new Toronto zoo opened on August 15, 1974. The site of the old Riverdale Zoo was renovated and opened as the Riverdale Farm on September 9, 1978.

Sources: www.lostrivers.ca—www.blogto.com – torontohistory.net

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The home of Alderman Daniel Lamb on Winchester Avenue, across from the the site of the old Riverdale Zoo. Lamb was responsible for creating the facility.

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The zoo keepers cottage (the Residence) built in 1902, one of the few buildings surviving from the old Riverdale Zoo.

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Riverdale Zoo c.1915, Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 646

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Riverdale Zoo in 1925, gazing eastward toward the Don River. Photo from the Toronto Public Library, r-1211

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Entrance to the Riverdale Zoo (left photo) on Winchester Street in 1955, Toronto Public Library, r-1158. The right-hand photo is the entrance in 2016. 

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  Walkway beside the cages at Riverdale Zoo in 1955. Toronto Public Library, r- 1128.

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            Riverdale Zoo in 1955, Toronto Public Library r- 1130

monkey enclosure, 1955  pictures-r-1126[1]

                   Monkey enclosure, Toronto Public Library, r-1126

Riverdale Par, Zoo, 1952--pictures-r-1235[1]

Eastern side of the zoo in 1952, beside the Don River, Toronto Public Library r-1235

Donnybrook pictures-r-11331952-- [1]

The Donnybrook, photo from the Toronto Public Library, r- 1131952

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The tower of the Donnybrook, which survives today in Riverdale Farm. Photo taken in April 2016.

F1244,  item 0555   Riverdale-Elephant-Alr[1]

The elephant enclosure at Riverdale Zoo, Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 0555.

F 1231, Fl.1231, It. 0467 May 26, 1926.  -Riverdale-PolarBears[1]

Polar bears at the zoo on May 26, 1926. Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 0467

            brown bear, 1955 - pictures-r-1156[1]

   Brown bear at the zoo in 1955, Toronto Public Library, r- 1156

                  1955 - pictures-r-1124[1]

               Visitors at the zoo in 1955,  Toronto Public Library, r-1124.

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[2]    

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 contact the publisher directly:

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

 

 

 

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A pictorial journey to Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach–1900-1922

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                                  Sunnyside Beach and boardwalk in July of 2012

In 1834, when the City of Toronto was incorporated, it changed its name from York to Toronto. In that year, the area that became known as Sunnyside was far to the west of the city, as Toronto’s boundary extended only as far west as Peter Street.  In 1848, John G. Howard purchased land in the remote area that today we call Sunnyside, and built a modest structure. He named it Sunnyside,” as it was on the “sunny side” of a grassy hill, a short distance north of the present-day Queensway Drive. Howard’s path to the lake was unobstructed until 1855, when the Grand Trunk Railway line, which extended from Toronto to Hamilton, was constructed along the lake front. On the site of Howard’s Sunnyside Villa, in 1876, the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Sacred Heart built an orphanage and named it the Sacred Heart Orphanage. Howard’s Sunnyside Villa was retained by the orphanage as an office. The villa survived until 1945, when the villa and orphanage were demolished to construct St. Joseph’s Hospital.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Sunnyside was one of Toronto’s most popular summer destinations, as residents sought relief from the hot humid weather that often descended during July and August. However, the city was expanding westward, and the area previously visited for its beaches, was becoming increasingly residential. This necessitated that a streetcar line be built, making Sunnyside more accessible, increasing its popularity.

                              f1244_it0154a[1] 1907

A group of boys climbing on an old tree trunk at Sunnyside Beach in 1907. In the background is  the restaurant of P. V. Meyer and Company.

Sunnside in 1908

This photo looks west at Sunnyside Beach in 1908. A train is headed eastward toward the old Union Station on Front Street, built in 1884. The lake is closer to the railway tracks than it is today, as landfill eventually extended the shoreline further south. The narrow early-day boardwalk is visible, and out in the lake can be seen a portion of the break wall. The entire break wall had not been completed when this photo was taken. The Lakeshore Boulevard of the future also has not yet been built. In this picture it is merely a dusty road. The streetcar tracks to the right of the roadway, originally went as far as Mimico, but in 1905 were extended as far west as Long Branch.

f1231_it0572[1]  1911- beach before landfill

This photo shows Sunnyside Beach on 26 July 1911. It reveals how close the railway tracks were to the lake, in the days prior to landfill extending the shoreline further south. A row of “changing stations” can be seen beside the water, to allow bathers to change into their bathing attire. The building with the ornate turret, on the hill behind the train, is at the corner of Roncesvalles Avenue and Queen Street. The houses on King Street are also visible, on the hill, behind the train. It appears that there is a squatter’s shed on the beach, to the left of the “change stations.” The train cars belong to the Grand Trunk Railway.

f1231_it0534[1] breakwall 1909

Men working on the Sunnyside break wall in September of 1909. Eventually, 17,895 feet of break wall were constructed, creating the equivalent of over a hundred acres of protected waterways that were safe for bathers, between the shoreline and the break wall .

f1244_it0225[1]

Bathing in the refreshing waters of Sunnyside in 1911, near the south end of Roncesvalles Avenue. In the background is the Sacred Heart Orphanage, built in 1876 on the site of Howard’s Sunnyside Villa. 

Series 372, Subseries 51, Item 155

The railway tracks at Sunnyside, looking east toward downtown Toronto, and the old Sunnyside train station perched on the embankment. The photo is labelled in the Archives as being taken in 1912, but I had suspected that it was taken a few years earlier because of the station that appears in the photo. However, a reader has confirmed that the image was indeed taken in 1912.  The houses along King Street are visible, and in the upper left-hand corner of the photo, Roncesvalles Avenue can be seen, extending northward. The lake can be seen to the right of the railway tracks, as the landfill that extended the shoreline further south has not yet started.  

Series 372, Subseries 51, Item 166

The new Sunnyside train station, in April of 1913. It overlooks the beach to the south.

Although Sunnyside was popular since the early-days of Toronto, the magnificent Sunnyside Amusement Park, which became known as “The Poor Man’s Riviera,” did not materialize until 1922.

Note: the historic photos in the this post are from the City of Toronto Archives.

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

For more information about the topics explored on this blog:

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

              Books by the Author

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

 

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

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 personally experienced these grand old movie houses. To place an order for this book, published by History Press:

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

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

 

                  image_thumb6_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb

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

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

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

 

 Toronto: Then and Now®

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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